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the DeKalb

FRIDAY, September 16, 2016 • VOL. 19, NO. 23 • FREE

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

• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

Artists and Avondale Estates
residents came together Sept. 10
for the ArtLot Block Party on North
Avondale Road. Photos by Carla
Parker

Avondale Estates
celebrates art at
block party
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Avondale Estates isn’t known as an
arts destination and local artists are trying
to change that.
Artists, Avondale Estates residents
and others came together Sept. 10 for
the ArtLot Block Party on North Avondale
Road. The event featured artists who
painted their designs on “peace poles”
and large wooden canvases, which will be
installed at The ArtLot for functional and
artistic enhancements.
The ArtLot is an idea formed by the
Avondale Arts Alliance, residents and
businesses to create a temporary city
park in a vacant lot on North Avondale
Road. The concept of the ArtLot is to
turn unused land into a pop-up art park,
according to the proposal.
The vision is to create a temporary
public space where residents and visitors
can explore a “creative experience” that
would include sculptures and visual
art installations, green walls and a
performance space. It could also be used
for other activities.
Jen Singh, president of the Avondale
Arts Alliance and project manager for
ArtLot, said the purpose of the block party
was to attract artists.
“They all wanted to come in and be
like the first instillation of some art work
that’s going to be installed on some of the
walls that are going to go in [the ArtLot],”
Singh said. “We have this bar area that is
already installed. But there will be other
‘L’ shaped walls that will be gallery-space
walls that these will be mounted on.”
Artists who were in attendance
included SQuishiepuss, Killamari, Alex
Ferror and Lacy Freeman. According
to Singh, the ArtLot location was once

See Block Party on
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on Page 5

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 2

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 3

AroundDekalb
Avondale Estates

decatur

The Avondale Community Club will host its annual Taste of Avondale
event Sept. 17. The event offers food samples from local eateries along
with art from local artists and artisans. Local musicians In the Wheelhouse
will provide musical entertainment. The community club is located at
59 Lakeshore Drive. For more information, email Connie Bryans at
lcbryans@bellsouth.net.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation announced a $3,300 grant
to Delta Life Development Center Inc., a city nonprofit aiding efforts in
reading and writing.
According to Dollar General officials, the grant is part of a $4.5 million
fund awarded to more than 1,000 organizations across the country. Delta
Life Development employees will use the award to help fund tutorial
services to DeKalb County students, college tours, community fundraisers
and similar activities, according to the organization’s website.
The Delta Life Development Foundation awards scholarships, helps
fund Links to Literacy and provides literary aid to youth organizations
throughout Georgia. Delta Life Development is the “philanthropic arm” of
the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Community club to host Taste of Avondale

BROOKHAVEN
City to host painting event

Artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to “Paint the Park” at
Blackburn Park on Sept. 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. Volunteer judges are also
needed. Once the pieces are completed they will be displayed in the park
visible from Ashford-Dunwoody Road until the event closes. The winning
pieces then will be on display at Brookhaven City Hall. Art supplies and
paper will be provided, but artists may bring their own easels and canvas.
Blackburn Park is located at 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road. For more
information, or to volunteer to judge, email news@brookhavenga.gov or
call (404) 637-0508.

chamblee

Artist selected for city mural
Artist Michael Jones has been selected by Chamblee officials to
complete a mural on a retaining wall along Peachtree Road. Jones was
selected following public input and an application process beginning in May.
According to his website, Jones received a bachelor’s degree in
painting and sculpture from Atlanta College of Art in 1998. He has had
work exhibited at such Atlanta locations as C4 Fuse Art Center, Monarch
Plaza, Archive Gallery, Mixed Medium Art Gallery, Soda Salon, Sundial
Restaurant, Starbucks and MJQ.
More public meetings will take place in fall 2016 to “engage the
community in assisting [Jones] with the mural’s design.” Installation will
begin following public approval and approval from MARTA.
According to Chamblee officials, this location “was identified as a key
gateway into downtown Chamblee.”
“The existing retaining wall on Peachtree Road at Peachtree Boulevard
is an important entry into the historic Chamblee central business district,”
states a release from Chamblee’s economic development team. “With the
new developments in the area … the city wishes to do its part and add
vibrant art to the highly visible corridors.”
To view Jones’s work, visit www.letter75.com.

clarkston

City hosts Career Information Fair
The United Nations Association, in partnership with Trends Global, will
host a Career Information Fair at Clarkston Community Center on Sept. 14
from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The event will include remarks from Mayor Ted Terry, a photo exhibit
from Photovoice Clarkston spokesman Birthe Reimers, a panel of refugee
settlement advocates, as well as lectures by local business owners and
authors. “Residents [will] explore what it means to find a home in the USA and
share their stories and experiences of living in a diverse community,” reads a
statement from The United Nations Association.
For more information, contact Becca Ollis-Bannister at becca@
trendsglobal.org or visit www.trendsglobal.org.

Dollar General donates to local nonprofit

City unveils new outdoor court
DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs
held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 10 at Gresham Park to celebrate the
Atlanta Hawks Foundation’s $48,000 outdoor basketball court.
Atlanta Hawks Foundation representatives came to celebrate the
donation of the new court.
“DeKalb County is grateful for the partnership with the Atlanta Hawks
Foundation and the benefit this new basketball court will bring to the
community for many years to come,” said DeKalb interim CEO Lee May in
a statement.
Following the unveiling ceremony, youth basketball players from
DeKalb County participated in a basketball showcase on the new court.

Church hosting ‘Guns to Pumps’ event
Columbia Presbyterian Church will host a “Guns to Pumps” event
Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
The church plans to use donated guns from the community and turn
the guns into rope pumps to access water. The guns will be taken to a
local blacksmith who will forge working rope pumps with the metal from
the guns.
The pumps will be displayed in surrounding worship communities to
symbolize the conviction that there are too many guns in society and too
few resources, church officials said in a statement.
The event will also feature light refreshments and a panel discussion.

lithonia

City to host collard greens
festival
Lithonia will host the
annual Collard Greens Cultural
Festival Sept. 24 at the Lithonia
Amphitheater from noon to 7
p.m. Attendees may sample
various collard greens dishes,
including collard green ice
cream. The amphitheater is
located at 2501 Park Drive. For
more information, visit www.
collardgreensculturalfestival.com.

Notice of
Nondiscriminatory
Policy as to Students
Heartwood ALC, Inc.
3701College Avenue,
Clarkston, GA 30021 admits
students of any race, color,
national origin and ethnic origin
to all the rights, privileges,
programs, and activities
generally accorded or made
available to students at the
school. It does not discriminate
on the basis of race, color,
national origin and ethnic
origin in administration of its
educational policies, admission
policies, scholarship and loan
programs, and athletic and
other school-administered
programs.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 4

A school was allowed to operate in the old and vacant Lithonia city hall building without a lease agreement.

