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the DeKalb

FRIDAY, September 23, 2016 • VOL. 19, NO. 24 • FREE

‘Getting their hands dirty’

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


Hands-on, weekend
science program kicks off
at Miller Grove High
by R. Scott Belzer

As part of Georgia-Pacific’s Science Saturday program, DeKalb County students came to Miller Grove High
School to study how rainbows are made, create paper and build birdhouses.

For four hours on Saturday, Sept. 17, more
than 90 DeKalb County students gathered at
Miller Grove High School to study science,
technology, engineering, art and mathematics
As part of Georgia-Pacific’s third annual
Science Saturday program, the event featured
elementary students building birdhouses,
studying how rainbows are made and
manufacturing paper.
According to Dexter Johnson and
Marnaka Kilcrease, who facilitate the
monthly event on behalf of Georgia-Pacific,
Science Saturday’s main objective is to get
elementary students excited about STEAM
courses and activities.
“We teamed up to build a program and
teach our children about hands-on science
and how it goes into everyday living,”
Kilcrease said.
Georgia-Pacific is a paper company that
is responsible for such products as Brawny
paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper and Dixie
cups. Students were able to get an inside look
at what Georgia-Pacific does through three
classroom study sessions.
In one classroom, vacuums could be heard
filtering pulp to create construction paper.
In another, students observed how light
and water combine to create rainbows. In a
third, students proudly showcased a finished
“Students here are getting their hands
dirty,” Kilcrease said.
According to Kilcrease, students will study
a new theme each month. In October, for
example, students will move to the theme
“Solving Mysteries Through Science.” They
will be taught the details of fingerprinting and
search for clues to arrive at a proper forensic
Past Science Saturday programs have
included creating slime and toothpaste, glow
sticks and setting off homemade rockets.

Students were able to “get their hands dirty” by taking part in the paper-making process. Photos by R. Scott




See Program on Page 5


Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 2
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Miniature dollhouse show and sale announced
Tthe Atlanta Miniature Society Annual Dollhouse Show & Sale will be
held will be held at the Marriott Perimeter Center Atlanta, 246 Perimeter
Center Parkway NE, Atlanta on Sept. 23, 7 - 9:30 p.m. and Sept. 24, 10
a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Admission for both days is: adults $15, children 12 and younger $7;
Saturday only admission: adults $8, children 7 and younger $4

Avondale Estates
Girl Scout troop to hold meeting

Girl Scout Troop 3647 will hold a meeting Sept. 25 at from 2 to
4 p.m. at Avondale Pattillo United Methodist Church located at 3260
Covington Highway. For more information or to join the troop, call Bonny
Wilder at (770) 469-9032.

Men’s club to hold meeting
The Avondale Estates Men’s Club will hold its monthly meeting
Sept. 28 at noon. The meeting will be held at American Legion Post
66, located at 30 Covington Highway. For more information, call Steve
Forrester at (404) 284-1142.


Mayor to host town hall meeting
Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst will hold a town hall meeting Sept
29 at Montclair Elementary School from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The school
is located at 1680 Clairmont Place. For more information, visit www.


Theatre group hosts two productions
The New Origins Theatre Company will host Wrestling with Life until
Sept. 25 and Anatomy of a Hug Sept. 29 through Oct. 9 at Chamblee’s
Onion Man performance space.
Wrestling with Life, is a series of plays from six local playwrights
about characters with an undefined gender.
“In a blend of comedy, drama, fantasy, and the absurd, these
characters will go through the kinds of challenges we all hope we don’t
face, but they’re all too common: diseases that take parts of us away,
addiction, relationships that fluctuate between love and hate, mental
illness, loved ones who are obstacles to our happiness and fated
enemies,” reads a statement from New Origins.
Anatomy of a Hug, features a character named Amelia and her
mother’s “compassionate release” from prison.
All shows at Onion Man Productions—located at 5522 New
Peachtree Road in Chamblee—are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at
7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $12 to $16.
For more information visit or contact
James Beck at (404) 519-7591.


City partners with Global Growers for dinner party
The Historic Decatur Cemetery will host craft cocktails, local beer,
wine and auctions during Decatur’s Dinner Party on Sept. 24 from 6 p.m.
to 10 p.m.
Hosted by city officials and Global Growers, the fourth annual event

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 3

will “celebrate Decatur’s vibrant food community,” by showcasing both
local farmers and popular chefs in the area.
Participating restaurants include Brick Store Pub; Cakes & Ale;
Chai Pani; Farm Burger; Kimball House; Leon’s; Makan; Pine Street
Market; Revival; Victory Sandwich Bar; No. 246; Twain’s; Revival and
Tickets begin at $150. All proceeds from the event will benefit
Global Growers, a nonprofit specializing in creating free urban farming
environments. For more information, visit


Nature center hosts Fall Break Camp
The Dunwoody Nature Center, located at 5343 Roberts Drive, will
host a three-day fall camp on Oct. 6, 7 and 10 for preschoolers ages 3
and 4, as well as kindergarteners through fifth graders. Features of the
camp will include creek exploration, hikes, arts and games having to do
with nature.
Camp days are from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for full-day attendance
and cost $50 for members and $60 for non-members. An early bird
morning program will also begin at 8 a.m. and cost an additional $10.
For more information, visit or call
(770) 394-3322.

pine lake

LakeFest details announced
The 16th annual LakeFest will be held on Oct. 1 - 2. “LakeFest is
two days of art, live music, great food and family fun on the shores of
beautiful Pine Lake,” a release states.
This festival showcases handmade art and crafts by 45 local and
regional artist vendors, poetry by Georgia writers, a variety of musical
performances and styles. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on
Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission and parking are
Activities include hands-on crafts for children at the “Sound of Nature
Experience,” chalk drawing and sandcastle contests on the beach, a pet
show, and “Floatzilla!” a wild water parade led by The Seed and Feed
Marching Abominables. The music stage will have a full schedule of
bands and performers both days. Headliner A.J. Ghent and his band will
lead a blues safari to close the festival on Sunday night.
For a complete schedule of events, visit: For
more information, email


Organization to host event
Lithonia Small Business and Merchant Association will host the
“Market on Main!” event on Sept. 25 on Main Street in Lithonia. The
event will include food, live music, raffles, health screenings, a photo
booth, dunk tank and a pie-eating contest. For more information, visit
Lithonia Small Business and Merchant Association’s Facebook page.

stone mountain
City to host music event

Musical artist Zale will perform Sept. 30 at Stone Mountain’s Tunes
By The Tracks event in the Municipal Parking Lot, next to the Gazebo.
Attendees can bring their lawn chairs. The two-hour concert begins at 7
p.m. For more information, visit


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 4

Trash and debris are scattered on the outside of a building at Creekside Forest
Apartments. Photos by Nancy Jester

DeKalb County code enforcement officials work to clean up the outside of
Creekside Forest Apartments.

County addresses Creekside Forest Apartments’ blighted property issues
by Horace Holloman
County officials
are still finding ways to
handle Creekside Forest
Apartments—a dilapidated
complex in Decatur
and concern for code
enforcement since 2011.
The county plans to take
property management to
court Sept. 27 after issuing
228 citations as of July 27
of this year.
“These types of
properties require interdepartmental coordination.
It’s a larger effort,” said
DeKalb County Director
of Beautification Marcus
Kellum. “That’s when we
ask for assistance from the
police department and other
agencies. We have to note
each violation and build the
case. These types of issues
require a larger time frame.”
Since February 2011,

the complex has been
issued 59 warning notices,
46 citations and 21 cases
were established.
According to documents
provided by county officials,
the apartment complex’s
most prevalent violations
are exposed electrical
wires, working without
permits, decaying walls
and roof and unsanitary or
dangerous conditions.
Creekside Forest
Apartments received media
attention after DeKalb
County Commissioner
Nancy Jester made a
series of social media
posts urging county
officials, specifically District
5 commissioner Larry
Johnson, to alleviate the
“How does this happen
in DeKalb County? It is
like a war zone in Syria.
Welcome to Creekside
Forest Apartments on

