the DeKalb

FRIDAY, JAN. 6, 2017 • VOL. 19, NO. 39 • FREE

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

Tucker businesses rewarded
in holiday decorating contest
by Carla Parker


few Tucker businesses
received an early
Christmas gift for being in
the holiday spirit.
A group of Tucker community
organizations held its fifth annual
Christmas Holiday Decorating
Contest. The contest invited
Tucker businesses to compete
for cash prizes by decorating the
front windows of their business.
The contest was established by
the Tucker Business Association,


Main Street Tucker Alliance, Tucker
Historical Society and Tucker Civic
City Councilmember Honey Van
De Kreke, who is also the incoming
president of the Tucker Business
Association, said the contest was
started to spread holiday cheer
throughout Tucker.
“We wanted to get Tucker into
the holiday spirit and we wanted to
increase [local shopping],” Van De
Kreke said. “We thought decorating
windows would be a great way to
See Businesses on page 5

Julia McDonald, center, and her business Tucker Flower Shop won first place
in the retail category of the Tucker Christmas Holiday Decorating Contest.

Friends and Company Hair Inc. won first place in the office/service category of the
Tucker Christmas Holiday Decorating Contest.

Tucker Pet Supply placed second in the retail category of the Tucker Christmas
Holiday Decorating Contest.

Taqueria Los Hermanos won first place in the restaurant category of the Tucker
Christmas Holiday Decorating Contest.

Main Moon placed second in the restaurant category of the Tucker Christmas Holiday
Decorating Contest. Photos by Charlton Allen/Main Street Tucker Alliance






DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 2A

Tucker city council annexes neighborhood, gas station into city
by Carla Parker
The Tucker City Council
unanimously approved two
annexation requests at its
Dec. 19 special called meeting.
The council approved the
annexation request of residents who live in the Westwood Drive neighborhood
and adjacent Wanda Woods
Drive off Chamblee Tucker
Road, as well as the Shell
gas station at the intersection
of Lavista Road and Parklake
The residents had to
meet the 60 percent prerequisite of annexation, which
requires 60 percent of land
owners and electors who reside within the proposed area
to be in agreement of an annexation. Once they did so,
they submitted an application
to the city on Nov. 28.
City Councilmember
Honey Van De Kreke said
the applicants were residents
who wanted to be in the
Tucker map from the beginning of the Tucker cityhood
“[They] were disappointed that they were not drawn
into the map,” Van De Kreke
The Westwood neighborhood and the Shell gas
station were drawn into the
proposed LaVista Hills city
map. The LaVista Hills cityhood referendum was not approved by voters during the
November 2015 election.
During the 2015 Georgia
General Assembly session,
Tucker and LaVista Hills had
a boundary dispute over the
Livsey Elementary School
area, which including 2,000
residents. A committee
moved 500 residents, along
with a Wal-Mart and a QuikTrip to the Tucker map, and
1,500 residents remained
in LaVista Hills. Those residents included the Westwood
When the LaVista Hills
cityhood referendum failed in
the election, those residents
and the gas station remained
in unincorporated DeKalb.
The gas station and
several other commercial
properties were included in a
prior dispute over boundary
lines on LaVista Road in the
Northlake area.
Van De Kreke said
several people outside the
city boundaries have asked
about annexation.
“We have to go through

the [annexation] procedure,”
she said. “But [the Westwood
residents] were 100 percent.
They did awesome work.”
During the special called
meeting, the council also
unanimously voted to grant
Atlanta Gas Light the right to
use roads, alleys, parks and
other public places in Tucker
to do construction and maintenance work needed to
serve their customers in the
city. In exchange, the city will
collect a franchise fee from
the utility.

The Tucker City Council approved to annex a neighborhood and gas station into the city.


The ChampionNewspaper.com



DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 3A



The Marist School, located at 3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road NE in
Atlanta, will host three courses for adults on Jan. 23, 30 and Feb. 6 from
7 to 9 p.m.
Course topics—taught by Marist School faculty and staff—will include
religion and spirituality; arts and music; photography; college planning;
history and culture; as well as self-discovery and genealogy.
“Stretch your creativity, strengthen your computer skills, think globally
or explore aspects of the Christian faith,” reads a statement from Marist
School. “Invite your friends and neighbors and come learn something
new during [the school’s] evening series.”
Registration until Jan. 13 is $95 per person for all three classes. After
Jan. 13, registration is $110.
For more information visit www.marist.com/page/marist-schoolevents/marist-evening-series or contact Jaclyn McNeil at mcneilj@
marist.com or (770) 936-6498.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars will be holding a New Year’s Eve
celebration at VFW Post 4706.
The event begins at 8 p.m. A fee of $10 includes a breakfast buffet,
midnight toast and party favors. For ticket information contact Debra
Bush at (404) 717-5473 or contact Mr. McFaden at (770) 882-7676.

Marist School to host adult classes


Update on Clack’s Corner renovations
Brookhaven is on track to complete improvements by Jan. 31 and
reopen the park. Those improvements are part of the nine site-specific
master park plans that the Brookhaven City Council approved in
February. At Clack’s Corner those enhancements include a monument
sign with a seating area, a community lawn, a natural play area, new
benches and brick pavers.

City to host MLK Day event
Brookhaven will host an MLK Day event and dinner on Jan. 16, from
5 to 7 p.m. at Lynwood Park Recreation Center, 3360 Osborne Road.
Mel Pender, former Lynwood resident and Olympic champion, will serve
as keynote speaker. Tickets are $10 and will be on sale the week of Jan.
3. For more information, call (404) 637-0542.


City announces new PR manager
Chamblee announced Tisa Moore will be the city’s new public
relations manager on Dec. 5.
Moore most recently worked at Springmont School, Brookhaven and
Sandy Springs where she served as director of marketing and public
relations, director of communications and community engagement as
well as assistant director of media and communications, respectively.
She also has served as director for public relations at Woodward
Academy, located in Sandy Springs.
Moore has won many awards for her work in the communications
field and is a published author. She also sits on many non-profit boards
known for charitable contributions throughout metro Atlanta.
“It is my aim to advance the city’s mission by strengthening its
awareness, engagement and support among our constituents,” Moore
said. “It’s vital to our success to provide proactive media and public
relations to showcase our talented people and engaging programs.”
City officials expressed excitement to have Moore join Chamblee’s
“[Moore] has vast media and public relations experience as well
as ties to the area and surrounding communities,” said Chamblee City
Manager Jon Walker. “Additionally, she worked extensively in branding,
crisis communications, web and digital communications and project
management. As we look toward the future and making Chamblee a
preeminent destination for a sustainable mixed-use environment, we feel
that she will help us achieve our goals.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars holding NYE celebration

15th Annual Decatur Martin Luther King Jr. Service
From Jan. 14-16, volunteers can work on improving senior citizens’
homes in Decatur by making repairs and other forms of labor.
Volunteers can sign up for the 15 Annual Decatur Martin Luther
King Jr. Service Project. Volunteers are needed to make repairs and
perform yard work that elderly homeowners have been unable to do or
have done. Volunteer opportunities are available for skilled and unskilled
Volunteers with a truck or large vehicle are encouraged to sign up to
help transport materials.
Contact Lee Ann Harvey at leeann.harvey@decaturga.com or (770)
652-8593 or (678) 553-6548, if interested in volunteering. All volunteers
are invited to attend a celebration dinner on Monday, Jan. 16 at 5 p.m. at
the Solarium.


