the DeKalb FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017 • VOL. 19, NO. 48 • 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

Stone Mountain woman achieves lifelong dream
by Carla Parker

For years, Carol Gee had the
urge to write.
After spending years with
the Air Force and working at
Emory, she finally fulfilled her
dream of becoming a published
writer. Gee, a 25-year resident
of Stone Mountain, has written
four books since 2001. She has
appeared in several magazines
and periodicals including Emory
magazines, Atlanta Woman,
Romantic Homes, Woman’s
World and others.
Gee said she has been
writing since she was a child.
“Growing up, my sister had
problems reading some of the Carol Gee has written four books since 2001, two of which were released last year.
little elementary school books,”
she said. “So, I made up little
push it back so I just pulled it out

‘My books seem
stories for her—little short stories
with a character and I would write altogether.”
them down and then I would read On her lunch break she
them to her and it seemed like wrote about the bra incident
she enjoyed those better than
the books we got from the library.
So, I have always written but as
like they have and shared it with a few women.
Those women and others
responded to the story with

formed this
[it is] for most people, life goes laughs and sharing similar
in a different direction for many experiences.
reasons. It wasn’t until about 16 “All my books, except for
one of them, are about lessons

sisterhood of
years ago, that I finally realized
my lifelong dream.” learned,” she said. “As we get
Gee is an Air Force veteran older—and it doesn’t matter
who served eight years on what age we are, we could be

women who want
active duty and 15 years in the 19, and at 21, hopefully between
Air Force Reserves. She retired those two years something would
after 20-plus years of combined have happened to you that you

to share things.’
military service. She is also a would’ve learned a lesson from.”
retired Emory employee. She Gee said women have fondly
has been married for 42 years called her books “girlfriend
to another retired Airman, whom books.”
she met while in the military. “It’s like some of the things
Gee wrote her first book, The – Carol Gee you share with your girlfriends,
Venus Chronicles: Musings from like your bad hair days or
The Feminine Side, in 2001, relationships that go on the rocks
two months short of her 50th know,” Gee said. “I had to think simply called ‘Bra’ and how my or drive you crazy,” she said.
birthday. She sold approximately about the things that I knew and bra had a life of its own,” she “The fun thing about my books
2,000 copies of her first book. the thing that came to mind was said. “One strap fell off one is that once I start writing them,
She was written a total of the day-to-day life of a woman, shoulder, I pulled it up and the women run to me to share the
four books, two of which were an ordinary woman. So, I started other strap fell. The underwire silliest things that happened to
released last year. writing this blog, and I had no was sticking me and I kept them. So, my books seem like
The idea of her first book idea that it would become a messing with the underwire. It they have formed this sisterhood
came after a conversation with book. I just started blogging.” got to the point where I had to go of women who want to share
her goddaughter. Gee said her first blog was to the restroom and rearrange it things.”
“The subject came up of what about the time she wore a bad so it wouldn’t be bothering me. Gee said she is currently
would I write about, and they bra. Then the wire came out from thinking about topics for a new
always tell you to write what you “My first little piece was underneath one and I couldn’t book.

Visit for local, real DeKalb County news. @DeKalbChampNews
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 2

Whole Foods development on schedule in Chamblee
by R. Scott Belzer Road,” reads Retail Leasing the perimeter,” reads literature this revival.” Whole Foods Market in
Advisors’ advertisement for from Dart Retail Advisors. “We S.J. Collins is also in the Decatur at 2642 North Decatur the site. “An upscale, national are excited to be a catalyst in process of constructing a Road.
organic grocer will anchor
Chamblee will be the latest the project with an additional
DeKalb County city to house 64,000 square feet of specialty
a Whole Foods Market, and retail and restaurants. The
according to commercial real project will serve the densely
estate company S.J. Collins, populated and affluent, yet
everything is on schedule.

