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the DeKalb

FRIDAY, august 11, 2016 • VOL. 19, NO. 18 • FREE

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


Märchen Sagen: Teaching kids how to create legends
Local nonprofit inspires students with afterschool program focused on creativity
by R. Scott Belzer


or local nonprofit owners
Couleen and Arianna LaGon,
creativity and personal
development seem to go hand in
The LaGons are the owners of
Märchen Sagen Academy, located
in downtown Decatur. While the
academy has been acting as an
afterschool academy since Aug. 1,
Märchen Sagen’s unique offering
of video production has many local
parents interested in enrollment.
“Märchen Sagen Academy is
about human development,” Couleen
LaGon said. “The cornerstone of it is
the magic, art and science of video
production. We want to teach kids the
technical aspect of it and teach them
how to get their ideas out, translated
and where they come from.”
In late 2015, LaGon’s son,
Christian, developed an idea for a

See Home on Page 5

Couleen LaGon recently opened the Märchen Sagen Academy for Visual Storytellors at the historic Houston House in Downtown






DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 2

Jacqueline Adams passes out informational flyers and takes donations from customers
in the drive through at Dunkin Donuts. Photos by Horace Holloman

Darrell Price shares a laugh with his wife Carla Price during the Coffee
for a Cop event to help with Darrell Price’s cancer treatments

Officer battling cancer gets support from community
by Horace Holloman


n April of 2016 DeKalb
County police officer
Darrell Price noticed a
lump on his right thigh
near the groin region. After
tests and various medical
procedures Price was told
he has cancer. The news
was devastating, he said.
But in the months to follow, Price said he’s found

strength in his friends, family and the DeKalb County
On July 29, District
3 Commissioner Larry
Johnson and The Heart
of South DeKalb partnered
with Dunkin Donuts to give
Price’s family a monetary
Dunkin Donuts, located
on Wesley Chapel Road,
donated 5 percent of the
proceeds from any pur-

chase to go toward Price’s
efforts battling cancer.
“I love that my
community is here for
support. I don’t feel
defeated in any way,” Price
said during the Coffee for
a Cop event. “This kind
of news that you get is
devastating. Everyone sort
of looks up to you and you
don’t know how to carry
yourself as a man. It’s hard
to hold your head up, but

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I had to look towards my
family members, and when
I finally held my head up I
loved what I saw. My wife
was here, my kids were
here and my community
was here.”
The Coffee for a Cop
fundraiser lasted from
7:30-10:30 a.m. Price said
he was overwhelmed by
how many people came
out to show their support.
Donations for Price were
also collected at the drive
Price was diagnosed
with Stage II Hodgkin’s
Lymphoma, a cancer that
begins in the white blood
The news came as a
shock to Price, who said
he had no family history of
“I don’t drink, I don’t
smoke. They can’t tell me
where it came from but it
knocked on my door and I
answered,” Price said.  
Price has worked with
the DeKalb County Police
Department (DCPD) for
the past nine years. DCPD
Chief James Conroy said
the department is happy to
lend a helping hand.
Price has been on sick
leave from the DCPD for
about three months, Conroy
“I told him when he’s
ready to come to work he
can come to work. We just
wish them the best and the
community really supports
them. The officers don’t
always see it, but in an
event like this you really see
it and we get to highlight

the real relationship
between the police and the
community,” Conroy said.
Conroy, who was
once diagnosed with skin
cancer, said the Coffee for
a Cop event affected him
personally. Conroy’s father
was recently diagnosed with
cancer as well.
“These officers know
that we support and pray
for them,” said Conroy, who
has been cancer free for 15
years now. “It’s great to see
[Larry Johnson] out here as
well. He has spearheaded
this effort and we appreciate
what he’s doing.”
Johnson stood
outside waving to cars
with a loudspeaker and
megaphone for the event.
Johnson said he was more
than happy to do it.
Price has worked in
Johnson’s district since
Johnson took office as a
county commissioner.
“Officer Price is just
the epitome of community
policing for me. I’ve seen
his sacrifice and the love
he has for his community.
This is just a small token on
how we can give back as
a county. If I have to stand
up for three hours, lose
my voice, get sweaty and
musty, it’s worth it,” Johnson
A Go Fund Me account
is setup for Price titled,
“Darrel (sic) Price fight with
cancer fund.” On July 29,
the account received 34
donations totaling $1,525.
The goal for the page is


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 3



Community Center offers activities to seniors

Police honored for outstanding service

The Clarkston Community Center is set to host its first senior
programs showcase on Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. until noon.
Titled “Seniors on the Go,” the program will offer free programs,
classes, workshops and social events to adults ages 55 and older.
The event will feature information on English classes, cooking, sewing,
art, music, computer skills, banking, handling legal issues and grocery
“About 45 percent of Clarkston’s citizens are refugees,” said Cindy
Bowden, executive director of Clarkston Community Center. “Children
attend school, and many of the adults have jobs, but often older refugees
sit at home. If they don’t speak English or have access to transportation,
they can become isolated and lonely. Our senior showcase will give
seniors and their families a chance to see all of our programs at once
and ask questions about them.”
For more information about Clarkston’s “Seniors on the Go” program,
contact Julie Herron Carson at (404) 285-3434 or jhcarson@bellsouth.

Doraville city officials honored seven
police officers with official proclamations
at the city’s Aug. 1 city council meeting.
Sgt. Charles “Chuck” Hight
and Officer Aniceto Ramirez were
recognized for their response to a
potential suicide on May 7.
According to the proclamation,
both officers were dispatched to a
Pleasantdale Road QuikTrip, where they
found a person with a semi-automatic
weapon pointed at his head threatening
to shoot himself. After talking with
the officers for several minutes, the
individual attempted to shoot himself but
the firearm jammed. While the person
attempted to reload the weapon, the officers were able to subdue the
individual and put him into custody.
“During the operation, both Sergeant Hight and Officer Ramirez
maintained the utmost composure and professionalism while dealing with
this suicidal individual,” reads the proclamation. “There is little doubt that
were it not for this swift action, the individual would have been successful in
his suicide attempt.”
Lieutenant Joseph Hudgins, Corporal Sean Mahar, as well as officers
Giovanni Mojica, Ahmad Sarwar and Nicholas Marinelli were also
honored for their efforts in handling a structure fire on July 9.
According to the proclamation, while working the morning watch, the
officers were dispatched to the fire along Hickory Wood Lane. The officers
evacuated residents, blocked roadways, directed fire personnel and
ensured onlookers were a safe distance from the scene.
“These officers have committed their lives and careers to the protection
of public safety in Doraville and made tremendous sacrifices and are always
ready to respond when called,” reads the proclamation.
“We’re really proud of everything [our officers] do,” said Mayor Donna
Pittman at the meeting.


Library and pub host book talks
Twenty-four prize-winning books connected to Georgia will be
honored Aug. 18 in downtown Decatur.
The 24 works will be part of the 2016 list “Books all Georgians
Should Read” as well as “Books All Young Georgians Should Read,”
which are compiled by the Georgia Center for the Book (GCB) each
year. The Aug. 18 event will be the seventh annual installment.
The 2016 “Books All Georgians Should Read” includes three fiction
books, six non-fiction books and a collection of poetry. The list of authors
includes Atlanta Beltline creator Ryan Gravel, First lady of Georgia
Sandra Deal and Emory University professor Kevin Young.
The 2016 “Books All Young Georgians Should Read” includes three
picture books, three middle school books, three young adult books and
one graphic novel. The list of authors includes Athens-based comic
maker Joey Weiser, Atlanta copywriter Megan Jean Sovern as well as
brother and sister Kabir and Surishtha Segal.
“The ‘Books All Georgians Should Read’ and the ‘Books All Young
Georgians Should Read’ lists are a wonderful way to honor the
extraordinary talent we have right here in Georgia,” said Joe Davich,
executive director of the GCB. “The lists give us the opportunity to inform
readers across our state about the diverse body of work produced by
Georgians, and a platform to celebrate Georgia’s literary heritage.”
A private reception will be held at The Square Pub in downtown
Decatur at 4:30 p.m. while a public ceremony will take place at the
Decatur Library, located at 215 Sycamore Street, at 7:30 p.m.


Library book sale announced
Stonecrest Library will present its “Super Book Sale” on Aug. 13, 1 –
4 p.m.
Books are in all categories such as fiction/non-fiction, crafts books,
text books, romance series, magazines, encyclopedias, books on tape/
CD, DVD and VHS will be available for purchase.
Stonecrest Library is located at 3123 Klondike Rd., in Lithonia. For
additional information call (404) 482-3828 or (404) 482-3828.

New Stone Mountain city manager hopes to redevelop community-based city
by Carla Parker
For years, Gary Peet has led the
charge as city councilman, mayor and
recently as city manager in trying to turn
Stone Mountain back into a vibrant city.
Now that Peet is retired, new city
manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton has
made it her mission to continue the redevelopment of Stone Mountain.
“I really want to see Stone Mountain
become that town center that it used
to be,” Miller-Thornton said. “We have
enough traffic that goes through this city
every day for it to be a contender in Georgia—a place to live, work or visit. My goal
is to use sound financial and administrative management to make the best use of
the resources and the funding to make this
city vibrant again.”

Miller-Thornton, the former city clerk,
officially started her job as city manager on
Aug. 1. She is replacing Peet, who retired
after 18 years with Stone Mountain’s government. Kate Settle from Flagler Beach,
Fla., was hired as the new city clerk.
Miller-Thornton has been with the city
since 2014 when she was hired as city
The Greene County native has worked
in local government for 17 years, beginning with the city of Union Point as an
accounts receivable clerk in 1999. She
became deputy chief executive officer at
Union Point in 2005 and then became
chief financial officer in 2008. She later
became Union Point’s city clerk and treasurer.
Miller-Thornton studied business

See Stone Mountain on Page 4A

Former Stone Mountain city clerk ChaQuias Miller-Thornton is now the
city manager. Photo by Carla Parker


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 4

Officers deal with fear, public perception

by Horace Holloman
July was particularly tough
for some officers. In the wake
of several police shootings and
officers killed in the line of duty,
community members and law
enforcement are making efforts
better understand each other.
In DeKalb County, officers are
trying to get the message across to
the general public that their job isn’t
as easy some may think.
DeKalb County Sherriff’s Office
Deputy Erica Ray spoke to a
group of nonviolent offenders in the
DeKalb County courthouse as part
of a program to help young adults
expunge their criminal records.
During a group discussion, Ray
spoke on the difficulties of making
split decisions that could impact an
officer’s life.
“Basically our reaction has to be
quicker than your action. And how
can we do that? That’s impossible
for our reaction to be quicker than
your action,” Ray said. At the end of
the day, I’m going to make it home

DeKalb County police officers gather at a Dunkin Donuts in support of a fellow
officer recently diagnosed with cancer. Photo by Horace Holloman

to my family. I’m going home. I don’t
know if you may try to hurt me or try
to harm me, but I’m going home to
my family.”
When questioned about police
protocol during a routine stop, Ray
said officers can become nervous
or anxious as well.
DeKalb County Police Chief

