the DeKalb FRIDAY, March 3, 2017 • VOL. 19, NO. 47 • 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 •

‘Your church is on fire.’
On Feb. 21, DeKalb County fire officials say someone tried to set four intentional fires on the property of Restoration Ministries Church in Decatur. Photos by Horace Holloman

Pastors picking up pieces after arson incident
by Horace Holloman to look around the property, he 4311 Mercer Road in Decatur, congregation. said he noticed branches and cancelled the Bible study Perry Scott said with the

debris in the front of the church. session. Pastor Brenda Scott, recent attacks on institutions
t’s a phone call that no one, Someone attempted to set the wife of Perry Scott, said she of various faiths, they consider
especially a pastor, wants to church on fire, he said. couldn’t believe someone tried themselves lucky. In February,
receive. “Your church is on “It was mind blowing. It was to set fire to the church. a synagogue in Chicago had its
fire.” However, that’s exactly raining that night and my heart “There was a time when window smashed and marked
the message Pastor Perry Scott was heavy. I had some mixed churches were considered with swastika stickers. In Florida,
received the night of Feb. 21 emotions at the time. I was really sacred ground,” Brenda Scott two mosques were hit by
when nearby residents called frustrated,” said Scott, recalling said. “You were almost afraid arsonist attacks in the past five
to tell him that smoke was the incident. “My thoughts were to walk on the church grounds months.
seen coming from his church, who could have done this and because you held them in such Restoration Ministries has
Restoration Ministries. why would they do something high regard. What puzzled me been in its Decatur location
DeKalb County fire officials like this?” is why they wanted to destroy since 2002. Perry Scott said the
called the incident an act of According to DeKalb County this property. It’s amazing to me arson incident won’t slow the
arson. fire officials, investigators that someone would do that to a church or its congregation down.
Scott said he was on his were called to the scene. An church.” He said on Feb. 26 the church
way to the church’s Tuesday official with the Bureau of Brenda and Perry Scott said intended to have a “victory”
night Bible study when someone Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and they’re not sure who could have service.
notified him that the building was Explosives said the department started the four fires on the “I have to admit that I was
on fire. does not comment on open church’s property. Two additional angry. Anger came in,” Perry
When Scott arrived at the investigations but said four fires fires were set in woods near the Scott said. “But then I thought I
church he said he noticed were intentionally set, including church. However, the Scotts shouldn’t think that way. We’re
firefighters attempting to put an attempted fire in front of the said they will continue to preach going to celebrate Sunday. It
out a burning shed owned by church’s door. a message of forgiveness could have been a lot worse.”
the church. As Scott continued The church, located at and compassion to their
See Arson on page 5

championnewspaper championnews championnewsPaper championnews
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 2

Robert Melillo is the author of Disconnected Kids, City Schools of Decatur has held meetings on dyslexia where several parents mentioned Melillo’s work. Melillo applauds the schools initiative and
Reconnected Kids and Disconnected Kids Nutrition, acknowledgement. Photo by R. Scott Belzer
which helps parents combat learning disabilities in their
children. Photo submitted.

Balancing act
New York doctor, Decatur center hope to cure learning disabilities
by R. Scott Belzer said most school systems have level, but have reading skills Many of Melillo’s
a top-down approach to the that are at a first-grade level. methods can be recreated disability, where if a child has a The gap is a delay in maturity; at home through his books
problem reading, for example, nothing is broken or damaged. Disconnected Kids and
For New York doctor,
the solution is not more There is just a developmental Reconnected Kids, both of
author and neuroscience
reading, but to stimulate the imbalance.” which he talked about during a
expert Robert Melillo, closing
brain to create a neurological According to Melillo visit to Agnes Scott College on
achievement gaps in the
balance. and regional director Dana Jan. 31.
classroom begins with finding
“When you look at different Hernandez, the Brain Balance Hernandez lectured on
balance in the brain.
learning issues, dyslexia as a Achievement Centers identify Feb. 23 and said parents in
“There’s a lack of awareness
whole, is the biggest problem,” the imbalance through a three- attendance were supportive of
about problems, about the
Melillo said. “About 15 to 20 hour assessment and develop Melillo’s methods.
epidemic we are seeing in
percent of the population a program that targets their “Dr. Melillo is a genius,”
children with learning and
has it—everyone, not just weaknesses. Hernandez said. “He’s gotten
behavioral issues,” Melillo
students. About 85 percent “The programs have a to the bottom of why kids are
said. “These problems can be New York doctor, researcher, author of learning disabilities come large emphasis on movement, struggling or may struggle
improved, if not completely and neuroscientist Robert Melillo is
the co-founder of Decatur’s Brain from dyslexia. If you promote learning, motor skills and and been able to help. He’s a
corrected, in a relatively short Balance Achievement Center. Photo exercises and can stimulate the cognitive development,” forerunner in research.”
period of time. Understanding submitted. brain a certain way to create Melillo said. “The relationship Melillo said school systems
what the problem is, we find
that balance, dyslexia can go between brain and movement trying to help children should
a functional disconnection;
away; we’ve worked with tens is something we emphasize. research the relationship
kids may have labels—ADHD, behaviors, sensory integration, of thousands of kids with There’s a lot of physical between exercise, movement,
Asperger’s, dyslexia—but it’s focus, friendships and dyslexia, and in almost every activities. Then we have nutrition and learning.
all because of developmental emotions.The center opened in case, we have had cures.” students go to an academic “Schools are limiting gym
imbalance in the brain.” September 2016. By hosting individually room to work with a teacher and recess times while we’re
Melillo, who has authored a The Brain Balance tailored afterschool activities related to the area they are trying to encourage kids to get
college text book, 20 chapters Achievement Center’s arrival involving physical activity, underdeveloped for two to off the computer and move
in other text books, five comes a one month after City nutrition and sensory three times per week.” more,” Melillo said. “Take away
bestselling books as well as Schools of Decatur (CSD) stimulation, Melillo states According to Hernandez, cell phones. Make kids go out
articles in medical journals, students, parents, teachers and the centers can cure such a the center—which has current and play, interact and socialize.
is the co-founder of Brain administrators voiced concern disability by balancing brain enrollment of approximately Emphasize nutrition—we’re
Balance Achievement Centers. regarding the lack of resources networks. 20 students aged 4 to 17—has getting better, but we need to
The centers—one of which available to students classified “Most kids that we see, found incredible success. do more to understand the
recently opened at 2629 North as dyslexic. their brain networks are not “We see children who importance.”
Decatur Road in Decatur— CSD officials revealed the balanced,” Melillo said. “An have never been invited to Melillo said teachers
expect to help children beginning of a plan to address area of the brain may be at an a birthday party because should begin to research
diagnosed with ADHD, the issue in January following extremely advanced state—two, they have no friends start to the neuroscience behind
Asperger Syndrome, high public meetings in August three or four years beyond socialize,” Hernandez said. disabilities instead of
functioning autism, PDD-NOS, 2016. their age—but on the other “We see children who used to judging a student as spiteful
dyslexia, processing disorders Melillo congratulated CSD’s side, there is a delay or lack of take four to five hours to get or problematic. He said
and other spectrum disorders efforts and for acknowledging maturity. Kids may develop homework done get it done in recognizable left or right brain
in the areas of academics, dyslexia is a valid problem. He math skills at a 10th grade 30 minutes to one hour.” deficiencies can be lessened
See Disabilities on Page 4A
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 3

Brookhaven dunwoody
City to update public on comprehensive plan
Library to hold mini book sale
City officials in Dunwoody will host a public
Brookhaven Library will host a mini book sale information session on March 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at
March 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will books Dunwoody City Hall, located at 41 Perimeter Center
for all ages on sale. The library is located at 1242 N. East.
Druid Hills Road NE. For more information, call “The city of Dunwoody is currently updating
(404) 848-7140. its Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which
outlines the communities transportation objectives
and funding priorities,” officials state. “The
purpose of the update is to review and refresh the

Chamblee RCSM members DeNorris Heard, left, and Al Lipphardt, right,
with third graders at Idlewood Elementary. Photo submitted.
recommended project list and work program as well
as explore enhancements to plan components such
as pedestrian and bicycling facilities.”
The public is encouraged to attend and give input
Native defends cyber attacks via US Navy on the future of transportation in Dunwoody.