Blue Breeze Cards
under served, Brookhaven and
S.J. Collins announced a Chamblee communities.”
new Chamblee shopping center According to the project’s
called Peachtree Crossing—

must be replaced
marketing literature, major
with Whole Foods Market as draws to the location include
its anchor store—in September 4,300 apartments, 185
2015. townhomes, 3,400 owner-
The shopping center,

with Silver Cards!
occupied homes within a
located at 5001 Peachtree one-mile radius and 41,000
Blvd, is scheduled to open in households within a three-mile
summer 2017. radius.
Other businesses featured One 115-unit townhome
in the shopping center’s development—Turnbury
renderings include Chipotle Gates—one incoming mixed-
and Yeah! Burger. According use development known as
to S.J. Collins, retail leasing Parkview at Peachtree, the
will be handled by Shannon Exchange at North Haven
Shuman Martin with Apartment complex as well as
Retail Leasing Advisors and a Lowe’s home goods store all
Kimberly Dart with Dart border the development.
Retail Advisors.
“Peachtree Crossing is a “The Peachtree Boulevard
highly anticipated, planned corridor is seeing a resurgence
redevelopment of the triangle in educated, high-income
at Peachtree Road, Peachtree families moving to Chamblee
Boulevard and Johnson Ferry to raise their families inside

Avondale Estates officials
oppose house bill 204
by Carla Parker said the Georgia Municipal Association and the DeKalb
Municipal Association are
The Avondale Estates Board
of Mayor and Commissioners
against the bill. The bill was
passed by a house committee
After March 31, 2017
have voiced its opposition to on Feb. 16. Blue Breeze cards cannot be reloaded.
House Bill 204. “This bill is moving fast,”
The board voted Feb. 27 to
pass a resolution announcing
Brown said.
Elmore spoke against the After July 9, 2017
its opposition to the bill. House
Bill 204, the ad valorem tax
bill during the board’s Feb. 22
work session. Blue Breeze cards will not be accepted.
bill, would prohibit cities from “I don’t know who cooked
billing municipal fees on the this up and why. It’s kind
property tax bill. Municipal of ridiculous,” Elmore said.
fees—nontax related fees
or assessments—include
“Most people are against it.
Everybody hates the idea
Avoid losing any trips or value still loaded on
sanitation fees and stormwater because what would end up your Blue Breeze card: Use all remaining trips or
fees. happening is you’ll pay one of
“It will separate property them and not the other one. value on your Blue card before July 9, 2017.
tax from stormwater and Plus, it creates all kinds of Purchase a new, secure Silver Breeze card for
sanitation fees and you will administrative headaches. I
get two different bills,” Mayor don’t know what the purpose $2.00 at any rail station vending machine, Ride Store
Jonathan Elmore said. of this is, but everyone hates it.” or online at
“Passage of the bill will result If the bill is passed it would
in increased costs for the city. result in increased costs to the
We will probably lose revenue city in the form of additional
from people [who are] just labor, printing and mailing,
not willing to pay it and then according to city officials.
having to chase them down to The city currently bills both
collect it.” sanitation and stormwater fees Go to for FAQs or call
City Manager Clai Brown on property tax bills. MARTA’s Customer Service at 404-848-5000, M-F 8-5.
See Bill on Page 4A
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 3

BROOKHAVEN COUNTY WIDE Charmettes Incorporated’s annual prayer breakfast
on March 25 at 10 a.m.
Divorce seminars held in DeKalb County The event, themed “Women of Faith Praying for
a Cure,” is designed to bring cancer awareness and
City to host annual festival education to the forefront of communities across
Counseling, Consulting and Creative Commu-
nity Wellness is presenting a series of free divorce the country. Scheduled speakers include ministers
The third Annual Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Jeanette Cody and Steen Miles, who is also a former
Festival 5K Run and 1K Walk will kick off the week- support seminars at several DeKalb County library
branches. The Healing After “I Don’t” Divorce Sup- state senator.
end’s activities in Blackburn Park March 25 at 7:30 Proceeds from the event will benefit Howard
a.m. The event is open to runners, joggers, families port seminars will provide tips on recognizing the
emotional wounds caused by a divorce or end of a University Cancer Center’s research program as
who enjoy healthy fun, and dog owners and pets. well as local charities geared toward helping cancer
The course winds through flowering cherry trees relationship.
A seminar will be held at 3772 LaVista Road in patients and their families.
and rolling hills. There will be awards in age groups, The Charmettes is a national civic organization
overall, and a masters division. The park is located Tucker March 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
On March 27 at the Avis G. Williams Library in that provides education and health assistance to
at 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road. To register, visit individuals and families in need. Decatur, a seminar will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
For more information call Lisa Wilson, (678)- Tickets for the event are $30. For more
902-5472 information, contact Mandisa Jones at or visit www.
CHAMBLEE DeKalb seniors on the move

