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the DeKalb

FRIDAY, november 11, 2016 • VOL. 19, NO. 31 • FREE

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

• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

Sweet Thang’s Candy Boutique, which
opened Oct. 31 of 2015, recently celebrated
its one-year anniversary. Because of the
shop’s “old school” feel, residents around
Decatur have called shop owner Shantrice
Fulton the “modern-day” candy lady.

Decatur’s modern-day ‘candy lady’
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

T

ucked inside a small plaza off
of Glenwood Road in Decatur
lies one of Decatur’s sweet
secrets that’s becoming more
popular.
Sweet Thang’s Candy Boutique
at 4469 Glenwood Road recently
celebrated its one-year anniversary
in Decatur.
From humble beginnings to
plans on expanding in the near
future, shop owner Shantrice
Fulton said starting her own candy
business has been a dream come
true.
Fulton said the idea of opening a
candy shop came from her love of
sweets and carnival-style food.
“I love sweets and I thought if
I ever came into some money, I
would create a business targeted
at carnival food so people wouldn’t
have to wait until the carnival
Candy apples on display at Shantrice Fulton’s Candy Boutique shop. Photos by Horace Holloman
comes,” Fulton said. “That was
kind of my inspiration. It’s just what
I like to eat.”
Fulton’s candy shop offers
funnel cakes, gourmet candy
apples and “old school” candy.
Fulton, 38, and a mother of
three, said she’s a modernday candy lady for the Black
community. Fulton opened her
shop near the area she grew up in.
Her mother still lives within walking

See Candy on Page 5

championnewspaper

“New Orleans-style” snowballs at Decatur’s Sweet Thangs Candy Boutique

championnews

Funnel cakes have been one of the shop’s top sellers
according to Fulton.

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LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 2A

Second water billing town hall scheduled
Water meters to be updated
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
A second town hall for the “water
billing crisis” in DeKalb County has been
scheduled. The meeting is set for Nov. 10
at the Maloof Auditorium in Decatur.
DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May
will host the event and provide an update
on the county’s status in dealing with
water billing issues.
On Sept. 20, May issued a
moratorium, which ends after Dec. 31 of
2016, on the disconnection of residential
water accounts that have been contested
through the utility customer operations
center.
May received criticism from DeKalb
County residents for not attending the
first town hall, which was held Oct. 6. May
said he had a prior engagement before
the town hall was scheduled.
On Nov. 1, county officials
updated residents and DeKalb County
commissioners on water-billing issues
throughout the county.
COO Zach Williams said the county
resolved 114 of 179 water billing disputes
from the Oct. 6 town hall.
“The staff has not only taken this
seriously, but we’ve tried to do an
exceptional job at trying to address this,”
said Williams at a Nov. 1 committee of the
whole meeting.
Williams said since May issued a
moratorium, there have been 956 billing
disputes.
Water billing exceptions, which result

from water meter malfunctions or water
meter misreads, are the focus of the
county investigation, Williams said.
During a Powerpoint presentation,
Williams said the county has almost 900
water billing exceptions per day and
nearly 18,000 monthly.
On Oct. 11, the DeKalb County Board
of Commissioners approved a resolution
that empowers the county’s chief financial
officer to address unusually high water
bills that resulted from billing or meter
errors.
“Each of these are critical issues.
We need to really focus on exceptions.
These are areas we really feel like we can
impact,” Williams said. “Sometimes it may
not feel like it, but we really do have a
diligent staff that’s trying to correct these
issues.”
Williams said in the future the
watershed department will have more
accountability and oversight to prevent
water billing exceptions.
The county is in the process of putting
a plan in place to have a unified water
meter system. May said nearly 60 percent
of the water meters in DeKalb County are
outdated.
“We have too many different meters
and there are around 40,000 that the
manufacturer has had problems with,”
May said. “Then we have 60 percent of
our stock that are old or outdated and
were manufactured between 1992 and
1998. We have to go through that and go
through a general assessment of what we
have [in our stock].”

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LOCAL

AROUNDDEKALB

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 3A

AVONDALE ESTATES

Avondale Estates Woman’s Club monthly meeting
The Avondale Estates Woman’s Club will hold its monthly meeting
Nov. 17 at the American Legion Post 66 at noon. A holiday bake sale
will be held at the meeting. American Legion Post 66 is located at 30
Covington Road. For more information, contact Alana Graves at (404)
291-4170

BROOKHAVEN

Police to give holiday safety presentation
Brookhaven Police will give a holiday safety presentation Nov.
15 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Town Brookhaven. Topics will include
holiday shopping and personal safety, vehicle break-ins prevention
and counterfeit currency. The presentation will be held at 1105 Town
Boulevard. For more information, visit www.brookhavencommerce.org/
events.

CHAMBLEE

Chamber to host mayors forum
On Nov. 17, the mayors of Chamblee, Doraville, Brookhaven and
Dunwoody will meet at Chamblee Civic Center to answer questions
regarding growth, population, diversity, opportunities and challenges.
Mayors Eric Clarkson, Donna Pittman, John Ernst and Denis
Shortal will participate in “Breakfast Meeting with the Mayors” from 7:30
to 9 a.m. The event will feature breakfast, a moderated forum and a
brief question and answer session with the public.
Tickets are $15 with reservations or $25 at the door. For
more information, visit www.chambleechamber.org or contact
Aurora Santana, Thom Abbott or Ronni French at asantana@
chambleechamber.org.

DECATUR

STONE MOUNTAIN

Verizon retailer awarding non-profit grants

Elizabeth Andrews High hosts college fair

Beginning Oct. 25, nonprofits throughout the United States have
opportunities for grants up to $10,000, thanks to a Decatur company’s
corporate giving program.
TCC Verizon, located at 335-D W. Ponce de Leon Ave., is
participating in TCC Gives, a national campaign through which one
nonprofit organization throughout 500 communities is selected for
funding. The award is given once per quarter.
“We launched TCC Gives as a way to show our valued customers
and community members how much we care about them,” said Scott
Moorehead, CEO of TCC. “It is our goal to continue to grow this program
and support every community where TCC operates.”
To apply, nonprofit directors can visit www.tccrocks.com or contact
Mallory Sturgeon at mallory@dittoepr.com.

Elizabeth Andrews High School, located at 1701 Mountain Industrial
Boulevard, will host a college and career fair on Nov. 18.
From 8:45 to 11:45 a.m., students will have opportunities to meet
with representatives from colleges, members of the armed forces and
vocational recruiters.
“The purpose of our college fair is to provide our diverse population
of students with valuable information regarding college and other postsecondary options,” reads a statement from the school.
Elizabeth Andrews High is a non-traditional public high school.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors at the school are offered four minisemesters each year and an opportunity to graduate early.
For more information, visit www.andrewshs.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

Organization to host annual celebration
Joy In The Story, LLC will host its fourth annual celebration
extravaganza Nov. 11 at Ebster Recreation Center in Decatur. The event
will include a dinner, live music, Brazilian and South African talent and
praise, stories of transformation and performances by the cast of UnShame on You. This event is free but tickets are $20 for those who want
to have dinner. Ebster Recreation Center is located at 105 Electric Ave.
For more information, visit www.joyinthestory.com or call 1-877-9777721.

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 4A

If you’re looking
for a job,
we’re here to serve.

Clarkston city manager Keith Barker, city attorney Stephen Quinn and councilwoman Beverly
Burks constructed an ordinance allowing Clarkston employees up to 8 weeks of paid leave to new
parents. Photo by R. Scott Belzer.