Jeffery Meyers, a Chamblee native and 1983
graduate of Chamblee High School is now helping
the United States Navy defend cyber attacks with the
latest technology.
Myers, who works in the Navy Reserves, serves Library to host book discussion
as a commander for Space and Warfare Systems
Command (SPAWAR), which develops, delivers and
keeps communication means for fighters. Hard- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
ware and software needed to execute Navy missions will be the book of discussion March 6, 10 a.m. to
around the world is developed directly by SPAWAR. noon at Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library. Copies of the
“This command allows me to continue the cama- discussion title will be available at the front desk on
raderie of the Navy; while serving with this com- a first-come, first-served basis. The library is located
mand, there is real time support to SPAWAR and the RCSM President Margie Kersey hands out dictionaries to at 5234 LaVista Road. For more information, call
fleet,” Meyers said. “It is a privilege to serve in the Hambrick third graders with the help of principal Dr. Audrey (770) 270-8234
Navy Reserves and I enjoy every second.” Brooks. Photo submitted.
According to Navy officials, Meyers will work
with submarines in San Diego from the Navy Opera- Rotary Club donates 1,300 dictionaries
tional Support Center in Washington D.C.
The Rotary Club of Stone Mountain (RCSM) Lithonia
recently donated 1,300 dictionaries to 10 DeKalb
County elementary schools. Monadnock Madness in March

Countywide Avondale, Dresden, Dunaire, Hambrick,
Idlewood, Jolly, Livsey, McLendon, Smoke Rise, Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance is
celebrating its fifth annual Monadnock Madness
Stone Mountain and Wynbrooke elementary
Businesses needed for Elizabeth Andrews job schools benefitted from RCSM’s annual project, throughout the month of March. Adventurers
fair which donates copies of the 540-page A Student’s can summit three Atlanta area monadnocks—
Dictionary to third-graders. Arabia Mountain, Panola Mountain and Stone
DeKalb County businesses are encouraged to The goal of the program, initiated by The Mountain—in one day during the popular Triple
participate in Elizabeth Andrews High School’s Dictionary Project in 2007, is to assist students in Hike Challenge, or join a variety of activities at each
spring job fair on Thursday, March 9 from 8 a.m. to becoming writers, readers, imaginative thinkers and location. RSVPs are required and all hikers will earn
noon. resourceful learners, according to program officials. a commemorative souvenir. For more information
The job fair will provide students with “The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use about month-long activities, ticketing and how to
information regarding job opportunities—part at school and at home for years to come,” officials earn prizes, visit
time, full time and seasonal—at participating state. “Educators see third grade as the dividing line
organizations. The school also encourages between learning to read and reading to learn, which
companies and agencies recruiting interns or is why sponsors are encouraged to gift third-graders
offering mentoring programs to attend the event. with their very own dictionary.”
Interested companies may contact career RCSM meets every Tuesday at noon at Smoke
technology educator Amy Gee at amy_s_gee@ Rise Country Club, located at 4900 Chedworth or (678) 676-2602. Drive in Stone Mountain. For more information,
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 4

Dunwoody city attorney resigns
Allegations of anti-Muslim remarks made
by R. Scott Belzer According to Shortal, an Shortal. She asked council to
investigation was launched host a public event or town hall addressing immigration.
immediately by Riley
McLendon and Felgin was “Within the past couple of
Dunwoody assistant city weeks, we have seen that this
placed on paid administrative
attorney Lenny Felgin resigned was a chance for us to come out
Feb. 1 following allegations as leaders in terms of equality,
“Shortly thereafter, [Felgin]
of anti-Muslim remarks on justice and inclusiveness, but
submitted his resignation from
Facebook. we’ve instead taken a step
the contract firm and was
Felgin, who represents back and didn’t,” Kaur said.
permanently removed from
Dunwoody through Riley “We further the divide and
the position,” Shortal said.
McLendon, a metro Atlanta law gap that’s already hovering
“[Felgin] denied making the
firm with contracts throughout above our nation right now…
post and said that his system
the city and DeKalb County, seeing this hateful rhetoric and
was hacked.”
allegedly posted derogatory personally being impacted by
Shortal said the Dunwoody
remarks about Muslims on a being Brown; I’m a product
Police Department is
Facebook thread on Jan. 30. of immigration and it’s hitting
conducting a thorough identity
The thread in question way too close to home.”
theft investigation into Felgin’s
pertains to an article dealing Resident Bob Lundsten also
system and that a subpoena
with Canada allowing refugees expressed his disappointment
was issued to Facebook to
into the country. about the incident and that the
gather additional data.
Though Felgin claims he resignation came before the
“We will search for and
did not write the posts and investigation was completed.
disclose data that is specified
was hacked, he resigned the
with particularity in an
following Wednesday from Dunwoody assistant city attorney Lenny Felgin resigned Feb. 1 following al- “I wear my support for
appropriate form of legal
Riley McLendon, thus ending legations he posted derogatory remarks about Muslims. Photo via Reddit. refugees on my sleeve—I blog
process and which we are
his involvement with the city of about it, I post about them on
reasonably able to locate and
Dunwoody. any evidence he posted any of made up of different faiths, Facebook with pride,” Lundsten
retrieve,” the guidelines state.
On Feb. 13, Dunwoody those posts,” Rosner said. different places of worship, said. “When I read the
“We do not retain data for law
Mayor Denis Shortal made Lenny Felgin’s Facebook different nationalities and comments attributed to Lenny,
enforcement purposes unless
a statement about the issue page has been deleted or gone different races. We provide I was at first outraged…What
we receive a valid preservation
before a city council meeting. private since the incident, as equal treatment to all and followed was disappointment.
request before a user has
“Our community has have all of his posts. uphold the values of equality, The council’s lack of response
deleted that content from our
recently experienced an Shortal said this type of inclusion and diversity.” with independent comments
incident which rightfully behavior has no place in the Dunwoody resident and simply relying upon a
Facebook has law
caused deep concern among Dunwoody community. Aasees Kaur spoke at the PR release by [Dunwoody
enforcement guidelines
our citizens,” Shortal said. “The city of Dunwoody Feb. 13 council meeting to spokesman Bob Mullen]
requiring either a subpoena
“A couple of weeks ago the does not tolerate harassment address “anti-immigrant and and [City attorney Cecil
issued in connection with an
city became aware of an or profound behavior,” Shortal anti-Brown rhetoric” and to McLendon’s] claim that Lenny
official criminal investigation, a
inappropriate social media post said. “We are a community pose questions to council and didn’t do it wasn’t enough from
court order or a search warrant.
allegedly posted by our former our city’s legal firm.”
Felgin’s attorney, Noah
city attorney, who works for
Rosner, told the press there is
a contracting firm. One of 040-396751 3/2,3/16,3/23,3/30jb
no evidence that Felgin made
the remarks despite screen Sealed Proposals will be received by the DeKalb County Board of Education (the “Owner”) at the Sam A. Moss Service
is that everyone is innocent Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker, Georgia 30084, until 2:00 p.m. local time on Thursday, March 30, 2017 for
captures of the incident. General Contractor services for RFP No. 17-752-041, Project Nos. 102-422 and 116-422 for Canby Lane Elementary
until proven guilty without
“He has provided the School and Kelley Lake Elementary School ADA – Capital Renewal – Code Requirements. The Owner shall not
reasonable doubt, so that consider late proposals.
police, the city and his firm SCOPE OF SERVICESTo provide General Contractor services for the construction (Site, Building and Systems) of the
required us to proceed with Owner’s Construction Projects at Canby Lane Elementary School and Kelley Lake Elementary School as specified per
with his cell phone and
great diligence to do what is the Proposal Documents.
computers to conduct their
right for everyone, gather the Request for Proposal (“RFP”) documents will be available Thursday, March 2, 2017, and may be obtained from the
own investigations, and their DeKalb County Board of Education website at Plans and Specifi-
facts, and treat everyone fairly
investigations have not revealed cations are available electronically in PDF format and can be emailed to prospective Respondents free of charge by
and justly.” submitting a request to

MANDATORY PRE-PROPOSAL CONFERENCE A mandatory Pre-Proposal Conference will be held in the Stokes
Conference Room at the Sam A. Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker, Georgia 30084 at 10:00 a.m. local
time on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. All prospective bidders are required to visit the project sites. Mandatory Project Site
Visits are scheduled following the pre-proposal conference.

Disabilities Continued From Page 2A All attendees of the pre-proposal conference will be required to register. Proper registration requires that the attendee
has signed his or her name to the official roster and listed the name and address of the company he or she represents
on the official roster no later than the designated start time of the pre-proposal conference. Proposals submitted by
through moving children to a schools don’t understand the proposers who have not properly registered and attended the mandatory pre-proposal conference shall be rejected as
different side of the classroom. neurological problem and non-responsive. Proposers are advised to register early as anyone arriving after 10:15 am will not be allowed to
participate in the proposal process.
“There are many simple don’t specifically address the
things can begin to make a problem as well as they could SCHEDULE FOR SELECTION
Mandatory Pre-Proposal Conference* March 14, 2017 @10:00 am
difference,” Melillo said. be,” Melillo said. “A lot of kids Final Questions Due March 22, 2017 not later than 2:00 pm
Final Addendum Issued (if necessary) March 27, 2017 not later than 2:00 pm
According to Melillo, are being missed; teachers or Proposals Due March 30, 2017 not later than 2:00 pm
changes on a grand scale administrators say, ‘They’re Public Acknowledgement April 4, 2017 not later than 4:00 pm
Anticipated Board Review and Approval May 15, 2017
will not occur until school just not that bright,’ or ‘They’re
systems have adequate shy,’ or ‘They’re not respectful,’ *OPEN TO PUBLIC ATTENDANCE*
Sam A. Moss Service Center
methods of screening, which and most of the time that’s not 1780 Montreal Road
Tucker, GA 30084
requires acknowledgement of true.”
underdevelopment, Melillo For more information on Except as expressly provided in, or permitted by, the Proposal Documents, from the date of issuance of the RFP until final Owner action
of approval of contract award, the Contractor submitting a Proposal shall not initiate any communication or discussion concerning the
said. Melillo or the Brain Balance Project, the RFP or the Contractor’s Proposal or any part thereof with any employee, agent, or representative of the Owner. Any viola-
“Though we have good Achievement Center, visit tion of this restriction may result in the rejection of the Contractor’s Proposal.
evaluations on response delay, The Owner reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, and to waive technicalities and informalities.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 5

Arsonists burned a shed and set fire to three other
locations around the church.

