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the DeKalb

FRIDAY, august 5, 2016 • VOL. 19, NO. 17 • 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 •

This 3,764 -square-feet home in Chamblee is a certified zero energy ready
home.

DeKalb has its first zero
energy ready home
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Brody Bryant and his family
wanted to find a way to cut their
utility bills.
The Chamblee family did that
by purchasing it next door to them,
demolishing the home and building
a certified zero energy ready home.
According to the U.S. Department
of Energy (DOE) program, a zero
energy ready home offers “a whole
new level of home performance,
with rigorous requirements that
ensure outstanding levels of
energy savings, comfort, health,
and durability.”
The 3,764 -square-foot home,
located in the Alpine Canyon
community, took nearly 14 months
to build. Since moving into the

contemporary home two months
ago, the Bryants’ utility bills have
gone down by almost 40 percent.
“We wanted something
different—a contemporary modern
style” Bryant said. “We talked to a
couple of different builders but my
wife is an architect and this builder
was able to have the same vision
that she did to build a modern
contemporary home.”
That builder was the Imery
Group. The house in Chamblee
is the fourth of its kind built in
Georgia by Luis Imery and the
Imery Group. Imery, a native of
Venezuela, said he began building
these types of homes after seeing
how homes were built in the United
States when he moved to the
country.
“I noticed that the residential

See Home on Page 5

championnewspaper

championnews

An open house was held at the home July 28 for people interested in a zero
energy ready home. Photos by Carla Parker

DOE zero energy ready homes are at least 40-50 percent more energy efficient
than a typical new home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy program.

championnewsPaper

championnews

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 2

Retired Chamblee officers to keep on-duty firearm
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Police officers in Chamblee will
be able to retain their firearms upon
retirement following a recent city
council ruling.
The decision is based on SB
263, which amends the Georgia
Code Annotated to allow cities and
municipalities to govern their law
enforcement divisions by adopting
policies of their own.
“The governing authority of each
municipality and county in this state
and each board of education which
employs sworn police officers who are
certified by the Georgia Peace Officer
Standards and Training Council may
adopt policies under which such
sworn officers, upon retirement from
employment by such municipality,
county, or board of education or upon
leaving such employment as a result
of a disability arising in the line of
duty, shall be entitled, as part of his or
her compensation, to retain his or her
weapon and badge,” reads the official
wording of the bill.
Chamblee Police Chief Donny
Williams presented the item to city
council on July 19 and received
unanimous approval.

Chamblee police chief Donny Williams poses with residents David Gilley, Erin
Womack and councilman John Mesa. Picture submitted.

According to the agenda item, it
is already customary for fellow police
officers to purchase a replacement
firearm for retirees as a retirement
gift. In addition, officers receive
badges, shoulder patches and name
tags.
The agenda item suggested
retired officers are the best
candidates for retaining and
possessing weapons as they rejoin
the public.
“Qualified and retired police

officers are permitted to carry
firearms nationwide under the Law
Enforcement Officers Safety Act
(LEOSA),” reads the agenda item.
“They must possess a retired police
ID, Georgia POST ID, and continue
to demonstrate firearms proficiency
yearly. In today’s world, having
veteran retired police officers who
may be armed is just another first line
of defense in any imminent threat
situations.”
Williams said council members

questioned how often retired officers
would be tested in Chamblee.
“That’s a high-liability area, so
they’ll go by the same standard as
post, which is yearly,” Williams said.
Williams said he heard about the
bill from a Hall County newspaper,
where Gainesville police officers recently adopted the practice of keeping
their on-duty firearm. He said he had
been considering the possibility of a
similar policy in Chamblee when tragedy struck Minnesota, Louisiana and
Texas in early July.
“It seems, timing wise, maybe this
wasn’t the right time, but then I got
to thinking, maybe this is the perfect
time,” Williams said. “This is another
way to show our appreciation for their
service. It’s a practice that’s popular
up north and in Marietta.”
Williams said allowing officers to
keep the weapons they are used to
rather than a new gun would increase
their effectiveness and remind them
of their time serving Chamblee.
“We have a core group of guys
that are nearing retirement,” Williams
said. “This is something the governor
thought was worthy enough to sign
and we think it’s worthy enough to do.
It helps the department tell them ‘job
well done.’”

West Nile virus reported in Brookhaven
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A mosquito collection
from a DeKalb County Board
of Health sampling station in
Brookhaven tested positive
for West Nile virus, the city
announced in an email July
22.
The sampling station is
located in the Ashford Park
area.
The email said the
DeKalb County Board of
Health is working to prevent
transmission of West Nile
virus or any additional mosquito-borne virus, including
chikungunya or Zika. Program technicians will be in
the area providing additional
mosquito control services,
including applying larvicide
and investigating for mosquito breeding sites, according to the city. The larvicide
product, metheprene, will
keep mosquito larvae from
developing into flying biting
insects.
Along with the larvicide treatment, the city is
encouraging residents to
eliminate containers and
other removable breeding
sites that may hold water
for five or more days. Some
items such as bird baths

should be dumped, scrubbed
and rinsed twice a week,
but need continual attention. Gutters should also
be cleaned and checked to
make sure they drain properly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), most
people who become infected
with West Nile virus do not
develop symptoms. About
one person in five who is
infected will develop a fever
with other symptoms such as
headache, body aches, joint
pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or
rash. Most people with this
type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but
fatigue and weakness can
last for weeks or months, according to the CDC.
Less than 1 percent of
people who are infected will
develop a serious neurologic
illness such as encephalitis
or meningitis—inflammation
of the brain or surrounding
tissues, according to the
CDC.
The symptoms of
neurologic illness can include
headache, high fever, neck
stiffness, disorientation,
coma, tremors, seizures or
paralysis. Serious illness
can occur in people of

any age, however, people
older than 60 years of
age are at the greatest
risk for severe disease,
according to the CDC.

People with certain medical
conditions, such as cancer,
diabetes, hypertension,
kidney disease, and people
who have received organ

transplants, are also at
greater risk for serious
illness.

See West Nile on Page 4A

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local

AroundDekalb

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 3

Avondale Estates

decatur

Friends of Avondale Elementary School is sponsoring a school supply
drive for Avondale Elementary School through Labor Day. Items can be
dropped off at the following locations:
-City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday
through Friday
-The home of Patti Ghezzi, 3140 Wynn Drive (under the carport)
-The home of Connie Bryans, 88 Lakeshore Drive
The following items are needed: copy paper, pencils, composition
notebooks, file folders, pocket folders, three-ring pocket folders, hand
sanitizer and tissues. For more information, email Patti Ghezzi at
pattighezzi@hotmail.com.

The Annie W. Thomas Foundation and the youth committee of
Gresham Park Christian Church are sponsoring a back-to-school
community event Saturday, Aug. 6, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the church. The
event will include free school supplies—while they last—health and
wellness checks, face painting, free food, a kids fun zone and other
activities. Local police officers and firefighters will be on hand with safety
information. Volunteers and donations are welcomed. All donations are
tax deductible.
Gresham Park Christian Church is located at 2819 Flat Shoals Road,
Decatur. For more information, call (404) 241-4511 or email awtf@ymail.
com.

BROOKHAVEN

lithonia

Group hosting school supply drive

Chamber of Commerce to introduce new city manager
Christian Sigman, Brookhaven city manager, will be the Brookhaven
Chamber of Commerce’s guest speaker at a networking/breakfast event on
Aug. 11 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. There will be time for networking and time for
Q&A’s with Sigman following his presentation. The Hyatt Perimeter is located
at 4000 Summit Blvd NE. To register, visit www.brookhavencommerce.org.

chamblee

Residents upset over proposed hotel
Residents in Chamblee voiced opposition to a new hotel at the city
council meeting on July 19.
Mohammad Hossain requested variances to a possible property he
owns at 4401 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. The 0.94-acre site currently holds
an Exxon gas station and convenience store.
The city deferred the proposed hotel, which is to offer residents and
visitors 150 rooms, a restaurant, rooftop bar, a 2,700 square feet of meeting
space, an indoor pool, a fitness center, a business center, laundry area and
vending machines.
“This property is located in an area that would be the perfect gateway
into the city,” Hossain said. “This hotel will primarily cater to the business
community.”
Resident opposition is rooted in the building being taller than current
ordinances allow by 22 feet. The proposed hotel also would not have the
minimum amount of parking required.
“I assure you this group is not going to ignore this situation,” said resident
Bill Dillon. “We will fight this and we will sue you and we will do whatever we
have to do to prevent this from happening. We elected you and our mayor (in
absentia), to protect us from this sort of development.”
The matter will be discussed further at Chamblee’s architectural review
board and possibly considered again at Chamblee City Council’s August
meeting.

clarkston

Trees planted on Church Street
Clarkston took steps to beautify its downtown corridor by planting trees
and shrubs along Church Street on July 16.
“Trees planted on city’s right-of-way will provide shade, enhance walking
conditions for pedestrians and enhance aesthetic beauty and value to the
community,” said Mayor Ted Terry. “Clarkston’s residents value and take
great pride in the tree canopy that exists throughout the community.”
The project is part of the DeKalb Reforestation program, which aids
county municipalities in identifying ideal tree installation areas, coordinating
activities of professional landscapers, funding additional trees and shrubs,
and enhancing the roadside appearance.
According to Keith Barker, city manager in Clarkston, the trees planted
are white Crape Myrtles. The goal of the project is to produce a “vibrant and
eye-catching three-quarter of a mile tree-lined corridor,” that will “significantly
enhance the driving experience when entering Clarkston from the east.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 29 to celebrate the
completion of the project.