Theater to host Future is Female Festival
America Walks Inc., a national advocacy group
for creating walkable communities across America, LITHONIA
recently awarded The Heart of South DeKalb Inc. a
grant to create a senior walking program. Library to host pre-St. Patrick’s Day fun
Onion Man Productions, located at 5522 New The program started March 4 at the Michelle
Peachtree Road in Chamblee, will take part in the Obama Walking Trail and extends through the The Lithonia-Davidson Library will have a fun
2017 Future is Female Festival on March 17 and 18 month of March. rainbow craft, games and ice cream with green
at 7:30 p.m. The Heart of South DeKalb will visit four walking toppings at its pre-St. Patrick’s Day event March 14.
The theater—which specializes in local play pro- trails in DeKalb County. March 11 seniors will walk The event will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and is open
ductions—will join theaters, playwrights, directors at Chapel Hill Lake Park, March 18 the event will be to the first 14 participates for children ages 5 to 12.
and actors throughout North America in celebrat- held at Barker Bryant Memorial Park and concludes The library is located at 6821 Church St. For more
ing Women’s History Month with a series of staged with an event March 25. The March 25 location is to information, call (770) 482-3820.
readings and 10-minute play productions focused on be decided.
women. Each event will start warm ups at 8:30 a.m. and
Tickets for the event are $10. Proceeds will
benefit Raksha, a non-profit serving Georgia’s south
Asian community of survivors of domestic and
walking begins at 9 a.m.
sexual violence. Community day scheduled
For more information, visit www.thefutureis- For more information and to
DECATUR The Junior League of DeKalb County, as part of
purchase local tickets, visit www.onionmanproduc- the organization’s second annual Little Black Dress Initiative will hold a community day at Scottdale
Hidden Figures of DeKalb County ceremony Early Learning Center located at 479 Warren Ave. in
Decatur-District 7 Commissioner Gregory Each child that participates will receive a free
CLARKSTON Adams plans to host a “Hidden Figures of DeKalb
County” ceremony at the Porter Sanford Auditorium
book, have an opportunity to march in a book
parade dressed as his or her favorite book character
March 23. as well as participate in craft projects, face painting
The event will be held at 11 a.m. and will rec- and story time.
Atlanta Audubon Society to visit Friendship ognize accomplishments of women who have The event is free and open to the public. For
Forest Wildlife Sanctuary improved the lives of others and advanced in arts, additional information email president@jldekalb.
sciences, education, politics and other work that may org.
The Atlanta Audubon Society will visit have gone unnoticed.
Clarkston’s Friendship Forest Wildlife Sanctuary— For more information about the event, contact
located at 4399 East Ponce de Leon Ave—on March Ashlee D. Wright, (404)-371-2204 or call the offices
19 at 8 a.m.
According to event officials, Friendship Forest is
of Adams, (404)-371-2899.
the site of one of Atlanta Audubon Society’s habitat
restoration projects. The trip will focus on searching Library to host Dr. Seuss party
for wintering birds and early spring migrants, in-
cluding warblers, thrushes, woodpeckers and vireos.
DORAVILLE The Stone Mountain-Sue Kellogg Library will
Dress accordingly, as half the trail is asphalt and host a Dr. Seuss party March 18 from 10:30 a.m. to
Civic Center to host prayer breakfast 2 p.m. The event is open to the first 40 participants
the other half is well-packed level dirt. There is a
slight hill at the beginning of the walk. Dogs are per- and will feature stories, coloring, craft and more.
The Doraville Civic Center—located at 3037 The library is located at 952 Leon St. For more
mitted in the park but not encouraged for the event. Pleasant Valley Drive in Honeysuckle Park—will
The event is free of charge. For more information, information, call (770) 413-2020.
host the Atlanta Metropolitan Chapter of The
contact Adam Betuel at (407) 492-1139.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 4