Ember Drive off Candler
Road in south DeKalb
County—just across from
the DeKalb Police South
Precinct,” posted Jester
online. “It is worse than any
place I have ever seen. It
is dangerous and a public
health threat. It makes
Brannon Hill look like the
Ritz Carlton.”
Johnson responded
to Jester in a post titled
“Setting the Record
Straight.” In the post,
Johnson said he’s worked
hard to rectify the issues
related to Creekside Forest
“As with most issues,
Commissioner Jester does
not acquaint herself with
the facts before contacting
the media; her approach
is akin to walking into the
middle of a movie and
trying to explain the plot.
Truth be told, I have a long
history with advocating for
assistance with Creekside
Apartments. I have put forth
energy and resources to
seeing positive changes
throughout my district,
Creekside included,”
Johnson wrote.  
In the past four months,
the south precinct police
station in DeKalb County
reported at least three
shootings at the property.
Police also identified
several gang sets on the
In an interview with
The Champion, Johnson
said dealing with Forest
Creekside Apartments won’t
be a quick fix.
“We try to work
collaboratively with the
CEO’s office, and the
residents to see what we
can do to get a healthy
solution. It seems simple,
but it’s a very complex
situation that requires a lot
of energy and a lot of time

and follow up and follow
through,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the
complex changed owners,
which made the process of
fixing problems at the site
The property, built
in 1972, was previously
under foreclosure and was
purchased for $1.8 million
in November of 2015 by
Cheskel Meisels.
The talks between
Meisels and county
officials are ongoing,
but Johnson said the
complex has already made
South Precinct Police
Chief K.D. Johnson met
with Meisels to discuss
hiring more safety
personnel at the site.
The police department
recommended using a
minimum of four off-duty
officers at $35 an hour,
seven days a week for
60 days. The off-duty
police would cost roughly
“The new owner bought
the site unseen. When he
bought it, it was deplorable.
He’s paid sanitation and his
own workers are out there
cleaning up,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who lived
at Creekside Forest
Apartments in the 1990s,
said the county will help to
relocate roughly 31 families
and about seven other
“First and foremost, we
want to make sure those
families are left whole.
That’s part of the process
that we have to go through,”
Johnson said.
Properties such
as Creekside Forest
Apartments aren’t
uncommon in the county.
In 2014, unincorporated
DeKalb County had 427
apartment complexes, many

of which were in disrepair,
according to county officials.
The Multifamily Housing
Task Force—composed
of DeKalb County Police
Department, State Health
Department, Solicitor’s
General Office, Code
Enforcement and Fire and
Rescue officials—issued
more than 6,000 citations
from February of 2014 to
July of this year. Also during
that time frame, the task
force issued 125 health
violation citations and 112
fire safety violations.
In 2014, more than
20 multifamily complexes
were selected by the task
force for intervention.
The complexes selected
had the highest levels of
crime, health, fire and code
Since then, the task
force removed eight
complexes—Walden Brook,
Oak Creek, Valley Brook
Crossing, Spring Valley,
Ashgrove, Creekside (in
Tucker), Hampton Village
and Lancashire Court—from
the intervention list after
“substantial completion of
remediation efforts or court
mandated phased plan for
DeKalb COO Zach
Williams said the county
is looking at different ways
to urge property owners to
take more accountability for
their sites.
“In some instances,
maybe we can have more
authority and hold the
owners of these properties
accountable in a different
way,” Williams said. “I think
everyone wants cleaner
and safer properties. We’re
looking at legislation that
would allow us to do certain
cleanups and then lien the

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 23, 2016


Page 5

As part of Georgia-Pacific’s Science Saturday program, DeKalb County students came to Miller Grove High School to study how rainbows are made, create paper and build
birdhouses. Photos by R. Scott Belzer


Continued From Page 1
According to Johnson,
the Science Saturday
program offers students
multiple perspectives
on science from
professionals. Volunteers
from Emory, GeorgiaPacific and Georgia State
University’s Perimeter
Campus offer elementary
students knowledge that
may not be available in a
typical classroom.
“On a normal school
day, there’s only one
teacher,” Johnson said.
“They’re dealing with 25
to 30 kids and many of
them may not have an
opportunity to get handson during an activity.”
Johnson said typical
STEM or STEAM courses
usually focus on a single
discipline within science,
technology, engineering
or mathematics. He said

Students were surprised to learn rainbows are made of such simple components as water and light.

Science Saturday offers
students a chance to
see that STEM is allencompassing.
“Today, we’re looking
at what Georgia-Pacific
does—we make paper
products,” Johnson

said. “We also have
an analytical division.
Today, students can do
both. We’re showing
them these careers are
available and that there
is so much you can do
with STEM. It’s not just

Johnson said the
program is free and
voluntary to students
willing to wake up on
a Saturday and learn.
Students are only
required to RSVP.

Larry Richardson, a
Browns Mill Elementary
parent, said the program
is perfect for fostering his
son Tyler’s imagination
and curiosity.
“He has always been a
curious kid,” Richardson
said. “He’s always asking
me questions about
how things work. One
of his favorite shows is
How It’s Made and he’s
always asking me how
stuff is made. We’ll watch
YouTube videos together
to find out, but this gives
him a chance to do it
Johnson said it was
great to see such a large
turnout and students such
as Tyler pursuing their
Science Saturday
will be held monthly at
locations throughout
DeKalb County. For more
information, including
how to RSVP, visit www.

(A) Go ask your mother.
(B) Because I said so.
(C) We’ll see.
There are no perfect answers in parenting.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 23 , 2016


Page 6

The perils of mice and men
Few things in life frighten me. One
of my sisters once told me that I must
not have enough sense to know when I
may be in danger.
I’ve had wild horses stampede a
campsite in the middle of the night,
seen bears outside my tent, heard a
wild boar snorting outside my tent,
encountered a dinner-plate sized
tarantula, giant iguanas, snakes and
numerous other dangerous critters.
I’ve hiked in the Amazon rainforest,
maneuvered hiking trails along the
walls of the Grand Canyon, slept
unprotected in the African bush and
spent several days in a reed hut along
Mozambique’s coast.
However, none of the above
experiences instilled fear similar to
what I experienced recently while
driving my car.
Early in the morning, well before
daylight, I was driving southward
at a high rate of speed on Georgia
Hwy. 400 just as I do every weekday
morning. The incident that happened
this particular morning frightened me
even more than when I hit a deer on
400 and totaled my car.
For a good 30 minutes after the
incident, I was still shaking and totally
freaked out.
While driving, I noticed what I first
thought to be a leaf caught between the
outside of my windshield and the wiper
blades. I turned my wipers on but didn’t
see anything move and continued my
drive. A few minutes later, I again saw

John Hewitt

movement along what I thought was
the outside of my windshield.
I was confused about what the
shadowy movement may have been,
but still not overly concerned.
Again, I saw movement—this time
along the left side of the base of my
windshield, and it moved along the
edge of the bottom of the windshield.
I thought perhaps it was a reflection
of another car’s lights playing a visual
trick on my mind.
As I wondered what the source of
the unexplained movement may have
been, I drove under a roadside light
that illuminated the interior of my car.
There it was, fully illuminated—one
of two things that can immediately turn
me into a screaming 12-year-old girl—a
mouse scampering back and forth
along my dash.
I screamed—loudly and
repeatedly—as if I had been stabbed.
Trying diligently to maintain
control of my car while also keeping
an eye on the vicious mouse, I felt
every muscle in my body tense. I had
crossed my legs in an effort to avoid

this vile creature possibly sliding off my
downward sloping dash, onto the floor
and up my pant leg.
I contemplated immediately pulling
onto the shoulder of the highway but
thought that in my panic, I may end up
running into the travel lanes.
By this point, I’m in full panic mode
but realize that there is an exit close by.
I crossed over two lanes to get to that
exit lane. I heard a horn blowing and
saw the headlights of the car I had just
cut in front of flashing in my rear view
Had there been a fully loaded semi
in that right-hand lane, I likely would
have still cut in front of it. I had to get
out of the car and get this critter out
before we both met a premature death.
My death would likely have been from a
heart attack and the critter would likely
have been dead on impact.
I successfully made the exit and
frantically looked for an accessible,
well-lit parking lot. As I scouted for a
place to stop, the critter scampered
from one side of my dash to the other.
By this time, I think I had broken into a
cold sweat.
I screeched into the parking lot
of an upscale automotive dealership
and saw what was either a night
watchman or janitor in the showroom,
but his presence did not deter my
determination to get out of the car as
quickly as possible. I abruptly put my
car into park, jumped out and saw the
critter standing on its hind legs—its