Back-to-school event to be at church

Clerk of Superior Court to host Community
Appreciation Day
DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry will host the
fourth annual Community Appreciation Day on Aug. 13 from 5 until 9
p.m. at Browns Mill Aquatic Facility at 4929 Browns Mill Road in Lithonia.
The event will include complimentary entry into the facility, a
complimentary food ticket and music. The family-oriented event is
designed to thank citizens for their ongoing support.
For additional information on Community Appreciation Day at Browns
Mill Aquatic Facility, call (404) 371-2251.

Big Miller Grove hosts homecoming
Big Miller Grove Missionary Baptist Church will host a homecoming
ceremony Aug. 14 through 16.
At 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, Bishop Roy Copeland will kick
off the homecoming with a guest lecture. Copeland hails from Jubilee
Christian Fellowship in Tuskegee, Ala. Food will be provided following
the service in the church’s dining hall.
The Sunday services will lead into a two-night revival. Church
officials say all are welcome and that food will be provided following each
service.
Big Miller Grove Missionary Baptist Church is located at 3800
Big Miller Grove Way in Lithonia. For more information, visit www.
bigmillergrove.org or call (770) 981-3800.

scottdale

Discussion on women’s issues planned
Radio host Merlyin Davis of Love860, in collaboration with chief
deputy Eric Dunaway, Angela Williams, Angeletha Maaja and Clara
King will hold an open panel discussion on such topics as domestic
violence law, power, control, fears, awareness, support and women’s
resources. The event will be held Aug. 13, 3-5:30 p.m. at Resurrected
Life Church,599 Hempstead Street, Scottdale. For additional information
call (844) 589 – 0787 or visit www.eventbrite.com/e/the-issues-ofwomen-summit-tickets-26474939256

stone mountain

Stone Mountain Day in Historic Shermantown
Stone Mountain Day in Historic Shermantown will take place
Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.
stonemountaincity.org.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 4

Rapper Mike Render, also known as Killa Mike, talks to a group of young adults during a
Project Pinnacle work session in the DeKalb County courthouse. Photos by Horace Holloman

DeKalb County judge tries to help non-violent offenders
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
Young adults participating in
an intervention program in DeKalb
County received a strong message
July 22 in court.
The overall message from guest
speakers was “being alive is better
than being right.”
More than 10 attendees ranging
from ages 15 to 27 listened to
four guest speakers at DeKalb
County Superior Court Judge Asha
Jackson’s Project Pinnacle.
During the program, guest
speakers covered topics such as
how slavery has affected the Black
community today, how to deal with
encountering police and choosing
friends wisely.
Jackson said she started
Project Pinnacle as a way to help
young adults and adults with nonviolent offenses get criminal records
expunged.
“My thought process was
instead of incarcerating those
individuals who have no criminal
history that the better solution
would be to bring in members of
the civic and corporate community
as well as concerned citizens to
share their talents and skills with
this group so that they will hopefully
see a different path in life,” Jackson
said. “It’s worked well.”
The year-long program begins
in December and participants
meet once a month. On July 22,
Project Pinnacle featured DeKalb
County District Attorney Robert
James, historian Anthony Knight,
Morehouse professor and debate

west nile

Continued From Page 2A
Recovery from a severe
disease may take several
weeks or months, according
to the CDC. Some of the

‘I never gave
myself an
excuse to fail. I
didn’t care what
anyone thought.
I was going to
succeed.’
– Mike “Killa Mike” Render

coach Kenneth Newby, attorney
Chris Stewart and rapper and
social activist Mike “Killa Mike”
Render.

neurologic effects may be
permanent. About 10 percent
of people who develop
neurologic infection due to
West Nile virus die.
The most effective
way to avoid West Nile
virus disease is to prevent

“Every single month I’m so
overwhelmed with the [number] of
people that want to come and share
with these young adults. We cover
career development, technical
education and the criminal justice
system,” Jackson said.
Render, who is childhood
friends with Jackson, told Project
Pinnacle participants how his
mother was arrested for attempting
to buy 20 kilos of cocaine when he
was 15 years old.
The Atlanta-based rapper said
he was able to turn his personal
struggles into success by pursuing
his passion of music at an early
age.
“I never gave myself an excuse
to fail. I didn’t care what anyone
thought. I was going to succeed. I
don’t know what charges ya’ll are
here for and I don’t care what you’re
here for. This is the only country in
the world where Black and Brown
people have the opportunities we
have,” Render said.
Stewart, an attorney
representing Alton Sterling—a
man shot and killed by Baton
Rouge police officers— urged
participants to make wise choices
when dealing with the police.
“Being alive is better than being
right,” Stewart said.
Stewart also said as a Black
man he is scared of police officers.
“I have a gun in my car and
I’ll ask the officers to remove me
from the car so that I’m not in the
same area [as the gun],” Stewart
said. “If you hit or touch an officer,
you’re not going to win that battle.
The battle is later, but not in that

mosquito bites using insect
repellents.
Repellents containing
DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and
some oil of lemon eucalyptus
and para-menthane-diol
products provide longerlasting protection, according

moment.”
James touched on issues of
police brutality and shared stories
of cases he’s tried as a district
attorney. James said police and
civilians are often scared of each
other and tried to explain why
certain police tactics are used in
certain situations.
In January of 2008, DeKalb
County officers Ricky Bryant Jr.
and Eric Barker were shot and
killed by William Woodard after
Woodard was searched by the two
officers.
Woodard, a convicted felon,
would have gone back to jail if
officers had found his gun so he
shot the officers after pulling free,
James said.
James told the participants that
they need to start making better life
choices.
“It’s OK to be mad about what’s
going on, but you can never get so
mad that you forget to use [your
brain]. It’s OK to be pissed off by
the way you get treated on the side
of the road. I’ve been treated poorly
(by officers) on the side of the road
but I know how the game works,”
James said. “I’m 44 years old and
I still have friends that sell [drugs].
When I go home, I can’t hang with
them. What happens if the police
pull us over and there’s [drugs] in
the car? If there’s [drugs] in the
back of the car we’re all getting
arrested. Then I can’t feed my kids
or my family.”
Jackson said she hasn’t had
a participant come back into her
courtroom since Project Pinnacle
began.

to the CDC. To improve
safety and effectiveness,
repellents should be used
according to the label
instructions.
Residents should also
wear long sleeves, long
pants and socks when

outdoors when weather
permits. Residents should
wear repellent and protective
clothing from dusk to dawn
or consider avoiding outdoor
activities during these times.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016

local

Page 5

Home Continued From Page 1A
home market was very
destructive in the way of homes
being built,” Imery said. “Looking
at the quality of construction
and all of that, it was good but it
could be better.”
Imery, who has a background
in civil engineering, said he
began doing research and found
a better way to build homes
to make them more efficient,
healthy and durable.
DOE zero energy ready
homes are at least 40-50
percent more energy efficient
than a typical new home,
according to the DOE. Certified

homes are third-party verified
to meet high standards for
indoor air quality, efficient HVAC
design, water conservation,
energy star appliances and
fixtures, as well as other building
science practices.
The addition of a renewable
energy system, such as solar
panels, would allow a zero
energy ready home to offset
all or most of its annual energy
consumption. The Bryants’
home does not yet have such
a system but is designed to
make the addition of a system
simple in the future, as the cost

of residential solar, wind and
geothermal continues to drop.
“[The home] will always
consume energy but it will
produce more energy than what
it consumes,” Imery said. “This
home is pre-wired with conduit
to make that very easy. It’s wired
for a backup generator; it’s wired
for a battery bank and it has
conduits for the solar panels.”
Bryant said he and his family
love their new home and how
it has saved them money.
However, he does miss one
aspect of living in a non-zero
energy home.

“The only thing that I miss
is having an indoor woodburning fireplace, which is very
inefficient,” he said. “We do
have an outside wood-burning
fireplace. Overall, it’s a big thing
for the better.”
Imery is already planning to
build more zero energy ready
homes in DeKalb County.
“I’ve got two homes in the
Candler Park area and I’m in
conversations with potential
clients that live in the Chamblee
area that would like to do a tear
down and a rebuild,” he said.

Expert: Back to school
shouldn’t break the budget
by Kathy Mitchell
The National Retail
Federation (NRF) ranks
back-to-school among
America’s top retail
spending events, second
only to the winter holidays. According to NRF,
the average family with
children in grades K-12
is expected to spend
$673.57 on electronics,
apparel and other school
needs this year. Total
spending nationwide is
expected to reach $27.3
billion.
According to the survey, among those doing
back-to-school shopping,
95 percent will purchase
new apparel, spending
an average of $235.39,
not including the $126.35
expected to be spent on
new shoes. Approximately
96 percent will buy school
supplies, spending an average of $107.76.
With most DeKalb
County schools reopening
Aug. 10, many households may be facing a
major family expense with
back-to-school shopping,
especially where there
are several school-age
youngsters. Tom Singh,
senior residence director

at Merrill Lynch, has some
suggestions.
“In addition to being a
financial advisor, I’m the
father of two,” Singh said.
“I have a 4-year-old son
and an 8-year-old daughter. So this is not just
advice I give clients; it’s
includes principles I apply
in my own family. I have
three basic recommendations,” he said.
Set a budget
“Perhaps the biggest mistake a family
can make with regard to
school shopping is to go
to the stores and start
buying without thinking
about what the family can
afford to spend. A budget
helps the family set priorities so parents don’t blow
a lot of money on an expensive pair of designer
shoes when some of
that money is needed for
school supplies,” Singh
said. “Some items are
‘must-haves’ and others
are ‘want to haves.’ The
must-haves should receive priority.”
He recommended that
families set annual budgets that include school
needs. ”If the family

breadwinner is paid twice
a month, setting aside
$28 from each paycheck
instead of coming up with
$674 all at once can be
much easier,” Singh said.
Shop smart
“Before doing any
shopping, parents should
take inventory and see
what their children already have. Perhaps they
don’t need new shoes
or a new book bag right
away and can postpone
those purchases for a few
weeks,” Singh said.
Singh recommends
searching ads and online
information to find the
best prices, especially
on high-ticket items such
as electronics. “Even if
it’s not practical to go to
the place with the lowest price, many stores
will match or even better
a competitor’s price for
shoppers who present the
ad.”
A strategy he recommends for smaller items
such as pens and notebook paper is buying in
bulk. “When you buy 60
pens instead of six pens,
the cost per pen is much
lower. Of course, most

families don’t need 60
pens, but they can go in
with others and split the
cost as well as the merchandise.”
Consumers can save
on clothing purchases by
buying year-round, Singh
said. “Clothing prices are
often highest at the start
of season,” he said. “Buying off-season—coats in
warm weather and light
clothing during the cold
months—can produce
significant savings,” he
said.
Singh noted that no
student needs a complete
new wardrobe the first
day of school. It’s smarter,
he said, to buy a few
items at the start of the
school year and buy others in a few weeks after
prices drop.

