FREEPRESS

the DeKalb

FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2017 • VOL. 19, NO. 42 • FREE

Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Stone Mountain, Stonecrest and Tucker • A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •

MLK service
project still
making its
mark

Residents, county officials help
out during three-day event

DeKalb NAACP celebrates MLK
‘Remembering the Dream, Honoring the Dreamer,’ the NAACP DeKalb County Branch held its 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. Parade on Jan. 16. The parade began at Green Pastures Christian Ministries and ended at Martin Luther King Jr.
High School. Former DeKalb NAACP President John Evans served as grand marshal. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Decatur Police Department Deputy Chief
Scott Richards gave a helping hand during
the service project by cleaning out an
elderly woman’s garage Jan. 15.

by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com

O

n Jan. 16, the last day of
Decatur’s Martin Luther
King Jr. Service Project
event, Paul Mitchell,
MLK service project chairman,
hopped in a 16-foot flatbed truck
to deliver ladders to volunteer
workers.
As he rode around the Oakhurst
area, he pointed out nearly a dozen
homes that the project had worked
on over the years. The project’s
impact on the community was
undeniable, he said.  
For more than a decade, the
MLK service project, now in its
15th year, has brought together
community members and city of
Decatur officials to help Decatur
senior citizens upkeep their
homes.
See MLK on page 5

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LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 2A

Developer presents changes
to proposed Tucker project
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The Tucker City Council
will soon vote on a proposed
mixed-use development for
the vacant Sears Distribution
Center property.
During its Jan. 9 meeting,
the city council heard
presentations of the revised
project–now named The
Rise-Tucker–and held public
hearings on four application
items, which include a rezoning
request and a special land use
permit request by the developer
Macauley Investments LLC.
The changes to the project
include removal of 308
apartment units, addition
of a second senior housing
development, a 45,000-squarefoot health and wellness center,
and additional office space.
The revised project consists
of 684 living units with
308 multi-family units, 68
townhouses, 33 single-family
homes and 275 senior living
units. The plan includes a
grocery store, retail space, office
space, child care, a health and
wellness facility, a 300-seat
performing arts center and a
600-person school.
Developer Stephen
Macauley said the revisions are
based on the concerns that were
brought to them by residents

and city officials.
“We’ve really gone the extra
mile to address those concerns,”
Macauley said. “I believe we
have overwhelming community
support now, and that’s been
quite a process but we feel very
good about it.”
Several residents from
the Smoke Rise community
spoke in favor of the revisions.
On its website, the Smoke
Rise Community Association
endorsed the project after
meeting with Macauley and his
staff.
Although Macauley
gained community support,
Tucker staff recommends that
the city council deny three
of Macauley’s application
requests–rezoning, special land
use permit for senior housing
and amending the city’s
comprehensive plan. The staff
also recommends the council to
withdraw the concurrent buffer
variance reductions application.
If the council approves the
project, city staff recommends
the project be approved with 52
conditions. Macauley told the
board that he agrees with 40 of
the conditions, disagrees with
two and wants to discuss 10 of
them with the staff.
The city council is expected
to vote on the project at its Jan.
23 meeting.

Developer closed on Avondale Estates
property for future development
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A multi-use development is
coming to Avondale Estates.
Avondale Estates officials
announced Jan. 11 that South
City Partners closed on the
property at Sams Crossing and
East College Avenue, allowing
them to begin construction on
its multi-use development.
The development, which
will be built on 3.17 acres,
will feature approximately
8,000 square feet of podium
retail/restaurant space on the
ground floor, approximately
197 residential units in four
stories above, a gateway park—
which will preserve the mature
trees, a rear parking deck with
additional on-street parking
and generous sidewalks and
street trees to enhance the

pedestrian experience.
“Their mixed use
project will be handsome
and welcoming edifice at
our western gateway and an
inspiring catalyst for our entire
central business district,”
Mayor Jonathan Elmore said
in a statement. “I am incredibly
proud of the collaborative effort
of our downtown development
authority, our city manager and
staff, and the board in working
with South City Partners to
arrive at this point. We all
look forward to seeing this
important project being built
and a future ribbon-cutting.
The South City Partners, I
would like to say great job and
welcome to our community.”
On Jan. 9, downtown
development authority chair
Matt Delicata signed the
documents for the title bonds
and the bonds were validated
during the Jan. 10 DDA

See Avondale on Page 4A

Macauley Investments LLC presented its revised plans for the proposed mixed-use development for the vacant Sears
Distribution Center property. Photo by Carla Parker.

METROPOLITAN ATLANTA RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITY

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

Proposed Bus Service Modifications for April 15, 2017
Proposed routing and/or adjustments and new service for the following bus routes:
Route 3: Martin Luther King Jr. Drive/Auburn Avenue; Route 5: Piedmont Road/Sandy Springs;
Route 56: Adamsville/Collier Heights; Route 66: Lynhurst Drive / Barge Road Park & Ride;
Route 68: Donnelly/Beecher; Route 71: Cascade; Route 73: Fulton Industrial Blvd.;
Route 94: Northside Drive;
Route 165: Fairburn Road/Barge Road Park & Ride;
Route 170: Brownlee Road/Peyton;
Route 865: Boulder Park Drive;
Route 195: Forest Parkway/Roosevelt Highway.
Mobility: Adjust complementary ADA service to reflect the modified route alignments to comply with
the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
All route information, a video presentation and comment forms are available at www.itsmarta.com

Monday, Jan. 23
Fulton County
Assembly Hall
141 Pryor St., SW Atlanta 30303

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

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

Tuesday, Jan. 24
Clayton County
Commission Chambers
112 Smith Street,
Jonesboro, GA 30236

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.
Riding MARTA: Route 193.

Thursday, Jan. 26
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Dr.,
Decatur 30030

Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.

HEARING: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Walk one block west of
Decatur Rail Station

Copies of the proposed Bus Service Modifications will also be available for public viewing at MARTA’s Headquarters Office of External Affairs,
2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30324 during regular business hours, Mon-Fri 8:30 am to 5 pm.
For formats (FREE of charge) in accordance with the ADA and Limited English Proficiency regulations contact, (404) 848-4037. For those
patrons requiring further accommodations, information can be obtained by calling the Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 404 848-5665.
In addition, a sign language interpreter will be available at all hearings. If you cannot attend the hearings and want to provide comments
you may: (1) leave a message at (404) 848-5299; (2) write to MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA
30324-3330; (3) complete an online Comment Card at www.itsmarta.com; (4) or fax your comments no later than February 2, 2017 to
(404) 848-4179.
All citizens of the City of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Gwinnett whose interests are affected by the subjects to
be considered at these hearings are hereby notified and invited to appear at said times and places and present such evidence, comment or
objection as their interests require.
Keith T. Parker, AICP, General Manager/CEO

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 3A

AROUNDDEKALB
AVONDALE ESTATES
Avondale Estates Woman’s Club monthly
meeting
Camille Gaffron, executive director of Villa
International, will be this month’s speaker at
the Avondale Estates Woman’s Club monthly
meeting Jan. 26 at the American Legion Post 66
at noon. The American Legion Post 66 is located
at 30 Covington Road. For more information,
contact Alana Graves at (404) 291-4170.

CHAMBLEE
Clark Patterson Lee takes over community
development
Architecture, engineering and planning firm
Clark Patterson Lee (CPL) assumed community
development services in Chamblee on Jan. 1.
CPL, headquartered in Rochester, New
York, serves municipalities throughout metro
Atlanta with government services. According to the company’s website, services include
urban design, master plan service and economic
development.

DECATUR
Group to feed and clothe homeless
Blessings on Wheels organization is seeking
donations of new or slightly used blankets and
toiletry items to give to the homeless on Jan. 25.
The organization and volunteers will meet at the
Quick Trip on Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur
at 7:30 p.m. and will travel to downtown Atlanta
to give out food, clothes and other items to the
homeless. For more information or to volunteer,
call Keischa Robinson at (678) 338-6892.

For information regarding the application
process or other Extension programs, please
contact DeKalb County Extension at (404)-2984080, mobilemarket@dekalbcountyga.gov or at
http://www.dekalbmobilemarket.com.

VFW holding fundraiser
The VFW in Decatur will be holding a Super
Bowl party fundraiser. The party will be held
Feb. 5 and admission price is $10. Those in
attendance will receive a free buffet. Doors open
at 3 p.m. and will be located at VFW POST 4706
Covington highway.
For more information contact Randy
Mcfadden (770)-882-7676.

Schedule announced for DeKalb Community
Service Board
The Jan. 26 board meeting of the DeKalb
Community Service Board is open to the public
for those who are interested in services for
mental health, addiction and developmental
disabilities. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at
445 Winn Way, Room 421, Decatur.
The Community Engagement Committee
meeting will be held in the same room at 3:30
p.m. and is also open to the public.
The Audit, Finance and Compliance meeting
will be held in the same room on, Jan. 24 at
noon and is also open to the public.
For those with disabilities in need of
assistance or accommodations to participate in
the meeting, please notify Community Relations
at (404) 508-7875.

DORAVILLE

DUNWOODY
Police department to host car seat class
The Dunwoody Police Department will host a
free car seat class at Dunwoody City Hall, located
at 41 Perimeter Center East, on Jan. 28 from 9:30
to 11:30 a.m. The class is open to anyone currently
expecting a child or has a child currently using a car
seat.
To register for the class, contact Katherine Tate
at (678) 382-6918 or katherine.tate@dunwoodyga.
gov. Participants are required to register as space for
the class is limited. For more information, visit www.
dunwoodyga.gov.

TUCKER
City to hold town hall meeting
The Tucker City Council will hold a citywide
town hall meeting Jan. 24, 7-9 p.m. at Tucker
Middle School. The mayor and city council will
answer questions from residents. The school
is located at 2160 Idlewood Road. For more
information, visit www.tuckerga.gov.

CORRECTION

City approves new DDA member
Doraville City Coucil approved the

DeKalb County Extension accepting applications appointment of Jim Ellis to the Downtown
DeKalb County Extension is accepting
applications for the DeKalb Mobile Farmers
Market stops for 2017. 
The market visits areas around the
county four days a week for 16 weeks. 
Applications for the 2017 season will be
accepted online through Feb. 20. 
The DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market is a
program of DeKalb County Extension with
support from the DeKalb County Board of
Health.  The program is made possible with
funding from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention.

Development Authority (DDA) during a
meeting held Jan. 9.
Ellis will take the seat of DDA board
member Jack Halpern, who announced his
resignation in August 2016. Ellis will serve out
the remainder of Halpern’s term, which expires
May 2019.
Ellis, president and CEO of Jim Ellis
Automotive Group, qualifies as a business owner
within Doraville’s central business district. He
will attend and complete eight hours of training
on DDA programs and redevelopment within
the first 12 months of his appointment.

The Champion used an incorrect picture for the article “Rob Turner qualifies
for Stonecrest city council run.” The picture used was a picture of Jimmy Clanton
Jr. The above photo of Rob Turner should
have been used in its place. We regret the
error and any issues this may have caused.