disgusting teeth exposed. Had it been
an alligator, it’s doubtful that I would
have been more frightened.
I pulled a branch from a beautifully
manicured tree in the parking lot and
began madly flailing it inside my car
trying to scare the critter out. The
mouse then perched on the ridge of the
passenger window and again stood on
its hind legs looking menacingly at me.
Unfortunately, the passenger window
was up.
I stretched my arms enough to
reach the ignition so I could put the
passenger window down. Again, I
frantically flailed the tree branch inside
my car. The critter fell out. As I went
around the back of my car to see where
the mouse had gone, it started running
toward me. I screamed again, jumped
in my car, put the windows up and
attempted to regain my composure.
I drove to work remembering that
my mother had always told me that if
you see one mouse, it’s likely there are
When I finally got to my office and
daylight had come, I went out to my car
to see if there was evidence that the
mouse may have possibly had friends.
All I saw were bits and pieces of
leaves and mouse poop on my dash.
Apparently, I frightened the mouse as
much as it frightened me.
It is often said that we should face
our fears head on. I choose not to.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, September 23, 2016


Page 7

Time for the TSA to leave the building
As the 15th anniversary of the
tragedies of 9/11 passes behind
us, one cannot help but reflect
on what lessons our nation and
national security leaders and
team members have learned
to predict or prevent a similar
crisis in the future. Though we
will assume that many a plot has
been successfully uncovered
or foiled; we bear witness,
almost weekly, to one of the
continually flawed strategies
and tactics deployed, “for our
safety and protection” in the
form of the Transportation Safety
Administration or as it is better
known, cussed and discussed,
the TSA.
Though private security
screening companies suffered
considerable blame and finger
pointing in the aftermath of the
attacks for allowing 19 terrorists
wielding box cutter knives as
their primary weapons of choice
to board four U.S. passenger
jets. The more substantial
security lapse occurred months
and years before as those same
pilots and terrorists (primarily
Saudi nationals) trained to fly
(and crash) those jumbo jets
in private flight schools and
academies in Orlando, Fla. and
Since the hijackings-turnsuicide missions occurred, a
number of other smart tactical
steps were taken that are likely
to be greater preventatives if a
terrorist boards a flight with or
without a weapon:
• Reinforced cockpit doors–steel
deadbolts and view holes into

‘One Man’s
Bill Crane

cabin from cockpits are now
• New pilot crew operating
protocols–cockpit door
does not open without
communication from flight
crew or pilot needing access to
• Air marshals on board
randomly selected flights,
particularly into and out
of higher risk foreign and
domestic destinations.
• Educated flying public–the next
terrorist attempting to turn a
jetliner into a weapon of mass
destruction is much more likely
to be greeted by passengers
similar to the brave men and
women of United Airlines
Flight 93 who prevented their
plane from reaching its target
destination in Washington, D.C.
We may in fact also be made
safer by the daily screenings of
the TSA, but as we watch them
pat down or humiliate grandma
or a pubescent teen for the
heinous crimes of wearing a
Depends or an ankle bracelet
not removed prior to screening;
all we can see is inordinate 
hassle, delays and very little
After years of consumer
complaints, the TSA now allows

children younger than 10 and
senior citizens older than the
age of 70 to retain their footwear
and jackets—because as we
all know—children and senior
citizens in wheelchairs are
among the highest risk levels
as it relates to being potentially
co-opted to becoming a radical
Islamic terrorist.
Civil aviation requires
none of these screening
procedures. Access to tarmacs
and the underbelly of these
same passenger jets is virtual
Swiss cheese. Our ports and the
thousands of cargo containers
entering U.S. ports each day
from all over the world are
virtually unscreened.
Yes, the TSA did save us
from the shoe and underwear
bombers, but later review
determined those individuals
also to be somewhat mentally
unstable and fewer Jihadists
than copycats seeking attention. 
Dismantle the TSA, bring back
the competitive bidding process
and private screeners and
consider the following less costly
but likely more efficient tactics
to protect the traveling public.
Place surveillance cameras
inside terminals at gates; install
facial recognition software at key
points of entry and higher risk
departure airports; move more
experienced TSA agents into
air marshal slots—with greater
random frequency on flights out
of larger markets or from foreign
destinations into the United
I could make the very strong

case that the American people
are at greater terrorist risk
of a Gulfstream G-5 or G-6
being stolen or hijacked at the
company’s two facilities adjacent
to the Glynco and SavannahHilton Head International
Airports, than any of the
passengers on any given day
flying into or out of either market.
Granted, TSA personnel
perform a thankless job and the
inconvenience, delays, and often
missed flights caused by their
work wears on us all; but as we
have not unlimited resources
and we look ahead at fighting
an ongoing war against a much
more fluid and flexible series
of threats, it only makes sense
to periodically change up our
defense systems. 
Instead, we tend to fight the
next war as we did the last, and
consider solutions like giant
walls; the Mongol hordes got
past those before the birth of
Considering the great tactical
minds at our disposal, there
simply has to be a smarter and
better way.
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

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the DeKalb

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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
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us that is known to be false and/or
assumptions penned as fact.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 8

Third-party lawyer speaks
at Dunwoody meeting
Dunwoody Homeowners Association
membership declared conflict of interest

by R. Scott Belzer


ess than a month after
discussing three legal
opinions regarding
Dunwoody Homeowners
Association (DHA) membership,
Dunwoody City Council formally
welcomed Abbott Hayes of
Hulsey, Oliver & Mahar, who
spoke at the Sept. 12 Dunwoody
City Council meeting to discuss
a legal opinion released Aug. 22.
Hayes’ written opinion was
requested following a June 17
memo banning membership
in four city government
boards—planning and zoning
commission, zoning board of
appeals and construction, board
of adjustment and appeals,
design review committee—in
addition to DHA membership.
“[Mayor Denis Shortal] and
city council have determined it
would be a [conflict of interest]
for members of these boards to
also be members of the DHA,”
states the memo.
Shortal said the main reason
for the memo, which was never
made into official policy, is
protection from potential lawsuits
when zoning or construction
variances are not granted.
Hayes’ opinion agreed with
one written by Dunwoody city
attorneys Cecil McLendon and
Lenny Felgin that served as
the basis for the memo. Hayes
said he attended the meeting
to summarize his opinion
and answer seven submitted
questions from Councilman
Terry Nall.
“The issue of whether active
participation in the DHA by
elected or appointed officials
constitutes a conflict of interest
is not a crystal clear issue,”
Hayes said in summary. “This
is not an issue where someone
has a direct financial interest.
I agree with Mr. McLendon
and Mr. Felgin that active
participation by elected and
appointed officials in DHA
activities, such as service on
committees, service as an officer
and attendance at meetings
to consider rezoning and
other applications is a conflict
of interest that impairs the

independence of judgment in
the performance of their actions
or duties in violation of the city
Hayes said there is little to
no case law having to do with
Dunwoody’s current situation.
This point was also discussed
on Aug. 22 by DHA attorney
Seth Weissman.
Nall asked Hayes if the
wording “the mayor and city
council have determined” from
the June 17 email could allude
to official policy.
“I don’t know when or even
if [the council] determined that
because I have no documents
or information that would lead to
that conclusion,” Hayes said.
Nall asked whether
Hayes’ opinion would stand if
investigated by the attorney
general. Hayes said the attorney
general would examine the
same documents he did and
likely rule in Dunwoody’s favor
rather than the DHA’s favor.
Councilwoman Lynn
Deutsch said the council would
likely initiate a training policy
for boards and commissions,
a safety net for appointments
“made off the traditional
platform,” and work with
community partners to create a
policy that she characterized as
“logical and enforceable.”
DHA president Robert
Wittenstein said the prospect
of banning simultaneous
memberships “should raise the
hair on the back of [Dunwoody
residents’] necks.”
“The assumption that
individuals can’t be expected to
behave ethically based on what
organizations they belong to sets
up a slippery slope that not only
would touch the DHA but many
other community organizations,”
Wittenstein said.
Wittenstein said any
policy addressing the DHA
membership would be
“Appointments eventually
expire,” Wittenstein said. “A
policy may make lawyers feel
better, but as long as Denis
Shortal is mayor, he’s not
going to appoint anyone he
disapproves of and who’s active
in the DHA.”