Marcus Jewish Community Center to host January events
The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) will host 11
events in metro Atlanta the first week of January.
On Friday, Jan. 6, MJCCA will host a preschool open house at its
Sunshine School Preschool, located at 1415 Old Canton Road in Marietta.
The open house will feature a free tour, teacher meeting, snacks and
more. Contact Raye Lynn Banks at (678) 812-3714 or rayelynn.banks@
atlantajcc.org for more information.
On Sunday, Jan. 8, MJCCA will host an ACT practice test and
consultation event at Zaban Park, located at 5342 Tilly Mill Road in
Dunwoody. For $25, participants will take a practice test and receive a
private review session with Huntington Learning Center specialists. For
more information, contact Amy Helman-Darley at (678) 812-3978 or amy.
On the same day at the same location, MJCCA will host a musical
media presentation about Camp Barney Medintz, an overnight summer
camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Attendees can meet the camp
directors, win prizes and learn about the upcoming 2017 camp. For more
information, contact summer@campbarney.org or call (678) 812-3844.
On Jan. 8 at the Garden Hills Recreation Center, located at 335 Pine
Tree Drive NE in Atlanta, MJCCA will host a free Shabbat dinner inside
a wooden cabin in Buckhead. Young adults (21 and older) are invited
along with the general public. For more information, contact Stacie Graff
at (678) 812-3972 or stacie.graff@atlantajcc.org for more information.
Reservations are required to attend.


Local men’s ministry to honor Vietnam veterans
Georgia Commissioner of Veterans Service Mike Roby will join The
Veterans for Christ, Inc., Jan. 14 for a ceremony to recognize Vietnam War
veterans for their honorable service.
Vietnam veterans have already signed up for the event, which begins
at noon and will take place in the chapel of New Birth Missionary Baptist
Church located at 6400 Woodrow Road in Lithonia.
Roby will present the state’s Vietnam War Certificate of Honor to
these veterans in recognition of their service during the war. Along with
the state certificate each veteran will receive the Defense Department
Commemoration Vietnam War Veteran Lapel Pin.
Those interested in receiving the Certificate of Honor and DoD lapel
pin can also fax their DD Form 214 marked “Veterans for Christ Vietnam
C&P Ceremony” to (404) 656-7006.
Deadline for sign up is the close of business day on Jan. 6.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 4A

Chamblee approves $36 million budget
Police, public works listed as largest expenditures; taxes, ‘other financing sources’ as largest revenues
by R. Scott Belzer


hamblee City Council
approved the city’s 2017
budget—more than $37
million—on Dec. 20 during
a monthly meeting.
City revenues are comprised
of a $21.6 million general fund, a
$11.2 million special revenue fund,
and $4.2 million enterprise fund,
according to the budget.
“City staff has worked to
present [the public] with a budget
document that promotes strategic
initiatives while maintaining fiscal
responsibility,” City Manager Joe
Walker writes in the budget’s
introduction. “Our goal is to develop
a program to fund projects that
meet our growing community needs
while not requiring an increase in
property taxes.”
The budget lists the majority of
the city’s revenues coming via $16.5
million in taxes. Chamblee expects
to collect tax increases in property
($600,000), occupation ($150,000)
and insurance premium taxes
($800,000) throughout the 2017
fiscal year.
The second largest revenue
source is listed as “other financing
sources” with an $11 million budget.
Throughout the budget, “other
financing” is listed as transfers from
the city’s hotel and motel fund,
rental motor vehicle fund, criminal
history fund, proceeds from a capital
lease and sales from capital assets.
Special revenue funds are
generated through a monthly 911
charge, hotel/motel taxes, alcohol
revenues, homestead option sales
taxes (HOST), a rental vehicle
excise tax, confiscated assets,
technology fees for traffic citations
and grant funds.
According to Walker’s numbers,
Chamblee’s special revenue fund
will operate on an approximate

Chamblee approved a $36 million budget Dec. 20, detailing new positions,
increased salaries, capital projects and new revenue streams. Photo courtesy of
city of Chamblee.

$200,000 surplus.
Other major revenue streams
include charges for service ($3.5
million) as well as fines and
forfeitures ($2.6 million). The city
also anticipates a new revenue
stream through $150,000 in adult
entertainment permits.
While Chamblee will earn
approximately $4.2 million through
its enterprise fund—made up of
charges for stormwater, solid waste
and criminal history services—
the city will spend its entirety for
workers, supplies, equipment and
incurred debts.
For expenditures, Chamblee
is set to spend $13.1 million on
personnel services and employee
benefits, $9.6 million for contracted
services and $7 million in capital
outlay projects.
Personnel in Chamblee
include 157 reported positions
with salaries ranging from $38,000
(crew workers) to $138,000 (an
approved, newly created assistant
city manager position).

“The assistant city manager
position will be responsible for
coordination of activities and
support for the city manager’s
initiatives and have supervision
of various departments,” states
the budget. “The creation of this
position would allow the city
manager to more actively engage
in regional, community and local
An eliminated position—a
$35,000 salaried intern position—
will be allocated for the assistant
city manager position. Other new
positions include a grant writer
($45,000) and community specialist
“The community specialist will
be responsible for the creation of
multi-lingual content, promotion of
events and relationship building
along the Buford Highway corridor,”
reads the budget.
The largest personnel expense
is the city’s police force, totaling
approximately $6.7 million.
Chamblee expects to spend $10.3

million on its police department,
including $1.9 million for 24 new
vehicles and $27,000 for a part-time
Dresden Park police officer.
“I am proposing a 4-hour shift
up to five days a week including the
weekend at random hours,” Walker
said. “This position might appeal
to recently retired police officers
desiring to continue to provide
public service and maintain their
active police powers.”
Increases in personnel
expenses also account for a 3
percent raise for all city employees.
“The proposed base budget
includes a 1.5 percent cost of
living increase for all eligible city
employees based on increases in
the consumer price index,” Walker
states. “An additional 1.5 percent of
current payroll was also allocated
for merit raises.”
Chamblee’s public works
department is listed as the city’s
second largest personnel expense
at $2.3 million.
A major investment coming to
Chamblee is taped meetings, which
is estimated to cost the city $350
per month for standard definition or
$620 for high definition. While they
will not be live—due to “potential
bandwith issues” according to the
budget—approximately $9,600 is
being budgeted for the services’
Chamblee will pay $3.8 million
for services from its special revenue
fund. According to Walker, there are
also capital projects funded from
this revenue stream, including repair
of a pedestrian bridge at the city’s
police department, road paving, a
median on Chamblee Tucker Road
and permanent bathroom facilities
at Keswick Park.
Approximately $4.9 million of
Chamblee’s special revenue fund
will go toward capital projects, being
primarily paid for through grants and
the city’s HOST fund.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017


Page 5

TREES Continued From Page 1
do that.”
Since 2000, the
community has held a
Christmas on Main Street
event, but there wasn’t
much participation from
the businesses as far as
decorating, according to
Van De Kreke. She and
others from the community
organizations decided to
reward businesses that
decorated the store-front
“We did it as a way
to reward more people
[who participate] because
we’ve had a Christmas
on Main Street since
2000, but nobody was
decorating windows,” she
said. “We could decorate
Main Street, but nobody
was decorating their
windows and we wanted
to broaden out that Main
Street feel. We brought
it out to Brockett Road,
Lawrenceville Highway,
Hugh Howell Road and
LaVista Road. So we
broadened the whole
spectrum so that we’d
have a nice downtown
Winners of the contest
were divided into three
retail and office/service—

