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the DeKalb

FRIDAY, September 30, 2016 • VOL. 19, NO. 25 • FREE

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

H.O.M.E lends a helping hand
to single mothers in need
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

J

aila Fontenot, 21, is expecting
her first child any day now, but
on Sept. 24, Fontenot got an unexpected delivery that put a smile on
her face.
Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure (HOME), a non-profit organization based in DeKalb County that
delivers furniture to mothers in need,
stepped in and gave the expectant
mother new furniture, something Fon-

tenot said she desperately needed.
“It’s really amazing. I really didn’t
have anything. I honestly didn’t know
how HOME was going to get all the
things they provided me with,” Fontenot said. “I felt like it was going to
be a long time to get each piece because I know furniture costs a lot. I’m
very thankful to be part of this organization and be a participant blessed
with this furniture that I needed.”
Fontenot moved from Louisiana to
DeKalb County in 2015 with nothing.

See Program on Page 5

• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

Jaila Fontenot enjoys her new loveseat after nonprofit Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure (HOME) delivered furniture.

Home’s Leotis Watson helps unload a truck of furniture for a mother in need.

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local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 2

Arrests made in Tucker fatal shooting
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Two suspects are behind
bars for the shooting death
of 33-year-old Aromsuk
Somohot.
DeKalb County police
announced Sept. 14 that
23-year-old Jarvis Stanford
and 20-year-old
Imani Burns were
arrested and charged with
murder and armed robbery.
According to police, Somohot
was leaving the Mai Thai
restaurant off Hugh Howell
Road in Tucker on Sept. 10
when he was robbed and shot
to death.
Detectives identified
the shooter as Stanford and
Burns as the getaway driver,
according to police. Police
arrested Burns the morning

A man shows his support for Syrian refugees during a rally in Stone Mountain at Memorial Drive
Presbyterian Church on Dec. 12, 2015. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Stone Mountain debunks
Syrian refugee report
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Stone Mountain city officials have
spoken out against a report that claims the
city has received more Syrian refugees
than Los Angeles and New York City
combined.
An article published on The Daily Caller
on Sept. 21 stated that 72 Syrian refugees
have settled in Stone Mountain since Oct.1,
2015. The reporter, Peter Hasson, said the
number came from state department data.
Hasson said Los Angeles has received 45
Syrian refugees, while New York City has
taken in nine.
Stone Mountain City Manager
Chaquias Thornton said in a released
statement that the information reported
does not represent the population within
the city limits.
“Of the approximately 6,000-person
population residing within the city
limits there has been no report of the
resettlement of refugees,” Thornton
said. “The number reported represents
resettlement in those areas outside of
the city limits that have Stone Mountain
addresses (covering four zip codes). Those
areas having Stone Mountain addresses
account for over 117,000 people, with over
111,000 not residing within our town’s city
limits.”
In his article, Hasson said refugees
from other countries have also settled in
Stone Mountain. Hasson said 299 refugees
have settled in the city since Oct. 1, 2015.
“That’s roughly 5 percent of Stone

Mountain’s July 2015 population (6,109,
according to U.S. Census data),” Hasson
wrote. “The largest group of refugees
is from the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, which had 83 refugees placed in
Stone Mountain.”
Thornton said the number of refugees
reported in Hasson’s article may represent
refugees that arrive as “free” cases—those
not linked to a relative that already has a
permanent address—that are given the
address of the resettlement agency they
are sponsored by.
“The most local refugee resettlement
agency has a Stone Mountain address but
is not located within the city limits of Stone
Mountain,” Thornton said. “Unfortunately,
and more often than we would like, the 1.7
square miles of the city of Stone Mountain
is equated with the larger area of land that
encompasses Stone Mountain addresses
when reports like the one referenced are
made and published.”
Syrian refugees settling in the United
States have been a hot-topic issue since
last year. Last year, President Barack
Obama’s administration pledged to accept
approximately 10,000 Syrian refugees
fleeing terrorism in the country. Gov.
Nathan Deal tried to halt the resettlement
of refugees, but rescinded his executive
order to prevent refugees from coming into
the state because of federal law that said
he couldn’t.
Thornton added that the city is a
warm and friendly community and the
city welcomes all who choose to visit and
reside there.

of Sept. 14 and Stanford was
arrested later that afternoon in
College Park by the DeKalb
Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit.
Tucker city officials
released a statement thanking
the police department for its
swift action in catching the
suspects.
“As a newly formed city,
it is impossible to think that
a brand new department of
our own, in transition, could
have served and protected our
citizens with the capabilities of
the DeKalb Police Department
in a case like this,” Mayor
Frank Auman said. “Tucker’s
residents and businesses
can truly feel affirmed in their
decision to stick with a tested,
proven, world-class police
force. We are truly grateful to
have them on our side.”

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 3

AroundDekalb
Avondale Estates
City to host AutumnFest

Avondale Estates and the Downtown Development Authority will host
the annual AutumnFest Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Franklin Street
between Oak and Lake streets. The event will include art, live music,
free kids zone, and food and drinks from local businesses. For more
information, visit www.avondaleestates.org.

BROOKHAVEN
City to hold chili cook off

The fifth annual Brookhaven Chili Cook Off will take place Oct. 8
at Brookhaven Park, from 12:30 to 6 p.m. The free event will include
live entertainment, a kid zone, cornhole and more. Tickets are $10 to
$20 in advance for a tasting spoon for unlimited chili tastings. The park
is located at 4158 Peachtree Road. For more information, visit www.
brookhavenchilicookoff.com.

chamblee

City hosts 10th annual Taste of Chamblee
The 10th annual Taste of Chamblee will take place Oct. 1 from 5 to 9
p.m. in downtown Chamblee.
Attendees will have the chance to taste samples from such
Chamblee restaurants as Crawfish Shack, Frosty Caboose, Galla’s
Pizza, Galley Gourmet, Hello Gorgeous Café, Jardi Chocolates,
Chilango’s Group, Mad Italian, Hopstix, Takorea and others.
“Admission to the event is free, and tickets for tastings will be sold
for $1,” states a release about the event. “Tickets may be redeemed at
participating restaurant booths for a wide selection of tastings that will
range from one to five tickets per sample.”
The event will be accompanied by live music from the Georgia Shine
Band, the AJ Ghent Band and Have Gun Will Travel.
According to event organizers, parking is available at Chamblee
Plaza, with a trolley running from the plaza to the festival entrance off of
Broad Street. Street parking is also available nearby.
For more information, visit www.tasteofchamblee.net.

clarkston

Second annual Food Truck Festival scheduled
The second annual Clarkston Food Truck Festival will take place
Oct. 8 from noon to 4 p.m.
The family-friendly event will feature live music, face painting,
games, raffles and other activities.
“Come be a part of our history and enjoy great food and jazz music,”
a release about the event states. “We will have a wide variety of food
truck options to accommodate everyone. We will also have activities for
family and friends to enjoy while indulging in the delicious food.”
The Clarkston Food Truck Festival will take place in downtown
Clarkston along Market Street between Vaughn Street and N. Indian
Creek Drive. For more information, contact Clarkston City Hall at (404)
296-6489 or ghartley@cityofclarkston.com.

decatur

Woodlands Garden hosts sixth annual Fairies in the
Garden
Woodlands Garden will host the sixth annual Fairies in the Garden
event on Oct. 1 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The event will feature storytelling, arts and crafts, as well as a
‘Summoning of the Fairies’ parade through Woodlands Garden, located
at 932 Scott Boulevard in Decatur.
Attendees also will have the chance to seek tiny fairy houses tucked
throughout Woodlands Garden. Hints will be provided to guests as they
seek out fairies and trolls of all kinds tucked into shelters along the trails.
According to event officials, the fairy houses are created by artists
from Skyland Trail using moss, bark, twigs, branches, seeds, leaves and
other natural materials.
“This event is designed to help children of all ages recognize and
appreciate the art that lies within nature,” a release states.
The event—rain or shine—is free and open to the public.
Fairy costumes are encouraged. For more information, visit www.
woodlandsgarden.org.

stone mountain
City to host garden event

Stone Mountain will host Community Garden Work Day Oct. 8, from
8 to 11 a.m. The Master Gardener Talk will be done by Jennifer Kaduck
on winter cover crops. For more information, email Columbus Brown at
columbushb@me.com.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 4

Jester opposes district’s opposition to OSD
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