James Conroy said there are
issues between the community
and police force, however, he said
DeKalb County tries to be in the
forefront of community policing and
“What you see in the news
media between conflicts with
police force and community aren’t

necessarily what I’ve experience
in DeKalb. We have tremendous
support for our officers,” Conroy
Conroy said for police to build
relationships with the community,
transparency must come first.
In January, a DeKalb County
officer was indicted for shooting and
killing Anthony Hill, an unarmed
naked Black man.
A former DeKalb County officer
was also indicted this year for his
ties to the street gang Gangster
Disciples. According to reports,
officer Vancito Gumbs notified
gang members of police activity.
“It reflects poorly on us when
an officer breaks that trust between
the community, but it’s usually
another officer that brings it to our
attention and [we] end up having to
prosecute those officers across the
line,” Conroy said. “Officers want
to be held accountable as well.
That’s one of the reasons we got
body cameras. It’s accountability
and transparency, we want to show
people that there’s nothing to hide.”

stone mountain Continued From Page 3A
and personal services with a
focus in accounting, computer
information systems and business
administration through Belhaven
University. She also earned a
municipal clerk’s certification
and levels I and II finance officer
certifications through the Carl
Vinson Institute of the University
of Georgia.
“I’ve always liked helping
people, assisting them to meet
their needs and directing them
to the places they need to go for
help,” Miller-Thornton said.” In my
Baptist church upbringing we like
fellowshipping and I’ve always
like fellowshipping with the community. So I decided to put in for
a job that was being advertised in
the city of Union Point and got the
job and have been in local government ever since.”
Miller-Thornton said it was
love that brought her to Stone
“I was living in Greene County
and I reconnected with an old
schoolmate and decided to give
him a chance at marrying me,
so my children and I moved
from Greene County to DeKalb
County,” she said. “For four years
I commuted back and forth to
Greene County, which is a little
over 150 miles per day. After
finally realizing how much of a toll
it was, especially having schoolaged children, I decided to seek
employment closer to home. At
that time Stone Mountain was
hiring for a city clerk and here

I am—5.9 miles away from my
front door.”
Miller-Thornton said her years
of experience in local government
and working under Peet have prepared her for this new role as city
manager. Along with learning the
duties of a city manager, she also
came to understand how the city
could become better with more
community involvement, and she
hopes to bring that back to the
“A big part of my job will be
fiscal and financial management,
but in addition to that I’ll like to
see the city get its constituents
and its stakeholders more involved in this process,” she said.
“[We in] government can’t do this
by ourselves, and we shouldn’t.
We should always keep the residents, the business community,
the property owners, the staff—
we should always keep them
“We need to do more in the
way of communications with all
the stakeholders of the city and
have a collaborative effort to push
this city forward,” she added.
“I think the city has to become
one with itself and then become
one with the community to move
forward. We need innovative
ideas, we definitely need a face
lift esthetically, we need a face lift
technology-wise and we need a
lot of makeovers as far as infrastructure. But beyond the dollars
there should be a sense of community.”

District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson sits atop the all-terrain litter vacuum. DeKalb
County Interim CEO Lee May said the county may consider investing in the vacuum.
Photo provided

East Metro CID working
to clean up area
by Horace Holloman

Commercial businesses in the
East Metro DeKalb Community
Improvement District (CID) are
looking for new ways to clean up litter
in the area.
As part of that effort, CID officials
are considering purchasing a drivable
vacuum vehicle to clean curb and

gutter areas.
On Aug. 1, CID officials held a
live demonstration of the all-terrain
litter vacuum (ATLV) on Wesley
Chapel Road.
CID Administrator Nicole
McGhee Hall of Nickel Works
Consulting said the CID is investing
in the weekly upkeep of Wesley

See Clean on Page 8A

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016


Page 5

Couleen LaGon, a music writer for Sony/EMI publishing, said Märchen Sagen Academy teaches children about camera operation, storytelling and harnessing creativity.

Home Continued From Page 1A
song about friendship called “Buy One, Get
One Free.” The song was so catchy that
LaGon produced it—he works as a writer
with Sony/EMI music publishing—and
created a music video. Within two weeks,
it received more than 10,000 views on
Christian’s video was noticed by his
classmates at Clairemont Elementary in
Decatur and LaGon was soon called in
to teach a third-grade class about video
“It was amazing,” LaGon said. “I
developed a 12-page PowerPoint and
45-minute lecture that spanned two periods.
I brought in equipment to show these kids
what a videographer does.”
LaGon soon turned this into an idea for
a career with Märchen Sagen Academy.
The unique name comes from the German
words for fairytale and legend, respectively,
and LaGon felt the academy should teach
students how to create both.
Located at the historic Houston House,
Märchen Sagen Academy offers an
afterschool program for children ages 8 to
12 on afternoons Monday through Friday.
LaGon said the academy is in the process of
developing a program called Homeschoolers

United and Growing Socially (HUGS) to
provide more options for non-traditional
Students enrolled in the afterschool
program receive usual perks—snacks,
some outside time—but get additional perks
via technical training with professional
equipment, building and creative discussion.
LaGon said lectures have already
included discussions on the conscious and
sub-conscious mind as a way to explain
where ideas come from.
“The kids that we have attracted are
techy kind of kids,” Couleen LaGon said
of the nine children enrolled as of Aug.
1. “The parents see [Märchen Sagen] as
an opportunity to take those [tech] skills
and interests further. This is really about
empowering [students] and giving them
concepts to grow as human beings.”
“Not all kids want to be outside all day,”
Arianna LaGon said. “The opportunity for
parents to find a different type of program is
Enrolled students have access to
Panasonic GS-4 cameras, LED ring-lights,
a green screen room, a set-design space,
sewing equipment for costumes and a talk
show set to harness their creativity. While

some students excel in front of the camera,
others prefer producing the sound, working
the camera and producing the final product.
At Märchen Sagen Academy, children have
the opportunity to do it all.
Märchen Sagen will also feature
a recording studio for original songs,
voiceovers and post-production sound work,
according to LaGon. He said the overall
goal is to guide children to the point of being
confident in producing music anywhere and
everywhere, whether at Märchen Sagen or
at home with a laptop and USB microphone.
“We’re all creative creatures,” LaGon
said. “If we can imagine a thing and come
up with a plan and use some applied faith
with action, we can do anything in this
world. We’re trying to instill a concept of
stewardship and creation in creating a space
where people come, free up and create.”
LaGon said he plans to expand Märchen
Sagen to older children and teenagers at
another location within the next five years.
After that, he plans to buy a house in Italy at
which a Märchen Sagen movie will be made
by kids once a year.
For more information on Märchen Sagen
Academy, visit or
call (678) 698-5035.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 5, 2016


Page 6

The political season: this too shall pass
From now until November,
we likely will be bombarded
with paid and unpaid political
messages, endorsements,
analysis and mudslinging the
likes of which we have never
before seen.
Most have already seen the
ugliness begin even prior to the
national political conventions
that have just played out. Social
media is a hotbed of nonstop
political debate and many friends
and family are divided on their
choice of candidates.
Both major parties have
candidates who are not likely
to exhibit decorum or respect
for the public, or for each
other. Both are over-the-top,
power-hungry egomaniacs
who have demonstrated early

John Hewitt

in the process that they will
not hesitate to sling mud,
exaggerate, lie, distort facts and
intentionally deceive the public.
We’ve even seen ugly politics
on the local level with Sharon
Barnes-Sutton slinging the
racial mud against opponent
Steve Bradshaw—who came
out victorious and defeated the
standing District 4 Commissioner
with 75 percent of the votes.
Mudslinging on the local level

holds no comparison, however,
to what we will likely hear, read
and see over the next few
months with Hillary Clinton and
Donald Trump.
Emails leaked show that now
former chair of the Democratic
National Convention Debbie
Wasserman Schultz led
a concerted effort to derail
Bernie Sanders’ campaign
and make certain that Clinton
was the Democratic presidential
The Clinton camp is already
claiming that the email hacking
was the result of Russian
intelligence and is an attempt to
influence the U.S. elections so
that Trump has a better chance
of being elected.
The Trump camp is

suggesting that it would be
beneficial to have Russia as an
ally in the fight against global
One can only imagine how
ugly this will get before our next
president is elected.
It seems to me that American
voters would be better served
and politicians more respected if
there are candid discussions of
pertinent issues with substantive
suggestions on how best to
address the many issues our
country and the world are faced
We have just more than three
months to go; it will be painful,
but this too shall pass. We will
have a new president, like it or

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016


Page 7

A most exceptional games–they certainly were
“The Atlanta Centennial
Games were most exceptional,”
International Olympic Committee
(IOC) Chairman, Juan Antonio
Samaranch in his postOlympiad assessment of the
Centennial Olympic Games in
One of the many wise things
my father once told me—and
which I did not believe at that
time—is how quickly time flies
after you cross the mid-century
mark. It is almost impossible
in some respects for me to
believe that golden, hot and
literally explosive summer of
1996 is 20 years in the rear
view. Our Atlanta games were
the largest in the history of the
modern games. Most nations
participating (190+), most tickets
sold (record still holds), most
female athletes and the bluest
Our games admittedly
experienced a few less than
stellar moments, in addition to
the bombing at our Centennial
Olympic Park. And after touting
every games he had presided
over since 1980 as the best
ever, IOC king Samaranch
assessed the Atlanta games, as
only “most exceptional.”
Though I felt this at the time
to be an insult to Billy Payne,
Ambassador Andrew Young,
the original Atlanta organizing
committee and the nearly
80,000 volunteers who made
these games roll, my view of

‘One Man’s
Bill Crane

the Samaranch backhand has
softened over time—sort of like
watching the little potentate
himself wilt into oblivion around
A talented Atlanta playwright,
artist and actor/singer, Evan
Frayer, recently produced, wrote
and co-starred in a musical
comedy about that heady, hot
summer entitled Game On!. The
show was briefly staged at
the Seven Stages Playhouse
in Little Five Points. The story
was an accurate, if humorous
and musical, re-telling of the
sad stories of Richard Jewell,
and the lesser-known former
AJC crime beat reporter, Kathy
Scruggs, who broke the story
that Jewell, an AT&T Security
Guard in Centennial Park, and
initially a hero the night of the
bombing, was briefly the F.B.I.’s
prime suspect for same.
Despite dozens of injuries that
horrific night, only two fatalities
occurred. A mother from Albany
took shrapnel to her head, and
a journalist, while running to the
scene, suffered a cardiac attack
and died. Jewell discovered the
backpack bomb, notified other
law enforcement, moved the
crowd, as well as laid the heavy

knapsack on its back, sending
the packed shrapnel primarily
into the night sky, instead of
the backs of the large crowd
watching a concert in the park.
Jewell went from zero, to
hero and back again—except a
bit worse off, as the AJC, CNN,
NBC and other news outlets
labeled him as the prime suspect
despite a pre-existing 911 call
warning of the bomb from a pay
phone that Jewell could not have
reached and returned to the park
in time. 
The play had a cast of
only four, playing nearly a
dozen characters, including
Samaranch. Jewell was the soul
of this story, but his counterpoint
was a hard-hearted, beautiful
and short-skirted blonde female
reporter for the local daily
newspaper. As in real life, this
fictional version of Ms. Scruggs
worked her law enforcement
sources quite well, and often
found the best information was
relayed after hours. 
I worked at that time as VP of
communications for the Metro
Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
and we were discouraged from
imbibing any adult beverages on
the clock. However, in those pre9/11 security days, I had finagled
a pass to the IOC hospitality
tent, just outside our back door. I
occasionally dropped by to see
which celebrity or IOC member
was having breakfast. After
befriending the bartender,
I suggested a morning cordial

combining one of Coca-Cola’s
newest products, Powerade
Blue, with Crystal champagne—
electrolytes, sugar and a dash
of bubbly. We called it “Izzy’s
I came to know and meet the
then king and queen of Sweden,
as the royal family were IOC
members. The colors of Sweden
are a brilliant royal blue and
white. A few days after my
cocktail innovation was named,
I witnessed the king, queen
and entire court subbing their
morning mimosas with “Izzy’s
Blood.” I should have gone
immediately to the folks at Coke. 
And though most of us
still have a few Olympic pins
gathering dust somewhere, or
some of our Atlanta Committee
for the Olympic Games volunteer
togs, one of the hottest Atlanta
Olympic collectibles remains a
souvenir pen that only appeared
after the aging IOC king/despot
offered his frank assessment, it
read “Frankly, Juan Antonio, we
don’t give a damn.”
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 