Clarkston employees
granted paid parental leave
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Police officers, administrative
assistants and other Clarkston city
employees were granted more
opportunities for paid leave following a city
council meeting on Nov. 1.
Clarkston City Council unanimously
approved a resolution granting paid leave
for new parents regardless of gender.
“The United States is the only
industrialized nation that doesn’t provide
universal leave to accommodate new
parents and those with ill family members
who temporarily leave jobs to become
caregivers,” states the ordinance. “This
policy will have a positive effect on
the public health of [city employees]
by increasing employee retention and
better recruitment of candidates for city
positions.”
According to the ordinance, city
employees will receive up to eight weeks
of partial income when taking time off work
for the purpose of a new birth or adoption.
The ordinance states Clarkston employees
will receive 67 percent of their normal rate.
“City employees who use paid
parenting or family leave shall not be
subject to any loss of standing when they
return to work,” states the ordinance. “The
taking of leave for the purpose of family
care shall not result in the loss of any
employment benefit accrued prior to the
date on which the leave commenced.”
According to the resolution, the
financial impact of such an ordinance is

negligible.
Under the Family and Medical Leave
Act of 1993, qualifying workers are
guaranteed up to 12 weeks of unpaid
leave in one year to care for seriously ill
family members or newborns.
One city council member said the act
was unacceptable, and in some Clarkston
cases, unrealistic.
“We’re allowing employees to take the
opportunity to bond and have a healthier
relationship with their child, whether
it’s an adopted child or by birth,” said
councilwoman Beverly Burks, one of the
resolution’s chief sponsors. “We are having
a younger police force, and we want to
make sure we’re providing opportunities
for them to bond—not only the mother, but
the father.”
Burks said she wants to eliminate the
need for city staff to use paid leave—sick
days, personal days—on caregiving and
birth should an emergency occur.
“This is the next step in providing
quality for our employees,” Burks said.
“This is something very dear to my heart
as a mother.”
Burks said this was the first of two paid
leave resolutions being considered. The
second, expected to be brought before
council later in 2016 or early 2017, will
also grant paid leave to seriously ill family
members.
Mayor Ted Terry said the ordinance
was acting where state and federal
governments have failed to do so.
“I want to call it revolutionary, but sadly,
that is not the case,” Terry said.

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of North Georgia

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016

local

Page 5

Candy Continued From Page 1

Shantrice Fulton prepares to make her New Orleans-style snowball

Shantrice Fulton pours funnel cake batter Saturday morning to prepare for the shop’s afternoon rush.

distance of Sweet Thang’s Candy Boutique.
Opening up a candy shop in a
predominately Black area was important
to Fulton. She said she wanted to create
something that gave back to the community
she’s familiar with.   
“We don’t have many things like this
that’s offered in our neighborhood or in the
Black community. We usually have to go to
Buckhead or somewhere to get this type of
thing,” Fulton said. “When I was looking for a
place to open up, I wanted to target our area.
Now all the kids come up here and call me
the candy lady.”
Starting a business wasn’t easy, Fulton
said. She became a widow in 2010 after her
husband’s death. Fulton also had a business
partner who planned on selling clothing items
on the other side of the store—hence the
name Candy Boutique. However, two months
after the shop’s grand opening, her partner
decided to leave, Fulton said.
With the shop in Fulton’s name she had to
come up with a creative idea to supplement
the loss of income, she said.
Fulton decided to invest in an ice shaving
machine and make New Orleans snowballs.
The snowballs have become a big hit.
Ironically, Fulton works as a part-time
dental assistant on Mondays, Tuesdays and
Wednesdays. Despite her job of keeping
teeth clean, Fulton said her desire to give her
community a sweet treat is her passion.
“It’s not easy. It’s very hard and very
frustrating, but if [starting a business] is
something that you really want, then the end
result will be worth it,” Fulton said.
The shop hosted a Halloween carnival for
DeKalb County residents to celebrate its oneyear anniversary on Oct. 31.
“We had a bounce house and everything.
The community came out and helped. When
parents saw stations that weren’t being
attended to they pitched a helping hand. We
had a great turnout,” Fulton.
Fulton said the funnel cakes, candy apples
and other products in her store are made from
scratch. She arrives at her shop hours before
the store opens, sometimes accompanied by
her youngest child, Alondra Allen, to prepare
the food.
Candy apples are a big hit at Sweet
Thang’s, Fulton said. She uses tart green
apples and offers 30 flavors including
caramel, pineapple, peach, Oreo, Snickers
and blue raspberry.
“This is something I love to do. I get a joy
out of seeing people enjoy my food. Some of
the customers that come in say ‘I ain’t never
tasted funnel cake like this.’ That makes me
happy,” Fulton said. “A lot of people love
the taste of my candy apples. They say it’s
a unique and different taste. When I first
started, people were going crazy over the
peach candy apples.”
Fulton said she plans to expand her
business by using mobile units to sell
on location. Fulton said she has already
purchased two buses and plans to transform
them to sell candy items on the go.
“You all can look forward to seeing Sweet
Thang’s at a couple of events soon,” Fulton
said, smiling.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016

opinion

Page 6

The humorous aspects of aging
Those of us who are
collectively referred to as “seniors”,
the “elderly” and a variety of other
rather demeaning labels likely
prefer to think that we are aging
gracefully; however, quite often
this is not the case.
Aside from the greatly
increased number of aches and
pains, diminished eyesight and
hearing, we all have situations
that are humbling, embarrassing
and humorous. Most of us can
also relate to often-misplaced cell
phone, keys and glasses but some
of our follies go beyond the norm
and deserve to be shared.
A personal example of visual
impairment comes to mind. My
wife recently purchased several
packages of gourmet sliced
cheese. The cheese is packaged
in clear, rectangular blister packs
with black plastic bottoms. For
some odd reason, when she put
the cheese in the refrigerator, she
placed them upside-down, (she
may not have been able to see
which end was up, as she had
recently had eye surgery).

John Hewitt

johnh@dekalbchamp.com

As I made one of my usual
evening visits to stare at the
contents of the fridge waiting for
something to pique my interest,
I paused momentarily to silently
question why my phone was in
the refrigerator and who had put it
there. Before embarrassing myself
by asking my wife if she put my
phone in the refrigerator, I quietly
walked to the den to check to see
if my phone was in its normal spot
on the old steamer trunk we use as
a coffee table.
My phone was indeed in
its usual same location. I then
returned to the fridge, this time
with my glasses on, and realized
that I had been looking at a pack
of cheese. Later in the evening,
I mentioned to my wife what I

originally thought. She was quite
amused.
Several coworkers who also
fall into the category of seniors
have recently shared similar
experiences with me that are
worthy of sharing with the public
in hopes that these stories will
make other seniors take pause and
realize they are not alone in their
mishaps.
One associate tells the story
of her husband having to crawl
up the stairs of their home to go
to bed after having played a few
aggressive rounds of tennis. This
associate also admits to an all-toooften routine of rummaging through
her home from the basement to
attic in search of her glasses.
Another associate recently
attended a meeting on the campus
of Emory University and hospital.
After the meeting, while attempting
to return to her car, she missed
the entrance to the parking lot
where her car was. Seeking
information, she asked the parking
attendant in another lot for the
best route to take to get to the lot

where her car was parked. The
attendant radioed a supervisor
and my associate overheard
the attendant saying, “I have an
elderly lady who has misplaced
her car, can you come help?”
After a lengthy set of comical
circumstances, my associate was
driven to her car, asked if she was
certain the car she identified as
her was indeed her car and if she
needed assistance returning to the
hospital.
A friend tells a story of the day
his wife came home from getting
what she referred to as the best
hearing aid available. The wife
continued to opine about how
good the hearing aid was and the
husband—having heard enough—
asks “Oh yeah, what kind is it?”
The wife responded with “It’s
almost six o’clock”.
These newly found challenges
of growing older have a way of
keeping us mentally challenged a
bit also—as if they may be part of
a master plan designed to keep us
as mentally sharp as is possible.
That’s my theory anyway.

opinion

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016

Page 7

Our republic shall survive

“America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we
falter and lose our freedoms, it
will be because we destroyed
ourselves,” President Abraham
Lincoln.
 