The DeKalb County School District approved a $310,000 purchase for Advanced Placement tests to assure Free & Reduced Lunch Program students can take at least two tests cost-free. Photo courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons.

County school district spends more than $300,000 on Advanced Placement exams
“We were one of the few he would like to see more line.”
by R. Scott Belzer school districts in the nation data related to how the level Jester said DCSD is doing to be part of a movement to of investment is affecting students and taxpayers a
build better equity and access statistics. disservice by paying testing
DeKalb County School to AP and International “These costs have been companies, instead having it
District (DCSD) approved a Baccalaureate (IB) education increasing,” Orson said. “But I flow directly to the classroom
$310,000 Advanced Placement for students across our think there’s an opportunity to to improve the quality of
(AP) exam purchase on Feb. district,” Phillips said. increase our investment in this instruction.
13. For the 2016-2017 school area. Jester cited a decreasing
The purchase allows 4,443 year, Phillips said the board Board member Stan amount of test takers at
students the opportunity to could look forward to hearing Jester, who criticized DCSD’s Southwest DeKalb, Towers and
take at least one AP exam free good news regarding the AP purchase of AP exams in 2016, Redan high schools as well
of charge and 2,158 students Jester Report Card, which recognizes remains skeptical of paying as decreases in the number
the opportunity to take two and acknowledges good scores money to companies like of passing students at Redan,
exams earn a score of three, College Board. MLK, Stone Mountain and
exams at no cost. throughout the country.
which is the minimum score “The recent trend in Stephenson high schools.
AP exams are taken by Board member Joyce
required to earn college credit. education is to reward districts “The DeKalb County
high school students at the Morley said she wanted to see
This is a 13 percent increase that have increases in AP test School District has the second
end of every school year after celebrations of traditionally
from scores in 2010, but still takers,” Jester stated Feb. 21 via highest millage rate in the
completing corresponding economically disparaged
below the state average of 56 his blog. “Of course, the more state,” Jester said. “Why don’t
college-level AP courses. The schools that have made
percent. tests that are taken, the more we lower taxes and let people
exams award college credit in advances in AP participation
Phillips said the data comes money flowing into the coffers decide for themselves what to
more than 35 courses, which and scores. Phillips said the
from the annually updated of the testing industry. It’s no do with the money?”
vary from school to school. district has seen increases
Governor’s Office of Student wonder that they give awards
According to DCSD in the number of teachers
Achievement. for increasing their bottom
officials, student performance trained to administer AP and
“State-provided data is what
in AP courses and on AP IB courses at such schools as
we report since it is the data
exams has been determined to Towers, Clarkston and others.
source that informs college
be a valid indicator of success
at the collegiate level.
readiness indicators on CCRPI
and is the data source utilized
DCSD Superintendent
Stephen Green said placing BILL Continued From Page 2A
The state of Georgia covers priority on AP exams is part
by the Georgia Department Brown said sanitation fees and stormwater fees are the only
the cost of one AP exam for the of a systemic effort that places
of Education to measure the items that would be removed from taxpayers’ property tax bill.
2,158 DeKalb County students resolution and academics
efficacy of our AP programs,” “All the property taxes will be the same,” Brown said. “They
enrolled in the Free & Reduced above disciplinary measures.
Phillips said. would have two separate bills and it will obviously cost the
Lunch Program. This offset “What I’m pleased to hear
Phillips said DCSD’s taxpayers probably up to another $5,000 for us to do another
covers the cost of one exam for is that, contrary to popular
participation in the Lead billing.”
all students and two exams for belief, that ‘if you increase the
Higher initiative during the “Basically, everyone is going to lose revenue, period,” Elmore
reduced lunch students. number of students the overall
2015-2016 school year led said. “You’re going to lose revenue, then you have to go to court
“The district’s purchase of score will go down,’ we’re
to federal acknowledgement to try to get it back and waste money on court cost…it’s the
the exams for students enrolled increasing the pipeline and the
and shows marked progress is stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
in AP courses will provide scores are going up,” Green
being made through purchases Commissioner Adela Yelton said she doesn’t agree with the
access and equity for students said.
such as AP tests. Southwest bill but understands the purpose of it.
who have the opportunity Board member Marshall
DeKalb, Cedar Grove, Stone “Just to offer another perspective, not that I agree with it, but
to take these exams,” said Orson said he would like to
Mountain, Dunwoody, Druid the purpose is to give individuals the option to pay stormwater
DCSD research director Knox see the purchase budgeted
Hills and Arabia Mountain and sanitation fees separate from property [taxes] for ad valorem
Phillips. earlier in the year to eliminate
high schools took part in the taxes,” she said. “From the city’s perspective, I do agree that it is
According to Phillips, 44 confusion with other costs
program. an administrative burden.”
percent of students taking AP related to test taking. He said
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 5