Lithonia allows tenant in old city hall building without lease
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

F

or 11 months, Lithonia city
officials allowed a youth
organization to operate in the
old city hall building without a
lease agreement.
In September 2015, the city
gave the keys of the old city
hall building to the founders of
The Harriet Tubman School
for Leadership and Enterprise,
according to Jhavaun Green and
Muhammed Cannon. The school
focuses on the development of
imagination, creativity, leadership
and excellence in industry,
according to its website.
During an Aug. 24 special
called meeting—after questions
were raised multiple times about
a lease agreement—the city
council voted to have city attorney
Winston Denmark develop a oneyear renewable lease agreement
and have it ready for review at the
Sept. 6 regular council meeting.
The council also voted for the
school to not use the facility until an
agreement is signed.
However, Denmark did not
attend the council meeting because
of to a prior commitment. The
council discussed whether to enter
into a lease agreement without
knowing who owns the title to
the old city hall building. Some
councilmembers said they were told

that the Lithonia Housing Authority
owns the building.
Mayor Pro Tem Tracy-Ann
Williams said she emailed
Denmark asking about ownership of
the property.
“He said a title search would be
necessary, which would cost the
city as much as $350,” Williams
said. “[I asked] if we can do a lease
if we’re not sure, and he said ‘yes.’”
The council voted to have a title
search done on the building.
After the Aug. 24 special called
meeting, The Champion asked
Denmark if it is legal for the city to
authorize someone to use a facility
without a lease agreement.
“It’s not illegal, but I wouldn’t
advise a client to do that,” Denmark
said.
At the special called meeting,
Cannon and Green explained the
timeline of events to the city council
as to how they were allowed to
use the building without a lease
agreement. In November 2014, the
two first presented their plan to use
the downstairs portion of the old city
hall to run the school.
“Between December 2014 and
February 2015, we went back and
forth in terms of what were the
details that needed to be submitted
to [former] city administrator [Eddie
Moody],” Green said. “In March
2015, we did submit the proposal to
the city administrator.”
According to Green, around the

time they presented their proposal
to Moody, the question of who owns
the building was brought up during
a council meeting by councilman
Ric Dodd.
“We were unaware of that issue
at the time and it was said that the
city could not enter into any type
of lease agreement because of
whatever issues,” Green said. “We
were told to operate on a ‘don’t do
too much; don’t knock down walls’
[agreement]. In September 2015,
we were given the keys to the
old city hall…while details of the
agreement were being worked out.”
Dodd has raised questions
about the city not having a contract
with the school from the beginning.
“When you first made the
presentation I said we need a
contract,” Dodd told Cannon and
Green during the special called
meeting. “We need to write things
down to protect the city and protect
yourselves.”
“[The school] is a good thing;
I’m not putting it down,” Dodd
continued. “But the city has legal
responsibilities.”
In November 2015, The Harriet
Tubman School for Leadership and
Enterprise held its first program in
the old city hall building, according
to Green. In January 2016, Moody
held a meeting to discuss the use
of the building—where the school
would operate downstairs and a city
official would work upstairs.

When Moody retired in June he
assured the school could continue
using the building, according
to Green. Cannon and Green
launched a summer camp in June
and met with the council in July
to present an update as well as
request a formal agreement.
On July 20, they emailed
Jackson a draft “memo of
understanding” as a substitute for
a lease agreement. Jackson told
The Champion that there was never
a decision to not have a lease
agreement for the school.
“We [were] just kind of doing a
trial to see how it was going to work
before we formalized it,” Jackson
said. “They weren’t initially starting
the school. They had some ideas of
some programing that they wanted
to do, so they were using the space
and having meetings with different
members of the community.”
While the school founders were
holding meetings, they also did
work in the building, such as pulling
up the carpet to take care of mold.
They were doing this rent-free,
according to Jackson.
“We weren’t interested in
having another vacant building
on Main Street, so this was a way
of having a presence and having
some activity taking place until we
[decide] what we want to do with
the space,” Jackson said.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16, 2016

local

Page 5

Block Party

Continued From Page 1
home to Avondale Pizza Café before
the restaurant relocated to another
space in the city.
“It was a beloved space that a lot
of people hung out in, and it still has,
I think, a lot of gathering space,”
Singh said. “We have dog walkers
that convene here and hang out,
we have a huge biker community
that cuts through [here] and they
hang out here, so it feels like a very
natural space for people to pause.
When we were thinking about a
temporary art park, it was here.
“At some point we hope it gets
developed and if it does then we’ll
pop everything up,” Singh said.
“Everything is temporary, [so we
can] move it to another blighted
area.”
Singh said she hopes ArtLot will
be completed by Sept. 24, which is
the projected launch party date, and
she hopes will encourage visitors
and artists to come to Avondale
Estates.
“I feel like we have... strong
arts thread here with the Rail Art
District behind us, there is the Little
Tree Arts studio and Garage Door
Studio,” she said. “We all connect a
lot and it makes sense that we have
a meeting space for the community
to take part. We’ve already talked
tonight to many artists who want to
be involved in the next project. I do
feel like it will be a draw.”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016

opinion

Page 6

Joy shared in going home again
My husband Cedric and I do
not return to our hometowns often.
He grew up in Norwalk, Ct., and
I in Mount Vernon, NY. Our trips
back home now only happen every
three to five years, unfortunately it’s
usually for a funeral.
This time it was a happy
occasion—my husband’s 45th class
reunion.
He drove around Norwalk like a
safari guide in search of wild prey—
zipping through neighborhoods,
maneuvering along back roads
and slowing to point out his first
elementary school, the corner store
where he and a cousin used to
steal candy, where he went flying
off the handle bars of a friend’s
bike and one of the places he
worked in high school where he
would climb to the rafters to retrieve
merchandise. He showed me one
of the houses he lived in and the

Gale Horton Gay
gale@dekalbchamp.com

small church directly across from
that house where he was made to
attend services every Sunday; and
we drove by the childhood homes
of some of his friends who are now
friends to both of us and who now
live in DeKalb County.
Although we’ve been married
for 26 years and I’ve heard these
stories many times before, I loved
every minute of it. There was joy
in his recollecting and retelling. His
face and spirit came alive.
Back when our now-adult

children were small, I took them
along on one of these trips down
memory lane in my hometown.
After pointing out this and that
place that were beloved parts of
my childhood, my smart aleck son
remarked, “Next are you going to
show us the rock you tripped over
going to school.” That day my joy
was not shared.
Norwalk is a small town in
southern Connecticut where corner
delis and bars are interspersed in
neighborhoods of small houses
framed by tall trees. The Long
Island Sound is at the back door of
this community. Eating fresh fried
shrimp bought from a little food
shack overlooking the sound was
an ideal lunch and the $1 chocolate
soft serve ice cream cone the
perfect finish.
At the reunion, my husband was
in seventh heaven, reconnecting

with high school buddies, being
remembered for his athletic feats
of nearly a half century ago and
sharing what’s happened since
those glory days. He astonished his
childhood friend Nick in recalling
the time Nick used old bleach
bottles to make a raft that the two
launched on a small creek. The
laughing, back slapping, dancing,
reminiscing and teasing went on for
hours.
Novelist Thomas Wolfe coined
the phrase “You can’t go home
again” about the complexities of
returning to the places of our youth
and how our perception is affected
over time.
Certainly going home isn’t
always fun, easy and emotionally
satisfying. We made a romanticized
trip down memory lane in which we
purposely focused on the best of
times and it brought us both joy.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16, 2016