O

n Sept. 19, DeKalb
County School District
(DCSD) board member
Stan Jester cast the
single opposing vote to approve
the district’s stance against
Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed
Opportunity School District (OSD).
Approval means DCSD joins
30 other school districts throughout
the state in opposing state takeover
of schools not earning at least
60 College Career Ready Points
Index (CCRPI) points for three
consecutive years.
DCSD board members and
Superintendent Stephen Green
said a state takeover would
interrupt the progress the district
has made in improving OSDeligible schools; including the 15
of 26 schools which are five points
from being above 60 CCRPI points.
Board members also said DCSD
problems are unique to DeKalb
County and can only be addressed
through local control.
Jester contends that DCSD has
had the time, funds and opportunity
to improve certain schools and has
failed to do so.
“Schools in DeKalb have been
failing in perpetuity for years,”
Jester told The Champion. “As of
the latest financial report, DeKalb
Schools has an operating surplus
of almost $400 million. If we can’t

Photo by Travis Hudgons

improve the academic achievement
of our failing schools with local
control and an almost $400 million
operating surplus, our schools need
to be taken over.”
Jester pointed out that DCSD’s
operating surplus exceeds the
$1.9 million for literacy and
mathematics initiatives; $750,000
for the 10 most in-need schools to
partner with Discovery Education;
$398,000 for schools to receive
restorative practice training to
reduce suspensions; and stipends
as well as signing bonuses to retain
talented teachers.
“I support creating an
opportunity school district,” Jester
said. “The state is responsible for
overseeing the education for all
the children of Georgia. The state

needs the ability to intervene when
schools are perpetually failing. If
not the OSD, then what?”
At the Sept. 19 school board
meeting, Jester said he was
“uncomfortable with characterizing
communities and schools in general
as failures.”
“They didn’t achieve as well
as we wanted them to on a couple
of tests but by no means [are] this
group of people and this community
failures,” Jester said. “We do have
a number of schools that aren’t
achieving academically. I’ve been
upset about this for some time
and I brought in Superintendent
Green specifically for the reason [of
addressing] these schools.”
Jester also said he likes
DCSD’s plan and said he would

like to see it “completely and fully”
funded.
“That being said, there are a
number of counties and school
districts around the state that may
not do so well,” Jester said. “If this
doesn’t work for us…what’s the
plan?”
The board did not respond to
Jester’s comments and proceeded
to commend the overall resolution
before taking it to vote. Jester cast
the sole opposing vote and the
official stance was passed five to
one, with board member James
McMahan absent.
Jester told The Champion he
“judged engaging the board as
futile.”
“I asked the board if our current
plan doesn’t work, then what?”
Jester said. “If Plan A, B and C
don’t work for school districts
across the state, what’s the plan?
There was no answer.”
Jester posted similar questions
on his blog on Sept. 15, asking
readers if the state has any
responsibility for the performance of
local school districts and, if the state
does not abdicate all responsibility
to local school districts, what the
alternative may be.
Jester said he and his wife,
DeKalb County Commissioner
Nancy Jester, “support and will
advocate for the OSD wherever
[they] go.”
See related story on page 15A.

Avondale Estates revisits road diet proposal
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

The Avondale Estates Board
of Mayor and Commissioners are
considering revisions to a road diet
model proposed for the city.
During the Sept. 21 work
session, Mayor Jonathan Elmore
discussed a recent meeting
that he and City Manager Clai
Brown had with representatives
from the Georgia Department of
Transportation and a consultant
from selected Nelson\Nygaard
Consulting Associates, who created
the road diet model, to discuss the
proposed project for U.S. 278.
A road diet involves converting
an undivided four-lane roadway
into three lanes—two through lanes
and a center two-way left turn
lane. Elmore said many Avondale
Estates residents want a diet, but it
appears the project is not going to
be approved by GDOT.
“We submitted the five-lane
version with a lot of improvements
that we need anyway,” Elmore said.
“I just wanted to look at it again

to make sure that there weren’t
things that we could do as a city
to change some intersections… if
there were things that we could do
to the modeling by Nelson/Nygaard
to maintain flow through our city,
but get a road diet.”
In January 2014, the Atlanta
Regional Commission announced
it would award the city a grant
to conduct a feasibility study to
determine the best design for U.S.
278, including the intersection at
U.S. 278 and Clarendon Avenue.
The city received a $50,000 Livable
Centers Initiative (LCI) from the
ARC.
The city received three
proposals from firms to complete
the study and selected Nelson\
Nygaard. In December 2014, the
city conducted a road diet and
roundabout demonstration, which is
proposed in the Downtown Master
Plan Update.
The consultant team and city
staff presented the concept plan
and associated research at a public
meeting in March 2015. Since then,
there were no public meetings

about the project.
Elmore said he wants the city
to work with Nelson/Nygaard and
GDOT to make revisions to the
model that will work best for the
city.
“The DOT has got to move
[motorists] and we understand
that,” Elmore said. “They don’t want
to slow them down too much, that’s
their job, but it’s our job to get them
to slow down and stop. It’s our job
to make this a nice street—it’s our
main street.
“It’s our job to get people from
one side of the road to the other
without fear of their life, and just
to make this look better,” Elmore
added. “We’re trying to make
our city a better place, especially
the central business district. It’s
currently divided by this gigantic
road, and we just want them to take
a second look and say ‘What if we
did this? Would you consider that?’
We were able to present that case
to them.”
Brown said another feasibility
study will probably have to be done
to incorporate any changes.

“It comes down to if GDOT is
going to approve it.” Brown said. “If
GDOT is not on board, the ARC is
not going to be on board.”
Some commissioners are
concerned with GDOT’s response if
the city decides to move forward in
presenting changes to the model.
“Right now, I have really not
seen anything where [GDOT] is
willing to do anything at all,” Mayor
Pro Tem Terry Giager said. “We
just have to find out how that is
going to happen. We could be
spinning our wheels forever and
never get anything done. We have
an excellent opportunity to do
something.”
Other commissioners said it’s
worth the risk to spend money to
make changes to the plan.
“I pray in five years that our
downtown looks a lot different
than what it does today,”
Commissioner Brian Fisher said.
“The road diet is the best way to
create that. If it costs us a little bit
more money in this point in time
to have that chance, I think it’ll be
worth it to do it.”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016

local

Page 5

H.O.M.e Continued From Page 1

Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure (HOME) delivered furniture and bedroom items to a
mother in need who was previously sleeping on the floor. To date, HOME has helped more
than 300 mothers and children.

She said when she moved to
Decatur she slept on mattresses and rugs.
Along with a new living room
and dining room set, HOME
also provided a much-needed
bedroom set for Fontenot.
“It’s amazing. I’m really excited. This is a new transition
from it being empty in here to
now having furniture and mattresses,” she said.
Fontenot is one of the hundreds of single mothers the
nonprofit has served in its two
years.
The founder of HOME,
Carolyn Watson and her husband Leotis, were up at 8 a.m.
to deliver furniture pieces to
Fontenot.
With her husband doing
most of the “heavy” lifting,
Carolyn Watson said it was a
blessing to continue to provide
for women in need across the
county.
“There are so many things
that God has blessed us to
do. With our partnerships and
being with people that see
our vision and see our passion, when I look at all of that
I am in awe,” Watson said. “I
am amazed at the number of
mothers we’ve served. The
thousands of items we’ve given
away. If I didn’t answer God’s
call, I can play it back in my
mind and still see so many
mothers and children sleeping
on the floor.”
Carolyn Watson said she
was compelled to create
HOME because of her own life
struggles. At 9 years old, she
said she watched her mother
escape domestic violence
leaving an abusive marriage.
When Carolyn Watson became
a first-time mom, she said she
had her own struggles and
found herself trying to juggle
bills and care for a family.
“This isn’t just an organization that provides furniture; we
give hope for moving forward
and moving on. Hopefully we
can fill the house with more
love,” she said. “They see that
someone cares and that’s what
home is built on, love and compassion.”
In the beginning, the Watson
did the bulk of the work by storing, transporting and collecting
donated items. Now Carolyn
Watson said the nonprofit has
partnered with various organizations, which has made the
process much smoother, she
said.

The hard work seems to be
paying off. Not only did HOME
celebrate its two-year anniversary, but the organization also
received a first-place trophy at
the Trinity Awards in the charity
division.
“Our goal is to help as many
moms as we can and the more
people that know about us the
more people we can help,” said
Carolyn Tolbert, the organization’s partner and director of
development and public relations. “Starting out from scratch
takes a lot and they were a
two-man-and-woman show.
You can’t partner with anybody.
I saw they were serious about
God’s business and I knew this
is what I wanted to do.”
Recently, the organization
partnered with Mary Hall Freedom House, a metro-Atlanta
nonprofit organization that
helps “women to break the cycle of addictions, poverty and
homelessness for themselves
and for their children.”
Tolbert said the partnership
has allowed HOME to branch
out and reach more women in
need.
Including children, Tolbert
said HOME has helped more
than 300 individuals since the
organization’s inception.
“It’s a blessing for us. A
lot of times the mothers say
‘thank you, thank you,’ but it
fills our hearts up. Someone
has to go out there and do the
things Christ said do,” Tolbert
said. “It’s a blessing to me and
the heart that we do it in. We
do this with Christ in it and it
makes a difference.”
Tolbert said the organization will continue to stay “Christ
centered” and will look for additional funding.
Regardless of what happens
in the future, Carolyn Watson
said she appreciates her husband’s continued support.
As Leotis Watson unloaded
furniture from the organization’s truck, he took a moment
to applaud his wife for her efforts.
“I’m out here with the wife,
the wifey, and I must say that
this blesses me,” Leotis Watson said. “It blesses me to get
up and be a part of this movement. To some of these single
mothers, it may seem like no
one cares about them or that
they are forgotten, but we care.
This just shows how good
God’s grace can be.”