Tucker Main Street Barber Shop won second place in the office/service category of the Tucker
Christmas Holiday Decorating Contest. Photo by Charlton Allen/Main Street Tucker Alliance

and awards were given
out for first place ($200),
second place ($125)
and honorable mention
“We look for curb
appeal and fun,” Van
De Kreke said about the
judging. “We don’t have
any hard rules. We have
a group of volunteers that
come and help us judge.
We judge all the windows
and then we go back and
pick the ones that we think
were our favorite.”
In the restaurant

category, Taqueria Los
Hermanos on Hugh
Howell Road won first
place, Main Moon on
Hugh Howell Road placed
second and Las Colinas
on Main Street received
honorable mention.
For office/service
category, Friends and
Company Hair Inc. on
Hugh Howell Road placed
first, Tucker Main Street
Barber Shop on Main
Street finished second
and Luxe Nail Bar Salon
on Main Street received

honorable mention.
For retail, Tucker
Flower Shop on Idlewood
Road won first prize,
Tucker Pet Supply on
Fellowship Road placed
second and Carr’s
Pharmacy on Main Street
received honorable
Tucker Flower Shop
owner Julia McDonald
said her business has
participated in the contest
since the beginning.
“We’ve placed every
year,” McDonald said. “We

won first place a couple of
years ago as well.”
Decorating her
business is something
that McDonald and
her staff often do. As a
florist, decorating comes
naturally to McDonald.
“This is what we
do. We decorate for
Christmas and make
things beautiful,” she said.
“We have a big store front
window and we always
decorate it for the different
seasons throughout the
year and decorate the
shop for people to enjoy.”
McDonald said
she often receives
compliments from
residents about the store’s
“A lot of people in the
Tucker community love
our windows,” she said.
“We’ve had some people
say that they come up
here at night, pull into the
parking lot and sit there
and look at it because it’s
always so beautiful. It’s all
about being festive and
getting the community into
the holiday spirit.”
McDonald has already
spent her prize money by
taking her employees out
to dinner and a concert.

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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017


Page 6

Advancing our understanding of one another

A couple of weeks ago a
colleague of mine, John Hewitt,
wrote an opinion piece explaining
why he—a lifelong Democrat—
voted for Republican Donald
Trump in the presidential election.
Although my personal political
views are far different from my
colleague’s, I thought he did an
admirable job detailing why he was
disgruntled with career politicians
and how he felt more in sync with
some of the positions expressed by
He didn’t demean Hillary
Clinton or resort to name calling.
He simply wrote why he didn’t think
she was the best choice to lead
the country and what led him to
exercise his vote for a change of

Gale Horton Gay

I stopped by his office after
proofreading his article and gave
him an “Atta boy” for the way in
which he crafted the piece and
stated his position.
However, not everyone was as
enthusiastic and encouraging.
Hewitt shared with me an email
he received from an individual
who said she was a loyal reader
of The Champion Newspaper and

Hewitt’s opinion columns. The
reader said she disagreed with
Hewitt’s reasoning and views to
such an extent that she planned
to discontinue reading our paper
and Hewitt’s columns. In her email,
the reader said Hewitt’s naiveté
amazed her and she questioned his
critical thinking skills.
I think there’s much to be
gained from exploring opinions that
are vastly different than our own.
While I draw the line with
people who resort to what I
consider childish name calling
and demeaning an individual on
their appearance rather than their
actions or the issues, I appreciate
smart, well thought out and
civilly expressed views. Through
intelligent, respectful discourse

we might develop a sliver of
appreciation and understanding for
how and why others think the way
they do.
At this time in our country I
think we need to be more open
to listening to one another and
trying to bridge the understanding
gap that exists between so many
of us. Closing the door on people
who have views different than
the ones we hold dear closes the
door on opportunities for greater
I hope that reader gives The
Champion and John Hewitt and all
our other columnists who take the
time to bravely put their opinions
in the public arena to inform, spark
thought and incite discussion
another chance.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017


Page 7

Making the new year better for all

It doesn’t take a lot of effort
to make life more pleasant for
ourselves and for those with
whom we live, work and play.
A few guiding principles
applied to our daily thoughts
and actions can have a
profound impact on how we feel
about ourselves, how others
perceive us and how much
more pleasant life in general
can be when kindness starts
from within.
Treat others with respect.
Granted, it is difficult to respect
people who consistently are
rude and inconsiderate, but at

least we can be nice to them
and know that we are the better
person for our actions.
Offer a smile or assistance
to a stranger. It takes little
effort to nod the head, offer a
“good morning” and a smile to a
stranger and it may be just what
is needed by the other person
to make them feel a little better
about their day. It can also be
contagious. Perhaps the person
receiving the greeting and smile
will be inclined to share the
same with the next person they
Consider engaging in


random acts of kindness. If in
the drive-through line, offer
to buy a beverage—or entire
meal, if the car isn’t full—for
the person in line behind you.
Not only will you feel good
about what you’ve done, but
the person behind you will also
likely be appreciative of your
effort and generosity
If you see someone who
appears to be lost, approach
them and ask if they need
assistance. This gesture is
typically met with a great deal of
gratitude and a genuine smile.
Let go of ill feelings toward

the DeKalb

Let Us Know What You Think!
The DeKalb Free Press,
P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347;
Send email to Johnh@dekalbchamp.com
FAX To: (404) 370-3903; Phone: (404) 373-7779.
Deadline for news releases and advertising:
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions
from its readers. Please write to us and express your
views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain
the writer’s name, address and telephone number for
verification. All letters will be considered for publication.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions
of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The
Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

John Hewitt

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Chief Financial Officer:
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Staff Reporters:
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R. Scott Belzer
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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those whom you feel may
have wronged you. It takes a
great deal of energy to hold
on to ill feelings and doing so
accomplishes nothing.
Be nice to everyone and
chances are that most everyone
will in turn be nice to you.
In the words of Michael
Jackson in Man in the Mirror,
“If you want to make the world
a better place, take a look at
yourself and then make the
Together we can make 2017
a bit better for all if we make an
effort to be kind to all we meet.

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


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 8A

World famous jewel thief arrested in Dunwoody
by R. Scott Belzer
Her mugshots span six
decades. Her haul has been
more than $2 million in diamond
earrings, jade-cut multi-carat rings
and lavish bracelets. Her crimes
have spanned the United States
and reached as far as Tokyo.
Doris Payne, an 86 year-old
jewel thief from Slab Fork, W. Va.
known throughout the world, was
arrested by the Dunwoody Police
Department Dec. 13 for allegedly
stealing a $1,995 diamond
necklace at Von Maur at Perimeter
“On Dec. 13, the suspect
entered Von Maur and concealed
a Lagos diamond necklace in
her pocket before exiting the
store without paying,” reads a
release from Dunwoody Police
Department. “She was stopped
and detained by loss prevention
officers until she was arrested and
taken into custody.”
Payne was held in the DeKalb
County jail until Dec. 17; she was
released after posting a $15,000
bond with conditions banning outof-state travel.