Our nation has survived a war
among its own people costing
the lives of millions and pitting
brother against brother. Later
two world wars; the long overdue Civil Rights Movement and
healing which continues to this
day; unholy acts of terrorism and
barbarism; and more than a bad
presidency or two. Regardless of
the outcome of the race for the
White House, our republic will
survive. 
I am writing this column before those 2016 polls close,
and after record advance voting has been completed here
in Georgia, with 2.2 million
ballots already cast, and more
than 100,000 absentee ballots
yet returned. There has been
early voting in more than 30
states, most out-pacing their
voting rates of the 2012 election. Trump’s supporters appear
more energized. Clinton’s base
seems more subdued, and advance voting among Black voters is 5-10 percentage points
lower than the 2008 and 2012
cycles, depending on the state,
when Barack Obama topped
the ticket. 
Clinton has the more significant polling lead and larger

‘One Man’s
Opinion’
Bill Crane

bill.csicrane@gmail.com

block of blue states and seemingly locked electoral votes. In
the waning hours of this election
year, the F.B.I. again called off
the email dogs and indicated no
change in their plan of non-prosecution announced in July. Certainly a reprieve for Secretary
Clinton’s campaign, but hard to
assess how much impact the reopening of that same investigation had during the final week of
early voting.
 Trump’s advocates claim a
Nixonian “silent majority” of voters are just waiting for Election
Day to secretly express their
support for the man who wants
to “drain the swamp” which they
believe Washington, D.C., has
again become. Maybe, but by
the narrowest of margins, it does
appear that the GOP may even
hang on to its Senate majority,
by 1-2 seats. Here in Georgia,
popular incumbent U.S. Senator
Johnny Isakson appears likely
to receive the required 50 percent, plus one vote, to avoid a
run-off.  
 The presidency is the
most powerful office in our
land. Though we are not elect-

ing a dictator, potentate, king
or queen, we are selecting the
leader of our republic’s executive
branch. We still will have Congress, the legislative branch and
our judicial system represented
by the local, state and federal
courts.
Mr. Trump may speak of the
presidency as if the powers of
the office are absolute.They are
not. His supporters may speak of
ending or banishing those of dissenting voice. They cannot. 
So whether you are smiling,
gnashing your teeth, collecting
winning bets or saying “I told
you so” to friends and neighbors—starting Nov. 9, let’s all
try and remember again that we
are Americans and we are in this
mess together.
No matter our differences individually, we have a much longer
list of commonalities. It should
not require an attack of the magnitude of 9/11 to bring our people
together.   
This will actually be 50 state
elections, each their own closed
loop, not dumped into a common
mainframe or tallied in a cloud
on the internet. Though Mr.
Trump is alleging a conspiracy in
advance, governors in 38 states
are Republican as are the majority of those state’s secretaries of
state. The GOP currently controls two-thirds of state legislative bodies. The voting machines
in place in a majority of states
are technology funded after the

2000 cliff-hanger election and
implemented during the 2004
and 2006 cycles, with a Republican in the White House.
 On the plus side, I cannot tell
you how enthused I am about
the new leadership team about
to take the helm here in our
DeKalb County. Our new CEO,
county commission and district
attorney all bode well for our
county, as do our likely returning sheriff, tax commissioner
and clerk of Superior Court. It
appears at least for now, that
DeKalb’s best days may yet
again be ahead of us. If that
is true, given what we have all
been through—then I have no
doubt our United States can get
back there again as well—but it
is going to take effort, sacrifice
and commitment from all of us. 
Try and remember that even
if your candidate lost on election
day, the fact that we still get to
select and elect our leaders remains a major win for the American people.
 
Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for
Channel 2’s Action News, WSBAM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5
FM, as well as a columnist for
The Champion, Champion Free
Press and Georgia Trend. Crane
is a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment on a
column at bill.csicrane@gmail.
com.

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

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the DeKalb

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Publisher:
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Photographer:
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Chief Financial Officer:
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Staff Reporters:
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Horace Holloman

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The DeKalb Free Press is published each Friday
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Phone (404) 373-7779.
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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
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LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 8A

DeKalb County pastors hold election night prayer vigil
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
A DeKalb County-based
group held a prayer vigil on
election night to pray for the
newly elected president as
well as local elected officials.
The DeKalb Pastors
Alliance (DPA) gathered Nov.
8 at 11 p.m. in front of the
DeKalb County Courthouse.
DPA officials said the
organization wanted to “be
a voice in the community to
help people grow spiritually,
educationally, socially,

economically and politically.”
Stephen Dial, executive
director of DPA, said the
event was important to the
DeKalb County community.
“We wanted to do
something that was
impactful,” Dial said.
“Whoever wins, we want to
saturate them in prayer. It’s
been a nasty race so far.
What’s divided this country
is racism, terrorism and
capitalism.”
Dial said churches within
the alliance have made an
effort to educate voters on

the issues leading up to
election night.
One of the alliance’s
focuses has been on
educating potential voters
about Amendment 1, Dial
said. Amendment 1, as it
reads on the ballot, states
“Shall the Constitution of
Georgia be amended to
allow the state to intervene
in chronically failing public
schools in order to improve
student performance?”
The amendment was
proposed by Gov. Nathan
Deal and called the

Jones wins District 91 seat while incumbents
reclaim congressional, state seats
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Former DeKalb County
CEO Vernon Jones is
heading back to the Georgia
House of Representatives.
Jones won the District
91 seat with 60 percent of
votes, beating Republican
Carl Anuszczyk, who
received 39.8 percent.
Jones first served in the
House from 1993 to 2001
before being elected CEO in
2001. He ran unsuccessfully
for several elected positions
from 2008 to 2014 but won
the Democratic nomination
for District 91 in May.
In other House and
Senate races, incumbents
had a big night. There were
seven contested state seats
up for grabs, while 15 seats
are uncontested.
Rep. Scott Holcomb
reclaimed his District 81
seat with 57.8 percent of
votes, defeating Republican
challenger Lane Flynn, who
received 42.6 percent.
Rep. Taylor Bennett
lost his 80th District seat
to Republican challenger
Meagan Hanson. Hanson
received 54.1 percent of
votes and Bennett received
45.8 percent.
Democrat challenger
Tonya P. Anderson
defeated incumbent Sen.
JaNice Van Ness for the
District 43 seat. Anderson
received 63.7 percent, while
Van Ness received 36.2
percent.
In the Senate, incumbent
Sen. Fran Millar defeated
Democrat challenger
Tamara Johnson-Shealey
with 58.6 to 41.3 percent of

“Opportunity School District”
26 DeKalb County schools
would go to state control if
Georgia voters vote “yes.”
“We have had forums
and we’re helping people
understand the ballot,”
Dial said. “We can’t just
explain, we have to let them
know the impact and how
it will affect them and their
grandchildren.”
The churches in the
alliance have also worked
toward registering DeKalb
County voters and busing
them to voting locations.
Robert Tatum, a
member of DeKalb County’s
ethics board, has helped
register first-time voters in
DeKalb County by organizing
a voter registration drive at
his church. Tatum, a member
of Rainbow Park Baptist
Church, said the experience
of registering voters is a
“great feeling.”
“For the last couple of
Sundays we had people

who have not registered
to vote,” Tatum said. “I felt
great because now you allow
someone to really be a part
of the [voting] process who
hasn’t been a part of that
before. To see someone take
that step, I love that.”
A member of the
ethics board, Tatum said
it’s important for DeKalb
County residents to know
what’s going on in the local
elections.
In DeKalb County,
voters will choose a District
7 county commissioner,
DeKalb CEO, sheriff and
decide whether as a city
Stonecrest incorporates.
“That’s kind of been my
focus. I’m a firm believer that
politics is local. The national
stuff will work itself out, but
it’s important that we have
the right people in office
locally,” Tatum said. “They
will decide a lot of the laws
that will be implemented in
our county.”

Voters say yes to city
of Stonecrest
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Congressman Hank Johnson was re-elected to the 4th
Congressional District seat. Photo by Carla Parker

votes for the 40th District
seat. Incumbent Sen. Elena
Parent reclaimed her 42nd
District with 68.7 percent,
defeating Republican
challenger Kenneth Brett
Quarterman, who received
31.2 percent.
District 55 state Sen.
Gloria Butler heads back to
her seat with 70.5 percent
of votes after defeating
Republican challenger
Annette Davis Jackson,
who received 29.4 percent
of votes.
On the congressional
level, incumbent Republican
Johnny Isakson defeated
Democrat Jim Barksdale
and Libertarian Allen
Buckley challengers for the
U.S. Senate seat. Isakson
received 57.2 percent of
votes, Barksdale received
38.6 percent and Buckley
received 4.1 percent.
Congressman Hank
Johnson defeated
Republican challenger
Victor Armendariz for the
4th Congressional District
seat. Johnson received
67.5 percent of votes, while

Armendariz received 32.4
percent.
Johnson said he will
continue to serve the
residents of District 4.
“Constituent services
are something that we must
take care of,” he said. “So
regardless of party affiliation
we’d like to reach out and let
folks know that we’re there
to help them. We’ll continue
to do that. We’ll continue
to promote policies in
Washington D.C. that benefit
all of the people—justice,
equality and fairness.”
Congressman John
Lewis received 84.9
percent of votes to defeat
Republican challenger
Douglas Bell for the 5th
Congressional District seat.
Bell received 15.07 percent.
Congressman Tom
Price reclaimed his 6th
Congressional District
seat, defeating Democrat
challenger Rodney
Stooksbury for the 6th
Congressional District seat
with 62.8 to 37.1 percent of
votes.