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 4A

Georgia Perimeter named among
nation’s most affordable online schools
Education research publisher ranks DeKalb
college 9th in US

Gannon

Johnson

New presiding officers for
DeKalb County commissioners
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
DeKalb County Board
of Commissioners voted for
a new presiding officer and
deputy presiding officer in the
Jan. 10 regular meeting.
The presiding officer
position formerly held by
Commissioner Larry Johnson,
will now be the responsibility
of Commissioner Kathie
Gannon after she was
approved with a 5-2 vote.
A day prior to the regular
meeting, Commissioner
Stephen Bradshaw announced
that he would be voting for
Gannon as presiding officer.
Bradshaw said he voted
for Gannon because of her
commitment to lead the board
of commissioners in “a more
collaborative way.”
“Over the years,
my interactions with
Commissioner Gannon have
led me to conclude that she is
a dedicated public servant and
a person of intelligence and
integrity. It will be an honor to
cast my vote for Commissioner
Gannon [Jan. 10]. I look
forward to her leadership,”
Bradshaw wrote in an email.
While commissioners
Johnson and newly elected
Commissioner Gregory
Adams opposed Gannon’s
presiding officer role,
commissioners Nancy Jester,
Mereda Davis Johnson, Jeff
Rader, Bradshaw and Gannon
voted in favor.
“I’d like to thank my
colleagues for their support
and confidence and I look
forward to working with all
of them,” Gannon said after
being voted as the board of
commissioners’ new presiding
officer.
Gannon plans to hold a
meeting with commissioners
Jan. 20 to discuss a plan of
action moving forward.
“There will be no
opportunity to say ‘see you left
us behind.’ We rise together

or we fall together. We’re not
going to allow a setup for
failure,” Gannon said. “We
have work to do.”
Johnson to declined a
motion for him to serve as the
deputy presiding officer. Davis
Johnson, who called for the
motion for Johnson to serve
as deputy presiding officer,
commended Johnson for his
work but said it was time for a
change.
“I’m a firm believer that
everything can change. I
want to go with the slogan
from Michelle Obama who
said ‘when people go low,
I go high,’” Davis Johnson
said.  “I think [Larry Johnson]
has done a great job under
challenging circumstances.
I intend to support Kathie
Gannon because I feel we need
to change. It does not mean
we’re going backwards. I’m
sure that her constituents, as
well as DeKalb County, will see
her leadership in that role and
I trust she will do the best for
the county.”
Rader was voted as the
county’s deputy presiding
officer after Johnson declined.
Johnson, who held the
presiding officer position since
2014, said during his time in
the position he’s had to deal
with different obstacles.
“Even though we had
opposition, we had to have
a strong face to make a
difference in this county.
You just can’t go around
disrespecting a person,”
Johnson said.
During the meeting,
Johnson quoted Meryl
Streep’s speech at the Golden
Globes Awards saying,
“Disrespect incites disrespect.
Unfortunately, I’ve had to deal
with a lot of that.”
Jester, who has had
disagreements with Johnson
in the past over blighted
properties in DeKalb County
and other issues, said she’s
looking forward to working
with Gannon as the new
presiding officer.

by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Georgia State
University’s Perimeter
College is known by
many for its accessibility,
urban setting and student
opportunities.
On Jan. 4, it was
announced that Georgia
Perimeter is also one of
the most affordable online
schools in the nation.
Georgia Perimeter
College was ranked ninth for
associate degrees in the 2017
Most Affordable Online College
rankings by OnlineU.org, an
affiliate of education research
publishers SR Education.
According to OnlineU.org’s
research, Georgia Perimeter’s
annual tuition for an online
associate’s degree is $4,050.
The DeKalb County college
also offered the second most
online associate degrees with 27
disciplines, second to Truckee
Meadows Community College
in Reno, Nev.
“To develop this ranking, we
manually researched accredited

schools offering online degree
programs and ranked the top
25 according to annual tuition
rates,” said Taitum Ridgway
of SR Education. “Due to an
outstanding commitment to
affordability, Georgia Perimeter
College made the ranking at
ninth for Associate Degrees.
Making it on this list is an
impressive accomplishment.”
According to OnlineU.org’s
listed methodology, tuition
numbers for the ranked schools
were manually researched
through program data available
on each school’s website. To
be considered, a school must
offer at least 10 associate degree

subjects in addition to at least
one bachelor’s and master’s
degree.
“[Georgia Perimeter[
works to facilitate various
networking opportunities
with its online students, so
students don’t miss out on
making connections with
their classmates just because
they are not attending
campus-based classes,”
reads the website’s entry for
Georgia Perimeter. “Subjects
of study include American
sign language, biology,
criminal justice, English,
business administration,
kinesiology and health, speech
communication, and many
others. Classes are taught
through iCollege Georgia State
University.”
The two most expensive
colleges on the ranking—
Barton County Community
College and Northeast
Wisconsin Technical College—
were listed at $4,800 each.
For more information, visit
http://www.onlineu.org/mostaffordable-colleges/associatedegrees.

South City Partners closed on the property at Sams Crossing and East College Avenue, allowing them to begin construction on its multi-use development.

AVONDALE Continued From Page 2A
meeting.
“This development is a great
addition to the downtown
district, and we are honored
to have worked with the city
of Avondale Estates and South
City Partners to help bring this
project to fruition,” Delicata
said in a statement. “We
know it will be a huge success
and are excited to watch it

serve as a catalyst for future
development.”
The project is a part of
the city’s efforts to redevelop
its central business district
and the city. The property is
within the Western Gateway
area from Maple Street to
Sams Crossing, which was
annexed into the city. The city’s

2014 downtown master plan
community planning activities
and the final downtown master
plan document approved
by the board of mayor and
commissioners included plans
for the redevelopment and
enhancement of the entrance to
the city.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

LOCAL

Page 5

MLK Continued From Page 1
Last year the project worked on 48
senior citizen homes with the help of
1,300 volunteers. According to Mitchell,
the impact to the Decatur community
was $260,000 based on 11,000 volunteer
hours dedicated to the event.
Mitchell said being a part of the project
is a rewarding experience.
“One of the cool things I experienced
was Miss Smith. Last year I came to do
her house assessment and she said ‘Can
I hug you,’” Mitchell said. “I said sure and
she told me ‘I have never been this warm
or comfortable in my house.’ That’s why
we do it.”
During his time with the MLK service
project, Mitchell said he has assessed
nearly 250 homes in the Decatur area.
With the help of yard crews, plumbers,
electricians and volunteers, the annual
service project worked on 35 homes this
year.
In the past the effort helped senior
citizens replace rotted floors, repair
leaks and even install new kitchens. It
even helped a disabled senior citizen by
building a new handicap-friendly kitchen.
“It’s great. It’s the best experience in
the world. Some of the residents don’t
know what they’re going to do or how
they’re going to stay in their house and
that’s what we’re here for. We want
people to be able to stay in their house as
long as they can,” Mitchell said.
This year’s service project began Jan.
14 and lasted through Jan. 16. Volunteers
worked two shifts on Saturday, one shift
on Sunday and two shifts on Monday—
Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Mitchell said the organization of the
service project has greatly improved over
the years.
Joel Levy, who has been with the
Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project for
13 years, said he enjoys coming back
every year to volunteer.
“I’ve worked on houses, I’ve been a
material runner. About four years ago
I became a yard captain,” Levy said. “I
believe in the project and I think we’re
doing a good deed. What we do for the
homeowners makes it worth coming out.”
Levy recently became a yard
supervisor over the entire service project.
Last year during the first shift of the
weekend, yard crews filled 1,200 lawn
and leaf bags.
“In some cases we do a band-aid
repair, but in some cases that bandaid can help homeowners stay in their
house for another year or two years. It’s
definitely worth it,” Levy said.
Volunteers met at Decatur’s Solarium
30 minutes before each shift to receive
assignments.
Volunteers such as Ashante Henry,
27, participated in the service project for
the first time this year. Henry, who came
with other coworkers, made the 35-minute
trip from Stockbridge just to join in.
“I’m very excited because I know

Volunteers recently completed the 15th annual Martin
Luther King Jr. Service Project event which began on
Jan. 14 and ended Jan. 16. Photo by Horace Holloman

Joel Levy, who has been with the Martin Luther King Jr.
Service Project for 13 years, tries to organize paperwork
on the final day of the service project. Photo by Horace
Holloman

Volunteers fixed or restored homes in the Decatur
area for the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service
Project. This year volunteers worked on 35 homes.

Volunteers met at the Solarium at Historic Scottish Rite
in Decatur 30 minutes before shift changes. Photo by
Horace Holloman

there’s various projects you can do,” Henry
said. “I grew up painting and planting flowers
and coming into this project I was super
excited. I love doing anything that gives back
to the community.”
It wasn’t just DeKalb residents giving
up their time to help volunteer. Members of
the Decatur Police Department also helped
throughout the weekend.
Deputy Chief Scott Richards helped
an elderly woman organize and remove
extra items from her garage. Richards said
volunteer members also helped her replace
her door knob.
“It’s just great to give back to the seniors
in the community. A lot of them aren’t in the
physical shape to do repairs to the house.
It’s great to be able to serve them,” Richards
said. “They’ve been a part of the community
for so long and we should give back to them

in a time of need.”
Richards said four officers participated
in the service project Jan. 14. The city of
Decatur also “adopted” three houses during
the event and each day different city workers
worked on a different house, he said.
Whether you’re passing out water or
cleaning gutters, Richards said the most
important thing is doing your civic duty by
servicing your community.
“Anyone can serve at any capacity,”
Richards said. “Decatur is a very tight-knit
group. I think at the end of the day it’s great
to see the appreciation on the residents’
face. Many of them have been waiting awhile
to get some of these repairs done and just
seeing the satisfaction is very rewarding for
everybody that comes out there to make
someone else’s life a little easier.”  

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

OPINION

Page 6

‘I feel like’ it’s a generational thing

I am intrigued by words,
phrases and slogans and often
catch myself paying more
attention to the words and
phrases one may be using than
to the actual message they are
attempting to convey.
Those who have read my
columns in the past may recall
that the often-used phrase
“reach out”—unless referring
to extending arms and hands
to reach for something—is a
particular pet peeve of mine and
will never appear on the pages
of The Champion unless as a
quote or referencing the act of
extending one’s arms.
Another phrase that has
recently come to annoy me is “I
feel like” in response to questions
that would normally illicit a
response such as “I think” or “I
believe,” depending on the age of
the person responding.
After questioning numerous
associates and friends as to how

John Hewitt

johnh@dekalbchamp.com

they are most likely to respond to
a question asking their opinion,
it seems that “I feel like” is more
commonly used by those who
may be referred to as Millennials
or late Generation Xers.
Our social media coordinator
Donna Seay, who would be
considered by most to be a Gen
Xer, shared that she believes
the younger generations were
brought up to be more in touch
with their feelings than perhaps
those of us in the Baby Boomer
generation were; she also
said that during her pre-nuptial
counseling it was suggested to
her and her now-husband that
when discussing a potentially

contentious subject they should
start with “I feel.”
A younger associate shared
with me that he believes the
younger generations have been
taught to be more sensitive
to the feelings of others and
are therefore less likely to say
anything that may be interpreted
as combative. He suggested
that “I believe” or “I think” can be
construed as being a bit harsh.
I believe that many of us in
the Baby Boomer generation
may be a bit more abrupt in
our words and less in tune with
our feelings and the feelings of
others. We were taught to be
more competitive on and off the
playing fields and only the best
got a trophy.
I was taught at a young age
to choose my words wisely and
to be straight-forward in their
delivery so there is little room for
misunderstanding by those with
whom I may be speaking.

In 1970s journalism classes
at the University of Georgia, we
were taught to communicate
clearly and concisely. We were
taught that less is more and that
fewer words are more likely to
keep the readers’ or viewers’
attention.
The phrase “I feel like” has
bothered me for several years
and seems to have become an
acceptable substitute to “I think”
and “I believe”.
I recall a late-night
conversation over drinks with
a Millennial while discussing
rather heated topics. My friend,
in a serious manner, began his
statement with “I feel like,” he
continued with a well-delivered
argument in support of his beliefs.
When my buddy finished
his rather lengthy diatribe, I
responded with “How does that
feel?” he responded with “It feels
like you’re being an ass, and I
believe you are.”

