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FRIDaY, JUlY 8, 2016 • Vol. 19, No. 13 • FREE

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

• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

R
Young girls play soccer during a work session in
Rashan Ali’s non-profit program, Sporty Girls.

Rashan Ali hosts the DeKalb County Dream Symposium for
Youth. Ali is a graduate of Southwest DeKalb High School.

ashan Ali has made a name for herself in the world of radio, television and
entertainment. She became the social
media Correspondent for NBA TV’s GameTime during the 2010-2013 NBA playoffs. In
2013, Ali joined CBS Sports Network as a
sideline reporter for the college football season.
As Ali continues to rise in the ranks as a
multimedia personality, she said she hasn’t
forgotten her roots and where she came
from.
“I’m a Decatur girl shawty, eastside ‘til the
day I die,” a laughing Ali said after serving as
the moderator for DeKalb County’s Dream
Symposium on June 29. “When I’m here it’s
like I’m home. This will always be home for
me. Great things are coming out of DeKalb
County.”
As a way to give back to her community,
Ali created Sporty Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that allows minority girls from ages 8
to 18 to participate in non-traditional sports.
A graduate of Southwest DeKalb High
School, Ali’s swimming prowess allowed her
to earn a scholarship to Florida Agricultural
and Mechanical University (FAMU). Her experience swimming and competing at a high
level is what helped her create the idea of
Sporty Girls, she said.
However, the journey to keeping the nonprofit above water hasn’t been easy. The
DeKalb County native said she blames herself for some of the issues with Sporty Girls
related to funding.
“It’s been very hard and I would say a lot
of it has been my fault. I really don’t like asking people for stuff. My sphere of influence is
huge and I could really just call people and
say, ‘Hey (Ludacris), could you help?’ I could
do that, but it’s really hard for me,” Ali said.
“I depend a lot on regular everyday people.

See Ali on Page 5

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 2A

Former DeKalb County officer says department is in crisis

by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
In 2003, DeKalb County
Sgt. Marne Mercer said she
wanted to join the police force
to make a difference after the
terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,
2001. However, because of
low pay as a DeKalb County
officer, Mercer turned in her
resignation. The decision
“broke her heart,” she said.
Mercer, along with other
DeKalb County residents,
voiced their complaints during
a June 28 DeKalb County
Board of Commissioners
meeting held at the Maloof
Auditorium. Mercer said she
turned in her resignation a
week prior to the meeting.
Mercer, who worked with
the DeKalb County Police
Department (DCPD) for the
last 14 years, said her leaving
is directly related to a lack of
an increase in pay.
“I’m exactly the kind of
officer you’d like to retain in
DeKalb County and last week
I turned in my resignation,”
said a visibly upset Mercer.
“You’ve heard it said that
it’s not about compensation.
I’m not a millennial, I’m a
generation x’er and it is
about compensation. There’s
not some nebulous reason
why I’m leaving. It is exact.
Make no mistake, this police
department is in crisis.”
Mercer received a firstplace score on the lieutenant’s
exam and has won numerous
awards for her work in
domestic violence. She was
one of the first detectives in
the DCPD domestic violence
unit. In 2010, Mercer received
the 2010 Deborah McDorman
Flame Award that recognizes
efforts to end domestic
violence.
“The amazing officers
back here have been able to
do more with less in the face
of an incredible manpower
shortage. When this system
fails, inevitably in six months
or a year from now, It’s
going to be too late to act,”
Mercer said to the board of
commissioners during her twominute speech. “You up there
have the power to stop what’s
happening.”
According to DeKalb
County Police Major Stephen
Fore, the department has
roughly 200 vacancies it would
like to fill.
The department received
a 3 percent cost of living
increase approved by the
Board of Commissioners for
DeKalb County personnel

in 2013, according to reports.
Nonetheless, there has not been a
salary increase for DeKalb County
police personnel since 2006.
Fore said the lack of salary
increases, along with the stressful
nature of the job, makes retention
difficult.
“It’s hard to attract officers. This
is not just an issue facing DeKalb
County, but an issue nationwide,”
Fore said.
DeKalb County interim CEO
Lee May said the county is
doing all it can to alleviate issues

regarding the retention rate in the
police department.
In 2013, the police department
received a one-time 3 percent
bonus along with a 2014 3 percent
cost of living adjustment increase.
This year, the department will

receive a 4 percent raise as part of
a pay and class study, according to
May.
Additionally, the board
approved body cameras for the
department.
“Let’s be clear, none of these
things are cheap,” May said. “But I
believe it shows the overall attempt
to give law enforcement what they
need, including pay. You can argue
that we have not done enough, but
you can’t argue that we haven’t
done anything. That’s one thing I
want to be clear on.”

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local

aRoUNDDEKALB
coUNTYwIDe
Local judges recognized

The Council of Municipal Court Judges gathered June 23 at Sea
Palms Hotel on St. Simons Island for its annual Summer Law and
Practice Update and business meeting.
The council elected new officers for 2016-2017, including President
Gary E. Jackson, Municipal Court of Atlanta; President-Elect Judge
Pro Hac John Roberts, Municipal Court of Lithonia; and Vice President
Judge LaTisha Dear, Municipal Court of Stone Mountain;
The organization’s President’s Award was given to Judge Glen
Ashman, East Point, and Judge John Cicala, formerly with DeKalb
County Recorders Court, for their work on educating Georgia’s
Municipal Court Judges through writing and editing the Council’s Bench
book. Dear was also recognized for her efforts in ensuring that the
municipal courts of Georgia are accessible and fair.

BRookHaVeN
city to host dive-in movie night

Brookhaven will host a “dive-in” movie night July 15 at Briarwood
Park Pool at 8 p.m. The event will feature live music, children’s
activities and a movie. The film will be announced later. The pool is
located at 2235 Briarwood Way NE. For more information, visit www.
brookhavenga.gov.

cHaMBlee

rail trail closed until August
A trail in Chamblee that has been closed since December will
remain closed until August following a recent announcement.
The 0.6 mile Chamblee Rail Trail, which links Chamblee Tucker
Road and Johnson Ferry Road under Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, is
set to remain closed following a “unforeseen site and utility issue” at the
Parkview on Peachtree construction site.
“We know this is one of Chamblee’s great public amenities and
it is missed by our residents,” reads a statement from Chamblee city
officials. “We are working with the developer to assure the residents
that the trail will be opened as soon as possible and to assure the
safety of pedestrians.”
The developer of the Parkview on Peachtree site, Connolly, has
announced its plans to develop a “decorative timber bridge” over the
Chamblee Rail Trail. Construction on the bridge will begin this month.
“We fully expect to open the currently closed portion of the
Chamblee Rail Trail later this summer, with plenty of time to enjoy the
beautiful weather and scheduled festivals around Chamblee,” said
Timothy “J.R.” Connolly, chief executive officer.

claRkSToN

International dignitaries visit clarkston community
center
A group of Portuguese dignitaries visited one of Georgia’s most
diverse cities last week to see how it has facilitated new and long-time
residents.
The Clarkston Community Center played host to a delegation
from Portugal in conjunction with the Georgia Council for International
Visitors and the United States State Department. Executive director of
the Clarkston Community Center Cindy Bowden gave the delegation a
tour with staff and residents.
Tour highlights included the Clarkston Community Center’s summer
camp, athletic facilities, bicycle repair shop and community garden. The
delegation also learned how such programs are funded, how they work
and what support is needed from the government.
“Georgia welcomes between 2,500-3,000 refugees every year,
many of whom become residents of Clarkston,” Bowden said in a
release. “Once they arrive in our country, a large network of local
organizations, including the Clarkston Community Center, aids the
refugees in adapting to their new home and becoming self-sufficient

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 3A

through education and employment. My staff and I are happy to share
both our success stories and challenges with officials from around
the world as they put programs into place to help support their own
refugees.”
The release also states the Portuguese delegation is one of many
who have visited Clarkston to observe “best practices” in helping to
manage an increase in refugees.
For more information on the Clarkston Community Center, visit
www.clarkstoncommunitycenter.com.

DecaTUR

volunteer drivers for seniors needed
I CARE Inc. a 501 © (3) non-profit based in Decatur provides
free transportation to seniors of DeKalb County to their medical
appointments. I CARE matches volunteer drivers with seniors, who, for
financial and medical reasons, have no other means of transportation
to medical appointments. Volunteer drivers use their own vehicles to
provide the transportation and choose their own schedules. Volunteers
may drive once a week or once a month; it’s their preference.
Volunteers give through not only their time and service, but also through
their companionship. Rides are provided weekdays, between 10 a.m.
and 2: p.m..
For information on becoming a volunteer driver or a senior needing
service,contact Lori Webster, assistant director, at (404) 377.2273 or
(404) 376.6415 .

cAsA to hold informational meeting
The public is invited to attend a volunteer information meeting
hosted by DeKalb County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
on July 14 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Gregory A. Adams Juvenile
Justice Center in Decatur. The session will provide an overview of the
program for those interested in becoming a CASA volunteer. Volunteers
must attend an information session and complete a screening interview
before beginning training. The next training sessions will be held on
Thursdays from 4-7 p.m. from Aug. 4 to Sept. 8. The juvenile justice
center is located at 4309 Memorial Drive. For more information, contact
Justine Ferreira at (404) 378-0038.