opinion

Page 7

Big solutions from tiny houses
“Our society says work longer and work harder. And, with
our culture, we often work too
much and forget to live. Not having a sense of community is the
reason for many of the issues
society has, and tiny houses
are so much more than a cool
space–they are just the tip of the
iceberg in a much bigger conversation society needs to be
having.” Will Johnston, founder
of the advocacy and education
group, Tiny House Atlanta.
 There are a couple of popular
TV programs on HGTV fueling
the interest, Tiny House Big Living and Tiny House Hunters, but
this growing movement and interest is much more than media
hype.
About the size of an average
hotel room, a tiny house is typically 200-500 square feet. The
dwellings, often on wheels and
portable, are energy-efficient,
rely heavily on natural lighting
and are frequently designed for
living off the energy grid—collecting and recycling rainwater,
as well as making use of solar
and other alternative energy
sources as well as portable generators and well water.
 As of 2015, the median new
family home was 2,500 square
feet, a 61 percent increase over
the average home size in 1975,
and generally coming with a
larger mortgage and property tax
obligation to match.
Recently, a tiny home was
temporarily installed on a lot behind Stone Mountain’s ART Sta-

‘One Man’s
Opinion’
Bill Crane

bill.csicrane@gmail.com

tion. The home was available for
guests to tour as well as occasional overnight stays. The nonprofit’s annual “Art Stroll” drew
record attendance this year, due
to many coming to see the tiny
house. There are unfortunately
no local ordinances allowing for
the placement of tiny houses in
Stone Mountain, but city officials
are looking into changing that.
A tiny house festival in Decatur in late July drew a paying
weekend crowd of more than
5,300 who toured tiny homes
and attended presentations and
seminars on the development
of tiny home communities. Tiny
House Atlanta’s membership
now exceeds 1,500.
Johnston has purchased land
in East Point in south Fulton
County and is working with the
municipality to create a 52-unit
tiny house community, with all
homes—of varying size and design—on foundations.
In locations where tiny houses
are allowed, they are primarily
viewed as “guest houses” and
must be placed on a slab or
foundation, versus wheels.
Spur, Texas, population
1,318—a shrinking rural community—has declared itself

America’s first tiny house-friendly town, and adapted its building
and zoning codes accordingly in
2014.
Let’s just run a short list of
community challenges where
tiny houses could help turn a
corner:
Affordable housing: Creating
a potential new first-time home
market with an affordable ownership option that may be cheaper
than most apartments or weekto-week hotels. Access to the
housing units could be earned
as part of a process with Habitat
for Humanity or other non-profits.
Neighborhood Watch/crime
reporting: As a Scottdale resident, I can share that an active
and engaged Neighborhood
Watch program has made a
tremendous difference in crime
reduction and prevention, but it
requires being an engaged and
somewhat nosy neighbor. Scottdale was constructed as a mill
town with homes, which now
would not meet current building
codes. The smaller size homes
and lots also put neighbors in
closer proximity. It is possible to
see, shout and converse with a
neighbor on an adjoining porch,
even among our busier streets.
This would be even more possible in a tiny house town.
In addition, perhaps with the
lower price point, our police,
fire, other first responders and
teachers might be able to afford
to live in the communities that
they serve, or municipal govern-

ments could construct and link
tiny housing to their employment
contracts as a benefit option.
As the costs of providing infrastructure, police, fire, water,
sewer, etc., are somewhat static
and rising, governments tend to
push back from shrinking average building sizes, which in effect reduces tax revenue, while
generally not affecting costs. The
smaller the house, the less revenue, the greater the loss to the
government. There are those on
DeKalb’s current county commission who count each independent household as another
financial drain on the county.
 There are ways to fix that
problem as well. It will just
require many active voters
to eventually occupy those
tiny houses. The benefits are
many, and the negatives are
few, if building codes for safety
and fire prevention remain in
place. Think tiny and big at the
same time.

Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News,
WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and
now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia
Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native
and business owner, living in
Scottdale. You can reach him or
comment on a column at bill.csicrane@gmail.com.

Subscribe to The Champion Newspaper
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the DeKalb

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discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 8

Business restrictions considered in Clarkston
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Clarkston City Council
discussed passing two ordinances
on Sept. 6: one prohibits new
permits to sell distilled spirits
(liquor) and one regulates
pawnbrokers.
The council introduced the two
ordinances and both are expected
to be voted on at its October
meeting.
“The state of Georgia allows
municipalities to regulate heavily in
this area,” said councilman Mario
Williams. “We have 15 package
stores in a small radius area. We
looked where those stores were
located and are studying whether or
not we’re going to ban any further
creation of package stores or
licensing. With 15, that’s more than
enough for anybody to find alcohol
if they want it.”
Williams said the council has
expressed interest in “stopping the
proliferation” of package stores
throughout the city.
Williams said Clarkston city
attorney Stephen Quinn drafted
an ordinance that will be voted
on in October after further study.
Quinn said the ordinance has yet to
account for potentially annexed liquor
stores and may include language to
welcome them into the city.
“If we end their license, there
may be a legal issue there,” Quinn
said.
Mayor Ted Terry said the
ordinance would apply only to
stores selling distilled alcohol by the
bottle and not affect restaurants,
beer growler stores, grocery stores
or gas stations.

TitleMax is one of two pawn shops in Clarkston facing stricter regulations from
city council.

Councilman Awet Eyasu
questioned whether the ordinances
would prohibit a brewery. Quinn told
him that is a separate zoning and
licensing issue that the ordinance
would not affect.
Clarkston City Council also
introduced an ordinance regulating
the operation of local pawn
shops. A draft ordinance expected
to be voted on in October will
require 1,000 feet distance from
pawnshops, residential buildings,
schools, parks or recreation
facilities, libraries, religious
buildings and medical facilities.
As is the case with liquor stores,
Williams said, the city is worried
about “the proliferation” of pawn

shops in a geographically small city.
The official draft ordinance presents
the potential law as one attempting
to reduce theft issues.
“Currently, we don’t have an
ordinance regulating pawn brokers
in Clarkston. The council has
expressed an interest in exploring
that particular industry,” Williams
said. “This would regulate any
current or future pawnbrokers. We
currently have two pawn shops in
two square miles. We’re worried
about more.”
Other regulations will restrict
pawn shops to industrial zones,
require immediate access to law
enforcement, photographs of
merchandise and people selling

Lulu’s is one of 15 stores selling liquor in
Clarkston.

merchandise, as well as behavioral
stipulations for owners and
employees.
“We’re working on that section
to better define it,” Williams said.
“This also has many recording
requirements. This is the first draft
and it’s very comprehensive. This
is an issue that will be tabled for
further development.”
Terry said the draft ordinance
also applies to title pawn shops
dealing with automobiles.
Both ordinances were tabled
until Clarkston City Council’s
October meeting. Councilmen said
they expect to have more public
meetings regarding both subjects
before that time.