Start early
Overspending often is
the result of parents rushing to get everything just
before the start of school.

“When parents spend
weeks instead of days
buying what their children
need for school, they are
less likely to spend too
much for an item just to
because they are tired
or stressed and want to
complete their shopping,”
Singh said. “When the
family shops for school
needs throughout the
year, it provides an opportunity to take advantage
of the best bargains instead of feeling pressured
to do the shopping all in
one or two weekends,” he
added.
While this year’s
tax-free weekend has
passed, Singh suggested
that in future years parents start early enough so
that this and other opportunities for major saving
aren’t missed.
Additionally, Singh reminded parents that many
nonprofits have back-toschool events that include
free school supplies and
other school necessities.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016

opinion

Page 6

Olympics highlight more than sports
Football season is just OK.
I don’t have much interest in
basketball, and I only occasionally
get interested in baseball. Soccer
and hockey mean nothing to me.
Obviously I’m not a major sports
fan.
However, every couple of
years I develop a rabid interest in
athletics—swimming, track and
field, gymnastics and more. Yes, I
become obsessed with the Olympic
Games and the run-up to qualifying
for the Olympic team.
Watching all the Olympic
hopefuls putting their dreams on the
line is both riveting and inspiring.
It reminds me of the untapped
potential that all of us possess, but
so few of us fully cultivate.
What really excites me every
Olympic season are the athletes

Gale Horton Gay
gale@dekalbchamp.com

and their back stories—from
first-timers to veterans, those in
prime physical shape and those
recovering from injuries, from
athletes with messy private lives
to those who have stayed away
from scandal as well as those who
almost made the team or to the
Olympic podium the last time and
are seeking redemption this time
around.
On a recent weekend, one
of the commentators during the

Olympic trials remarked that the
great majority of athletes who
make the U.S. Olympic team won’t
medal and making the team and
participating in the opening and
closing ceremonies will be the high
points of their experience.
To me it all serves as a
reminder of what so many of
us forget and overlook, that we
possess the ability to pursue
our dreams, make exceptional
achievements if we’re willing to put
in the hard work, give 110 percent
and keep getting up when life
knocks us down.
The other aspect that I love is
the patriotic spirit imbued in the
games. Obviously the French are
rooting for the team from France,
Nigerians are in full support of
their country men and women,

likewise for the Canadians, Italians,
Jamaicans and so on. And for
us Americans, who are currently
experiencing such a divisive
society, it’s an opportunity to
unite as one, forgetting about our
differences and cheering for our
fellow Americans—despite race,
religion, political beliefs, occupation
and all the other things that we let
divide us.
I hope that when the Olympic
Games start on Aug. 5 and
conclude on Aug. 31, it will gently
remind us of how much we have in
common with one another.
The competition and
camaraderie of the Olympic Games
always bring me tremendous joy
and a renewed sense of belief in
humanity. And I hope it does the
same for everyone else.

opinion

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016

Page 7

We finished the mission!
“The dragon has been
slayed,” Democratic Party
nominee for DeKalb County
Commission District 4,
businessman and Army
veteran Steve Bradshaw of
Clarkston.
It has been more than 20
years since an incumbent
DeKalb County Commissioner
lost their seat due to being
turned out by the voters. The
U.S. Justice Department,
occasional indictments and other
scandals have caused several to
not seek re-election, or to resign,
but President Bill Clinton was
in the White House the last time
DeKalb voters handled such a
change of their own accord.
Differences of race, income
and educational background
have long divided the county,
drawing a de-facto imaginary
dividing line paralleling
I-20. There are at least a few
early indications that unlike the
asinine and frequently touted
‘wall’ proposed for our southern
border, the invisible line which
divides DeKalb may be on its
way out.
In the District 4 DeKalb
Commission District runoff,
Bradshaw, a former Delta
business executive, adjunct
college professor and Gulf War
Army veteran, ran a high-road,
issues-focused campaign. 
Bradshaw and his diverse
campaign team of volunteers,
staff and endorsing elected
officials, chose to focus on
what Bradshaw could bring
to his home district as well as

‘One Man’s
Opinion’
Bill Crane

bill.csicrane@gmail.com

the county commission, rather
than making the runoff into a
referendum on the incumbent.
I will not take this opportunity
to list the many causes for
pause, which may have given
District 4 voters more than
sufficient reason to say, “You’re
fired” to their two-term incumbent
Commissioner Sharon BarnesSutton. I will only mention that
the B-S campaign set new lows
in race-baiting, fear-mongering
and completely untrue and
unjustified attacks on another
African-American simply offering
himself in public service to his
community. If Barnes-Sutton
had any proof regarding any
of the many outlandish smears
and allegations she offered
in attempt to hold on to her
position, she offered none.
Thankfully, this time, DeKalb
voters did not simply hold their
noses and check the electronic
box next to the name they
already knew. Incumbency and
reelection were not viewed
simply as an obligation by the
electorate. During the general
primary, Bradshaw received
5,255 votes of nearly 11,000
votes cast. Bradshaw led the
field with 48 percent of the vote,
with Barnes-Sutton at 4,715 and
43 percent of the vote.

Bradshaw and his team hit
the ground running the day after
that primary, out-organizing
(at the precinct level) and outfundraising the incumbent.
Robocalls, community leader
endorsements and fact, and
non-attack-based, mailers were
the hallmark of the Bradshaw
turnout effort for the run-off. The
Barnes-Sutton team went
straight for the gutter, apparently
even turning off some of her
supporters.
In the runoff, 5,853 voted for
Bradshaw, an increase of 598
votes (10+ percent increase).
The B-S vote dropped by
more than 50 percent to 1,907
votes. Though turnout was mild
with slightly more than 7 percent
of the district’s 70,000 registered
voters, there is no way to view
a 75/25 vote split as anything
other than an abject rejection of
the incumbent.
Bradshaw’s vocal and visible
supporters included popular
former Sheriff Thomas Brown,
as well as current Solicitor and
District Attorney-elect Sherry
Boston. Both cited Bradshaw’s
planned focus on transparency,
as well as efficient, effective and
responsive government. The
leaders’ cheering mattered; but a
visit to the precincts or advanced
voting also demonstrated that
Bradshaw had worn out a great
deal of shoe leather going door
to door.
A very politically active
neighbor mentioned walking
across his lawn to get the
mail and noting a volunteer

placing a sign topper atop the
Bradshaw sign on his front lawn
advertising the run-off election
date. As he was nearing return
to his home, he realized that
the volunteer doing the duty on
a near 100-degree afternoon
was in fact the candidate...
Steve Bradshaw. I guess when
you’ve been a tank commander
in body armor inside an unair conditioned hot box in the
desserts of Iraq; you are not
going to be much phased by a
hot Georgia summer afternoon.
As a near life-long resident
of DeKalb County, with nearing
20 years in District 4, I am very
much looking forward to our
commission representation
upgrade coming in January of
2017. 
I am also quite glad that
an office as vital as tax
commissioner will remain in
the experienced hands of Irwin
Johnson. 
I congratulate and thank the
voters of DeKalb, as well as
the candidates and incumbents
alike who offered themselves in
service, DeKalb’s best days are
now again yet to come.
We finished the mission! 
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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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 8
CALL FOR AND NOTICE OF CITY OF DECATUR, GEORGIA

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 SPECIAL ELECTION
TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF THE CITY OF DECATUR, WITHIN DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA:

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that on the 8th day of November, 2016, an election will be held in conjunction with the General Election for the
purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Decatur within DeKalb County, and excluding all other voters within the County, the
question of whether the Act be approved for ad valorem taxes under the provisions of the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate Bill 339, Act 382.

The ballots to be used at said election shall have written or printed thereon substantially the following:
Senate Bill 339
( ) YES “Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from the City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for purposes in the amount
of $25,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of the City of Decatur?
( ) NO
All persons desiring to vote for approval of the Act shall vote “Yes,” and all persons desiring to vote for rejection of the Act shall vote “No.” If more
than one-half of the votes cast on such question are for approval of the Act, this Act shall become of full force and effect January 1, 2017. If not
approved this Act shall automatically repeal on the first day of January.
This notice is given pursuant to the approval of Senate Bill 339.


YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that on the 8th day of November, 2016, an election will be held in conjunction with the General Election for the
purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Decatur within DeKalb County, and excluding all other voters within the County, the
question of whether the Act be approved for ad valorem taxes under the provisions of the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate Bill 340, Act No.
383

The ballots to be used at said election shall have written or printed thereon substantially the following:
Senate Bill 340
Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes and from City of
Decatur independent school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes in the amount of $50,000.00 of the assessed value of the
homestead for residents of that city who are 62 years of age or older and whose income does not exceed $25,000.00, and which provides a
homestead exemption from City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes in the amount of $10,000.00 of the assessed value of the
homestead for residents of that city who are 65 years of age or older?
( ) YES
( ) NO
All persons desiring to vote for approval of the Act shall vote “Yes,” and all persons desiring to vote for rejection of the Act shall vote “No.” If more
than one-half of the votes cast on such question are for approval of the Act, this Act shall become of full force and effect January 1, 2017. If not
approved this Act shall automatically repeal on the first day of January.
This notice is given pursuant to the approval of Senate Bill 340.