There will be a new city in DeKalb County.
Voters approved the city of Stonecrest referendum
with a 56.9 percent of votes. Stonecrest is the 12th
city in the county, and the fourth to incorporate since
Dunwoody incorporated in 2008.
Stonecrest will incorporate 29 square miles of
southeast DeKalb and have a population of more than
50,000—95.4 percent Black and 4 percent White.
According to the proposed city’s feasibility study,
the city’s southern boundary begins on the east side
of Snapfinger Road where it meets the boundaries of
DeKalb, Rockdale and Henry counties. The southern
boundary continues east, tracking the Rockdale border
and stops at I-20. The area includes property between
I-20 and Covington Highway to the west of Lithonia and
other areas north of Lithonia.
Stonecrest is expected to have annual expenses
of $7.91 million and revenues of $9.85 million, leaving
a surplus of $1.94 million, according to the study.
The services the city is expected to provide are code
enforcement, planning and zoning, and parks and
recreation.
In an April interview with The Champion, Jason
Lary, president of the Stonecrest City Alliance, said
the six areas Stonecrest proponents want to address
include residential, commercial and industrial concerns,
as well as school partnerships, tourism and economic
development.
“Our biggest challenge is the lack of jobs and
economic development,” Lary said. “Companies aren’t
moving to Stonecrest or Lithonia Industrial Boulevard
where we have 500,000 square feet of available
warehouse space for light industrial, for manufacturing,
[and] for green opportunities.
“No one’s paying us any attention,” Lary added.
“Now we get a chance to sell the wares of the
Stonecrest corridor.”

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 9A

Pine Lake approves
packaged alcohol sales
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

Pine Lake residents voted in favor of the
city’s authority to issue packaged alcohol
sale licenses. Photo by Travis Hudgons.

The smallest city in DeKalb
County approved packaged alcohol
sales on Nov. 8 following a special
election for residents.
Pine Lake voted 89 percent
in favor of issuing licenses for the
package sale of distilled spirits.
Appoval means Pine Lake will
have the authority to issue alcohol
licenses to businesses within city
limits. Those businesses will, in
turn, have the authority to sell liquor.

Pine Lake is made up of 0.2
square miles located between
Clarkston and Stone Mountain.
According to former mayor Kathie deNobriga, approving alcohol
sales is the first step in Pine Lake
progressing as a city.
DeNobriga said she collected
approximately 200 signatures—
representing about 40 percent of
the city population—advocating
for packaged alcohol sales in Pine
Lake. She said the city’s ability to
issue packaged alcohol licenses will
help attract businesses to undeveloped areas of the Pine Lake.

“We have a good alcohol ordinance in place,” deNobriga said.
“When looking far out, it’s something we need to do. We were optimistic people would vote yes on our
referendum.”
DeNobriga referenced the
possibility of annexing an area of
DeKalb County that is surrounded
by its southern edges.
“There’s a lot of talk with annexation in the county,” deNobriga said.
“We have a large chunk of property
surrounded by Pine Lake; we’d like
to make it a part of Pine Lake to
provide better lease coverage.”

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Former McNair High School volunteer coach was arrested and charged for sexually assaulting a
student.

Former coach charged with sexual assault
of student spotted at football game
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A former McNair High School volunteer
coach accused of sexually assaulting a
student was allegedly seen at a recent
football game.
The Champion received a tip from a
concerned parent who reported seeing
Ronald Wright on the sidelines during the
Oct. 28 game between McNair and Cedar
Grove at Godfrey Stadium. The parent
requested to remain anonymous.
“That’s foul if they still allow him to be
around the program,” the parent said.
When The Champion questioned
the DeKalb County School District
about Wright’s presence at the game,
the district’s director of communications
Quinn Hudson said Wright was not on the
sidelines.
“He was not on the field with the
team and he has not been allowed at the
school,” Hudson said. “He may have been
at the game but he was not on the field.”
The parent was adamant that he saw
Wright on the sidelines.
“He was definitely on the sidelines,”
the parent said. “He was in the press box,
and then he came down the bleachers and
spoke to some female students that were

sitting right next to me. Then he proceeded
to go down to the track because it was
halftime.
“He was greeted by the coaching staff
then proceeded to head to the sidelines,”
the parent said. “[I] didn’t see him return
from the sidelines but there [were] a lot of
other people that [said they] saw him.”
Wright was arrested Aug. 24 on
charges of cruelty to children and sexual
battery for allegedly having inappropriate
contact with a female student at the
school. Wright was given a $1,000 bond.
According to the arrest warrant, Wright
applied muscle cream to the victim’s leg
for sore muscles, and slid his hand inside
her underpants without her consent and
rubbed and massaged her vagina, causing
severe pain.
Wright also allegedly gave the victim
access to the shower, saw her naked and
adjusted her bra straps after she dried off,
according to the report.
The DeKalb County School District
confirmed that Wright was dismissed from
the school on Aug. 22.
Hudson said he will contact the
district’s public safety director, Chief
Donald Smith, to see if other restrictions
were placed on Wright related to his bond.

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LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 10A

Hosea Helps Feed the Hungry hosted a press conference Nov. 3 at the DeKalb County jail to announce its annual Thanksgiving dinner and drop off turkeys to the jail’s
kitchen. For the last 15 years, the jail has allowed Hosea to prepare turkeys for the dinner on Thanksgiving eve in the jail’s kitchen.

Partnership continues
with DeKalb, Hosea
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

On

Thanksgiving eve,
volunteers and chefs
will prepare food at the
DeKalb County jail for
those in need around metro-Atlanta.
On Nov. 3, Hosea Helps hosted its
annual turkey drop-off conference by
the loading docks of the DeKalb County
jail. DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann
and representatives from Kanner and
Pintaluga, Publix and Kroger attended the
press conference.
Elizabeth Omilami, along with her
husband Afemo Omilami, thanked Mann
for partnering with the Hosea organization.
Every year volunteers prepare the turkeys
in the jail’s kitchen, then distributed for
Hosea’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.
This year, Hosea will celebrate its 47th
Thanksgiving dinner at the Georgia World
Congress Center in Atlanta.
“Forty-seven years. That’s a really
long time. That’s the true labor of love,”
said Mann at the press conference. “Our
kitchen is one of the largest industrial
kitchens in the southeast and we’re happy
to host Hosea Helps. This is a great day
and a great time for us. We’re excited to
do this.”
The DeKalb County jail and Hosea
Helps have been partners for roughly 15
years, Mann said.
Hundreds of volunteers start early
the day before Thanksgiving preparing
nearly 500 turkeys, valued at $7,000 total,
in the jail’s kitchen. Executive chef Nick
Johnson said he doesn’t spend time with
his family on Christmas or Thanksgiving
eve, but helping those in need makes the
time away worth it.
“For the past 35 years I’ve missed

Christmas and Thanksgiving eve with my
family and this year will make it 36, but I
know this helps people out and it’s in my
heart to help,” Johnson said.
DeKalb County jail officials
said volunteers will work up to 11
p.m. preparing food the day before
Thanksgiving. Guests of the Hosea Help’s
annual dinner can also receive toiletry
items, beauty and barber services, flu
shots, showers, clothes and shoes.
Elizabeth Omilami said it’s important
for the surrounding community to help
fight poverty and homelessness in their
area.
“We have families who are unable
to provide food for themselves—senior
citizens who are on a fixed income and
everything is going up around them. We
need more than ever. Not just here in
Atlanta but across the country. Families
are going hungry,” Elizabeth Omilami said.
“We need to end poverty in America. Our
children are not healthy and we want to
move forward with our dinner event to help
those in need.”
Senator Vincent Fort came to the
event and said that community leaders
need to be committed to feeding the
hungry year-round and not just on
Thanksgiving.
“I’m not only committed to helping
on Thanksgiving, but I’m committed to
helping year-round.  Food insecurity,
what we used to call being hungry, is not
a one-day affair,” Fort said.  “We have
to be supportive and try to transform our
communities.”
Hosea Helps representatives said the
organization is looking for a new building
as well. The Omilamis said they hope
someone would be willing to donate a
building, roughly 50,000 square feet.