Author resurrects decades-old writings for new book
by Gale Horton Gay

One could say that if it had
not been for the decades-long
encouragement of teachers and
co-workers Ka’Trina Cannon
Holt might not be an author
The Stone Mountain woman
recently held a launch party for
her first novel A Rainbow Across
St. Louis Skies: A Single Mom’s
Urban Journey for a Slice of the
American Pie at the Museum of
Contemporary Art in Atlanta.
Asked how she came to
write the book, Holt said it was
due to the encouragement she
received from a community
college instructor as well as
co-workers after she shared a
partial draft of the first version of
her manuscript.
Holt, who teaches third grade
at Rainbow Elementary School in
Decatur, said she wants her book
to inspire others to reach beyond
their current circumstances.
A Rainbow Across St. Louis
Skies tells the story of how a
single mother leads her family in
their drama-filled journey through
an impoverished neighborhood
and the trials the family endures
in trying to achieve the American
Although Holt is a single
mother of three children, she
said the story is fiction.
She describes how the
project started: “I never actually
set out to write a book,” she
said via email. “It evolved from
my love and passion of writing
and reading novels. In my early
twenties, my girlfriend and I
were talking about the different
skin complexions of African-
Ka’Trina Cannon Holt at the launch party for her novel A Rainbow Across St. Louis Skies: A Single Mom’s Urban Journey for a
Americans. The discussion was Slice of the American Pie.
so thought provoking, I decided
to write a poem about it. The
poem never really materialized. I it went from one co-worker to “I’ve always been an avid and tribulations in our respective
started writing and about an hour 11 co-workers having read the reader thanks to my parents,” lives, however it’s how one
later, I was still writing! I was so manuscript. They all became she said. “My mom read all the deals with these obstacles to
puzzled.” invested in the characters, and time, and my dad taught in the overcome. The underlying theme
Although she received requested that I finish the book. St. Louis City Public Schools in my book is hope of faith. One
positive feedback from an It was hard initially because not system for 37 years until he must believe in hope, and have
instructor at St. Louis Community only did times change, nearly retired as a reading specialist.” faith that your situation, despite
College, where she was 20 years later from writing the Holt said she hopes readers how dark it seems, can and will
attending classes at the time, manuscript, however my writing take away from her novel that change. Always expect change
she said her ex-husband didn’t ability was much more solid and despite challenges and downfalls and a better way of living.”
offer kind words, telling her no developed.” hope remains for a better future. Holt said she hasn’t decided if
one would read it. She put her She said she had to rework “I think the life lessons that she will pen a sequel to Rainbow
writings in the back of a desk a great deal of her first effort, are demonstrated in the book Across St. Louis Skies, but she’s
drawer in 1993. noting societal changes such as is that no matter your current already working on a faith-based/
“I didn’t take the manuscript the demise of beepers and the situation or circumstance, with inspirational poetry-style book.
out again until 2010 at the urging boom of cell phones. hope, perseverance and hard Rainbow Across St. Louis Skies
of co-workers who got wind that I Holt said she’s been work, all things are possible to is available at Amazon and
had written a book. fascinated with poetry and fiction those who believe,” she said. Barnes & Noble through this link:
Someone asked to read it, since she was a child. “We all have to face various trials
OPINION DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 6