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that on the 8th day of November, 2016, an election will be held in conjunction with the General Election for the
purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Decatur within DeKalb County, and excluding all other voters within the County, the
question of whether the Act be approved for ad valorem taxes under the provisions of the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate Bill 341, Act 384 .

The ballots to be used at said election shall have written or printed thereon substantially the following:
Senate Bill 341
Shall the Act be approved which repeals an obsolete homestead exemption for residents of the City of Decatur?
( ) YES
( ) NO
All persons desiring to vote for approval of the Act shall vote “Yes,” and all persons desiring to vote for rejection of the Act shall vote “No.” If more
than one-half of the votes cast on such question are for approval of the Act, this Act shall become of full force and effect January 1, 2017. If not
approved this Act shall automatically repeal on the first day of January.
This notice is given pursuant to the approval of Senate Bill 341.


YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that on the 8th day of November, 2016, an election will be held in conjunction with the General Election for the
purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Decatur within DeKalb County, and excluding all other voters within the County, the
question of whether the Act be approved for ad valorem taxes under the provisions of the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate Bill 342, Act No.
385

The ballots to be used at said election shall have written or printed thereon substantially the following:
Senate Bill 342
Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes except for ad
valorem taxes levied to pay interest on and to retire municipal bonded indebtedness in the amount of $15,000.00 of the assessed value of the
homestead for residents of that city who are 62 years of age or older and whose income does not exceed $50,000.00?
( ) YES
( ) NO
All persons desiring to vote for approval of the Act shall vote “Yes,” and all persons desiring to vote for rejection of the Act shall vote “No.” If more
than one-half of the votes cast on such question are for approval of the Act, this Act shall become of full force and effect January 1, 2017. If not
approved this Act shall automatically repeal on the first day of January.
This notice is given pursuant to the approval of Senate Bill 342.


YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that on the 8th day of November, 2016, an election will be held in conjunction with the General Election for the
purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Decatur within DeKalb County, and excluding all other voters within the County, the
question of whether the Act be approved for ad valorem taxes under the provisions of the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate Bill 343, Act No.
386

The ballots to be used at said election shall have written or printed thereon substantially the following:
Senate Bill 343
Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur independent school district ad valorem taxes for educational
purposes for five years in the full amount of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that school district who are 65 years of age or
older?
( ) YES
( ) NO
All persons desiring to vote for approval of the Act shall vote “Yes,” and all persons desiring to vote for rejection of the Act shall vote “No.” If more
than one-half of the votes cast on such question are for approval of the Act, this Act shall become of full force and effect January 1, 2017. If not
approved this Act shall automatically repeal on the first day of January.
This notice is given pursuant to the approval of Senate Bill 343.
This 1st day of August, 2016
The last day to register to be eligible to vote in this special election is October 11, 2016. The special referendum will be held in all the regular
polling precincts and election districts of DeKalb County, Georgia in the City of Decatur. The polls will open at 7:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM.
Those residents qualified to vote at said election shall be determined in all respects in accordance with the election laws of the State of Georgia.
Janet Kindelberger, Elections Superintendent For: City Of Decatur Georgia

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 9

Homeless
but not
hopeless
Sisters seeking
work, refuge in
DeKalb County
by Horace Holloman
horace @dekalbchamp.com

S

isters Cylinthia and
Camille Fitchett
aren’t what some
think of as “typical”
homeless women. The pair
said they aren’t on drugs,
nor are they lazy or suffer
from alcoholism.
But despite efforts to
find work, or a house, the
sisters remain homeless.
After a mid-July rain left
them drenched while
sleeping under the
carport driveway of an
now-abandoned church,
Cylinthia said she and
her sister are “at our wits’
end.”
Cylinthia and
Camille are currently
spending most of their
time at Rhema Christian
Fellowship Church on
Candler Road in Decatur.
The church provided a
safe place, until it was
relocated to Conyers,
Cylinthia said.
Because of safety and
county code enforcement
concerns, Cylinthia said
she fears their time may
be running out on finding a
place to stay or a job.  
“At this point we’re
so tired. Physically and
emotionally we’re just
exhausted. We’re not
settled enough to get out,
get around and do what’s
needed. Any time we’ve
talked to an agency or
church, all we’ve asked is
that they provide us with a
place to stay for 30 days
because it gives you some
rest and you’re able to sit
and think,” Cylinthia said.

During the day, the
sisters take turns watching
after their dog Bailey—a
full-grown Beagle. While
one watches Bailey, the
other goes to the local
library to apply for jobs or
conduct research.
Not only has the
emotional toll become
arduous for the Flitchett
sisters, the physical toll
has become nearly too
much to bear, Cylinthia
said.
“We have slept outside
in the cold, snow, ice,
and now heat. We are
experiencing leg spasms
backaches all from
sleeping outside,” Cylinthia
said. “It is also difficult to
eat properly we are unable
to cook or store food.  So
our meals consist of a lot
sandwiches and packaged
food not very healthy.”  
  Cylinthia and Camille
have been homeless since
2009 after losing their
jobs, bouncing around
from house to house. For
six months the pair lived
in Cylinthia’s 1995 Volvo,
until it died.
Cylinthia, who
graduated from William
Paterson University of New
Jersey with a bachelor’s
degree in psychology,
worked for 20 years as a
human services specialist.
Camille worked for 16
years in customer service.
Despite being unable
to find work, with years of
experience, Camille said
she still finds strength in
God and her big sister.
“What keeps me going
is my faith in God. It can
get me down, but God got
me. It’s been a struggle
and there were times
where I wanted to give up,
but I didn’t,” Camille said.
“People always say don’t
give up, but it’s just hard
sometimes. [Cylinthia]
reads her Bible every day
and whatever she reads I
learn from her. She keeps
me going.”

Cylinthia and Camille Fitchett stand side by side under the abandoned Rhema Christian Fellowship
Church. The sisters have been homeless since 2009.

Cylinthia and Camille Fitchett, along with their dog Bailey, talk with DeKalb County Southern Christian
Leadership Conference President Nathan Knight.

Camille said one of
the hardest issues with
being homeless is the lack
of transportation. Camille
had a job interview a few
months ago, but didn’t
receive a call back, she

said.
“It’s tough because you
spend money to get on the
bus and get a [bus ticket]
and to travel so far and not
get the job, it’s just really
hard,” Camille said.

The money the sisters
receive in donations is
generally spent on food or
hygiene products, Cylinthia

See Homeless on Page 11A

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 10

Bill Gamble, owner of Strokers Entertainment Club in Clarkston, addressed the city’s public safety committee to discuss how a proposed tobacco ordinance would affect
his business.

Up in smoke

Clarkston business owner voices concerns over tightened tobacco rules
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
An owner of an adult
entertainment strip club voiced
concerns on a smoke-free
Clarkston July 26 during a public
safety committee meeting.
Bill Gamble, owner of Strokers
Entertainment Club, said a proposed ordinance banning smoking
indoors could cause the 25-yearold Clarkston business to fail.
“Having a smoking ban
would be seriously detrimental
to my business,” Gamble said.
“I estimate 75 percent of our
customers and employees use
tobacco products.”
Gamble said other problems
for his business involve customers
being forced outside to smoke
when there is a cover charge, not
allowing anyone younger than 21
to enter and mandatory security
pat-downs. He also said the
overall layout of the building is not
conducive to having an outdoor
patio.
“We’re located in a strip mall,”
Gamble said. “There is constant
traffic in the front. The ordinance
says you have to be 30 feet away.
This is impossible.”
Similarly, Gamble also said
employees would have nowhere
to use tobacco products and be

forced to fully dress before going
outside.
The business owner said
the ban would make it hard to
compete in the adult entertainment
business, as similar clubs close
to Strokers do not have smoking
bans.
“Doing a smoking ban would
greatly increase the discomfort
of our customers,” Gamble
said. “They have other options.
They come from all over the
metropolitan area. They drive past
other options to get to our business
in Clarkston.”
According to a study by
Priceonomics in 2015, the Atlanta
area has 30 strip clubs equating to
6.7 clubs per 100,000 people. The
study lists Atlanta as number five in
the nation in number of strip clubs.
Strokers’ closest competition is Pin
Ups in Decatur, located on East
Ponce de Leon Avenue, less than
five miles away.
Gamble said there was a
strong possibility his business
would have to shut down if the
ordinance were to pass.
The July 26 meeting was called
specifically to hear from owners
such as Gamble. The committee
has the option to change the
ordinance to suit the needs of
various business owners and has
done so with hookah lounges in

Clarkston.
Public safety committee
member Mario Williams said he
feels it would be unfair to pass
an ordinance that negatively
affects businesses in the city.
He referenced New Orleans,
where smoking is prohibited and
expressed interest in viewing
similar statistics when available.
“We’ve met twice about the
tobacco ordinance and it’s taken
a progression,” Williams said. “It
started off with being a general
prohibition of indoor smoking.
It has morphed into including
hookah lounges with a grandfather
clause. There is also a grandfather
clause for the adult entertainment
industry.”
The ordinance prohibits
“vaping” or using an electronic
cigarette indoors and restricts
smoking to 30 feet from a
business’s entrance. Williams
said complications would arise if
a permanent grandfather clause
were implemented for an adult
entertainment industry and not
hookah lounges or smoking
lounges.
Committee member and city
councilman Dean Moore asked
Gamble whether his business may
increase for being a non-smoking
adult entertainment establishment.
“There are health conscious

people that go there,” Gamble
said. “Without hard numbers in
front of me, I can’t imagine that
would be enough of our customer
base.”
Council member Robert
Hogan said the grandfather clause
could give customers and other
residents in Clarkston time to
acclimate to the proposed change.
“No one wants to see
businesses suffer,” Hogan said.
“But when you see the health of
our constituents suffer because of
a business, it becomes something
we want to look at and seriously
consider.”
Gamble said he might
challenge the ordinance’s legality
should it pass. He also said
he would consider basing his
business on clubs that operate
smoke-free.
Williams said Clarkston City
Council will likely vote on the
ordinance at its August meeting.