Letter to the Editor
Sheriff Jeff Mann’s response
to Nov. – Dec. 2016 Grand
Jury Presentments
As DeKalb County Sheriff,
I am outraged by the way the
former DeKalb County District
Attorney’s administration has
blatantly misrepresented this
agency to the Grand Jury.
The allegations and
insinuations made in the
November-December Term
2016 Grand Jury Presentments
regarding the DeKalb County
Sheriff’s Office are intentionally
false and misleading. It is
clear that the former DA’s
administration had an agenda
in providing the Grand Jury
with misinformation about this
agency and its leadership.
I believe the former DA’s
administration set out to
discredit the outstanding service
of the Sheriff’s Office and to
impugn our reputation to the
public.
I do not fault members of the

Georgia Crime Information
Center (GCIC), along with
our agency policy and was
counseled and re-trained
regarding the offense.
Jeffrey L. Mann
The Sheriff’s Office can and
DeKalb County Sheriff does police itself effectively. We
have a disciplinary action policy
and a schedule of penalties
Grand Jury but I need to set the that we follow. The process
record straight.
allows appeals by employees
The Grand Jury report
as well as opportunities to
refers to two cases involving
grieve a disciplinary action.
the Sheriff’s Office employees
The processes are in place
and alleges that the employees to ensure equity and fairness
“seemed to have received
to our employees. The report
special treatment by the Sheriff
acknowledges that our Office
and the agency.”
of Professional Standards
In State v. Dozier, an officer
conducted investigations and
violated the Use of Force Policy confirmed the policy violations.
during a jail incident and was
Disciplinary actions followed
demoted to a position where he in each instance. Yet, this
had no contact with inmates.
information was not provided to
Allegations that the video
the Grand Jury.
documenting the incident was
The former DA’s
“lost” are completely untrue
administration misrepresented
and well-documented. In State
to the Grand Jury that the
v. Brown, an officer violated
agency failed to provide
an administrative rule of the
information to their office.

Untrue. Our regular and
timely cooperation with the
DA’s administration is welldocumented.
I sincerely hope that
reason will prevail regarding
the recommendation for an
investigation of the DeKalb
County Sheriff’s Office. And, it
is my intention to share these
facts presented here with the
incoming Grand Jury.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s
Office aspires to transparency,
accountability and integrity in all
that we do for the public safety
of the communities we serve.
As I enter my first full term
as Sheriff of DeKalb County,
I will not settle for less than
operational excellence and
professionalism. Fortunately, I
believe these goals are shared
by our team of dedicated sworn
officers and civilians.
Jeffrey L. Mann, Esq.
Sheriff
January 13, 2017

OPINION

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Page 7

Go Panthers!  Go Georgia State

“When this chapter of
Atlanta’s history is written, I
believe the sale of Turner Field
will be counted among the most
consequential redevelopment
efforts in the life of our city,”
Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim
Reed after the Thursday, Jan.
5 closing on the sale of Turner
Field and dozens of surrounding
acres for $30 million to Georgia
State University and its
development partners.

Our Atlanta Braves are
heading for the suburbs, worse
pre-game traffic jams and
some very pricey concessions
next fall. The Georgia Dome
is about to be imploded and
two stadiums, each just more
than 20 years old is losing its
marquee tenants.
Thankfully, instead of the
Cavalry, Georgia State University
is riding to the rescue of Turner
Field, affectionately known as
“The Ted” as well as bringing
along some long-term and
broader economic development
improvements to the surrounding
neighborhoods of Peoplestown
and Mechanicsville. Georgia
State University and its private
development team partners
recently closed on the $30
million purchase of the stadium
and surrounding parking lots,
as well as long-term land
leases on dozens of additional
underdeveloped acres.
Looking at Five Points,
heading east toward Decatur,
or along Piedmont north toward
Piedmont Park and Buckhead
or Peachtree Center Boulevard,
one can easily see what a
catalytic effect Georgia State
University has had on many
streets and areas adjacent to its
campus downtown. Following
the earlier successful merger of
five Georgia Perimeter College
campuses in DeKalb, Fulton and
Newton counties, Georgia State
University now has the highest

‘One Man’s
Opinion’
Bill Crane

bill.csicrane@gmail.com

combined student enrollment of
any institution in the University
System of Georgia.  
Recently retired Board of
Regents Chancellor Hank
Huckaby and Georgia
State University President
Mark Becker are both to be
commended for their vision
and long view. Becker knew
that building a successful
football program and winning
sports tradition was part of
a path to expanding alumni
support and connection to the
institution. Huckaby a longtime
numbers cruncher also saw
the benefits of consolidation
and merger with many colleges
which began their life just as
Georgia State once did, as
a night school and program
for non-traditional students to
improve and expand their skill
sets or retool for the jobs and
hiring demands of tomorrow.
Becker brought in coach
Bill Curry to build out the
infrastructure for the Georgia
State football program. Games
in the Georgia Dome brought
the program credibility, but also
some steep ticket prices, driven
by the rental rates on the facility
for a nascent program. 
The Ted will be reconfigured
to become a football stadium
for the Georgia State Panthers
and a baseball stadium will
be constructed nearby. GSU’s
development partners, Carter
and Oakwood Development
will bring the GSU campus
south of Georgia’s Gold Dome
and along with that expansion,
new classroom space, student
housing, apartments and new

FREEPRESS

retail to an area starving for both
jobs and investment. 
“We have achieved our
goal, saving Atlanta and Fulton
taxpayers from mothballing or
maintaining this massive facility,
and put in place a development
team that will spark new
rounds of development and
opportunities for the citizens of
Summerhill, Mechanicsville and
Peoplestown and all the citizens
of Atlanta and Fulton County,”
said Keisha Lance Bottoms,
executive director of the Atlanta
Fulton County Recreation
Authority, which negotiated and
managed the sale.
It should be noted that
Lance Bottoms is also a strong
and contributing member of
the Atlanta City Council, and
an announced candidate for
mayor. With the sale of The Ted,
there is also declining rationale
for the continuance of an Atlanta
Fulton County Recreation
Authority, though the authority
does still maintain oversight of
Philips Arena and Zoo Atlanta.
But back to Blue
Panthers and neighborhood
revitalization. Georgia State gets
its own sporting infrastructure
and stadium, with some history

the DeKalb

Let Us Know What You Think!
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Publisher:
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Photographer:
Travis Hudgons

Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn

Staff Reporters:
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R. Scott Belzer
Horace Holloman

Production Manager:
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The DeKalb Free Press is published each Friday
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114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur, GA. 30030
Phone (404) 373-7779.
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and a great back-story. The
campus and institution take
title to dozens of acres offering
ample expansion opportunities
for the university and much of
those improvements will be
made by the private sector,
versus solely being funded
with tax dollars. It is not so well
known, but the broad cluster of
facilities and campuses which
are Georgia State include a
large park, athletic facilities
and a small conference center
in south DeKalb County, not
attached to the three former
Georgia Perimeter campuses in
Clarkston, Decatur or Dunwoody.
In case you are unfamiliar,
the home of those facilities is
in a little place already called
Panthersville. 
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator
for Channel 2’s Action News,
WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now
95.5 FM, as well as a columnist
for The Champion, Champion
Free Press and Georgia Trend.
Crane is a DeKalb native
and business owner, living in
Scottdale. You can reach him
or comment on a column at bill.
csicrane@gmail.com.

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

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 8A

Decide DeKalb adds Mechel
McKinley as senior project manager
Decide DeKalb
announced Jan. 11 the
recent addition of Mechel
McKinley as senior project
manager.
McKinley, who recently
served as the executive
director for Stone Mountain
Downtown Development
Authority, will work to
attract, expand and retain
businesses in DeKalb
County.
“[McKinley’s] economic
development background,
ingenuity and perspective
makes her a perfect fit as our
new senior project manager,”
Decide DeKalb President
Ray Gilley said. “We are
excited to welcome her to the
team.”
During her three-year
tenure with the Stone
Mountain Downtown
Development Authority,
McKinley implemented a
signature small business
grant program for The
Village in Stone Mountain.
The BOOST Stone Mountain
grant provides $100 to $1,000

Former Stone Mountain Downtown Development Authority
Executive Director Mechel
McKinley is now senior project
manager for Decide DeKalb.

awards to assist with the
purchase of signage, exterior
renovations and advertising
for businesses located in The
Village.
“We were able to
engage local investors to
contribute to the BOOST
Stone Mountain grant which
enabled small businesses,
located in The Village,
an opportunity to move
their businesses forward,”
McKinley said. ”This is a
model example of neighbors
supporting neighbors.”

In McKinley’s new role
as senior project manager,
she will create, direct and
implement programs to
support commercial and
industrial development.
McKinley, a Stone Mountain
resident, will also assist
the business development
team with workforce and
small business development
initiatives.
“I am excited to continue
my work with economic
development in DeKalb
County and look forward to
promoting the place I call
home to the global business
community,” McKinley said.
McKinley holds a degree
in business administration
from Birmingham-Southern
College and is poised to
receive her professional
certification in economic
development financing.
Decide DeKalb serves
as the primary economic
development driving force
to attract, expand and
retain businesses in DeKalb
County.

DeKalb County launches Veterans Treatment Court
A new court system
geared toward helping
DeKalb County’s veterans
was recently unveiled thanks
to a grant from the Council of
Accountability Court Judges
(CACJ).
The DeKalb County
Veterans Treatment Court,
which received nearly
$117,000 from the CACJ,
is set to launch this month.
The DeKalb County Superior
Court provided an additional
$12,994 in matching funds.
The veterans treatment
court is a two-year judicially
supervised treatment
program designed to assist
high risk, high-needs felony
level veteran offenders
suffering from substance
abuse or mental health
disorders.
DeKalb County Superior
Court Judge J. P. Boulee, who
helped to initiate the veterans
court program, said he is
excited to see the program
come to fruition.
“[I’m] excited to have the
[DeKalb County Veterans
Treatment Court] up and
running. [I’m] hopeful
that the court will work as
intended, which is to help
give those who have bravely
served us all a second chance

at leading healthy, productive
lives,” Boulee said in a
statement.
The treatment court
was put together with the
help of DeKalb County
Superior Court, the DeKalb
County District Attorney’s
Office, the DeKalb County
Public Defender’s Office,
the DeKalb County Sheriff ’s
Department, the DeKalb
County Magistrate Court and
the Department of Veterans
Affairs.
Those participating in the
two-year veterans treatment
court program must attend
individual and group
counseling, obtain a veteran
mentor, submit to random
drug screens and appear
weekly in court in front of
Boulee, according to court
officials.
The program also will
offer psychiatric support
services, food, housing, job
placement, transportation,
family counseling sessions,
trauma support services and
medication maintenance and
adherence.
To be eligible the
defendant must be a veteran
charged with a felony offense
and the cause must be related
to substance use or a co-

occurring disorder, according
to court officials.
Defendants with
borderline personality
disorder or individuals
charged with murder,
rape, aggravated child
molestation, aggravated
sodomy, kidnapping with
bodily injury, armed robbery,
aggravated sexual battery,
felony sexual battery or
any sex crime requiring the
defendant to register as a sex
offender are not be eligible
for the program.
In a statement, DeKalb
County Veterans Court
officials said the CACJ grant
“made it possible for DeKalb
County to begin addressing
the issues of the veterans who
have served and reside here
in DeKalb County.  DeKalb
recognizes that our veterans
are returning home and
not in the same condition,
mentally and physically, in
which they left.  The VTC is
an opportunity for DeKalb to
deal with the revolving door
of the criminal justice system
that waits for veterans who
are suffering from untreated
and unmanaged substance
use and/or co-occurring
disorders.