World renowned jewel thief Doris
Payne was arrested at Perimeter Mall
in Dunwoody Dec. 13 and released
Dec. 17 on a $15,000 bond with special

According to a video of Payne’s
Dec. 16 hearing, she is facing
felony theft by shoplifting charges.
In the video, Payne states she
has resided at a Georgia address
for approximately 12 months
and continue to do so until an
unspecified court date.
Payne was previously arrested
in October 2015 at Phipps Plaza’s
Sak’s Fifth Avenue in Buckhead

where security cameras recorded
her pocketing Christian Dior
earrings valued at $690.
The $1,995 and $690 items
may seem small when considering
Payne’s criminal history. As
chronicled in The Life and Crimes
of Doris Payne, a documentary
directed by Kirk Marcolina and
Matthew Pond, Payne details her
life as a career jewel thief, which
took her to such destinations as
Switzerland, Monte Carlo, Tokyo
and France.
According to the documentary,
Payne’s lifetime haul exceeds $2
In the documentary, Payne
said she began stealing jewelry
to help her mother escape an
abusive husband in a West Virginia
coal mining town. Teaming with
other career criminals and getting
a taste for a wealthy lifestyle kept
her in the business of thievery.
She states her strategies
include dressing like a wealthy
woman, distracting store
employees, using sleight of hand
techniques, selling stolen jewelry
as fast as possible and concealing
items before law enforcement can
find them.

Group raising money for Brookhaven
officer diagnosed with cancer
by Carla Parker
A Brookhaven police officer who was
diagnosed with stage 3 stomach cancer is
receiving overwhelming support from his
The Brookhaven Police Foundation
started a Go Fund Me account to assist
Officer Joel Coward as he goes through
his fight against cancer and care for his
3-year-old son. The Go Fund Me account
was set up Dec. 19 with a goal of $25,000.
The initial goal was met in two days,
and the goal was then increased to
$35,000 on Dec. 22.
Brookhaven Police Foundation
president J.D. Clockadale said he
originally had a goal of $50,000 in mind.
“I didn’t want to make the first one
seem so outrageous,” Clockadale said. “I
had a mental goal of $50,000, but I didn’t
know what to expect so I put $25,000 and
we blew that out of the water. People were
still sending checks and asking if we can
still raise money. So we increased the
According to the Go Fund Me page,
Coward served in the United States Navy.
He began his law enforcement career with
the Gwinnett County Police Department
in 2008. He became an officer with the
Brookhaven Police Department in 2015.
In September, Coward noticed that
he was unexpectedly losing weight at a
rapid pace, as well as losing his appetite,
according to the page. Doctors noticed

A fundraiser was started to assist Brookhaven
Police Officer Joel Coward as he goes through
treatments for stage 3 stomach cancer.

a tumor the size of a grapefruit growing,
and Coward was diagnosis was stage 3
stomach cancer.
Coward elected to be placed on light
duty while he seeks treatment. Clockadale
said Coward is overwhelmed by the
support he’s getting.
“I think it blew him away,” Clockadale
said. “He has chemotherapy treatments
now and he’s preparing for surgery.
That was kind of the big push [for the
fundraiser], was him going out on longterm disability.”
Clockadale said Coward’s utility bills
are covered for next year.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/

Payne said such techniques
have allowed her to steal 10-carat
diamond rings valued at $500,000.
At the documentary’s
conclusion, Payne is arrested
in San Diego and sentenced for
five years in prison, 16 months of
which was served. Her defense
at the time was that she was
confused for someone else and
subsequently arrested for her
notoriety, only to later admit to the
crime on camera. After the film’s
ending credits, it is revealed Payne
was arrested and convicted soon
after her release.
At Payne’s hearing, the judge
listed five previous arrests or
warrants in Colorado, California
and North Carolina, all of which
have taken place in the past five
years. Payne’s arrest record
includes 20 different aliases, more
than 10 social security numbers
and nine dates of birth dating back
to 1952.
“I won’t deny that I have a
history, I do,” Payne said at her
hearing. “But people want to make
up things to make it look like
something is one thing when it’s


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 9A

Marist debate, speech program ranked high in nation
by R. Scott Belzer
A DeKalb County private
school’s speech and debate
program is catching the eye
of a near-century old national
Marist School, a private catholic
school located at 3790 AshfordDunwoody Road NE in Atlanta,
has been ranked among the top
8 percent of schools nationwide
by the National Speech & Debate
Association (NSDA) for the 20152016 academic year.
Marist also earned membership
to NSDA’s 200 Club. The 200
Club honor is given to school
programs that achieve more than
200 degrees for competitive and
service-related activities during an
academic year.
The “degrees” in NSDA are
awards based on points given in
accomplishments in tournaments
and events, according to NSDA. For
example, students who gain their
Marist School’s debate and speech program was named among the top 8 percent in the country by the National Speech & Debate
first 25 points with the association
Association (NSDA) and gained entry into the organization’s 200 Club. Photo courtesy of Marist School.
receive NSDA’s “Degree of Merit.”
This is the first time in the
is an honor that very school schools Decatur, Sandy Springs, Milton and has had nine state champion
school’s history that Marist School
achieve,” Schirmer said. “I am so
debate and speech teams, 22
has earned entry into the 200
incredibly proud of these students
Marist School’s debate team
students have qualified for the
Club. In 2015, Marist’s speech and
for their hard work and dedication
was founded in 1996 and prides
NSDA annual championships and
debate program was ranked among to speech and debate. I am proud
itself on commitment to “fulfilling the 19 students have qualified for the
the top 10 percent and earned entry of how these students have found
school’s vision as a national model
National Catholic Forensiv League
into NSDA’s 100 Club after earning
ways to exercise critical thinking
in college-preparatory education
more than 100 degrees collectively. and problem-solving skills while
by developing critical thinkers and
With Schirmer’s guidance, six
Marist speech and debate
incorporating a wide array of
ethical problem solvers,” according
teams have made it not the state
teachers Jeffrey Miller and Abby
viewpoints and ideas.”
to the school’s website.
championships and two students
Schirmer said they were in awe of
According to NSDA’s
Marist has six debate teams,
have won the Baker Award—given
students’ communication, research, tournament listing page, Marist
each specializing in different
to the top policy debate team in the
listening, writing and organizational placed in the top 10 at the
disciplines. For example, the policy
University of Georgia’s Bulldog
debate team is a two-person team
More than 65 students make up
“Our goal this year was to reach Debates in January 2016, defeating where students research and
Marist School’s debate team roster.
the 200 Club, something that has
schools from Georgia, Tennessee
formulate United States government The site lists 10 champion students
never been done in the history of
and Florida.
proposals. Similarly, a congress
on each team for the 2015-2016
[Marist’s] program and has only
Marist’s speech and debate
debate team acts as congress by
school year at competitions as far
been done by a few schools in
team also hosted several
presenting opposing arguments on
as Ohio and North Carolina.
Georgia,” Miller said.
“scrimmage series” where it
a piece of real legislation.
For more information, visit www.
“Earning 200 degrees in NSDA
defeated schools from Alpharetta,
Under Miller’s coaching, Marist

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Cadaba and you are sure to fall in love. This happy, silly
two year old is ready to brighten your life more and more
every day. She gets along with other dogs and may not mind
sharing her home with a canine companion. She is two years
old and weighs about 45 pounds. Meet Cadaba at LifeLine’s
DeKalb Animal Services!
If you would like to expand your family by 4 furry little
feet; come meet Cadaba at the DeKalb Animal Shelter. Help
make her dreams come true with a new, loving “Home
for the Pawlidays”. During December you may adopt
any dog over 25 lbs and all cats for an adoption fee of
$25! Adoption includes spay/neuter, vaccinations and
microchip! If you would like more information about
Cadaba please call (404) 294-2165 or email adoption@
dekalbanimalservices.com. All potential adopters will
be screened to ensure Cadaba goes to a good home.
Hours: Mon-Fri; 11am-7pm / Sat-Sun; 11am-6pm


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 10A

Dwight Howard, children go on shopping spree at Northlake Mall’s JC Penney
by Carla Parker
Atlanta Hawks cent Dwight
Howard treated some local children

from the YMCA to a shopping spree
for the holidays at the Northlake
Mall JC Penney store Dec. 20.
Approximately 50 children
from the YMCA of Metro Atlanta

were treated to a private shopping
experience with Howard, an Atlanta
native. The children had a meet and
greet and photo opportunity with
Howard, followed by help from the

NBA All-Star to select gifts for their
JCPenney also donated
$100,000 to the Y.