Lithonia has new VISTA volunteer
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Lithonia has a new
AmeriCorps Volunteers in
Service to America (VISTA)
volunteer on board and is in
search of two more.
Michael Harrison, who
started working with the
city on Aug. 22, will focus
on promoting financial
literacy and safe housing in
Lithonia. He will work with
residents in improving their
financial health and having
access to safe and healthy
housing.
He also will address
saving, budgeting,
accessing credit home
improvement, taxes,

AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer
Michael Harrison will focus on
promoting financial literacy and
safe housing in Lithonia.

retirement, loans, fraud
prevention and home
energy efficiency.
Harrison, who was

introduced to residents
at the Sept. 6 regular city
council meeting, is replacing
another AmeriCorps VISTA
volunteer who left the city in
May. He will work with the
city for a year.
“I’m very excited to be
here,” he said. “I’m looking
forward to working with
Mayor [Deborah] Jackson
and my other America
VISTAs.”
Lithonia was approved
by the State Office of the
Corporation for National and
Community Service (CNCS)
to recruit two AmeriCorps
volunteers to work with the
community in the areas
of job training and small
business development.

“We are glad we are
able to recruit to fill the
VISTA positions again,”
Jackson said in a released
statement. “The new
VISTAs will build on the
work started to identify
and bring resources to the
community in the areas
of job training and small
business development.
They will complement the
work by our other VISTAs
who are focusing on assetbuilding and access to
healthy food resources.”
The city’s VISTA
project—Lithonia Action to
Build Community (Lithonia
ABC)—focuses on the
CNCS goals of economic
opportunity. The city is

seeking two applicants
to serve as a VISTA
community liaison for job
development and a VISTA
community liaison for small
business development and
support.
The positions are
temporary, full-time and
funded through the State
AmeriCorps Office for
a one-year period. A
monthly stipend of $1,026
is provided along with
healthcare and other
benefits. An educational
award is also available upon
successful completion of
the program.
Applicants can find
more information at www.
my.americorps.gov.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 9

Clarkston’s city council approved a $199,656 contract agreement with Leach Landscaping to provide better landscaping and sidewalks in the city.

Clarkston approves $199K in sidewalk improvements
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
What is at times referred to
as the most diverse square mile
in Georgia will become more
pedestrian-friendly following a
meeting held Sept. 6.
Clarkston City Council
unanimously approved a
$199,656 contract with Leach
Landscaping—a Covingtonbased outdoor maintenance and
construction firm—for sidewalk
construction along East Ponce de
Leon Avenue.
Improvements will include
sidewalk widening, brick paving,
new furniture and landscaping,
according to the contract. Granite

curbs will also be installed,
following the trend set by “Phase I”
of the project from Market Street to
West Smith Street.
The next phase will begin at
West Smith Street and end at
Cobble Mill Lane.
Clarkston City Manager Keith
Barker said the contract agreement
will also include demolition of the
existing sidewalk. Barker originally
projected the project would cost
more than $210,000 prior to the
bidding process.
“It’s not unusual to make
changes on a project of this size,”
Barker said. “We can always add
contingency. We are fortunate the
bid came in as a little less.”
City council also approved

submitting a Local Maintenance
and Improvement Grant (LMIG)
to the Georgia Department
of Transportation to offset
approximately $76,000 of the
approved $199,656. Barker said
another $40,000 should be included
for anticipated homestead option
sales tax (HOST) funds.
“We’ll probably have to budget
about $80,000 for this project,”
Barker said.
Councilman Awet Eyasu
voiced concern over matching the
grant. Barker said the city will be
responsible for matching 30 percent
of the grant. Mayor Ted Terry
said that the new sidewalks will
also bring Clarkston into American
Disability Act compliance at nearby

apartment complex Carriage Oaks.
During the public comment
portion of Clarkston’s city council
meeting, pastor C.O. Adams of
Christ Community African Methodist
Episcopal Church commended the
city’s growth.
“For 16 years, I’ve been in the
city of Clarkston,” Adams said. “I
want to thank the mayor and city
councilpersons and city manager
on the development of the city. I’ve
never seen it like it is now. It makes
me want to be here for 16 more
years.”
Barker told city council he
expects the project to begin by
the end of September and be
completed within four months.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 10

Business owners voice concerns over Clarkston smoking ban
Atlanta attorney
highlights communication
concerns in diverse
downtown area
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
One month after its approval,
Clarkston officials are still hearing
opposition to a citywide smoking
ban—this time in many languages.
During a Sept. 6 city council
meeting, Atlanta attorney Patricia
Bernard addressed Clarkston
officials on a smoking ban approved
Aug. 4. Approval of the ordinance
came after three months of
discussion, special-called meetings,
backlash from the vaping community
and opposition from a Clarkston
adult entertainment establishment.
Bernard was asked by several
refugee-owned businesses—many
of which offer hookah tobacco
products—to speak on their behalf.
“This concerns the ordinance,
having to do with hookah in
particular,” Bernard said. “[Business
owners] are very confused about
this. Several of them believe the
ordinance will pretty much kill their
business. They would like to have
the ordinance be reexamined and
arrive at a compromise so they can
continue business.”
Bernard said business owners
rely on hookah as a major source
of income and request such
compromises as a negotiable patio
area or designated smoking area.
The current ordinance mandates
smoking occur 30 feet away from an
entrance or exit.

Tadious Abay, the owner of hookah bar and restaurant Kabu Lounge, was present at a Clarkston City Council meeting to propose changes to an adopted citywide smoking ban. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Tadious Abay, owner of Kabu
Lounge at 4146 E. Ponce de Leon
in Clarkston, said food, drink and
smoking go hand-in-hand at his
business.
Councilman Mario Williams
asked why business owners had not
voiced opposition during the three
months in which the ordinance was
debated.
“It’s very hard to undo an
ordinance,” Williams said. “If
we accommodate one situation,
we open the door to smoking in
restaurants.”
Bernard said certain people feel
intimidated about voicing opinions

because of their cultural background
while others would rather sell their
businesses and leave Clarkston.
“One of the beauties of Clarkston
is also one of the problems of
Clarkston,” Bernard said. “You have
numerous cultural groups here.
A lot of them deal with problems
differently. You have to remember
most of these are mainly refugees;
they’ve been politically persecuted.
They don’t know how to trust the
system they are in.”
Councilman Ahmed Hassan
dismissed Bernard’s claims, stating
both he and Awet Eyasu were
elected by the refugee communities

to speak specifically on their behalf.
Hassan also said information
is always available online on
Clarkston’s website.
Eyasu said he told certain
business owners about the
ordinance during the three months it
was being discussed with little result.
“We’re not trying to put people
out of business,” Eyasu said.
“But we want to make sure our
businesses flourish.”
Williams referenced the
grandfather clause in the ordinance
allowing smoking at hookah

See Smoking on Page 13A

Retail development company receives backing from community association
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
S.J. Collins Enterprise, a
Fairburn-based retail development
company, received backing from a
Decatur neighborhood association
to redevelop the corner of Church
Street and North Decatur Road.
The development, called North
Decatur Square, will feature a 365
by Whole Foods Market concept.
Jeff Turnas, president of 365
by Whole Foods, said the concept
is slightly different than the Whole
Foods Market.
“We want it useful and not just
have technology for technology
sake and you’ll be able to do a
whole shop. We are not looking at a
discount model or a dumbed down
version of Whole Foods, because
we’re never going to sacrifice our
quality of standards,” Turnas said in
a 365 promotional video.