LOCAL

WEEKinPICTURES

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 11A

The Chamblee Police Department honored Sgt. JJ Davis Oct. 27 at an official retirement celebration. The occasion
marked the second time Davis retired after serving in the United States Marine Corps, the DeKalb County Police
Department and Chamblee Code Enforcement.

Sergeant Markus Baumann from the Swiss Border
Police observed the Dunwoody Police Department
for the week of Sept. 30 through Nov. 4. Also
pictured: Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan.
Photo submitted.

The Clarkston Community Center hosted a community yard sale on Nov. 5, featuring local artists, bike advocates and community members selling goods and services.
Photos submitted.

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) held its annual golf fundraiser on Oct.
12 at Bear’s Best Golf Course in Suwannee.  Members of Rotary Club of Stone Mountain
volunteered and participated in the event. The event raised more than $25,000 to support
FODAC’s mission of providing durable medical equipment (DME) at little to no charge to
those in need. Pictured are the first place foursome of Dwight Standridge, Derek Conley,
Justin Brown and Zach Kles. Photo provided

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, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 12A

The city of Pine Lake is seeking comments, contributions, volunteers and pictures for its new website. Photo by Travis Hudgons.

Pine Lake seeks help in creating new website
by R. Scott Belzer

sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

On Oct. 28, Pine Lake councilor
Jean Bordeaux posted a request
for comments, input and photos on
the city’s website.
Bordeaux requested input in
determining the city’s new motto,
compiling a written history and
pictorial representation on Pine
Lake’s website revamp. The
request also sought volunteers to
test the new site before it goes live.
“We need [residents] input in
several specific areas, as well as
[residents’] general comments
on what [they] want to see in the
new website,” Bordeaux said. “We
may not be able do everything
you suggest, but we will try to
incorporate as many ideas as

possible.”
According to a release from
Pine Lake City Council, the website
has not “gotten the attention
that it deserves in order to keep
information updated and make
improvements as needed.”
“In reviewing the content,
council felt that we could use a new
look and a revamp of navigation
within the website,” the release
states. “[Council] looked at some
other city websites and discussed
putting out a bid to have a new
website designed.”
Sophicity, a company
endorsed by the Georgia Municipal
Association, was chosen earlier
in 2016, according to the release.
While the company is taking care
of technical aspects, Bordeaux
insists the website maintain what

Bordeaux refers to as Pine Lake’s
unique and personal touch.
Bordeaux suggested the city’s
new motto be “short and catchy,
and hopefully include two of three
shared values: art, environment and
community.”
“Something in the form of ‘Pine
Lake, where art communes with
nature,’” Bordeaux states.
Bordeaux has also asked
for historical data on the city in
addition to historical photos and hiresolution modern photos.
“We need high quality pictures
of Pine Lake of all kinds—people,
nature, lake, houses, beach,
buildings, events, the dredge,
casual shots—whatever [residents]
can contribute,” Bordeaux said.
According to Bordeaux, the
timeline for going live has yet to

be determined. She said it will
depend on how quickly they can
collect information and provide it to
Sophicity. The site will then go into
beta-testing, when more volunteers
will be needed to test its navigability
and intuitiveness.
“With the creativity and the
volunteer spirit in our little town, I
know we can put together one of
the best city websites in Georgia,”
Bordeaux said. “We all know that
Pine Lake is run on volunteer
energy. That is certainly true of the
Pine Lake website.”
The public was asked to email
PLWeb@gmx.com with pictures,
comments and other contributions
to the new website. For more
information, visit www.pinelakega.
com or the city’s Facebook page.

Stone Mountain presents fiscal year 2017 proposed budget
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Stone Mountain’s city manager presented
the fiscal year 2017 proposed budget at the
Nov. 1 city council regular meeting.
City Manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton
presented the proposed $5,309,317 budget
to the council. The budget includes a general
fund of $3,703,718—which accounts for
elected officials, administration, public
buildings, general government, municipal
court, public safety, public works, parks and
debt service.
“I think the budget is looking really good,”
Mayor Pro Tem Chakira Johnson said.
The general fund revenues will come from
ad valorem taxes, other taxes, licenses and

permits, and fine and forfeiture revenue.
Under the general fund, Landmark
Insurance—after examination of medical
benefits plans—found a plan offered by
Humana, the carrier of the city’s most current
benefits plan that is comparable to the plan
currently offered to eligible city employees.
According to the budget, premiums will
increase by 7.74 percent with an opportunity
for additional discounts based upon
participation in a wellness program.
The renewal premium for property, liability
and workers compensation insurances was
received on Oct. 31 and the renewal will offer
a 3.86 percent decrease in annual premium.
Under parks and recreation, the
administration requested that $10,000 be
appropriated to assist in funding the rebuild

of McCurdy Park. The playground at the park
was set on fire in September. A nonprofit
group began raising money to fund the
rebuilding of the playground and the entire
park.
The city administration recommended
the city to purchase three police cars to be
financed on a four-year lease term through the
Georgia Municipal Association. The $128,593
price for the vehicles includes all equipment,
according to the city. The administration also
recommended the purchase of new body
cameras and Taser equipment.
The proposed budget increases the debt
service from $223,596 to $237,880. The
new leases for the three police vehicles will
increase the debt service by $22,910 in 2017,
according the budget.

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 13A

Stone Mountain officials talk annexation with residents
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Stone Mountain city officials
have reopened discussions on
annexation and have brought
residents into the conversation.
The Stone Mountain Annexation
Task Force, which consists of city
and elected officials, held its first
town hall meeting on annexation
to show what areas the city is
considering for annexation. The
city, which is currently 1.869 square
miles, may annex an additional
1.635-square miles. The areas being
considered include some industrial
parks along E. Ponce de Leon
Avenue, properties along Memorial
Drive to North Hairston Road and to
Rockbridge Road and the Walmart
on the corner of Memorial Drive and
North Hairston Road.
The proposed annexation would
bring the city’s population from
more than 6,100 residents to more
than 9,200. The annexation also
would increase the commercial and
industrial tax base from 20 to 36
percent.
“Studies show that to be a
healthy community you should have
around 40 percent of a commercial
base and we’re at 20 percent,”
Mayor Pro Tem Chakira Johnson
said. “This annexation plan will
bring it up to 36 percent, which
would make us overall a healthier
community.”
The task force said annexation
would improve public safety, improve
code enforcement—specifically
along Memorial Drive, expand public

Mechel McKinley, executive director of Stone Mountain Downtown Development Authority, gives a presentation on the city’s
proposed annexation plan. Photo by Carla Parker

works and give the city more local
control of unincorporated Stone
Mountain.
According to the proposed
timeline, the city council would adopt
a resolution by Dec. 6 and refer it to
the local state representatives the
following day. If the annexation bill
is adopted by the DeKalb County
delegation, passes the general
assembly and is signed by the
governor, then a referendum would
be on the Nov. 7, 2017 ballot for
voters in the proposed areas.
If the referendum receives
enough votes, the annexation would
go into effect July 1, 2018.
The city tried to have an annex
bill passed by the local delegation in
the past, but it fell through due to the

number of cityhood bills. Task force
member Thom Deloach said he is
confident the city would get enough
signatures from the local delegation
to create an annexation bill.
“We got really close last
time—we got seven out of the nine
signatures needed from the local
delegation of the house,” Deloach
said. “We had a verbal commitment
from the senate, so we would
have been OK. Had we gotten two
more signatures we would’ve had
a chance to get to the floor last
time around. So, I’m thinking at a
time that it’s less contentious that
we have a really good chance,
particularly if we start with the
[delegates] who said yes last time.”
Some residents questioned

whether the city was being
transparent enough about the
annexation plans and complained
about the lack of notice of the
town hall meeting. The city had an
announcement about the meeting
on its website.
However, a few residents at
the meeting pointed out that every
Stone Mountain resident does not
have Internet and suggested putting
up road signs and passing out flyers
for future town hall meetings.
The task force agreed to better
communicate for future meetings
and also suggested that residents
spread the word about future
meetings. The task force has not
announced the next town hall
meeting date.