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

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of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The
Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

John Hewitt

Travis Hudgons

Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn

Staff Reporters:
Carla Parker
R. Scott Belzer
Horace Holloman

Production Manager:
Kemesha Wadley

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

Statement from the
We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
The Champion was founded in 1991
expressly to provide a forum for
discourse for all community residents
on all sides of an issue. We have no
desire to make the news only to
report news and opinions to effect
a more educated citizenry that will
ultimately move our community
forward. We are happy to present
ideas for discussion; however,
we make every effort to avoid
printing information submitted to
us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 8

Decatur residents ask
for no parking zone
by Horace Holloman
Residents near Forkner Drive
are asking city officials to create a
no parking zone between Church
Street and Glendale Avenue.
On July 31, Decatur city officials
met with concerned residents in the
area during the city’s commission
Matt Quinn submitted a petition
to city commissioners asking for a
no parking zone in April of 2016.
The petition had more than 300
signatures supporting the request.
St. Clair Holdings, a real estate
investment company concentrated
in the southeast, is currently
building townhome properties in the
“There are a lot of concerns in
the neighborhood about traffic and
access for public safety vehicles,”
Quinn said. “We’ve gone through
the hoops, and frankly I don’t
understand why the [responsibility]
is on us to prove our case when
the evidence should be apparent
to people who go over there that
something’s going to have to be
Despite concerns, Decatur
city officials want to wait until the

townhomes are completed and
residents begin to move in.
“Normally, our practice would be
to not anticipate the traffic control
before development is actually in
place,” said Decatur City Manager
Peggy Merriss. “We’re going to go
back and do some assessments
in terms of public safety access
and further feedback from most
adjacent neighbors.”
The city listed 18 areas as the
“impact area.”
According to a memo from city
project manager Lena Stevens,
“the immediate impact area was
designated as 11 properties within
the 600 block of Glendale Avenue,
19 properties on Old Decatur Circle,
and eight properties within the
Knob Hills development which are
adjacent to Forkner Drive.”
Stevens said the petition
received around 60 percent
approval from property owners in
the area.
“The submitted petition has
generated substantial support from
the surrounding community, but did
not reach 75 percent (approval)
within the immediate impact area,”
Stevens said. “The development
is not finished and we want to wait
and see what the potential impact

would be.”
Decatur’s Complete Street
Team reviewed the petition and
the Decatur Police Department
conducted a one-week study of the
impact area.
According to the study, 1,500
cars frequent Forkner drive on
weekdays and approximately 2,000
cars on the weekends.
Stevens said making the area a
no-parking zone could encourage
drivers to increase speed. Stevens
also said city officials should wait
until they hear back from a larger
audience of the impact area before

City of Decatur is KaBoom finalist
by Horace Holloman
The city of Decatur is one step closer
to bringing a few new ideas to help kids
become more active after being named a
KaBOOM! finalist.
KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization that
emphasizes active play for children, awards
grants to “outside-the-box ideas to make
playing easy and available.”
Decatur Active Living officials decided
to submit an idea for a “pedal to school
bike bus.” The bus, able to seat 11 children,
would allow students to bike to school in
“The Pedal to School Bike Bus is
currently being used in Holland and is a
great way for children to travel to school
while getting exercise along the way.
Riding a bike brings joy and good health,
and the bike bus is particularly whimsical,”
said Danielle Suchdev, a member of the
Pedestrian Advisory Committee for Decatur
Active Living, in a statement.
Decatur is one of 200 finalists out of a
pool of more than 1,000 applicants.
The competition was developed by the
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target,
Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development, and the National
Endowment for the Arts.  
Cheryl Burnette, assistant director of
Decatur Active Living, said the grant had to
target lower-income neighborhoods.

“A lot of the kids in [lower-income
neighborhoods] might not have the means
to walk or bike to schools, so this will give
them the opportunity to participate in safe
routes for school,” Burnette said.
If Decatur is selected as the winner,
Burnette said Decatur Active Living will offer
a one-hour bike safety course. The bus bike
will be used once a week.
Decatur has been named a Bronze
Level bike friendly community by the
League of American Bicycles.
 Children living at Allen Wilson Terrace
will be able to use the bike and commute via
bike bus to Clairmont Elementary School.
A parent will be required to chaperone
children operating the bus, Burnette said.
Decatur is also in the running for
another grant; officials have submitted an
idea to turn the bus stop on Trinity Place
into a play space.
The potential play space would be
called J.U.M.P, or Join Us at the Marta
Play Space.
Winners for the KaBOOM! competition
will be selected at the end of August.
“We’re thrilled at the possibility that
Decatur’s kids could win this fantastic new
opportunity to learn and develop from
play,” Burnette said in a statement. “If we’re
selected as a winner, we hope it will be
just the beginning of a larger effort to make
play a way of life for kids and families in
our community and to have a way for more
children to experience biking to school.”

making a final decision.
“We just want to make sure
those people have had time to
provide their feedback,” Stevens
Quinn said the “wait and
see” process is not an adequate
“Wait and see for what?” Quinn
asked city commissioners during
their regular meeting. “Wait and see
for an ambulance not to get in? If
we wait and see and people move
in, then we’ll have to start the whole
exercise again. If this is going to be
done it should be done now.”

clean Continued From Page 4A
Chapel Road because it
is a significant gateway to
commercial properties.
Investing in the ATLV
could be a solution for
maintenance and upkeep,
Hall said.
“Unfortunately, high
volumes of trash collect
along the medians and
other roadside areas. The
CID wants to be more
effective, efficient and
quick with our cleanups,”
Hall said.
Hall said the CID is
in search of partners to
invest in the vacuum.
Among those in
attendance for the
demonstration were
District 3 commissioner
Larry Johnson and
DeKalb County Interim
CEO Lee May.
May, who said he
helped to create the East
Metro DeKalb CID, said
the ATLV could be helpful
in keeping curbs and
sidewalks clean.
“It’s something that

the East Metro CID is
looking to invest in and
they are trying to see
how DeKalb County can
partner with them,” May
said. “We’re entertaining
the idea and we’re taking
a look at it. It’s a unique
and creative way of
keeping our community
clean, so we’re definitely
entertaining it.”
Made by Tennant, a
company specializing in
the distribution of cleaning
products, the ATLV is a
ride-on vacuum with a
48-inch vacuum head
attachment. The vacuum
hose can reach up to 270
degrees to help clean
sidewalks and curbs.
The ATLV also has a
fence-line hose to clean
debris along fenced
“I mean it’s cool. It’s a
smaller version of a street
sweeper. It’s more flexible
as well and it was good to
see a demonstration of it,”
May said.  


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 9

Local author addresses race issues in new book
by R. Scott Belzer
According to local author
Marcus Johnson, it’s time for
Black Americans to come together
and heal themselves.
In his new 60-page book,
Concentrated Blackness, Johnson
outlines a three-part plan and
philosophy for settling issues
of race relations in the United
States: concentrating financially,
geographically and politically.
“The book addresses a
problem the whole nation is
dealing with right now,” Johnson
said. “There’s a lack of trust
between the African-American
community and police.”
Johnson said his book
originally sought to address White
privilege and the way the issue has
been dealt with since arriving at
the forefront of conversation.
“White privilege is a part of
American history,” Johnson said.
“But the way we’ve approached
dealing with it is incorrect. I’ve
been writing about these things
since Trayvon Martin was
killed. We’re demonstrating, but
demonstrating only gets attention.
What’s the plan? What’s the
Johnson said Concentrated
Blackness “looks inward” at the
Black community, asking its
readers to get themselves settled
and to cooperate with other
For Johnson, the first step is
keeping Black dollars in Black
“The African American
community has a trillion dollars of
spending power,” Johnson said.
“We spend a lot of money. Money
should circulate in the community.
Our money does not circulate in
the community.”
Johnson used Clarkston as
an example where new immigrant
communities keep their money
within their own communities.
He said Nepalese, Burmese and
Ethiopian businesses often employ
fellow immigrants and advise new
arrivals to support fellow expats.
“[New immigrant communities]
patronize each other’s’

Local author Marcus Johnson’s new book Concentrated Blackness proposes Black
communities come together financially, physically and politically.

businesses,” Johnson said.
“Concentrating financially involves
patronizing African-American
banks because it allows the bank
to lend to new African-American
businesses. We have to create a
Black dollar.”
The second step for Johnson
is providing Black security by living
“I was raised by a single
mother,” Johnson said. “I had a
lot of friends who were raised by
a single mother. We didn’t realize
how hard things were when we
were younger. All of the single
mothers hung out together and we
always had dinner together. They
rarely had money to feed their
own children; they would pool their
resources to feed each other.”
Johnson referenced two
apartment buildings in Clarkston
where 10 friends could pool
resources and create an area for
community gardens and farmers’
markets. He also envisions
ample neighborhood watches to
monitor police and members of

The Public Hearing to discuss and hear public input
on a proposed Amendment to Appendix A, Zoning –
Accessory Structures, of the City of Stone Mountain
Code of Ordinances, will be held on Tuesday,
September 6, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 875 Main
Street, Stone Mountain, Georgia.


the community who have “gone
“I use the word militia in the
book,” Johnson said. “Something
like a neighborhood watch but
more organized. I would prefer
federal oversight of police and
better gun control, but until we do,
members of the community who
can register for firearms need to
do so, have training, and organize
to protect communities after
Johnson said once financial
and physical concentration is
accomplushed, a natural Black
voting block will be created with
Black interests at heart.
“It sounds separatist, and it
kind of is, but it’s not malicious,”
Johnson said. “I use the term
cooperative segregation. You
isolate yourself in order to make
yourself healthier and useful to
Johnson compared it to going
to the doctor for a broken bone.
“When you go to the doctor
for a broken bone, they don’t

treat your whole body,” Johnson
said. “You focus on the injured
piece to get up to speed with the
rest of your body. Right now, our
community is an injured piece that
needs focus. That doesn’t mean I
don’t love the rest of the body.”
Johnson said his inspiration
comes from time spent working at
the Clarkston library and observing
immigrant communities supporting
one another. He said he also draws
inspiration from former “Black Wall
Streets” in Tulsa, Fayetteville,
Harlem and Auburn Avenue. Their
Eyes Were Watching God by Zora
Neale Hurston also serves as a
main influence.
“We’re not trying to secede
from the Union, we’re trying to
develop a healthy unit,” Johnson
said. “It focuses inward. We have
to stop shaming White people.
When you shame, it only creates
more tension and makes people
feel uncomfortable with what
you’re doing. Focusing outward
and expecting the beneficiaries
of any system to change doesn’t
make sense and makes people
uncomfortable with what you’re
doing. I’m a feminist but I benefit
from male privilege. In that way, I
sympathize with White people. This
is what [they] know and it’s made
life comfortable for [them]. Let’s
create another type of privilege
outside of them.”
Johnson said his conclusion
was hinted at in Concentrated
Blackness but will be expanded
upon in his next work titled WTH
Is Going On With the Church.
Johnson proposes churches be
the center of the Black community.
He said churches should treat
their members like trustees in a
business who can expect dividends
and support when needed.
Concentrated Blackness
is available on Amazon and
bookstores for both physical and
digital purchase. The author, a
Stone Mountain resident who’s
been in DeKalb County for 20
years, went to Peachtree Middle
and Dunwoody High schools. He
holds degrees in English, women’s
studies and liberal studies.