Escaping Donald Trump nearly impossible
I recently spent 10 days totally escape. In airports in his foreign policies will be. My
out of the country in central Atlanta, Turkey and Uganda, TV foreign friends expressed their
Africa and while I was looking screens projected images and fears and concerns and looked
forward to the trip for the cultural news about Trump—although to us Americans for answers to
experiences, outdoor adventure many times it was in languages the questions about what’s going
and simply getting away from Gale Horton Gay I couldn’t understand. Even as to happen next. We shared
the routine, I anticipated I sat on one flight and looked our views but we really had no
another benefit—escaping the at the passenger in front of me answers.
bombardment of reports about who was reading a German What happens in America
President Donald Trump. stake that will affect my life and newspaper, the words “Donald has an effect on people around
I have become weary trying the lives of all Americans as well Trump” stood out although the the world. The world is watching
to stay up with the barrage of as people around the world. rest of the headline I couldn’t us and the world is worried.
serious new reports, online jokes The news media must cover understand as it was in German. I hope and pray that in
and opinions, standup comedy the actions, orders, speeches, Mr. Trump was the repeated the days and months to come
routines and comedic television Tweets, rants of the 45th topic of discussion among my the president and our leaders
skits about this country’s president of the United States colleagues (writers and tour govern in such a way that is less
commander in chief. Some days as well as the subsequent operators) while having drinks, comical and is more reassuring
I wish I could just turn it off and reactions. But, boy is it at dinner and while traveling that America is on solid
not pay attention to it, but I don’t exhausting trying to stay up with together in a bus visiting footing with its domestic and
dare. In all the ridiculousness it all. hotels and tourism sites. They international agendas.
surrounding America’s top While traveling to and wondered about his obsession
leader, serious business is at touring Uganda, I couldn’t with the media and exactly what

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OPINION DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 7