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016

opinion

Page 6

Let fall signal time to get out of our ruts
Fall is officially here.
While it may not feel like it
weather-wise, our environment is
on the cusp of change. The days
have already started to shorten
and the searing heat of summer
is slowly tamping down. In the
weeks to come we’ll witness
leaves taking on autumnal hues
as we move into fall’s full embrace
before heading into winter.
For me, the change of seasons
is a good time to consider making
some personal changes as well.
So many of us get into a rut
in our lives—doing the same
things to the point of boredom
or a feeling of meaninglessness.
However, we individually have
the ability to change our lives in
minute or big ways.

Gale Horton Gay
gale@dekalbchamp.com

Recently as the editor of the
lifestyle section of The Champion,
I received an email about a group
offering a free introduction to
English country dancing. That’s
right, English country dancing. I’ve
never heard of it but apparently
there are folks in our midst who
gather to learn how to do it just
for fun. I also received an email
about bowling leagues—divided

by age, sex, disability and sexual
orientation—forming at the new
Comet Pub and Lanes in Decatur.
Last year after doing a
story on tai chi at the Clarkston
Community Center, my husband
and I left our home and our ontoo-often TVs behind and took
tai chi classes. We enjoyed it for
several weeks, learning the slow,
measured movements that are
relaxing and, according to the
instructor, provide health benefits
for those who stick to it long
enough.
There are free concerts on
the Decatur Square on Saturday
nights as well as free Thursday
evening jazz nights at the
Solarium in Decatur.
Activities abound at Fernbank

Forest, Arabia Mountain, the
Marcus Jewish Community Center
Atlanta, Porter Sanford Performing
Arts and Community Center,
Decatur Recreation Center,
DeKalb Parks and Recreation
centers and more—some with
fees, many with no charge.
The point is that there is a
wealth of things to do—most of
which will be new territory for
many of us. It may be a flash-inthe-pan experience or become
something that evolves into a
long-term activity. Either way, it’s
bound to introduce new people,
new places and new experiences
into our lives. Either way, doing
something new is sure to get us
out of our ruts.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016

opinion

Page 7

Split screen/divided nation
“I have a winning temperament,” GOP Presidential nominee and businessman Donald
J. Trump said during the first of
three-scheduled debates with
Democratic Party nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton at Hofstra University in
New York, on Sept. 26.
Notably on the same date as
the 1960 Presidential Debate
between Vice-President Richard
M. Nixon and Massachusetts
Senator John F. Kennedy, the
first presidential debate between
entrepreneur Trump and Clinton
also offered more than a few
firsts.
Having watched the bulk of
presidential and vice-presidential
debates since 1976, I can recall
none viewed entirely via split
screen. Every grimace or scowl
(Trump), fake or forced smile
(Clinton), reaction/over-reaction
and eye roll was there to see, as
the two appeared side by side,
while in reality separated widely
by the staging as well as their
ideologies.
The split screen, perhaps impossible in a pre-wide screen/flat
screen era, also created the illusion of two candidates of identical height and stature. On this
night, both candidates played
largely to their bases and started
the evening with a bit more decorum, civility and appearances
of playing it safe.
By my clock, it only took about
seven minutes to move Trump
closer to his dark side.
We will see snap polls and
reaction in the days ahead, but
in my estimation, it was Clinton
who clocked the smoother performance and though there were
no knock-out punches the entire
evening; she landed more than a
few glancing blows.
Trump, who was careful to
always refer to his opponent in
this arena as “Secretary Clinton,”
instead of the “Crooked Hillary”

‘One Man’s
Opinion’
Bill Crane

bill.csicrane@gmail.com

of the campaign trail; appeared
to offer the dialed-back, toned
down Trump we have seen in recent weeks behind a teleprompter—thanks in part to his new
campaign team as well as the
August realization of a potential
sizable loss in November.
Clinton’s health, candor and
a series of campaign gaffes cost
her a double digit lead in a matter of weeks, and right, left or
wrong, she entered the first debate with many credible voices
wondering aloud if she could
literally stand and take the heat
for a full 90 minutes. She did
that, and then some. She was
ready with her policy positions in
more succinct fashion—absent
the near-shouting monotone we
have come to know and loathe.
And though her forced smile is
not attractive, nor the sometimes
braying laugh, she managed to
not look unnerved or uncomfortable during Trump’s routine interruptions and attempts to rattle
her.
On the other hand, with the
first shot about “Trumped up
trickle-down economics,” followed by body blows regarding
his refusal to release income
tax returns, his penchant for not
paying vendors and litigation and
his trail of business bankruptcies; Trump did what he knows
best—fired back, got indignant
and occasionally offered replies
which made little or no sense.
Clinton voters may have gotten some ammunition from the
debate, but her base remains
unenthusiastic. Her map to an
electoral college victory is easier

FreePress

to see, but Trump has at least
two paths to a win for Team Red.
The battleground states of
Florida, Ohio, North Carolina,
Colorado and Virginia, lost by
Mitt Romney are the path most
discussed for a Trump win. Earlier strategy focused on flipping
the Rust Belt red, with a swath
beginning in the coal mining hills
of West Virginia across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and
Michigan. Currently, that latter
path appears more unlikely for
Trump.
Trump voters are more energized, and there are some late
breaking trends in voter registration, but as recently as the morning of the debate, I was hearing
Trump supporters on talk radio
asking about the particulars of
voter registration. Some have
been unhappy and on the sidelines for so long, they may not
be able to locate the levers of
democracy in time.
Women are roughly 54 percent of the electorate; they turn
out and vote in higher percentages in virtually every age, race

the DeKalb

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions
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.

Publisher:
John Hewitt

Photographer:
Travis Hudgons

Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn

Staff Reporters:
Carla Parker
R. Scott Belzer
Horace Holloman

Production Manager:
Kemesha Wadley

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

and demographic bracket. Since
early summer, Trump has suffered a gender gap ranging
from 18-25 percent. It is difficult
to imagine a dynamic or moment during the first debate that
brought a lot of GOP soccer
moms home or caused women
who already view him poorly to
find better in his harsh treatment
of Mrs. Clinton.
This debate may well have
been the most-watched U.S.
presidential debate in history, but
I doubt it shifted a lot of votes or
minds into one column versus
the other.
Maybe next 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.

Statement from the
publisher
We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
issue of interest to DeKalb County.
The Champion was founded in 1991
expressly to provide a forum for
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.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 8

The Brookhaven City Council approved a resolution to establish a
Affordable Housing Task Force.

Brookhaven forms affordable
State senator: SPLOST for housing task force
DeKalb County is ‘poison pill’
Photo by Travis Hudgons

by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
A Georgia state senator
representing DeKalb and Henry
counties said the county’s proposed
special-purpose local-option sales tax
(SPLOST) would have been a “poison
pill” had it been approved.
Senator Emanuel Jones spoke in
front of a group of DeKalb residents at
a SPLOST update meeting Sept. 20
at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts
Center in Decatur.
Jones said the wording of House
Bill 596 would negatively impact home
owners if a referendum for a SPLOST
for 2016 were passed.  
In July, DeKalb County
commissioners unanimously voted
against holding a referendum for a
1 percent sales tax that could have
generated more than $500 million
over five years. The vote against
SPLOST was partially due to the
word “tolled” being inserted in House
Bill 596. Officials said homeowners’
tax exemption would be eliminated if
SPLOST passed the referendum.
According to HB 596, “If the
General Assembly enacts an
equalized homestead option sales
and use tax and such tax is placed
into effect in DeKalb County during
the period the exemption granted by
subsection of this section is in effect,
the exemption granted by subsection
of this section shall be tolled for as
long as the equalized homestead
option sales and use tax is in effect.”
Many DeKalb and state officials
said the word “tolled” was accidentally
placed into the wording of the bill,
however, Jones said inclusion of the
word was no accident.
“This word that was put in wasn’t a
glitch. It was a poison pill,” Jones said
to a crowd of nearly 20 people. “If you
remember this past legislative cycle,
there was a lot of talk from certain

members that represent northern
DeKalb and parts of Dunwoody who
were trying to do away with this form
of government in DeKalb. That bill
passed the Senate and pushed it to
the House, and let’s just say there
were certain members that were none
too happy about the demise of that
bill.”
The proposed SPLOST funding
would have spent 42 percent
($162 million) of funding in the
department of roads and drainage.
The department initially requested 99
percent of the total funding.
District 3 Commissioner Larry
Johnson, who hosted the meeting,
said the time to plan for SPLOST is
now.
State officials said the law can
be changed at next year’s legislative
session.
“This is an opportunity for us to
get informed about some important
issues facing our community as (we)
approach 2017,” said Johnson in a
statement. “The planning needs to
start now.”
Johnson said his district would
have received $78 million through
SPLOST funding.
During a Powerpoint presentation,
state officials said to receive SPLOST
funding state lawmakers must first
change the problematic language,
then DeKalb County will be required
to sign an intergovernmental
agreement with cities in DeKalb
County. After getting cities to
sign the agreement, the board of
commissioners will have to vote on
approval of proposed resolution.
“We’re having this town hall
meeting early enough so you can
campaign,” Johnson said. “We stand
to gain almost $200 million in south
DeKalb. (District 3) gets $78 million.
That’s a lot of funds coming in.
The goal was to get this passed in
November.”