Gainesville lawyer Abbott
Hayes spoke at the Sept.
12 Dunwoody City Council
meeting to reinforce his legal
opinion regarding Dunwoody
Homeowners Association
membership and city service.

Robert Wittenstein,
Dunwoody Homeowners
Association president, spoke
against a legal opinion
presented at the Sept. 12
Dunwoody City Council

The Tucker City Council approved a special land use permit for an Eritrean
Community Cultural Center.

Tucker approves first
special land use permit
by Carla Parker
Tucker made city history Sept.
12 when the city council approved
a special land use permit for an
Eritrean Community Cultural
The city approved the permit
for the center to use a one-story,
4,752-square-foot building on
Cowan Road during its regular
meeting. The Eritrean Community
Cultural Center is a nonprofit
organization that promotes
successful integration of Eritreans
into American society.
The center will offer afterschool and summer tutoring, a
GED program, English classes,
computer training, resume and
job application preparation, and
serve as a meeting place. Millie
Habtemariam, who spoke on
behalf of the center at the meeting,
said the center will be a facility that
anyone in the community can use.
“We are providing, for the
community, a safe place,”
Habtemariam said. “We are
for everyone. It’s like any other
community center; ours just
happens to be called the Eritrean

Community Cultural Center. But
it’s just like your neighborhood
community center. We’re just trying
to fill a need with our community
itself, but we’re not excluding
anyone from that community.”
Habtemariam said the center
also will serve meals, provide
shelter until closing time and other
The facility will be open 10
a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through
Thursday, and 10 a.m. to midnight
on Friday and Saturday.
Tucker councilwoman Michelle
Penkava said approving the permit
for the center was a milestone for
the city.
“We actually took up our first
zoning case today. The center
that we approved is our first case
that we’ve heard and actually
voted on—had the opportunity to
make a decision about,” Penkava
said. “It felt very unexcited at the
moment but for them I’m sure it
was delightful because they really
have been fighting this for a year
because they started with DeKalb,
then we became a city and they
kind of had to go backward a
little bit. They’ve been incredibly


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 9

Tax Commissioner write-in candidate wants to stand out
by Horace Holloman
DeKalb County resident
Antiqua Walker may not look like
a “typical” politician to some. With
bright red hair and visible tattoos on
her forearms and leg, Walker said
standing out is what she does best.
Walker is running as a write-in
candidate for the DeKalb County
Tax Commissioner.
The 31-year-old Redan High
School graduate said she wants
to become more engaged with the
community if she is elected to office.
“I want to educate people on
what the tax commissioner’s office
actually does and what our business
is. This is where you come to renew
your tags and pay your property
taxes and I would like to educate the
community on that more,” Walker
said. “I want to be more reachable
for the people and I want to be
available to the people.”

Walker worked for DeKalb’s tax
commissioner’s office for two years
and said she felt compelled to “push
herself to the next level.”
Walker said she hasn’t had any
negative comments about her hair
or tattoos, but said running as a
write-in candidate presents its own
Because she is a write-in
candidate, residents voting for
Walker must spell her name
correctly, she said. She’s worked on
branding her name, Walker said.
“The voters will have to know
how to spell my name and that is
where my paraphernalia will come
in handy. That way they can have
something to remind them how to
spell my name,” Walker said. “I’m
basically starting from the bottom.
I have big dreams for this and I
need the support of my community,
especially with this campaign.”
Walker said the tax
commissioner’s office could use

improvements such as reducing the
time it takes for residents to handle
personal business and improving
employee morale.
“Speaking as a customer and
a worker, there’s a lot we could
do from the inside to make it a
more pleasurable time for you,
the customer,” Walker said. “I also
want to see what I can do for the
employees. Once you build a certain
foundation with them, then that
will come through with their work
ethic. I’ve heard a lot of people
say they don’t like the attitudes of
our employees or that they’re not
Walker also said the tax
commissioner’s office needs
more information desks and more
training for customer service
Election Day is Nov. 8. Walker
said she’s confident she can make
an impact in her community by
winning the nomination.

Redan graduate Antiqua Walker plans to
run as a write-in candidate for the DeKalb
County Tax Commissioner in the upcoming

Developers make changes to proposed Tucker development
by Carla Parker
To appease residents,
a local developer made
a few adjustments to
his proposed mixed-use
development for the vacant
Sears Distribution Center
property on Hugh Howell
Road at Mountain Industrial
However, some
residents were not pleased
to see a school in the
revised plan.
In April, Stephen
Macauley of Macauley
Investments, LLC and his
staff presented a mixeduse development proposal
called Township Tucker to
residents. The proposed
$300 million redevelopment
plan for the 90 acres
includes retail space,
restaurants, community
greenspace, townhomes,
apartments, senior living, a
hotel and a movie studio/
production facility and
screening rooms.
The plans also included
space for a town hall or
amphitheater, sidewalks
as well and a possible
trail that will connect
existing communities to the
Macauley and his staff
presented two Township
Tucker options during
the April meeting—the
first option included an
elementary school on the
property, and the second

option featured an enlarged meeting was if Macauley
movie studio without the
will still include the school in
the plan despite most of the
The DeKalb County
residents voting against it in
School District is currently
the last meeting.
in the process of looking
“We talked with lots
for properties to construct
of people since [the April
a new building for Smoke
meeting],” Macauley said.
Rise Elementary Charter
“We didn’t just have the
School. Macauley polled
meeting in April here [where
the audience in April on
people said they] didn’t
which option they preferred
want the school, and just
and the majority chose the
Developers presented a revised plan for a proposed mixed-use
option without the school.
See Development on Page 13A development in Tucker on Sept. 13. Photo by Carla Parker
When Macauley
presented the updated
proposal—renamed Nexus
FREE Family Reunion Planning
FREE Customer Service Training
Tucker—to residents on
Workshop & Showcase
Sept. 13, the plan included
Professional trainer, Donna Satchell
the school, which surprised
of STARR Consulting & Training,
Discover DeKalb’s Reunion Specialist
some residents.
will teach you the importance of providing
will teach you everything you need to
“I was here at the first
outstanding service and help you enhance
know to plan the perfect
meeting in April and 90
your service skills in this motivating and
Reunion in DeKalb County!
percent didn’t want the
invigorating free class.
Workshop - 10 a.m. to Noon
school,” one resident said.
Showcase - Noon to 2 p.m.
“And you seem to be—it’s
almost like a deal breaker
with you because you’re
really pushing the school.”
Macauley confirmed that
he favors having the school
in the plan.
“I definitely want a
school,” he said. “[The
Thursday, October 13th
school] is such a big piece
of the puzzle. The thing that
Saturday, November 12th
Discover DeKalb Conference Room
attracts the seniors to it, the
Hilton Garden Inn Stonecrest
1957 Lakeside Parkway, Suite 510
thing that would attract a lot
7890 Mall Ring Road
Tucker, GA 30084
of people to it is the school,
Lithonia, GA 30038
especially on the residential
side. People want to build
homes that are close to a
Family Reunion Capital of the South
school, especially a good
Pre-registration is required
Pre-registration is required
Call 770-492-5014
Call 770-492-5018
One resident asked
online at
Register online at
what the purpose of the


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 10

Decatur Police Department
rolls out text 9-1-1 program
by Horace Holloman
After weeks of testing, the City
of Decatur Police Department now
offers residents the ability to send a
text message to 911 operators.
The service is part of the city’s
integrated 911 program.
Decatur 911 officials said
they prefer residents to call with
emergencies, however, the text 911
program offers another option if
calling is unavailable.
The initial text to the 911
department should “be brief
and contain the location of the
emergency and type of help
needed,” according to Decatur

“This [program] can be used for
hearing and speech impaired or an
emergency where speaking would
endanger you or someone around
you,” said Decatur 911 Director Lt.
Barry Woodward. “We would rather
have you call, of course, but this
service can also be used in case of
On Sept. 1, the department
went live with its new 911 texting
program. Woodward said the
department began testing the
system in June of this year. Mobile
providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and
Verizon Wireless have agreed to
offer the text to 9-1-1 service.