DUNwooDY

Local theater presents Kiss Me Kate
The Tony Award-winning musical Kiss Me Kate will be performed by
the Stage Door Players in Dunwoody from July 15 to Aug. 7.
Originally written by Samuel and Bella Spewack with music by
Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate is based on Shakespeare’s The Taming
of the Shrew tells the story of a director and leading lady mixing work
and play with their fellow actors. Porter’s classics “So In Love,” “Too
Darn Hot,” ‘Wunderbar,” “From This Moment On” as well as “Another
Opening, Another Show” are all included in the show, which won two
Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Author of a Musical.
Stage Door Players’ version of Kiss Me, Kate will feature a
10-person leading cast. Performance times are typically Thursday,
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees also run at 2:30 p.m.
For tickets, which range from $15 to $30 individually, contact
Stage Door Players’ box office at (770) 396-1726 or visit www.
stagedoorplayers.net.

SToNe MoUNTaIN
city to host garden event

Stone Mountain will host Community Garden Work Day July 9, from
8 to 11 a.m. The Master Gardener Talk at 9:30 will be given by Dee
Hudson on herbs. For more information, email Columbus Brown at
columbushb@me.com.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 4A

Clarkston attempting
to effect change
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

T

o say the city of
Clarkston has proposed
what some may
consider controversial
legislation within the past
six months would be an
understatement.
Under Mayor Ted Terry’s
stewardship, Clarkston has
made local, state and national
headlines by attempting to
address broader problems with
city ordinances.
Early this year, Clarkston
attempted to crack down on
mixing gaming machines
with alcohol. In February, it
introduced an ordinance aimed
at reducing the punishment
for misdemeanor marijuana
possession. In April, the city
poised itself to pass ordinances
for vaping and took a stand on
foreign trade policy. In June,
Clarkston began a conversation
about making election day a
city-wide holiday.
If one were to ask Terry
about these initiatives, he’ll
likely give a straightforward
answer.
“I’ve been aware of a lot of
these issues for a long time,”
Terry told The Champion June
28. “To be honest, I’m surprised
more cities haven’t taken the
lead on the local level. We can’t
do everything, but we can do
everything for our small slice of
the picture— that’s the purpose
of being a leader.”
Terry and Clarkston’s city
council—made up of Dean
Moore, Beverly Burks, Mario
Williams, Awet Eyasu, Ahmed
Hassan and Robert Hogan—
have also brought in expert
witnesses to public meetings to
allow residents to witness the
process and to explain the logic
behind such initiatives.
In an April 22 meeting
discussing making marijuana
possession a $5 to $20 fine
for first-time offenders, Terry,
Moore and Clarkston Police
Chief Christine Hudson
discussed numbers, application
and police brutality with
marijuana advocates and
opponents, all with the public
watching and involved in the
conversation.
Such meetings are
uncommon at the local level,
but a second one took place on
June 21.
“When it comes to [the
public speaking on reducing
punishment for misdemeanor
marijuana possession], it’s

Lithonia’s City Council is considering budget revisions. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Ted Terry has implemented progressive policies and garnered national
attention during his time as Clarkston
mayor. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

very positive,” Terry said. “It’s
encouraging; there’s a silent
majority who transcend partisan
boundaries. We recognize
the war on drugs has been a
failure in many ways. While
Gov. [Nathan Deal] has made
many strides on prison reform,
Clarkston wants to take his lead
on other things.”
A marijuana ordinance
making misdemeanor
marijuana possession a $50 to
$100 fine was presented to the
council July 5.
“The key is that we do not
imprison for misdemeanor
marijuana possession,” Terry
said. “Police officers have
the discretion to arrest under
Georgia state law, but we
want to switch from focusing
police time on lower, nonviolent
offenses. We’re giving our
officers more leeway to just
issue citations.”
Terry said marijuana is a
“go about your business crime”
in many places throughout
the country. In Clarkston, a
misdemeanor marijuana fine is
currently about $660 with the
option of enforcing a conditional
discharge or diversion. If a
discharge is not granted,
violators can serve up to a year
in jail.
“There’s more blowback on
low-income families,” Terry said.
Clarkston received a
different public reaction from
tobacco advocates. In April
and May, the council proposed
making its indoor smoking
and vaping policies stricter.
Members from the public from
as far away as Albany came
to Clarkston to oppose the
proposed legislation.
Still, on June 21, the
conversation continued.
Despite opposition, Clarkston
will move forward with the
requirement that any business

see clarkston on page 8A

Lithonia city council discusses
budget adjustments
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
With the possibility of dealing with
another revenue shortfall, the Lithonia
City Council is looking at various ways
to adjust its budget.
The council and Mayor Deborah
Jackson held a special called meeting
on June 29 to review the budget.
Since 2014, each year the city has
experienced a shortfall in revenue in
June and September due to a lack of
cash flow. The current shortfall could
result in a deficit of $87,470 by the end
of September 2016.
City accountant Craig Lymburner
reviewed the budget to see what the
city has received in revenue to date.
“I just divided that number by five
and multiplied it by 12 [to] see if there
would be any changes,” Lymburner
told the council.
Lymburner adjusted the budgeted
motor vehicle ad valorem tax from
$5,500 to $9,500. He also adjusted
the franchise taxes for electric, gas,
TV cable and telephone; but did not
change the total number.
“It just tries to reflect more

accurately what’s received for each of
those,” Lymburner said.
Lymburner also adjusted the
taxes for alcoholic beverage, zoning
permit, sign permit, yard sale permit,
background checks, court fines and
bonds.
“Now the budget itself, you’re still
[at] $1,077,318 so it kept everything
with the original number,” Lymburner
said. “With everything staying constant
to the year we could possibly have a
[projected] shortfall of $30,100—that’s
based more on what’s happened to
date.”
Jackson said one of the challenges
the city has is not knowing the exact
amount it will receive from court fees.
“We’re not really supposed to
incorporate court fines and probation
lists as part of the budget,” she said.
The city originally projected
$128,000 for court fines in the
budget and Lymburner adjusted it to
$110,000.
“I based it on the prior year,”
Lymburner said.
City council members will continue
to meet with Lymburner to discuss the
proposed adjustments.

Avondale Estates adopts millage rate
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
With a 4-1 vote, the Avondale
Estates Board of Mayor and
Commissioners adopted an ordinance
to set the tax millage rate for tax year
2016 at 9.957.
Commissioner Terry Giager voted
against the millage.
“I have lost confidence that we’re
making objective, judicial decision
financially,” Giager said before the vote.
“We should not have a price increase
and go to 9.487.”
Before approving the 9.957 rate,
the board tentatively adopted a 10.957
millage rate, which represented a 16.26
percent increase in property taxes, an
increase of 1.572 mills. The millage rate
would provide funding for infrastructure
projects—which the mayor and other
commissioners support.
“I support the increase mainly
because I think what we decided

that it would all go directly towards
infrastructure projects, specifically the
roads,” Commissioner Brian Fisher
said. “I think it’s important that we begin
to proactively plan for some of the
infrastructure premise. I do think the
sooner we start working towards getting
those things done the cheaper it would
be. From a city stand point we can tell
people this is what we’ve been able
to accomplish with those dollars. I do
support it.”
“I do support the surplus going to
infrastructure projects such as road
repairs,” Commissioner Adela Yelton
said.
“Everyone knows we have some
roads in really bad shape and we have
to get on top of those,” Commissioner
Randy Beebe said. “Sooner or later
we’re going to have to do something
with the lake, which is going to cost a
tremendous amount of money. I think
we need to get on top of the sidewalk
issue.”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 1, 2016

Ali Continued From Page 1A
At the root of it all is a labor of
love.”
Sporty Girls recently received
a rather large donation from a
big contributor. Shaquille O’neal
donated $10,000 to Ali’s organization. The donation from the
four-time NBA champion helped
Ali continue to serve girls from
and around DeKalb County.
Sporty Girls is now in its 10th
year.
Ali was also recognized during a DeKalb County Board of
Commissioners meeting June 28
for her work in community service.
Commissioner Sharon
Barnes Sutton said Ali is an inspiration to young girls.
“I felt like growing up, there
were programs for the underserved and for the girls that had
a lot, but the girls in the middle
class seemed to get overlooked,”
Ali said. “I’ve had parents come
up to me and tell me that because of this organization, their
daughters are now playing lacrosse or soccer for their middle
school or high school. It’s always
about exposure. We cater to all
girls regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds.”

local

Page 5

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016

oPINIoN

Page 6

One step forward, two steps back
On June 20, it appeared that
our elected officials at the US
Senate had finally agreed on
proposed legislation that would
hopefully restrict access to legal
gun purchases by those who have
been identified as threats to our
national security and would force
background checks for online or
gun show purchases. Four separate
bills were discussed that in one
way or another may have lessened
access to guns by those with
questionable pasts.
Unfortunately, those proposed
bills went nowhere with senators
for the most part voting along party
lines with Republicans opposing
any measure to curb gun sales
and Democrats supporting the
measures.
On June 22, Congressman
John Lewis led a 16-hour sit-in in
the halls of the Senate in an effort

John Hewitt

johnh@dekalbchamp.com

to demand a vote on the proposed
bills. It did little good other than to
keep the topic in the news cycle.
In the early hours of June 23, the
Senate adjourned until after July 4
with no action taken on any of the
four proposed bills.
One bill, referred to as the
“no fly, no buy” bill, suggested by
senators Susan Collins (R) from
Maine, and Heidi Heitkamp (D) of
North Dakota, would have restricted
legal gun sales to those who are
already listed on the government
“no-fly list” and the “selectee list.”