   YOU  ARE HEREBY  NOTIFIED  that on the  8th day of November 2016, an  election will  be held  in all of the  precincts  of the City  of Atlanta  (the "City'').    At the election 
there  will  be submitted  to  the  qualified  voters  of  the City  for their  determination  the question  of  whether an  additional  0.4  percent  sales  tax shall be  collected  in 
the City of Atlanta for 5  years for the purpose  of transportation improvements and congestion reduction. 
   Voters  desiring to  vote  for the  imposition of such  sales and  use tax  shall do so  by voting "YES"  and  voters  desiring  to vote against  the imposition  of such sales and  use 
tax  shall  do so  by voting "NO,"  as to the question  propounded, to wit: 
   "Shall  an additional  0.4  percent  sales tax be collected  in the City  of Atlanta for 5 years for the purpose of transportation improvements and congestion reduction?" 
   The  several  places for  holding the  election  shall  be  in the  regular  and  established  precincts of  the City,  and the  polls  will  be open from  7:00a.m. to  7:00p.m. on the 
date fixed  for the election.   Those qualified  to  vote at the election shall  be determined  in all respects  in accordance and  in conformity  with the Constitution and  the  laws 
of the  United States  of America  and of the State  of Georgia. 
   This  notice  is given  pursuant to joint action  of the  City Council  of  the City  of  Atlanta  and the  Municipal  Election  Superintendent  of the  City, subject to action taken 
by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 48‐8‐269.995(b)(1). 
City of Atlanta 
Municipal Clerk/Election Superintendent 
Rhonda Dauphin Johnson 


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 10

Individuals from the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund and Academica Educational Services met with Doraville city council outlining a potential charter school
for the city.

‘Left behind for far too long’
Doraville considers establishing public charter school to address Cross
Keys Cluster overcrowding, underperformance
by R. Scott Belzer
“Our kids have been left
behind for far too long. It’s not just
overcrowding. You see the trailers,
the dirt and the mold. You’ve read
the blogs about teachers calling
in sick and having lung diseases.
What is happening to these kids?
Doraville could become the pivot
point for everything. This could be
the beginning, with Doraville right
in the center of it.”
Councilwoman Dawn
O’Connor’s closing remarks at
Doraville’s Aug. 1 city council
meeting suggest she—along with
other city officials—is ready to take
action for local schoolchildren.
The Aug. 1 meeting featured
presentations from Glenn Pierce
and Daniel Diaz about potentially
building a 1,000-seat public charter
school in Doraville.
Charter schools operate
independently of an established
public school system and still
receive government funding.
Charter schools file as 501c3
organizations and are either
authorized by the underlying
district or State Charter School
Pierce serves as CEO of
Turner-Agassi Charter School
Facilities Fund, which helps
manage charter schools
throughout the country. Diaz
represents Academica, an
education service for charter
schools that acts as an
administrative body.
For about an hour, the pair

promoted the idea of opening
a charter school as a potential
remedy to issues involving
overcrowding, underperformance
and lacking infrastructure.
According to Pierce, blame for
such issues should be assigned
to the governing body: DeKalb
County School District (DCSD).
“[DCSD] houses more than
101,000 students; it’s one of the
largest districts in the United
States and the third largest in
Georgia,” Pierce said. “But it
scored in the bottom third in terms
of academic performance. Out
of 127 schools eligible for state
takeover in Georgia, DeKalb
has the most on the list with 28
Pierce suggested the Cross
Keys Cluster, which spans parts
Chamblee, Brookhaven and
Doraville, is suffering the most.
The cluster includes Oakcliff, Cary
Reynolds, Dresden, Montclair and
Woodward elementary schools as
well as Sequoyah Middle School
and Cross Keys High School.
“There are six schools; one
has a ‘C,’ two have ‘D’s, and
three have ‘F’s,” Pierce said. “The
challenge that educators in your
community have is, last year, the
buildings had 2,500 more kids than
the buildings were supposed to
house. By next year it will be 3,000
extra kids.”
Pierce asked whether
DCSD’s redistricting plan, which
will move more than 1,700
students to a different school in
the 2016-2017 school year, is
what Doraville wants or needs.

Pierce also criticized the use of
portable classrooms to address
overcrowding issues.
Pierce specifically referenced
Cary Reynolds Elementary, which
petitioning parents and community
stakeholders have declared
unsafe. Issues surrounding
maintenance and overcrowding
in the Cross Keys Cluster have
dominated school board and
community meetings for nearly a
decade in the three municipalities.
“Does anyone think this is
good for students and families?
Are things going to improve from
an academic standpoint?” Pierce
asked. “If you are a rational human
being and were to walk that
campus, you would be shocked
and alarmed that children continue
to be there. What once was a great
school has ripped up portables
and ripped up playgrounds. It’s a
disservice to the community and
A location being looked at by
Pierce and Diaz is Honeysuckle
Park, located at 3037 Pleasant
Valley Drive in Doraville. The
pair promised to add better
infrastructure, paths and buildings
to the site in addition to a new
“A major component of the
proposal will involve upgrades and
refurbishments to the amenities,”
Pierce said.
According to council members
O’Connor and Sharon Spangler,
who facilitated the presentation,
the idea of establishing a charter
school in Doraville has been
discussed for approximately two

Residents, business owners
and community stakeholders came
together after a task force was
established to remedy problems in
and outside classrooms, O’Connor
Councilwoman Pam Fleming
said it is obvious a need exists for
better facilities.
“We need to treat our kids like
they are our future,” Fleming said.
“We are lacking there. It is not the
city of Doraville’s error or fault that
the schools are in the disarray they
are in. The north side of DeKalb
County has been neglected for
many years. Redistricting is not the
answer. We need to look into doing
something for our kids and their
Council members M.D. Naser,
Shannon Hillard and Robert
Patrick said they wanted Doraville
children to be served first if a
charter school is established. If
charter status is sought via the
State Charter School Commission,
the school would be mandated to
open to the entire state.
Mayor Donna Pittman said
she does not like the idea of the
potential school being established
at Honeysuckle Park but supports
the overall idea of making a charter
Pierce and Diaz said they
will continue to interact with the
community and seek other places
to establish the charter school and
that the Aug. 1 meeting was “very


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 11


Complied by: Carla Parker
Photos by : Travis Hudgons

New coaches hope to bring new attitudes
by Carla Parker


ive DeKalb County high
school football teams will
kick off the 2016 season with
new coaches.
Former Druid Hills coach Mark
Adams is now the head coach at
Cross Keys. This is Adams second
run at Cross Keys, where he
coached from 1998 to 2001. Myron
Burton, who was an assistant
coach at Druid Hills for eight years,
was promoted to head coach,
replacing Adams.
Two years after leaving the
program, former Chamblee
assistant coach Curtis Mattair is
back with the program as head
football coach. The newcomers
to DeKalb County are Justin
Larmond at Miller Grove and Cam
Jones at Lakeside.
Larmond spent last season
at Griffin High School as an
assistant coach and helped lead
the team to the state playoffs.
Before then, he was an assistant
coach at Creekside High School
in Fulton County where he won
a state championship in 2013.
When the Miller Grove job came
open, Larmond did not pass up the
“First of all, it was a head
coaching opportunity and I’ve
never been a head coach before,”
Larmond said. “And a lot of people
who knew the community and knew
the players said it was a really good
community to be a part of. That’s
the main reason I came over.”
Larmond, who has playoff
experience, will try to lead
Miller Grove to its first playoff
appearance. Larmond said his
experience is what the program
needs to get over the hump.
“Just the experience of being
there, being able to help my

Curtis Mattair

Cam Jones

players, coach my coaches and
help us get over that fence,” he
said. “Just the experience of being
there—being in the playoffs six
times out of the last eight years.”
Larmond wears his state
championship ring to help motivate
the players.
“They love [the ring],” he said.
“Every time they see it they’re in
awe of it. They want one and I let
them know what it takes to get
one. It’s always easier to talk to
someone who has done what you
want to do.”
Jones, the former Norcross
High School assistant football
coach, was looking to be a head
coach again. Jones was the head
coach at Chamberlain High School
in Tampa, Fla., before moving to
Georgia with his fiancée.
“I was craving to be a head
coach again,” Jones said. “I was a
head coach for two years in Florida
and running my own program in my
vision was really important for me. A
spot like Lakeside coming open late
was really appealing to me.
“They’re playing in a Gwinnett
region so it will be challenging
every week, which is exciting for
me,” Jones added. “But [Lakeside]
is also rich in tradition. It has strong
academics, so a lot of things added

Justin Larmond

up. In my heart this was the best
decision for me and I’m really
excited for this upcoming year.”
Jones said his goal is to bring
back the winning tradition and
excitement to a program that has
not won a state title since 1991.
“We’re going to play a brand of
football that’s pretty unique, so it’ll
be exciting,” he said. “People will
be excited to go see Lakeside play
and wonder how we’re doing things
when they see the box score. I’m
excited for the kids. I think the kids
have really taken well to it.”
Mattair is also hoping to bring
back excitement and winning to
Chamblee. He was an assistant
coach in 2012 when the team
went 8-2, and will work to bring
that winning mentality back to
“Of course the main thing is to
try to change the culture because
I’ve been away from Chamblee
football for two years,” he said. “So,
just coming in and trying to get the
kids to learn the way we want them
to do it. [I’m] not saying what was
done before was good or bad, it’s
just every coach has his style. So
we’re getting them adjusted to what
we want them to do. But it’s been
going well.
“Of course it’s day by day;

Myron Burton

challenges come up but we try to
address them in the beginning and
nip them in the bud,” Mattair added.
“We believe in sweating the small
stuff, so anything we see that we
don’t approve of as coaches, we’re
on top of because we want to try to
get the kids liked-minded like the
For Burton, there will be new
aspects of the Druid Hills football
team but not much. Burton has
been with the program since 2007
so the transition was a smooth one
for him and the players.
“It [was] a natural progression
because I’ve seen them and
I’ve known them for quite some
time,” he said. “I teach at the
school—ninth and 10th grade—so
I see them early and then we just
continue that relationship up to their
senior year.”
Burton said the playbook will
remain somewhat similar with some
slight changes.
“Since we have a big group
of seniors they’re all going to be
playing on offense, but we will
change some things at the tight end
[position],” he said. “We’ll go pro
style a little bit, but we’ll stick mostly
with our spread [offense].”