Thirteen people have been
appointed to the newly-created
Brookhaven Affordable Housing
Task Force.
The Brookhaven City
Council approved a resolution
to establish the task force at its
Sept. 13 regular meeting. The
task force includes community
members, faith leaders and
housing industry experts. The
members named were David
Schaefer, Rev. Hace Cargo,
Rev. David Park, E.P. “Pete”
Walker Jr., Gail Williams,
Penny Moceri, David Ellis,
Shelly Simmons, Sarah
Brechin, Barbara Shaw, Rev.
Mac Broughton, Marian Liou
and Jennifer Owens.
City manager Christian
Sigman said the council began
discussing the possibility of a
task force about eight weeks
ago.
“We put a lot of thought in
the makeup of the task force,”
Sigman said. “There are three
representative groups that
make it a powerful task force.
We have city representation
by geographic area. We also
have a lot of industry expertise
in here with the apartment
association, the home builders
association. We have the social

services entities with Metro Fair
Housing and the Public Housing
Authority.”
According to the resolution,
the task force will function
under the direction of the city
manager and the leadership
of the appointed chairman to
identify and recommend to the
city council legislation, policies
or other appropriate action to
support and enhance work force
and affordable housing within
the city.
Mayor John Ernst said
the task force is important to
address an important issue.
“But this should be
longstanding and an important
task force to help Brookhaven
combat the problem of
affordable housing that is a
region-wide, statewide and
nationwide issue,” Ernst said.
“I hope that we can add to that
dialogue and come up with
some solutions.”
Councilwomen Linley
Jones, who brought the
proposal to the council, thanked
the 13 people for serving on the
task force.
“We are very optimistic that
y’all will have some great ideas
and proposals that we will be
hearing from you and we are
here for you for any support that
you need during this process,”
Jones said.

NOTICE OF MEETING
DATE CHANGE

DeKalb County Zoning Board of
Appeals hearing will be held on Thur.
Oct. 2016 at 1:00 P.M. not Oct. 12,
2106 as previously advertised in the
legal Sect. on Sept. 22, 2016.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 9

Brook Run Theater in Dunwoody has been unused and abandoned since a hospital
housed in the facility closed in 1997.

Dunwoody City Council voted 6-1 in favor of awarding a demolition contract
to TOA LLC for the destruction of Brook Run Theater.

Demolition company chosen for Brook Run theater
Dunwoody City Council proceeds amid public opposition

by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Despite jeers, cheers
and requests not to proceed
with the demolition of a
theater at Brook Run Park,
Dunwoody City Council approved a $272,000 contract
to bring the building down.
TOA LLC, a demolition
company based in Norcross,
was selected Sept. 12 during the council’s regularly
scheduled biweekly meeting. The approved amount
includes a contingency of
$125,000 because of the
amount of perceived asbestos in the building, which has
been closed and abandoned
since 1997.
“In 2010, [Dunwoody]
purchased Brook Run Park
from DeKalb County. At the
time of purchase several
of the Brook Run Hospital
buildings remained. Over the
past few years [Dunwoody]
demolished several of these
buildings, improving the park
property and making it safer
and more enjoyable for park
users,” reads a statement
from Dunwoody.
TOA LLC demolished
other buildings at the site
when Dunwoody first acquired the property.
Some Dunwoody residents present at the Sept.
12 meeting and the July 11
meeting where demolition
was approved, oppose the
demolition. No Dunwoody
resident has voiced support
for the initiative at a public
meeting.
Dozens spoke in opposition to the building’s
demolition at both meetings,
citing the 350-400-seat performance space available in
the building. The facility also
boasts classrooms, offices

and a chapel with historically
significant stained-glass windows.
Melanie Williams, who
helped facilitate a rehabilitation of the Donaldson-Bannister Farm as co-president
of Dunwoody Preservation
Trust, said the city is making a financial mistake. She
compared her partnership
with the city in restoring
Donaldson-Bannister to one
offered to city officials by the
Brook Run Conservancy on
July 11.
“The monetary value of
the Donaldson-Bannister
property upon completion
will be around $4-5 million
with a fraction of that dollar
amount having been invested,” Williams said. “That is a
great return on investment to
the city thanks to a successful working partnership [with
the public]. The plan offered
by the Brook Run Conservancy to save the theater is
a similar concept. A building deemed as worthless
to some within the city can
also be seen as an asset to
the community, with a value
of approximately $20 million
and little to no tax consequences to citizens.”
Williams’ comments, as
others advocating for Brook
Run Theater, were met with
raucous applause.
Cheryl Summers
said Brook Run Theater is
structurally sound and historically significant to Dunwoody. Summers personally
pledged $2,000 at the meeting and requested additional
time to raise proper funds.
“It would make an outstanding mutli-use cultural
and community center,” Summers said. “It can be done
and we can do it.”
Danny Ross from the

Brook Run Conservancy
said an anonymous donor
has pledged $100,000 to
save the theater. The Conservancy requested the city
as a partner for Brook Run
Theater’s restoration on July
11 and projected the total
cost would be approximately
$7.5 million.
A video presentation
from Rodney Mims Cook,
Jr., who at age 14 campaigned to save Atlanta’s
Fox Theater, was shown to
Dunwoody City Council. Via
video, Cook requested the
Brook Run Theater demolition be deferred until he
could speak with the council
personally.
Ballet and theater teacher Leah Parris related how
a performing arts education
enriches students. Parris
said her employer, Musical
Theatre Center, rents per-

forming arts centers throughout the city and insists
there’s a need in Dunwoody.
“It’s always a struggle
to coordinate spaces and
services we would like in
this community who are
interested in the arts,” Parris said. “It’s no secret the
arts are important. They not
only benefit those seeking
it as a profession but teach
children lifelong skills in any
scenario.”
Dunwoody City Council questioned Parks and
Recreation Director Brent
Walker on logistical details
regarding the building’s
foundation and asbestos
level.
“I look at this and I think
we’re doing something that’s
detrimental to our city,” said
Mayor Denis Shortal. “I’m
not sure the building can
be saved, but I don’t think

anyone [on council] is sure
it can’t be saved. The space
it’s taking is minute. I wonder
what is the harm in waiting
[for demolition]. I don’t understand the harm in waiting. Once you bulldoze it, it’s
gone.”
Shortal said Dunwoody
does not have the funds to
build a new theater.
“When we think about
citizens as a whole, we
should think about the whole
spectrum,” Shortal said.
“What we’re doing here is
excluding part of our society
in what they specialize in.
I don’t see anything wrong
with pulling back and giving
people a chance [to save the
building].”
Shortal cast the sole opposing vote to proceed with
awarding the contract to
TOA LLC, which passed six
to one.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 10

Ivy Preparatory Academy Kirkwood School for Girls hosted its first “Bring Your Parent to School” event, where parents and guardians took personality tests and observed
different types in the classroom.