Doraville City Council voted in favor of retaining the legal services of Cecil
McLendon of Riley McLendon LLC, despite a $2,500 increase in pay per month
and $100 increase per court session.

Doraville retains legal
services of Riley McLendon
City retain city attorney and city
solicitor services despite price increase
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
Doraville City Council
voted in favor of retaining
the legal services of Cecil
McLendon of Riley McLendon
LLC, despite a $2,500 increase
in pay per month and $100
increase per court session.
On Jan. 9, Doraville council
approved increasing the city
attorney’s wages from $12,500
per month ($150,000 annually)
and $375 per court session to
$15,000 per month ($180,000
annually) and $475 per court
session.
Former councilman
and Doraville resident Tom
Hart criticized the lack of
competitive bid for the project
before the council meeting
began.
“We’ve had the same law
firm since a former city council
member hired him as her
personal attorney,” Hart said.
“It’s time to sever ties with a
former city councilperson’s
attorney. We need to put that
job out for bid. We need to do
something different and make
a change instead of giving
them more money.”
“This is more or less a
housekeeping item,” said
Mayor Donna Pittman. “We
voted on this in the budget in
June. For some reason it did

not get back on the agenda
until January and they are
owed their money. They do
an outstanding job for us and
we appreciate everything they
have done.”
According to Pittman, the
law firm is easy to work with
and offers a responsiveness that
includes late-night phone calls
and text messages.
Doraville City Council
approved $320,000 to be set
aside for legal purposes in
its approved 2017 budget, an
increase of $30,000 from its
2016 budget and an amount
reflected in the outlined
retainer fee.
“Riley McLendon was
retained in January 2010
and the rates have not been
increased since the initial
retainer was established,” reads
the proposed agenda item.
Councilwoman Pam
Fleming called Riley
McLendon an excellent firm.
“I trust their decision
making and all of the services
done for us,” Fleming said.
Riley McLendon is
headquartered in Marietta.
Cecil McLendon, a Sandy
Springs resident, also serves as
Dunwoody’s city attorney and
has work experience as city
attorney for Brookhaven and
a Cobb County government
employee.

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 9A

Commissioner reveals plans
for city of Prosperity
by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
After losing out on the
presiding officer spot for the
new year, DeKalb County
Commissioner Larry Johnson
wasted no time expressing
what he thinks would be the
next best step for his district.
During the Board of
Commissioners first regular
meeting of the year, Johnson

highly valuable.
“It has almost $6 billion in
appraised value. A part of this
is trying to control our own
destiny. It’s called the city of
Prosperity where vision and
dreams come true,” Johnson
said. “We have all of the
details and things we want to
do and we have sponsors that
will help us with this.”
Johnson said the
decision to create a new
city was partially due
to the slow response of
the county when trying
to get materials for
his district. He hopes
to make the new city
a locally controlled
government.
“I get sick and tired
of times where I call
and try to get signs
removed from poles
or get potholes fixed
or the type of business
-Larry Johnson
development being
so close to Hartsfield
unveiled plans to create a new
[Jackson Atlanta International
city in his district. Johnson,
Airport]— the largest airport,”
who represents District 3
Johnson said. “Our economic
in DeKalb County, said it’s
development is still at a
time for the district to move
standstill.”
forward in 2017.
Last year the city of
“We need to move forward
Stonecrest was approved
in our district and we’ll
by DeKalb County voters
make it more clear as we do
in November and the year
it,” Johnson said during the
prior Tucker became a city
meeting. “We’re tired of the
in DeKalb County. In 2012
disrespect and the things that
Brookhaven also became a
we deal with. We want to
city.
pursue our own city. It will
“It’s part of us creating
mostly be made up of District
a dialogue so that people
3.”
understand what we go
Johnson’s proposed city,
through,” Johnson said. “We
to be called Prosperity, would
have the vision and foresight
cover most of southwest
to move forward. I just wanted
DeKalb County which includes you all to know from District 3
roughly 150,000 residents.
this will be a robust discussion
Johnson said the new city
and dialogue that we need to
could bring in business and is
have.”

‘Our
economic
development
is still at a
standstill.’

CITY OF STONE MOUNTAIN
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE
The City of Stone Mountain hereby gives notice that a Public
Hearing will be held to consider Zoning Variance Application
for the property located at 787 Fourth Street, Stone Mountain,
GA.
The Mayor and City Council will hold a Public Hearing on
this matter on February 7, 2017 at City Hall located at 875
Main Street, Stone Mountain, GA at 6:30 P.M. Anyone
wishing to attend the public hearing may do so and be heard
relative thereto. Please contact the City of Stone Mountain
Administration Office at 770-498-8984 for further
information.

The Old Briarcliff Safety Alliance is in opposition to a proposed residential development in the Druid Hills neighborhood.

Community alliance fighting
proposed development in Druid Hills
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A group of Druid
Hills residents is speaking
out against a proposed
development that could
bring what they say are
unsafe conditions to the
neighborhood.
The Old Briarcliff Safety
Alliance said the multifamily
proposal by Minerva Homes
on Old Briarcliff Road would
impact public safety, the
surrounding trees, watershed
protection and character of the
neighborhood.
According to Minerva’s
website, the developer is
proposing to construct “Art
Moderne style flats and
townhomes” at 1517 Briafcliff
Road, near Fox 5 Atlanta’s
broadcast tower. They are
hoping to rezone the property

for residential use.
During the research of
the project, Russ Haynie,
president of Old Briarcliff
Safety Alliance, said the group
discovered that DeKalb County
does not have an ordinance
on regulations concerning
residential development within
the fall zone of broadcast
towers.
“We believe DeKalb County
inadvertently left those towers
unregulated and now we’re
facing this development threat
because there [are] really no
regulations on the books,”
Haynie said.
Haynie said there are
safety concerns with the tower
regarding falling ice. He said
one of his neighbors has dealt
with ice damage to her home
in the past.
“She’s had ice damage in
the past with big chunks of
ice coming off the tower,” he

said. “This tower is definitely
prone to ice accumulation
and that is a safety hazard for
putting people in homes under
it. These towers can collapse,
that’s why these municipalities
do regulate them.”
The group held a public
meeting Jan. 3 to express
concerns to the developer and
DeKalb County Commissioner
Jeff Rader. The group is asking
Rader and the county to take
a closer look at the zoning
ordinance and to a moratorium
on building applications.
“We’re aiming for the
county commission to enact
a moratorium on building
applications in proximity to
these very tall towers until they
can do their due diligence, fully
understand the safety issues
and implement a reasonable a
setback,” Haynie said.

Agapi ID# 33883299–is a petite little lady who will greet you
with the utmost enthusiasm when you come home from work! This
three year old gal is calm and cool, but can barely contain herself when she
sees you are going to take her for a walk! If you want the best ever walking
partner; meet Agapi at LifeLine’s DeKalb Animal Services!
If you would like to expand your family by 4 furry little feet; come
meet Agapi at the DeKalb Animal Shelter. “Ring in the New Year with a
New Pet” and have a loving friend forever. During January 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 Agapi please call (404) 294-2165
or email adoption@dekalbanimalservices.com. All potential adopters
will be screened to ensure Agapi goes to a good home. Hours: MonFri; 11am-7pm / Sat-Sun; 11am-6pm

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 10A

Clark Patterson Lee, a New York architecture, engineering and service firm with offices in Woodstock and Suwannee, was recently awarded and renewed contracts in
Doraville and Chamblee. Photos courtesy of Clark Patterson Lee.

Clark Patterson Lee making the rounds in DeKalb
New York firm begins service in downtown Doraville redevelopment, renews old
contract and begins services in Chamblee
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
A Rochester, NY, architecture firm is making the rounds
at cities in DeKalb County.
Clark Patterson Lee (CPL),
an architecture, engineering
and municipal services firm
with offices in Suwannee and
Woodstock, began offering
government services to Chamblee and Doraville in early
January.
On Jan. 17, Doraville
awarded CPL a contract for
its Downtown Doraville Civic
Campus redevelopment. CPL
will act as prime consultant
and lead planning, architecture
building systems and utility engineering on the project, which
will completely revamp and
renovate Doraville’s downtown
core.
According to the project’s
plans, Doraville will add a
three-story city hall and civic
center; a two-story police station and courthouse; a 5,000to 10,000-square-foot library
and approximately 200 parking
spaces.
Redevelopment will also
include new roads, a civic lawn
and amphitheater, a city hall
garden, a city park pavilion, a
gazebo, a pedestrian and bike
bridge, water sites and more.
CPL has designed a similar
“campus” in Suwannee.
The overall budget for the

project, according to city officials, is approximately $30
million.
According to city documents, CPL is one of four
firms that participated in an
in-person interview. The others

the Downtown Doraville Campus Redevelopment is poised
to become the place where the
entire community can proudly
declare ‘This is Doraville.’ The
Downtown Doraville Campus Redevelopment holds the

‘We welcome the
CPL team to the
city of Chamblee.’
- Jon Walker
are Cooper Carry; Smallwood
Reynolds, Stewart & Stewart; as
well as Perkins Eastman.
CPL will work with Duluth
site design firm Keck & Wood,
Atlanta designer Eric Bosman,
Atlanta architects TimHaahs &
Associates, Alpharetta-based
architects Pieper O’Brien Herr,
New York architecture firm 720
Design and Mack Cain Landscape Design Studio to complete the project.
“The Clark Patterson Lee
team offers you the passion,
vision, expertise and proven
experience necessary to deliver
a successful outcome,” reads
CPL’s cover letter bidding for
the project. “Once complete,

promise to recapture and refine
the City’s history while greatly
enhancing access to and delivery of municipal services.”
On Jan. 9, Doraville City
Council renewed its contract
with CPL for building inspection services. Following approval, the city will provide
60 percent of incoming plan
review fees and 60 percent of
base permit fees to CPL.
Doraville will also pay a fee
of $57.81 per hour, with additional costs on an as-needed
basis. Supplemental costs include $46.25 per hour for a certified building inspector, $57.81
for a certified building official,
$46.25 per hour for a certified

plan reviewer and $57.81 per
hour for a certified code enforcement officer.
The award is a renewal on
a contract that expired in December 2016. Doraville originally solicited the service in
2014. According to City Manager Shawn Gillen, for the city
to provide the same services
over the next five years would
cost the city approximately $4.3
million.
“[CPL] has served us outstandingly,” said Mayor Donna
Pittman at the Jan. 9 meeting.
“They do outstanding work.
I’ve been very pleased and have
not heard any complaints about
them—usually the ones complaining are the people who got
citations.”
Former councilman and
Doraville resident Tom Hart
criticized the lack of competitive bid for the project before
the council meeting began.

On Jan. 1, CPL took over
community development services for Chamblee. The firm
will handle applications for
permits from residents and
businesses and find ways to improve the overall process.
“We welcome the CPL team
to the city of Chamblee,” said
City Manager Jon Walker.
“CPL has been an industry
leader in Georgia for more than
20 years with a great track record for implementing processes that improve the efficiency,
quality of service and transparency of local governments.”