Hotel reconnects water service after county shuts it off
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
The Economy Inn on Wesley Chapel Road
in Decatur had its water service disconnected
because of outstanding bills.
Apparently, the hotel got the message as
owners paid more than $200,000 to have the
service reconnected.
On Nov. 1, water service at the hotel
was disconnected because of a history of
nonpayment, according to county officials.
The Economy Inn owed the DeKalb County
$$210,463 in outstanding water bills.
“We are working diligently to meet
the challenge of dilapidated hotels in our
communities by taking on the worst offenders,”
said DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May in a
statement. “Addressing long-term, unpaid water
bills is one means we have to accomplish this.”
Economy Inn was one of three hotels that
owed a combined $400,000 to the county.
County officials said the Economy Inn, Budget
(A2B) Hotel and Affordable Hotel, had a history
of code enforcement complaints and court
fines.
In September, county officials issued a
notice to tenants and hotel ownership that
the properties may have its water service

terminated.
The Budget Hotel and Affordable Hotel
worked with DeKalb County to pay fines, county
officials said.
On Nov. 1, the DeKalb County Board of
Health sent a letter to Economy Inn ownership
stating that its tourist accommodation permit
would be suspended.
“It has been brought to the attention of
the DeKalb County Board of Health that
water service to the Economy Inn has been
discontinued due to non-payment of utility. The

absence of water service at the Economy Inn
presents an imminent public health hazard to
members of the public,” the letter stated. “All
operations as a tourist accommodation must be
discontinued. Continued operation is in violation
of the regulations and will result in further legal
action.”
The county tested the hotel’s water meter.
In a letter sent by the county’s attorney, the
county informed hotel officials that its water
meter was working incorrectly—in the hotel’s
favor.
“The test results indicate that the water
meter serving your client’s property was
under reporting the actual water usage. The
county does not intend to upwardly adjust the
amount of the outstanding balance,” a letter
sent by assistant county attorney Shaheem
Williams stated. “However, based upon the
test results, it is the county’s position that all
of the outstanding water and sewer charges
reflected upon your client’s account represent
water consumed and charges incurred and are
therefore due immediately.”
Economy Inn was one of three
establishments identified by the county’s Hotel
Motel Task Force.
The county contacted those affected by the
water shut off to offer relocation services.  

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 14A

Clarkston supports future senior community
125 independent elderly-living units
planned near Starnes Center of
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Clarkston City Council
formally supported the
development of a future
age-specific community
along Montreal Road
and Clarkston Industrial
Boulevard at a meeting held
Nov. 1.
According to the
council resolution, “The
Beverly J. Searles
Foundation Inc. is pursuing
the development of
approximately 125 elderlyresident independent
living units” located near
the intersection. The
development is referred
to as The Starnes Senior
Living Development in city
documents.
According to its
website, The Beverly J.
Searles Foundation is
an international nonprofit
that provides “gracious”
affordable housing to elderly
and disabled residents.
The foundation is
seeking project-based
rental assistance from the
state’s Housing and Urban
Development through the
Atlanta Housing Authority.
To obtain such assistance,
the Searles Foundation
must receive a resolution
of support from the city
to complete its rental
assistance application, city
officials state.
According to the
resolution, the Starnes
Senior Living Development
will cost an estimated $17.2

million and be located on
3.1 acres that are now
vacant.
Clarkston City Manager
Keith Barker said the
city was approached by
the Searles Foundation
in August regarding
opportunities for an ageddefined, income-based
housing development.
“We discussed some
potential sites. [The
foundation] did its due
diligence and came upon
a site it liked,” Barker
said. “They have since
met with staff to discuss
issues around zoning and
availability.”
David Searles was
present at the meeting
to provide context for
councilmembers and
attendees. Searles said the
foundation is responsible
for such DeKalb senior
developments as Antioch
Manor Estates, located at
4711 Bishop Ming Blvd. in
Stone Mountain and The
View, located at 901 4th
Street in Stone Mountain.
“What we’re proposing
is an aged-restricted
community to people aged
62 and better,” Searles said.
“Subject to a lot of things
coming into place, we’re
planning a multi-cultural,
mixed income community.
Most are all singleresidence.”
According to the
resolution, the building will
be a minimum of 40 percent
brick or stone; the property
will be heavily landscaped;

David Searles of The Beverly J. Searles Foundation received formal support from Clarkston City
Council at its Nov. 1 meeting regarding a future age-restricted community along Montreal Road.
Photo by R. Scott Belzer

all units will be handicapped
accessible; and the property
will include a multi-purpose
room, a community room,
library, computer center,
fitness center, activity rooms
and a wellness center.
Searles said The
Searles Foundation will
be working closely with
Georgia Piedmont Technical
College in adapting or
reusing the school’s Starnes
Center, located at 1085
Montreal Road.
“This will be separately
financed and separately
operated from our
community,” Searles said.
“This will be a second
operation, but tie into the

Division of Aging Services.
It will be able to provide to
the residents of Clarkston
as well as our residents. It’s
a really nifty opportunity.”
Searles discussed
benefits such as a meal
program for qualified
seniors, wellness
counseling and fitness
counseling. Mayor Ted
Terry mentioned a planned
meeting with GPTC
president Jabari Simama
to discuss further details will
take place in coming weeks.
Councilman Dean
Moore requested Searles
look into potential traffic
issues along Montreal
Road at Clarkston Industrial

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Boulevard before moving
forward with the project.
“I hope in some way we
can work that out to mitigate
interference with emergency
services,” Moore said
Councilwoman
Beverly Burks suggested
developing more green
space.
Searles said he was
attracted to Clarkston based
on its Livable Centers
Initiative. He said he hopes
this will be the first of many
age-restricted communities
in Clarkston, mentioning
other possible locations
such as Church Street and
East Ponce de Leon Ave.

EDUCATION

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11,2016 • Page 15A

Cross Keys Principal Jason Heard provided members of DeKalb Chamber of Commerce an in depth look
at the school’s needs during the Chamber’s Seeing is Believing Tour in partnership with DeKalb County
School District. Photo submitted.

Freedom Middle School Principal Marchell Boston explained his
wrap-around support methods to members of DeKalb Chamber
of Commerce during the 2016 Seeing is Believing bus tour of
local schools. Photo submitted.

‘Always teaching, always learning’
DeKalb County School District gives ‘Seeing is Believing Tour’, district address
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
For most of the day
on Nov. 1, leaders in
DeKalb County’s business
community got up close
and personal with six local
schools to engage, observe
and see how they can help
DeKalb County School
District (DCSD).
DeKalb Chamber of
Commerce teamed with
DCSD to host the 2016
Seeing is Believing Tour,
where three busloads
of participants toured
Sequoyah, Freedom and
Salem middle schools
as well as Cross Keys,
Clarkston and Arabia
Mountain high schools.
“We had a great time
visiting the schools that
we visited,” said Katerina
Taylor, president and
CEO of DeKalb Chamber.
“It was great talking with
the leaders inside the
school system and just
understanding the things
they have to do to be
prepared for their day. We
have to understand that our
educators face things that
happen before students
even step foot inside their
schools.”
Taylor said
understanding what it takes
to be an educator is the
first step in understanding

education as a whole. She
said it is also important to
understand how business
leaders can improve local
school communities.
“We can play a larger
role by understanding what
our educators need and
understanding some of the
gaps our educators have
to deal with,” Taylor said.
“What can we do to help
fill those gaps? How do we
help identify solutions?”
The event concluded
with an address from DCSD
Superintendent Stephen
Green at Stone Ridge
Event Center, located at
1750 Stone Ridge Drive.
Green addressed such
issues as the failed state
takeover of schools, district
challenges and school
successes.
“We’re refocusing on
teaching and learning,”
Green said. “Teaching and
learning is what we’re about
in DeKalb County schools.
We’re not only teaching and
learning in the classroom,
but every individual in the
school district is a deep
teacher and a deep learner.
If you’re in food service, are
you teaching or learning?
If you’re in maintenance,
are you teaching or are you
learning? You should be
oscillating between those
two—always teaching,
always learning.”