Pastors Perry and Brenda Scott stand by the rubble of a shed once owned by Restoration Ministries Church in
Decatur. The Scotts said they forgive whoever set the fire. Photos by Horace Holloman

arson Continued From Page 1
Brenda Scott said she felt a Christmas tree because they “If we let this fire stop us then involved in the incident.
sorry for anyone who would couldn’t afford one. we’re not very good disciples. Brenda and Perry Scott said
try to set fire to the house of Giving back to the We have to walk out what we they have no plans to leave
God. The church has served community is what keeps the preach and demonstrate it to their Decatur location. The
the community by hosting food Scotts going, Brenda Scott said. people. This is not a stopping pair, married for 37 years with
drives and donating food to “When you think about point, this is a marching path.” four children, said they want
families in need. Christ and the things that were Georgia Arson Control to continue their work in the
One Christmas, Brenda done to him...he stayed on is issuing a $10,000 reward DeKalb County community.
Scott recalled, the church his mission and accomplished for information leading to the
provided a family with gifts and his goal,” Brenda Scott said. arrest and conviction of anyone
opinion DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 6

Lucrative learning
There has been much governors. settings and replace current
news coverage, initially in It is likely that most of the employees, without question
The Champion and followed population of DeKalb County, are likely to be exposed to
by metro area television where the median household somewhat of a hostile work
and radio broadcasts, on John Hewitt income is $51,376, according environment when they first
the subject of pay scales of
to the US Census 2011-2015 assume their responsibilities.
some chief officers of the American Community Survey, One would assume that they
DeKalb County School District would also view these salaries also expect this treatment
(DCSD). reports that the as excessive. when they accept the
It was revealed that average salary for a director As is the norm in similar positions.
nine employees of DCSD of communications in America situations, Green, as have his It is unfortunate that the
have annual salaries is $63,000 with 90 percent predecessors, brought several game is often played this
nearing the $175,000 mark. making less than $120,000 upper management personnel way and just as often, when
Communications director annually. from his former school district salaries are made public, the
for DCSD, Eileen Houston- According to DCSD’s in Kansas City and either individuals face even more
Stewart, who came from website, an instructor with 31- added to the current school scrutiny and criticism by those
DCSD Superintendent plus years of experience and district staff or replaced sitting whom they are hired to serve
Stephen Green’s previous a doctorate degree can earn staff members with hand- and communicate with.
school district in Kansas City an annual salary of $91,000 picked ones. I would not want to have
now has doubled the money and an entry-level teacher can At the very least, replacing my income written about,
spent on communication expect to be paid $44,000. staff with individuals from broadcast over the airways
department salaries to more I have no problem with an other locations gives the or questioned by reporters.
than $800,000. individual taking advantage of impression that those As the old saying goes “that’s
In comparison, according what is available and would who previously held these why they get paid the big
to, the average gladly accept a positon at positions were inept or bucks”.
corporate CEO salary in that income level. However, unqualified. Let’s hope these new hires
DeKalb County is $89,000; the salaries do seem extreme New hires—with salaries are worth their costs and that
DeKalb County’s chief when compared to statewide that are a matter of public the DeKalb County School
executive officer has an averages of similar positions record—who have worked District gets its money’s worth.
annual salary of $153,000. and to those of mayors and together in previous
opinion DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 7

Covered...but not really
Nothing quite helps you  I selected this provider and months has been designated,
appreciate the quality, or lack, of
your healthcare plan or coverage
‘One Man’s plan, November after locating
my primary care provider and
and an appointment scheduled. 
In an interesting footnote,
like getting sick. Opinion’ most existing medical specialists to see any specialist for any
Having a chronic, but within the insurance coverage type of treatment—even my
treatable, medical condition Bill Crane network in when I made the longstanding pre-existing
wasn’t something I ever thought plan selection. In December the medical condition—requires a
much about until leaving my chosen primary care physician written referral from the new
longtime employer of nearly a affiliated with another practice primary care doc whom I have
decade with a strong healthcare With a navigator’s assistance, I and Emory Health Care. I was never met and who knows
plan in early 2008. Once the selected, and pre-paid several notified in January that BCBS nothing of my medical history. A
COBRA benefits expired, I months of premium for a had selected a new primary care trusted gastroenterologist has
quickly came to know the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Silver physician for me, whom I had been treating me for almost
downsides of having a pre- Plan. The colors/metal grades never met. This didn’t particularly 20 years, yet a referral is
existing medical condition. would become clearer later, but appeal to me, so I didn’t rush to required from the doctor I’ve
 I learned to stay healthy to shortcut things, most anything meet the new doc until I took ill— never met. Oh, and the most
as much as possible and to less than “Platinum” means when you are hacking, wheezing reliable symptom trigger for
navigate the murky waters lots of exclusions, coverage and your head is spinning from that longtime, chronic medical
of America’s medical system limits, limited pharmaceutical fever, you are suddenly a bit condition—constant stress. 
as a same-day, cash-paying coverage and unbelievably less picky. Days of calls as this Stay healthy.
patient. Fortunately, during those high deductibles. So, while flu beat me down, despite a flu  
years, 2008-2014, I suffered no during most of 2014 and 2015 , shot (which Coventry did pay Bill Crane also serves as a
catastrophic injury or illness. But, I was covered–practically every for at the end of 2016), went political analyst and commentator
age happens, and try as I might, medical and pharmaceutical unreturned. Finally, I reached a for Channel 2’s Action News,
the chronic medical condition expense still required a cash or human at the answering service. WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and
worsened. Though never a fan credit payment, rendered at the “Dr. **** has retired.”   now 95.5 FM, as well as a
of single-payer or socialized time of service.    Many phone calls later I columnist for The Champion,
healthcare, I watched the 2010 After two years of was told I had to contact BCBS, Champion Free Press and
debates over the Affordable mostly “BS” from the once- an average wait of 30 minutes Georgia Trend. Crane is a
Care Act, as one of the promises vaunted BCBS, I selected a for any human interaction by DeKalb native and business
of that proposed legislation was plan with Coventry, a subsidiary phone, and select another new owner, living in Scottdale. You
that those uninsured by virtue of of Aetna. And again another primary care physician prior to can reach him or comment on a
a pre-existing condition, would year of thousands in premiums my first appointment with same column at bill.csicrane@gmail.
again be able to purchase, and with virtually no expenses physician. So, a second new com.
perhaps even afford, health care being covered—just the idea of primary care doc in as many
insurance. insurance against a catastrophe
 The ACA was passed and honoring the employer
into law in late 2010, the insurance mandate. Aetna then
congressional mid-terms in a claimed to be losing money
strong voter reaction, knocked in virtually every state via the
out the Democratic majority marketplace and cancelled
controlling Congress. The coverage and my policy prior to
individual and employer renewal, pulling out of Georgia
mandates would take effect in and most other states.
2012 through 2014, and like  So now, it’s 2017, premium
millions of uninsured Americans, prices are higher and plan
and thousands in the pre- options are fewer. I again picked
existing pile, I began to look Blue Cross, and this time an
and shop again for coverage— HMO with an attached Health
making too much money for free Savings Plan. As before, I pre-
health care—and paying cash funded the HSA with funds to
and on-demand for all my health cover my premiums for the
care services and expenses.  year (to be auto-drafted) and
The original billion-dollar some additional dollars for the
marketplace website was a joke, occasional unforeseen expenses
and practically unnavigable. not covered by the plan.  

the DeKalb
Publisher: Photographer: Statement from the
John Hewitt Travis Hudgons
Chief Financial Officer: Staff Reporters: We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
Let Us Know What You Think! Dr. Earl D. Glenn Carla Parker issue of interest to DeKalb County.
Send Letters To Editor, R. Scott Belzer The Champion was founded in 1991
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions Production Manager: Horace Holloman expressly to provide a forum for
The DeKalb Free Press, discourse for all community residents
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views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain Send email to desire to make the news only to
FAX To: (404) 370-3903; Phone: (404) 373-7779. The DeKalb Free Press is published each Friday report news and opinions to effect
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Phone (404) 373-7779. ideas for discussion; however,
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us that is known to be false and/or
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local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 8

Muslims, refugees and immigrants came to the Clarkston Community Center to express concerns of President Donald Trump’s policies on im- Representative Hank Johnson talks to a group of individu-
migration. als at the Clarkston Community Center Feb. 12.

Rep. Hank Johnson, Clarkston mayor listen to immigrant, refugee concerns
Trump’s initial travel ban, those with concerns. woman Fahkria Hussain and refugees are already highly
by Horace Holloman which was signed Jan. 27 “Refugees are not a New American Pathways CEO vetted when coming to and banned entry for 90 days burden to Clarkston and they Paedia Mixon. America.
by citizens from Iraq, Syria, are certainly not a burden Former refugee and staff “The president has put
In the Clarkston Community Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan to America. In Clarkston, member at Lutheran Services refugee issues in the forefront.
Center roughly 250 people and Yemen. The order also they have a 91 percent self- of Georgia Aimee Zangandou There’s been a harsh backlash
expressed concern about indefinitely halts refugees from sufficiency rate within 180 was also a panelist. The on refugees in this country,”
President Donald Trump’s Syria. days,” said Terry during services help refugees relocate Zangandou said. “I think
policies regarding refugees and Currently, Trump is in the the event. “The current in Georgia and provide rice people need to understand that
immigration. process of crafting new travel administration in the White to refugees through an annual refugees are some of the most
In an event hosted by restrictions. House is deliberately cutting in event. vetted group of immigrants.”
Congressman Hank Johnson Of the nearly 250 people half the number of refugees that Zangandou said there’s Johnson, who represents
and Clarkston Mayor Ted in attendance, Johnson said will arrive in the United States still work to be done to help areas of DeKalb County,
Terry on Feb. 12, refugees he believed roughly 45 in the next year.” refugees. said he’s impressed with the
shared stories of how Trump’s percent were either Muslim, Other panelists at the event “It’s real personal. The way Clarkston welcomes its
travel restrictions targeting immigrants or living under included Cedric L. Alexander, work itself is rewarding. You refugees and immigrants.
predominately Muslim refugee status. DeKalb County’s deputy chief have people gain a sense of “Clarkston has been ground
countries affect their lives. “Those people love this operating officer for public a home and a real sense of zero for refugee resettlement
“First of all, people don’t country,” Johnson said. “It was safety, Atlanta Office Director freedom. For some it’s the first in Georgia and it was a natural
want to be profiled based on the a meeting about their fears of World Relief Joshua step to rebuilding their life,” place to host this event. It’s a
way they look or the garb they and concerns and love for this Sieweke, Executive Director of Zangandou said. “We have to growing phenomenon that has
may be wearing,” Johnson said. country and desire to live in CAIR Georgia Edward Ahmed do more work and advocate for taken place in the 4th District
“There’s real apprehension peace.” Mitchell, Executive Director our refugees.” and public officials are coming
on the level of hostility about During the meeting, of the International Rescue Zangandou, who has been together to support each other,”
Muslims and refugees.” Johnson said several refugee Committee J.D. McCray, in the United States for two Johnson said.  
Federal judges blocked aid organizations came to assist former refugee and Muslim decades, said she believes