Photos provided

Department of Watershed Management

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
6 P.M.
Stonecrest Library
3123 Klondike Road
Lithonia, GA 30038




DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 11A

Residents line up for Commissioner Larry Johnson’s 18th annual Tree of Love program which provided gifts for more than 600 children on Dec. 17 at South DeKalb mall.
Guests gathered at a stage outside the entrance to Macy’s and received gift bags and boxes of toys, clothes, games and other items.

Tucker City Council, staff and volunteers donated items Dec. 20
to the Tucker High Marching Band for the band’s efforts to help
homeless students. Special thanks to Nicole Jones and school band
director Stanley Gaines for organizing this amazing community
effort. Pictured left to right—parent Nicole Jones, Tucker City
Councilmember Michelle Penkava, Tucker band director Stanley
Gaines and City Manager Tami Hanlin

The East DeKalb Boys & Girls
Club held a Christmas celebration
featuring dancing, arts and crafts
on Dec. 15. Photos courtesy of East
DeKalb Boys & Girls Club.

Dunwoody Police Officer Chris
Forman was greeted by resident
Kevin Dale and his family with
cookies on Christmas Day. Photo
courtesy of Dunwoody Police

The Low-Impact aerobics class in Doraville took time out of their
workout routine to wish everyone a happy holiday on Dec. 16. Photo
courtesy of City of Doraville.

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, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 12A

Nonprofit buys building
from DeKalb County
by Horace Holloman
The Task Force
for Global Health, the
second-largest nonprofit
organization in the country
according to Forbes
Magazine, recently acquired
property from DeKalb
County for a new, larger
headquarters facility.
The county sold its
Clark Harrison building
to Task Force for Global
Health for $12 million. The
Clark Harrison building,
located at 330 W. Ponce de
Leon Avenue in downtown
Decatur, is a six-story
structure with nearly 93,000
square feet of office space.
According to task force
officials, the new space will
accommodate up to 375
staff members, which is
nearly triple its current staff
Task Force CEO David
Ross said he’s happy the
organization continues to
grow in DeKalb County.
“Over time we have
grown significantly and
we couldn’t have stayed
in the space we had. We
needed space to stay here
and continue our growth,”
Ross said. “The building
we’re buying is close to our
headquarters now. You can
literally see the new building
from our old building. Our
employees wanted to stay
located near here.”
Since 2014, the
company has added an
extimated 20 positions every
year, Ross said.
County commissioner
Larry Johnson said Task
Force’s new acquisition will
help the growth in the area.
“Their growth means
hundreds of new highpaying jobs and increased
international visibility for
the county,” Johnson said
in a statement. “I’m also
excited about developing a
new partnership to address
health disparities in DeKalb
The task force partners
with the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in
Atlanta as well as Emory
University and Georgia
Ross said in the
upcoming years, the
organization will address
chronic disease rates in
parts of DeKalb County.

Recently the Task Force for
Global Health, a Decatur-based
nonprofit, purchased the Clark
Harrison building from the
county for $12 million.

“With our partners, we’re
working to eliminate these
tropical diseases within the
next five to 10 years,” Ross
said “The second piece is
we’re working on chronic
diseases, hypertension
and diabetes and mental
health problems in DeKalb
The task force
purchased the building
with the help of grants.
The organization received
a $10-million grant from
the Robert W. Woodruff
Foundation and a $2 million
grant from the Conrad N.
Hilton Foundation.
Despite the Task
Force for Global Health’s
ranking as the secondlargest nonprofit in the
country, behind United Way
WorldWide, the organization
is still relatively unheard
of, according to Ross. That
creates a unique situation
for the Decatur-based
“If that means the
partners [we work with]
get most of the credit, then
that’s the way it needs to
be,” Ross said. “We’re
not worried that people
don’t know us, but when it
comes to raising money and
people don’t know you, it’s a
The organization plans
to move into its new building
in 2017. Ross said the
work the nonprofit does will
benefit DeKalb County.
“We want to bring
national attention to help
establish models to help the
community help itself. We
want to bring those lessons
and experiences back home
to DeKalb [County],” Ross
said. “DeKalb County and
the city of Decatur have
been incredibly supportive
of us and incredibly
supportive in retaining us.”

Volunteers and community members dropped off goods and supplies to firefighters Dec. 22 as
part of the Random Acts of Kindness Bus Tour. Photos by Horace Holloman

Random Acts of Kindness helps
DeKalb’s first responders
by Horace Holloman


n Dec. 22, community members
along with New Life Baptist Church
helped spread a little holiday
cheer for some of DeKalb’s first
responders as part of the Random Acts of
Kindness Bus Tour.
The bus tour dropped off food items,
among other things, to seven of south
DeKalb’s fire stations.
The Random Acts of Kindness Bus
Tour is in its third year and longtime DeKalb
resident Paula Tate said it’s something
everyone looks forward to.
“It was very easy [to organize],” said Tate,
a resident of DeKalb County since 1977. “I
didn’t have any resistance from people that
wanted to help. Everyone wanted to chip in.
People brought in snacks, Macy’s donated
items and D&K Suits gave us supplies as
Each fire station received a large bag of
nonperishable food items along with water,
aluminum foil and ziploc bags. The bus was
donated by New Life Baptist Church. A group
of roughly 35 came to drop of items along
with several cars following the bus tour.
Among the riders were DeKalb County
School District Superintendent Stephen
Green and DeKalb County Commissioner
Larry Johnson.
“It was very exciting in terms of giving
back to some people who have given back
so much to us,” Johnson said. “This is about
giving back. We want to do something for
our firefighters by donating things they may
need for the holidays. They’re heroes in our
community. They make a difference every
Johnson said the bus tour was also a
chance for community members to educate
themselves on the responsibilities of first
“They do so much more than put out
fires,” Johnson said.

At each fire station, riders on the bus tour
sang a holiday song. One firefighter said he
looks forward to the group coming every year.
“That’s the fun part. We sing and they
love it. It’s an opportunity to end the year
strong. While we were videotaping them, we
saw them videotape us. We were like ‘wow
we didn’t expect that.’”
Community members said they have no
plans of expanding the bus tour in the years
to come because it would take away from the
“randomness” of the event.
“This is what it is all about, seeing
everyone come together for a good cause,”
Tate said.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 13A

DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies completed a county wide “deadbeat” parents sweep to serve warrants and arrest violators Dec. 21. Deputies went to 174 different
locations and arrested 19 individuals. Photos by Horace Holloman