See 911 on Page 12A

Decatur 911 Director Lt. Barry Woodward (standing) demonstrates how the textto-911 service operates while 911 operator Devin Davis uses the system.

holds first
by Horace Holloman
City of Decatur officials are
urging residents to become more
informed about the city’s recycling
process. With the help of various
departments, Decatur hosted its
first recycling expo Sept. 15.
Recycle Decatur was held in
downtown on the Decatur Square
and featured exhibits for residents
on how and where to recycle.
City spokesperson Renae
Madison said residents use trash
cans and recycling bins in the
public space incorrectly.
“They will empty recycled cans,
but it would be contaminated with
different things and we won’t be
able to recycle it,” Madison said.
“That kind of defeats the purpose
and the mission of the city. We
sat down and talked and decided
to do a recycling education fair
to educate the community on the
proper way to recycle.”
Residents received a handson review of how to recycle.
Participants also received
information on the city’s recycling
program and met with members
of the Decatur Environmental
Sustainability Board.

The city of Decatur hosted its first recycling expo entitled, “Recycle Decatur.” The event, held Sept. 15, focused on informing
residents on the proper way to recycle.

Deon Wyche, an equipment
operator with Decatur’s public
works ground maintenance crew,
said it’s important to educate
residents on the proper way to
“You have to be mindful.
Sometimes you can defeat the
purpose [of recycling] by throwing
trash into the recycling bin.
Recycling is a great resource so
you have to pay attention when
you go to the trash can,” Wyche
said. “Some people go and throw
trash anywhere because they
see something that resembles
a trash can, but actually it’s for
recycling. We’re just trying to bring
awareness to pay attention.”
The city invited local
businesses that find a unique
way to recycle in the community
including livethrive, an Atlantabased non-profit organization
that teaches communities about

recycling. The company also
creates bookmarks out of used
Lithonia-based Helping
Oppressed Mothers Endure
(HOME) was in attendance as well.
The organization collects donated
household items for mothers
emerging from divorce, domestic
violence or “in desperate need of
starting over.”
Amy Hall, a sergeant in the
Decatur Police Department, said
the event was a success due to the
community’s willingness to learn
about recycling.
“I think the city of Decatur as
a whole is a city that’s focused on
the environment. I think this event
has been a long time coming. We
put a lot of work into it and we
could not have done it without our
City Manager David Junger,” Hall
said. “We had what I consider to be
a great turnout.”

The city’s recycling expo
was held during the same time
as fall break for local schools.
City officials said they plan on
coordinating another recycling
expo that will involve more schools
and children.
Decatur officials also spoke of
changing the time of the event for
next year.
“We thought about doing
it during lunch time and we’ll
actually capture the crowd during
lunch time that actually works in
Decatur. Those are the people that
actually use the public recycling
bins,” Madison said. “We came up
with the slogan ‘Know before you
Wyche said getting children
involved would be a big boost to
the Recycle Decatur event.
“If you can educate the
children, the children can educate
the parents,” Wyche said.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 11


Eight new members of Dunwoody Citizens Patrol completed eight hours
of drivers training on Sept. 17. Photos courtesy of the Dunwoody Police

The QT on Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur warns motorists that only regular
unleaded gas is available.

Avondale Estates car and auto repair shop Presidential Auto Source displays
customized cars in its parking lot.

Approximately a dozen community members met at the Clarkston Community
Center for the Clarkston Bike Rally on Sept. 17. The event offered bike safety
training in addition to new bicycles for attendees. Photo courtesy of the Clarkston
Community Center.

More than 30 business and property owners in the Buford Highway area launched
the Business BuHi (Buford Highway) Coalition to promote the area’s international
character and business community. The group met Sept. 15 at Yen Jing Chinese
Restaurant to discuss details and launch the coalition. Photo courtesy of the
Business BuHi Coalition.

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


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 12

911 Continued From Page 10A

The department tested
eight to 10 calls per phone
provider before going
live, “making sure our
equipment could handle
it and making sure the
company that was providing
us the solution would match
up with the IP addresses,”
Woodward said.
The texting option will
only be available within
the Decatur city limits. If a
person attempts to text 911
outside of the city limits,
a “service not available”
message will be sent to the
Each 911 operator
spent nearly two hours
training on the program.
Woodward said it’s
important for operators
to know exactly where
a sender is located and
to urge senders to avoid
abbreviations of words.
In 2012, the Federal
Commission (FCC) requires
text messaging providers
to enable the public to text

911 in areas where the 911
call center requests textto-911 service.
The FCC said it
encourages 911 call
centers to begin accepting
texts as text providers
develop text-to-911
capability. It is up to each
911 call center and its
governing bodies to decide
whether and when to begin
accepting texts, according
to the FCC.
Woodward said
Decatur wanted to be

at the forefront of textto-911 services. He said
the department has not
received a live text 911 call,
however, he encourages
his operators to be
“We have not had a real
call yet,” Woodward said. “I
encourage [our operators]
to continue to test it once a
week and keep the practice
up. We want to make sure
we know where everything
is and answer if one does
come up.”

The city of Decatur recently introduced its text-to-911 service
in September. The service allows Decatur residents to text an
emergency to Decatur’s 911 department.

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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 13

Residents oppose ‘low-income’ housing in DeKalb County
by Horace Holloman
A potential ‘lowincome’ housing complex
is receiving pushback from
residents near the Covington
Highway and Porter Road
Housing development
company LDG Development
submitted an application to
amend its land use plan from
“suburban” to “commercial
development corridor.”
LDG Development
plans to build a multi-family
apartment complex with a
density of 15.3 units per
acre. The complex would
feature a total of 168 units on
the north side of Covington
Highway beginning at the
northwest intersection of
Covington Highway and

Porter Road.  
The development
company’s proposal received
criticism from residents at a
DeKalb planning and zoning
meeting. Nearly 70 residents
were in attendance. Some
expressed concern that the
development is “section-8”
Kevin Polite, a resident
of DeKalb County and
real estate agent, said the
potential housing unit would
bring down property value in
the area.
Polite said he has
nothing against “affordable
housing,” but has concerns
whether the buildings will be
properly maintained.
“Well the problem isn’t
that it’s a multi-family unit,
although I don’t think that’s
a good site, the larger

concern is the builder and
management. Someone
pulled up some of their other
properties and one in Wichita
Kansas received a two out of
five stars,” Polite said.
LDG Development owns
properties in Kentucky,
Louisiana, Mississippi,
Texas, Virginia and Kansas.
One particular property in
Wichita, Inwood Crossings,
received an overall two-anda-half out of five stars in a
Google online review.
Out of 25 reviews, some
dating back to 2011 and
some as early as August
of this year, mentioned the
site’s lack of maintenance as
an issue. Reviews ranged
from, “beware, do not rent
from here,” and “this was
the worst experience ever,”
to “this place is making