The “no-fly list,” compiled by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation’s
Terrorist Screening Center, is a list
of individuals who for one reason
or another are suspected of having
possible terrorist ties and are
not allowed to board commercial
aircraft that are flying into or out
of the United States. Planes that
carrying someone whose name
appears on the no-fly list can also
be restricted from US airspace,
according to FBI.org.
As of June 22, there were more
than 100,000 individuals in the
database with just more than 1,800
having been added thus far in 2016,
according to no-fly-list.com.
The “selectee list” is,
according to FBI.org, used to
select individuals for secondary
screenings upon arrival at an
airport. Individuals selected for
secondary screenings cannot print

boarding passes in advance and
are required to check-in at staffed
counters for additional screenings
once they arrive at an airport.
I was optimistic that those we
have elected to speak on our behalf
may have finally reached a point of
working together, but this was not
the case.
For those of us who support gun
control restrictions, any progress
would have been viewed as a major
victory even though it may not be
as strict as some would like.
I often equate gun control to
mosquito control. We know it is
impossible to eradicate mosquitos
but any reduction in the number of
mosquitos is beneficial to all.
Any reduction of guns available
to individuals suspected of being a
threat to our nation and its people is
a great step for mankind.

oPINIoN

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016

Page 7

Father of the bride
“Well, that’s the thing about
life, it’s the surprises, the little
things that sneak up on you and
grab hold of you,” George Banks
(as portrayed by actor/comedian
Steve Martin in the 1991 film,
“Father of the Bride.”
I really didn’t think I’d cry—
but then I saw her. Our firstborn daughter, Barclay Crane,
decked out as an incredibly
beautiful bride, standing atop a
long stone staircase, beaming
and looking down the slope
toward her intended. Her step
father Danny Powell joined
me, and we walked Barclay arm
in arm in arm down the aisle
toward her soon-to-be husband,
Cody Carson. I could not be
happier for her; we love our
new family member and son-inlaw. But, the flood of emotions
still hit, fast and hard, and in
waves.
I didn’t actually catch sight of
her mother, Nancy Powell, until
we reached the outdoor arbor
where the ceremony was taking
place. She too was holding back
Niagra, but apparently doing
slightly better than I was.
Olivia, my younger child,
was a precious flower girl and
joined me down front to watch
the ceremony unfold. It was
a beautiful summer evening,
a brief exchange of vows
and prayers and voila, she is
someone’s wife. Though still my
daughter, things somehow seem

‘One Man’s
Opinion’
Bill Crane

bill.csicrane@gmail.com

different—different in a good
way.
After more pictures than I
can remember taking at any
occasion in my life, we joined
the wedding party and a joyous
celebration of roughly 150
already under way. Following
a touching first dance by the
Carsons, came the father/
daughter dance. The songs,
thoughtfully mix-taped by
Barclay were I Loved Her First
followed by My Girl. We had to
get in at least a few swing dance
moves before I handed her off to
her step-father for their song.
My wedding toast came
down to two stories and well
wishes. As a young child,
Barclay often engaged adults
in conversation. Complete
strangers soon had a new friend,
and Barclay, an animal lover
then and now, would share
details of her home menagerie.
“We have seven cats, two
dogs, four fish, two frogs and
a ferret,” she repeated with a
broad smile.
My story was about the
ferret. Barclay’s mother first
confirmed two facts—Maggie the

ferret’s unusual longevity, and
her lasting gratitude to me for
introducing Barclay to the ferret
species. If you have not had the
pleasure, imagine a rat mating
with a snake and you get a
ferret. One of the more odorous
of the vermin family, the ferret is
as pliable as a balloon, fleet of
foot and mercurial of mood.
I took Barclay, at her request,
to a Petco, hoping to convince
her that a ferret was really not
suited to be a house pet. A few
moments into the visit, Barclay,
wearing a long sleeve sweater,
has a ferret inside her clothing,
scrambling up and down her
arms, atop her head and she is
giggling.
I called her mother that
night to acknowledge I think the
Christmas list for Santa was
about to shift that year. Enter
Maggie the ferret. As travel
was an almost daily routine
in my job in those days, my
place was hardly pet friendly. At
Barclay’s insistence, we added
another pet—Hermie the hermit
crab on a beach trip. Hermit
crabs are low maintenance,
but not typically long lasting in
captivity. Hermie and his later
substitutes lasted for four years.
Of all her pets though, I think
Barclay loved Maggie most of
all. I never heard her complain
or even really speak of that
smell. And after several years
of daily time with Barclay, a
tween and teen life beckoned,

Maggie grew a rather large,
benign, inoperable tumor in
her abdomen. Imagine the rat/
snake with a beer belly. And a bit
later, she became hairless. We
now had an ailing, aging,
hairless, beer bellied rat/snake
stinking up the laundry room;
and yet to Barclay, still her dear
Maggie. Her love is, and was,
unconditional.
Weddings are always joyous
occasions, but this celebration
of Barclay and Cody felt special.
I have heard from guest after
guest almost daily in the
following weeks. Watching our
little girl become a wife, and
in not too long, we assume, a
mother; I am already getting
ready for that next big bump,
literally, and trying to figure out
how I will adjust to that next title
in my own life—Grandpa.
Enjoy and hold them close
while you can, and happy
wedding months of June/July to
all brides.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News,
WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now
95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for
The Champion, Champion Free
Press and Georgia Trend. Crane
is a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You can
reach him or comment on a column at bill.csicrane@gmail.com.

Subscribe to The Champion Newspaper
To subscribe, visit TheChampionNewspaper.com or call 404.373.7779

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PUBLISHER
We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
The Champion was founded in 1991
expressly to provide a forum for
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on all sides of an issue. We have no
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local

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

Gerald Carter, right, owner of Carter Fiber, chats with Tucker City
Councilman Matt Robbins after receiving a business license. Photo by
Carla Parker

Board
approves
Mosque
rezoning
Tucker issues first
despite
traffic
concerns
business license

by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

Gerald Carter, owner
of Carter Fiber, was the first
business owner to receive a
commercial business license
from the new city of Tucker.
Tucker began accepting
applications for licenses on July
1 at its new city hall on Adrian
Street. Carter said it was cool
to be the first business owner to
receive a license.
“I use to work in Tucker,
since 2007, and three years
ago I moved to Tucker to be
closer to the job,” Carter said.
“My wife and I were looking
around at different places and
we started to realize that Tucker
is a little secret in the Atlanta
area. You can get to I-285, you
can get to I-85, you can get to

places quickly. It’s the best kept
secret.”
Carter said his business,
which handles fiber optic
projects and wireless projects,
focuses on operating in small
towns and rural areas.
Tucker Mayor Frank
Auman said in a released
statement that the city looks
forward to taking the next
step in making Tucker a fully
functioning city.
“And issuing business
licenses will bring us one step
closer to our goal,” Auman said.
Businesses that have
already obtained 2016 business
licenses from DeKalb County
do not need to apply for a
Tucker license. The city will use
the county’s business license
fee structure until it adopts its
own.