Ivy Prep academy hosts ‘Bring Your Parent to School Day’ to engage community
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

A

pproximately 200
metro-Atlanta
parents and
guardians were at
Ivy Preparatory Academy
Kirkwood School for Girls
on Sept. 22 to engage,
observe and learn from their
child’s instructors.
As part of Ivy Prep’s
“Bring Your Parent to School
Day,” parents and guardians
from DeKalb, Fulton and
Gwinnett counties attended
a two-hour instructional,
observational and work
session that included a
personality test, classroom
participation and homework.
“We’re allowing our
parents to come into the
school and see what’s
happening,” said Principal
Charcia Nichols. “For
them to do that, we have
to educate them; they’re
learning their own true
colors through a personality
inventory and differentiated
instruction.”
Nichols said each adult
attended a “professional
development “ workshop
that focused on the styles of
learning offered at Ivy Prep,
personality and learning
types in classrooms, and
how both affect student
achievement.
According to Nichols,
community engagement
is at the forefront of Ivy
Prep and part of its overall
mission. She referred to
parents and guardians as
the school’s “teachers at
home” and said keeping
them informed is important

to the school’s success.
“Our school will not be
the best school without
our parents,” Nichols
said. “We’re educating the
community. We can’t do this
alone—we have to have
parents in the building so
they understand what’s
going to be needed at
home.”
Nichols led the True
Colors Personality Test
workshop before sending
the adults into classrooms.
Once there, parents and
guardians completed
a worksheet to provide
feedback on each type of
personality.
A “gold” personality,
according to Nichols, is
goal-oriented, organized
and pays attention to detail.
“If you have a scholar
(student) that is gold, once
you tell them how to do
something, that’s how you
do it,” Nichols said.
The “green” personality
types tend to be analytical
and require more
challenges, Nichols said.
“Orange” personality types
tend to be free-spirited and
require hands-on activity
and movement. “Blue”
personality types tend to
be more fun-loving, grouporiented and eager to
please.
According to Nichols,
teachers new to Ivy Prep
receive similar training
before being placed in
classrooms.
“When you’re dealing
with a parent that’s ‘gold’—
very detail oriented, very
structured—and you have a
different type of student, you

have to know how to work
with that,” Nichols said. “You
have to understand them to
know how to teach them.”
Nichols teamed with Ivy
Prep’s parent engagement
specialist Jeannie McCree
to come up with a way to
interest, educate and attract
parents for two hours on a
workday. True Colors was
the ultimate decision.
Founded in 1979 after
conducting research with
more than 20,000 people,
True Colors has trained
more than 4,000 teachers,
parents and business
leaders to administer the
test.
According to Education
World, True Colors is
founded on the Myers-

Briggs Indicator and work
done by David Keirsey.
One parent, Corina
Bell, said both she and her
daughter will benefit from
the Sept. 22 event. She
said her involvement in the
parent workshop allowed
her to learn more about her
daughter’s strengths and
weaknesses.
Bell said her daughter
can be impatient—possibly
“orange”— and that
she herself is “green,”
or outgoing, individual,
focused and outspoken.
“The personality test
was great and this was just
a great experience,” Bell
said. “We’re going to look at
strengths and weaknesses
and go from there. We’re

going to talk about the
quiz—it brings you together
and helps you identify
things you can both relate
to.”
Ivy Preparatory
Academy Kirkwood School
for Girls will host an event
every month to keep
engaging parents and
guardians. A second “Bring
Your Parent to School Day”
will take place in November
for parents who could not
attend Sept. 22.
For more information
on Ivy Preparatory
Academy Kirkwood School
for Girls—located at 1807
Memorial Drive—visit
ivyprepacademy.org or call
(404) 622-2727.

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 11

weekinpictures

A colorful electrical generator sits by the Maloof
Building in Decatur. The boxes are part of the
“Decatur Box Project” which is an initiative designed
to “beautify” intersections in Decatur.

The 4th Annual Atlanta Kosher BBQ competition was held
on Sept. 25 at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. The Dunwoody
Police Department competed in applying wet rubs, dry rubs
and grilling at the event. Sgts. Nelson, Clifton and Officer
Leach represented the department from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A flower is in full bloom by the community
bandstand on the downtown Decatur square.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Dunwoody city officials hosted a town hall meeting at Dunwoody Baptist Church.
Residents submitted conversation topics, questions and ideas online before meeting with city council members
and other staff.

A sign outside a business in downtown Decatur
shows its optimism for upcoming fall weather.

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) 371-2325

DeKalb25@outlook.com

DeKalb25.com

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 12

Tucker precinct touts low crime rate, updates community on murder case
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
Tucker officials touted the
city’s low crime rate during
a community engagement
meeting Sept. 21.
Member of community and neighborhood watch
organizations in the area
listened as Tucker law enforcement provided crime prevention tactics and updated
residents on the latest crime
statistics.
Of the four DeKalb
County Police precincts, Sgt.
D.A. Kitchen said the Tucker
precinct has the lowest crime
rate percentage in the county
throughout the year.
“You can chalk it up to us
having very good officers and
having very good detectives,”
Kitchen said. “When we get a
case, they come out to all the
burglaries and all the robberies. They’re on hand.”
Kitchen said he had an
opportunity to return to the homicide division in other units
but decided to stay in Tucker.
“I love the people here
and I love the officers. I’m going to try to stay as long as I
can before I retire,” Kitchen
said.
Kitchen also informed
attendees that a recent homicide was cleared by detectives.
Police arrested 23-yearold Jarvis Stanford and
20-year-old Imani Burns in
connection with the shooting
death of 33-year-old Aromsuk Somohot.
Somohot, who worked
at the Mai Thai restaurant off
Hugh Howell Road in Tucker,
was shot and robbed while
leaving work.
Kitchen said Burns was
a former employee of the
restaurant and Stanford was
Burns’ boyfriend. Stanford is
believed to be the shooter,
according to police.  
The Tucker precinct is
working to lower residential
and business-related crime in
the area, Kitchen said.
Some in attendance
expressed concern over a
“peeping tom” suspect in the
Stonecrest area.
“Basically there is a guy
that’s been going around and
going over walls and balconies and in a sense molesting
or being sexually explicit,”
said J.A. Hightower a crime
prevention and public education specialist for the Tucker
precinct.
Hightower said the Sept.
21 meeting was one of the
largest attended community
meetings the precinct has had
in recent years.
“The drop in crime rate

Tucker police detective E.G. Perkins speaks at a Sept.
21 community policing and neighborhood watch
meeting.

is because the people in the
community are our eyes and
ears. The community involvement and contact is very
helpful,” Hightower said. “This
meeting today was larger than
the average meeting. This is
a larger group than we’ve had
in a while. You have to have
community involvement.”
Detective E.G. Perkins
gave attendees tips on how
they can protect their homes

Tucker Public Education Specialist J.A. Hightower and Sgt. D.A. Kitchen speak
about crime prevention in their area on Sept. 21.

and personal belongings
against criminals.
“Besides being raped,
having something stolen from
you is another way someone
can feel very violated,” Perkins said. “You have to be
aware. If someone doesn’t
look familiar to you or to the
community and they’re constantly looking back and forth
or looking over their shoulder,
that’s a sign that they might

not belong over there. If you
witness something, the last
thing you need to do is approach this person. Let us approach them.”
Anita Stoltzfus said
these types of meetings are
essential to keep the community safe.
“I can’t imagine not having these meetings and the
Tucker precinct does a great
job of making themselves

available and communicating
with us. They let us ask as
many questions as we can
and make us feel like they do
listen,” Stoltzfus said.
Stoltzfus and her husband
are the heads of their local
neighborhood watch in a 49home.
“(These meetings) makes
our community heard and
safer. It ups our morale,”
Stoltzfus said.

2nd ROUND OF COMMUNITY INPUT MEETINGS FOR
BUILDING S.P.A.C.E.S. INITIATIVE
The DeKalb County School District through the Building S.P.A.C.E.S Initiative is holding an informational
meeting and the second round of five (5) regional public input meetings. The Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Initiative is
an effort to determine how, where, and why future revenues from the E-SPLOST program should be dedicated
to the improvement and modernization of our buildings and infrastructure. Voters approved the 2017-2022
E-SPLOST program on May 24th, 2016
The meetings will be held on the following dates and times at the locations shown:
Region

Time/Date of Meeting

Meeting Location

Informational Meeting

Tuesday, September 27, 7 – 9 PM

AIC
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Region 2

Tuesday, October 4, 7-9 PM

Tucker High School
5036 LaVista Road
Tucker, GA 30084

Region 4

Tuesday, October 11, 7 – 9 PM

Miller Grove High School
2645 DeKalb Medical Parkway
Lithonia, GA 30058

Region 1

Thursday, October 13, 7 – 9 PM

Chamblee High School
3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road
Chamblee, GA 30341

Region 5

Monday, October 17, 7 – 9 PM

Columbia High School
2106 Columbia Drive
Decatur, GA 30032

Region 3

Tuesday, October 18, 7 – 9 PM

Stone Mountain High School
4555 Central Drive
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

local

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 13

Winters Chapel Road in Doraville is heavily traveled by pedestrians and vehicles but lacks proper infrastructure.