Public Notification:

Our client has one (1) existing 30-foot railroad communications
pole within the railroad right-of-way. Tower #25994 is located at
railroad mile post 624.70 in Chamblee, near the intersection of
Peachtree Road and American Industrial Way, Dekalb County,
GA 30341. Golder Associates on behalf of our client invites
comments from any interested party regarding specific location information and/or the potential effects of the towers on
historic properties. Comments may be sent to Angela Kappen,
N27 W23960 Paul Rd., Suite 210, Pewaukee, WI 53072 or
akappen@golder.com. Comments must be received 30 days
following published date.

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 11A

WEEKinPICTURES

The Cedar Grove High School football team was honored at the most recent meeting of the DeKalb County School District
board of education on Jan. 9. Photo submitted.

Superintendent Stephen Green, regional superintendent Ralph Simpson,
chief operations officer Josh Williams, chief information officer Gary Brantley and principal Angela Thomas-Bethea tour the newly opened facility on
Jan. 12. Photo submitted.

Southwest DeKalb guard Jada Walton scored her 1000th point Jan.
10 against Clarkston.

Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal administered the oath of office to new Dunwoody Police Officers Courtlen Jones and
Ethan Taffer. Photo submitted.

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, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 12A
D.
E.

PUBLIC NOTICE
HUD Submission for 2017 Funding – Annual Action Plan Draft
Preliminary Budget and Plan

2.

LOAN/BOND REPAYMENT ($800,000)
A.

Public Comments Invited
PROPOSED UPDATE TO DEKALB COUNTY’S 20142018 CONSOLIDATED PLAN, INCLUDING THE YEAR
2017 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN FOR THE COMMUNITY
DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT, HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP AND EMERGENCY SOLUTIONS
GRANTS PROGRAMS
The DeKalb County Community Development Department
is preparing its update of the 2014-2018 Consolidated Plan,
which has been extended to include the Year 2017 Annual
Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant
Program (CDBG), the Home Investment Partnership Act
(HOME), and the Emergency Solutions Grants Program
(ESGP).
Written public comments will be received from
January 19, 2017 through February 18, 2017 and
should be submitted to the DeKalb County Community
Development Department, 3486 Covington Highway,
Decatur, Georgia 30032.
Anticipated Year 2017 Grant Awards and
Program Income:
2017 Community Development Block
$ 4,739,475
Grant Allocation (CDBG)
Projected CDBG Program Income

$

2017 HOME Program Allocation

$ 1,648,443

Projected HOME Program Income

$

235,184

2017 Emergency Solutions Grant Program
Allocation (ESGP)

$

427,116

TOTAL

129,077

$ 7,179,295

PROGRAM POLICY for PROGRAM INCOME
1.

2.
3.

4.
5.

6.

7.
8.

Twenty percent of CDBG Program Income will be
used for Planning and Administration. Up to 15% may
be used for Public Services activities as outlined in the
budget. The remaining balance will be used for other
eligible activities.
Ten percent of the HOME Program Income will be
used for Planning and Administration.
CDBG regulations require program income to be
used before Treasury funds are expended. Program
income will be used for any approved eligible activity
as outlined in the 2014-2018 Consolidated Plan.
If more program income revenue is received than
anticipated for any activity, the additional funds will be
appropriated to activities indicated in this policy.
The designated entity that the County contracts with to
manage the Economic Development Revolving Loan
Fund may retain the program income for approved
loans programs for small businesses in DeKalb or
return the funds to the County. The County must
approve the loan fund programs that utilize County
funds and Program income generated from repayment
of loans that were made with County funds.
Program income funds generated from the Housing
Rehab Revolving Loan Fund will be returned to the
revolving loan fund to be used for additional loans
to eligible borrowers or other eligible programs and
activities as approved by the Community Development
Director.
Program income funds may also be
withdrawn and returned to the County for any other
eligible activities.
If we receive any recaptured HOME funds, they will
be deposited into the Local HOME Trust Account and
used for additional HOME eligible activities.
Program Income receipts may vary widely from
amounts projected due to any number of unanticipated
factors. Regardless of the amount received, the
Consolidated Plan will not need to be amended
unless the funds are used for activities not outlined in
the 2014-2018 Consolidated Plan or other approved
eligible activities.
YEAR 2017 CDBG PROPOSED ACTIVITIES

Below are preliminary recommendations. Please review
the complete proposed recommendations to the 20142018 Consolidated Plan, which has been extended to include the Year 2017 Annual Action Plan for details about
the activities.
1.

PUBLIC FACILITIES IMPROVEMENTS ($1,711,442)
A.
B.
C.

Fire Station #7 – Design and Construction
($588,000)
Tobie Grant Recreation Center –
Construction ($588,000)
City of Brookhaven - Park Improvements &
Housing Study($105,000)
City of Clarkston – Sidewalk Project Design and

Engineering ($120,000)
Friend of Disabled Adults and Children - Facility
Renovation Project ($205,000)
DeKalb Public Works – Idlewood Rd. Sidewalk
Project Design and Engineering ($105,442)

3.

HUD Section 108 Loan Repayment –
Estimated annual repayment amount
– ($800,000) (See additional CDBG recommendation G.)

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ($325,000)
A.
B.

Revolving Loan Fund for Small Business Initiative
– ($250,000)
Urban League - DeKalb Small Business MircoEnterprise Training Program – ($75,000)
PUBLIC SERVICES $675,738
(15% Cap)

COC/Homelessness/Assistance
4.

Africa’s Children’s Fund, Inc. ($23,000)
Provides case management, (including assessment
and referral) to assist homeless and underserved
households in DeKalb County, as well as housing
and supportive services that enable those households
to become self sufficient and avoid incidents of
homelessness.
5. Continuum of Care Coordinated Intake ($25,000)
This activity is a critical component of the DeKalb
Continuum of Care Centralized Access Model. CDBG
funds will be used to fund a part-time position to
perform case management.
6. Drug/Mental Health Court Assistance Programs
($68,115)
Provides housing assistance to participants in a
judicially supervised drug/mental health treatment
and alternative sentencing program for non-violent
offenders with substance abuse problems.
7. Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta, Inc. ($15,500)
Provides free household furniture to people in need
within DeKalb County. The majority of clients impacted will be moving out of homelessness, are living with
HIV/AIDS, or fleeing domestic violence.
8. Jerusalem House, Inc. ($23,000)
Transitional housing and services for persons with
HIV/AIDS.
9. Latin American Association, Inc. ($23,000)
Employment counseling and support services primarily for Hispanic persons who are homeless or at risk.
10. TBRA Case Management ($25,000)
Provides case management services for homeless
individuals.

$300,000 for years 2009-2018 toward housing
services).
24. Special Purpose Housing Repair Program
($50,000) CDBG funding will be used to provide
income eligible seniors home system repairs up to
$10,000.
25. Demolition ($110,000) CDBG funds will be used for
eligible single family housing demolition and housing
program.
26. Slum and Blight ($100,000) CDBG funds will be used
for eligible multi-family demolition.
PLANNING AND PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION
(20% CAP)
27. Community Development Administration
($937,295)
General oversight, planning, management, monitoring
and Implementation services
YEAR 2017 PROPOSED HOME ACTIVITIES
HOME Investment Partnerships Program ($1,647,443)
28. HOME Program Administration (10%) Set-aside
($164,844) Funds to be used for direct administration
and project implementation costs associated with the
HOME program.
29. HOME/CHDO Projects (15%) Set-Aside ($236,266)
Funds will be provided to eligible organizations for
cost associated with the development, sponsorship, or
ownership of affordable housing.
30. HOME CHDO Operating (5%) Set-Aside ($82,422)
Funds will be used to provide general operating
assistance to CHDO’s that are receiving set-aside
funds for an activity or activities.
32. HOME Eligible Projects ($1,153,911)
These are undesignated funds. The proposed
activities being considered are: Single-family owneroccupied rehab, Single-family homeownership new
construction, Single–family rehab (Rental), Multifamily (Rental), Single-family Homeownership (Down
payment Assistance) Acquisition (including assistance
to homebuyers), Tenant-based Rental Assistance, and
any other housing development activities considered
eligible under HOME Program regulations. Housing
Initiative to leverage Neighborhood Stabilization
Program Fund.
YEAR 2017 ESGP PROPOSED CATEGORIES OF
FUNDING ($417,705)
28. Emergency Shelter + Street Outreach - 60% Cap
($185,195)
29. Administrative Costs – 7.5% Cap ($30,921)
NOTES SECTION

Financial Literacy
11. New American Pathways, Inc. ($23,000)
Financial literacy counseling and education for
refugees.

ADDITIONAL CDBG RECOMMENDATIONS
A.

Housing Counseling/Home Ownership
12. Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc. ($60,000)
Prevention of predatory lending, consumer education,
fraudulent mortgages and mortgage scams public
awareness.
13. Center for Pan Asian Community Services.
($23,000)
Home Education and Loss Prevention (HELP)
program that will help homeowners by providing
foreclosure prevention counseling to them.
14. Green Forest CDC, Inc. ($23,000)
Provide housing counseling and foreclosure
prevention counselor.
15. Metro Fair Housing Services Inc. ($40,605)
Provides legal advice and referrals for housing
discrimination complaints.
16. Morning Star Urban Development, Inc.
($10,000)
Housing counseling and foreclosure prevention.
17. D&E, A Financial Education and Training Institute
($10,000) Housing counseling and foreclosure
prevention.

B.

The Art Station Facility – Replacement of the existing
roof on a County owned facility - $273,000 (since 2012)
Clarkston Community Center, Inc – Assist
in the completion of the renovation of the
existing facility, leveraging other funds –
$628,060.
Consideration of funding for
the Clarkston Community Center facility
expansion is contingent upon the agency’s
leveraging of $628,060 through private
foundation contributions and/or fundraising
efforts. Based on the current funding level,
we do not anticipate any HUD funding for this
project in the immediate future. (since 2012)
Renovation of DeKalb Atlanta Human
Services Center – renovation of building to
replace the elevator and create a conference
and learning center - $50,000 contingent
upon funding availability. (since 2014)

Sustainable Neighborhoods
18. Implementation of DSNI (Individual Clusters)
($62,468)
Youth/Child Development
19. Our House, Inc. ($75,000)
Daycare services for children of homeless families.
20. Scottdale Child Development and Family
Resource Center, Inc. of Central DeKalb ($23,000)
Affordable childcare and family resource center.
21. The Sheltering Arms, Inc. ($23,000)
Affordable childcare and family resource center.
22. Youth Voucher Set-aside Program ($100,000)
Assistance for youth participating in recreational
activities.
HOUSING ACTIVITIES
23. Tuscany Village Housing Services ($30,000)
CDBG funds not to exceed $30,000 per year (totaling

Section 108 Loan Program – The Community Development Department will consider the use of the
Section 108 Loan Program to finance the building of
large scale eligible Capital Improvement Projects. The
mechanism for repayment of these projects will be
from the County General Fund and not CDBG funds.
The following projects are a part of the 2014-2018
Consolidated Plan. If funds are available, these projects listed below will move forward in accordance with
the County’s priorities.

C.