local

Officer cleared in
shooting named
new police chief
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Sergeant Lynn Thomas,
who was cleared of any
wrongdoing in the shooting
of an unarmed man, has
been named the new chief of
police of Avondale Estates.
Thomas was sworn
into office July 27 during
the board of mayor and
commissioners’ regular
meeting. Thomas is replacing
former chief Gary L. Broden,
who retired in June after 26
years of service.
“It is an honor to
serve the city of Avondale
Estates as chief of police,”
Thomas said in a released
statement. “I appreciate
Sergeant Lynn Thomas
the community support that
has been demonstrated to
me and other members of the Avondale Estates Police
Department.”
Thomas has worked for the Avondale Estates Police
Department since April 2002, after graduating from the
Clayton County Police Academy in 2002. In 2004, he
was promoted to corporal, then to sergeant in 2007.
Thomas was investigated after the 2013 shooting of
Jayvis Benjamin. Benjamin, who was unarmed, stole a
car then attacked an officer after crashing into someone’s
yard, according to reports.
In March, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s
office said after investigating the case the shooting was
justified.
City manager Clai Brown said at the meeting that
Thomas was one of three Avondale Estates officers to
apply for the chief position.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Brown said. “We had
a lot of great applicants. We had three internal, which
made me really proud to see that we have the quality
of police officers here working in the city that actually
qualified and can step into the chief position. I was really
happy to see that. I spoke to the other two, they are in
support of Lynn and I’m excited. I’m really excited to work
with Lynn.”
Commissioner Terry Giager said he has known
Thomas for a long time.
“He has always performed with a lot of loyalty,
friendship, compassion,” Giager said. “He was there for
my family in two deaths and we couldn’t get him to leave.
He waited until everything was calm, everything was
settled and I just commend [him] for the way [he has]
lived [his] life and the character that [he] represent, and I
pray that [he] will continue to do that and teach the other
members of [the] force to live in the same role model that
[he has] represented.”
According to a city press release, Thomas received
the 2007 Meritorious Service Award and Officer of the
Year Award in 2015 from the city.
“It is a privilege to serve this community, agency,
city manager, and board of mayor and commissioners,”
Thomas said in the release. “My goal is to assist with
maintaining the level of professional service the Avondale
Estates Police Department provides, while helping create
new avenues that will continue to build on the reputation
of a strong community-based policing organization
moving into the future.”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 11

Homeless Continued From Page 9A
said. Or dog food for Bailey.
The previous three years spent in
the Candler/McAfee area have not been
easy for the Fitchett sisters. Cylinthia
said she went to at least 18 different
agencies seeking help. Despite the
sisters’ willingness to work, Cylinthia
said she and her sister have been
turned down because they don’t “fit the
mold” for certain agencies that cater
to disabled veterans, women escaping
domestic abuse or women with children.
Cylinthia said she has contacted
the office of District 3 Commissioner
Larry Johnson, but has not received a
response.
Nathan Knight, president of the
DeKalb County chapter of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference
(SCLC), met the Fitchett sisters in
September of 2013.
Knight said he wants to do all he
can to help and hopes to launch the Big
Heart Housing initiative. The initiative
would take donated homes or properties
from community members and the SCLC
would then provide the home to women
in need such as Cylinthia and Camille.
“The purpose of the initiative is to
try to get a house that we can fix up and
make available to families. We felt like
Cylinthia and her sister have shown that
there’s a lot that needs to be done by
churches and civil rights organizations
in the community,” Knight said. “They
need our help. What they need is a
place where they can feel comfortable
and know that they have a place to come
back to that is theirs.”
Knight said SCLC is in search
of companies, lenders, real estate
executives or individuals that would
like to donate a home for the Big Heart

Clothes, personal belongings and other items
collected by the Fitchett sisters sit in a pile by
the old Rhema Christian Fellowship Church on
McCafee Road in Decatur

Housing initiative. Knight said donors will
receive a tax write-off.
“All homeless people aren’t the
stereotypical homeless people,”
Cylinthia said. “We both had jobs and we
lost them. It was just a snowball effect
and one thing happened after another
and we ended up here. I would have
never thought this would happen to us.
Twenty years ago this was not on my
agenda. This is not anything I thought I
would experience and now I have, but it
helps strengthen me.”

Our Decatur Lawrenceville Highway
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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 12

Bradshaw refutes stolen valor claims

Steve Bradshaw. File photo/Carla Parker

by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
It was an intense race
between Sharon Barnes
Sutton and opponent Steve
Bradshaw for the District 4
Commissioner seat. Sutton
withheld no punches during
her campaign, claiming
Bradshaw was supported by
racist groups, was backed by
Republicans and attempted

to hide his wife from the
general public.
However, through each
jab, Bradshaw said he took
the high road. The strategy
seemed to pay off as
Bradshaw defeated Sutton
in a runoff election July 26,
receiving 79 percent of the
vote.
Now, Bradshaw is again
refuting claims lobbed at
him—this time about his

military service.
On July 25, a day before
the election, Sutton accused
Bradshaw of changing his
story about his military
service during a radio
broadcast with veteran and
civil rights activist Amos
King.
King said Bradshaw
tried to embellish his military
background.
“He’s told me that he was
a company commander and
now he goes on to talk about
the best thing is when he is
leading troops into battle or
into war, but he tries to make
it appear to be that he has
great leadership skills,” King
said. “I believe it’s stolen
valor. Mr. Bradshaw has a
play on words. He was a
platoon leader. A platoon
leader is not a company
commander.”
In an interview with The
Champion, Bradshaw said
he has cleared up the issue.

On Bradshaw’s official
Facebook page, he wrote,
“I have repeatedly stated
in various settings that ‘I
was formally trained as a
tank commander’ which
is absolutely true. I am a
graduate of both the Armor
Officer’s Basic Course
and the Armor Officer’s
Advanced Course. And I
have the certificates to prove
it. I have also personally
been assigned to command
tanks. My first assignment in
Germany was as a platoon
leader. In that role I was in
charge of four tanks and
15 soldiers. I personally
commanded one of those
tanks.”
King said he wouldn’t
be satisfied until Bradshaw
released his DD214—a
United States Department
of Defense form issued on
release from the military.
A day before the runoff
election, Bradshaw did just

that.
In an interview with
CBS46 Atlanta, Bradshaw
displayed his DD214 form,
showing that he was a
platoon leader.
When asked about his
motives, King said he was
not affiliated with Sutton and
is looking out for the interest
of veterans.
Bradshaw said he wants
to focus on the November
elections and try to fulfill
promises he made during his
campaign.
“I have so much gratitude
to the people of District 4.
We’re going to try to bring
consistency to DeKalb
County and so we’re working
together,” Bradshaw said.
“There’s an easier way to
resolve our differences. I’ve
got a general election to run
and the first part of business
is to make sure we finish the
job.”

Westgate Plaza comes down, will be rebuilt
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Nearly two years after a fire
damaged Westgate Plaza in Stone
Mountain Village, the plaza was
demolished to be reconstructed.
Construction crews began tearing
down the plaza on July 25. Once the

demolition is complete, a new plaza
will be constructed.
The fire occurred Oct. 24, 2014 at
a restaurant in the plaza. Firefighters
were able to contain the flames to the
restaurant, but several businesses in
the strip shopping center sustained
smoke and water damage.
Firefighters at the scene initially

ruled the fire as arson after finding
a gas can, according to witnesses.
DeKalb County Fire Rescue declared
the fire investigation a suspended
case.
Mechel McKinley, executive
director of the Stone Mountain
Downtown Development Authority,
said she is working with the owner of

the plaza and the real estate agent to
bring in tenants.
“We don’t have anyone signed as
of yet,” McKinley said.
Construction for the new
Westgate Plaza is expected to be
completed in February 2017 and the
city will hold a grand opening the
following month.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 13

weekinpictures

The Clarkston Community Center wrapped up Art at the Center July 28, celebrating the summer event with painting, constructing rockets, acting in short movies and more.
Photos courtesy of Clarkston Community Center.

Students line up outside a DeKalb County school to register for classes, which began Aug. 8.
Photo submitted.

The Clarkston Police Department partnered with DeKalb Fire Department
to perform a welfare check on a mentally ill resident who did not open the
door. Officer Konger eventually reached the resident and performed the
welfare check. Picture courtesy of Clarkston Police Department.