Doraville takes first step in Winters Chapel safety
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

I

t’s a rainy night with little
to no visibility.
A person with no
automobile needs groceries
and there are plenty of
stores within walking
distance. Unfortunately,
there are few sidewalks or
pedestrian amenities along
the only route—a heavily
traveled, arterial road.
The only options are to
walk in mud or brave the
road’s shoulder and risk
injury or worse.
On Sept. 19, Doraville
City Council unanimously
approved ending such
problems as this along
Winters Chapel Road via a
traffic calming plan from city
staff.
According to city
manager Sean Gillen, the
plan includes lining the road
with sidewalks, creating
medians at certain points
and converting a continuous
right lane into a multi-use
path.
“[There are] a lot of high
speed issues on Winters
Chapel Road,” Gillen said.
“We’ve also had some
pedestrian safety issues. We
want approval from council
in concept about this, which
will authorize us to move
into [the] final design [phase]
and then put it out to bid.”
Gillen said the concept
will affect many areas—
including residential—along
Winters Chapel Road,
which spans approximately
two miles from Peachtree
Industrial Boulevard to
Buford Highway.
Pam Fleming said she
is in favor of calming traffic
by any means, specifically
naming implementation of
medians.
“It’s easy to envision a
child running into the middle
of the road, getting right in
the middle of the road while
waiting for a car to pass and

getting hit by another car,”
Fleming said.
Gillen said medians
address the scenario
Fleming described on two
fronts.
“Medians serve two
purposes—one is traffic
calming. It narrows the lane
and makes you slow your
car down,” Gillen said. “A
second, bonus alternative
effect is a pedestrian safety
net for crossing the street. If
someone tries to cross the
street, there’s somewhere
safe to go if more traffic
comes.”
Councilman Robert
Patrick said he anticipates
many concerns and
questions from residents
along Winters Chapel Road.
“If you’ve ever been
on Winters Chapel on a
rainy night when people are
walking from A to B or to a
gas station, they are often
walking on the shoulder so
they don’t have to walk in
the mud,” Patrick said. “It’s a
dangerous situation.”
Councilwoman Dawn
O’Connor said it is
important for Doraville City
Council to focus on safety
issues first rather than
cycling paths and bicycle
holders. O’Connor also
stressed concern over the
cost of the project.
According to Gillen, prior
to creating a final design to
present to council, the city
will host a series of meetings
with Winters Chapel Road
residents.
O’Connor suggested
including residents from the
Aspen Woods—located on
Winters Chapel Road—in
the discussion.
“They are very
approachable and have
meetings once a month,
we could easily get on their
agenda,” O’Connor said.
“It’s really difficult to get out
of [that neighborhood]. Let’s
see what those residents
want.”

New Georgia Law Concerning
High School Graduation Passed
by Governor
March 30, 2015, Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill
91 into law, thereby creating a new code section, O.C.G.A. §
20-2-281.1. This law became effective upon the Governor’s
signature. This law states that students shall no longer be
required to earn a passing score on any graduation tests to
earn a high school diploma.
Students that were unable to earn a high school diploma
solely due to not earning passing scores on the graduation
tests will be eligible to petition and receive their high school
diploma. The law includes all subjects, forms, and versions of
the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (English Language
Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies), Georgia
High School Writing Test, and Basic Skills Tests (Reading,
Mathematics, and Writing).
Eligible students must have completed City Schools of
Decatur graduation requirements in order to receive their
diploma.
If Decatur High School was the last high school that you
attended and were unable to earn a high school diploma due
solely to not achieving a passing score on the graduation
tests, you are eligible to petition for the awarding of your high
school diploma.
Former Decatur High School students interested in petitioning
for their high school diploma should follow the process listed
below:
Contact Deborah Shadrix, 404-370-4187, ext. 2165,
dshadrix@csdecatur.net at the Decatur High School
Counseling Office to receive information regarding the
petitioning process. Once the petition has been received a
team comprised of the Graduation Coach and a Counselor
will review the petition and determine whether City Schools of
Decatur graduation requirements have been met. There is no
deadline by which a petition may be submitted.

education

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 14

DeKalb superintendent, officials promise TRUST
Parent Councils
United hosts State
of the District
address at Tucker
High School
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

A

ccording to
DeKalb County
School District
(DCSD)
Superintendent Stephen
Green, students,
parents and community
stakeholders have a lot to
look forward to during the
2016-2017 school year.
“It’s one thing to have
a plan, it’s another thing
to bring that plan to life
and put it into action,”
Green said. “You will see
a plan many you and other
stakeholders have helped
build for DCSD. You will
see life breathed into that
plan … that will deliver
outcomes we want for our
children.”
At the latest State of
the District address, hosted
by Parents Councils United
(PCU) at Tucker High
School on Sept. 20, Green
outlined how DCSD will
handle issues involving
teaching and learning,
relevance, unity, support
and transparency (TRUST).
“Our focus this year is
building trust, as a district,
as an administration, as a
board of education—we are
in the mode of restoration,”
Green said. “We’re on a
wellness program. As the
acronym illustrates, we’re
seeking to improve—
TRUST is our focus.”
Green said it has
taken his first full year as
superintendent to set the
stage for the 2016-2017
school year, specifically
through restructuring
DCSD’s administrative
office, engaging with school
communities and creating a
performance-based district.
“Once you have a
system in place, you can
begin to gauge the effort,”
Green said. “Sometimes
that works out, sometimes
it doesn’t. With turnaround,
sometimes the byproduct is
turnover.”

Superintendent Stephen Green promised T.R.U.S.T to an estimated
100 community stakeholders at Tucker High School.

DeKalb County School District partnered with Parent Councils
United to host the first State of the District Address for the 20162017 school year on Sept. 20.

Green said the creation
of micro cabinets helps
decentralize the district
and brings service “to the
ground level.” Regional
superintendents now
work with administration
representatives from
each department within
DCSD and meet weekly.
In addition, Green said
he personally meets
weekly with regional
superintendents.
“Every Monday, we
meet from 8 a.m. to 11
a.m. to engage in problemsolving and forward
thinking for the district,”
Green said. “We create
accountability.”
Green said DCSD
is back at the core of
education with the first “T”
in TRUST with teaching
and learning. He said the
district is at work in writing
its own curriculum, an
announcement that came
the first day of school at
Sagamore Hills Elementary.
“This is what we’re
charged by you to do,”
Green said. “A school
district without a curriculum
is like Christopher
Columbus without a
compass. We need that
anchor.”
Green said the
curriculum will be
presented March 2017 for
board approval.
The creation of a
new student code of
conduct based on the
$398,000 contract with the
International Institute of
Restorative Practices helps
DCSD foster relevance—
the “R” in TRUST—
according to Green.
“These two go hand-inhand,” Green said. “We’re

know about. I didn’t know
what the ‘darknet’ is. We
have to have a community
conversation.”
For “S,” Green said
the new Department of
Support and Intervention
specializes in engaging
students following a crisis
at school and providing
families support when
needed.
For the final “T,” Green
lauded an improved fund
balance, increased direct to
classroom expenditures to
64.1 percent and 120 new
buses.
Green said a DCSD
would begin working on
replacing an “antiquated”
financial system, rid the
district of financial and
social disproportionality,
improve recruitment
processes and implement
the Secondary School
Facility Study.

looking at where we have
underrepresentation in
students in AP exams,
IB programs and STEM
and overrepresentation
in suspensions and
expulsions. We’re holding
ourselves accountable
and have come to the
understanding that we
cannot keep putting
students out of school.
Suspension is not the
answer, expulsion is not the
answer. That’s resignation
and that’s giving up.”
For “U,” Green
promised a more intuitive
and usable website,
increasing cyber safety,
creating social media
guidelines
“We have to get busy
on this; we have to catch
up to our kids,” Green
said. “Our babies are at
risk. There’s stuff out there
you don’t even want to

PCU has held similar
sessions with Green, with
the most recent taking
place April 26. The group
of involved parents has
consistently voiced support
for Green’s initiatives for
the district.
“Under the leadership of
our present superintendent,
the district has made
great strides in the
structuring of the central
office, the operationalizing
of the strategic plan,
improving teaching and
learning, increasing
student achievement, the
allocation of resources
and the placing of critical
human capital and other
services in the field through
decentralization,” said PCU
member Merill White in an
official statement from the
organization.

education

Superintendent Stephen Green, according to board
members, was hired because of his experience dealing
with struggling school districts.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 15

Board member Marshall Orson said DeKalb
County’s unique challenges should be handled
by those familiar with DeKalb County.

Board member Joyce Morley said she opposes any
measure that labels schools, communities and children
as failures.