The Community Development Department Director
may approve interchanging the use of HOME and
CDBG funds, and ESG and CDBG funds, for projects
as long as all program eligibility standards are met.
Any additional funding received may be used to assist with further implementation of the strategies outlined in the Quality of Life Plans (developed by the
four clusters participating in the DeKalb Sustainable
Neighborhoods Initiative) and/or actions that will focus on the five elements (Literacy, Job Readiness,
Housing, Transportation or other Social Services) as
defined in the PHLOTES report. Both initiatives will
provide benefit to low and moderate income families

LOCAL
in these areas.
CDBG funds will be used for any approved eligible activity as outlined in the 2014-2018 Consolidated Plan.
Because CDBG regulations require program income
to be used before Treasury funds are expended, flexibility is needed in order to comply with the regulations.
E. The DeKalb County Community Development Department is authorized to reallocate funding of prior year
projects that are no longer feasible or needed. Reallocating previously funded projects will allow for other
approved projects to utilize prior year or current year
funds. Through the reallocation process, the Community Development Department is allowed to utilize/reallocate funds immediately to ensure compliance with
HUD guidelines and regulations.
F. The DeKalb Performing Arts and Community Center
was financed with bonds issued by The DeKalb Development Authority and other approved sources, including CDBG funds. The primary resource for the repayment is the designated rental car tax revenue. CDBG
and other County resources will be utilized as backup
resources if the rental car tax revenue is not sufficient
to pay the debt. There is no funding gap anticipated
for the 2017 payment. If there is a need, CDBG funds
will be used to pay for a portion of the remaining balance of the bond repayment up to the allowed maximum. The Community Development Director will identify sources from eligible categories and transfer funds
to the Finance Department to make the payments.
G. The funding for the construction of the North DeKalb
Community Center, the South DeKalb Community
Center, and the Central DeKalb Senior Center is an
approved HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee and
available CDBG resources, including prior years funding. The remaining Section 108 principle loan amount
is $11.6 Million with an amortization period of 20 years
(2011-2030) at an estimated interest rate of 2%. The
annual loan repayment amount will be approximately
$800,000.
H. The Community Development Department will work
with the Infrastructure Group to construct Fire Station
#7. The County will go through the RFP process for
A&E services and construction. As additional funds
become available in 2017 and/or 2018, the Community Development Department would like to move forward to complete Fire Station #7.
I. If funds are available in the Public Services Category,
they may be used to assist with providing services to fill
the services gap in the DeKalb Continuum of Care for
the Homeless and meet other needs in DeKalb neighborhoods. The DeKalb County Community Development Department will collaborate with DeKalb County
Continuum of Care representatives and other service
providers to identify and prioritize service gaps.
J. While adhering to the approved process for committing HOME funds to multi-family projects in 2007, we
committed $310,000 to the Tuscany Village Apartments project as part of the project’s tax credit application. We later determined that a better funding
approach was to use CDBG funding for the housing
services portion of the project and HOME funds for
the development of units. The County amended its
commitment agreement and authorized the use of
CDBG funds not to exceed $30,000 per year (totaling $300,000 for years 2009 – 2018 toward housing
services) and HOME funds (with a one-time commitment of $10,000) for unit development. These funds
leveraged the affordable housing tax credits used to
rehabilitate the 144 unit development. The total cost
of the project was $14,790,000.
K. At the direction of the Community Development Department Director, CDBG funds may be used to fulfill
any eligible match requirements that are associated
with ESG and/or CoC funding.

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 13A
development and implementation of affordable housing assistance programs and projects. The Housing
Authority acts as an agent and sub-recipient on a
number of HOME activities. Many of these activities
are undertaken through the County’s ongoing contract with the Housing Authority and are developed
and implemented in accordance with the program
descriptions executed by the Housing Authority Executive Director and the Community Development
Department Director. The County may work with the
DeKalb Housing Authority or other approved entities.
The following is a listing of potential activities that
may be undertaken by the County with HOME funds
in the upcoming program year and details outlining
how they may be administered.
Implementation services for single-family, owner occupied housing rehabilitation projects may be provided by the Community Development Department,
the Housing Authority (through its contract with the
County), or another for profit or non-profit organization (through the contract process).
Unless otherwise approved, all multi-family projects
will be implemented under the Housing Authority’s contract with the County following a competitive application process and thorough review of the
project for compliance with the County’s underwriting guidelines as outlined in the HOME application
package. This includes multi-family developments
using CHDO funds. The Community Development
Director is authorized to commit funding amounts
and determine loan terms to these projects.
Tenant-based Rental Assistance programs may be
administered by the Housing Authority under its
contract with the County or other approved entities
through separate agreements.
When the County pursues additional affordable housing initiatives in Scottdale and other communities,
the County will partner with other entities on development activities.
The Community Development Department Director may approve interchanging the use of CDBG,
HOME, NSP 1 and NSP 3 funds for projects as long
as all program eligibility standards are met.
The County will consider Tenant-based Rental Assistance on special initiatives consistent with the DeKalb
Continuum of Care.
The Community Development Department Director
to provide comments and letters of support to the
Georgia Department of Community Affairs regarding
Tax Credit applications or to other entities regarding
potential funding for applicants.
The Community Development Department will work
with the County and community to identify and prioritize distressed multi-family properties in the County
and develop collaborative strategies to improve them.
In an effort to stabilize neighborhoods, prevent and/
or reduce blight, and increase the availability of standard, affordable housing, the County may acquire,
demolish, and/or redevelop substandard apartment
complexes or single family residences using CDBG,
HOME, NSP 1, NSP3, Program Income, and other
funds.
If funds are available in the Public Services category,
they may be used to assist in providing services to fill
the services gap in the DeKalb Continuum of Care for
the Homeless. We will collaborate with DeKalb CoC
representatives and other providers to determine areas of need.

D.

HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
i. Currently, there are six (6) DeKalb County Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO’s):
ANDP, Inc., DeKalb Habitat Community Housing Development, The Alliance of DeKalb, Inc., Summech,
NCRAD, Resources for Residents Community Group.
The 2016 CHDO operating funds in the amount not to
exceed $82,422 is available to assist funded CHDOs
with their general administrative costs. If additional
CHDO’s are approved by the County, we will consider providing funds on a case by case basis. Any
funds not allocated will be reprogrammed and used
for other HOME-eligible costs. We will accept applications from CHDO’s during the regular application
process, but move forward to fund the recommended
agencies throughout the year.
ii. In order to provide maximum flexibility in allocating
HOME funds, the County only includes eligible categories of funding in the 2014-2018 Consolidated
Plan rather than specific projects. The figures do
not include prior year funds that may be available for
these projects or program income that was received
later in 2016 or in 2017. If there is an increase in the
HOME allocation and more CHDO funds are available, the funds will be designated for eligible uses as
determined by the Community Development Department Director and the approval of the Chief Executive Officer.
iii. The County works closely with the DeKalb Housing
Authority in the administration of its CDBG, HOME,
NSP1 and NSP3 Program activities related to the

a.

b.

c.

d.

iv.

v.
vi.

vii.

viii.

ix.

EMERGENCY SOLUTIONS GRANTS PROGRAM
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
A.
B.

C.

D.
E.

F.

HUD requires a 7.5% cap on the funds for
Administration, and a 60% cap on Emergency Shelter
+ Outreach. There is no cap on any other component.
Representatives from the newly formed DeKalb
County Continuum of Care (CoC) are assessing
services to determine gaps and establish new DeKalb
County priorities for serving the homeless population.
The Community Development Department Director
is authorized to make the required funding changes
to fill service gaps, align ESG funding with newly
formed priorities, and satisfy HUD’s guidelines and
regulations. Changes may include funding agencies
that are not shown in the 2017 allocation but have
been recommended by the DeKalb Continuum of
Care.
If for any reason and for any year Emergency
Solutions Grants funds have been received and
service providers cannot utilize the funds allocated,
the fund will be considered for reprogramming to any
of the approved ESGP service providers or providers
who can fill a service gap in a manner that is identified
by the Community Development Department Director.
All approved ESGP funding will be contingent upon the
agency being in compliance with all DeKalb County
statutory regulations.
The Community Development Department Director will
be authorized to act on behalf of the County to provide
certifications for non-profit agencies that request
funding from the Georgia Department of Community
Affairs or other providers in the County of DeKalb.
Any funds remaining from the previous year will be
reprogrammed to agencies approved to receive FY
2017 ESGP funding.
OTHER

Re-Entry Program
The State provides short term financial assistance ($700

per offender per month for three months) to help stabilize
the re-entry process of newly released convicted felons
and enhance their ability to remain crime free. Following
an agency housing/services assessment process, the
Community Development Department will recommend
approval or disapproval for agencies wishing to provide
housing for this program. The final determination will be
made by the Chief Executive Officer.
DeKalb County Continuum of Care (COC)
In compliance with the HEARTH Act of 2012, the DeKalb
Continuum of Care (CoC) has formed committees to
develop an organizational structure, establish priorities,
assess service gaps, and implement a service delivery
system. When completed, the delivery system description
will include uniform requirements for the provision of
homeless programs and services in DeKalb County. The
delivery system will move away from the homeless shelter
concept to a variation of the Housing First model of rapidly
re-housing homeless individuals and households.
The County has agreed to work as the Collaborative
Applicant for the DeKalb CoC. In this role, the County will
receive the HUD Planning Grant, HMIS, and other funds
that support the work and activities in the CoC. As the
Collaborative Applicant, the county may receive additional
funds and may apply to become the Unified Funding Agent
for the DeKalb CoC. At the direction of the Community
Development Department Director, CDBG funds may be
used to pay salaries for Department personnel performing
CoC or homelessness mitigation related work and fulfill
any eligible match requirements that are associated with
CoC and/or ESG funding.
THE PRELIMINARY 2014-2018 CONSOLIDATED PLAN
INCLUDING THE 2017 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN MAY BE
REVIEWED AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:
Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The DeKalb County Housing Authority
750 Commerce Drive, Suite 201, Decatur
DeKalb Workforce Development Department
320 Church Street, Decatur
DeKalb County Community Development Department
3486 Covington Highway, Decatur
Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
South DeKalb Senior Citizens Center
1931 Candler Road, Decatur
DeKalb/Atlanta Senior Citizens Center
25 Warren Street, S.E., Atlanta
Bruce Street/East DeKalb Senior Center
2484 Bruce Street, Lithonia
Lou Walker Senior Center
2538 Panola Rd., Lithonia
The Housing Authority of the City of Lithonia
6878 Max Cleland Blvd, Lithonia
Please contact the DeKalb County area public libraries
listed below for the hours of operation.
Chamblee Branch
4115 Clairmont Road, Chamblee
(770-936-1380)
Decatur Branch
215 Sycamore Street, Decatur
(404-370-3070)
Redan-Trotti Branch
1569 Wellborn Road, Lithonia
(770-482-3821)
Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Branch
2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur
(404-286-6980)

A Public Hearing will be held on
January 19, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at the Maloof
Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur,
Georgia 30030.
We encourage citizens to review this update to
the 2014-2018 Consolidated Plan including the
2017 Annual Action Plan. Written comments
should be submitted to the DeKalb County
Community Development Department, 3486
Covington Highway Decatur, Georgia 30032,
no later than February 18, 2017.