Lifeline eager for new DeKalb animal shelter
by Horace Holloman land. More than 30 workers with Reeves & Young Construction are building the new facility. Stone
placement, curbing and gutter work is set to begin in
A new DeKalb County animal shelter has been years the coming weeks, according to a release from DeKalb
in the making. The completion of the shelter is set for County.
May of this year and officials say it will be a better way The estimated cost for construction of the new shelter
to care for animals and more likely to result in permanent is $10 million.
homes. According to Hirsch, the DeKalb County Animal
Karen Hirsch, public relations director for Lifeline shelter takes in roughly 20 to 40 animals per day but
Animal Project, said adoptions should increase and the adopts out an average of seven animals per day, five dogs
life of the animals in the projects’ care should improve and two cats.
once the shelter is complete. “The new shelter holds 450 animals and that can
“Well for one, we will be able to hold more animals be a huge help. Right now we have four to five dogs in
at the new shelter, which is great,” Hirsch said. “Space each [caged area] and we have two to three adoption
is always an issue and it will allow us to keep fewer counselors working in a small shared space,” Hirsch said.
animals in each run.” The shelter will feature 12 adoption rooms, space for
Lifeline Animal Project took control of DeKalb 450 cats and dogs and an exercise yard. There will also
County’s shelter in 2013 along with Fulton County’s be an onsite clinic that will include a surgery and prep
animal shelter. Hirsch said the new shelter will have a room, lab area, pharmacy and a spay-and-neuter clinic.
better look and feel for potential adopters. Before the move to the new shelter, Hirsch said
“The DeKalb animal shelter is really ugly and scary Lifeline Animal Project hopes to adopt out all the animals
and people just don’t like to come in there. The new located at the DeKalb Animal Shelter.
shelter is going to be pretty and more open and that “We’ll be having a huge event to clear the shelter and
will change the way people think during the adoption we’ll need the public’s help with that. We’ll be starting
process,” Hirsch said. fresh over there. It’s exciting and it will do a lot for
The shelter, located at 3280 Chamblee Dunwoody our employees,” Hirsch said. “It’s hard when you go to A look inside construction of a new animal shelter located in
Road, will be 33,440 square feet on 5.3 acres of work in a dark, dingy place every day. It can affect your DeKalb County. Officials say the shelter will be complete in
mood.” May of this year.
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 9

Ossoff lands ‘progressive’
Political action committee welcomed in
crowded 6th Congressional District race
by R. Scott Belzer announcing the endorsement,
ECU is one of the first progressive PACs to support
Ossoff ’s campaign. The
End Citizens United (ECU), organization states it will
a political action committee connect Ossoff ’s campaign
(PAC) based in Washington, with local volunteers and rally
D.C. founded in 2015 that its 320,000 national donors to
describes itself as “progressive,” provide the candidate financial overturn Citizens United—a who now serves as United
announced its endorsement resources. terrible decision allowing States secretary of Health and
of 6th Congressional District Ossoff, one of five unchecked, anonymous money Human Services.
candidate Jon Ossoff on Feb. Democrats, 11 Republicans in politics.” The 6th Congressional
22. and two independents The liberal PAC joins District, which represents
ECU, made up of more running for the seat, has Georgia congressmen John portions of northern DeKalb
than 40,000 members in the Atlanta filmmaker and business voiced opposition to ECU’s Lewis and Hank Johnson in County, northern Fulton
metro Atlanta area, 70,000 owner Jon Ossoff has landed the
namesake—the 2010 Supreme endorsing Ossoff, who helped County and eastern Cobb
endorsement of End Citizens United,
statewide and three million a liberal political action committee, in Court decision in Citizens him attract donations via the County, has been won by
across America, pledged its Georgia’s 6th Congressional District United v. FEC which ruled website Daily Kos following Republicans since 1979. Other
support on the basis of Ossoff ’s race. Photo submitted.
corporations have the same marches and activism on the Democrats in the race include
stated commitment to ending rights as people—and pledges campaign trail. east Cobb resident Ragin
corruption in politics. to reform campaign finance Ossoff, Johnson and Lewis Edwards, Tucker college
“We need an anti- laws. were present at the Atlanta professor Richard Keatley,
corruption reformer like Jon policies cater to their needs. ““I believe passionately in airport following Trump’s physician Rebecca Quigg
Ossoff in congress to lead the Jon Ossoff will put the needs of integrity and transparency executive order barring certain and former state senator Ron
fight against President Donald Georgia families ahead of big in government,” Ossoff said. immigration into the United Slotin.
Trump and his allies, who are money and push for reforms to “I will use my real-world States. He has since held meet- A special election for the
doubling down on a rigged our campaign finance system experience to root out and and-greets at Temple Emanu- congressional district seat will
system,” said Tiffany Muller, so it works for everyone. Our expose corruption and fraud El Atlanta in Sandy Springs. take place on April 18. The
ECU executive director. members are passionate about in Washington, and introduce Ossoff, an Atlanta business two candidates with the most
“Since taking office, Trump these issues and are eager to legislation to reform campaign owner known for investigative votes—regardless of party—
has surrounded himself with get to work electing him to finance laws, reduce the documentaries, hopes to fill will race in a runoff election
mega-donors and corporate Congress.” toxic and corrupt impact of a seat vacated by Tom Price, June 20.
special interests, and his According to a release money in politics and work to

MORRISS and SHIM, Attorneys at Law
Is pleased to announce the firm’s new name

The Brookhaven City Council approved spending an additional $66,550 to
replace a bridge that connects Camille Drive to Valvedere Drive. Photo by Carla

Brookhaven council approves M S J TELEPHONE:

additional funding for park bridge ATTORNEYS
Brookhaven needed more total budget of approximately
funding to replace a bridge in $170,000 for the bridge
the Ashford Park community. replacement project, so the
The Brookhaven City project still will be within and that
Council approved Feb. the budget when added to the
15 spending an additional original amount for the project ROBERT D. JAMES JR.
$66,550 to replace a bridge of $75,000.
that connects Camille Drive to In November, the city Has joined the firm as a partner.
Valvedere Drive. According determined that the bridge
to city staff, they thought the should close following a safety Robert James is the former elected District Attorney and Solicitor-General of DeKalb County.
project would need a deck assessment, which states the
replacement but once engineers bridge is not safe for foot Robert will be practicing in the areas of personal injury and criminal defense.
got into the abutments, it was traffic. The city is looking to THE ASTORIA-SUITE 212, 2233 PEACHTREE RD., NE, ATLANTA, GA 30309
determined that the abutments have the project complete in the
needed to be replaced too. spring. WWW.MSJLAWGROUP.COM
The city council approved a
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 10

Clark Petre Domin Hoft Hohmann

Cross Keys High School teachers Susan Petre and Diane Clark resigned follow- Tish Domin resigned from Cary Reyn- Jim Hoft and Leo Hohmann are the two writers responsible for an article
ing investigations into anti-immigration remarks made in November following the olds Elementary in January in lieu of alleging Green doesn’t allow pro-Trump stances in DeKalb County School
presidential election. Champion file illustration. termination after alleged anti-immigra- District. Photo submitted.

Fake news gone viral
tion remarks surfaced on social media.
Photo submitted.