DeKalb nabs ‘deadbeat parents’ in county-wide sweep
by Horace Holloman


eKalb County
Sheriff’s deputies
completed a
parents sweep to serve
warrants and arrest
The sweep, which was
aimed at men and women
who were wanted for failure
to meet court-ordered
financial obligations to their
children, was an all-day
event beginning at 6 a.m.
and ending at 10 p.m.
Deputies made 19
arrests and executed 174
Major L.J. Roscoe
with the DeKalb County
Sheriff’s Office said the
office specifically chooses
this time of year to perform
the sweep.
“We have our fingers
on them all year-round,
but during Christmas
time we try to go after
those offenders,” Roscoe
said. “We try to put a
special emphasis around
Christmas time so we can
help get these parents their
The money for the
outstanding warrants
goes directly toward the
custodial parent. On
Dec. 21, deputies were
able to serve 99 of the
outstanding child support
warrants, which accounts
for more than $139,000 in
uncollected court-ordered
child support payments.
“The offending parent
is already aware of the
obligation and is rarely

surprised when we show
up with an arrest warrant,”
said DeKalb County Sheriff
Jeff Mann. “When the
custodial parent who has
been granted support
by the courts is unable
to obtain that support, it
causes a financial hardship
that becomes more
pronounced this time of the
year because of holiday
expectations. We hope this
extra effort helps families
collect at least some of
what they are owed.”
The sweep began
roughly six years ago,
Roscoe said. Those that
were arrested will remain in
jail until the amount of the
child support is paid.
Last year the sheriff’s
office went to 105 locations
and arrested 14 individuals.
“The money goes
directly back to the child’s
[guardian],” Roscoe said.
“We get calls and letters
all-year round. We try to
go after these people.
We know it’s tough being
a single parent, whether
that’s a male single parent
or female single parent.”
During the sweep,
deputies allowed members
of the media to ride along.
At one of the 19 arrests
made Dec. 21, one man
said he was unable to pay
his child support, which
amounted to nearly $1,000,
because of his “disabilities.”
The man’s friend said
they had a show to perform
the following night.
“Since they can’t take
care of their child, maybe
sitting in jail may do some
good for them,” Deputy S.
Brown said.

Group meets with county officials
to discuss water billing issues
by Horace Holloman
In what many have called a “crisis”
situation in DeKalb County, residents
recently met with county officials
to discuss their concerns with the
“systematic failure” of water billing in
the area.
Members of the Facebook group
Unbelievable DeKalb Water Bills
met with county commissioners,
DeKalb Chief Operating Officer Zach
Williams and Director of Watershed
Management Scott Towler. The
meeting lasted more than an hour,
and although tensions have been high
in previous town hall meetings with
county officials to discuss the county’s
water billing system, one member of
the group said this meeting was a start
in the right direction.
“The meeting I think was successful
in that we had good representation,”
said Lisa Harper, a member of the
Unbelievable DeKalb Water Bills group
who attended the meeting. “It’s a very
positive sign.”
Despite the face-to-face meeting,
Harper said she was still disappointed
that the county didn’t seem to have an
established plan to move forward.
“We asked what are they doing
proactively to understand the volume of
bills that may be faulty and right now it
seems as if the responsibility is on the
customer to take action to dispute the
bill,” Harper said.
During the meeting, Harper said
the county informed members of the
group that more than 10,000 residential
bills have been flagged on a monthly

basis as having water consumption
amounts in excess of 300 percent of
the customer’s average usage.
“I’m absolutely not satisfied at
this point. We have not seen any
legal, practical plans for systemic
improvements,” Harper said.
County Commissioner Nancy
Jester, who some members of the
group said was instrumental in getting
the group access to certain meeting
with county officials in the last few
months, said the meeting helped
create a dialogue between residents
and government.
“It was productive, not as
productive as I would have liked, but
one of my pieces of advice was to
embrace your critics and develop a
solution,” Jester said.
Recently, CEO-elect Michael
Thurmond said he would extend a
moratorium on disconnections of water
accounts in dispute, which ends Dec.
31, for at least 90 days. Thurmond said
it seems the county has a systemic
problem that needs evaluating.
Jester said moving forward she
would like to see the group continue with
its persistence. There could be a future
resident advisory committee specifically
for water billing issues, she said.
“There were some contentious
moments [during the meeting]. At
the end, I told the administration and
citizens that the citizens need to be
more of a part of the process,” Jester
said. “They’re a sharp group of people
who care deeply and they can be
a resource to the county to fix this


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 14A

College and career readiness scores released
DeKalb schools
below state
by R. Scott Belzer


The Georgia Department of
Education released the 2016
College and Career Readiness
Performance Index (CCRPI) scores
on Dec. 8, setting the bar for school
districts across the state.
CCRPI scores have served
as an accountability measure
in Georgia for several years.
According to the Department
of Education, the scores “are
Georgia’s annual tool for measuring
how well its schools, districts
and the state itself are preparing
students for the next educational
CCRPI scores measure four
main areas for a totals score out
of 100: achievement (50 points),
progress (40 points), achievement
gaps (10) and challenge points (10

point bonus).
According to education officials,
CCRPI achievement points
measure scores in reading, math,
science and social studies Georgia
Milestones test data, serving
students with disabilities and
attendance rates. Progress points
are determined through comparing
test scores whereas achievement
gap points are determined by
monitoring the progress of a
district’s “bottom quartile” of
Challenge points are also
awarded for growth in students
considered to be at risk through
economic and medical hardships.
During the 2015-2016 school
year, DeKalb County School
District’s (DCSD) elementary
school average was 62, with 25
achievement points, 32 progress
points, 5 achievement gap points
and zero challenge points. The
overall score for the district is 66.6
The DCSD middle school
average was 64.6, with 25.1
achievement points, 33.7 progress
points, 5.5 achievement gap points,
and zero challenge points.
The high school average
in DCSD was 73.7, with 29.5

achievement points, 36.7 progress
points, 6.7 achievement gap points
and 0.8 challenge points.
DCSD’s scores fall below
the state average in each school
category and decline from last
year’s scores with the exception of
high schools, which improved by
1.9 points.
In the 2014-2015 school year,
DCSD elementary schools scored
64.8 and district middle schools
scored 66.3.
The state score for elementary
schools in the 2015-2016 school
year is 71.1; the middle school
average is 71.5; and the high
school average is 75.7. The overall
state average is 73.6.
DCSD released a statement
Dec. 8 titled “DeKalb schools show
noteworthy academic growth in
recent CCRPI scores.”
“Fluctuation in CCRPI scores
from the 2015 to the 2016 school
year are comparable to trends in
statewide achievement,” reads the
statement. “For example, the state
of Georgia reported a decrease in
statewide CCRPI scores among
all state elementary schools (-4.3
from 76 in 2015) and Georgia high
schools (-0.1 from 75.8).”

The statement lists five
schools—Allgood, Cedar
Grove, Freedom and Woodward
elementary schools as well as
Stone Mountain High school
scoring more than 60.
The release also commends the
double digit growth overall by Briar
Vista, DeKalb Elementary School
of the Arts and Kingsley Charter
elementary schools as well as
Stone Mountain High School.
According to DCSD officials,
nine schools in DCSD scored the
maximum points for growth while 30
schools exceeded overall scores of
80. DeKalb Early College Academy,
Kittredge Magnet Elementary,
Kittredge Magnet Middle and
Wadsworth Magnet School each
scored more than 100 when
including bonus points.
DCSD superintendent Stephen
Green said he is optimistic about
the district’s performance and that a
plan is in place to improve scores.
“I am optimistic about the
growth made by many of our
schools but the data reveals there
is much work to be done,” Green