On Sept. 8, the Decatur Heights
Neighborhood Association (DHNA)
officially endorsed S.J. Collins’
plans to redevelop the area.
“We are pleased that S.J.
Collins listened to the Church Street
area neighbors and agreed to make
improvements in the area that
will benefit the community,” said
Deanne Thomas, president of the
DHNA, in a statement. “With the
implementation of the pedestrian
enhancements, neighbors, nearby
workers and visitors will have easier
walkability and a safe pedestrian
path to access the shops,
restaurants and grocery store at
North Decatur Square.”
The redevelopment of the area
was initially met with opposition
because of traffic concerns. S.J.
Collins officials and community
leaders met throughout the year to
address resident concerns.
“We’re excited for all the new

development that’s coming and
it’s not like it’s a surprise, but we
want to make sure [S.J. Collins]
will address the increased traffic,”
Thomas said. “Road improvements
need to take place at the same time
as the development.”
As part of an agreement
between the surrounding
community and S.J. Collins, the
development company said it will
install a pedestrian crosswalk at the
intersection of Church Street and
North Decatur Road as well as the
intersection at Church Street and
Sycamore Drive, and Sycamore
Drive and Rufus Evans Drive.
To enhance pedestrian
connectivity, developers will install a
traffic signal or pedestrian crossing
beacon on Church Street near
Milscott Drive, put up signage
warning drivers to not block the
Church Street and Sycamore Drive
intersection and an upgraded and

coordinated signal timing system for
the Church Street area.
“The [DHNA] letter reflects
our efforts with the community
to create walkability, enhance
pedestrian access and improve the
area’s traffic signal network. We
are committed to working with the
community to address concerns
and to creating an environment
for the community to enjoy for
years to come,” said S.J. Collins
Partner Jeff Garrison in an
email. “We have worked tirelessly
with residents, area businesses,
planning staff and community
leaders to ensure that North
Decatur Square is a reflection of
the community’s input and its desire
for open space, walkability and
pedestrian scale.”
S.J. Collins is planning a
community outreach meeting for
mid-September.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 11

weekinpictures

Police and firemen from throughout Georgia participated at a 9/11 Memorial Climb at
Manhattan Condos in Dunwoody. The climb commemorates the tragedy by participants climbing 106 flights of stairs.

Artist Alex Ferror spray painted a piece during the ArtLot Block Party in Avondale
Estates on Sept. 10.

The Clarkston Community Center hosted a International Food & Wine Gala on Sept.
10. The event featured foods from several cultures and an address from DeKalb
County School District Superintendent Stephen Green.

A colorful traffic signal box is displayed along Trinity Place in Decatur. The box is
part of an initiative called the Decatur Box Project, which was established to bring
color to Decatur.

photos brought to you by dctv
Have you created programming you’d like to air on TV?
Do you have an interest in Public Access TV in DeKalb County?
Submit your show to DeKalb County’s Public Access channel, DeKalb 25.
Drop off DVD or USB copies to the Manuel J. Maloof Center at
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030, or upload your content via the internet.
(404) 371-3125

DeKalb25@outlook.com

DeKalb25.com

local

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

Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal signs the closing paperwork on the new Dunwoody
City Hall building at 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Road with Dunwoody Finance
Director Chris Pike, Dunwoody City Manager Eric Linton, Attorney Jim Woodward
of Gray Pannell & Woodward LLP, and Dunwoody City Clerk Sharon Lowery. Photo
provided.

Attendees at the meeting to sign the final closing and purchase agreement paperwork
for Dunwoody’s new city hall are Dunwoody Assistant City Manager Jessica Guinn,
Dunwoody City Clerk Sharon Lowery, Dunwoody City Manager Eric Linton, Dunwoody
Mayor Denis Shortal, Attorney Jim Woodward of Gray Pannell & Woodward LLP, and
Dunwoody Finance Director Chris Pike. Photo provided.

Dunwoody finalizes new city hall deal
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
On Aug. 31, Dunwoody city
officials finalized an $8.05 million
deal on a new city hall complex.
The purchase—signed by
Mayor Denis Shortal and City
Manager Eric Linton— includes
three and a quarter acres as well
as an office building located at
4800 Ashford Dunwoody Road.
The 45,000 square foot building
currently houses Community &
Southern Bank.
The building’s square footage

is slightly more than Dunwoody’s
current city hall facility located at 41
Perimeter Center East. According to
city officials, Dunwoody’s city staff,
police department and municipal
court occupy approximately 33,000
square feet.
The city has been renting
this space since its founding in
2008 and shares the building with
other businesses. According to
Dunwoody’s marketing and public
relations director Bob Mullen, the
new building will be Dunwoody’s
first wholly owned city hall facility.
“This is a great day for all

citizens of Dunwoody,” Shortal
said. “We are very proud owners of
our own city hall. We purchased a
fantastic building situated in a central
location to serve the residents and
businesses of our city.”
The purchase of the building
was approved by Dunwoody City
Council in May. At the time, city
officials estimated a total cost of
$8.25 million and an additional
$20,000 for a professional
evaluation.
Linton told the council he did
not anticipate any major issues with
the building due to it being occupied

and active.
Councilmen John Heneghan
and Terry Nall commended the
purchase for the building’s location,
construction and price.
Nall said the purchase could
serve both short-term and long-term
goals for a city hall facility.
According to city officials, slight
modifications will be made on the
building before city staff moves in.
The new city hall space is expected
to be open by spring 2018. The
original purchase agreement states
current tenants must be out of the
building by May 2017.

before anything else, we’re all human
rethink your bias at lovehasnolabels.com

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 13

Smoking Continued From Page 10A
lounges but said certain places
do not fall under the definition
of hookah lounges.
“How do you help these
businesses and not unravel
the entire ordinance?” Williams
asked. “We’re not saying we
won’t go back and look at this,
but this wasn’t a one-month
thing. When you have so many
meetings over so many months
and the ordinance is done, it’s
difficult to come back. We’ll
take it under advisement, but
it’s very unlikely [compromises]
will happen.”
Mayor Ted Terry said public
health aspects of the ordinance
outweigh business interests
and the majority of people who
attended meetings shared the
same sentiment. Terry said
this presented the “idea of a
majority” in favor of the smoking
ban.
“We want to create a
healthier Clarkston,” Terry
said. “This is one of the more

Tadious Abay. Photo provided.

straightforward ways we can do
that.”
Councilwoman Beverly
Burks urged community
advocates to relay information
to their respective communities
to better educate constituents.
“We have information
published in numerous places,”
Burks said. “Utilize those
venues to get information out
going forward.”