DeKalb County superintendent responds to false reports regarding resigned teachers
issued a warning to teachers in “Following fair and
by R. Scott Belzer the suburban Georgia County thorough school district to refrain from promoting investigations by the
President Trump’s policies appropriate school principals,
on border security and legal those principals and the
DeKalb County immigration.” regional superintendent of
School District (DCSD) Hoft also incorrectly these employees unanimously
superintendent Stephen Green reported “Since the warning recommended termination,”
responded to two online was issued two teachers were states Green. “All three
conservative blogs on Feb. 23 reportedly forced to resign,” employees provided written
for producing false reports. as the resignations came in and oral comments and were
The two articles have led to November and early January afforded a full chance to rebut
various death threats, including while Green’s statement was allegations and challenge any
threats with origin out of made Jan. 30. recommendations. All three
Georgia, according to school “A conservative news and voluntarily left the system
district officials. Green—as well opinion website and online without termination.”
as his family—have been the news aggregator has falsely Green’s statement concludes
target of abuse, which has led reported that DeKalb County with reaffirming the district’s
to around-the-clock security School District employees have commitment to “all students,
measures. been fired for their political no matter their birth homes
The reports, published by views,” Green responded or heritages,” and that DCSD
Leo Hohmann with World on Feb. 23. “The article “loves them and respect what
Net Daily and Jim Hoft with inaccurately represents the their presence [in America]
Gateway Pundit, allege Green DeKalb County school superintendent Stephen Green responded to false reports
from conservative blogs on Feb. 23 that alleged the school district is responsible voluntary departure of three says about the goodness and
warned teachers that they for suppressing first amendment rights. Photo submitted. school district employees, generosity of America.”
“must line up with the school two teachers and one nurse. Green said DCSD is only
district’s commitment to February following executive themselves on or off campus
These former employees had required by federal and state
diversity and inclusiveness” orders from Trump involving if their views on immigration
been investigated by our law to educate every student
and that staff must refrain from refugees. line up with those of President
school system for comments in the system. Students, in
promoting Donald Trump’s “Our schools will be Donald Trump.”
suggesting DeKalb students turn, are only required to
policies on immigration. safe places for learning and Hohmann quotes former
with immigrant backgrounds provide proof of residency,
Both articles reference cases teaching,” Green said. “We congresswoman Michele
faced deportation. immunization records and
in November and January will not tolerate any form of Bachmann, Jihad Watch editor
Unfortunately, these comments proof of age, Green said.
when two teachers from Cross bullying or discrimination—on and author Robert Spencer
were publicly available to “Our diversity is our
Keys High School —Susan or off district property—that and lawyer Mathew Staver
students and families and strength,” states Green. “We
Petre and Diane Clark—as interferes with learning or the regarding free speech. The
negatively impacted the strongly support the diversity
well as a Cary Reynolds rights of others.” article also quotes an earlier
employees’ effectiveness in of our school system, and
nurse—Tish Domin—resigned On Feb. 14, Hohmann edition of The Champion,
their schools.” we greatly value our role in
in lieu of termination after interpreted the statement which reported Green’s
Green said the three supporting our immigrant
being investigated for alleged as, “Employees of a Georgia statement on diversity.
employees received full due population through the
disparaging remarks about school district known for On Feb. 15, Hoft
process of law and school benefits of quality education.”
illegal immigrants. its diversity of refugees and interpreted the statement
board regulations following
The articles also reference migrants – legal and illegal – as “DeKalb County Schools
the allegations and a complete
a statement made by Green in are being told not to express Superintendent Stephen Green
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 11


Dunwoody Police Department was recognized at the 2017 Polar Plunge at
Traditions Health and Rehab in Lithonia hosted a Ms. Traditions Pageant Feb. 16. Bottom row from left: Margaret Gray, second Lake Acworth for being the top fundraising law enforcement team. Photo
runner up; Jeannette Cochran, Ms. Traditions 2017; and Lanita Hinch- 1st runner up. submitted.

Residents take advantage of a warm Friday, Feb. 24 by enjoying a picnic at the Dunwoody Nature The Mead Road Mardi Gras parade in Oakhurst Feb. 25. Photos by Travis Hudgons
Center, located at 5343 Roberts Drive. 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
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 12

Police officer’s work continues
despite active claim, settlements
Officer making arrests, issuing tickets
possession of marijuana’ and Department. The Dunwoody
by R. Scott Belzer anytime he was stopped in Police Department has not Dunwoody, Laidlaw would be acknowledged any wrongdoing.
‘red-flagged’ as possibly having According to Muhammad,
Despite being found guilty marijuana.” who detailed his complaint on
of violating the constitutional Laskowski did not find any a blog titled Dunwoody Police
rights of three individuals, evidence of marijuana, nor Complaints in 2013, Laskowski
facing a fourth lawsuit and did he perform a field sobriety stopped him for a cracked
costing the city of Dunwoody test, according to Laidlaw’s windshield and inactive
$135,000, Dunwoody Police complaint. Laskowski allegedly taillights.
Officer Dale Laskowski has informed the then-teenager The stop allegedly led to
Stone Mountain Park recently announced it will add a “real life” dinosaur
remained able to issue tickets, that he had a number of Laskowski asking Muhammad exhibit which is set to open March 30.
make arrests and perform other speeding tickets on his record, about guns, drugs and statistics
of officers shot in the Winters
Chapel Road area, which was Dinosaurs coming to
‘I was publicly
the area of the incident. He
then asked Muhammad if he
minded if he searched the
Stone Mountain Park
humiliated as passerbys “I respond that I do mind
and would like a citation for
the cracked windshield and
by Horace Holloman
stared—some of them
rear brake bulbs if that, in
fact, was the only reason I
was pulled over,” Muhammad New prehistoric pals are at Stone Mountain Park and
states. “The officer then states, officials are waiting to unveil them to the public, said park

were my customers... .’ ‘You’re making me nervous.’
What made me nervous was
watching him approach my
On Feb. 22, park officials announced plans to introduce
the park’s latest exhibit, Dinosaur Explore, which is set to
vehicle unhooking the latch open March 30 and remain throughout 2017.
to his weapon. I know this is “Most of our guests are probably too young to remember
which is false, according to normal procedure, and racial the last time dinosaurs inhabited Stone Mountain Park,” said
duties necessitated by police
court records. profiling is nothing new to me.” Michael Dombrowski, general manager of Stone Mountain
According to court Laskowski radioed a K-9 Park, in a statement. “Our newest attraction brings the
Laskowski has remained on
documents, Laskowksi Unit in the area to conduct wonder and excitement of these prehistoric animals back
active duty at the Dunwoody
maintains he conducted a a sweep of the vehicle. to the park in a way that offers families a fun new way to
Police Department. As of Feb.
lawful traffic stop with a verbal Muhammad was removed from explore and learn.”
23, he has issued 24 citations
warning. During the course of his vehicle and subject to a The exhibit will feature 20 dinosaurs representing 14
and conducted six arrests for
the warning, he maintains he thorough search after the K-9 species, a T. rex meet and greet, baby dinosaur interactions
various charges—including
“observed from outside of the supposedly indicated signs of and a dinosaur dig play area. Stone Mountain Park officials
marijuana possession and
vehicle and later found in the drugs to officers. planned the exhibit for roughly six to nine months, said park
speeding—for the month.
vehicle [what] he believed to be “I was publicly humiliated spokesperson Jeanine Jones.
On Aug. 29, 2016,
marijuana seeds, shake, stems as passerbys stared—some of “They have arrived,” said Jones, laughing. “Everyone is
Dunwoody resident Colton
and leaf.” them were my customers who really excited to have something new and to have something
Laidlaw filed a complaint
Laskowski’s response to would later ask about what fun. Everything has gone to the dinosaurs this year.”
against Laskowski, accusing
the complaint states Laidlaw happened,” Muhammad said. Stone Mountain Park will also replace the great barn
the officer of unlawful seizure,
admitted he had passengers “The entire debacle concluded exhibit and feature the indoor “Dinotorium.” Inside the
detention and searching during
in the vehicle who smoked with the discovery of no drugs Dinotorium, guests can interact with dino rangers, learn
a March 2014 traffic stop.
marijuana. and no weapons.” about dinosaur habitats, visit the Dino Nursery, feed baby
Laidlaw was 17 at the time of
On Oct. 27, judge Timothy According to Dunwoody dinosaurs and play games, according to Jones.
the incident.
Batten Sr. with the Northern Police Chief Billy Grogan, Twenty life-size dinosaurs will be on display throughout
According to Laidlaw’s
District of Georgia granted the department has changed the park. Jones said the dinosaurs will be on a wooded trail
suit, the 14-minute incident,
a six-month period in which its policies to require a to give the feel of the dinosaurs’ living environment.
in which Laskowski searched
Laidlaw and Laskowski will supervisor’s approval before “You come up and you can see each dinosaur. They’re
Laidlaw’s vehicle after stopping
gather evidence. The period requesting a K-9 unit. In also motion sensored and they move and sound just like
him for speeding, was
ends on April 20, 2017. August, Grogran told The they would in the prehistoric days. Very lifelike,” Jones said.
“pretextual and unlawful.”
Dunwoody settled Champion he is aware of the “Some of them are quite large. As soon as you enter the
“For [several] minutes,
three lawsuits filed against lawsuit and believes courts will park, a brachiosaurus is there to greet you.”
Laskowski lectured Laidlaw
Laskowski as recently as rule in Laskowski’s favor. The brachiosaurus is roughly two stories tall. The
about the dangers of having
March 2016 totaling $135,000. “Due to the pending collection of dinosaurs also includes a three-horned
and being caught with
Jermaine Muhammad, litigation, we cannot comment triceratops, an allosaurus and a winged pteranodon.
marijuana,” the complaint
Daniel Green and Joseph on the facts of this case,” “The good thing is it’s not going to scare anyone. They
reads. “[He] then advised
Anderson were each given Grogan said. “However, we are are family friendly so it’s not going to scare little children. I
Laidlaw he was going to
$45,000 after it was found that confident that the evidence think parents and even grandparents are going to get a lot out
put Laidlaw, who was a
Laskowski conducted similar, in this case will result in a of it. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said.
minor at the time, in the
unconstitutional searches finding in favor of the city Park officials will also show a condensed version of the
city of Dunwoody’s system
involving K-9 units and officers of Dunwoody and Officer movie “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” in 4D.
as ‘possibly, might be in
from the Doraville Police Laskowski.”
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 13