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 15A

Stephenson High grad makes history
Whitney Ingram recognized as first African-American female to receive Ph.D. in physics from University of Georgia
by R. Scott Belzer


or as long as she can
remember, Whitney
Ingram has enjoyed
building things.
“I’ve always liked arts
and crafts,” Ingram said. “I
used to check out books
from the library just to
build things on my own.
I remember 101 Science
Projects for Kids where you
could build kaleidoscopes
and other cool stuff out of
things like pipe cleaners.
That’s always stayed with
Ingram said her
fascination, passion and
aptitude for building has
yet to cease, even as her
graduation from University
of Georgia’s (UGA) Ph.D.
program in physics fast
“During my first
semester [at school], I felt
like sticking with something
I really liked to see how far
it could take me,” Ingram
said. “I’ve always loved all
science. I’ve always known
physics is important, and
was ready to take physics
classes by the time I had the
According to Ingram,
“sticking with” physics has
taken her to the 65th Lindau
Nobel Laureate Meeting in
Germany and allowed her
to meet Nobel prize-winning
scientist Stephen Chu as
well as NASA scientist Ruth
Jones, who is historically
recognized as the first Black
female to study physics at
Alabama A&M University.
Later in December,
Ingram will become historic
by being the first Black
female to earn a doctorate
in physics from UGA.
Ingram said she had

Whitney Ingram, a 2007 Stephenson High graduate, is set to become University of Georgia’s first
African American female to earn a doctorate in physics. Photo submitted.

no idea she bore such a
distinction while studying
until her mother pushed her
to ask someone.
“I asked the graduate
school—they have a whole
department dedicated to
that sort of stuff,” Ingram
said. “A month or two later,
they verified it.”
Ingram said she was
surprised and honored to be
the university’s first Black
female physics doctorate
“I started doing a lot
of background research
into females and physics,”
Ingram said. “It’s pititfully
small. There are less than
150 Black females to have
Ph.D. in physics. You’re just
lucky to get an American
that happens to like it.”
To say Ingram likes
physics would be an
understatement. Since
building things based on a

library book and discovering
her father’s National
Geographic magazine
focusing on astronomy,
Ingram has been dedicated
to the discipline.
“My favorite class in high
school was physics,” Ingram
said. “I had great science
teachers. They encouraged
me and mentored me
through Stephenson’s
Science Olympiad. Seeing
what other students do and
competing was so fun and
Ingram’s dedication
brought her to the University
of Georgia, where new
school jitters disappeared by
the end of the first semester.
By working in study groups,
working in various science
labs and participating in
housing programs, she
became just another Bulldog
focused on classes.
After entering the

Ph.D. program, Ingram
was teaching four classes,
writing her dissertation
and learning on a level few
students are familiar with.
“There was a huge
learning curve—a lot of stuff
that wasn’t taught we were
expected to know well,”
Ingram said. “I had to study
every chance I got and use
every learning avenue I
could. You’re always under

pressure to perform. It can
be hard to stay motivated.”
Ingram said the people
she surrounded herself
with inspired her and taught
her about persistence,
perseverance and passion.
“It’s important to have
not only passion, but
perseverance,” Ingram said.
“Not everyone who just
has passion has finished.
There’s a lot of setbacks—
sometimes academically,
sometimes emotionally,
sometimes financially. You
have to have persistence
and not give up—it’s worth it
in the end.”
Ingram’s course work
deals with nanotechnology
as well as its application
to cloaking—something
one might see in a work of
science-fiction or fantasy.
“It’s kind of like the Harry
Potter invisibility cloak,”
Ingram said. “We’re learning
how to make things like that
She hopes to use
such knowledge in the
realm of government or
environmental sciences
upon graduation.
Ingram said it is
important to look at different
ways to solve problems and
not always use conventional
means to arrive at solutions.

Destruction of Special Education Records
The DeKalb County School District, in accordance with
federal and state law, announces its intention to destroy,
on January 31, 2017, education records collected,
maintained, and used in the provision of a free and
appropriate public education for students with disabilities.
Special education records maintained by the District for
students born between January 1, 1992 and December
31, 1992 are no longer needed by the District for
educational purposes. However, these records may
be needed by the student and/or parent or guardian for
Social Security benefits, rehabilitation services, college
entrance, or other purposes.
If you, as a former special education student or parent/
guardian of a special education student, wish to obtain
these records prior to destruction, please contact the
Special Education Records Office at 678-676-1802 or in
writing at:
•5867 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30083
•Or via email @ SpEdRecords@dekalbschoolsga.org
•Or via fax @ 678-676-2027
The request window opens October 15, 2016 and
closes January 31, 2017. The request for records
(scheduled for destruction) form is available on the
DeKalb County School District website on the Special
Education page. Records will be made available within
30 days of the written request; if you plan to pick up the
records in person, please notify us at least 5 days in
advance. Proof of identity is required.


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 16A

New year brings new location for Petite Auberge

by Kathy Mitchell
Throughout its 42-year
history, Petite Auberge has been
the site of holiday celebrations,
featuring special menus for
such commemorative days
as Valentine’s Day, Easter,
Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving,
the Christmas season and New
Year’s Eve.
As the restaurant departs
the Toco Hills location it has
occupied for more than four
decades, it will celebrate with a
New Year’s Eve dinner featuring
live music and a six-course
menu paired with wine and
topped off with a champagne
The restaurant, which often
is the site of Atlanta Opera
Company performances, refers
to the event as “a final swan
“New Year’s Eve has long
been a special night for us
and this year the chef will be
going all out with a selection
of premium entrees, including
some sentimental favorites,” said
Michael Gropp, son of Petite
Auberge’s founder and a current
owner along with his brother
Petite Auberge was started
in 1974 by Wolfgang Gropp, a
chef who trained in Europe and
Canada before immigrating to
the United States, where he,
his wife Ilse and Ilse’s brother
Helmut “poured their hearts
and souls into making Petite
Auberge a favorite of Atlanta’s
diverse population,” according to

the restaurant’s website. Since
its inception, the restaurant has
featured French food, continental
classics and German specialty
“The building has a new
landlord and he didn’t see
eye-to-eye with us about how
the space would be used.
Coincidentally, a new opportunity
cropped up at about the same
time,” Gropp continued.
The new opportunity involved
taking over another venerable
area French restaurant, Violette,
on Clairmont Road. A fixture
in the Atlanta area since 1995,
Violette opened at its Clairmont
Road location on Bastille Day
(French independence day), July
14, 1995.
In homage to Violette, the
restaurant at its new location will
be called Petite Violette. “They
have been a very fine restaurant
and we wanted to honor all they
have done this way. I didn’t
think many people know what
‘auberge’ (a French word for inn)
means anyway,” he said with a
chuckle. “I think I explain it about
four times a day.”
The atmosphere at the new
building may be somewhat
different, Gropp said, “It has a
more bistro feel,” He noted that
the physical setting and the
name will be the only remnants
of Violette. Petite Violette, he
said “will be all us. We bought
the building and the business.
It will include menu favorites
from Petite Auberge.” While
the current restaurant is part
of a shopping strip, the new

one on Clairmont Road will be
standalone building.
Speculating on why Petite
Auberge has continued to
be a success in a city where
restaurants come and go with
great regularity, Gropp said, “Our
dad laid a great foundation. He
really knew what he was doing.
He not only understood great
food, he understood hospitality—
how to create a place that really
makes people feel special.
“I don’t know that we’re
the oldest continually operating
independently owned restaurant
in the Atlanta area, but I’m
certain we are one of the oldest.
Very few have been around as
long as we have,” Gropp said.
He added that Petite
Auberge over the years has
been part of Atlanta life. It has
hosted such special events as
the Atlanta Opera Company’s
Boar’s Head Feast fundraiser
and was used in a movie
released earlier this year, The
Founder, about McDonald’s
Restaurant founder Ray Kroc.
“This community has always
been good to us. We plan to
remain very much woven into its
fabric,” Gropp said. “We’re not
going away. Our new location is
less than three miles from where
we’ve been all these years.”
As he and the staff prepared
simultaneously for the move and
the New Year’s Eve celebration,
Gropp commented, “It’s hard to
think that within 15 days we’ll be
operating in a new space after
more than 15,000 days in this



DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 17A



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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 18A

Bryan Lamar named Atlanta Falcons’ coach of the year
by Carla Parker
Tucker High School football
coach Bryan Lamar has added
another award to his list of
Lamar was named the
Atlanta Falcons’ Coach of the
Year. Lamar was honored before
the Falcons’ game against the
San Francisco 49ers Dec. 18
and was made an honorary
“It is a tremendous blessing
and an honor,” Lamar said.