LOCAL

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 14A

Proposed physical therapy business draws public ire
Dunwoody residents’ in-home
business disputed by neighbors
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com

When Dunwoody resident
Rhett Roberson first came
up with the idea of opening
a part-time physical therapy
clinic in his basement, he had
no idea what sort of backlash
he would receive.
“Unfortunately, there has
been quite a bit of inaccurate
information disseminated to
members of my subdivision,
members of the [Dunwoody]
planning commission, city
council and the community at
large by various parties,” Roberson said.
In addition to the city’s
small-town feel, Roberson
said he chose his home at 2347
Brookhurst Drive in Dunwoody after identifying its
potential for a private practice
in physical therapy. He said
opening the business at home
would give him an edge when
it comes to typical physical
therapy office hours and attention.
“I have known for some
time that I wanted to pursue
my own private practice but it
is quite challenging in my particular industry due to declining insurance reimbursement
and large overhead costs for
adequate community visibility,”
Roberson said. “Beginning the
process in my home would
allow me to establish the business and my rapport in the
community by minimizing
these cost prohibitive realities.”
Roberson’s planned inhome business, Haven PT, has
been met with a mix of support, scrutiny and surveillance
ever since he proposed it in

December 2016.
The opposition came after
he followed the city’s guidelines
of holding a meeting at his
home, informing neighbors of
his application, corresponding
with city officials for more than
six months and presenting his
proposed business before the
Dunwoody Planning Commission and city council on Jan. 9,
when it heard the first of two
readings for a special land use
permit (SLUP) allowing for
Roberson’s business.
At the meeting, resident
Jerry Davis spoke publicly on
Rhett and his wife Katie Roberson’s behalf, calling them
“ideal Georgia citizens” who
are much appreciated in Dunwoody.
“I didn’t know these young
people a few weeks ago,” Davis
said. “They are both graduates
of the University of Georgia.
They both incurred student
debt in order to achieve the
American dream. I’d like to
ask council to be compassionate and think of what an asset
these young people can be to
Dunwoody.”
Former Dunwoody resident
Mike Irvin said Roberson’s

Dunwoody resident Rhett Roberson caused a mixed reaction from community members and deposition from city council
==

physical therapy skills helped
him walk again and that the
city would be getting a worldclass therapist should the city
welcome his business.
“In the two years I’ve been
going to [Roberson’s] Buckhead location, spending my
money in Buckhead, I now feel
that Dunwoody has one heck
of an opportunity,” Irvin said.
According to Judy Hofer,
who heads the Dunwoody
North Civic Association’s
neighborhood watch program,
Haven PT runs the risk of
drawing strangers to the subdivision. She said she encourages
her neighbors to pay attention
to strangers in the neighborhood—often to the point of
writing down license plate
numbers and calling the police should they feel someone
doesn’t “belong there.”
Hofer spoke against the

EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD HAS A

DiscoverTheForest.org

Robersons’ proposed business
at the Dunwoody Planning
Commission meeting as well as
the Jan. 9 city council meeting.
“One of the things that
we have that attract people to
Dunwoody North is the fact
that it’s a quiet residential community; it’s safe, secure and
we pay attention to who lives
there,” Hofer said.
Neighbor Leslie
O’Callaghan said she worried
Roberson’s business would signify the commercialization of
an otherwise quiet neighborhood.
“This is not compatible with
the residential character of our
neighborhood,” O’Callaghan
said.
According to Roberson,
seven residential businesses
already exist on Brookhurst
Drive. He said the only reason he has faced considerable

opposition is because the application process, as the city
intended, creates more awareness than carrying on without
city approval.
Councilman Terry Nall
said the purpose of a SLUP
hearing is to provide discussion and transparency. Nall
and Lynn Deutsch deposed
Roberson, asking about twodozen quesitons on hours of
the business, adjacent neighbor
opinions and signage
“Our job is to understand
the impacts,” Nall said. “There
are about two dozen impacts
we need to confirm.”
A second read and vote
of Haven PT’s SLUP will take
place Jan. 23 at the next Dunwoody City Council meeting.

Naturehood

EDUCATION

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 15A

DeKalb school board
questions employee pay
District’s director of strategic communication and marketing position, salary under scrutiny
by R. Scott Belzer
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
A DeKalb County
School District (DCSD)
employee’s position, ties to the
superintendent and annual
salary are in question following
a monthly board of education
meeting on Jan. 9.
DCSD’s director of strategic
communication and marketing
position, filled in September
2016 by André Riley, is facing
scrutiny from the district’s
board in relation to other
administrative positions.
According to district
documents, Riley receives an
annual salary of $120,000,
which is near the highest he
can receive in accordance to
DCSD’s pay range for such a
position.
The amount is higher than
the salary for DCSD’s director
of worker’s compensation, who
receives $101,767 annually.
While that specific job title
is not on the district’s staff
directory, Susan Setterstrom
is listed as the sole director in
DCSD’s risk management and
worker’s compensation unit.
According to board
member Joyce Morley, given
the director of worker’s
compensation has a law
degree and has been with
DCSD for a longer period of
time, the difference in pay
is questionable and may be
due to ties to superintendent

Stephen Green.
“I’m looking at the
criteria and the education
levels that are there,” Morley
said. “In looking at the job
requirements, years of service
and education, there seems
to be a disproportion with
that director of strategic
communications. It seems as if
that salary is a little high.”
According to Morley,
the director of worker’s
compensation is required
to have a law degree, which
Riley does not. In addition,
according to DCSD chief legal
officer Jennifer Hackemeyer,
the director of worker’s
compensation has received an
increase in responsibilities,
supervises five employees and
is responsible for a large part of
the district’s budget.
Board member Vicki
Turner questioned the district’s
process in valuing education
versus experience.
“A bachelor’s degree at this
kind of salary when brought
up with a law degree—it
seems like there’s some kind of
disparity there,” Turner said.
According to Riley’s
LinkedIn profile, he holds a
bachelor’s degree in English
from the University of
Missouri-Kansas City as well
as an unspecified degree in
strategic communications from
the University of Kansas.
University of Kansas’s
website lists its strategic
communications degree at the

bachelor level.
Morley concluded by
stating she would like to see
the entire department audited
and suggested that Riley’s
salary may have something
to do with his ties to Green’s
former school district in
Kansas City.
“I saw some intricate
ties with the person in that
position and that concerns
me,” Morley said. “When a
person comes in at the very top
[of a pay range,] that concerns
me too.”
DCSD official Nichole
Burkett said Riley’s range
is approximately $93,000
to $122,000 based on his
experience and education.
Riley’s communications
work dates back to March
2002. Riley worked with Green
at Kansas City Public Schools
as a senior media relations
specialist and public relations
manager until 2014, when he
became the director of news
and information for the Dallas
Independent School District.
Before that, he worked as a
news editor, managing editor
and reporter.
Green said salaries such as
Riley’s are determined through
a recommended range that is
modified based on background
and experience. He said Riley’s
salary is within the range
expected for his position.
“There’s a role
communications plays in
getting the message out

Notice of Availability
DeKalb County 2017 Executive Budget Recommendation
The Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County presented the 2017 Executive Budget
Recommendation to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on January 17,
2017 for their consideration.
A copy of the entire Executive Budget Recommendation is available for public
inspection in the Office of Management & Budget, 6th Floor, Maloof Center during
normal business hours. The Executive Budget Recommendation is also available
electronically at www.dekalbcountyga.gov and will be available at DeKalb County
Library locations.
The DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer and Board of Commissioners will hold
Public Hearings on the 2017 Executive Budget Recommendation at times and places
to be announced later.

about the great work that
we’re doing,” Green said.
“Academic achievement and
communications go hand-inhand.”
According to DCSD’s
chief communications and
community relations officer
Eileen Houston-Stewart,
Riley’s position was created
based on the size of the
department in comparison
to the district, expectations
internally and externally, as
well as where Riley moved
from.
Houston-Stewart said
Riley’s salary was set at
$120,000 because of his
education, his service as a
backup to her when she is on
leave, his supervision of three
individuals and transition from
Dallas Independent Schools,
which is much larger than
DCSD.
“It was determined that
$120,000 would be in line with
what the other director in the
department was earning,” she
said.
Riley, Houston-Stewart
as well as DCSD officials
Manomay Malathip and Leo
Brown came to DCSD from
Kansas City Public Schools
with salaries of $120,000,

Morley

Riley

Stewart

$168,158, $110,000 and
$168,158 respectively.

Discovery of Africa’s Diversity
A short-term seminar in
Tanzania
for American educators
Travel dates:
June 16 – July 21, 2017
Pre-Departure Orientation June 8-10
Eligibility-US citizen or permanent resident.
Participant Fee $1000 for the five-weeks of instruction, field study and
cultural activities in Tanzania.
Application Deadline: February 28, 2017 at 5:00pm.
For more Information, contact Dr. Fredoline Anunobi at
(678) -313-3090 or email fredoline@att.net or download application form at
www.american-resource.org
American Institute for Resource and Human Development, Inc., (AIRHD), a
non-profit 501 (C)(3) educational organization in Georgia received a FulbrightHayes Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Grant Award from the U. S. Department
of Education for a 5-week study/ tour of Tanzania, East Africa for K-12 Social
Studies/humanities teachers; college/university faculty members and students.

American Institute For Resource
and Human Development, Inc.
1726 Montreal Circle
Tucker, GA 30084

BUSINESS

Grab-and-go
goes upscale
by Kathy Mitchell
Families too busy to prepare
home-cooked meals every
evening often rely on takeout
to put food on the table in
a hurry. Trend watchers say
that an interest in variety
and health is expanding this
segment of the food industry
beyond pizza and fried chicken
and even beyond other
restaurant takeout options.
Restaurant Business online
magazine reports that the
trend toward new quick and
convenient meal options is
on the rise, especially among
busy young professionals who
may find themselves with long
work hours, long commutes
and family members involved
in a wide variety of school
and community activities.
“Forecasters believe this trend
has no place to go but up in
2017, as more concepts emerge
to satisfy demand and tech
advancements make it ever
more possible,” Restaurant
Business states.
While the practice of
picking up food for some
family meals rather than
preparing them from scratch
in the kitchen isn’t new, the
options in terms of types of
meals available and where
they can be sourced has
changed greatly, according
to Technomic, a more than
45-year-old research and
consulting firm that focuses on
the food industry.
Calling grab-and-go
“a small but increasingly
important strategy,”
Technomic describes the
trend as “characterized by
pre-packaged, ready-to-eat
prepared food offered for
sale from either a self-service
heated or chilled merchandiser
with little or no customer
preparation required.” The
research company notes that

“while [takeout options] were
once regarded as second-class
meal offerings, almost every
segment of the foodservice
industry has taken notice of
this growing trend.”
“Despite its geneses in
restaurants, [grab-and-go]
programs have flourished
in the beyond restaurants
segment, dominated by
supermarkets and convenience
stores. There is healthy
competition in the market and
portable packaging, diversity
of flavors, ethnic selections,
and healthy alternatives all play
a role in the fight for market
share,” Technomic states.
The research company
found that within the $12.9
billion beyond restaurant graband-go market, the largest
category is grocery stores,
which claim approximately
$2.9 billion of that total.
Publix supermarkets, for
example, offer customers the
option of choosing ingredients
to be enclosed in a special
bag. At home, the customer
follows cooking instructions
for a completed meal in
approximately 20 minutes.
It’s an example of what
Technomic calls “bite-sized
autonomy,” which “gives
customers an opportunity to
build a hearty meal with a
variety of flavors, textures, and
degrees of healthy choices. It’s
a mix-and-match style that
makes for exciting meals on
the go.”
Fresh Market, a specialty
grocery retailer that focuses
on locally sourced products, in
2014 introduced its Little Big
Meal program as a grab-andgo alternative to preparing a
home-cooked meal.
“Fresh, delicious food has
always been our focus, and
Little Big Meals offers just that
at your fingertips,” explained
Nora Nelson, store manager

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 16A

of Fresh Market’s Briarcliff
location.
“We have a team of foodies
that work to create new and
interesting meals for our
customers each week, and we
also make sure to feature some
of our customers’ favorite
meals throughout each month,”
Nelson continued.
She said the featured meals
change each week. “The meal
includes ingredients for the
main dish. We always make
suggestions for additional
options to go with the meal,
including sides and dessert.”
Nelson said the program
has been well received.
“We regularly talk with our
customers to understand what
they enjoy about shopping at
The Fresh Market, and one of
the things they love most is
Little Big Meals. They’ve told
us how much they love the
convenience of being able to
pick up a meal when it works
for their schedule, and how
easy it is to quickly gather the
ingredients to prepare a homecooked meal.”
Little Big Meals, Nelson
said, are “designed with the
family in mind,” adding, “The
Fresh Market provides the
DeKalb community with handpicked ingredients to create a
delicious meal… that will feed
a family of four.” She added
that shoppers like knowing
exactly what ingredients are in
each meal.