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

Kilgore and DL/OL Marcus

Arabia Mountain Rams
Head coach: Stanley Pritchett (4th
season) • Region: 5-AAAAA
2015 record: 4-6

Clarkston Angoras
Head coach: Terrence Hughey
(3rd season) • Region: 5-AAAAA
2015 record: 1-8

Top returning starters: DB/WR
Chris Williams, RB/DB Brandon
Snowball, RB/WR Carl White, LB/
SS Jelani Davis and RB/WR/DB
Eric Ross.

Top returning starters: LB Julian
Morgan and LB Dante McIntyre
Expectations: N/A

Expectations: “I’m very about this
season coming up. We have a
great group of seniors.” - Coach

Expectations: “We are looking
forward to the season. We have
six starters returning on defense
along with several others who
have significant playing time.
We will have to depend on our
defense early in the season to
put us in position to win games.
Offensively, we only return three
players who started for us last
year. We have to replace our
entire offensive line as well as our
starting quarterback. We’ll need
our defense to play well early,
until our offense can gain some
valuable game experience.” –
Coach Jackson

Columbia Eagles
Head coach: David Edwards
(5th season) • Region: 5-AAAAA
2014 record: 5-6 (Playoffs)
Cedar Grove Saints
Head coach: Jermaine Smith (4th
season) • Region: 5-AAA
2015 record: 11-2 (Playoffs)
Top returning starters: DB/RB
Tre’ Shaw, QB Jelani Woods,
OT/DT Netori Johnson, OT
Justin Shaffer, WR/LB Jadon
Haselwood and WR Matthew
Expectations: “To improve on last
season and continue to build a
program our community can be
proud of.” – Coach Smith

Top returning players: WR/DB
Daniel Harris, ATH Quentin
Palmer, ATH Dante Hobbs
Expectations: “We have a young
group coming back, pretty
inexperienced. But we’re looking
forward to a good season. –
Assistant Coach Greg Barnett

Cross Keys Indians
Head coach: Mark Adams
(1st season) • Region: 5-AAAAA
2015 record: 0-5
Top returning starters: DB Hau Vo

Chamblee Bulldogs
Head coach: Curtis Mattair
(1st season) • Region: 5-AAAAA
2015 record: 2-8
Top returning starters: QB Conner
Whitley, WR/CB Jansen King,
WR Zamyan Wilder, FS/QB
Bruce Lasher and SS/OLB Tyler
Expectations: “We want to continuously
work hard every day and learn how to
win during the day before Friday nights.
The motto is ‘work.’ We try to teach the
kids about hard work. Once we get on
the field we want to be able to put a
good product on the field. We want to
be competitive. Of course it would be
great to win every game, but that’s not
realistic. But worst case scenario, we
want to be competitive, and win, lose
or draw we want to be in the mix every
time we hit the field.” – Coach Mattair

Expectations: “We’re looking
forward to bringing some stability.
We’re looking forward to bringing
some staying-power, while also
bringing the highest level of
football that we could possibly
bring to rebuild so many things,
including morale, fundamentals,
fundraising, etc.” – Coach Adams

Druid Hills Red Devils
Head coach: Myron Burton
(1st season) • Region: 4-AAAA
2015 record: 4-6
Top returning starters: ATH Tre’
Hollinger, QB Harrison Aiken,
LB/FB Kontrell Yarbrough, LB/
FB Khalid McCall, RB/CB Neo
Brown, WR/CB Delanie Lucas,
C Demarco Mosley and DE/G
Jacob Poholek.
Expectations: “Our goal is to
improve upon the solid foundation
that has been set at Druid Hills
over the past few seasons. We
are in better physical shape;
we are continuously working
on improving our mental focus,
and improving our overall team
chemistry on the field and in the
hallways. ” – Coach Burton

Dunwoody Wildcats
Head coach: Michael Nash
(2nd season) • Region: 7-AAAAAA
2015 record: 3-7
Top returning starters: LB Peyton
Scott, DB Will Benston, DB
Brashaun Askew and DL Ryan

Decatur Bulldogs
Head coach: Scott Jackson
(4th season) • Region: 6-AAAAA
2015 record: 6-4
Top returning starters: WR/OLB
Terrill Hall, LB Jake Broom, LB
Dearies Wilson, RB/SS Antonio

Expectations: “We’re looking
forward to a really good year this
year.” - Coach Nash

Lakeside Vikings
Head coach: Cam Jones
(1st season) • Region: 7-AAAAAAA
2015 record: 4-7 (playoffs)
Top returning starters: DL Scott
Wright, RB Alec Josey, QB
Will Jernigan and DB Mike
Expectations: “We’re taking it
one day at a time. We’re going to
be dedicated to the process and
we’re going to respect the way the
game is played and the process
it takes to win at the game of
football.” – Coach Jones

Lithonia Bulldogs
Head coach: Marcus Jelks
(7th season) • Region: 5-AAAAA
2015 record: 6-4
Top returning starters: QB Robert
Hatchett III, RB/LB Jaylin
Bolden, RB Courtney Lott, RB/
LB Kamarie Mullins, DB Malachi
Jenkins, OL Cameron Wilson,
LB Addison Ford and SS
Keyshawn Garrett.
Expectations: “We are coming
off of back-to-back 6–4 seasons,
so our goal is always to do better
than the previous year. We have a
special senior class led by Robert
Hatchett, who is a winner. He is
a winner in the classroom as well
as on the field. Our goal is to go
deep into the playoffs.” – Coach

year. In addition to those starters
returning we also have a good
handful of seniors who played
considerably as backups last
year. We also have the addition
of a very good rising junior class
as well, where we expect a good
number of players to compete for
and earn starting positions this
year. We have made the playoffs
for 33 consecutive years and
expect to continue that significant
accomplishment.” – Coach

M.L. King Lions
Head coach: Nicolas Kashama
(3rd season) • Region: 4-AAAAAA
2015 record: 4-6
Top returning starters: OL
Antonio Smith, DB Donovan
Corbett and ATH Antonio
Expectations: “We have a great
group of guys. We’ve been
working hard in the weight room
this year and we’re looking
forward to a great season.” –
Assistant Coach Robert McCune

McNair Mustangs
Head coach: Shelton Carleton
(4th season) • Region: 5-AAA
2015 record: 2-8
Top returning starters: LB/RB
Jamie Jinks, LB/DE Brandon
Duckworth, DB/RB Jalen Brown
and LT/DT Roger Hamilton.
Expectations: “To maintain a
well-disciplined football team in
all phases of the game and to
compete for a region playoff spot.”
– Coach Carleton

Marist War Eagles
Head coach: Alan Chadwick
(32nd season) • Region: 7-AAAA
2015 record: 10-3 (Playoffs)
Top returning starters: QB Jack
Dinges, FB Michael Addick,
OL Charlie Clark, OL Joseph
Mannelly, LB Paul Stanley, DL
Thomas Snipes, DE Ben Page,
DL Connor Lamb, LB David
Sharkey and P Bill Rubright.
Expectations: “This is a very
good senior class for us this


Miller Grove Wolverines
Head coach: Justin Larmond
(1st season) • Region: 5-AAAAA
2015 record: 6-4

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 13
will be our overall youth and
inexperience on the offensive
side. We will be starting a new
quarterback, junior Ben White,
and several new starters on the
offensive line. We will also have
to play our top players two ways.
We will also be very young at
the receiver position.” – Coach

Top returning players: TE/DE
Franklin Smith and ATH Ezekial
Expectations: “We’re returning
six to seven starters. One of the
things that I’ve seen over the
summer is we have a great group
of kids, a great group of seniors.
We’ve been working hard on the
field and working hard off the
field. These guys work hard in the
community. We’ve done a lot of
things to try to bridge the gap in
the community.” – Coach Larmond

Southwest DeKalb Panthers
Head coach: TBA
Region: 5-AAAAA • 2015 record: 4-6
Top returning starters: QB Justin
Tomlin, RB Eric Johnson, WR/
DB Jonathan Green, LB Eris
Walker, OL/DL Jachon Mills,
WR Devaugn Brown, and DB
Mitchell Edwards.
Expectations: The Panthers will
play this season in honor of their
late coach Michael Tanks, who
died Aug. 3.

games this season and stay
healthy, I think we have the talent
to be competitive. We play in a
very tough region so competition
will be at an all-time high this
season.” – Coach Ingram

Towers Titans
Head coach: Brian Montgomery
(3rd season) • Region: 5-AAA
2015 record: 2-8
Top returning starters: TE/DL
Devonte Wyatt, OL/DL Adrian
Burse, WR David Manigo, FB/
LB DaShon Robinson, WR/LB
Quintavious Terrell, DB Joshua
Foster, Joequaviuos Robinson,
Janathian Turner, Irah Thomas
and LB Timothy Butler.
Expectations: “We expect to
be very competitive in order to
make a playoff spot.” – Coach

Redan Raiders
Head coach: Roderick Moore
(3rd season) • Region: 5-AAA
2015 record: 4-6
Top returning starters: QB Xavier
Dennis, C/DT Kendrick Matthew,
ATH Cori Pritchett, LB Michael
King and WR/DB Deaundre
Expectations: “We’re going to
come out and we’re going to give
you 100 percent effort. Anybody
that we play, our young men
will be ready. They’re going to
be disciplined, and when the
clock strikes zero we’ll see what
happens.” - Coach Moore

St. Pius Golden Lions
Head coach: Paul Standard
(16th season) • Region: 8-AAAA
2015 Record: 10-3 (Playoffs)
Top returning starters: DE London
Lewis, DB/RB Grant Holloman,
OL/DL Will Ver Meulen, OL/DL
Bennett Hardee and LB/TE
Olin Broadway
Expectations: “The greatest
strength we will have going into
next year will be our returning
defensive front, two linebackers
and our two-way starter Grant
Holloman. The other greatest
strength is our team’s work ethic/
tradition. Our biggest weakness

Stephenson Jaguars
Head coach: Ron Gartrell
(21st season) • Region: 4-AAAAAA
2015 record: 9-2 (Playoffs)

Tucker Tigers
Head coach: Bryan Lamar
(5th season) • Region: 4-AAAAAA
2015 record: 8-4 (Playoffs)

Top returning starters: RB Jaylen
Marson-Knight, DL Aaron
Sterling, LB Michael Makins

Top returning starters: RB/LB
Chris Broadwater, DB/WR
Deon Watkins, TE/DE Cameron
Richardson, DB Keith Best,
LB/FB Gerry Vaughn and DE
Antonio Showers.