Mayoral candidate for Stonecrest claims unfair treatment
The Champion called the
by Horace Holloman offices of Irons but did not receive a return call as of press
A candidate running for “Charles Hill is a child
mayor of the newly formed city that lives at home. He is a
of Stonecrest says he was treated professional student with no
unfairly during a recent forum. real-life experience,” Lary said.
Charles Hill said he was “Vaughn Irons just brought a
“accosted on stage” by State $200 million project to the area,
Representative and former so who would you listen to?”
DeKalb County CEO Vernon Recently Irons, along with
Jones during a Feb. 11 forum. other business leaders and
Hill, a graduate student DeKalb officials, announced
at Yale University, said he a sports complex would be
was stopped from talking Mayoral candidate Charles Hill said he’s been treated unfairly at forums in favor of candidate Jason Lary.
coming to the area. According
about issues regarding fellow to developers, the complex
candidate Jason Lary. could bring in $197 million in
“The debate started very was treated fairly as were the said. “Afterwards, Hill gave out able to speak freely. economic impact.
spirited. I began to talk about other candidates that were in his information that he had and “I completely disagree,” Lary said the complex,
Jason Lary and his connection attendance. According to her, no one said anything.” said Lary when asked if he felt located across from Stonecrest
to (developer) Vaughn Irons the issue was that Hill wanted Hill said he was able to Hill was treated unfairly. “They mall and called Atlanta Sports
and almost immediately I was to distribute his information discuss the information he had let him bring up everything City, is what the city needs
stopped by Vernon Jones,” during the speaking portion of at the forum, which included he wanted to bring up. (The to move forward along with
Hill said. “Vernon runs up on the forum. bankruptcy filings by Lary—one bankruptcies) are personal a place for residents to “live,
stage and acts like he’s about “When we started the dated in December of 2008 and information and if he wanted work, play, worship, shop and
to do something to me and his meeting, we said that this wasn’t the other March of 2010. to expose them he could have pursue education.”
physical demeanor was almost going to be personal. We were “They tried to shut me talked to me, but that’s the type “I’m continuing the people’s
like he was about to jump on going to ask the questions down,” said Hill. “I was talking of campaign he’s running.” vision. I didn’t do this alone.
me. He just started yelling and and we were not going to about things that I thought Hill said if residents in We spent years finding out
screaming at me.” have anything disparaging,” was important for the people Stonecrest, who will decide what would be successful for
During a phone Stephenson said. “When we got to hear. It was clear that they among Hill, Lary and Douglas us and I’m going to continue
conversation with The to the mayors’ race, Mr. Hill were biased. How can you be a Favors for mayor in an election the vision of the people,” Lary
Champion, Jones suggested a wanted to distribute his papers candidate for mayor and you’re March 21, vote for Lary it would said. “Charles Hill didn’t lift
reporter should interview the during his speech, however, we in debt? It just really seems like “be a vote for Irons.” one finger to help with this
other candidates in attendance could not allow that.” in a lot of these forums they’re Irons was recently named initiative. He didn’t invest time,
to determine if Hill was treated Stephenson said Hill could unwilling to allow me to speak as co-chair to the City of money or attend the public
unfairly. pass out his papers after the on Lary’s bankruptcy.” Stonecrest Community forums. He and his daddy woke
Representative Pam forum. Lary said Hill’s behavior Committee. Hill said Irons has up one day and decided they
Stephenson, who co- “You can’t distribute the during the forum was “childish” had unethical business practices wanted to run for mayor.”
moderated the event, said Hill papers during the forum,” She and stated that Hill has been in the past.

Construction under way for Sams Crossing development
pedestrian experience.
by Carla Parker “Their mixed-use project will be handsome
and welcoming edifice at
Dirt has been dug up and our western gateway and
a couple of buildings have an inspiring catalyst for
been demolished to construct our entire central business
a multi-use development in district,” Mayor Jonathan
Avondale Estates. Elmore previously said. “I
A week after Avondale am incredibly proud of the
Estates officials announced collaborative effort of our
Jan. 11 that South City downtown development
Partners closed on the property authority, our city manager and
at Sams Crossing and East staff, and the board in working
Construction has begun on a multi-use development at Sams Crossing and East College Avenue. Photos by Carla Parker
College Avenue, construction with South City Partners to
crews begin work to build the arrive at this point. We all
future development. look forward to seeing this from Maple Street to Sams Although the Avondale entertainment and retail
The development, which important project being built Crossing, which was annexed MARTA Station is right options, according to MARTA.
will be built on 3.17 acres, and a future ribbon-cutting. into the city. outside the city’s limits, The commercial district,
will feature approximately The South City Partners, I The project is expected to motorists will soon see another a central plaza with ample
8,000 square feet of podium would like to say great job and be completed in 18 months. development outside city’s sidewalks and greenspace, will
retail/restaurant space on the welcome to our community.” The city’s 2014 downtown western gateway in Decatur. join the collection of mixed-
ground floor, approximately A thrift shop, restaurant and master plan community Construction is also use housing units providing
197 residential units in four auto shop that were previously planning activities and the under way at the MARTA affordable independent living
stories above, a gateway on the land were demolished final downtown master station for another mixed- for seniors, more than 300
park—which will preserve the to construct the development. plan document approved use development project. market-rate apartments and
mature trees—a rear parking The project is a part of the by the board of mayor and The 7.7 acre Transit Oriented condominiums, according to
deck with additional on-street city’s efforts to redevelop it commissioners included plans Development (TOD) at the MARTA.
parking and sidewalks and central business district and for the redevelopment and Avondale Station a pedestrian- That project is expected to
street trees to enhance the the city. The property is within enhancement of the entrance to friendly environment that will be completed in two years.
the Western Gateway area the city. include office space, dining,
education DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 14

DeKalb board of ed questions, approves $3.1 million purchase
DeKalb County School District makes consecutive multi-million modular classroom purchase
by R. Scott Belzer

DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD) board of
education approved the third consecutive multi-million
dollar purchase of portable classrooms on Feb. 13 despite
skepticism from board members.
The approved $3.1 million purchase will pay Mobile
Modular Management Corporation for an unstated number
of single-wide and quad unit portable classrooms, some with
and some without restrooms, in support of DCSD’s summer
portable placement, future construction projects and to
replace aged modulars, according to DCSD Chief Operations
Officer Joshua Williams.
Board member Joyce Morley asked Williams how many
portable classrooms the district currently has and received a
non-specific response.
“I can provide you with the number, I don’t have it in
front of me at this time,” Williams said. “We do have some
portable classrooms that are in really bad shape that we
currently stage at our Panthersville location. We are in the
process of disposing of those, we do not believe they are
in any condition to put back into schools. Our intent is to
salvage what we can and maintain what we can.”
According to documents obtained by The Champion,
the district has 29 modular classrooms in storage behind
Panthersville Stadium, located at 2817 Clifton Springs Road.
The document—a September 2016 Portables Inventory—
states 29 portables are in “good” condition and listed as
surplus. It also states 29 are in “bad” condition and listed as
to be removed.
Williams said the district needs new portables to replace
outdated modulars and address capacity issues for upcoming
construction projects. He said the typical lifecycle of modular
DeKalb County School District approved a $3.1 million purchase for portable classrooms, despite its classrooms is approximately 15 years.
Panthersville Stadium storage location has trailers of varying quality. Photos by Travis Hudgons Morley asked Williams if the board has the option to lease
rather than buy the temporary classrooms.
“In the past, we have leased modular trailers,” Williams
said. “We believe, given the amount of work we’re going
to have and the service life, it’s in our best interest to
purchase them. We’ll reuse them as we go through phases of
construction projects over the next five years.”
Board member Jim McMahan requested an updated
detailed inventory of modular classrooms in storage, in use
and those considered surplus. He also requested a detailed
list of the number of portables expected to be purchased.
Board member Marshall Orson also requested a
detailed inventory to help his decision making in approving
Board member Stan Jester mentioned DCSD’s most
recent Cross Keys Redistricting Plan in February 2016
reduced some portable classrooms and redistributed others.
“Several of them are currently at Panthersville in a
condition that was not good enough to send to another
school,” Williams said.
According to an email dated Feb. 16, Jester remains
unconvinced the purchase was necessary for the district.
“In addition to storing trailers at Panthersville, I imagine
there are good trailers at some schools not being used,”
Jester states. “Dunwoody High is over capacity by 317
students while Cross Keys High is over by 86 students.
According to the [2016 Portables Inventory] Dunwoody
has four classrooms worth of trailers and Cross Keys has 15
classrooms worth of trailers. Perhaps the excess trailers at
CKHS will be used as swing space during the E-SPLOST V
conversion to a middle school.”
The board of education approved a similar purchase of
$2.5 million in March 2016. At the time, Williams provided
the board of education with details as to which schools would
receive modular classrooms.
At the time, Williams stated DCSD’s overall goal is to
phase out portable classrooms altogether.
education DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 15

Georgia Piedmont Technical College President
Jabari Simama delivered the 2017 State of the
College Address on Feb. 23, discussing cutting-
edge courses that will prepare students for
tomorrow’s workforce. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Georgia Piedmont Technical College held its 2017 State of the College breakfast on Feb. 23, welcoming local officials and community leaders. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