DeKalb County School District votes to oppose OSD
Opportunity School District lacks ‘magic pixie dust’ to
DeKalb’s failing schools, board members say
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

T

he DeKalb County School District
(DCSD) voted to formally oppose Gov.
Nathan Deal’s proposed Opportunity
School District (OSD) on Sept. 19 during
a special-called board of education meeting.
The DCSD board voted five to one in favor
of a written stance against the OSD, which
would place 26 failing DeKalb County schools
under state control. The takeover—officially titled
Amendment 1—will occur at schools throughout
Georgia should it meet voter approval on Nov. 8.
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be
amended to allow the state to intervene in
chronically failing public schools in order
to improve student performance?” asks
Amendment 1.
“After careful consideration, [DCSD] urges
voters to vote no on the proposed Constitutional
Amendment 1, the [OSD] amendment,”
stated board chairman Melvin Johnson while
reading DCSD’s official stance. “Local control
of education is a bedrock American principle.
We strongly believe that citizens whose taxes
pay for a majority of the cost of educating our
children should exercise control over decisions
relating to that education.”
The statement calls the takeover a “new
state bureaucracy” and suggests the solution lies
in “motivated, well-trained teachers; engaged,
challenged students; and involved, supportive
parents, caregivers, and communities.”
Schools in DeKalb County eligible for state
takeover include 22 elementary schools, three
middle schools, and one high school. To be
considered eligible, schools must have a College
Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)
score below 60 for three consecutive years.
Of the 26 OSD-eligible schools, 15 are within
five CCRPI points of coming off the list. Three
schools were removed from the list during the
2015-2016 school year.
DCSD officials state OSD-eligible schools
will feature data rooms for teachers to
understand where need exists; a personalized,

The DeKalb County School District voted to
formally oppose an Opportunity School District on
the Nov. 8 ballot.

data driven education plan for each OSDeligible student; an increase in STEM schools;
weekly tutorial programs; $1.9 million in reading
and math initiatives; three weekly teacher
meetings; offering parenting classes and hiring
parent liaisons; and coaches to work with
students to address in-school and out-of-school
suspensions.
“The work we are doing in the OSD-eligible
schools is work we have been and will continue
to do without OSD,” reads a statement from the
district.
In addition, DCSD is giving stipends and
signing bonuses to retain talented and motivated
teachers; $500,000 in a new accountability
system; $750,000 for 10 schools identified as
the most in-need; and $398,000 for restorative
practices that seek to reduce suspensions.
Board members said the OSD is not
necessary to improve school performance
and took issue with calling schools “failing” or
“failures.”
“To believe that a school is failing means that
every child in that school is a failure,” said board
member Joyce Morley. “It also means that
every parent is a failure. It means the community
is a failure. We don’t accept failing, nor are we
failures—our children are never failures.”
Board member Marshall Orson called

DCSD’s stance a “measured response” to state
government’s proposal.
“We’re espousing very important principles
about how local school systems should operate,
how citizens should be vested and continue to
be vested in [the education] process,” Orson
said. “We have schools that are not doing as
well as we expect them to be but we’re also
embarked on a pathway and program to address
those concerns. If there was magic pixie dust the
state was hoarding, we expect they would have
shared it with us already.”
Orson said many students attending OSDeligible schools face obstacles unfamiliar to
a state-mandated program, including food
insecurities, health insecurities, poverty, crime
and “other systemic failures.”
“We have to be prepared to address
holistically how to serve these children,” Orson
said. “We can’t continue to engage in this
fiction that people don’t come to school with
what they’re coming from at home in their
communities.”
Board member Stan Jester said he voted to
hire DCSD Superintendent Stephen Green to
address failing schools in the county.
“I come to this situation with a good deal
of experience having worked in a situation
where the entire district was under threat of
state takeover,” Green said. “There are things
already under way. We’re digging deep and
doing the kind of turnaround that research
indicates and substantiates needs to take place.
The turnaround is deep, hard, intensive work.
There are no easy solutions. But we are making
progress and that progress should continue
uninterrupted.”
The board voted in favor of the official stance
five to one with Jester opposing and board
member James McMahan absent.
As of Sept. 20, DCSD joins 30 other
districts—some of which have no OSD-eligible
schools— who have taken formal stands against
the proposed amendment.
See related story on page 4A.

business

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 16

Cooking school caters to kids in the kitchen
by Kathy Mitchell

I

s America raising a
generation of young
people who think of
the kitchen as a place
where juice is kept cool
and frozen pizzas wait to
be microwaved? Not if
Lynlee Bradley and dozens
of others who share her
vocational interest can help it.
Bradley and her
husband Austin own and
operate Young Chefs
Academy in Toco Hills, the
local version of a national
chain designed to show
children that cooking is a
lifelong skill that can be

artistic, creative and fun.
On Sept. 10 children
and their parents came to
an open house to try the
concept as they prepared
after-school snacks
and learned what the
academy offers in terms
of curriculum and special
events. With intense focus
punctuated with occasional
giggles, young children
chose sauces, frosted
cupcakes and cut fruits and
vegetables.
“I just love this,” said
Bradley, a pastry chef by
training. “The kids are
so much fun to work with
and no day at work is like

Tatum’s (ID# 33301386) ears are still figuring out
what they’re going to do, but that’s okay, she digs the up/down
look she has going now! This 10-month-old cutie is as
sweet as can be. She loves snuggling and is all about
her people. She gets along with other dogs too!
Thinking of adding a pet to your family? Check out Tatum!
If you would like to expand your family by 4 furry little
feet; come meet Tatum at the DeKalb Animal Shelter. If you
adopt Tatum during September the adoption fee is waived
during our “Welcome Home Your New MVP” special; which
includes spay/neuter, vaccinations and microchip. If you would
like more information about Tatum please email adoption@
dekalbanimalservices.com or call (404) 294-2165. All
potential adopters will be screened to ensure Tatum goes to a
good home.

another.”
She said students range
from ages 3 through 18.
“How we work with them
of course depends on their
ages and their experience.
Younger ones may learn
how to help with preparation
of the family meal doing
such things as cutting
vegetables. Older ones
may reach the point where
they can prepare a meal for
the family. We go through
everything step-by-step with
those who are new in the
kitchen, but with older, more
experienced ones we pretty
much give them the reins,”
said Bradley, who worked

four years at a Young Chefs
Academy before purchasing
her own franchise.
“It’s an amazing
concept, so different from
anything else out there,”
she said.
“No matter what age
they are or how much they
know about cooking, I
want them to have a great
time creating something
they can share with the
family,” Bradley added.
“Dinner preparation can be
a wonderful family blending
time. Even small children
can make a salad or set the
table while mom and dad
cook the main meal.”
Cooking, she said is
back in vogue with people
of all ages. “There are
so many cooking shows
on television these days.
Children—boys and girls—
watch them and think ‘I
could do that. I’d love to try
that.’”
Parents of younger
children stay with them
through the class, Bradley
explained, while children 7
and older can be dropped
off.
Founded in 2003 by
Julie Burleson, Young
Chefs Academy offers
cooking classes to children
in what the company’s
website describes as “a
safe environment that
encourages discovery and
creativity.”
“We teach them how
to follow a recipe. That is
so important. Everything

from measurements to
temperatures to how things
come together must be right
for the dish to come out the
way it’s supposed to. When
we’re finished they get to
taste the final product. They
really take pride in trying
something they made or
helped to make,” Bradley
said.
In addition to teaching
food preparation skills
Young Chefs Academy
trains young cooks in
kitchen cleanliness and
safety, dining etiquette,
and such auxiliary skills
as table setting and menu
planning. “Little ones may
have to be taught not to
play in the flour. Older ones
learn to set up the kitchen
environment—everything in
its place—so they are sure
they have what they need
before they start.”
As with other Young
Chef Academies, the one in
Toco Hills has stations set
up for the look and feel of a
home kitchen. “The kitchen
is the pulse of the home—
where we learn about life
and each other,” Burleson
comments on the Young
Chef Academy website.
In addition to classes,
Young Chef Academy hosts
special events such as
birthday parties. There is a
retail area selling kitchen
accessories such as aprons
and safety knives.
Young Chefs Academy
has more than 20 franchise
locations in 10 states.

Classified

The

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 17

Champion

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sports

Clarkston’s Bineyam Tumbo
finished third in the first boys’
race. Photos by Mark Brock

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 18

Lakeside senior Morgan Mihalis ran the
fastest girls’ time of the season in DeKalb
County to win the first girls’ race.

Southwest DeKalb sophomore Lanee
Edwards won the second girls’ race.

Southwest DeKalb sophomore Nakai Jack
won the second boys’ race.