Expectations: “We’re looking for
a good season this year, another
[region] championship and striving
for a state championship.” –
Assistant Coach Donald Sellers

Stone Mountain Pirates
Head coach: Utavius Ingram
(2nd season) • Region: 5-AAA
2015 record: 0-10
Top returning starters: DE/OLB
Darian Bernard, RB Larry
Brooks, TE Thomas Incoom and
WR/DB Isaiah Jennings.
Expectations: “We are looking
to be competitive. We returned
seven starters on offense and
six on defense. We did not
finish games last season and
that caused us to be not very
competitive last season—as well
as injuries. If we are able to finish

Expectations: “I feel like we
have a good group coming
back, we have tons of room for
improvement and I think we had
a solid offseason. We still have
a ways to go. We have a solid
group of seniors. I’m still pushing
for these guys to grow a little bit
more and expand a little bit more.”
Coach Lamar.
*All coaches were contacted
to respond to The Champion’s
football preview questionnaire.
Responses are from that
questionnaire and from the 2016
DeKalb football media day.

New region
High schools across Georgia were placed in new
regions for the 2016-18 term. The Reclassification
Committee of the Georgia High School Association
released the region alignments Dec. 1, 2015. Below are
the region alignments that feature DeKalb County public
and private schools, including Decatur High School.

Region 7
Central Gwinnett
Lakeside, DeKalb

Region 4
Forest Park
M. L. King
Mt. Zion, Jonesboro
Mundy’s Mill

Region 7
Johns Creek
North Atlanta

Region 5
Arabia Mountain
Cross Keys
Miller Grove
Southwest DeKalb

Region 6
Carver, Atlanta
Jackson, Atlanta
Lithia Springs
North Springs

Class AAAA
Region 4
Druid Hills
Henry County
North Clayton

Region 7

Blessed Trinity

West Hall
White County

Stephens County

Class AAA
Region 5
Cedar Grove
Pace Academy
Stone Mountain

Region 8
Madison County
North Oconee
Oconee County
St. Pius X
Woodward Academy


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 14

‘We’re not
finished yet’
More work to be
done on stadiums
by Carla Parker
Three of five DeKalb
County’s stadiums received
some external renovations
over the summer, but more
renovations are expected,
according to a DeKalb
County School District
Adams, Godfrey and
Hallford stadiums received
new field turf, track
surfaces, lights and other
improvements during the
school summer break. The

DeKalb County Board of
Education approved the
renovation projects for the
three stadiums at its Dec. 7,
2015 board meeting.
According to the
renovation proposals,
Adams Stadium received
$1.6 million for renovations,
Godfrey was awarded $1.7
million and Hallford received
$1.9 million. The funds were
allocated under the voterapproved E-SPLOST IV.
Horace Dunson,
executive director of
athletics for DeKalb County
School District, said he is
happy with the progress at
the stadiums.
“They’re still working,”
he said. “We also are

Adams Stadium

anticipating additional
work to be done such as
evaluation of the locker
rooms, [restrooms] and
some other areas that
weren’t covered in the
Dunson said
engineering assessments

are being done to determine
what additional work that
is “absolutely necessary to
“So I’m hopeful that
those things will also get
done,’ he said. “We’re not
finished yet. We’re also
planning to add new score

boards, which were not a
part of the SPLOST funds
but they are provided
through our partnership
with Coca-Cola. That’s
going to come later on after
the electrical systems get
replaced. It’s much more to

How coaches help prepare student-athletes for college life
by Carla Parker


wo years ago, Stephenson defensive end
Chauncey Rivers and Tucker defensive
tackle Jonathan Ledbetter were two of
the top defensive recruits in the state and

Both players were ranked on ESPN’s Top 300
prospect list and had committed to the University
of Georgia with hopes of becoming major
contributors for Georgia’s defense.
However, off-the field issues have ended that
dream for one player and delayed the dream for
the other.
In May, Rivers was dismissed from the Georgia
football team after his third drug-related arrest.
According to reports, Doraville police found Rivers
passed out behind the steering wheel of a car in
a handicapped parking space in front of a Quiktrip
on Pleasantdale Road.
Rivers faced four charges, including a felony
violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substance
Act. Rivers was already facing a three-game
suspension to start this season after two previous
arrests last year.
Rivers was arrested on Nov. 4 and Dec. 12
on possession of marijuana charges for the two
separate incidents.
Ledbetter was arrested twice within a fourmonth span—first in March for underage drinking
and then for driving under the influence in July.
Instead of being kicked off the team, Georgia
football coach Kirby Smart announced that
Ledbetter would be disciplined and placed in an
“intensified education, counseling and medical
assistance program.”
There have been multiple cases of college
athletes getting in trouble with the law, even after
being instructed on the importance being a good
student-athlete and staying on the right paths.
Some DeKalb County coaches said they have
programs, rules or classes in place to help the
players understand the importance of making the

Chauncey Rivers, left, and Jonathan Ledbetter

right decisions once they go off to college.
“We try to educate them as much as possible
on everything; from using examples of guys…we’ll
use Jonathan as an example with our younger kids
and try to use that as a teachable moment to be
able to teach them,” Tucker coach Bryan Lamar
said. “Of course going through health class and
just coming through high school, [they’re] going to
learn about drugs, alcohol and decision making.”
Lamar, who coached Ledbetter, said he and
his staff try to do as much as they can to teach
their players about decision making, accountability,
consequences and understanding that athletes are
viewed in a different light.
“College kids get arrested for drunk driving and
all types of things every single day all around the
country, but when you’re an athlete it’s on ESPN,”
Lamar said. “So we’re teaching them that along
with all of the praise and accolades that come
with being a football star or a football player there
also comes a lot of responsibility. [They’re] going
to be shown in a different light when something
Despite his recent run-ins with the law, Lamar
said Ledbetter is still a good person and student.
“He had great grades last semester at Georgia,
[has] done a good job on the academic end and

had some issues that he needs to get resolved
socially,” Lamar said. “It’s no different than [with]
anybody else. You have people that deal with all
types of issues in their personal life, and he just
has some things that he has to deal with, but that
doesn’t make him a bad person.”
Stephenson assistant football coach Donald
Sellers said there are mentoring programs and
other resources in place to help direct the players’
path academically and socially to help them
become better people.
“We have people who are helping our
program, as well as coaches standing in and doing
as many things as they can to keep them on the
right track because it’s easy to go off to the side,”
Sellers said. “We can lay the foundation for them,
and with support from parents, the community,
administration and school members and all of us
working together as a family we can help keep
these kids on the right track. That’s not saying that
they won’t make mistakes because that’s what
people do. But it is saying that we’ll be there to
support them when they do. We’re not going to
close the door on anybody; we’re going to help
them all.”
Cedar Grove coach Jermaine Smith said
there are consequences when his players make
bad decisions, but also rewards them when they
make good decisions.
“We try to balance it out so they’ll feel good
about themselves when they do something good,
and understand what happens when they do
something bad,” Smith said. “It’s tough because as
a coach you spend a lot of time with them, but we
get them for high school, and sometimes they get
off to [college] and they make bad decisions. But
that doesn’t make them a bad kid—they’re still 19,
20, 21.
“I think one of the biggest things that our kids
have to understand is that one of the best things
about [today] is social media and one of the worst
things about now is social media,” Smith added.
“So they have to understand that all eyes are on
them at all times.”


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 15

County officials, code enforcement concerned with abandoned building
by Horace Holloman
Owners of a dilapidated
14-story building at 4001
Presidential Parkway near
Spaghetti Junction were
cited with 34 code violations
and are scheduled to
appear in court, according
to DeKalb County code
enforcement officials.
The property has
been abandoned and
rapidly deteriorating over
the past two weeks in
July, said DeKalb County
Interim Code Enforcement
Administrator Tonza Clark.
Clark said the code
enforcement department
ran into issues tracking
down the building’s
numerous owners.
“The difficulty is that
particular property has
200-something owners
because it’s a condominium
high rise,” Clark said.
“We’ve been working it for
years and we found two
owners that own over 50

percent of the property.
We’ve been working with
them over the years to get
it cleaned up. Over the
past few months something
happened and the building
got completely trashed.”
The recent decline of
the property on Presidential
Parkway caught the
attention of DeKalb County
Commissioner Nancy
Jester, who visited the
property multiple times.
Jester said the building
has become an eyesore
for DeKalb County. The
property’s pool has yet to
be drained and the grass
surrounding the building
has become overgrown,
she said.
Jester said she also
noticed a shed in which
a woman appeared to be
“Well it’s one of those
things where you see it
over and over again. In
the last few weeks it has
just deteriorated. There’s
graffiti everywhere and

the windows have been
smashed out,” Jester said.
“You have to have some
standards. It’s a building of
note and it is just a blight on
DeKalb County.”
Jester said she has
received feedback from
firefighters who have
concerns about entering the
property if it were to catch
on fire.
“We need to make sure
the premise is properly
secure. When I went back
to the property, someone
had boarded up the doors.
A few days later the boards
were pulled off,” Jester said.

Clark said securing the
premise of the property
is the next step for code
enforcement officials. A
court date with two of the
building’s property owners
is scheduled for Sept. 13.
If the owners are willing
to comply with certain
demands, the judge may
be more lenient in the case,
Clark said.
“The citations ranged
from illegal dumping to an
unsecured structure and
open trash and debris. The
entire building is saturated
with mold on the inside. The
next step is to take them to

court and develop a plan
with them to clean up the
property,” Clark said. “We
need to get the property
cleaned up. Even though
they have to go to court,
there is an opportunity for
them to rectify the issue
and get the place cleaned
up. We want them to make
sure the property is secured
and it would be in their best
interest to do that before
they come to court because
the judge does take that
into consideration.”
Jester said she wants
to make sure the county is
enforcing code in the future.


   YOU  ARE  HEREBY  NOTIFIED  on the  8th day of November 2016, an election will be held in all of  the  precincts  of the  City  of Atlanta  (the "City'').    At the  election  there 
will  be submitted  to the qualified  voters of  the City  for their  determination  the question  of  whether an additional sales  tax shall  be collected in the City of Atlanta for the 
purpose  of expanding  and enhancing MARTA transit service in Atlanta. 
   Voters  desiring  to  vote  for the  imposition of such  sales and  use tax  shall  do so  by voting "YES"  and  voters  desiring  to vote against  the imposition  of  such sales and  use 
tax  shall  do so  by voting "NO,"  as to the question  propounded, to wit: 
   "Shall  an additional  sales tax of one‐half  percent  be collected  in the City  of Atlanta for the purpose of significantly  expanding  and enhancing  MARTA  transit service  in 
   The  several  places for  holding the election shall  be in the regular and  established  precincts of  the City,  and the  polls will  be open from  7:00a.m. to  7:00p.m. on the  date 
fixed  for the election.   Those qualified  to  vote at the election shall  be determined  in all  respects  in accordance and  in conformity  with the Constitution and  the  laws of the 
United States  of  America  and of the State  of Georgia. 
   This  notice  is given  pursuant to joint action  of the  City Council  of  the City  of  Atlanta  and the Municipal  Election  Superintendent  of the  City. 
City of Atlanta 
Municipal Clerk/Election Superintendent 
Rhonda Dauphin Johnson 


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 16

The Carlos Museum at Emory University features exhibits of Asian, Greek, Roman, ancient American and Sub-Saharan African art. It currently features a temporary exhibit
of a Tibetan Buddhist shrine from the Alice Kendall collection.