Green said he wants
that attitude—always
teaching, always learning—
to permeate throughout
the district and remain
an ongoing conversation.
He said he hopes that
conversation extended to
the business community.
“[The district] hopes
[chamber members]
have a different water
cooler conversation as
they emerge from this
experience,” Green said.
“They had the chance to
see accomplishments and
accolades, of course, but
also the struggle and the
magnitude of the struggle.
They saw that regardless of
what the situation is, we as
a public education institution
meet the children wherever
they are—no matter how far
they are behind, no matter
how far they are ahead, no
matter religion, race, creed,
etcetera; we engage, push,
pull, inspire, urge them
forward to get them college,
career or military ready. In
that way, we play a part in
workforce development.”
Green said the
DeKalb chamber has
the opportunity to act as
ambassadors on behalf of
the district and spread good
news throughout the county.
“I heard many [chamber
members] say ‘Y’all need
to get this story out—all

these great things we saw!’”
Green said. “We need [the
chamber] to help us. We
need [them] to talk about
what they saw. We need
more bus tours, more
discussion. We need to
change the narrative around
DCSD. When somebody
starts bashing DCSD, we
need [the chamber] to turn
around and say, ‘Well, this
is what I saw.’”
Green dedicated
time to disparaging the
failed state takeover of 26
DCSD schools by way of
Amendment 1. He said
DCSD was already doing
what an “Opportunity
School District” promised
Georgia constituents by
taking over “failing” schools.
“My resounding voice is
that we should be allowed
to continue uninterrupted,”
Green said. “I’ll say that to
the governor—I’ll say that
to anybody. If you interfere
with this, shame on you.
We are rising and any kind
of threat like [Gov. Nathan
Deal] has given us will
throw us off course. We’ll
get set back and [the state]
will turn around and blame
us.”
Green acknowledged
there are struggling schools
but said DCSD already has
a working plan in place to
address issues involving
academics, social health

and mental health.
“We have schools that
are struggling, everyone
knows that,” Green said.
“Everyone finds a way to
start identifying schools that
are struggling and then puts
labels on them. We are very
transparent about which
schools are struggling.
We had schools that
were struggling, that were
challenged, but are now on
the rise.”
Green said providing
more local resources—
funding, academic
coaches, and professional
development coaches—
provides positive outcomes
for children.
“We put an academic
stethoscope on every child,”
Green said. “We provided
academic resources, social
resources and emotional
resources. We nurtured
each child and they rose to
the expectation. The school
rose to that expectation.
We have many more on the
rise. It’s not just a phrase to
say it.”
In addition, Green said
the district is currently
creating its own curriculum
that will be presented to
the board in March 2017,
creating a new code of
conduct, and determining
which schools need new
facilities the most via
ESPLOST V.

CLASSIFIED

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 16A

CLASSIFIEDS

The

CHAMPION

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additional word $0.60. All ads are
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Ads due by Friday at noon for next
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DISCLAIMER: We do not knowingly accept advertisements that
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to the fair housing act and we do not accept advertising that is
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40% OF FOOD IN
AMERICA IS WASTED

BUSINESS

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 17A

Decatur company touches ports across the globe
by Kathy Mitchell
Latoria Harris was a
receptionist for a steamship
line when she first became
interested in international
commerce. She was
so intrigued that in time
she obtained a customs
brokerage license and
formed her own business.
“When I was in college
at Georgia Southern
University, I had no idea
that this type of business
even existed. I had never
given much thought to how
goods move in and out of
the country,” she recalled.
Her Decatur-based
company, Heizwerthy
Customs & Freight
Solutions, is now a year
old and growing steadily,
Harris said. “Working for
other companies, I came
to realize that there is a
huge demand for moving
goods in and out of the
country. Many people don’t
realize that even when
goods are being shipped,
they still have to go through
customs. I take the goods
through every step and get
them from the point of origin
to the final customer with no
hassles for them.
“I love dealing with
people all over the world,”
she added. “I’ve learned
that although people
have different customs
and values they can work
together pleasantly.”
Heizwerthy moves
between 10 and 30
shipments each week, said
Harris, who noted that she’s
shipped everything from
cars to chewing gum. “I’m
about where I expected to
be at this point, but my goal
is to grow and add staff.
Right now, it’s just me, but
I want to become large
enough to have a network
of people working for the
company.”
Harris said most of
her customers are other
companies, but she has

handled imports and
exports for individuals as
well. “Most of my customers
right now are on the West
Coast, including some
in the Hollywood movie
industry. I’m trying to build
my customer base on the
East Coast. It’s odd that
I’m in Decatur and most
of my customers are on
the West Coast, but it’s
the nature of this business
that everything is handled
electronically so it doesn’t
matter where I am or where
the goods are coming from
or going,” she said.
Operating a customs
and freight company
requires a broad knowledge
of customs regulations,
Harris said. “The customs
broker exam is harder than
the bar exam and it has a
much lower passing rate.
Normally, the passing rate is
between 4 and 14 percent.
I know people who have
taken it 11 times and still
haven’t passed. The year
I took it only 11 percent
of those taking the exam
passed it. I was in that 11
percent.”
Passing the exam is
only part of the licensing
process, Harris said. “There
is an extensive background
check. To get a license you
have to be of impeccable
moral character and have
excellent credit. They
screen thoroughly to be
sure no potential smuggler
or terrorist is licensed. Even
after you’re licensed, if you
do anything questionable,
your license can be taken
away and you’re unlikely to
get it back,” she added.
Harris said she’s fine
with the background checks
because she considers
integrity and excellence
hallmarks of her business.
“I work every day to assure
that my reputation for
honesty, reliability and
thoroughness remains
intact.” The company name,
Heizwerthy, she said,

Latoria Harris

derives from the phrase “He
(God) is worthy.”
“My customers don’t
have to wonder where their
shipment is. I keep them
informed every step of the
way,” she explained.
Although she said she
doesn’t solicit feedback,
she receives it regularly.
She quoted a customer
letter that reads, “No other
company in Atlanta (I called

23 of them) was willing to
tackle my import/customs
issue on a Friday at 2:30.
Latoria quickly calmed my
fears and began collecting
my information. She spent
several hours of her time
and even her personal time
to get my shipment in order
and I was able to pick up
that evening, even though
it was after hours. She
followed up in the next week

and made sure everything
was correct.”
Harris said her future
plans include using her
expertise to ship such
goods as food, clothing
and medical supplies to
people in need around the
world. “I believe we all have
an obligation to leave this
world a better place than we
found it. I want to use my
gifts to do that,” she said.

CORRECTION:
In the article, Upscale
restaurant a hit on
Tucker's Main Street,
which appeared in the
Nov. 3 issue of The
Champion, the name
of one of the owners
of m572 was spelled
incorrectly. The
correct name is James
Maggard. We regret
the error.