23

World Wrestling Entertainment superstars Alicia Fox (left) and Natalya with a fan during an
appearance at Aaron’s on Memorial Drive.

photos brought to you by dctv
DCTV Channel 23
@DCTVChannel23

Get your front row seat to all things DeKalb County
through your EMMY Award-winning station

DeKalb County Gov
Ustream.tv/channle/DCTV-Channel-23
VISIT US AT WWW.DCTVChannel23.tv

E-mail us at DCTV@DeKalbCountyGA.gov

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 

 

 
 
 


 

 



 








 



 
 













 
 
 






 










 



 





 

 



 
 
 
 
 













 
 


 

 
 
 


 
 


















 

 











 
 


 
 




 

 
 

 

 
 


 
 


 









 




 


 
 
 














 
 


 


 




 








 
 
 







 
 






 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 






 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 







 





 

 
 






 
 

 
 






 

 

 

 
 
 
 


























 





 


 
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
 
 

 
 






 

 

 

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 

 
 
 
 

























 

 

 



 

 















 



 

 













 



 

 

 
 
 
 




 
 


 










 


 
 
 


 
 








 








 
 



 
















 
 
 
 
 
 
 







 
 
 
 




 



 





 



 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 

 












 





 

 
 
 





 
 















 



 

 

 
 
 
 


 
 








 



 

 

 
 
 
 


 
 



































 





 


 
 
 



 



























 










 





 







 





 



 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 



 


 







 






 
 

 



 

 


 
 






 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 










 
 
 
 


 



 

 

 
 
 
 


 
 







 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 















 



 

 

 
 
 
 




 
 






 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 







 



 

 

 
 
 
 


 
 








 



 





 
 





 







 



 

 

 
 
 
 


 
 



 










 


 
 
 



 












 



 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 






 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 






 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


























 










 
 
 
 











 


 


 




 

















 





























 






 



 
 


 
 
 
 





 







 





 



 



 
 



 








 

 

 
 
 
 














 

 

 
 



 
 
 




 
 







 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 


 
 


 
 






 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 







 



 




 
 
 












 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


 










 



 
 



 







 





 


 
 
 




 
 







 





 

 

 
 



 








 





 



 
 



 














 





 

 







 







 



 

 

 
 
 
 


 
 



 












 

 




 











 






























 
 






 


 

























 
 



 
 

 









 
 











 



 

















 







 




























 
 


 











 
 


 





 



 




 
 
 




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 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 






 
 

































 
 


 
 



















 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






 

 

 

 


 

 
 

 



 






 
 







 







 







 

















 


 






 
 






 
 
 
 





 







 
 
 
 




 
 
 










 
 
 
 




 
 
 


















 




 





 
 
 
 



 
 
 

 
 
 
 



 
 
 

 
 
 



 
 
 













 

 
 












 



































 







 

























 

 


 












 
 













 
 
 




 



 






















































 
 

 


 

















 















 

 



 






 





 





 



 
 
 



 
 
 



 


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 



 

 




 
 
 









 
 
 


 





 
 




 
 




 
 
 
 



 
 
 



 
 
 
 

 
 
 




 
 











 
 

 












 












 
 




 
 











 
 











 

 




















 

 

 








 




 






 

 


















 




















 
 

 
 























 
 
 









 


 

 
















 
 
 

















 














 








 



































 






 





 





 

 





 

 


 
 




 




















 

 









 

 
 










 

 



 
 
 





















 


















 










 
















 











































 




 












 




 







 



 


 




 


















 





 


 

























 





















 

 






















 

 




























 
 


 

























 


 






 





















local



 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
 
 











 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 







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 

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 
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 
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
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
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 
 


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


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
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





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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 15

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 16

For the love of birds

Local shelter overrun
with birds after raid
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

After the DeKalb County Police Department
(DCPD) found nearly 400 animals at a doctor’s
home in DeKalb County, DeKalb County Animal
Services was burdened with taking care of more
than 300 birds.
DCPD received a tip and subsequently raided
the home of Abhay Trivedi. At the home, officers
found eight dogs along with hundreds of birds.
Due to the pending investigation, the birds are
the responsibility of the DeKalb Animal Shelter.
Caring for hundreds of birds on a daily basis is
nothing to squawk at, according to Lifeline Animal
Project.
“It takes a lot of extra time. We’ve had to
coordinate donations because there’s several
hundred birds in our care,” said LifeLine Animal
Project spokesperson Karen Hirsch.
Since 2013, Lifeline Animal Project manages
the Fulton County Animal Services and DeKalb
County Animal Services shelters.
Hirsch said the influx of birds is the most she’s

Wass, CEO of Ziggy’s Haven—a Florida-based
bird sanctuary—has 18 years of experience in bird
rescue, rehabilitation and seizures.
Under Wass’ supervision, volunteer crews of at
least five people per day work eight-10 hour shifts
seven days a week.
“We wash 600 bowls every day, and sometimes
twice a day, which can be a full-time job in
itself.  We have an amazing group of dedicated
volunteers,” Wass said.
The shelter also needs donations and materials,
Wass said.
Among the needs for the shelter are cages,
cockatiel food, lorikeet pellets, a refrigerator and a
portable dishwasher.
The Lifeline Animal Project are responsible for the
Wass said the birds eat up to 152 cups of food
caretaking of more than 300 birds. Lifeline officials have
per day plus weight booster formula.
received several donations throughout the county. Due
to a pending investigation., photos of the birds were
Despite the workload of caring for 304 birds,
prohibited.
Wass said the experience of gaining the birds’ trust
is the most rewarding.
seen since Lifeline began managing DeKalb’s
Wass said when the birds first came into the
animal shelter.
shelter they were all scared of people because
“Our volunteers have been taking care of them
of what they had been through, but now they are
and putting in many hours of work. We’ve recruited
coming out of their shells, putting their heads down
volunteers who have expertise in birds,” Hirsch said. for scratches, and becoming communicative.
During the first few days of caring for the
“The transformation has been phenomenal,”
shelter’s feathered friends, Hirsch said volunteers
Wass said. “Last night as [I] was walking out, one of
had to use “makeshift” bird cages such as crates.
the birds said ‘Are you coming back?’ And [I] said,
The shelter also brought in bird expert Wendy
‘Of course I’m coming back.’ And then a bunch of
Wass for additional help.
the birds began saying goodnight.”

Show me the money: Avondale Estates stipend ordinance approved
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
After months of
discussion and debate, the
Avondale Estates Board of
Mayor and Commissioners
approved a stipend
ordinance with a 3-2 vote.
Commissioners
Randy Beebe and Terry
Giager voted against the
ordinance. According to
the ordinance, the mayor
would receive $600 per
month—$7,200 annually—
and the commissioners
would receive $400 per
month—$4,800 annually.
The ordinance will go in
effect Jan. 1, 2018.
Many residents argued
that the board should not
vote themselves a raise,
and wanted the ordinance
to go into effect after
every board member’s
term expires. Beebe’s
and Giager’s terms expire
January 2018, while Mayor
Jonathan Elmore and
commissioners Brian
Fisher and Adela Yelton’s
terms expire December
2020.
At first, Beebe did not
have a problem with the
ordinance, but changed his
mind as more discussions
took place.

“I originally didn’t have
a problem with it, and then
I moved that it should be
done after all of us are
gone—we shouldn’t vote
ourselves a raise,” he
said. “But after the three
readings, I’ve leaned more
now toward Commissioner
Giager’s comments in that
we have so many volunteer
organizations and boards.
Very strong and very active
[volunteers] and they’re
not getting paid. And I’m
thinking maybe we don’t
need to get paid.
“I do understand that
we’ve looked at different
situations and different
Notice of
Nondiscriminatory
Policy as to
Students

Still Waters Learning
Center admits students of
any race, color, national
and ethnic origin to all
the rights, privileges,
programs, and activities
generally accorded or
made available to
students at the school.
It does not discriminate
on the basis of race,
color, national and ethnic
origin in administration of
its educational policies,
admission policies,
scholarship and loan
programs, and athletic
and other schooladministered programs.

cities around DeKalb
County that pay but I think
maybe we should dare to be
different,” Beebe added.
Avondale Estates has
one of few city mayor and
council boards that does
not receive monetary
compensation, according
to the Georgia Department
of Community Affairs.
Avondale Estates is the
only city in DeKalb County,
except newly established
Tucker, that does not pay its
mayor or commissioners.
Elmore has said in
previous discussions on
the matter that the stipends
will help cover city work-

related expenses, such as
city calls, and to help pay
for childcare while board
members are at meetings.
“For me it’s time away
from the family, it’s time on
the phone, it’s babysitters,”
Elmore said during a
work session. “It’s just to
help offset that without
submitting detailed expense
reports with calls listed,
which turns into a nightmare
for [city manager] Clai
[Brown] and his [staff]. So
it’s the easy way out, but
it’s the easy way out that
almost every city does.”
Yelton said in a
previous meeting that

the compensation would
help attract a diverse
group of people to run for
commission and mayor.
“We do want to attract
diverse candidates,” she
said. “It’s nice that folks that
are retirees have the time to
be able to contribute, but for
families with young children
there is childcare cost.
That’s something that we
need to consider for folks
that—for whatever reason—
if that small amount
is keeping them from
volunteering or becoming a
candidate for commissioner
we want to attract those
folks too.”

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With the normalization, legalization and commercialization of marijuana occurring across the
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•No responsible adult wants to see a teenager get stoned and try to operate a motor vehicle.
•No caring parent wants her or his child to become addicted to marijuana.
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For information and/or materials to help parents talk with their children, please contact us!

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 17

Clarkston considers ‘banning the box’
Committee
hears public
concerns over
discrimination
against ex-cons
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
The city of Clarkston is
considering taking action to
eliminate discrimination against exconvicts.
Clarkston’s public safety
committee, made up of councilmen
Mario Williams, Dean Moore and
resident Adyra Stembridge, heard
from experts concerning the subject
during a meeting held July 26.
Marilynn Winn, a formerly
incarcerated person now working
as an advocate for the Ban the Box
movement, said she has lost 18
jobs because she is an ex-convict.
In 2011, four years after her last
stint in jail, she began researching
the movement, whose goal is to
remove the question or check box
of possessing a criminal record
from job applications.
“I looked for organizations in the
city of Atlanta that worked on the
issue, but there weren’t any,” Winn
said.
Winn researched different
states’ statistics, comparing the cost
of housing inmates to the lowestpaying city jobs available.
“It costs around $20,000 per
year per inmate to house us,” Winn
said. “The lowest-paying city job is
often around $14,000.”
Winn said it is more cost
effective to give ex-convicts the job
and allow them to pay taxes back
into the city, county and state.
“It allows us to gain work ethic,
prove ourselves and move forward,”
Winn said.
According to Winn, one in 13
adults in Georgia are under some
type of correctional supervision.
This equates to more than 500,000
state residents.
“The percentage surpasses
the federal level, which is one in
31 adults,” Winn said. “That’s a
staggering 2.6 million people. Can
you imagine that many people
being arrested and without a job?”
Winn’s research was eventually
presented before Atlanta officials.
Her testimony led to the passing
of an ordinance banning the
incarceration question from city
employment applications in January

Marilynn Winn addressed Clarkston’s public safety committee regarding ‘banning the box,’ which would eliminate the question
of conviction and incarceration from job applications.