Family of man killed by DeKalb
police requests speedy trial

‘It’s not a race issue’
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
Former DeKalb County police officer
Robert Olsen, who is charged in the
shooting death of veteran Anthony Hill, is
awaiting trial.
Hill’s family, along with a local veterans
group, are asking the DeKalb County
Superior Court to set a court date before
2017 when solicitor Sherry Boston will
replace Robert James as District Attorney.
Hill, who served in Afghanistan and
was later discharged when he was
diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was shot
and killed while naked in the Heights at
Chamblee apartment complex in March
2015.
In a letter addressed to Judge J.P.
Boulee, civil rights activist Amos King,
representing Hill’s family and the DeKalb
branch of Justice for Veterans, said he
wants the Hill case tried before the end of
the year.
“If this case waits until next year it
may hurt the case overall,” said King in an
interview with The Champion. “The family
wants to move this forward. That’s why the
veterans association has been pushing it.
[Robert James] is familiar with the case.
[Sherry Boston] is not familiar with this
case.”
King said Boston would attempt to
bring in assistant attorneys to help try

the case who will be “less familiar or
completely unfamiliar with [the case].”
“This will set the case back and set
the family back,” King said. “It’s nothing
but politics. If Boston tries the case, she
doesn’t have as much knowledge [about
the case]. [Olsen] has been indicted and
the citizens have spoken. They indicted
this man, why not try him? The citizens of
DeKalb County have spoken.”
James announced the indictment
of Olsen in January of this year. Olsen
is charged on two counts of felony
murder, aggravated assault, making false
statements and two counts of violation of
oath by a public officer.
Olsen’s attorneys filed a motion to
dismiss the case.
Despite Olsen, a White police officer,
shooting Hill, an unarmed Black man, King
said the case is not an issue of race.
King said Olsen’s lack of following
protocol resulted in the death of Hill.
“This case has never been about race.
The case is the officer failed to do his job.
We’re just seeking justice. It’s not a race
issue. You also have to factor in the mental
illness,” King said.
King also criticized local community
activists.
“The leaders in DeKalb have done
nothing. That’s one of the major problems
with the Black so-called leaders,” King
said.

METROPOLITAN ATLANTA RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITY

Notice of Public Hearings
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit
Authority will hold public hearings for the purpose of considering the

Proposed Bus Service Modifications
for December 10, 2016

Proposed routing and/or adjustments and new service for the following bus routes:
Route 2: Ponce De Leon / Decatur; Route 16: Noble; Route 33: Briarcliff Road /
Lenox; Route 34: Second Avenue / Gresham Road /Clifton Springs; Route 47: I-85
Access Road / Briarwood Road; Route 67: West End / Dixie Hills; Route 102: Ponce
de Leon Avenue / Candler Park; Route 123: North DeKalb Mall / Belvedere; Route
165: Fairburn Road / Barge Road Park & Ride; Route 191: Justice Center / S.R. 85
-- Riverdale Road / Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.

Mobility: Implementation of complementary ADA service for the above new and
extended routes to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
All route information, a video presentation & comment forms
are available at www.itsmarta.com

Mon, Sep. 19
Fulton County
Assembly Hall

141 Pryor St., SW Atlanta
30303

Community Exchange:
6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Bus Routes 32,
49, 55, 74, and 186.

Wed, Sep. 21
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Dr.,
Decatur 30030

Community Exchange:
6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Walk one block
west of Decatur Rail Station.

Thurs, Sep. 22
Clayton County
Commission
Chambers

112 Smith Street
Jonesboro, GA 30236

Community Exchange:
6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Shuttle service
provided from the Justice
Center.

Copies of the proposed Bus Service Modifications will also be available for public viewing at MARTA’s Headquarters
Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30324 during regular business hours, Mon-Fri
8:30 am to 5 pm.
For formats (FREE of charge) in accordance with the ADA and Limited English Proficiency regulations contact,
(404) 848-4037. For those patrons requiring further accommodations, information can be obtained by calling the
Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 404 848-5665.
In addition, a sign language interpreter will be available at all hearings. If you cannot attend the hearings and
want to provide comments you may: (1) leave a message at (404) 848-5299; (2) write to MARTA’s Office of External
Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30324-3330; (3) complete an online Comment Card at www.
itsmarta.com; (4) or fax your comments no later than Sept. 29, 2016 to (404) 848-4179.
All citizens of the City of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Gwinnett whose interests are
affected by the subjects to be considered at these hearings are hereby notified and invited to appear at said times
and places and present such evidence, comment or objection as their interests require.

Keith T. Parker, AICP, General Manager/CEO

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 14

‘A win-win for everyone’
Contested neighborhood rezoned by Doraville City Council
by R. Scott Belzer

sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

Carver Hills—a planned 50
single-family, 199 multi-family
development near Doraville’s
border with Dunwoody—was
unanimously approved Sept.
9 for rezoning after receiving
support and opposition during a
public hearing held Aug.15.
The zoning change would
allow the developer, Century
Communities, to move forward
with buying the 34 properties
under contract.
Enrique Bascunana,
director of Doraville’s
community development, said
developers have met with city
staff and councilmembers to
address proposed adjustments
involving stormwater
infrastructure, flooding,
additional parking and an
increase in green space.
Gerri Penn, president of
the Dunwoody North Civic
Association and representative
of residents neighboring Carver
Hills, said she met with Century
Communities representatives
during the deferment. She was
one of a few to oppose the
development during the Aug.
15 hearing but said she now
supports its completion.
Penn said options such
as designating a portion of
the planned neighborhood
for persons 55 and older will
reduce traffic and planting
specific types of trees for a
noise buffer were discussed,
taken into consideration
and welcomed by Century
Communities representatives.
“We had a great meeting
and Century Communities

took some of our suggestions
with a revised conceptual site
plan,” Penn said. “The residents
living on our side of the creek
seem to be satisfied with this
development.”
According to Bascunana,
councilmembers Pam Fleming,
Robert Patrick and M.D. Naser
also met with the Dunwoody
North Civic Association.
“We had a superb meeting,”
Fleming said. “Century has
done more than just address
concerns. They have corrected
things, added things, and I am
very pleased with the outcome.”
“We asked them to widen
driveways and that was taken
care of,” Patrick said.
The council unanimously
voted in favor of the rezoning
with councilwoman Sharon
Spangler absent. The approval
was met with raucous applause
from meeting attendees.
“This is a win-win for
everyone,” said Mayor Donna
Pittman.

Doraville City Council approved rezoning the Carver Hills area, which will aid developers
in purchasing property for a new 249-home neighborhood. Illustration courtesy of Century
Communities LLC.

education

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 15

Public speaks out on feasibility survey
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
From Aug. 23 to Sept.
16, DeKalb County School
District (DCSD) parents,
teachers, students and
stakeholders have been able
to record opinions and suggestions on overcrowding
via an online survey.
According to 1,186 respondents as of Sept. 6, the
district should move forward
with a new Sequoyah area
high school; a new Cross
Keys area middle school
at the former Briarcliff High
School site; make additions
to five existing secondary
schools; and spend $247
million.
This course of action—
known as “Option A”—is one
of three options that have
been presented to community stakeholders following
21 meetings with Education
Planners, a consulting firm
that handles school district
organization and efficiency
challenges. Education Planners estimates a shortage
of more than 5,600 seats by
fall 2022.
The latest of these meetings, held Aug. 25 at Cross
Keys High School, attracted
more than 500 attendees.
The survey was posted online immediately following
the meeting.
On the survey, participants are asked to choose
an option and provide reasons. According to survey
findings so far, the majority
of respondents reside in the
Chamblee Charter, Dunwoody and Lakeside high
school zones.
A total of 795 respondents (68.8 percent) voted
for Option A.
Reasons given by re-