Clarkston public meetings are often controversial due to the city covering
broad topics at a local level. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

clarkston Continued From Page 4A
where minors are allowed must
ban vaping products. Similarly,
bars will force vapers outdoors
and smokers 30 feet away from
any entrance.
“We’ve had outcry from
the vaping community,” Terry
said. “We are sensitive to
vapers trying to quit smoking
tobacco— vaping is a good
way to transition out of that.
We believe the vaping is less
harmful, but the reality is the
[Food and Drug Administration]
will eventually regulate it once

more studies come out. We’re
willing to follow the studies and
maybe take a look at amending
the ordinance next year.”
Terry said he will continue
to instigate change to help his
constituents.
“Hopefully other cities
will see it as something that
just makes sense,” Terry
said. “We’re laboratories of
democracy and we should
strive to be inspiring to other
municipalities.”

by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

The DeKalb County Board of
Commissioners voted to approve a
rezoning for a place of worship despite
complaints from residents.
In the board’s June 28 meeting,
commissioners voted to allow a Masjid
Rahman Islamic Center, located at 4038
Rockbridge Road in Stone Mountain, to
rezone from a small lot residential mix
to an office-institutional structure.
The rezoning would allow a place of
worship within an existing structure.
Michele Battle, with Atlanta-based
Battle Law Group, LLC, represented
members of the proposed Masjid center.
Battle said members of the worship
center plan to be good neighbors to
anyone who lives in the general area.
“We are certainly excited about this
piece of property for the Masjid. They
acquired the property last year and are
excited to hold worship on the property,”
Battle said. “I know that there were
questions and concerns raised by the
community and we have worked hard
with the commissioners and we have
worked hard to come up with conditions
to resolve those issues.”
The board approved the rezoning
under the condition that the center
follow specific conditions.
Among the conditions, the worship
center would be limited to one curb cut
on Rockbridge Road, must provide a
10-foot wide landscape strip along the
entire road frontage of Rockbridge Road
and a sidewalk along property frontage
in accordance with development
regulations.
DeKalb County community activists
voiced concerns about the Masjid
Rahman Islamic Center during the
board’s meeting. A community council
located in the district of the worship
center voted 6-3 in denial of the
rezoning request citing “proliferation
concerns of three similar uses
already existing in the area and traffic
concerns.”
The community council
hears zoning request and makes
recommendations to the planning and

zoning commission as a way to receive
feedback from the community. Each
member of the community council is
appointed by board members.
DeKalb County resident Joe
Arrington said potential traffic issues
were his biggest concern in regards to
the worship center.
“I know you can’t deny a resolution
based on traffic, but traffic is not a
secondary concern. Traffic is a primary
safety concern. There have been
accidents on Rockbridge Summit and I
think there will be many more accidents
and property damage (if this application
is approved),” Arrington said.
State representative Michele
Henson, D-Stone Mountain, said her
problem with the worship center was
not religious in nature, but about public
safety.
“I’m here to ask you to deny this,”
Henson said. “The (worship center) is
right on a curve going in both directions
with very poor visibility. If this is going to
pass we need turning lanes. You have
incomplete sidewalks and (complete
sidewalks are) absolutely essential.
Whether it’s a mosque, a synagogue
or a church, that’s not the issue, it’s a
public safety issue.”
The vote to rezone the worship
center passed 5-1. Commissioner
Nancy Jester voted against the
resolution.
Henson said a mosque, Masjid
Tawheed located on Memorial Drive in
Stone Mountain, regularly blocks traffic.
She said there is an officer present to
help alleviate traffic concerns every
Friday.  
More than 30 supporters of the
mosque were in attendance at the
commission meeting. Battle said an
application for rezoning cannot be
denied due to traffic concerns, but noted
that members of the mosque are trying
to be good neighbors.
“We recognize there are some trust
issues with the community and I hate
that it is perceived like that,” Battle
said. “The mosque has reviewed the
conditions and we think that they are
reasonable and we’re looking to move
forward.”

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 9A

Residentquestions$2.8million
school board expenditure
Tucker resident Kirk Lunde
questions DeKalb County School
District’s decision making
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Tucker resident Kirk Lunde has
repeatedly contacted the DeKalb County
School District (DCSD) over a Local
Schools Priority Request (LSPR) list
intended for specific school improvements
with special local option sales tax
(E-SPLOST) dollars.
The total amount set aside for the LSPR
was $3.2 million. School teachers, staff and
principals were able to directly contact the
district for improvement requests on the
DCSD website. Improvements requested
include repavement, parking, walkietalkies, carpeting, flooring, cafeteria tables,
updated bathroom doors, larger conference
rooms and ceiling repairs.
As reported in the June 30 issue of
The Champion, the board instead spent
$2.8 million of the budget on custodial
equipment, parts and training over the
course of the 2015-2016 school year.
Approval for the purchase came in April
2015.
According to an E-SPLOST
memorandum outlining the LSPR program,
a formal list of projects was due before the
board of education by April 2013. No formal

list appears in DCSD archives.
“The requests were due April 30, 2013,”
Lunde said. “However, a project list was
never presented to the BOE as promised in
the E-SPLOST referendum. Why not?”
According to Quinn Hudson, director
of communications for DCSD, despite
memorandum dictation, the board trust on
such matters lies with the district.
“The list of solicited requests was not
formally presented to the board,” Hudson
told The Champion on June 22. “The board
trusts the district to manage decisions of
this nature.”
Hudson said the choice to provide
schools with custodial equipment was
made due to an uneven number of
requests.
“The unequal number of requests from
the five geographic regions and specifically
a small number of requests from Region
5 schools prompted then-Superintendent
Michael Thurmond in April 2015 to
recommend to the DeKalb County School
Board that all schools receive badly needed
custodial (janitorial/cleaning) equipment,”
Hudson said. “This recommendation
allowed the district to meet a primary
objective for the LSPR Program—balanced
funding to all regions in the district.”
Lunde remains unconvinced.
“According to Mr. Hudson, the reason
[for the custodial equipment purchase]
is there were not enough requests from
region 5,” Lunde said. What does that say
about the needs of the other regions? Isn’t

Tucker resident Kirk Lunde questioned the school board about
school maintenance at its June 6 board meeting but still has
unanswered questions. Photo by R. Scott Belzer.

see school board on page 13A

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 10A

Tucker grad explores Ghanaian roots
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

F

or many people, summer is
a time to unwind.
Whether it is by grilling
on the back patio, hanging
out by the pool or taking weekend
trips to scenic destinations;
summer is a time to kick back,
relax and enjoy warm weather.
This is not the case for Aniya
Hamilton.
Hamilton, a Tucker High
graduate and University of Georgia
(UGA) student, chose to spend
her summer break studying in
Ghana. Until mid-July, she will be
immersing herself in Ghanaian
culture, providing nutritional
counseling to communities and
going on an occasional safari.
Hamilton said a pilgrimage to
the Ghanaian region has always
been on her to-do list.
“It has always been important
for me to uncover hidden treasures
and truths of other nations,
especially the nation my ancestors
come from,” Hamilton said. “I
chose to study abroad in Ghana
this summer above all other things
because to me it is important to
reconnect with the motherland and
be close with my people.”
While traveling to Africa may
be life-changing for some, the trip
represented a lot of firsts for the
Tucker High grad. Hamilton had
never been on an airplane, been
outside the United States, slept
in a tree on safari, made shea
butter, toured a castle, shopped at
a bustling outdoor market, visited
an African mosque or touched an
elephant.
All of the above are now off her
to-do list.
“Everything was unfamiliar, but
I changed my perspective from
a scared first-time traveler to an
ambitious adventurer,” she said.
“It was a fortunate experience for
me to be able to do such a thing
because, in my community, not
a lot of people get this chance.
It would be a pleasure to spread
the word and give people hope
that they can one day do such
adventurous things.”
The main reason for Hamilton’s
visit was closing the gap in
Ghana’s health disparities. She
and other travelers were trained to
take blood pressure, hemoglobin
levels, blood sugar levels, height
and weight at a local clinic.
Students then advised Ghanaians
on diet.
“Although my career path is
not related to the medical field,
preventative care is very important
to me,” Hamilton said. “It is my
greatest pleasure to provide such
a simple service to the people of
Ghana. To me it seems simple but

to them it could be the difference
between life and death.”
Hamilton said she’s learned a
lot of truths about African countries
that she says have been hidden
via Western media.
“The media does an excellent
job portraying Africa as a place
filled with famine, disease and
corruption as well as in need of a
lot help from Western countries,”
Hamilton said. “There are whole
histories here that have been
intentionally omitted from our
knowledge. I thought it was time
to get a firsthand account on how
things are said to be versus how
things actually are.”
Hamilton said she had wanted
to study abroad since her time at
Tucker High School but considered
it an “unreachable task” due to
expenses. After spending time at
UGA, she learned of the Benjamin
A. Gilman Scholarship, a $5,000
stipend meant for students
studying abroad or completing an
internship.
Hamilton was one of
20 students to receive the
scholarship, an opportunity she
hopes to spread awareness of
upon her return. She said she also
plans on traveling to Athens-Clarke
County to provide an in-depth
perspective on a continent that she
believes does not receive much
positive media exposure.
Hamilton said her upbringing
in an impoverished home blinded
her from seeing past her own
community. She said believed
what she read in books and
saw on television about her own
people. It was only when she had
her own experiences outside that
community that her perspective
changed—a message she wishes
to spread to poor communities.
“There are a lot of Black
students who have lost focus and
do not even find the land they
are born in to be their home,”
Hamilton said. “I have chosen to
go into an Athens-Clarke County
school to show them that through
merit and perseverance there
are scholarships like the Gilman
Scholarship out there willing to
give students a chance to explore
and uncover truths.”
Hamilton also saw visiting
Ghana over typical destinations
such as Europe as a chance
to get out of her comfort zone.
Because she has done so,
Hamilton said she feels as if she’s
been rewarded with a privileged
perspective.
“In my opinion, [visiting
Europe] is too easy and played
out,” Hamilton said. “It is time we
expand and go to countries less
sought after because there are
jewels waiting to be uncovered.”