2013. From there, she moved to
Fulton County, Savannah and
beyond.
Recently, Gov. Nathan Deal
signed an executive order banning
questions of a criminal past on state
employment applications. Similar
efforts throughout the country led to
a similar ban at the federal level.
Winn said problems typically
arise when officials claim to lose
contracts over the issue.
“You don’t have two million
contracts, you have two million
people coming out of the system,”

Winn said.
Williams said the issue with
eliminating questions regarding
one’s criminal history is being able
to implement it without it being
a statewide law. Clarkston has
faced similar issues in attempting
to reform marijuana law, making
election day a city-wide holiday
and regulating coin-operated
amusement machines.
“We can always pass an
ordinance to ban the box for a
government entity,” Williams said.
“How do you regulate the private

sector? Clarkston cannot make a
blanket ordinance that covers all of
the private sector because the state
has not done that.”
Williams said research on the
practices of other states led to
a potential ordinance that would
require businesses dealing with
the city to also ban the question on
their applications.
“If you are benefitting from
funds from the city, we may only
want to deal with organizations
or private entities that also ban
the box,” Williams said. “The city
of Atlanta chose not to do that
because they said it may take away
from the bidding pool on contracts.”
Winn suggested tax incentives
for companies hiring formerly
incarcerated people. Winn said
she favored banning the box to the
extent of delaying a background
check until after an interview. Other
provisions include making sure the
job in question relates to a past
crime.
Winn also proposed allowing
people with common names five
days to prove background checks
that produce negative results reflect
information about another.
“We don’t want to pass an
ordinance dealing with the city,
that’s the easy road,” Williams said.
“We want to do something that
deals with people who do business
with the city of Clarkston. We want
them to be willing to incorporate our
vision on what it means to decrease
negative effects on human beings
looking for work.”
Councilman Dean Moore said
Clarkston is doing all it can to
eliminate pathways to poverty.

education

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 18

From being bullied in Dunwoody
to honored in New York
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

C

onsidering his role in
bringing policy change
to more than 100,000
DeKalb County students,
his experience with bullying, his
religious and cultural affiliation,
his portrait being featured in an
upcoming New York art gallery, and
his willingness to stay positive, it’s
safe to say Japjee Singh, 17, is
not your average Dunwoody High
School senior.
Singh follows Sikhism, a religion
founded in the Punjab region of
Asia more than 500 years ago.
Today, Punjab covers parts of
eastern Pakistan and northern
India. Sikhs—someone who
practices Sikhism—have played
major roles in American history
since arriving on the United States
shores in the early 1900s.
While Sikhism’s founding
principles seem to be easy to relate

to—meditation on God (prayer),
earning an honest living (truth), and
sharing with others (kindness)—
Sikhs have faced discrimination due
to the color of their skin and type of
dress, as Singh’s story attests.
“Everyone’s middle school
is crazy,” Singh said. “It’s full of
drama. Things are changing.
People are changing. Everything is
overdramatic. But in eighth grade,
for me, it escalated.”
As a Sikh, Singh wears a
turban. Before that, he tied his hair
into a top bun. According to Singh,
these are signs of both religious
pride and generosity.
“All religions talk about hard
work, selflessness and honesty,”
Singh said. “We just display it
publicly and we’re proud to do it.
The Sikh identity is to dress for
success. You shine your turban and
beard out and we can always tell if
someone does not tie it neatly.”
In October 2012, his eighth
grade year, Singh’s turban caused

him to be the victim of bullying. A
student repeatedly berated him
in front of class. He did not stop
throughout the day. After lunch,
the same student was waiting for
him in front of his next class and
a confrontation was the ultimate
result.
“This particular day, he
happened to come right in front of
me and slap me in the face,” Singh
said. “I’m remembering the ridicule
and then he slapped me. But the
way you react is what fuels the
next minutes. I just stood there.
Little did I know, it made him more
aggressive and was escalating it
further. Before I knew it, a group
surrounded me and I was being
pushed back and forth. Eventually
he got tired of it, snapped, tackled
me into the class, and hit me.”
Singh was immediately knocked
out. His aggressor hit him several
times before getting up and leaving
as if nothing happened.
Singh sustained broken

bones and bruises on his chest,
face and torso. He was forced
to miss approximately 40 days
of school and go through two
surgeries. Before that, however,
he was suspended for being the
aggressor and forced to sit through
questioning.
“My dad’s first thought was,
‘Why haven’t you sent for the
ambulance yet?’” Singh said. “They
did not react to the policy the way
they were supposed to.”
While the aggressor was
suspended for five days, DeKalb’s
student code of conduct suggests
more action should have been
taken. The minimum punishment
for battery, which states “students
will not cause substantial or visible
bodily harm such as substantially
blackened eyes, substantially
swollen lips or other facial or bodily
parts,” calls for a mandatory 10-day
suspension with a contract.

See Singh on Page 19A

education

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 19

Singh Continued From Page 18A
Singh’s family balked at that
point. He said, as immigrants, his
parents were not used to authority
figures telling them they could
face legal action. In the same way,
Singh said Peachtree Middle school
officials seemed to rally behind the
aggressor rather than the victim.
“It still hurts my mom to think
of him sitting in the hallway bloody
while students walk by and tell him
to go back to his country,” said
Aasees Kaur, Singh’s sister. “My
mom heard all of this and it has left
a lasting impact. You’re seeing your
baby on the ground with a bloody
face but also hearing other kids
saying he deserved what he got. It
was all so shocking.”
Upon his return to school,
Singh said he faced more negative
attention. Students told Singh they
had guns and knives and hinted
that he would be harmed with a
weapon. Students also cut his hair
with a pair of scissors longer than
10-inches, which is considered a
weapon.
According to DeKalb’s student
code of conduct, possession of
a weapon—let alone threatening
with a weapon—is grounds for a
“long-term” suspension with a due
process hearing.
Singh’s treatment eventually
caught the eye of the Sikh
Coalition, a human rights advocacy
group for members of the Sikh
faith. Together, they reached the
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
and forced DeKalb County School
District to change its conduct
policies. The government found that
DCSD’s bullying policies were not
up to date.
“Our legal team filed a
complaint with the DOJ, and two
legal settlements were reached in

‘With all this divisive rhetoric
going around, we forget kids see
the news, watch the news and
that it affects them big time.’
– Japjee Singh
2013 and 2014, protecting 100,000
students in the DeKalb County
School District,” stated the Sikh
Coalition.
Singh’s bullying cases are the
first DOJ school settlement on
behalf of a Sikh student. The only
requirement of both settlements
was to implement policies
protecting all students throughout
the day and on school buses.
Singh and his family said the
harassment was there long before
the assault took place. He said
these were the same kids he went
to Kingsley Elementary school with
who, after 9/11, asked him if he was
hiding a bomb on his head. Kaur
said she received similar treatment
for having long hair and brown skin.
“With all this divisive rhetoric
going around, we forget kids see
the news, watch the news and that
it affects them big time,” Singh said.
“It affects everywhere, including
service and police departments

because [someone may wear] a
turban or other headwear. If we bar
people from service because of
their religion, what kind of people
are we?”
“If we’re not teaching
compassion at home or to at least
be respectful, it’s more than a lack
of education,” Kaur said. “There’s
an entitlement there. There’s
something more.”
Singh’s high school years have
been different. He has a diverse
group of friends. He’s worked with
the Anti-Defamation League, Office
of Women’s Rights, Department
of Education and Department of
Justice. He’s involved with multiple
school organizations, including
Peer Leaders which matches older
children with younger children for
mentoring.
Singh said his experiences
have shaped his awareness and
involvement. He has gone on to
speak and advocate for Sikhs and

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other minorities around the country.
This September, he will take part in
the first-ever Sikh portrait gallery in
New York City.
While many Sikhs have faced
discrimination since arriving in
America more than 100 years ago,
more than 500,000 Sikhs live in the
United States and are considered
part of the American fabric. They
have their own history as one of the
main groups of people who built the
U.S. railroads.
“There’s no Sikh family
who won’t tell you stories about
discrimination and backlash,” Singh
said. “But the point of the gallery is
to show you we’re people. We’re
your colleagues, doctors, lawyers,
classmates, police officers. It’s to
show we’re just as American as
everyone else.”
For more information on the
New York gallery featuring Japjee
Singh and others, visit www.
sikhcoalition.org.