Following meetings held Aug.23 and Aug. 25 in which
stakeholders submitted written responses, community
stakeholders in the DeKalb County School District have voiced
their opinions via an online survey. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

spondents include not creating split feeders, creating
the most seats, and leaving
the Chamblee Charter High
School magnet program untouched.
“[This option provides]
enough capacity for projected growth,” wrote one respondent. “This option also
accommodates faster than
projected growth. In the long
term, this may be the cheapest option of the three.”
“The Cross Keys area
needs a new building,” wrote
another respondent. “That is
the ‘key’ to all of this! DeKalb
should look into acquiring
more land, if necessary.”
Option B attracted the
second largest amount
of votes (249 or 21.5 percent). This option involves
a new 2,500-seat Cross
Keys High School at the
former Briarcliff High School
site; converting the current
Cross Keys High School to
a 1,500-seat middle school;
additions at five schools;
and splitting feeder schools
in three regions. This option

is estimated to cost $163
million.
Reasons given by respondents included being
the least expensive option,
making a former high school
a high school once again,
central access to off-site programs and no impact to the
magnet program at Chamblee Charter High School.
“This brings Cross Keys
[High] into contemporary
high school standards,”
wrote one respondent. “The
[current] building is much
more suited to serve middle
school students.”
Respondents did not like
that Option B split feeder
schools, potentially causing
elementary students to attend different middle schools
and possibly different high
schools.
Option C was the least
popular option, accounting
for 112 votes (9.7 percent).
This option resembles Option A but proposes moving
Chamblee Charter High
School’s magnet program to
another DCSD high school.

Many are in favor of relieving overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster by making use of the former Briarcliff High School site. Photo
provided.

This option would cost $224
million.
“The high school will get
better use out of proximity
to Adams Stadium,” wrote
one respondent in favor of
the option. “Significant parking exists, [DCSD] would
not have to pave much land.
The central location of the
Briarcliff site is ideal for the
cluster and valuable land
that cannot be sold for what
it would cost to acquire less
valuable land elsewhere.”
“Dividing the Cross Keys
cluster is the most reasonable and ethical course of
action, as the current geography of the cluster is unacceptable,” wrote another.
“Magnet programs take
up critical seats in existing
schools, and most of the students have already left their
home school districts for the
privilege of attending.”
Few respondents saw
the merit in Option C.
“It is absurd and punishing for all of Chamblee
High School and Chamblee
Middle School to move the

magnets,” wrote one respondent. “The lives affected will
leave blood on the hands
of irresponsible DeKalb officials.”
“The magnet program is
very successful where it is
and will weaken significantly
if moved, as teachers and
students alike may not be
able to move,” wrote another.
Suggestions that do not
apply to any of the three options include reconfiguring
the entire district, expanding the magnet program,
establishing more magnet
programs throughout DCSD
and performing traffic studies to see if any options are
viable.
The online survey
will close at 11:59 p.m.
on Sept. 16 with a final
recommendation to follow
on Sept. 27. To take part
in the survey, visit https://
docs.google.com/forms/d/e/
1FAIpQLSdmomF29DlfN
rO1O9EoOqPReXAeb6s3Q5wGEBUdkBWIlpkvQ/
viewform?c=0&w=1.

Did you know?

Excessive alcohol use includes:

Binge drinking, heavy drinking, any alcohol consumed
by pregnant women, and any alcohol consumed by those
under the age of 21.
If you choose to drink, and you are 21 or over, do so in
moderation; for women up to 1 drink a day; for men up to 2 drinks a day.
Drinking too much can harm your health and excessive alcohol use can
lead to accidents or even death. Be Safe DeKalb!

For more information
Call (770) 285-6037 or
E-mail: beyondthebell@comcast.net

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The

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 16

Champion

Classifieds

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

yard sale

DRIVERS

SweetWater Subdivision CommunityWide Yard Sale on River Road between
Snapfinger (155) and Flakes Mills Road.
Household items, lots of children’s clothing
(some new). Plenty of items for men, women
and children. Saturday  September 17, 2016. 
8:a.m. - 3:p.m.

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Ads due by Friday - Noon for next publication date.
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religion, sex, national origin, handicap or familial status.

business

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 17

DeKalb has right ingredients for meal kit company
by Kathy Mitchell
A meal kit delivery service in
search of an East Coast location
found that DeKalb County has all
the right ingredients.
Ray Gilley, president of Decide
DeKalb, a development authority
that promotes business recruitment,
retention and expansion for DeKalb
County, said Home Chef looked at
several options before selecting
a 140,000-square-foot facility on
Lithonia Industrial Boulevard. The
facility will be the regional center for
wholesale purchasing, assembling,
packaging and distributing family
meals.
Decide DeKalb received a
Regional Economic Business
Assistance Program grant of
$900,000 from the state to fund
the project. “This is a performancebased grant,” Gilley explained. “If
we meet our contractual obligations
such as hiring commitments, the
money will not have to be repaid.”
Gilley called it “a unique
project,” adding that it “signals to
us and hopefully the rest of the
business community, the incredible
opportunities available here for
additional jobs and investment.”
With the new facility, Home Chef
will be able to reach more of the
Southeastern market and meet the
needs of a growing customer base,
he said.
“Basically, everything they need
is right here,” Gilley said. “You
won’t find a better transportation
infrastructure. Metro Atlanta has
an interstate highway system that
reaches in all directions. In addition,

the Atlanta airport is one of the
busiest in the world.”
Another advantage to the
location, according to Gilley, is
the area’s skilled workforce. He
said that by 2020 the business will
create more than 1,200 jobs in such
areas as packing, transportation,
marketing, technology, production
and customer service.
Home Chef was founded in
2013 by Pat Vihtelic. According
to Home Chef’s website, “Pat
loves cooking. He loves hanging
out in the kitchen with his family
and unwinding from a long day
by making a delicious meal. He
knew there must be more people
like him—people who are short on
time, but value real home cooking
and the joy that comes with it.”
Vihtelic set out to find a way to
prepare home cooked meals
without spending large amounts of
time shopping for ingredients and
searching for recipes.
His solution, the website states,

was to partner with a chef to design
simple-to-prepare recipes they
believe will appeal to most families.
Last year, Home Chef delivered
more than 1 million meals. Its plans
for 2016 include expanding delivery
to cover 90 percent of the United
States.
In an announcement of
the Georgia location Vihtelic
commented, “We’re undergoing
tremendous growth and are excited
to expand our distribution footprint.
We’re confident that DeKalb has
the skilled workforce necessary for
us to achieve our ambitious growth
goals.”
Customers choose meals
online, then fresh ingredients along
with step-by-step preparation
instructions are delivered to the
customer’s door, a process the
company says saves time and
reduces food waste. Each week
12 or 13 meals are created by the
company’s chefs. Customers can
customize these to fit such dietary

requirements as gluten-free, low
calorie or dairy-free.
“This variety makes Home
Chef stand out from many of its
competitors,” noted Gilley, who
said Home Chef is the largest such
company in the area, possibly in the
country.
Vihtelic states in the
announcement, “The culture of
collaboration makes Georgia the
ideal location for us today and
tomorrow. The Home Chef business
model calls for creating a network
of supplies to provide packaging,
transportation and food.”
“When possible Home Chef
uses foods grown locally and that
will benefit growers in Georgia,
who produce a wide variety of
agricultural products,” Gilley said.
“Getting food that meets Home
Chef’s standards is one of the
company’s biggest challenges.
Fortunately, here in Georgia we
produce not only meat—chicken
especially—and fish, but many
types of produce, including
specialty and organic foods.”
The company website notes,
“At Home Chef, we only work
with vendors we believe in. We
expect our purveyors to operate
within the same quality standards
our own employees abide by. As
a result, we choose innovative
suppliers who are making waves
in their given industries; suppliers
with sustainable practices, who
benefit the ecosystems in which
they operate; and suppliers who
actively demonstrate respect and
appreciation for their employees.”