SPORTS

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 18A

Tucker clinches region title with win over Stephenson
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
With a region title on the
line, the Tucker Tigers took
care of business to avoid a
three-way tie—defeating the
Stephenson Jaguars 31-0 at
Hallford Stadium Nov. 4.
With the win, Tucker (91, 7-0) clinched the Region
4-AAAAAA title and will
host a playoff game Nov. 11
against Bradwell Institute at
Adams Stadium. Stephenson
(6-4, 5-2) finished third in the
region and will be on the road
for the first round of the state
playoffs. The Jaguars will
travel to Effingham County.
In the first quarter of
the game, a Stephenson
fumble—which was
recovered by Tucker
defensive end Aaron
Sterling—led to a 2-yard
touchdown run by Chris
Broadwater, giving the
Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Stephenson had an
opportunity to get points
on the score board later in
the quarter on a field goal
attempt, but missed out on
the opportunity when kicker
Darien Tisdale kicked the
ball wide left.
Late in the second
quarter, Tucker kicker Adam
Libby was good on his
attempt, kicking a 32-yarder
to extend the Tigers lead to
10-0.
With time running
out in the quarter, Tucker
quarterback Xavier
Shephard connected with
receiver Josh Vann on a 24yard touchdown pass, giving
the Tigers a 17-0 lead at
halftime.
Running back Samuel
Bryant extended Tucker’s
lead to 24-0 on an 8-yard
touchdown run late in the
third quarter. Broadwater got
his second score of the game
early in the fourth quarter
on a 1-yard run, bringing
Tucker’s lead and the final
score to 31-0.
Along with Tucker and
Stephenson, seven other
teams from DeKalb County
clinched a spot in the state
playoffs.
In Class AAAAA, a late
touchdown pass forced a
three-way tie for the Region
5-AAAAA title between
Arabia Mountain, Lithonia
and Southwest DeKalb.
Lithonia quarterback
Robert Hatchett III threw
a 55-yard pass to Marquez
Randle as time ran out to
lead Lithonia (5-5, 4-1) to a

Tucker quarterback Xavier Shephard (12) throws a pass.

Tucker’s Chris Broadwater (1) avoids a tackle.

Tucker’s Aaron Sterling (15) tackles Stephenson receiver Khalil
Newton.

Tucker’s Samuel Bryant leaps over Stephenson’s Justin Birdsong
into the end zone.

20-18 win over No. 8 ranked
Arabia Mountain (8-2, 4-1) on
Nov. 5 at Hallford Stadium.
Southwest DeKalb (6-4, 4-1)
defeated Columbia 43-14
Nov. 4.
Arabia Mountain won
the tiebreaker for the No. 1
seed with Southwest getting
the No. 2 and Lithonia the
No. 3. Arabia Mountain hosts
Villa Rica (5-5) Nov. 11 at
Hallford Stadium, Southwest
DeKalb will host to Kell (82) at Godfrey Stadium Nov.
12 and Lithonia will travel to
Carrollton Nov. 11.
Miller Grove (4-6, 2-3)
defeated Chamblee 33-0
to earn its first state playoff
berth in program history.
Miller Grove earned the No.
4 seed in Region 5-AAAAA
and will travel to Rome Nov.
11.

In Class AAAA, Marist
(7-3, 3-1) finished second
in Region 7 and will host
Sandy Creek Nov. 11 in the
first round. Marist finished
the regular season with a
35-0 win over White County.
Although St. Pius finished
the regular season with a 2-8
overall record, the Golden
Lions’ 2-3 region record was
enough for them earn a No.
4 seed from Region 8-AAAA
and a playoff spot. St. Pius
will travel to Ridgeland Nov.
11.
The Cedar Grove Saints
defeated Redan 47-7,
finishing the regular season
with an 8-2 overall record
and a 6-1 Region 5-AAA
record. Cedar Grove earned
a No. 2 seed and will host
Union County Nov. 12 at
Godfrey Stadium.

Tucker’s Joshua Vann jumps over defenders into the end zone.
Photos by Travis Hudgons

SPORTS

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 19A

Stephenson coach Derrick Williams, left, celebrates Stephenson’s fifth
championship with Stephenson Middle School principal Dr. Carolyn D. Williams and
coach Melvin Idlette.

Stephenson’s Kamar Wilcoxson jumps in front of Tucker’s Donavan Williams to
intercept a pass. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Stephenson wins fifth middle school football title
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

A

75-yard
touchdown
pass and an
interception were
the winning factors for the
Stephenson Jaguars to
win its fifth DeKalb Middle
School Football Trail to the
Title Championship Nov.
12 at Godfrey Stadium.
Trailing 16-14 with less
than two minutes left in
the game, Stephenson
quarterback Joseph
Jackson hit receiver
Armond Anderson in the
slant route and Anderson
ran 75 yards for the
touchdown, giving the
Jaguars a 2016 lead, their
first lead of the game.
On Tucker’s first play
of the following drive,
Stephenson’s Kamar
Wilcoxson intercepted
Tucker quarterback Isaiah
Raheem’s pass to seal
the win. The victory gave
Stephenson (9-0) its fifth
title (2004, 2005, 2009,
2011 and 2016) in program
history.
Stephenson coach
Derrick Williams said he
knew since the beginning
of the season that he had
a great team.
“We’ve been
[practicing] since July…it’s
been a long [season], but
the kids put in the work,”
Williams said. “This was
a hard-fought game. We
started off with those two
turnovers and they went up
on us with [16] points but
[we] fought back. All that
matters is we’re the county
champs.”
Tucker took an 8-0 lead

Stephenson defenders tackles a Tucker player.

in the first quarter with an
8-yard run by quarterback
Keeman Hayes and a
two-point conversion by
running back Randy Britt.
Stephenson found the end
zone in the second quarter
on a 33-yard touchdown
run by Wilcoxson. The
failed 2-point conversion
attempt left the score at
8-6.
One of the two
Stephenson fumbles in the
first half led to a scoop and
score by Tucker defensive
lineman Dawson Rivers.
The 2-point conversion
by running back Brandon
Clark gave the Tucker
Tigers a 16-6 lead.
Stephenson scored a
couple of plays later on
a 75-yard touchdown run
by Wilcoxson. Jackson
connected with receiver
Bradley Favors for the
two-point conversion to
bring the score to 16-14.
Tucker’s offense went
stagnant when Hayes went
out with an injury in the
second quarter. Neither
team could score in the
second half until Jackson

and Anderson’s big play to
win the game.
Williams said that play,
which they call the tight
end dump, was the play
they used to run earlier in
the season but rarely used
it afterwards.
“We decided to try it,”
Williams said. “We tried
it to the right side and it
worked. And we said, ‘OK,
let’s go to the left side. We
went to the left side and
there it is—it was wide
opened.”
Wilcoxson was named
the game’s MVP after
rushing for 133 yards and
scoring two touchdowns
on six carries. Anderson
was named the Offensive
MVP and Omari Terry was
named Defensive MVP.
Tucker finished 8-1 for
the third consecutive year,
losing in the championship
game for a third
consecutive year. Tucker
has won 33 of its last 36
games while advancing to
the championship game
four consecutive years.
They last won the title in
2013.

Tucker defenders gang tackle Stephenson’s Devinn Robinson.

Tucker’s Zion Alexander tries to run away from Stephenson’s
Jordan Steven.

SPORTS

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 • Page 20A

The Clarkston Angoras won their third consecutive state
title.

The Marist Lady War Eagles won their ninth
consecutive state title and 17th in program history.

St. Pius won its sixth state title in seven years and
ninth overall championship.

Three teams win cross country state titles
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Clarkston and St. Pius X boys
as well as Marist girls are cross
county state champions once
again.
The Clarkston Angoras won
their third consecutive Class
AAAAA state title with 97 points.
Clarkston was led by senior
Bineyam Tumbo, who finished
seventh with a time of 17:12.86.
Senior Bosco Hakuzimana

finished 12th overall with a time
of 17:25.61 and sophomore
Thomas Weldemichael also
finished in the top 20 in 16th
place (17:44.71).
The St. Pius X Golden Lions
had five runners to finish in the
top 20 to lead them to win the
Class AAAA state title with 51
points, beating last year’s champ
Marist, which scored 72 points.
This is St. Pius’ sixth title in
seven years and ninth overall
championship.

The Golden Lions were led
by seniors Frank Crippen and
Daniel Grosch, who finished fifth
(16:42.80) and sixth (16:43.66)
respectively. Senior Jacob
Ressler finished eighth with a
time of 16:49.55 and Thomas
Pardue (17:02.01) and Jack
Voss (17:05.87) finished 15th
and 17th respectively to round
out St. Pius’ top 20 finishers.
Marist junior Josie Wirtz,
who finished second overall in
last year’s state meet, ran her

way to a first place finish with a
time of 19:15.00, leading Marist
to a Class AAAA state title with
34 points. It was Marist’s ninth
consecutive title and 17th in
program history.
Sophomore Kathleen Maley
finished third with a time of
19:49.72 and senior Kendall
Nelson finished fifth with a time
of 19:53.90. Freshman Kathleen
Schellman and sophomore
Olivia Baljet finished 12th and
13th respectively.

When your list is long
and time is short,