A team spokesperson said
Lamar was chosen for his work
on and off the field and in the
community, according to the city
of Tucker’s website.
In September, Lamar won
the Atlanta Falcons Coach of
the Week Award after coaching
the Tucker Tigers to a 58-0 win
over Jonesboro on Sept. 16. The
award, which is presented by
Ford, is given to 12 Georgia high
school football coaches each
season for their hard work and
dedication to making a difference
in student-athletes’ lives.

The Falcons will fly Lamar to
Orlando, Fla. for the AFC-NFC
Pro Bowl on Jan. 29. Lamar
will compete with 31 other
coaches chosen by NFL teams
to be named the recipient of the
league’s Don Shula NFL High
School Coach of the Year Award.
Lamar completed his fifth
season as the Tigers head
coach. Tucker fell to Valdosta
17-7 in the Class AAAAAA title
game Dec. 9 at the Georgia
Dome. It was the Tigers’ second
championship game appearance
in three years under Lamar.

Tucker High School football coach Bryan Lamar
was named the Atlanta Falcons’ Coach of the Year.
Photo by Travis Hudgons

Weekly basketball scores
Boys - Dec. 20
Marist 62, East Jackson 55
Paideia 62, Providence Christian 30
Buford 60, Cedar Grove 45
Calvary Christian Academy (Fla.) 43,
Miller Grove 33
GAC 61, St. Pius X 58
Holy Innocents’ 65, Decatur 58
King’s Ridge Christian 58, W.D.
Mohammed 37

Dec. 21
Lithonia 68, Morrow 55
Marist 57, Wesleyan 54
Fayette County 64, Southwest DeKalb 56
Loganville 64, Paideia 43
Dec. 22
Colquitt County 74, Tucker 52
Eagle’s Landing 47, Lithonia 38
North Clayton 70, Southwest DeKalb 64
Dec. 23
Southwest DeKalb 67, Morrow 47
Fayette County 61, Lithonia 59

Milton 71, Tucker 58

Dec. 26
Southwest DeKalb 52, North Clayton 50
Girls - Dec. 20
Miller Grove 75, Grady 32
Stephenson 66, Douglass 32
GAC 69, St. Pius X 29
Griffin 61, Decatur 31
Livingston Academy (Tenn.) 51,
Marist 40
Stockbridge 45, Greenforest 43
Dec. 21
Southwest DeKalb 52, Tucker 46
Stephenson 60, Lovett 52
Dec. 22
Southwest DeKalb 60,
Colquitt County 51
North Clayton 41, Tucker 40
Weekly basketball scores
Southwest DeKalb 72, Jackson 58

Southwest DeKalb girls’ basketball team won the 2016 Peach State Holiday Classic at
Clayton State University. Photo by India Ali


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 19A

Global law firm hired by DeKalb school district
State rep. states Ed Lindsey hired for $50k-60k per month to lobby

by R. Scott Belzer
DeKalb County School
District (DCSD) has
retained the services of a
global law firm to advocate
against certain county
interests, according to
Georgia representative
Tom Taylor.
Taylor, who represents
District 79 covering
Dunwoody and parts
of Doraville, spoke at a
Dunwoody City Council
meeting on Dec. 12 to
brief city officials on the
upcoming legislative
Dunwoody’s push for
an option to create an
independent school district,
Taylor said it is DCSD’s
priority to oppose such an
Taylor is one of a few
state legislators who has
pushed to amend the
Georgia Constitution to
allow municipalities to
govern schools within city
limits. The current Georgia
Code only grants such
authority to independent
city school districts
established before 1945.
Taylor has presented
similar measures for the
past three years, none of
which was approved by the
state legislature.
Taylor said DCSD
has “pulled out a pretty
formidable weapon” by
hiring Edward “Ed”
Lindsey, a lawyer currently
practicing with the world’s
largest law firm, Dentons

According to Georgia State
Rep. Tom Taylor, DeKalb
County School District has
retained the services of the
world’s largest law firm to
lobby against municipalities
governing schools within city

According to records obtained
by The Champion, DeKalb
County School District has
worked with Dentons lawyer
and former attorney general
Thurbert Baker as recently as
June 2016. Photo courtesy of

Dunwoody resident and
Georgia representative Tom
Taylor specifically named
Atlanta “super lawyer” Edward
“Ed” Lindsey as a “formidable
weapon” hired by DeKalb
County School District. Photo

Lindsey is a
former Georgia House
representative and majority
whip turned high-profile
trial lawyer. Lindsey serves
on Dentons’ public policy
and regulation practice
team and has been labeled
a Georgia “Super Lawyer”
by Atlanta Magazine.
Taylor estimated
the cost of the overall
contract between DCSD
and Dentons at $50,000
to $60,000 per month and
possibly more.
“[Lindsey] does not
come cheap and he is very
good at what he does,”
Taylor said. “I consider him
a friend, a mentor, but he is
getting paid big money out
of our tax dollars to oppose
[an independent school
Documents obtained by

The Champion from DCSD
do indicate a business
relationship between the
district and Dentons.
According to an
engagement letter dated
Jan. 13, 2016 detailing a
contract period until June
15, 2016 with DCSD, the
district has retained the
services of Dentons for
$99,900 in the past.
Because the amount is
not at or above $100,000,
it was not brought before
the DeKalb County
Board of Education. The
overall purpose of the
representation, stated
in the letter, was for
“advocacy and support of
district based initiatives.”
The letter is signed
by and addressed from
Thurbert Baker, former
state attorney general

and current attorney for
Dentons specializing in
public policy.
“[Baker’s] practice
focuses on corporate
compliance and
investigations, complex
state legal and legislative
matters, public policy and
regulatory affairs, multistate litigation, public
sector procurements and
regulatory matters,” reads
Baker’s profile on Dentons.
Sources to The
Champion state at least
10 or 12 members of
Dentons legal team
were in attendance at a
legislative luncheon hosted
by DCSD on Nov. 16.
The same sources said
Dentons services will be
retained again for the 2017
legislative session “for the
purposes of the school


district” but remained nonspecific.
Dunwoody Mayor
Denis Shortal said an
independent district, or
option to take control of
city schools, is something
the council wants for cities
across Georgia. Shortal
said it is one of his highest
priorities as mayor at the
2016 Dunwoody State of
the City address.
According to a
“Proposed Legislative
Agenda for 2016” written by
DCSD officials in February
2016, DCSD formally
opposes three legal tenets:
erosion of the tax base
and usurping local board
authority; expansion of
programs that use public
funds to pay private school
tuition; and the erosion of
state revenue through tax
DCSD board member
Stan Jester, who
represents Dunwoody, said
he does not support the
current or past legislative
agendas adopted by
the school board. Jester
specifically mentioned Gov.
Nathan Deal’s Opportunity
School District, which
would have placed schools
deemed “chronically failing”
under control of the state
rather than county school
“Traditionally, DCSD
has fought against any
legislation that would take
money away from the
school district,” Jester said.
No comment was
provided by Lindsey, Baker
or Dentons as of press


DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 • Page 20A