The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on
Thursday, October 13, 2016, at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA
30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the following matters:
Frans Quintanilla requests approval of a stream buffer variance in accordance with Sec. 31019 of the City of Chamblee Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance
for property located at 2588 Dering Court, being DeKalb County Tax Parcel ID 18-235-08-015,
consisting of 0.4 acres and zoned Neighborhood Residential -1 (NR-1).
Apollo Sign and Light requests approval of a variance from Sec. 260-6(b)(2)a. of the City
of Chamblee Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance that limits
properties occupied by a single business to one principal building sign on each street frontage
with a curb cut, so as to allow an additional sign on the southwest face of the building where
there is no curb cut on property located at 2877 Dresden Drive, being DeKalb County Tax
Parcel ID #18-267-02-004, consisting of 2.1 acres and zoned Corridor Commercial.
Mohammad Hossain of Nirvana Land, LLC requests approval of a Development of
Community Impact (DCI) in accordance with Section in accordance with Sec. 280-6 of the City
of Chamblee Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance for a proposed
hotel building in the Corridor Commercial (CC) zoning district that exceeds 50,000 sq.
building area to be located at 4401 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, being DeKalb County Tax
Parcel ID # 18-345-05-001, consisting of 0.9424 acres.
Scott Peters, representing U.S. Gypsum Company, requests reconsideration of a previous
variance application 2015V-05 from the following provisions of City of Chamblee Code of
Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance
•Section 230-6(a)(2) and 250-7(a)(1) that prohibits off-street surface parking
located between a building and the street without an intervening building.
•Section 320- 21(a) that requires one landscaped island for every ten parking
spaces and that such island shall be planted with an overstory tree.
The purpose of such reconsideration is to permit the applicant to pave a surface parking
lot on undeveloped property consisting of 1.984 acres zoned Industrial Transitional (IT) at
4899 New Peachtree Road, being DeKalb County tax parcel 18-278-03-101 in Chamblee,
GA without adhering to condition of such approval imposed by City Council that requires the
applicant to construct a streetscape westward along New Peachtree Road to the entrance
driveway of the adjacent property that is owned by U.S. Gypsum.
The City of Chamblee, Georgia proposes to amend certain sections and sub-sections of
chapters of the Official City Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance
to delete the use “Massage Therapy Establishments” and add provisions related to new uses
to be known as “Spa and Massage Establishments”, as follows:
•Chapter 110., “Definitions”, Section 110-3. “Definitions”; Chapter 240. “General
Use Regulations”, Article 1., “Permitted And Prohibited Uses”, Section 240-1.,
“Table of Permitted And Prohibited Uses”; Article 3. “Supplemental Use Stan
dards”, Section 240-13. “Supplemental Use Provisions”; and Chapter 250., “OffStreet Parking And Loading Standards.”, Article 1., “Off-Street Parking Standards.”
The City of Chamblee, Georgia proposes to amend the Official City Code of Ordinances,
Appendix A, Unified Development Ordinance to edit provisions related to burying overhead
utilities in Chapter 350., “Infrastructure”, Article 3., “Public Utilities Installation.”, Section 35025., “Underground Electric And Communication Facilities.”
The City of Chamblee, Georgia proposes to amend Chapter 240., “General Use
Regulations”, Article 3., “Supplemental Use Standards”, Section 240-1., “Table of Permitted
and Prohibited Uses”, Article 3. “Supplemental Use Standards”, Section 240-13. “Supplemental
Use Provisions”, paragraph (a) “Residential”, sub-paragraph (1) “Single-family attached
(townhouse) dwellings” of the Official City Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified
Development Ordinance to add regulations and incentives for including commercial and retail
development in townhouse development proposals.

changes and is a great place
to live.”
Phone calls made from
The Champion to LDG
Development were not
Polite, who works with
Solid Source Realty Inc. and
HausZwei Homes, said the
Covington Highway area
is making a comeback in
property value.
“I remodeled 3195 Betty
Circle and 3453 Wren Road
this year. They both were
under contract and sold for
$220,500 and $178,500,
respectively. I’m not the only
investor doing this in that
area. I’ve been following this
development as I have some
rental properties less than [a
mile] away,” Polite said.
DeKalb resident Kate
Teague started a door-todoor campaign informing
residents of the potential
complex. As part of the
Porter Road community,
Teague collected more than
200 signatures on a change.
org page opposing the
housing complex.
A poorly-run apartment
complex could lead to crime
and safety concerns, Teague
“The developer is
coming in and selling this
as workforce housing. It
sounds great to say the
little man is going to get
squeezed out, but it’s really
Section 8 housing,” Teague
said. “Not only is it an issue
where they are putting these
apartments, we really want
to see better management.
I’ve lived in apartments

and a really old apartment
doesn’t make crime, poor
management does.”
Along with unhappy
residents, LDG Development
has another hurdle to
overcome to build its housing
In a Memorial Drive
Overlay District meeting
Sept. 9, the committee
recommended to keep the
area zoned as suburban.
A commercial
development corridor would
contradict the overlay
district’s recommendation.
“You would think they
would wait until the overlay
was finished. We have
220 signatures to keep this
parcel zoned as suburban,”
said Teague.
Teague said she’s
encouraged by the recent
growth in the area and hopes
the housing development’s
application will be denied.
“They’re telling us our
area needs a kick-start and
they need to kick-start our
community. Everyone who
lives here knows that’s not
true,” Teague said. “We
have good businesses that
have come in and are locally
supported. We understand
someone might not want
low-income Section 8
housing. Putting persons that
are all at the same income
level is not the way to get
families out of poverty.”
At a Sept. 8 Planning
Commission Meeting,
officials representing LDG
Development requested
a full cycle deferral for its
rezoning application.

development Continued From Page 9A
decide willy nilly that we were going to have a school.
We’ve had lots of meetings and until tonight I haven’t
heard a single negative voice about it. In fact, the people
who have been negative now support it.
“To me it is important. I want a school as part of my
community. I think it’s really important and I think too
often schools are pushed away and are not given enough
attention and in my community we’re going to give it a
lot of attention. We’re going to make it as special as we
possibly can.”
Macauley assured the crowd that they were not there
to tell the residents what they will have.
“Just as we did the last time, we came and asked you
what your thoughts are and what we would like to do,” he
said. “This plan represents a heck of a lot of input from
your community and from other people.”
If the DeKalb school district decides not to move
into the proposed school building, Macauley said he has
a potential charter school that would like to be on the
The revised plan also includes additional townhomes,
more green space, an urban garden, a lily pond and a
performing arts center.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 14

DeKalb school district moves forward with arts school facility
by R. Scott Belzer


he DeKalb County
School District (DCSD)
approved the selection
of a design firm and a
$5.4 million budget allocation for
a comprehensive arts school at
its Sept. 12 board of education
meeting, prompting a mixed
reaction from the public.
The project—part of the
E-SPLOST IV project schedule—
will combine DeKalb School of the
Arts (DSA) and DeKalb Elementary
School of the Arts (DESA) under
one roof at the former Avondale
Middle School site located at 3131
Old Rockbridge Road in Avondale
DSA is currently located within
Avondale High School while DESA
is currently housed in the former
middle school site. District parents
and stakeholders have requested a
facility offering more event space,
practice rooms and performance
areas since E-SPLOST IV’s
approval, which grants $3.9 million
to the project.
The board approved increasing
that amount to $5.4 million to add
space to the former middle school
site, making its revised project
budget $8.5 million. Funds will
come from the district’s E-SPLOST
Program Contingency account
that now totals approximately
$17.9 million, according to Joshua
Williams, chief operations officer.
According to official
documents, the Atlanta-based
design firm Perkins + Will was
chosen based on its history,
resources, approach and
educational project experience.
The firm was selected over 14
others to secure architectural and
engineering responsibilities that
will cost the district $399,060.
“This is an exciting opportunity
to create a facility that matches
the wonderful students we have
at those two schools,” said board
member Marshall Orson.
Orson and other board
members also enjoyed the
prospect of creating “a model
comprehensive arts program”
that will affect the entire
school. Currently, DSA (grades
eight through 12) and DESA
(kindergarten through grade
seven) have different admission
processes and curriculums.
“I want to encourage [the
district] to [include] the staff
of those schools, parents and
students [as] partners in the design
and implementation,” Orson said.
“We have hard concerns and
we cannot move forward without
addressing them.”
Orson suggested observing,
visiting and consulting with

The former Avondale Middle School site will house both DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts and DeKalb School of the Arts.