Fostering wisdom through wonder
program raises
$5,000 for
travel, field trip
expenses at
local schools

by R. Scott Belzer
According to Elizabeth
Horner, director of
education at the Michael
C. Carlos Museum, local
school systems are in
danger of giving up some
of the most captivating,
inspiring and interesting
pieces of primary evidence:
museum exhibits.
“There’s a wonderful
quote from Socrates,
‘Wisdom begins with
wonder,’” Horner said. “The
greatest thing we can do
[as educators] is capitalize
on that sense of wonder
that kids have when they
see a mummy, hear about
a Greek myth. That kind of
engagement can happen
in a museum with a work of
Horner, along with
Carlos Museum associate
director of development
Jennifer Long, recently
raised more than $5,000 to
help at least 800 Georgia

students experience the
museum’s exhibits firsthand.
According to Long, the
Carlos Museum commits
$10,000 each year for
transportation and museum
admission costs, but was
only able to obtain half of
that by late June.
To raise the remaining
amount, the duo used
Emory’s crowdsourcing
software, Momentum,
to contact alumni and
community stakeholders.
On Momentum’s project
page, donors had the option
to submit amounts ranging
from $18 to $1,000 for the
“Get on the Bus” initiative.
The project page said
$18 can help provide
admission assistance for
three students while $1,000
can help cover the cost of
buses for an entire grade
The project concluded
with $5,334 raised by July
20 thanks to donations and
a 1:1 matching donation
promise from alumni Pam,
Michael, and Lauren Giles.
The family matched every
donation up to $1,000
to double the museum’s
“[Lauren]’s father was
a professor, and she grew
up coming to The Carlos
Museum,” Long said. “It’s
near and dear to her.”
Long said the $10,000
will allow willing school
systems the chance to

experience the exhibits
offered at the museum.
While the stipends are
aimed toward Title I
schools, every public and
private school system is
welcome on a first-come,
first-served basis.
Long and Horner
attribute a decline in
museum trips and school

funding to the 2008 housing
bubble and economic
recession. In many school
systems, field trips and
buses are the first items cut
from the annual budget.
Originally founded in
1919, the Carlos Museum
began as a collection of
artwork from professors
who used ancient art to

enhance learning in their
classrooms. The antiquities
museum has vowed to
continue that tradition
for nearly a century, but
developed problems a
decade ago through a
decline in field trips.
“We’ve seen public

See Museum on Page 17A

Samba (ID# 31010825) is a happy, wiggly three year old who is full of
personality. She has a loaf-shaped body and a heart that is ready to
love anyone she meets. She is treat motivated and sits happily
for a yummy snack. She gets along with
other dogs and may enjoy having a
canine companion in her forever
Come meet this Samba
at the DeKalb shelter. If you
adopt any dog over 25 lbs. or any
cat during August you’ll pay only $10
during our “Tail End of Summer” special;
which includes spay/neuter, vaccinations
and microchip at no additional charge. If
you would like more information about
Samba please email adoption@ or
call (404) 294-2165. All
potential adopters will
be screened to ensure
Samba goes to a good


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 17

Brookhaven City Council denies rezoning request for proposed development
by Carla Parker
Residents in favor of smart
development in the Dresden corridor
of Brookhaven got a win July 26.
The Brookhaven City Council
unanimously voted to deny an
ordinance that would have rezoned
a property from O-I and R-75 to
PC-2 to develop a mixed use
building with 121 residential units,
3,600 square feet of live/work units
and 9,000 square feet of groundfloor commercial space.
Before the council’s vote, the
city’s community development
department and planning
commission recommended denying
the request of the applicant,
Terwilliger Pappas Multi-Family,
LLC. Terwilliger Pappas then sent
a letter withdrawing the rezoning
“We worked really hard on trying
to design something that would
meet the land use plan and gain
support of the neighborhood,” said
Greg Power of Terwilliger-Pappas.
“We were unsuccessful and we
have no intention of pursuing this
project any further.”
Attorney Laurel David, who
represented the property owner,
asked for a withdrawal without

“It’s not fair to punish the
property owner because the
applicant was not able to come to an
agreement with the neighborhood,”
David said. “Anything that
happens on this property that has
a residential density will require
rezoning. So by denying the
application you don’t change the
power of city council; you still will
have the power to decide what goes
here in the future if this application is
“If you deny this application then
no one can reapply for two years,”
David added. “And that means that
in two years the developer that
comes along is going to say ‘well,
it’s been two years, the market is
different, maybe they’ve changed
their minds, I’m going to give it
a shot.’ So the time to have this
property on the market and allowed
to be rezoned is now.”
City attorney Chris Balch said
the city council has the discretion
to shorten that period of time of
reapplying for rezoning after a
waiting period of six months under
the zoning ordinance.
Resident Bob Sorrentino, along
with other residents who wore red
shirts to the council meeting, asked
the council to deny the application.

Museum Continued From Page 16A
school participation
decline and private school
participation go up—we want
everyone to have the chance
to come,” Horner said.
Currently, the museum
features exhibits from
eastern, Greek, Roman,
ancient American and SubSaharan African art. It also
features a Tibetan Buddhist
shrine from the Alice
Kendall collection.
“There’s a power in
teaching with objects,”
Horner said. “You’ve heard
about primary documents.
Works of art are primary
objects and documents.”
“All art was
contemporary at some point,
you can learn a tremendous
amount about ancient
cultures through artwork,”
Long said. “We share
the stories of civilization.
Understanding the past
helps us understand the
Horner said museums
are poised to play a
significant role in the
changing Georgia curriculum
based on the amount of
authentically aged, culturally
relevant antiquities. The
new state curriculum

mandates children
engage with differing
perspectives and arrive
at their own conclusion.
This includes content
information, visual literacy
and a shift from science,
technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM) to
include art (STEAM).
Horner said the Carlos
would foster an emerging
area of study for schools
that involves looking at
technologies created in
the ancient world that
impact our world today.
Another included a math
tour examining how ancient
cultures created modern
“There are a lot of dead
cultures here, but what
people are really looking
at are the beginnings of
civilization, structures and
societies,” Horner said.
“We have expressions from
humanities around the world.
There’s never been a more
important time to understand
the rest of humanity.”
For more information
on The Michael C. Carlos
Museum, visit www.carlos. or call (404) 7274282.

“We call to be smarter about
future development in the corridor
and we hope to rely on our ace in
the hole—the city that we did not
have before—to help us and protect
us,” Sorrentino said. “We need
our city to hear what the people of
Brookhaven have to say; that this
proposal—to put very high-density
apartments in our corridor—should
be denied. We can do much
better and be much smarter about
development in the corridor.”
Gordon Robinson, who lives
across from the property, was in
favor of the project.
“It would hurt me terribly to see
the beautiful trees over there cut
down that I so enjoy watching out
of my window, but it would hurt me
more to have a development built
there that is not feasible,” Robinson
said. “My concern is I want to see
the best possible project and that
means the highest quality value at
the lowest density. I was on board
with this one because I’ve seen
other Solis projects. I’m familiar with
what Terwilliger-Pappas has built in
other places. Frankly it’s nicer than
my home and I would be delighted
to live there.”
Councilman Bates Mattison
made the motion to deny the

“Our charge is in representing
our constituents and balancing
that with applications coming
from property owners on what the
community wants to see built,”
Mattison said. “It’s what do you
want to see as the future land use
for the city of Brookhaven. By far, I
have heard the message from our
residents that they’re not closed to
seeing a good development at this
property. They’re opening to hearing
a new proposal.
“You have a situation where the
two parties—the applicant and the
community—were unable to reach a
compromise,” Mattison added. “But
the community is certainly open to
continuing that dialogue. What we
have here is a time period in which
hopefully these two parties will
continue to have discussions. And
I think the city at large really needs
to have a discussion about what we
want to see developed on Dresden
Councilwoman Linley Jones
said the recommendations from the
community development department
and planning commission was
reason enough to deny the
applicant’s proposal.
“I personally don’t see the
benefit of all these new apartments
at this location,” Jones said.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 18

DeKalb County School District’s spending was questioned by both the public and the school board at its August meeting.

Big spenders

Public, board members question DeKalb County School District’s spending habits
by R. Scott Belzer
DeKalb County School District’s
(DCSD) spending practices were
questioned by both the board of
education and the public at its
monthly meeting held August 1.
Concerns were raised by board
member Joyce Morley about
bringing a program called Discovery
Education to 10 of DCSD’s
struggling schools. Discovery
provides coaching for teachers in
leadership, teaching and student
learning in addition to regular
assessments, according to Lisa
Martin, DCSD’s chief academic
and accountability officer.
The 10 schools chosen for
improvement include Cedar Grove,
Chapel Hill, Fairington Way, Flat
Shoals, Oak View, Barack H.
Obama, Panola Way, Snapfinger
and Stoneview. Teachers will be
coached at each school on how
to enhance the overall education
DCSD Superintendent Stephen
Green said he had used the
program in the past and that it
would increase teacher ability and
effectiveness in the classroom. He
said Discovery Education fits into a
larger picture in increasing student
Morley said she has a problem
with continually bringing in outside
programs not familiar with the
district’s overarching issues. She
said it is possible to train staff and
better schools without spending
money each month and suggested
DCSD administration is granting
financial favors.
“This is ridiculous—there
has to be a better way,” Morley
said. “We have to be able to

Board member Joyce Morley challenged and questioned the district’s choice to
spend funds on programs and outside vendors on August 1.