Lakeside sweeps in DeKalb cross country races

by Mark Brock
Lakeside senior Morgan
Mihalis ran the fastest DeKalb
County girls’ time of the season to
help Lakeside finish a sweep of the
first races at the Druid Hills Middle
School course on Sept. 20.
Mihalis clocked a 20:06.02 to
win individual honors in the girls’
first race of the day and propel the
Lakeside Lady Vikings to a 23-74
win over Chamblee. Druid Hills (81)
was third followed by Tucker (216)
in fourth and Stephenson (263) in
fifth.
Lakeside had seven runners
finish in the top 10. Following
Chamblee junior Beining Xiao
(20:44.83) in second and Druid Hills
senior Rachel Juieng (22:32.27) in
third, Lakeside had runners to finish
fourth through seventh.
Sophomore Emma Hanson
(22:38.85) was fourth followed by
freshman Lena Ayoub (22:39.10),
freshman Margaret Racine
(22:49.51) and junior Eliana Blam
(223:20.75).
Freshmen Santai-Blu Boyd
(23:35.27) and Sydney DeWoody
(23:51.06) finished ninth and 10th
for Lakeside.
Cross Keys’ junior Vanesa

Rubio finished eighth in a time of
23:34.72.
The Lakeside boys’ team
started the sweep with a 49-57 win
over Druid Hills.
Clarkston and Druid Hills both
had three runners in the Top 10
while Lakeside junior Myles Boyd
(18:04.86) was fourth and freshman
Ethen Gregory (18:27.91) was
ninth.
Lakeside had runners to finish
11th, 12th and 13th to seal the
victory. Sophomore Jay Clinton
(18:43.27) finished 11th, followed
by junior Jake Tubesing (18:44.09)
and senior Andrew Crites
(18:47.61).
Druid Hills was led by senior
Ermias Tewolde (17:23.41),
who took second in the individual
standings. Sophomore’s Carter
Rather (18:12.01) and Ian Schunk
(18:23.09) were sixth and eighth,
respectively.
Clarkston (75) was third, led
Bineyam Tumbo (17:18.63), who
was just off his best time of the
season. Sophomore Thomas
Weldemichal (18:02.55) finished
third and junior Abdi Nasir Yahye
(18:08.19) finished fifth.
Chamblee’s Bennett Solomon
(18:22.07) finished seventh and

Tucker’s Miles Smith (18:37.12)
rounded out the Top 10.
The Arabia Mountain Rams
and Lithonia Bulldogs tied atop
the boys’ standings in the second
race with 57 points apiece, but the
Rams 21st-place finisher Sanjay
Lord (23:08.79) finished ahead
of Lithonia’s Brian Chesnokov
(25:02.80), who was 26th overall, to
get the race victory.
Martin Luther King Jr. was third
with 72 points and Cedar Grove
was fourth with 201.
Both Arabia Mountain and
Lithonia placed three runners in
the Top 10 with Arabia Mountain
holding a slim 22-23 edge behind
the fifth place finish of senior
Malik Wright (21:10.89), eighth
by sophomore Ridge Turner
(21:22.63) and ninth from junior
Sam Garrett (21:58.65).
Lithonia junior Ziren Alexander
(21:12.42) was sixth, freshman
Justin Harris (21:2.89) was
seventh and sophomore Brison
Rockcliffe (22:37.29) finished10th.
Southwest DeKalb did not get a
team score but racked up the top 3
spots in the race led by sophomore
Nakai Jack (19:35.78) in first
followed by juniors Anthony Parker
(19:56.78) and Hasim Smith

(20:37.33).
Martin Luther King Jr.
sophomore Demetrius Carson
(20:44.97) was fourth overall in the
individual standings to finish the top
10.
The Southwest DeKalb Lady
Panthers won the second girls’
race 22-51 over Arabia Mountain
as sophomore Lanee Edwards
(23:00.76) led seven Lady Panthers
to finish in the top 10 with her
second individual victory of the
season.
Sophomore Jamarria
Williams (26:22.04) was third
before a group of five runners
who took the fifth through ninth
spots. Junior Raekwan Bostic
(27:04.18) finished fifth followed
by sophomores Raven Thurman
(27:06.39), Kennedy Morman
(27:15.97), Yaria Sanders
(27:22.15) and Caniece Collins
(27:29.31).
Arabia Mountain put a pair of
runners in the top 10 led by senior
Sydni Rush (25:29.31) in second,
while sophomore Asya White
(28:24.26) was 10th.
Columbia junior Franol Hulufe
finished the group of Top 10
finishers in fourth with a time of
26:43.29.

sports

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 19

Game highlights

Tucker (4-1) 55,
M.L. King (2-3) 0

Columbia running back Thaddeus Easley stiff arms a Clarkston defender. Photo by Carla Parker

Eagles soar on homecoming
Columbia
defeats
Clarkston
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The Columbia Eagles
got their second win of the
season after a 53-6 victory
over Clarkston on Sept. 23
at Godfrey Stadium.
The Eagles—which
scored on offense, defense
and special teams—were
too much for the Clarkston
Angoras from the opening
kickoff. Columbia’s
Marquavious Linner
returned the opening kickoff
for a touchdown to give the
Eagles an early 7-0 lead.
After the Columbia
defense forced a threeand-out for Clarkston,
Eagles running back
Thaddeus Easley and

full back Chavez Oliver
had big runs to set up a
1-yard touchdown by full
back Rondarius Bryant,
extending Columbia’s lead
to 14-0.
The Angoras put
themselves in a good
position to score after a
nice return by running
back Quantavious Ross
on the kickoff. However,
a fumble a few plays later
was recovered by Columbia
linebacker Michael Beasley
and returned for a 77-yard
touchdown. The extra point
was missed, leaving the
score at 20-0.
At the end of the first
quarter, Easley scored on
a 12-yard run to extend the
lead to 27-0.The Eagles
found the end zone again
in the second quarter on
a 50-yard touchdown run
by quarterback Tramaine
Callaway, giving Columbia
a 34-0 lead.
The Eagles’ defense got
its second touchdown of

the game midway through
the second quarter on a
pick-6 by Yahaziah Brown,
extending the lead to 40-0.
Columbia went up 47-0 later
in the quarter on a 1-yard
touchdown pass from
Callaway to wide receiver
Giovanni Dyer.
Clarkston got its only
touchdown of the game
in the fourth quarter on a
24-yard touchdown pass
from quarterback Foday
Tarawally to fullback
Charles Ash. Tarawally’s
pass was batted down
on the 2-point conversion
attempt, leaving the score
at 47-6.
Columbia backup
quarterback Nehemiah
Grier scored on a 2-yard
run, bringing the final score
to 54-6.
Columbia (2-3) will take
on region rival Lithonia
(1-4) on Oct. 7 at Godfrey
Stadium. Clarkston (0-6) is
on a bye week.

Tucker receiver Josh Vann (3) leaps to catch one of his two
touchdown receptions. Photos by Travis Hudgons

ML King’s quarterback is sacked by three Tucker defenders.

Weekend football scores
Sept. 23
North Clayton (3-2) 16, Druid Hills (2-3) 14
Lakeside (4-1) 38, Meadowcreek (0-5) 0
Lovett (3-2) 35, Towers (2-3) 6
Columbia (2-3) 54, Clarkston (0-6) 6
Tucker (4-1) 55, M.L. King (2-3) 0
Chattahoochee (2-2), 41, Dunwoody (2-2) 0
East Coweta (4-1) 20, Arabia Mountain (4-1) 14
Westminster (3-2) 42, Cedar Grove (3-2) 21
Grady (4-1) 54, Decatur (1-4) 0

Lanier (3-2) 26, St. Pius (0-5) 0
Marist (2-2) 42, Chamblee (1-4) 14
Westlake (2-3) 25, Lithonia (1-4) 14
Pace Academy (4-1) 45, Redan (1-4) 22
Rockdale Co. (2-3) 14, SW DeKalb (2-3) 13
Stephenson (2-3) 21, Mundy’s Mill (1-4) 7

Sept. 24
McNair (3-2) 21, Stone Mountain (1-4) 13

Tucker’s Taurean Taylor runs the endzone.

sports

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 30, 2016 • Page 20

Tucker coach recognized as
Falcons Coach of the Week
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Tucker High School
football coach Bryan
Lamar became the fourth
coach this season to
win the Atlanta Falcons
Coach of the Week Award,
the football organization
announced Sept. 18.
Lamar received the
award after coaching the
Tucker Tigers to a 58-0 win
over Jonesboro on Sept.
16. The award, which is
presented by Ford, is given
to 12 Georgia high school
football coaches each
season for their hard work
and dedication to making
a difference in studentathletes’ lives.
After losing the season
opener 20-13 to Kell in
the Corky Kell Classic, the
Tigers won the following
four games, including a
21-20 win over two-time
defending state champions
Colquitt County on the road
on Sept. 3.

Tucker coach Bryan Lamar
won the Atlanta Falcons Coach
of the Week Award. Photo by
Travis Hudgons

Tucker is currently
ranked No.9 in Class
AAAAAA. Lamar, a 1999
Tucker graduate, has
compiled a 46-12 record
at Tucker since he took
over in 2012. He led the
Tigers to the 2013 Class
AAAAA state championship
game, where they fell to
Creekside. He won two
state titles with Tucker
(2008, 2001) as the
defensive coordinator.

My day is all
about making