Aniya Hamilton, a Tucker High School graduate and University of Georgia student,
is studying in Ghana this summer. Photos provided

Aniya Hamilton said the best part about studying in Ghana is interacting with local
children.

local

weekinpictures

Two-sport superstar Brian Jordan awarded $85,000 in scholarships to 17 high
school seniors through the Brian Jordan Foundation in a ceremony held prior
to the Atlanta Braves versus Cleveland Indians game at Turner Field on June 29.
DeKalb County recipients include Tatiana Anthony from Miller Grove High School,
Synee’ Davenport from McNair High School and Deja Holmes from Cedar Grove
High School.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 11A

Participants in the annual Avondale Estates Fourth of July Parade wave as they
travel along the parade route on Clarendon Avenue. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Dunwoody hosted its annual Fourth of July
parade on Monday complete with live music,
marching bands, floats and food.

A garden adjacent to Kimball House on East Howard Avenue. Photo by
Horace Holloman

Dunwoody police officers Anwar Sillah, left,
and Michael Vermillon pose with resident
Thayer at the city’s Fourth of July parade.

The Wylde Center, a Decatur based environmental association, took on management of
Mulberry Fields Community Garden and Greenspace on July 1. The garden is located on Iverson
St. NE in Atlanta near Little Five Points.

photos brought to you by dctv

2016 DeKalb Neighborhood Summit

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 12A

Avondale Estates entrepreneur leads give back campaign
Hundreds of business
owners and managers
recently convened in Atlanta
for the annual conference
of the National Association
of Resale and Thrift Stores
(NARTS). Each year, NARTS
members come together to
learn new and innovative
ways to make their resale
business a success. These
business leaders have
thrived in their communities
and many have found
themselves in positions
to give back to those
communities in their own
way, according to Bonnie
Kallenberg, Avondale
Estates resident, president
of NARTS and owner of
consignment chain Finders
Keepers Consignments.
Kallenberg said she
loves finding ways to
support local charities in her
community. After witnessing
the positive impact that her
small business has made
through charitable donations,
fundraising and volunteering
in the community, she said
she was inspired to start a
tradition within the NARTS
organization that would
give business leaders an
opportunity to come together
with the goal of making
a positive impact in each
conference city.
This year
launched the first
#NARTS#Givesback#Atlanta
campaign. It began with two
community service projects.
The first project benefited the
Atlanta chapter of Dress for
Success, a nonprofit whose
mission is “to promote the
economic independence of
disadvantaged women by
providing professional attire,
a network of support and the

career development tools to
help women thrive in work
and in life,” according to a
release.
Dress for Success
holds a semi-annual
clothing sale to raise
funds for their program.
Members of NARTS used
their professional resale
experience to merchandise
piles of clothing into a sales
floor for the Dress For
Success Clothing Sale that
was held June 25.
In addition to helping
Dress for Success design
a successful pop-up
store, NARTS members,
in conjunction with
Action Ministries Atlanta,
participated in a service
project designed to offer
assistance to homeless
women who need toiletries.
In resale stores across the
nation, business leaders
collected handbags,
toiletries, and small
essentials to bring to Atlanta.
During the conference,
the supplies they collected
were bundled into care
packages, placed inside a
handbag and distributed
by Action Ministries Atlanta
to homeless women in the
surrounding area.
She said she was
“delighted by the chance
to pilot the program” in her
own city and “is proud of
the positive influence that
#NARTS#Givesback#Atlanta
has been able to make in
Atlanta.”
Kallenberg said she
hopes to create a standard
in which business leaders
take the first steps in creating
an evolutionary system of
community outreach and
service across the nation.

Clothing offered for the Dress For Success clothing sale

L-R: Julia Austin, Bonnie Kallenberg, Thelsea Scott; back row L-R Chris Swanson, Neil Abramson,
Gerri Talevich, Melissa Morales, Sandy Johnson

Drainage relief on the way for Decatur residents
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
Decatur residents living on East
Trinity Place, East Howard Avenue,
Barry Street or North Candler Street
can expect to see improvements
to their drainage system within the
next year.
Weather permitting, the city
of Decatur plans to begin the last
“major project” in order to fix storm
drainage issues in the area, said
Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon.
Phase two of the drainage
project in downtown Decatur was
awarded to Astra Grading & Pipe for

$1.3 million. Astra Grading & Pipe
has previously completed storm
drainage and utility construction
on the Atlanta Beltline, Old Fourth
Ward Park and Peachtree DeKalb
Airport.
Saxon said the project will
create a significant change for
homeowners and business owners
in downtown Decatur.
“This is the last major phase of
a storm drainage improvement that
rebuilds the entire major downtown
Decatur drainage system,” Saxon
said. “It’s been done in segments in
the last 10 years or so.”
Phase two will start in front of

Decatur Fire Station No. 1 and will
replace deteriorated storm drainage
features on East Trinity Place, Barry
Street and North Candler Street,
Saxon said.
Decatur’s drainage system
improvement project started nearly
40 years ago. Saxon said once
complete, phase two will eliminate
some of the city’s oldest storm
drainage infrastructures.
“The drainage system that
extends east pretty much goes
over private property and houses,”
Saxon said. “Luckily, we got the
money and we’re going to complete
this system. Most of the people

affected in those areas where
it floods will see a significant
difference.”
The project will be completed in
300-foot sections.
Saxon said the process could
take anywhere from nine to 12
months, but said it will more than
likely be 12 months if inclement
weather persists.
The city will use storm water
utility funds, Ebster Vault Revenues
funds for fiscal year 2015-2016
along with the storm water utility
funds and capital improvement
funds for fiscal year 2016-2017.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 13A

scHool boarD
Continued From Page 9A

Retired DeKalb County captain Roderick Morgan talks to a group of local youth about bullying and law enforcement
as part of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Junior Deputy summer camp. East precinct Education Specialist Emmitt
Jenkins said community programs help combat crime in the area. Photo by Horace Holloman

Crime wave cools in DeKalb County
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

I

n 2015, officers in the
DeKalb County Police
Department (DCPD) east
precinct were hit with what
was described as a “crime
wave.” A summer task force
was established to combat the
problem, centered near Lithonia.
According to reports, it
seems as though crime has
cooled.
From January to midJune, crime is down in almost
every major category in the
east precinct. Compared to
the same time frame last year,
residential burglaries are down
20 percent, entering autos down
23 percent, business burglaries
down 2 percent and pedestrian
robberies down 1 percent. The
percentages of aggravated
assault from year to year were
unchanged.
“We’ve experienced a
major drop in crimes in terms
of robberies and burglaries and
that’s because of the community
involvement,” said east precinct
Education Specialist Emmitt
Jenkins. “We’re helping the
neighborhoods help themselves.
People are starting to be aware
of their surrounding areas.”
In the summer of 2015,
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff
Mann’s task force was created
to help curtail crime near Phillips
Road and Marbut Road in
Lithonia.
Crime escalated last year
when someone fired five shots
into the home of a DeKalb
County deputy in December.
The local community and
officers seem to have a better

working relationship since then,
Jenkins said.
“It’s awesome because
you’re having a lot of positive
interaction with the police
department and public.
People are starting to believe
in us again. We’re not the

numbers. There’s an old saying,
‘if you live by the numbers, you
die by the numbers.’” Fore said.
“A drop in crime means nothing
to someone who just suffered
through a violent crime or
assault.”
Fore said departments work

‘We’ve experienced a
major drop in crimes in
terms of robberies and
burglaries and that’s
because of the community
involvement.’
– East Precinct Education Specialist Emmitt Jenkins

‘boogeyman,’ we’re your friends.
We just want to stop crime,”
Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the east precinct
plans on hosting community
events and neighborhood
initiatives throughout the summer
to continue a “positive working
relationship” with the community.
The 20-year police officer
said he constantly keeps in
contact with community leaders.
Despite the decrease in
crime, DeKalb County Maj.
Stephen Fore said statistics are
just one aspect of a much larger
issue.
“We hate to go by the

hard with community members to
ensure crime is low.
The DCPD suggests several
tips to keep homeowners or
business owners safe, including
trimming shrubbery from
windows and doors to allow
a clear line of vision, keeping
valuable items out of sight,
keeping a constant appearance
of occupancy by turning on lights
and televisions and removing
any items that could assist
criminals in entering your home.
“We look at the hot spots and
we try to respond to crime trends
in the area. We work well with
the community,” Fore said.