The high cost of low expectations
“Mr. Trump’s well-received the post-speech approval jump particularly involving Twitter
address to congress on
Tuesday night, a conciliatory
‘One Man’s seem almost as gravity-defying
as the recent performance of the
are easily the largest self-
inflicted wound of this young
speech in which the word Opinion’ Dow Jones Industrial average.  administration. 
“we” outnumbered the word But like it or not, note the Just as the Obama
“I” by three to one...” from The Bill Crane careful parsing of words and presidency may have negatively
New York Times coverage of messaging by Federal Reserve impacted the global standing
President Donald J. Trump’s Chair, Janet Yellin–the nation’s of the United States as a
first speech to a joint session of lead central banker–understands superpower, Trump’s daily
Congress on Tuesday, February evening, Trump paid direct that the wrong sentence from eruptions and attacks on
28, 2017. tribute to fallen U.S. Marine, the Fed can have reverberations many U.S. institutions and
Ryan Owens, and his attending which rattle economies across foundations—Congress, the
Small, yet smart, word widow Carryn Owens who was the globe. Judiciary, a free press, etc.—
choices can make a big still grieving his recent death Trump has spent so long play just as much of a negative
difference in the way a message during a raid on a terrorist shouting and trumpeting his role in undermining our standing
is received. Donald Trump built compound in Yemen.  name and brand, that he is around the world, as well as
his reputation as a developer, “Ryan was a part of a challenged to understand that around the corner. 
entrepreneur and marketer highly successful raid that U.S. presidents seldom need to For one speech to shine
in part on his larger-than-life generated large amounts of shout. As Teddy Roosevelt so so brightly, prospects on many
persona and personal brand.  vital intelligence that will lead famously said, “Speak softly, but other levels had to appear
Yet, this softer-side Trump, to many more victories in the carry a big stick.” dim. This seems a high price
offered in his first full visit to the future against our enemies. The world knows that any to pay for initially building
House chamber, both halls of Ryan’s legacy is etched into U.S. president has many a big up and rebounding from low
Congress, the U.S. Supreme eternity…we will never forget stick at his/her disposal. Trump expectations.
Court, his assembled Cabinet him,” Trump spoke and emoted, enjoys the battle of the  
and invited guests–was in large while aiming his eyes and the campaign trail, and seemingly Bill Crane also serves as a
measure so highly rated due room’s admiration toward Carryn relishes conflict as a way of ever political analyst and commentator
to Trump’s comparative earlier Owens.  strengthening solidarity among for Channel 2’s Action News,
speaking performances. The House chamber erupted his base. But a screaming WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and
His campaign victory speech in applause and a standing president to many can seem now 95.5 FM, as well as a
was high on braggadocio and ovation by most, lasting well irrational or even unhinged. An columnist for The Champion,
self-congratulation, while light on over two minutes. unpredictable president, with Champion Free Press and
grace and any acknowledgement The speech was still light on harsh words for allies and odd Georgia Trend. Crane is a
of efforts by his opponents. It detail. Tax cuts and spending platitudes for certain enemies DeKalb native and business
was his first wasted opportunity hikes were mentioned without may appear disloyal, faithless owner, living in Scottdale. You
to begin to close the great divide any mathematical explanation, and untrustworthy to other world can reach him or comment on a
that has since grown even repeats of “Repeal and Replace” leaders. column at bill.csicrane@gmail.
wider. His inaugural address related to the Affordable Care Constant bad choices, com.
again painted a dark portrait of Act—along with refrains of no
an America in decline, which one losing coverage—also with
perhaps only Trump can rescue. no explanation of how this might
This speech to Congress, be accomplished.
well-written, though not at the But after nearly one month
level of a Reagan speech written of regular Twitter bursts and
by Peggy Noonan or Ted fights picked by the White House
Sorenson’s work for J.F.K., had with both friends and foes, and
inspirational moments, genuine practically labeling the White
levity and occasional ad libs. House Press Corps as an enemy
His greetings and shout-outs of the American people, Trump
to guests in the gallery were had driven down expectations
clear indications that Trump at of his own performance by a
least intends his outreach to the healthy margin. 
‘forgotten America’ to be both Presidential approval
words and deeds. ratings, for such an early time
In perhaps the most in any administration, were
memorable moment of the approaching record lows, making

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
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LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 8

Chamblee passes on annexation…again
City officials say plan comes too late in legislative session
in zones marked industrial
by R. Scott Belzer ($40 million), residential ($801 million) and other
($586 million), for a total of
approximately $1.5 billion.
Chamblee city officials
According to Oselette, the
passed on a proposal for
annexation would bring in
annexation of an area
approximately $566 million in
encompassing Northlake Mall
commercial and residential tax
and the Atlanta campus of
Mercer University on Feb. 24
Oselette’s request also
following a presentation on
included “a very involved and
Feb. 16.
committed citizenry who are
“The council and I believe
community service oriented.”
no actions concerning
Oselette requested the
Chamblee annexation will
passing of a resolution placing
move forward in this year’s
an annexation vote on the 2017
General Assembly session,”
November ballot.
stated Chamblee Mayor Eric
Chamblee state
Clarkson. “A grassroots
representative Scott Holcomb
effort asking council to adopt
was present at the presentation
a resolution in support of
to ask about the possible
legislative action to allow an
annexation’s feasibility and
annexation vote was brought
timeframe, calling the timing
forward at the February work Chamblee passed on another request for annexation on Feb. 24, stating the proposal comes too late in the legislative to pass the referendum
session. The city of Chamblee session for approval. Graphic submitted.
has in the past, and always will for a proper analysis of the Oselette represents schools and one technical The annexation proposal
listen to annexation requests request.” approximately 150-200 college, according to Oselette’s and its response mimics
and be open to the idea if it Unincorporated DeKalb residents wishing to obtain Feb. 16 presentation. another from 2016 in which
can be determined to have County resident John Oselette Chamblee city services and Oselette did not provide a Chamblee was asked to annex
a positive impact on our originally submitted an government representation. feasibility study or opinions the LaVista Hills area of
community. However in this annexation request letter and The area—bordered by I-285, from surrounding businesses DeKalb County. Clarkston
case, and after hearing from map to Chamblee city officials Shallowford Road and I-85— in his presentation. The said on March 2, 2016 that the
state representatives, it appears on Feb. 6 following a meeting includes four voting precincts, request did provide appraised proposal’s timeline “[was] too
that there is not enough time with Clarkson and councilman Mercer University’s Atlanta commercial property values short and things are moving
left in this legislative session Brian Mock on Jan. 25. campus, two elementary ($129 million) as well as values too quickly.”