‘Not your grandfather’s vo-tech’
Georgia Piedmont Technical College offers cutting-edge courses

by R. Scott Belzer billion industry by 2020 with $13 participating companies. fiber optics, driverless cars, alternative billion coming from private businesses “Advanced manufacturing involves fuels and more.
and local government. He said the extensive use of the latest generation in “The transit and transportation
school’s technical college certificate technology to make something better industry is one of the most dynamic
According to Georgia Piedmont program, as well as non-credit courses, and it needs skilled people to operate and rapidly changing sectors in the
Technical College President Jabari will provide GPTC students an edge in this technology,” Simama said. “To meet world,” Simama said. “This industry
Simama, the DeKalb County school is the industry. the demands, we’re starting a German- straddles the digital-industrial world in
leading the way in offering a platform “Drone [students] are tech-ed today style apprenticeship where high school which we live. For 30 years, GPTC has
for 21st century jobs in America. at GPTC and a skilled workforce in students take tech ed courses part of the developed the curriculum and teaching
“This is not your grandfather’s tomorrow’s industry,” Simama said. day and work in related businesses the methods that prepare workers for this
vo-tech,” Simama said. “Technical Georgia’s growing film industry other part of the day.” industry.”
education, as the young folks say, is hot. is another area the college excels in Simama announced GPTC will be Simama called technical education,
It’s on fire. Today’s technical education readying students for, according to launching its first 3D-printing course, with courses costing approximately
requires advanced skill sets and Simama. He said the school’s courses where students will learn to create $89 per credit hour, the best poverty-
technological know-how.” prepare students in the $6 billion physical objects from a virtual model. fighting program available today.
For more than an hour on Feb. industry, specifically for more than “Students will leave this course “We move people through an
23, community members and leaders 5,000 jobs on the technical side of film knowing how to convert plans and educational and training program
joined Simama, staff, other faculty making. specs into 3D models,” Simama said. that can help move them to the
and students at GPTC for the school’s “Students who complete this “This will be a game-changer in middle class,” Simama said. “Tech ed
annual State of the College address. program will go on to complete on-set industry and helping our economy.” is accessible; it’s a gateway. Georgia’s
Simama called GPTC the most internships on film and television sets,” Simama said cyber security will be technical colleges are among the best
diverse college in America—with Simama said. one of the most important industries value in the education marketplace.”
students who speak 100 different Advanced manufacturing, in the near future and that GPTC is GPTC seems to be successful in
languages from 80 different countries— according to Simama, involves what already training students to meet such a such an endeavor, Simama said, with
and said it offers cutting-edge courses the nonprofit World Economic Foum demand. a 74 percent graduation rate and 99
to its student body. calls a fourth industrial revolution Simama said he was excited to percent employment rate.
Six courses specifically mentioned involving digital and mobile platforms announce GPTC is currently working “Most four-year colleges wish they
by Simama include drone, film reliant upon human connectivity. on plans to develop a regional had these numbers,” he said. “The
production, advanced manufacturing, He said GPTC strives to tap into this transportation training center, state of our college is exceptional. We
3D printing, cyber forensics as well as revolution through apprenticeships complete with simulators and hands- are reinventing technical education to
transit and transportation. and partnerships with chambers of on laboratories for students hoping to address the workforce needs of today—
Simama said drones will be a $100 commerce, public education and become truck drivers, manufacturers of and tomorrow.”
business DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 16

Tucker business turns wedding dreams to reality
by Kathy Mitchell than the number of guests. A
wedding with 40 guests can
Amanda Lankford admits cost as much as one with 300
the name of her business, or 400 guests, depending on
Amanda Jewel Floral + Design, the decorating requirements.”
often leaves people confused. Lankford said, noting that
“Most people think we’re a most of the weddings she
florist shop. Even though we works with have a total budget
deal with a lot of flowers, we’re of approximately $100,000.
not a florist. In fact, I often After operating the business
refer people to a very good from home for several years,
florist right down the street the Lankfords last year
from us,” Lankford said. acquired a site across from the
Amanda Jewel Floral + Tucker Library in what once
Design in Tucker actually was a private residence. “This
is an event venue design is perfect for what we do. This
business that deals largely in charming 85-year-old house
high-end weddings. “We do with a screened porch has the
anniversary parties and other ambiance that allows us to
special events, but most of the extend the type of Southern
business is luxury weddings,” hospitality that’s our hallmark.
she explained. Here, we can offer the client
And the word jewel light refreshments and talk
in the name? “Oh, that’s my about what they want in a
middle name,” Lankford said cozy, homey setting,” Amanda
with a laugh. “I didn’t think Lankford said.
about it when I included it in Personal service, she said,
the business name, but it does is the central the AJ+D’s brand.
lead some people to wonder “I want the customer to see us
whether we’re in the jewelry at every phase. We don’t set
business.” up and disappear. We only do
Although Amanda Jewel about 15 weddings each year,
Floral + Design isn’t a florist but we throw ourselves into
shop, flowers are a big part each one.”
of the business. “Flowers are She added that she also
central to most weddings,” she likes the location because it’s
explained. “They create the near I-284 on Lavista Road, a
atmosphere. I love working main artery of the area, making
with flowers because the it easy for customers to come
make people happy. People’s there. The Tucker community,
faces light up when they see a she said, has been helpful
beautiful floral arrangement.” and welcoming. “The mayor
Lankford, who said she even came by to meet us. That
is largely self-taught, got her explained, isn’t determined by how elaborate the décor is. “We certainly was more than we
it be exactly as they envision
start in the flower business. “I the number of guests, but by really look at the budget rather expected.”
it. It means completely
worked in a flower shop when
transforming a space whether
I was in high school. That was
by building a trellis or a moss
where I learned about different
wall.” 040-396752 3/2,3/16,3/23,3/30
Once these are built, they Sealed Proposals will be received by the DeKalb County Board of Education (the “Owner”) at the Sam A. Moss Service
can be arranged and used. Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker, Georgia 30084, until 2:00 p.m. local time on Thursday, March 30, 2017 for Gen-
are never reused though some
“Weddings are big in the eral Contractor services for RFP No. 17-752-042, Project Nos. 304-422 and 308-422 for Cedar Grove Middle School
may be modified and used in Capital Renewal and Columbia Elementary School Capital Renewal. The Owner shall not consider late proposals.
South,” Lankford said. “For
a different way, Lankford said, SCOPE OF SERVICES To provide General Contractor services for the construction (Site, Building and Systems) of the
most people, it’s the most
every wedding is unique. Owner’s Construction Projects at Cedar Grove Middle School and Columbia Elementary School as specified per the
important day of their life and Proposal Documents.
When carpentry is
they want to create a truly Request for Proposal (“RFP”) documents will be available Thursday, March 2, 2017, and may be obtained from the
needed, Lankford’s husband
memorable celebration.” DeKalb County Board of Education website at Plans and Specifi-
and business partner, cations are available electronically in PDF format and can be emailed to prospective Respondents free of charge by
Lankford said she takes submitting a request to
Michael Lankford, steps in.
people’s dreams and makes
“Fortunately, Michael is skilled MANDATORY PRE-PROPOSAL CONFERENCE A mandatory Pre-Proposal Conference will be held in the Stokes
them a reality—to the extent Conference Room at the Sam A. Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker, Georgia 30084 at 10:00 a.m. local
and clever carpenter and can time on Thursday, March 16, 2017. All prospective bidders are required to visit the project sites. Mandatory Project
possible. “Brides tell me what
create pretty much whatever Site Visits are scheduled following the pre-proposal conference.
they’d like to see and I explain
the client needs,” she said. All attendees of the pre-proposal conference will be required to register. Proper registration requires that the attendee
the practical aspects or make has signed his or her name to the official roster and listed the name and address of the company he or she represents
Michael, who much of
suggestions as to how to on the official roster no later than the designated start time of the pre-proposal conference. Proposals submitted by
the time it the business’ less proposers who have not properly registered and attended the mandatory pre-proposal conference shall be rejected as
capture their vision.” Some, non-responsive. Proposers are advised to register early as anyone arriving after 10:15 am will not be allowed to
visible partner, also leads his participate in the proposal process.
she said, spend thousands of
business expertise to Amanda
dollars not just on flowers but SCHEDULE FOR SELECTION
Jewel + Design. “He has formal Mandatory Pre-Proposal Conference* March 16, 2017 @10:00 am
also on lighting or building Final Questions Due March 27, 2017 not later than 2:00 pm
business training; I don’t,”
an install—a major piece of Final Addendum Issued (if necessary) March 30, 2017 not later than 2:00 pm
Lankford said. “But he tells me Proposals Due April 4, 2017 not later than 2:00 pm
carpentry designed for the Public Acknowledgement April 6, 2017 not later than 4:00 pm
that I have excellent business Anticipated Board Review and Approval May 15, 2017
instincts. He often says that
Special installations can *OPEN TO PUBLIC ATTENDANCE*
what I’m considering is exactly Sam A. Moss Service Center
really run up the cost of a
what he would do.” 1780 Montreal Road
wedding, Lankford said, “but Tucker, GA 30084
The size of a wedding, she
it’s their day and they want Except as expressly provided in, or permitted by, the Proposal Documents, from the date of issuance of the RFP until final Owner action of ap-
proval of contract award, the Contractor submitting a Proposal shall not initiate any communication or discussion concerning the Project, the RFP
or the Contractor’s Proposal or any part thereof with any employee, agent, or representative of the Owner. Any violation of this restriction may
result in the rejection of the Contractor’s Proposal.