that an example of favoritism shown
by the school district?”
Questions were also raised about
how the purchase was presented
before the board. Joshua Williams,
chief of DCSD’s division of operations,
listed the LSPR purchase under a
facilities management request.
Facilities management requests
are typically presented separately
from E-SPLOST requests in a board
of education work session and formal
meeting. According to Hudson, the
purchase was made correctly.
“The Facilities Management
Department oversees Facilities
Maintenance (Custodial Equipment
Parts) and E-SPLOST Programming
(Custodial Equipment and Training),”
Hudson said “It’s exactly how a
request for custodial equipment and
a parts contract agreement should be
made.”
Hudson’s answer did not sit well
with Lunde, who also questions the
validity of calling janitorial equipment a
capital improvement.
“E-SPLOST is for capital
improvements,” Lunde said.
“Custodial equipment does not meet
any definition of capital equipment
I have ever seen. There are two
separate headings on every BOE
agenda because operational
purchases are different from
E-SPLOST purchases. To the best of
my knowledge, the Custodial Initiative
is the only time during E-SPLOST
IV that funding or contracts were
presented to the [board] under the
Facilities Management heading.”
According to the Georgia Code,
E-SPLOST funds can only be used for
“capital outlay projects for educational
purposes” and “the retirement of
previously incurred general obligation
debt with respect only to capital outlay
projects of the school system.”
The same referendum lists LSPR
funding for “minor projects deemed
necessary to meet interior and exterior
facility needs at various local schools.”
Ultimately, the purchase has been
made and each school has received
custodial equipment. In addition to
district-wide janitorial training, DCSD
obtained micro-rider floor scrubbers,
walk-behind floor scrubbers, battery
burnishers, and no-touch bathroom
cleaning systems.
“This equipment improves overall
cleanliness, environmental health and
operational efficiency,” Hudson said.
Lunde said he remains
unconvinced and unsatisfied with the
district’s answers, leaving only more
questions.
“Why was there a two-year delay
between the schools’ requests and
asking the BOE to fund a custodial
initiative?” Lunde asked.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 14A

Doraville receives $3 million for Assembly

by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

Doraville is set to
receive a hefty sum from
the State Road and Tollway
Authority (SRTA) as part
of a $27 million grant from
the Georgia Transportation
Infrastructure Bank (GTIB).
Approximately $1.5
million of that was granted
to Doraville to provide
infrastructure for the
former General Motors site
now known as Doraville
Assembly. Another $1.5
million is listed as being
loaned to Doraville for the
same project.
According to GTIB
documents, the funds will
help create a half-mile,
four-lane connector road
from Motors Industrial
Boulevard to Peachtree
Road. The project will also
include bicycle lanes and
sidewalls.
Doraville was
chosen based on the
city’s transportation
and engineering merit,
economic merit, project
specificities and feasibility,
according to GTIB.
Gov. Nathan Deal,
who serves as chairman
for SRTA, called the $27
million grant a “major
transportation milestone
for Georgia” in a recent
release.
“Through the GTIB
program, significant
transportation infrastructure
investments have been
made towards the future
of our communities,” Deal
said.
Another DeKalb County
GTIB-funded project is the

Doraville’s Motors Industrial Way, which borders the Assembly project, is set to receive $3 million intended for a half-mile, four lane
connector road with Peachtree Road, complete with 12-foot sidewalks and 10-foot bicycle lanes.

Perimeter Center diamond
interchange in Dunwoody.
This year, Dunwoody was
also awarded $500,000
to improve mobility near
the I-285 interchange and
a pedestrian path for the
Dunwoody MARTA station.
Community
improvement districts
(CIDs), local governments
and state entities are
eligible for GTIB grants
and loans. Doraville was
one of five cities awarded
funding with Dunwoody,
Sandy Springs, Griffin and
Gainesville also receiving
grant and loan money.
The Assembly CID was
created to receive similar
grants. While the Assembly
CID was not granted
money this year, local CID
projects that were include
four residing in Atlanta,
Buckhead and Cumberland.
Future funding for the
General Motors site will
come from taxes paid by
those residing and working
within the CID.

Doraville’s Assembly project is poised to transform the northern DeKalb County region through
mixed-use development.

According to Georgia
HB 658 and the DeKalb
County Tax Digest, CID
residents and tenants are
subject to “taxes, fees
and assessments” levied
by a governing board.
Collected funds go toward
infrastructure necessities

such as street construction
and maintenance, parks
and recreational areas,
sewage and stormwater
systems, public
transportation and parking.
Doraville resident Alan
Malcolm was chosen as a
board for the CID member

by the city, with nine other
members to be chosen by
a caucus of electors and
DeKalb County within the
next 60 days.
For more information
on SRTA or GTIB, including
a list of local projects, visit
www.georgiatolls.com.

Two council seats open in Pine Lake
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Two Pine Lake city council seats
will be up for grabs this November.
Two councilmembers, George
Chidi and Erika Brown, have
vacated their seats within the past
three months. While Chidi vacated
his seat to run for another public
office, Brown has decided to move
out of Pine Lake.
Chidi—a professional journalist—
announced his intent to run for a
commissioner’s seat, vacated by
Stan Watson in March, on April 15
via Facebook.
“I took the job as a city
councilman with an understanding

that Pine Lake is part of a larger
community around it,” Chidi wrote.
“I’ve kept this community visible to
Pine Lake, knowing that what affects
DeKalb County affects us. Serving as
a city councilman for Pine Lake has
been the privilege of my life.”
Brown, a metro Atlanta real
estate agent, has sold homes in
Avondale Estates, Kirkwood, Decatur
and Pine Lake in addition to Fulton
County neighborhoods.
Brown has been a council
member for two and a half years and
a Pine Lake resident for 11 years.
She has stepped down due to living
outside of Pine Lake city limits to
accommodate a handicap bathroom
on the ground floor.

“I will be moving out of the city
in the next couple of weeks and
therefore will be ineligible to finish the
remainder of my term,” Brown said.
“Pine Lake holds a special place
in my heart and I have enjoyed the
eleven years I have lived in the city. It
has been a privilege to serve the city
as a volunteer and as a member of
council.”
A call and notice of election was
submitted to The Champion from
Pine Lake advertising two new races
in November.
Candidates have until July
18 to file notice of candidacy with
Pine Lake’s city clerk. Vetting of
candidates will begin the following
day and end on July 20.

Brown

Chidi

eDUcaTIoN

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

Where credit is due
Survey shows citation, plagiarism still an issue for higher education students
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
The final word of a final paper
is put on the page. As far as the
student writing it knows, the ideas
flow well and the copy is crisp.
Without a doubt, it’s an easy “A” on
a topic thoroughly researched and
committed to memory.
In the United States, this can all
change when a professor looks at
the paper’s citations, as students
at DeKalb County’s five private
universities and four public higher
education institutions can attest.
According to a recent survey of
more than 2,100 students enrolled
in U.S. colleges and universities,
approximately 75 percent of
students consider citing correctly a
concern when writing papers.
A citation is typically indicated
with a number and references
an idea originally presented in
another published work. It comes in
many shapes and styles: Modern
Language Association (MLA),
American Psychological Assocation
(APA), Chicago Press (Chicago
Style), American Sociological
Assocation (ASA), Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers
(IEEE), and American Medical
Association (AMA) all have different
formats.
Despite this complexity, in
academia, citing sources and
compiling research is important in
obtaining a degree and producing
quality work.

The survey, conducted by the
website RefME, found 54 percent
of surveyed students received
a lower grade for formatting
citations incorrectly, 44 percent
were degraded for using the wrong
citation style, 19 percent reported
being punished for not submitting
a “full works cited” or bibliography
page, 12 percent were criticized for
failing to cite a quote or idea and 12
percent scored lower for citing the
wrong source.
“It is widely known that there
is a lack of understanding around
the rudimentary requirements
for crediting sources in written
academic work,” states RefME’s
study.
RefME’s survey found that
40 percent of the 2,111 students
agreed they had enough
information about citing while
matriculating, meaning more than
half did not.
“Citing is a complicated process
that takes time to master, so it is
a real cause for concern that 60
percent of students were either
unsure or revealed that they had
not been provided with enough
information on how to cite correctly,”
states RefME.
RefME references a 2015
study titled “Academic Integrity: A
Quantitative Study of Confidence
and Understanding in Students at
the Start of Their Higher Education”
by Philip Newton that found
students new to college “lacked
even a basic understanding of how

to cite sources.”
Ironically, Newton’s study also
found the same students claimed
high confidence in knowing what
citations are.
The purpose of having citations
is to assure original work from
students and avoid plagiarism.
Plagiarism, depending on the
institution, can result in suspension,
expulsion, a failing grade, loss of a
scholarship and legal action from
plagiarized authors or writers.
A survey conducted by Student
Engagement Insights states about
25 percent of students are “very
worried” about plagiarism while 45
percent of students are “somewhat
worried.”
In John English and Chris
Ireland’s Plagiarism: Let’s Start
as We Don’t Mean to Go on, it
was found the majority of students
are worried about inadvertently
plagiarizing.
“Rather than wasting precious
energy worrying about the
penalties for plagiarism, it is
important that students use their
time wisely to develop essential
academic skills,” states RefME’s
report. “Studying at college level
teaches students to: formulate
their own thoughts and responses
on the topic, to paraphrase and
summarise whenever possible, and
to acknowledge their sources by
taking the time to accurately credit
them.”
Experts remain divided on
where an all-encompassing

solution lies or whether one
exists. While many websites and
applications create citations in the
aforementioned styles, professors
say developing new behavior
should be a top priority.
An article by Jeff Karon in The
Chronicle of Higher Education lists
positive reinforcement as the first
step in ending plagiarism in college.
“My goal should be to help
inculcate honor and integrity rather
than build a culture of fear and
accusation,” Karon writes. “The
solution should be positive; that
is, show students how to act as
responsible scholars and writers.
It should help students avoid
plagiarism rather than focus on
our catching it; the solution should
objectively strengthen both students
and teachers. It should also make
students and teachers feel as
though they are stronger.”
University of Glasgow’s Jude
Carroll suggests what RefME’s
data implies— teaching students
how to properly cite and how
improper citations often lead to
plagiarism. She also writes that
creating a climate of punishment
only leads to more inventive ways
of cheating.
“Students need to learn how to
paraphrase and summarise others’
words,” Carroll writes. “They need
to practice, get feedback, and see
others’ efforts, then try again. They
need to work with definitions to
really understand them.”