sports

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 18

Marist gets first win over rival St. Pius in five matchups
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Marist senior football players
can finally say they have a win over
rival St. Pius X after a 13-0 victory
Sept. 9 at home.
The Marist War Eagles had
previously played the St. Pius
Golden Lions four times since 2008,
and in each of those matchups
Marist was on the losing end. In
those four games, Marist had lost
by at least 10 points except in 2014
when the War Eagles lost 10-9.
Marist coach Alan Chadwick
said the win was big for his team.
“It’s a big rivalry, they have a
good football team that’s very well
coached and our kids came to play
tonight,” Chadwick said. “They
played hard. We made the plays
tonight, which is what we had not
done in previous losses.”
The game was a defensive
battle throughout all four quarters.
Neither team did much on offense,
but Marist made the right plays
at the right moments to score 13
points.
In the first quarter, Marist was
able to move the ball but a couple
of overthrown passes in the end
zone led to a 28-yard field goal
by Timmy Bleekrode, giving the
War Eagles a 3-0 lead. Later in the
quarter, St. Pius was in position to
score, but Marist’s Kyle Hamilton
picked off quarterback Connor
Egan’s pass at the goal line to end
a potential scoring drive.
Neither team was able to get
anything going offensively the rest
of the first half. Marist opened the
second half with a scoring drive that
ended in a 8-yard touchdown run
by quarterback Jack Dinges, giving
Marist a 10-0 lead.
Bleekrode kicked a 35-yard
field goal in the fourth quarter to
extend Marist’s lead to 13-0. The
War Eagles’ defense continued to

Marist defeated St. Pius for the first time in five tries. Photos by Carla Parker

play lights-out the rest of the game
to seal the 13-0 victory. Chadwick
said his team was ready for St.
Pius’ offense and played sound
fundamental football.
“We saw the wing-T [offense]
last week, and seeing it again this
week—two weeks in a row—helped
us prepare some for that as well,”
Chadwick said.
Marist (2-1) will try to improve
to 3-1 on the season on Sept.
16 at Woodward Academy (2-1).
The game will be a rematch of the
state playoffs quarterfinal matchup
between the two teams last season,
in which Woodward defeated Marist
42-14. Chadwick said he is hoping
for a different result.
“We’re a different football team
from last year and I hope they’re
a different football team from last
year,” he said. “Then maybe we’ll
have a chance.”
St. Pius X (0-3) will try to get its
first win of the season on Sept. 16
at Greater Atlanta Christian (2-1).

St. Pius running back Grant Holloman is tackled by William Moyers, left, and Carter
Daniels.

Weekend football scores
Sept. 9
South Atlanta (1-3) 57, Clarkston (0-4) 0.
Lakeside (2-1) 42, Druid Hills (1-2) 12
Salem (3-0) 27, Miller Grove (2-2) 7
Cedar Grove (2-1) 40, Columbia (1-3) 0
Dunwoody (2-1) 14, North Atlanta (1-2) 10
Stephenson (1-2) 21, SW DeKalb (2-2) 0
Marist (2-1) 13, St. Pius X (0-3) 0
Sept. 10
Arabia Mountain (4-0) 24, Dacula (1-2) 21
Therrell (1-2) 48, McNair (2-1) 22

Stephenson Jaguars. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Open: Chamblee (0-3), Cross Keys (0-1), Decatur (1-2), Lithonia (0-3),
M.L. King (1-2), Redan (1-2), Stone Mountain (1-2), Towers (0-3),
Tucker (2-1)

sports

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 19

Arabia Mountain softball off to hot start

by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
After their first playoff
appearance in program
history last season, the Arabia
Mountain Lady Rams softball
team is on track to make
another playoff appearance
this season.
The Lady Rams improved
their record to 10-3 overall
and 4-0 in region play on
Sept. 8 after an 8-0 win over
Chamblee at Chamblee High
School. Chamblee is also 10-3
overall, and fell to 2-1 in the
region.
Arabia Mountain was led
by pitcher Kayla Phillips, who
was dominant on the mound
and behind the plate.
Phillips, with the assistance
of good team defense, pitched
a shutout and had four RBIs on
three hits, including an infield
homerun.
Phillips gave the Lady
Rams a 1-0 lead in the first
inning on a RBI triple, sending
in Dymond Brown for the
score. She had another
RBI triple in the fifth inning
and gave Arabia Mountain
a commanding 8-0 lead in
the seventh inning with the
infield homerun with two other
runners on base.
Brown also had a good
offensive game with two hits
and three runs scored.
Although the Lady Rams
play well on offense, head
coach Eric Hoxie was more
impressed with the team’s
defensive play.
“We’re still trying to work on
our hitting,” Hoxie said. “We’re
hoping that it comes through
any day—any game now.
[The] pitching is doing what it’s
supposed to do, and we want
to just focus on the hitting.”
Arabia Mountain lost in
the first round of the playoffs
last season due to the lack of
hitting and poor defense. The
Lady Rams lost the first game
to Gilmer 13-0, and fell 9-1 in
the second game.
Hoxie said the team
focused on defense during the
offseason, and he is pleased
with the adjustments the team
has made on defense. He
hopes the defense and pitching
intensify through the rest of the
season.
“I think later on in the
season—hopefully in the
playoffs—we can be able to
hold some teams to one run or
even no runs,” Hoxie said.

Arabia Mountain’s Myia Lewis, left, looks to steal home. Photos by Carla Parker

Arabia Mountain pitcher Kayla Phillips pitched a shutout.

A pitch goes by Arabia Mountain’s Colby Richardson for a strike.

Chamblee’s Alexandra Towner swings but misses.

local
Game highlights

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 16 , 2016 • Page 20
Stephenson (1-2) 21, SW DeKalb (2-2) 0

Stephenson’s Justin Birdsong tackles Javeon Cody (2) causing a fumble near the goal
line. Photos by Travis Hudgons.

Stephenson’s Graland Dawkins (21) and Tavies Butts, left, break-up a pass
attempt.

Michael Pace(13) prevents a Stephenson
reception.

Jaylen Marson-Knight (5) stiff arms a
Southwest DeKalb defender.

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