The Owner reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, and to waive technicalities and informalities.
Classified DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 17

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sports DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 18

Six basketball teams Dunwoody’s Gavalas,
St. Pius’ Marsh win state
advance to Elite Eight wrestling gold medals
by Carla Parker by Carla Parker
Six DeKalb County Dunwoody senior
basketball teams took another Constantine Gavalas and
step forward in playing for a St. Pius X senior Jack Marsh
state championship. earned spots on the first-
The boys’ basketball teams place podium after their
from Greenforest, Lithonia, wins at the Georgia High
Miller Grove and St. Pius School Association traditional
advanced to the Elite Eight of wrestling state tournament in
their respective classification Macon Feb. 11.
after wins in the second Gavalas won gold in the
round of the playoffs on Feb. Class AAAAAA 195-weight
23. Southwest DeKalb and class and Marsh won gold in
Stephenson girls’ basketball the Class AAAA 170-weight
teams advanced to the next class. Marsh is the second
round with wins in the second individual state champion from
round on Feb. 22. St. Pius in program history and
Greenforest advanced to the first in 25 years.
the Elite Eight in the Class Marsh, who has a 48-3
A-Private playoffs after record this season, defeated
defeating Mt. Paran 74-43. Lafayette’s Cole Ingram in
Justin Forest led the team the gold medal match with a
7-1 decision. Gavalas (11-0) Dunwoody Senior Constantine
with 14 points and five assists. Gavalas was one of two
Jandan Duggan and David defeated South Paulding’s Raji wrestlers from DeKalb County
Quimby each scored 12 Brown with a 5-2 decision in to win gold at the traditional
the gold medal match. wrestling state tournament.
points. The Eagles will face
Holy Innocents March 1. Gavalas’ win led Dunwoody
The St. Pius Golden Lions to finish 17th in Class 126-weight class after beating
defeated Mary Persons in the AAAAAA team standings with Decatur’s Kaden Spann by a
second round of the Class 35 points. Stephenson and pin fall 4:30 into the match.
AAAA playoff tournament to Tucker finished 39th and 43rd Spann would finish fourth in
advance to the Elite Eight. St. overall. the weight class and Southwest
Pius fought its way back from St. Pius finished 12th in DeKalb junior Rodre Fears
a 25-20 first quarter deficit to Class AAAA team standings place sixth in the weight class
defeat Mary Persons 74-71. with 57 points. St. Pius’ after falling to Locust Grove’s
The Golden Lions will face Miller Grove’s Naquante Hardy, right, makes a lay-up over a Starr’s other medalists were Kellen Konner Alejandro by a 9-8
Mill player Jake Bishop. Photo by Travis Hudgons Haynes, who placed third in decision.
Carver-Columbus March 1.
In Class AAAAA, the 195-weight class, and Max Arabia Mountain senior
Lithonia and Miller Grove Hardy led the team with 16 Landing Feb. 28 in the Elite Spearman, who finished sixth Khyree Alexander finished
will represent DeKalb in the points and Maurice Harvey Eight. Score was not available in the 152-weight class. fourth in the Class AAAAA
boys’ playoff tournament. The added 11 points. Miller Grove by press time. Marist finished above St. 132-weight class and
Lithonia Bulldogs defeated will host Riverwood March 1. Stephenson advanced to Pius in the team standings at Southwest DeKalb junior Eris
Riverdale 55-45 on the road in Southwest DeKalb the Class AAAAAA girls’ seventh place with 77 points. Walker finished sixth in the
the second round. Zion Cain advanced to the Elite Eight Elite Eight with a 59-41 win Marist sophomore Andrew 220-weight class.
led the team with 18 points in the Class AAAAA girls’ over River Ridge in the second Pace won bronze in the Southwest DeKalb finished
and Christian Parker added tournament with a 45-26 win round. Naomi Holloway led 126-weight class after defeating 18th in the team standings
13. The Bulldogs will travel over McIntosh in the second the Lady Jaguars with 25 Luella’s Aundarrius Weems in with 28 points followed by
to Athens to take on Cedar round. Ruona Uwusaiba led points. Stephenson traveled to the third-place match. Senior Lithonia at 21st with 21 points
Shoals March 1 in the Elite the team with 17 points and Johns Creek Feb. 28 to take Reed Bethune also won a and Arabia Mountain at
Eight. five rebounds while Jada on Northview. Score was not bronze medal after defeating 22nd with 20 points. Decatur
Miller Grove’s Wolverines Walton added nine points, five available by press time. Daniel Jernagin of Heritage- finished 26th with 16 points.
defeated Starr’s Mill 55-33 in rebounds and four assists. The Catoosa in the 132-weight Lakeside finished 25th in
the second round. Naquante Lady Panthers faced Eagles class third-place match. Senior the Class AAAAAAA team
Grey Bethune finished sixth in standings with 14.5 points, led
the 138-weight class and Max by senior Kamal Feracho, who
Blanchard finished fourth in finished in sixth place in the
the 170-weight class. 195-weight class.
Druid Hills finished McNair finished 28th in the
22nd in the Class AAAA Class AAA standings with 8
teams standings with 26 points after a fifth-place finish
points. Senior DeMarco by freshman Torrance Dumas
Mosley finished fourth in the in the 145-weight class. Dumas
195-weight class and senior defeated Lumpkin County
Deshaun Baker finished fifth senior Cole Hopkins in the
in the 220-weight class. fifth-place match with a 3-1
In Class AAAAA, Lithonia decision.
sophomore John Webb won
the bronze medal in the
sports DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 19

Atlanta Sports City at Stonecrest will be a 190-acre entertainment and recreational sports facility with the ability to host corporate activities and services.

Multi-million dollar sports facility coming to Stonecrest
economic development projects in restaurants, retail shops, entertainment sports diamonds and indoor courts.
by Carla Parker the area with nearly $80 million in venues, extreme sports areas, meeting Greg Griffith, executive director new demand for lodging, food and and event space, hotels and Stonecrest of Georgia Soccer Association and a
entertainment. Stadium—a 15,000-seat stadium member of Sports DeKalb Board of
If all goes as planned, the city of “Just 20 minutes east of downtown expected to be the home of two Directors, said the Georgia Soccer
Stonecrest will soon have a state-of-the- Atlanta, the location of this project professional sports teams; one men’s Association is excited to have a
art sports facility. is key,” Tsismanakis said. This will be and one women’s team. facility that matches the quality the
Discover DeKalb Convention and a destination between Augusta and First Team SC Sports CEO Trey association’s soccer clubs and teams.
Visitors Bureau, along with Atlanta Atlanta allowing us the opportunity Brantley, who is also a member of “This facility will provide a place for
Sports Connection and Atlanta to compete for regional and national Sports DeKalb Board of Directors, said dozens of local tournaments and give us
Partners for Development announced sporting events.” the goal is to have a men’s professional the ability to bid on major regional and
Feb. 22 a collaborative partnership to The facility is expected to bring in team competing at the facility starting national tournaments to bring these
build a $200 million sports facility— 1,937 jobs and three million visitors in 2018. events to Atlanta,” Griffith said. “The
Atlanta Sports City at Stonecrest. The annually. Located on the southeastern “And in 2019, it is our goal to bring proximity to metro Atlanta and the
facility will be a 190-acre entertainment side of the Mall at Stonecrest, the women’s soccer back to our community best airport in the country makes this a
and recreational sports facility with the facility will accommodate more than 22 and bring Atlanta the franchise our city great location for a sports complex.”
ability to host corporate activities and different sports and will host amateur so richly deserves,” said Brantley.
services. and professional sporting events Atlanta Sports City will also include See the March 9 issue for a feature
Discover DeKalb Executive Director throughout the year. athletic training facilities, a field house on the potential economic impact of
James Tsismanakis said Atlanta Sports Atlanta Sports City will feature with indoor practice field, a covered Stonecrest’s sports facility.
City is going to be one of the biggest indoor and outdoor sports facilities, outdoor field, outdoor multi-use fields,
local DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 3, 2017 • Page 20

Avondale Estates officials meet
with potential residents
by Carla Parker The city wants to annex [them].”
the Forest Hills and Decatur “Regardless of what happens Terrace neighborhoods, with annexation we have that
commercial property along opportunity to include them in
After the Avondale E. Ponce de Leon Ave. and some of the process, specifically
Estates Board of Mayor and Rio Circle, property along for Decatur Terrace and Forrest
Commissioners voted to move Rockbridge Road and the Hills,” Fisher said. “Anything
forward with its annexation American Legion. In January, that we do in the downtown
proposal, several board a representative from the is going to affect them—their
members began meeting with University of Georgia inability to get in and out of
residents living in the proposed Carl Vinson Institute of their homes, communities
annexation area. Government told the board and neighborhoods. So it’s
Commissioner Brian that the annexation is feasible. important to consider them in
Fisher said he, the mayor Mayor Jonathan Elmore that process.”
and some commissioners said the tone he has heard from Fisher said the residents
have met with residents in residents is that they would like were happy that the Museum
the Decatur Terrace, Forrest to be kept in the loop of what’s School is in the city but
Hills communities and other going on regarding annexation. mentioned concerns such as
communities to discuss the “I think at the very least we traffic flow.
proposal and hear concerns. do need to be better neighbors “There are some challenges
“So far it’s gone pretty well and communicate better with that as a city we need to start
in the initial first steps and our neighbors because the working on and addressing,”
there will be more [meetings] things we do does affect them,” Fisher said.
to come,” Fisher said. “I do Elmore said. “U.S. 278 got The next step for the city is
think we’re handling it the Cutline: Avondale Estates elected officials have been meeting with
brought up a lot. That’s [their] to take the information from
right way. It’s all been very residents living in the proposed annexation area.
road too and what [we] do the communities and work
encouraging so far. I wouldn’t there affects [them]. This [Sams with the city manager to come “We will be as transparent may have and decide what the
say everyone is like, ‘Yay, Crossing] apartment complex up with a tax calculator so as possible with that,” Fisher next meeting could be from
annexation!’ but I do think it is is going to be adding lots of residents can understand what said. “Address some of the there.”
an important first step.” people and that’s going to affect the difference in taxes will be. concerns and questions they

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