CITY OF ATLANTA PUBLIC NOTICE
A Municipal General Election for the City of Atlanta will be held on November 7, 2017 to fill the offices of Mayor, City Council President, City
Council Members and Board of Education Members.
Candidates shall qualify to fill the aforementioned offices at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue, Second Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303; between
the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, on:
• Tuesday August 22, 2017
• Wednesday August 23, 2017
• Thursday August 24, 2017,
or • Friday August 25 2017
Candidates may qualify by either of the following methods:
a.) Filing a Notice of Candidacy and paying a set qualifying fee to the Municipal Clerk/Election Superintendent or designated agent for
the desired office as follows:
Mayor: $5529.00 City Council President: $1860.00 City Council Member: $1809.00 Board of Education Member: $444.00
b.) Filing a Notice of Candidacy, a Qualifying Petition and a Pauper’s Affidavit affirming under oath the candidate’s poverty or inability
to pay the qualifying fee as required by O.C.G.A. Sections 21-2-132(g) and 21-2-132(h) with the Municipal Clerk/Election Superintendent or designated agent.
Rhonda Dauphin Johnson, Municipal Clerk/Election Superintendent
City of Atlanta

Nelson said Fresh Market
is continually looking at ways
to improve the program,
“We are always talking to

our customers and listening
to their feedback. This is an
ongoing dialogue.”

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DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 17A

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RATES: $30 for up to 40 words, each
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Please contact: McShane
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to the fair housing act and we do not accept advertising that is
in violation of the law. The law prohibits discrimination based on
color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or familial status.

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SPORTS

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 18A

Former Marist quarterback
hired as LA Rams head coach
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

Photo by Travis Hudgons

Longtime assistant coach gets
head coach opportunity with
Decatur baseball
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
After 17 years as an assistant coach, Robby
Gilbert now has an opportunity to lead his own
program—the Decatur Bulldogs.
Gilbert spent 12 years as an assistant baseball
coach at Tucker High School and five years at
Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn. Gilbert
said he is excited to start his new journey at
Decatur.
“[I] felt like I’ve worked to this point to have
that opportunity and I’m really looking forward to
it,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert took over a program that has constantly
won and made the playoffs the past four
consecutive seasons. The Bulldogs finished the 2016
season with a 21-7 record and a loss in the second
round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
Gilbert said he had a good offseason with the
players.
“We had good fall conditioning, the kids worked
hard and they did everything that was asked of
them,” he said. “I couldn’t ask of anything else from
the kids. They worked extremely hard and they are
coachable.”
“They’re really receptive to the coaching that
we’re giving them,” he said. “We’re really pushing
them; we demand a lot. My kids are going to be
good kids on and off the field and we’re going to do
things the right way. The kids have really adjusted
well to my expectations.”
Along with a new coach, the Decatur Bulldogs
will open the season in a new region—region
6-AAAAA. The Bulldogs were in a more
competitive region last season with two teams,
Blessed Trinity and Westminster, which played in
the state title game.
This year, they are in a region that only had one
to finish above .500. Gilbert said he told his players
that they will still respect every team in the region,
despite the level of competitiveness.
“We’re not going to take anyone for granted,”
he said. “We’re going to go out there and play
hard, we’re going to do the right things and carry
ourselves the right way and let the baseball game
take care of itself. Hopefully, I’ve prepared them to
be successful, not just on the field but in life down
the road.”

Sean McVay, who quarterbacked
the Marist War Eagles football team
to a state title in 2003, was named
the new Los Angeles Rams head
coach Jan. 19.
McVay, 30, is the youngest head
coach in NFL history.
“I am incredibly honored by this
opportunity and I want to start by
thanking [team owner] Mr. [Stan]
Kroenke and [team COO] Kevin
Demoff for their faith in me to
lead the Los Angeles Rams as head
coach,” McVay said in a statement.
“Collectively, we are committed to
building a championship caliber
team, and I’m excited to start that
process and make our fans proud.”
McVay graduated from Marist
in 2004. He led the War Eagles
to a 14-1 record his senior year,
including the 21-6 win over
Statesboro in the Class AAAA title
game. His high school coach Alan
Chadwick said he and everyone at
Marist are proud of McVay.
“Everyone here at Marist is on
cloud nine,” Chadwick said. “This is
just an unbelievable announcement
and opportunity and we’re all so
happy, proud and excited for Sean
and his opportunity.”

Chadwick said McVay is the first
player that he has coached who has
been hired as an NFL head coach.
Chadwick said it is no surprise that
McVay has worked his way to the
level of an NFL coach.
“You [could] tell from an
early age that he was the total
package,” Chadwick said. “He
was an outstanding youth athlete,
particularly in soccer. He possessed
so many outstanding qualities—his
leadership, his competiveness, his
character [and] his explosive skills
as a player.
“He was quick, he was fast and

his knowledge of the game—you
could tell it was outstanding,”
Chadwick added. “He had great
awareness and presence as a
quarterback. I don’t want to call him
the best quarterback we’ve ever had,
but he’s certainly one of the top two
or three.”
McVay graduated from Miami
University (Ohio) where he played
wide receiver from 2004 to 2007,
earning Miami’s Scholar-Athlete
Award in 2007. He entered the
National Football League as an
offensive assistant with the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers in 2008.
In 2009, he was the wide
receiver coach and quality control
coordinator for the Florida Tuskers
of the now defunct United Football
League.
He returned to the NFL in 2010
as the assistant tight end coach for
Washington. He was promoted to
tight end coach in 2011 and was
Washington’s offensive coordinator
in 2014.
Chadwick said he plans to fly to
Los Angeles to see McVay in action.
“I will certainly make that trip as
often as I can,” he said. “We’re going
to be following him. The Rams have
made a wise choice and they just
[gained] many supporters from War
Eagle Nation here in Atlanta. We’re
excited about it and proud of Sean.”

Long-time Columbia baseball coach
to retire after season
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
After 29 years of coaching,
Columbia High School baseball
coach Steve Dennis is ready to
hang up his uniform.
Dennis told The Champion at
the DeKalb County School District
baseball media day that he will
retire after the 2017 season. He is in
his 29th year of coaching and 30th
year as a teacher.
“I’ve had a good career,” he said.
“It’s a little bitter sweet.”
Dennis sits at No. 3 on the
DeKalb County coaching wins list
with a 376-319 record. He has had
14 winning seasons at Columbia.
Dennis, a star catcher at
Briarcliff High School, began his
career as a head coach in 1989.
Columbia had 10 coaches from
1969 to 1988 who combined for
10 winnings seasons. He has also
been active in the DeKalb County
Dugout Club for several years

Dennis

serving in various capacities.
Despite having multiple winning
seasons at Columbia, none of
those seasons ended in a state title.
Although it’s his last season, he said
there isn’t any extra pressure to win
a state title this year than any other
year.
“The expectations are still the
same—to go out and compete for a
region championship, to get in the
playoffs,” he said. “We’re not putting
any more pressure on [the players]
for me. My intentions are to go out
with a good taste in our mouths.”
Last year with a young team, the
Columbia Eagles finished 15-11 and

fell short of a playoff berth. Dennis
said his returning and new players
worked hard during the offseason
to get better and stronger.
“We had some young kids
come in and buy into what we’ve
been trying to get them to do, get
stronger,” he said. “The old kids
have been working hard, so we’re
looking forward to an exciting year.”
Dennis said his team needs to
do a better job of winning close
games this year if they want to get
to the playoffs and make a run.
“Last year they had to learn how
to win on the varsity level. This year
we need to continue to expand at
that,” he said. “We lost some of the
games last year by one run. This
year we need to finish the drill. We
need to make sure that we finish
where we’re at—don’t give up that
one run in the bottom of the top of
the seventh [inning] to cause us [to
lose] the game. Let’s finish it and
let’s move on.”

SPORTS

SOUTHWEST DEKALB

DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 • Page 19A

Southwest 55, Duluth 41

The Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers defeated Duluth 55-41 in the Inner City MLK Classic at Southwest DeKalb High School. Photos by Travis Hudgons

GREENFOREST

The Greenforest Lady Eagles fell to Douglass 54-53 in overtime in the Inner City MLK Classic at Southwest DeKalb High School. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Douglass 54, Greenforest 53 (OT)

LOCAL

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

Refuge Coffee weighing options in 2017

by Horace Holloman
horace@dekalbchamp.com
Refuge Coffee Co. has become a popular “hangout” spot
for DeKalb residents of all ages
and according to the founder and
owner, keeping the business in
Clarkston is a must.
The company, a nonprofit business that helps refugees and immigrants coming into the Clarkston
area resettle and learn job skills,
has a catering business and a food
truck parked at 4170 Ponce de
Leon Ave.
However, according to Refuge
Coffee owner Kitti Murray, the
company will “pursue their options” after learning that the building where their food truck usually
sits is currently in the foreclosure
process.
Murray said the plan was to
buy the building, which was formerly known as Clarkston Quality
Motors, but the asking price was
too high.
“We knew the property was
for sale and the original owner
asked for more than it was worth.
We knew our being there was a
fragile proposition,” Murray said.

“In the end of October we found
out the bank would foreclose on
the property. The bank originally
told us we had to get out of there.
Our first plan was to find another
place to go but we’re committed to
Clarkston. There’s not a lot of places that would meet our criteria.”
According to Murray, the company is currently on a month-tomonth rental agreement with the
bank. If the property is purchased
it will be up to the new owners
whether Refuge Coffee Co. could
remain at that location.
Murray said she hopes the
building will be purchased by
someone who cares about the
community and wants to keep the
nonprofit where it is.
“Our hope is that our investors
will be able to buy [the building]
and then rent it to us,” Murray
said.
After buying an additional food
truck through donations, Refuge
Coffee Co. is currently in the process of receiving donations to help
with the purchase of the building.
As of press time, the company
has nearly $55,000 in donations toward its “create a home for refuge”
campaign. The goal is $75,000

“We hope that we can work
something out. As a new nonprofit, we’re trying to figure out
how to be wise with the resources
we have. We were able to raise way
more than we thought and we’re
trying to figure out how to use that
money wisely,” Murray said.
Refuge Coffee Co. has had
several community events in
Clarkston over the years, including
a holiday market event featuring
other businesses that cater to the
refugee community in Clarkston
and an annual Refuge Coffee Run.
The nonprofit started in 2015
with one truck and two refugee
hires but has grown over the years.
Murray said businesses such as
Refuge Coffee Co. can give the city
of Clarkston more exposure in the
future.
“There are a lot of great people
doing great things here. One of the
things we can do is put Clarkston
on the map. We have two trucks
and that’s how we create jobs.
We take this big red coffee truck
downtown and people find out
about the refugee crisis and it
points people to Clarkston,” Murray said.

Customers line up at the Refuge Coffee Co. during the annual holiday market event Dec. 7.  The company is currently located at  4170
Ponce de Leon Ave.

It’s a

to be on your
list today.