DeKalb School of the Arts parent Walker Scott spoke in favor of a comprehensive
arts school at DeKalb County School District’s Sept. 12 meeting.

comprehensive art programs in
Clayton and Rockdale counties as
well as beyond state borders. He
specifically mentioned programs
in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Hartford,
“Moving an elementary and
high school together is making
some people nervous,” said board
member Stan Jester. “These two
schools are quite different.”
DCSD Superintendent Stephen
Green said he is familiar with
working in comprehensive school
environments and looks forward
to continuing the conversation
with community stakeholders. He
said the environment may offer
opportunities for mentoring and
apprentice teaching. Green said
the issue will be addressed as the

facility transforms from idea to
“We’ll be working closely with
curriculum instruction and sitting
with representatives from both
communities in [building] a model
that will work for our children,”
Green said.
Members of the public present
at the Sept. 12 meeting expressed
mixed feelings about combining
the two schools.
“I want to thank the board for
its careful consideration of this
E-SPLOST project,” said DSA
parent Walker Scott. “DeKalb is
uniquely positioned to create a
top-level arts school. We expect
there will be a team of district staff
and stakeholders involved in the
formation of this comprehensive

arts program.”
Deirdre Pierce, a DeKalb
resident, said she was thankful the
board is addressing an issue she
considered overdue.
“I know there are a lot of
logistical questions to cover with
DSA and DESA,” Pierce said. “But
now we finally have a piece of
paper and are approved to have an
arts school.”
Former DESA and DSA student
Kirste Young asked the board
to table the vote until a logistical
analysis is completed and a
curriculum is developed.
“There are many parents
who are encouraged about
the merger and I believe it can
work,” Young said. “A K-12 model
causes uneasiness across a lot
of issues. Only vote after a clear
understanding on how students
will be educated in a more
comprehensive arts program has
been provided.”
DSA parent Dionne McGee
voiced support for the initiative but
said approving the design would
be putting “the cart before the
“It would certainly be wise for
the board to table their vote to
allow the district to provide the
board a plan of how students in
each and every grade level will
be educated in a comprehensive
arts program,” McGee said. “This
will give [the board] an opportunity
to understand the function of
the facility so [it] can adequately
improve funding to renovate for a
new facility.”
The board approved moving
forward with the project four to one
with board member Stan Jester


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 15

DeKalb County School District board member Stan Jester opposed a decision to
designate John R. Lewis Elementary colors and mascot.

Board member Marshall Orson introduced a recommendation designating John R.
Lewis Elementary School’s official colors as royal blue and silver as well as its official
mascot as a jaguar.

School colors, mascot disputed by DeKalb school board member
Board member Stan Jester contests procedure in adopting
John R. Lewis Elementary’s royal blue, silver and jaguar
by R. Scott Belzer
Board member Stan Jester
voted against designating John.
R. Lewis Elementary’s official
colors and mascot at the DeKalb
County School District’s (DCSD)
Sept. 12 meeting.
Jester warned the district
about his dissent during the
board’s business meeting, which
would have designated the
school’s colors as royal blue and
silver. In addition, the school’s
mascot officially would be a
Jester said his disagreement is
rooted in the district’s policies and
regulations regarding the overall
naming and meeting process.
Specifically, Jester mentioned the
number of people in attendance,
the misrepresentation of an
individual as a district employee,
an absence of meeting minutes,
an inadequate number of
meetings and a lack of public
Jester mentioned similar
reasons for voting against
the naming of John R. Lewis
Elementary and Barack H. Obama
Magnet School of Technology.
According to the school
district’s website, a meeting
concerning the school’s colors
and mascot took place on Aug.
16 and 11 people were present.
This included board member

Marshall Orson as well as school
administration officials, principals
and parents.
“We had a meeting; we had
11 or 12 people present; we had
a discussion; various ideas were
proposed,” Orson said. “The
colors royal blue and silver along
with the [jaguar mascot] was the
conclusion and the majority vote
of the people in the committee.”
Orson, who serves on the
school’s naming committee and
presented the item, said the
meeting and what took place
at the meeting is completely
Orson clarified the individual
named by Jester—Regional
Superintendent Rebecca
Jackson—has been on the
naming committee since its
inception. He also stated the
missing minutes could be
presented upon request. He said
official documents do not include
an 11th person.
“To the extent the
documentation was prepared, the
minute, finite detail, or minutiae
of the detail, is not there,” Orson
said. “The people assembled and
there was a robust approval of
the blue and shade of blue. This
is only a recommendation and the
board can change the color should
they choose to do so. This was
met with approval by the people
Jester said requests for details

regarding the naming committee’s
meeting began in late August.
“[Joyce Morley] asked for
them a couple of months ago,”
Jester said. “What’s going on
here? As chair of this committee I
hold [Orson] responsible.”
Jester proposed delaying
the decision on John R. Lewis
Elementary’s colors and mascot
until proper documentation is
“This is not accurate
whatsoever,” Jester said.
“If you seek to delay a school
having their school colors and
mascot, you’re free to make that
motion,” Orson said. “The only
people that will be negatively
affected by that motion are the
children at that school, but that’s
[Jester’s] prerogative.”
Jester cited official school
policy when stating “the
superintendent shall enact
administrative regulations for the
selection of school colors and
mascot to be implanted whenever
a new school is to be open.”
“The committee shall meet at
least three times in a four-month
period,” Jester said. “[Regulations
say] minutes shall be maintained.
Did we do that? Can you tell [the
board] about those meetings? It
says you’re to meet three times
about the mascot and colors.”
Orson said he is not obligated
to respond to any questions from
a fellow board member and said

he refused to engage with Jester’s
“We’re breaking policies left
and right,” Jester said. “Are we
not going to follow board policies
and regulations anymore? We’ve
broken every policy and regulation
we have [about school naming
and mascots].”
Orson said the process
followed proper procedure
and said certain policies and
regulations do not apply to board
“Adminstrative regulations
provide a guidepost,” Orson
said. “These are administrative
regulations. They do not govern
the board. This committee worked
hard and came to consensus.
At the end of the day, if [Jester]
has an objection, he can voice
it and vote on it. We have a
responsibility to those children to
give them colors and a mascot
so they are fully invested in their
Jester said he did not have a
recommendation and the overall
decision of the board rested with
each individual board member.
“Are we going to follow
policy as a board or follow policy
whenever we feel like it?” Jester
The decision to make John R.
Lewis Elementary’s official colors
royal blue and silver and its official
mascot a jaguar passed four to
one with Jester opposing.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 16

Research and technology the backbone of chiropractic clinic
by Kathy Mitchell
 David Shapiro, who has been a
chiropractor for 16 years, chose Brookhaven
as the location of his new Complete Spine
Solutions (CSS) clinic, describing DeKalb
County’s largest city as an area where “people
make health a priority.”
Shapiro, who continues to operate the
Tucker clinic where he has practiced for 14
years, said he opened the Brookhaven Station
facility because he wants to bring what he
describes as “the most advanced natural health
recovery system” to the inside-the-perimeter
A graduate of Life University, a health and
wellness institution in Marietta, Shapiro said,
“A healthy spinal structure is crucial for better
overall body functioning. While it is easy to take
medicine and get some quick relief, it’s quite
another thing to get to the root of the problem
and have it resolved forever. We help people
reach their health potential.” Shapiro is now on
Life’s extension faculty.
On CSS’s website, Shapiro explains how
he became interested in chiropractic medicine.
Following a high school wrestling injury he
visited a chiropractor. “I was reluctant to turn to
chiropractic, but [it was] the only option instead
of surgery,” he recalled. “I’ll never forget that
first treatment. It felt as if a huge weight was
suddenly lifted from my body. My misaligned
spine was putting excessive pressure on the
side of the injured knee. Dr. Galbraith balanced
out my body with adjustments to the spine,
allowing my injured knee to finally heal—no
surgery! That was the moment I decided I was
going to be a chiropractor.”
Calling poor posture “common, but not
normal,” Shapiro said those who habitually
slump over cellphones and other such devices
are potentially damaging their spines. “If the
Pokémon Go craze continues, I’ll be busy the

David Shapiro, chief wellness officer at Complete Spine
Solutions, demonstrates a whole body vibrator he calls
“the Cadillac of vibrating machines.”

rest of my life,” he joked.
Shapiro said people should be examined
before they are experiencing chronic pain. “Pain
is the final symptom with many conditions. By
the time you are experiencing pain, the problem
is well advanced and may be beyond nonsurgical help.
“We’re not like other chiropractor offices,”
Shapiro said. “We don’t even look like other
clinics. Everything we do here is backed by
scientific research and involves the newest