BUSINeSS

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 16A

Founders of GreenPal, from left, Ross Brooks, Bryan Clayton, Zach Hendrix and Gene Caballero, say they believe there isn’t another business like theirs in the country.

Lawn referral service cuts path from customer to provider
by Kathy Mitchell
Business innovations often
start with the observation that
there has to be a better way. That’s
how GreenPal started, according
to Gene Caballero, one of the
company’s four founders.
GreenPal matches lawn
services with homeowners needing
yard work. “That sounds simple,”
Caballero said, “but we discovered
a lot of frustration among
homeowners looking for a capable,
reliable, reasonably priced lawn
service.”
Started in Nashville, Tenn.,
four years ago, the company
came about when Bryan Clayton,
another of the co-founders,
was operating a commercial
landscaping company. Clayton,
who entered the lawn business
cutting neighbors’ grass when
he was in high school, is now
GreenPal’s CEO and in charge of
the company is strategic plans.
“People would call Bryan
asking if he could recommend
someone to cut their grass at
home. He knew there are lots of
small lawn service businesses.
The problem was connecting those
businesses with people who need
their services. Many were one- or
two-person operations that didn’t
have an office and a person doing
scheduling,” Caballero said.

Caballero, who has a
background in information
technology, said he and his
partners created a service through
which homeowners can enter their
address online and within minutes
have vetted lawn care companies
bidding for the job. “This takes
away the frustration homeowners
may feel leaving messages with
service providers who may not get
back to them immediately or that
they may know nothing about,” he
said.
Zach Hendrix, another cofounder, took classes at a local
school where he learned to design
the new company’s software.
Now chief technology officer of
GreenPal, he continues to refine its
software to make it as “push button
simple” as possible for vendors
and homeowners.
Also involved in software
development is the fourth cofounder Chief Operating Officer
Ross Brooks, a University of
Alabama business school graduate
with a background in operations,
software development and data
analysis.
“Most of the small lawn
services out there do great work.
Their problem is connecting with
homeowners who need them,”
Caballero said.
He described GreenPal as
“Uber for lawn mowing,” comparing

his company with one started in
2009 that allows users to hail a car
using a cell phone app, then pay
the fare on their phones. GreenPal,
now in 15 markets, recently
expanded to the Decatur area.
“After we expanded to Atlanta,
we discovered there are a number
of communities around Atlanta
where demand for our services
was high enough to carve out a
separate market. Decatur was one
of them,” according to Caballero.
Entering a market such as
Decatur involves researching
available service providers,
Caballero explained. “To be
sure every homeowner finds
the right lawn care professional,
we personally interview every
vendor, make sure the vendor
has commercial grade equipment
and get a list of references.
Homeowners can see a portfolio
of past lawns mowed and ratings
from other GreenPal users.”
Caballero said as far as he
knows there is no other service
like it in the country. “There are
companies that refer homeowners
for a range of services, but I
don’t know of another one that
specializes in lawn service or that
works with the homeowner every
step of the way. Through us, the
homeowner can schedule the
service, pay the bill and resolve
any issues with the service.

“The vendors who work
with us want to be sure the
homeowner is pleased because
they are depending on us for future
referrals. Most of them have been
able to grow their businesses
quickly after affiliating with us;
some have been able to double
their staff. We’ve had people tell us
thanks to an increased customer
base they were able to pay off their
mortgage or take a vacation. Plus,
we take care of such details as
marketing and payments, leaving
the service provider to do what
he does best—make people’s
yards look great,” said Caballero,
who explained GreenPal takes
a 5 percent commission on each
referral.
“This is a great business to
be in,” he commented, “because
we help small business owners
and we make life easier for
homeowners.”
He said customer satisfaction
is key to GreenPal’s success,
recalling that he once personally
mowed a customer’s lawn after
a service provider was unable to
keep the appointment because his
truck broke down.
Caballero said GreenPal’s goal
is to operate in nearly every state
within the next three to five years.
“We want to be the go-to lawn
referral service that powers the
industry.”

claSSIFIeD

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 17A

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 18A

Steve Bradshaw said his military and business experience make him the best
candidate available for the District 4 Commissioner position during a runoff debate
against Sharon Barnes-Sutton June 30 at New Bethel AME Church.

Incumbent commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton discusses why she is the best
candidate in a DeKalb County Commissioner District 4 runoff debate June 30. Photos by Horace Holloman

Sutton, Bradshaw clash in debate
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

Ethics, government
transparency and crime
were a few of the hot-button
issues during a District 4
runoff debate June 30 at
New Bethel AME Church in
Lithonia.
At 7 p.m. more than 50
DeKalb County residents
were in attendance to hear
a debate between District
4 incumbent Sharon
Barnes-Sutton and Steve
Bradshaw.
Hosted by the Lamda
Epsilon Omega chapter
of Alpha Kappa Alpha,
Bradshaw and Sutton
responded to questions
from moderator Steen Miles
as well as anonymous
questions from the audience.
Bradshaw said the
lack of transparency within
county government was
a cause for concern and
could be partially fixed with
a commissioner change.
Sutton leaned on her years
of experience to appeal
to potential voters, stating
she’s “worked hard to do
what’s right for the people.”
After missing a few
public forums, Sutton has
become more active in the
weeks leading up to the
July 26 runoff election. The
incumbent held a community
meeting June 28 at Victory
Church in Stone Mountain
to address concerns of
violence in the area.
For some in the
audience at New Bethel
AME Church, it was the first
time hearing Sutton speak in
a public setting.
Ryan Brown, a two-year
DeKalb County resident
who moved from Atlanta,
said he was impressed with
Bradshaw during the debate.
“This is the first time I’ve

seen Sharron Barnes-Sutton
show up to a discussion
about the commissioners’
race,” Brown said. “I wanted
to hear her speak, but I think
at the end Bradshaw talked
more about the issues and
how to fix them. Sutton
didn’t. At the end she kind of
went on a personal attack.”
In the candidate’s
closing statements, Sutton
said Bradshaw should run
a campaign “based on the
issues and not on personal
attacks.”
“That’s funny coming
from you,” Bradshaw
quipped as the audience
applauded. “I don’t know if
any of you have seen that
horrible mailer that she sent
out, but that stands on its

own. People would think
I murdered Jesus Christ
himself. That’s how I was
painted. Things on (the
mailer) were so false.”
The mailer displays
Bradshaw with his wife,
who is White, and alleges
he is supported by hate
groups, does not support
the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP) and
does not support business
development in south or
central DeKalb.
Bradshaw said
corruption is slowing down
the progress of economic
development stating, “no
business wants to move
here if it’s corrupt. We have
to clean it up.”

Sutton admitted there
was an issue with corruption,
but said those responsible
have been dealt with.
“In DeKalb County there
has been some corruption.
People have gone to jail
and been punished for their
wrong doing,” Sutton said.
“We’ve been investigated
and subjected to audits.
There are always allegations
but then (the allegations)
go away because there’s
nothing there,” Sutton said.
“Of course, we still have
work to do.”
Brenda Wilson, a
DeKalb County resident of
32 years, said she enjoyed
the debate but would have
liked the candidates to be
more specific with their

answers.
Wilson said she wasn’t
pleased with the personal
comments both candidates
made about one another.
“I don’t like when people
tear each other down. They
talked a lot about integrity
and I’m 100 percent with
that, but they need to talk
about the issues like the
crime in DeKalb County and
how to bring businesses
back,” Wilson said.
Advance in-person
voting will be held from July
5 to July 22 at the DeKalb
County Voter Registration
and Elections office, 4380
Memorial Drive. There will
be no Saturday voting and
no voting on July 25.