Learn the laws
regarding responsible
sales and service
of alcohol that will
keep you and your
establishment legal and
problem-free
Aug. 11: 10am-12pm
or 2pm-4pm
C. E. Steele Community Center
1040 Oakland Ave.
Conyers, GA 30012

Trainer: William Lord, Training Institute for Responsible Vendors, Inc.

business

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 20

East Atlanta tire business keeps rolling along
by Kathy Mitchell
Twyla Styles said
ever since her days taking
business classes at Payne
College in Augusta, she
has dreamed of owning
her own business. “I never
thought it would be a tire
business,” she said. “I
always assumed I would
own a restaurant—maybe a
chicken wing place.”
Her plans took a
different direction after she
had a flat tire and started a
personal relationship with
the man who changed her
tire. Although they are no
longer dating, the two are
partners in a successful tire
business in East Atlanta
where Styles Tires is now in
its fourth year.
“I did not know one thing
about tires,” she said with a
laugh. “I thought automobile
tires were all the same.
I didn’t realize there are
literally thousands of sizes
and types. Fortunately,
he worked at a tire place
and knew all about them.”
Styles said her partner
prefers to remain a silent
partner, keeping business
operations in her name.
“He convinced me it’s a
great business to be in. He
said, ‘There are millions of
cars on the road and they
all use tires. There’s always
somebody needing tires.’
And he was right,” she said.
Styles, who continues
to work at the security
company where she was
employed when she met
her partner, invested her
savings in a business she
knew nothing about and
for more than 18 months
questioned whether she
had done the right thing.
“The business got off to
a slow start. For the first
year and a half we weren’t
making a lot of money. I
wondered whether I had
made the right move,
especially since I had a new
baby at that point.”
She said after people
started hearing about the
shop, business began
snowballing. “It was
awesome. Customers
started telling other people
about us and it blew my
mind how fast we were
growing,” she recalled.
Styles estimates that the
business has quadrupled in
sales since the first year.
Although she has

learned a great deal
about tires since opening
the business, Styles
said her partner and his
brother—the business’s
only other employee—are
the hands-on end of the
operation, handling sales
and installation. “I do the
bookkeeping—all the
paperwork from taxes to bill
paying to keeping licenses
current. And, sometimes I
go get lunch for the fellows,”
she added.
Styles said while
what she learned in the
classroom was helpful
there was a lot more to be
learned actually running a
business. “What you find
in books and what you
find in real life can be very
different,” she said. “Some
things you just learn the
hard way.”
Styles said she keeps
a large inventory of tires on
hand so she’s prepared to
meet the immediate needs
of customers. “We carry
all the popular brands and
sizes. We outfit cars, trucks,
motorcycles, mopeds—
about everything except
18-wheelers. We don’t carry
tires for those. “
She said the location,
south of I-20 on the DeKalb
side of Moreland Avenue,
has worked out well. “The
place used to be a used
car lot. It was near where
my partner was working
and we noticed that it was
available. It turned out to
be a good move since this
area is really thriving. A lot
of nice new houses and
businesses are springing up
around here.”
Noting that the
business is now going
so well that she and her
partner are thinking of
opening a second location,
Styles said she advises
others to persevere if
their businesses aren’t
successful at first. “I tell
people to keep pushing.
You’ll have some rainy
days, but after the rain
there’s going to be
sunshine. The rainbow will
come.”
Styles said in retrospect
she’s pleased she decided
to go into the tire business
instead of opening a
restaurant. “It’s probably
a lot more work; but it has
a definite up side. For one
thing, tires don’t go bad
quickly the way food does.”

Twyla Styles says she long dreamed of owning a business but never thought it would be a tire
business.

Twyla Styles says her son Alvin is a major reason she wants the business to succeed.

AUGUST 2016

News and events of the

DEKALB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave. Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030 • (404) 378-8000 • www.DeKalbChamber.org

DeKalb Chamber to host 12th Annual Golf
Tournament, bring businesses together

T

he DeKalb Chamber of
Commerce returns to the
Druid Hills Golf Club on
Monday, August 29 for our 12th
Annual Golf Tournament. As one
of the largest fundraising events for
the chamber, the golf tournament
provides an opportunity for our
partners and business leaders to
enjoy an exclusive part of DeKalb,
while exploring ways to cultivate
and grow business interests.
At DeKalb Chamber, we
understand the importance of
strong business relationships.
The golf tournament is one of the
most important opportunities for
the chamber to help businesses
build these relationships, and gain
exposure.
Close to 144 women and
men will participate in this golf
tournament. The day will begin with
breakfast in the morning and a shot
gun start at 10 a.m. Golfers will
recommence into foursomes and
compete for hole-in-one, closest to
the pin, longest drive and putting
green contests on 18-holes of golf.
From 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., women

and men will participate in the
women’s golf clinic, sponsored by
GiveSmart and Intown Doula, where
they will learn the fundamentals
of playing golf and address their
individual needs. Register separately
for the Women’s clinic online at bit.
ly/3rdweldgolf.
The 19th Hole Reception and
Ceremony, sponsored by Vonage,
will take place at 4:00 p.m. Players
returning from the green can cool
off, participate in the chamber’s
mobile silent auction, receive
awards, and enjoy a masterful meal.
We invite you to join us in our
efforts to build a stronger DeKalb on
August 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
at the Druid Hills Golf Club, 740
Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. Register
online at bit.ly/12thDeKalbGolf.
Local businesses interested in
sponsoring the golf tournament
may contact Rick Young at ryoung@
dekalbchamber.org or 404-378-8000.
John Kelley
Co-Chair of the Golf Committee
Area Manager at Georgia Power

DeKalb Chamber to use mobile app
for silent auction on August 29
For the first time, DeKalb Chamber will use a mobile app for its
silent auction at the 12th Annual Golf Tournament on August 29.
Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit DeKalb Chamber of
Commerce.
By using the Silent Auction mobile app, participants do not have
to be present to win. The list of silent auction items include airline
tickets from Delta Air Lines, a one-week car rental from Enterprise, gift
certificates from Inland Seafood, special hotel stay packages, and more.
In addition to the silent auction, DeKalb Chamber will raffle a Big
Green Egg. Raffle tickets start at $10 for one. Three raffle tickets are $25
and seven raffle tickets are $50.
Local businesses interested in donating gift certificates or items for
the silent auction may contact Emily Yang at eyang@dekalbchamber.
org. For more information on how to participate in DeKalb Chamber’s
silent auction and/or raffle, please contact our office at 404-378-8000.

DeKalb Chamber Annual Golf Tournament helping businesses build
relationships for a stronger DeKalb.

More than 50 women will gather for the 3rd Annual Women’s Golf Clinic.

Upcoming Events
August 10: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Technology
Symposium, presented by The Atlanta JournalConstitution, 223 Perimeter Center Pkwy NE,
Atlanta. Join us for a presentation led by Jennifer
Dragon, Cox Media Group’s Creative Services
Director, on how your business can leverage new
technologies to help your business/organization
grow.
August 29: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 12th Annual
Golf Tournament, Druid Hills Golf Club, 740 Clifton
Road, Atlanta.

Classified

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 22

The

Champion

Classifieds

The Champion is not responsible for any damages resulting from advertisements. All sales final.
annoucement

DIVORCE SERVICES

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MISCELLANEOUS

NORSOUTH CONSTRUCTS IS NOW
HIRING TEMP LABOR FOR SITE
CLEAN UP: This is a Section 3 covered
position under the HUD Act of 1968 and
Section 3 residents are encouraged to
apply Mills Creek Crossing Apartments
3258 Tobie Circle , Scottdale, GA for
further information or hiring information
please contact Daryl Johnson 912-6658047

SAWMILLS from only $4397.00-MAKE &
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ready to ship! FREE Info/DVD: www.
NorwoodSawmills.com 1-800-578-1363
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Hiring Non Emergency Driver must
complete background and drug test.
Contact Dr. Edmondson. Located at 5721
Miller Grove Road, Lithonia, GA 30058.
(770) 981-7408
Musician Needed: New Jerusalem
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sports

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 23

Tucker Lions get
free football gear
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

The Tucker Lions youth
football programs received
some much-needed help before the start of the season.
The North Atlanta Football League, in partnership
with Born To Compete, donated more than 50 helmets
and shoulder pads to the
Tucker Lions. Alex Benson, co-founder of Born To
Compete—a media website
for youth sports—delivered
the equipment to the Tucker
Lions on July 25.
Benson said he selected
the Lions to be the recipients
of the equipment because of
the program’s history.
“It’s a fantastic program.
They’ve been around for
a very long time,” Benson
said. “When it comes to
donating stuff—whether it’s
money or services—you
want to give it to a program
that is going to do something with it. They’re a private park and at one time
they were probably getting
decent money in. They were
funded by people and had a
lot of money, but it’s been 30
years since that. They need
every little bit of help they
can get and they still—with
their financial shortcomings—produce amazingly
good football players, and
more importantly amazingly
good young men throughout
the community.”
Benson recorded the donation drop-off to the Lions
and one of the coaches said
the equipment was needed.
“We’ve got a lot of kids
who don’t have equipment
and we’re working with
them every day trying to
get equipment for these
kids,” he said. “This is really a big deal for us. It’s a
private park. We try to keep
the rates down for registration but we try to help the
kids as much as we can.
We haven’t been able to do
a lot this year because we
normally get another grant
that we didn’t; so this is right
on time.”
Benson said he receives
calls from various football
organizations that are looking to give away old equipment.
“We’re fortunate enough

when organizations change
out their equipment we get
that first phone call,” he said.
“Once we get that phone call
then we’re able to go ahead
and pick it up, reach out to
certain programs and find
out what they need. Those
programs trust that we can
take care of them.”

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sports

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016 • Page 24

SWD football coach hospitalized after stroke
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Southwest DeKalb High School
football coach Michael Tanks was
hospitalized July 25 after suffering a
stroke at his home.
The school’s athletic liaison Kathy
Walton told The Champion that school
principal Dr. Thomas Glanton gave
the faculty and staff an update Aug. 1
on Tanks’ condition.
“He’s still on a ventilator and they
got limited response from him on one
side of his body but not necessarily
on the other side of the body,” Walton
said. “They’re continuing to monitor
him.”
According to Walton, Tanks was at
home with his son when he suffered
the stroke. His son drove him to a
hospital in Henry County and he was
later taken to Grady Hospital. There
were reports on social media that
Tanks had died, including a tweet from
the football team’s Twitter account,
which announced the death.
Tanks family later announced that
Tanks was still alive but in “critical
condition.”
Walton said the football team is
still practicing and an interim coach
soon will be named.

Southwest DeKalb High School football coach Michael Tanks, center. File photo/Travis Hudgons

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