He said many of the devices are unlike
those clients have seen before. Of one piece
of body stretching equipment that Shapiro said
was designed and manufactured by a friend
in Las Vegas he said, “I know this looks like a
torture device, but it’s actually a torture-relieving
Shapiro described a whole body vibrator in
his clinic as “the Cadillac of vibrating machines.
This is the type the top professional athletes
use. It vibrates 900 times a minute. It was
developed for use by cosmonauts (Soviet space
explorers) when they returned from space. Many
times people returning from space have to be
taken off on a stretcher, but after a few minutes
on this they can just walk away.”
Shapiro added that every course of
treatment is customized to individual clients.
“We don’t have a menu of treatments we offer
our clients. Every person is different with a
unique body and unique needs, so we design a
treatment just for that person.”
The result, he said, has been health
improvements even for people who have not had
success with other treatments and have been
advised to “just live with it.”
“We’ve been able to help patients who had
gone to doctors, specialists, physical therapists
and maybe even another chiropractor, but were
still in pain,” Shapiro said
Shapiro acknowledged that not every
problem is fixable. “The first thing we do is a
detailed analysis. We don’t want to put you
through a course of treatment unless we are
confident it’s going to help you.”
On their first visit, he said, clients are
subjected to a high-powered X-ray that provides
detailed information about the spine. “Even
though this X-ray uses much more power than
the type people usually receive, the client
actually receives a lower dosage of radiation
than normal because exposure is for a shorter
period of time,” Shapiro said.



DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 17



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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 18

Undefeated Redan hopes to get past the first round of the state playoffs. Photo by Carla Parker

Redan volleyball has eyes set on state title
by Carla Parker


fter four straight
seasons of first-round
playoff losses, the
Redan Lady Raiders
volleyball team has
hopes that this is the year they
make it out of the first round of the
Those hopes are because
of the team’s undefeated record
through 20 matches. The 20-0
record is the best start the Lady
Raiders have had under head
coach Charlcye Henderson, who
has been with the program since
During Henderson’s tenure,
Redan has only had one losing
season and have made the
playoffs the last four years. Those
Redan teams were unable to get
out of the first round with a win,
but Henderson said this year’s
team can get a playoff win with

the work they put in during the
season and offseason.
“[We focused on] being
mentally ready and physically
ready,” Henderson said. “We did a
lot of conditioning. We lift weights,
we run because physically they’re
not as strong as my last team
from last year. That’s what we
were really trying to work on—just
getting them stronger.”
Henderson said the players
changed their mindsets coming
into the season, doing whatever
they can to win a state title,
including changing the practice
“We used to practice in the
afternoon and they changed
it to 6 a.m.,” Henderson said.
“They get up, they get here at
5:45 a.m., they go from 6 to 7:30
a.m., so that way they’re more
focused. After school there is a lot
of stuff going on, so they took it
upon themselves [to change the
practice time].

Henderson said the leadership
from the upperclassmen also
has played a role in the team’s
success this year.
“Their leadership is great,” she
said. “I have four captains—three
seniors and one junior. They really
stepped up. They get the girls
motivated. The seniors have been
here since their sophomore year,
so they know what it feels like to
go to state and they really want to
get past the first round their senior
Senior Kiola Symister said
becoming more of a leader was
one of her goals coming into the
“Taking on a leadership role
this year [was important], thinking
about the team—it’s about
everybody not just one person,”
Symister said.
Even with an undefeated start,
Henderson said the team still has
areas to improve in, including

“They still don’t talk like they
should [on the court],” Henderson
said. “I told them volleyball is a
noisy game, it’s not a quiet game;
I’d rather see them work together
better as a unit because we have
some great individual standouts,
but if they play together as a unit
then we’ll really be unstoppable.”
Senior Taliah Gardner agreed
that she and her teammates must
talk more.
“We’re doing [more] bonding to
help get our communication better
and get closer so that we talk
more, Gardner said. “That helps
on the court.”
Senior Johnquanek Spencer
said it comes down to trusting one
“We really have to trust each
other more,” Spencer said. “I feel
like we don’t trust each other
enough. When we get our trust up
then we got it; we can [win].”


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 19

Lithonia shuts out Meadowcreek to get first win of the season
by Carla Parker
After finishing the 2015 season with a 6-4
record, the Lithonia Bulldogs were looking
to build off last season’s success, but had a
disappointing 0-3 start to the season.
However, the Bulldogs are hoping to turn
it around after getting their first win of the
season on Sept. 16 with a 21-0 shutout over
Meadowcreek at Godfrey Stadium. Lithonia
coach Marcus Jelks said it felt good to finally
get a win.
“The guys worked hard but we still got a lot
more work to do to get this thing turned back
around,” Jelks said.
Lithonia got off to a fast start, scoring on its
opening drive on a 5-yard touchdown pass from
quarterback Robert Hatchett to wide receiver
Marquez Randall. A missed extra point left the
score at 6-0.
The Bulldogs’ defense played fast and
physical, sacking Meadowcreek quarterback
Triston Harris three times and picking him off
twice. Meadowcreek was able to get into the
red zone in the final minute of the first half, but
could not get any points on the scoreboard.
An attempted field goal went right outside the
uprights, although Meadowcreek coaches
argued that the kick was good.

The Lithonia passing attack went to work
in the third quarter. Hatchett hit wide receiver
Jordan Davis deep for a 50-yard touchdown
pass late in the quarter, giving the Bulldogs a
13-0 lead.
On the Bulldogs’ following drive, Hatchett
threw another deep pass for a touchdown, this
time to wide receiver Kevah Brantley for 41
yards. Hatchett found wide receiver Shemar
Hutchinson in the back of the end zone on the
2-point conversion attempt, bringing the score to
Jelks was confident his offense would
execute on the deep-ball plays.
“I knew our receivers could beat their
corners deep,” Jelks said. “We were just hoping
that we could capitalize on it and we were able
to do that in the third quarter. We did a good
Hatchett finished the game with 13-of18 completions for 203 yards and three
touchdowns. Brantley lead the receiving
core with four receptions for 45 yards and a
Lithonia will try to get its second win of the
season on Sept. 23 at Westlake (1-3). Jelks said
his team will have to play hard to beat Westlake.
“That’s a great team, a [Class] AAAAAAA
football team, and they’re going to play hard but
we have to play harder,” Jelks said.

Game highlights

Jordan Davis (8) intercepts a pass from Meadowcreek
quarterback Triston Harris. Photo by Carla Parker

Towers (1-3,) 24, McNair (2-2) 7

football scores
Sept. 15
Mundy’s Mill (1-3, 1-0) 33, M.L. King (2-2, 0-1) 13

Sept. 16
Cedar Grove (3-1) 28, Lovett (2-2) 21
Chamblee (1-3) 6, Salem (3-1) 0
North Springs (2-1) 28, Decatur (1-3) 13
Druid Hills (2-2) 55, Clarkston (0-5) 0
Lakeside (3-1) 22, Miller Grove (2-3) 15
Lithonia (1-3) 21, Meadowcreek (0-4) 0
Woodward Academy (3-1) 32, Marist (2-2) 0
Westminster (2-2) 45, Redan (1-3) 13\
GAC (3-1) 37, St. Pius X (0-4) 7
Lovejoy (2-3) 28, Stephenson (1-3) 27
Pace (3-1) 44, Stone Mountain (1-3) 20
Tucker (3-1) 58, Jonesboro (0-5) 0

Towers receiver Quintavius Terrell (7) attempts a catch while being
closely defended. Photos by Travis Hudgons
McNair’s Jaylon Macklin catches a pass
between a pair of Towers defenders.

Sept. 17
Towers (1-3,) 24, McNair (2-2) 7
OPEN: Arabia Mountain (4-0), Columbia (0-4),
Cross Keys (0-1), Dunwoody (2-1), Southwest
DeKalb (2-2)

Devonte Wyatt leaves a trail of McNair defenders in his wake.

McNair’s Jalen Brown, right, looks to tackle
QB Terry Dennis.

Game highlights

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 • Page 20
Lakeside (3-1) 22, Miller Grove (2-3) 15

Lakeside’s Will Jernigan (15) reaches for the endzone in this game winning fourth
quarter touchdown

Lakeside High School fans showing off their team spirit.

Miller Grove’s Deondre Jackson, center, breaks a tackle. Photos by Travis