Tucker resident Kirk Lunde questioned DeKalb County School District’s spending at
its public input meeting August 1.

implement these things on our
own. Money keeps being spent. I
have a responsibility—as a board
member— to look at spending in

the district. Programs don’t build
people, people build people. I don’t
have a problem with the program; I
have a problem with the amount of

To highlight Morley’s point,
board member Stan Jester
referenced July’s adoption
of a program dealing with
restorative practices. He asked
that administrators look into
not overlapping when adopting
Board members Marshall
Orson and Vickie Turner asked for
more clarity regarding programs.
Board member James
McMahon requested programs
be set aside in the monthly
financial report to provide a better
understanding of their place in the
Morley also voiced concerns
with $8 million being spent by the
facilities management department
for restructuring the district’s
maintenance and landscaping
services. One company, SSC
Service Solutions, is based in
Knoxville, Tenn.
“We have people who need
jobs and here we are talking about
another vendor,” Morley said.
Board members expressed
concern with the amount of vendors
DCSD is engaging with year to
According to Michael Bell,
DCSD hired 3,443 vendors and
spent $227 million for their services
in the 2016 fiscal year. A vendor
is defined as an entity, usually a
business, outside the district that
requires a payment for goods or
“The spending seems like a
child with a cookie jar,” Morley said.
“Just because we have the money,
doesn’t mean we should keep
grabbing and spending. It concerns

See Spending on Page 19A


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 19

by R. Scott Belzer
Hundreds of City Schools of Decatur (CSD)
parents, teachers and students attended an
informational meeting on dyslexia Aug. 2.
The meeting, called a “listening session” by
CSD’s board of education, allowed those affected
by the learning disability to share their personal
experiences and suggest policy changes to CSD
Because of the number of people who
attended and shared their stories, the meeting
lasted until around midnight.
Steven Goudy, a CSD parent, pediatric
EMT and dyslexic individual, began the session
by explaining what dyslexia is and how it can be
According to Goudy, dyslexia is a hereditary
condition affecting one in five people. Signs
and symptoms include language delay, difficulty
understanding words, reversals of letters and
numbers, omission of words while reading and
confusion about directions.
“In aggregate, these are all signs that things
in our brains are programmed differently,” Goudy
said. “But, like all things, there are opportunities to
intervene. Like intervention, the earlier you identify
the problem, the easier it is to fix.”
Goudy said identifying poor phonological
ability by first grade can often aid a dyslexic child’s
future. He provided statistics that suggest the
ability to read and write by third grade can affect
an individual’s academic career and overall future,
making it the most impactful moment.
Goudy said the easiest way to identify dyslexic
children is through hearing loss. School mandated
hearing tests are often a good indicator but are
never followed up on. Given the odds, the number
of dyslexic students who may not know it at CSD
and other districts may be staggering, according to
Struggling through tears, parents related how
they were told by CSD that their child’s disability
may be a fad, that their children were lazy and that
teachers refused to use the word dyslexia.
While the district grants children individualized
learning plans (IPs), parents said obtaining an
IP takes about a year on average. According to
parents, students who were identified and treated
after third grade continue to struggle.
Emily Howard’s son was allegedly a “reluctant
reader” and “not a hard worker when it came to
reading,” according to CSD teachers. It took a
$3,000 evaluation from a specialist to determine

City Schools of Decatur’s meeting room was standing room only for an informational session on dyslexia that
attracted hundreds of parents, students and district staff.

her son is dyslexic.
“When we brought the results back, CSD told
us ‘[You] certainly got the results you were paying
for, didn’t you?’ and refused to accept any part of
the evaluation,” Howard said. “My son did receive
an IP but we were told by one of our administrators
‘This is a waste of time, don’t you understand
you’re taking away resources from children who
really need them?’”
Howard ended her story by saying her son is
an Eagle Scout, works part-time for a neighbor and
rides the bus for his work in construction.
“I would like to see an end to the disconnect
between how our children are labeled and what
they’re capable of,” Howard said. “Between
how our children are taught and what scientific
research proves [concerning] how they learn.”
Some parents suggested Orton-Gillingham
instruction as a solution. Whether through
individualized tutors or enrollment in the
specialized Schenk School in Atlanta, the OrtonGillingham approach to reading was one each
parent referenced as a starting point for the district.
Kenzie Kandetzki, a senior at Decatur High
School, as well as David “Oggy” Pate, a fifth
grade student at 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue
spoke to let parents know that hope does and can
exist for CSD students.
Pate, who was diagnosed with dyslexia in first
grade, said he spoke to inform attendees about
methods to help people with dyslexia. Pate also
wants people to know a class divide exists in
obtaining help.

“Some kids don’t get the help,” Pate said.
“There are a bunch of kids who can’t get tutors.
I know a few. There’s a bunch of kids who aren’t
as wealthy or privileged. Some can’t go to great
schools in Decatur.”
Kandetzki said she wanted to share her own
struggle to assure it does not happen to another
CSD student.
“It was a very hard struggle with not knowing
until fifth grade I was dyslexic,” Kandetzki said.
“I got through the experience with help in school
and from tutors. I didn’t get the help I needed from
teachers [until fifth grade] and we weren’t told in
time. I only just began to understand grammar in
February because of my SAT class.”
Kandetzki said her strongest subject in school
is science and that she plans to attend college to
be a special education teacher or dyslexic tutor.
“I don’t want kids to go through the experience
I went through,” Kandetzki said. “Dyslexia is not a
curse. It’s a stressful, struggling gift that students
have to learn to live with and find ways to learn
from. Amazing people are dyslexic.”
Board chairman Annie Caiola said the topic
of dyslexia warrants board attention and potential
policy changes.
“We, as a board, have decided this issue
involving dyslexia is one that is deserving of our
attention and one we wanted to hear from all
the parents on,” Caiola said. “All of the board
members have been approached by at least one—
if not more—who wanted to share some thoughts
on their child’s experience in our school system.”

Lance Hammonds, a representative from
DeKalb County NAACP, said outsourcing
facilities management and spending money on
outside vendors should be carefully considered.
“Make sure you’re looking out for people
in the district,” Hammonds said. “Make sure
contracts are performing services. Look out for
the people who are employed by the district, do
the right thing.”

Tucker resident Kirk Lunde questioned how
DCSD decided to spend money and on what.
He pointed out Stone Mountain High School and
Midvale Elementary School are in dire need of
repairs and that the board has yet to spent $3
million in money set aside for maintenance.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Lunde said.
“Financial accountability and financial oversight
is always the board’s responsibility.”

spending Continued From Page 18A
me—this year seems like the year of vendor,
vendor, vendor. It doesn’t seem like we’re
looking at the needs of people here and helping
those people.”
Turner called for a vendor comparison from
the 2015-2016 school year to the 2016-2017
school year to judge increases or decreases.
Residents of DeKalb County also spoke
during DCSD’s public input session August 1.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 20

Staff gather to celebrate the reopening of the Toco Hills LongHorn Steakhouse.

DeKalb County firefighters, county officials, Chamber of Commerce representatives
and others join LongHorn staff to cut the ribbon reopening the restaurant, which
was rebuilt after a 2014 fire.

Restaurant that burned in 2014 reopens
by Kathy Mitchell

The Toco Hills LongHorn
Steakhouse burned to the ground in
June 2014. It was only a temporary
setback, according to Carrie
Strickland, a 10-year LongHorn
employee, who leads the restaurant
team as managing partner following
its reopening Aug. 9.
“It’s been amazing the number
of people who have called to
say that they are so excited that
we’re reopening,” Strickland said.
“The restaurant was very popular
before the fire and people haven’t

Strickland, a Dunwoody
resident, said the North Druid
Hills Road location is an excellent
one, where she is confident the
restaurant will soon be as busy
as ever. “Reopening was a good
business decision, but it also was
a good community decision,” she
said. “The community here supports
us and we support the community.”
During its pre-opening training
period, the restaurant hosted
a friends and family event with
proceeds benefiting DeKalb County
Fire & Rescue—the first responders

who helped fight the 2014 fire.
The restaurant also announced
that it will regularly donate food to
charities and food banks in the Toco
Hills area.
Strickland said reopening the
restaurant creates 70 to 80 jobs in
the community and 20 employees
who worked at the restaurant
prior to the fire are returning. “One
person who worked there 20 years
has rejoined us,” she said.
LongHorn first opened its Toco
Hills location in 1983. The rebuilt
restaurant will be the same size
as the original—5,620 square feet

with seating for approximately 200
customers. The new restaurant,
however, features updated design
elements including a new entrance,
making it consistent with the look
and feel of more recently built
LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants.
The interior décor and art pieces
also have been updated, according
to Strickland.
Founded in Atlanta in 1981,
LongHorn in 2007 became part
of Darden Restaurants Inc.,
headquartered in Orlando, Fla.
There are more than 470 LongHorn
restaurants in 40 states.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 21

Development center helps small businesses get started, keep growing
by Kathy Mitchell
Statistics released by
the federal Small Business
Administration (SBA), suggest that
small businesses are crucial to
Georgia’s economy.
According to SBA:
• Georgia’s small businesses
employed more than two-fifths
or 1.5 million of the state’s
private workforce in 2012.
• Almost all Georgia firms
with employees are small.
They make up 97.7 percent of
all employers in the state.
• Firms with fewer than 100
employees have the largest
share of Georgia’s small
business employment.
• In Georgia, small
businesses created 40,580 net
new jobs in 2012. The biggest
gain was in the smallest firm
size category of one to four
• The number of people who
were primarily self-employed
in Georgia in 2013 increased
by 1.4 percent relative to the
previous year.
• The state’s private-sector
employment growth increased
by 2.9 percent over the
12-month period ending in
October 2014; this was above
the national average growth
rate of 2.3 percent.
Recognizing the importance
of small businesses, the state
through the University of Georgia
Small Business Development
Center (UGA SBDC), offers a wide
variety of services to those who
own or are working to start small
Sharon Macaluso, area
director in charge of the DeKalb
UGA SBDC office, explained that
the center provides tools, training
and resources to help small
businesses grow and succeed.
Statewide, UGA SBDC assists
more than 4,200 clients each year.
“The program has been a huge
success,” Macaluso said. “There
are many people who have great
business ideas but need guidance
in working through the details.
That’s where we can help.”
Funded primarily by the state,
the business development center
offers services in such areas
as basic accounting, human
resources and research. “We help
small businesses figure out where
they are and what it will take to
get where they would like to be,”
Macaluso said, adding that UGA
SBDC uses the same definition of
a small business—one with fewer
than 500 employees—that SBA
uses. She said 80 percent of the
clients the DeKalb center works
with are existing firms; the other 20
percent are entrepreneurs working

to start businesses.
Programs such as StartSmart
are available to those looking to
start a business or are in the early
stages of running a business. The
multi-session program, which is
next being offered at the DeKalb
office starting Aug. 19, provides
tools to a business and build for its
long-term success. Participants,
according to UGA SBDC, will be
taught to plan and analyze their
business vision “by creating a
thoroughly researched and tested
business plan.”
UGA SBDC sprang from a
mid-1970s initiative in which the
SBA allocated funds for eight pilot
state small business development

programs. One was at The
University of Georgia. The success
of these pilot programs led to
President Jimmy Carter signing
the Small Business Development
Center Act into law.“Although there
is overlap between the services
we offer and those offered by the
Small Business Administration, we
are not part of the SBA,” Macaluso
explained. “We actually are
partners with them.” The DeKalb
UGA SBDC office is one of 17
across the state.
“These are placed for the
convenience of users,” Macaluso
explained. “Anyone in Georgia can
get help or attend seminars at any
office.” For example, the workshop

on obtaining small business loans
that will be held at the DeKalb
office Aug. 12, will be offered later
at Kennesaw State University,
the Gwinnett office, Clayton State
University and Georgia State
While consulting services are
at no charge, there are tuition fees
for seminars and some require
students to meet acceptance
Macaluso recommended
that small business owners and
perspective owners call the office
and meet with a consultant who
can make suggestions, including
which classes will be most useful.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 22




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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 23

The last day of Dunwoody Nature Center’s summer cap inspired one camper to make a gigantic bubble. Photo submitted.

The Dunwoody High School football team blew off some steam and bonded after
practice at a local pool August 3. Photo submitted.


The Clarkston Community Center hosted a community yard sale July 30. Photo

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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, August 12, 2016 • Page 24

When your list is long
and time is short,

10 x 13.5