THE DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DOES HEREBY ANNOUNCE THAT THE MILLAGE RATE WILL BE SET AT A MEETING
TO BE HELD AT THE MANUEL J. MALOOF CENTER AUDITORIUM, 1300 COMMERCE DRIVE, DECATUR, GEORGIA 30030 ON JULY 12, 2016
AT 10:00 A.M. AND ALL CONCERNED CITIZENS ARE INVITED TO THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR COMMENT ON THE MILLAGE RATE ON
JULY 12, 2016 AT 10:00 A.M. AT THE MANUEL J. MALOOF CENTER AUDITORIUM, 1300 COMMERCE DRIVE, DECATUR, GEORGIA 30030,
AND PURSUANT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF O.C.G.A. 48-5-32 DOES HEREBY PUBLISH THE FOLLOWING PRESENTATION OF THE
CURRENT YEAR'S TAX DIGEST AND PROPOSED MILLAGE RATES ALONG WITH THE HISTORY OF THE TAX DIGEST AND LEVY OF THE
PAST FIVE YEARS. IF THE BOARD DEFERS ACTION ON A RATE ON JULY 12, THEN THE RATE WILL BE SET ON JULY 19, 2016 AT
10 A.M. AT THE SAME LOCATION.
CURRENT 2016 TAX DIGEST AND FIVE YEAR HISTORY OF LEVY
2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

21,399,133,588

19,286,135,214

19,237,343,834

20,940,598,158

21,627,393,285

23,575,054,966

Motor Vehicle

1,317,170,660

1,362,176,640

1,468,928,740

1,231,387,800

851,329,130

621,157,010

Mobile Homes

510,171

440,056

396,572

355,333

358,733

769,100

Real & Personal

Timber - 100%
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 (%)

0

0

0

0

0

0

82,712

77,829

34,308

57,864

2,208

76,000

22,716,897,131

21,017,441,547

21,086,933,073

22,545,529,410

22,479,083,356

24,197,057,076

1,919,082,084

2,090,546,483

2,061,365,888

2,345,016,850

2,883,683,825

3,246,932,064

20,797,815,047

18,926,895,064

19,025,567,185

20,200,512,560

19,595,399,531

20,950,125,012

10.31

11.37

11.51

9.02

11.28

10.50

214,425,473

215,198,797

218,984,278

182,208,623

221,036,107

219,976,313

1,828,362

773,324

3,785,481

(36,775,655)

38,827,483

0.86%

0.36%

1.76%

-16.79%

21.31%

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

(1,059,794)
-0.48%

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 19A

Superintendent Stephen Green recommended changes
to the budget including more positions for school
nurses.

Michael J. Bell is DeKalb County School District’s
Stan Jester was the sole opposing vote for DCSD’s
financial officer and was in charge of outlining the
annual budget that passed 6-1.
district’s 2017 budget, which is approximately $1 billion.

Raises, bonuses on deck for DeKalb County schools
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

S

taff, substitutes, nurses
and new hires may be
the primary beneficiaries
in DeKalb County School
District’s (DCSD) approved 2017
budget.
Full-time employees and
substitutes are set to see increases
in pay at the beginning of the new
school year. New positions also will
be available at for nurses at middle
and high schools. Funds were set
aside for retention and sign-on
bonuses as a way to attract and
retain staff within the district.
In all, the increases will cost
the district $26 million in an
approximate $1 billion budget.
The budget, approved to
operate July 2016 through June
2017, will provide all full time
employees in the district a 3
percent raise. This includes not
only teachers, but full time janitorial
staff, bus drivers and administrative

staff at the central office.
In addition to raises, DCSD
eliminated furlough days, or unpaid
forced time off. Non-certified district
employees were previously given
furlough days as a way to save the
district money.
At the start of the 2016-2017
school year, a nurse will be present
in every DCSD school. Until this
year, nurses were in DeKalb
elementary schools but absent
from middle and high schools.
Attracting and paying the nurses
will cost DCSD approximately $2
million.
“This has been a glaring
deficiency,” said board member
Marshall Orson.
The budget was modified to
give employees a $500 retention
bonus and new teachers a signing
bonus ranging from $1,000 to
$3,000 depending on experience.
The bonuses are in place to help
combat DCSD’s teacher vacancies,
which number more than 350.
The budget was also modified

PUBLIC NOTICE
MAGNET RECOGNITION PROGRAM® —
SITE VISIT
•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.
Address: AMERICAN NURSES CREDENTIALING
CENTER (ANCC)
MAGNET RECOGNITION PROGRAM OFFICE
8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3492
E-Mail: magnet@ana.org
Phone: 866-588-3301 (toll free)
All comments received by phone must be followed up
in writing to the Magnet Program Office.

to allocate more funds for substitute
teachers. The increase will see
short-term substitutes paid $95 per
day and long-term subs (working 20
days or more) paid $115 per day.
The increase will cost the district
$800,000.
This is an increase from the $85
and $95 paid for short and longterm subs, respectively. The rates
are higher than the metro Atlanta
averages of $94 and $113.
“[We’ve been] beneath midmarket point [for substitute pay],”
said Superintendent Stephen
Green. “We’re recommending
adding the resources to the budget
that will allow us to move our longand short-term substitutes above
the mid-market area in this metro
area, which will make us more
competitive.”
Board member Joyce Morley
said the bottom line of the budget is
children.
“All children learn differently,”
Morley said. “We want to make sure
there is a budget for the arts, for

science and for mental health, which
is a grave concern. We want to
make sure counselors are paid what
they should be paid.”
Leo McAuley Brown, chief
human capital management officer,
said the 3 percent raise will put
mental health professionals above
average salaries in the region.
In addition, $44 million was set
aside for a new Student Support
and Intervention Division designed
to alleviate behavioral problems
stemming from students’ homes.
The division will provide counseling,
social work, psychological services
and community resources to families
in need.
Board member Stan Jester
was the only board member not in
agreement with the new budget.
Jester asserts the budget should
focus “more on the classroom and
less on the bureaucracy.”
“I support increasing teacher pay
but I oppose the expansion of, and
the raises given to, central office
staff,” Jester said.

PET OF THE WEEK
Meet Sissy (ID# 31394746)
31394746), a pretty, gray
and white cuddle bug who wants nothing more
than a family to call her own. This loaf-shaped
girl is one year old and one of a kind. She
love playing with toys, hopping around,
and getting belly rubs. Sissy gets along
well with other dogs, so she’d make a
great sibling for any other fur babies
in your home. She also qualifies for our
“Celebrate their Independence” special, so
her adoption fee, including spay, vaccines
and microchip are only $17.76! Come
meet Sissy today
The “Celebrate their Independence”
promotion is for the month of July.
Adoption fee is $17.76 for dogs over 25 lbs.
and for all cats! Adoption includes spay/neuter,
vaccinations, microchip and more! If you would
like more information about Sissy please email
adoption@dekalbanimalservices.com or call (404)
294-2165. All potential adopters will be screened
to ensure Sissy goes to a good home.

SPoRTS

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, July 8, 2016 • Page 20A

Redan alum nets college athletics job
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

Redan High School
alum Amani Franklin was
named director of basketball
operations for Winthrop
University women’s
basketball program in Rock
Hill, S.C.
Franklin, a 2006
Redan graduate, said in a
news release that she is
humbled and thankful for
the opportunity to be a part
of head coach Kevin Cook’s
staff.
“He is a proven winner,
not only at Winthrop but in
the WNBA as well,” Franklin
said. “I look forward to
serving our student-athletes
as we all work towards our
goals for next season.”
Franklin was named
first-team All-State Class
AAAAA as a point guard
during her tenure at
Redan. In her senior year,
she averaged 12.7 points
per game and finished
seventh in the county in
three-point shooting with

Redan alum Amani Franklin was
named director of basketball
operations for Winthrop
University women’s basketball
program.

a 37.0 percentage. She
had two playoff elite eight
appearances (2003 and
2004), a state runner-up
finish (2005) and a final four
appearance (2006).
Franklin played at the
University of Kentucky
for four years, where her
team reached the 2010
NCAA Tournament Elite 8.

She received a bachelor’s
degree from Kentucky in
agricultural economics with
a minor in business.
After college, Franklin
played professional
basketball in Germany
and Finland from 2011
to 2013 until she joined
the Kentucky women’s
basketball staff in 2014.
She has been pursuing
a master’s degree in
sports management from
Morehead State University
while serving as a staff
support associate for
the Kentucky women’s
program where her
duties have included
management of the day-today operations, overseeing
the women’s basketball
booster organization, travel
arrangements and special
events.
Cook said he is happy
to have Franklin on his staff.
“Amani is a grinder
and I like that she is a
perfectionist who will add
a lot to our program,” Cook
said in the release.

St. Pius X alum qualifies for
U.S. Olympic swim team
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A familiar face from the DeKalb
County swimming community will be
on the United States Olympic swim
team.
St. Pius X alum Gunnar Bentz
clinched a spot on the Olympic swim
team on June 27 in Omaha. Bentz,
a 2014 St. Pius grad, finished fifth in
the 200-meter freestyle with a time
St. Pius X alum Gunof 1:47.33, which clinched him a spot nar Bentz clinched
on the 4x200-meter freestyle relay
a spot on the U.S.
Olympic swim team
team and means he could compete
in the Summer Olympic Games in
August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Bentz, a member of the University of Georgia swim
team, competed in five events at the Olympic Trials—200meter freestyle, 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter
individual medley, 200-meter butterfly and the 100-meter
butterfly.
While in high school, Bentz also swam for the Dynamo
Swim Club in Chamblee. He was named to the 2014-15
U.S. National Team in the 400-meter individual medley
based on his performance at the Phillips 66 National
Championships.
Bentz was a Georgia state champion, national champion
and record holder, and a two-time Junior National High Point
winner. He placed first in the 200 freestyle, 200 breaststroke
and 400 individual medley at the 2013 Long Course Junior
Nationals.