Salary ranges raised in Dunwoody
Some city employees to receive salary increases without public discussion
technician ($33,000 to The increase, titled
by R. Scott Belzer $49,600). “Approval of Amendment
‘For the few actual salaries that Dunwoody’s city manager
Eric Linton remains the city’s
of City Position Allocation
and Compensation Chart,”
Seventeen of 24 salary highest paid employee at appeared on city council’s
ranges for Dunwoody city
employees increased on Feb.
will be increased with approval $171,000 per year, according
to an employment agreement
consent agenda, which
approves many items at once.
27 following approval from
Dunwoody City Council. … budget exists to cover those made in 2014.
According to Stojka, the
Items on the consent agenda
are often passed without
The increase, proposed by staff salary range increases discussion.
Human Resources Director
Nicole Stojka, will see ranges
salary adjustments. came directly from staff
According to Stojka, the
increases will not raise many
increase by as much as $5,000 - Nicole Stojka “On a regular basis, staff actual salaries and “for the
per year for 79 employees, conducts and participates in few actual salaries that will be
including police officers, salary surveys to verify that the increased with approval …
department directors and city’s salary structure remains budget exists to cover those
managers. market competitive,” Stojka salary adjustments.”
The two highest-paid $149,400. resources generalist ($44,000 stated in a memorandum. According to Dunwoody’s
city employees not set by Positions that did not to $66,000), records supervisor “Current survey data indicates approved 2017 budget, salaries
charter or council—chief of receive salary range increases ($42,000 to $63,000), executive that in order to remain and benefits are appropriated
police and finance director— include economic development assistant ($41,300 to $62,100), competitive with surrounding from the city’s operating
both received increases in director ($85,100 to $128,000), crime scene technician cities, we should update some general fund.
their range from $99,300 to business retention manager ($37,500 to $56,400) as well of our salary ranges.”
($36,600 to $55,000), human as property and evidence
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 9

Dunwoody changes logo
designers who are local,” arrive at five central themes
by R. Scott Belzer Mullen said. “They [include] that represent Dunwoody: the chamber of commerce, lively, community, accessibility,
the Dunwoody Homeowner’s attractiveness and friendliness,
Dunwoody city officials Association and global brands he said.
Dunwoody City Council approved a new logo on Feb. 27, stating it was a
approved a new logo on Feb. 27 like Coca-Cola, Delta, Harley Mullen said the logo evokes simplified, classic version of their current logo. Image courtesy of the city of
during a city council meeting Davidson and others. We had these themes with a vibrant, Dunwoody.
following unpublicized professional designers from connecting swoop. He said
research that included our community volunteering.. the “strong colors” also emit a
comparisons to similar cities. They had a passion for the city sense of family. “Beginning with [Wescott, tagline. As a government, we
According to a memo they wanted to bring forth.” “It’s a very, very simplified Kapp and Martin] who do aren’t selling a catchy brand.”
prepared by Bob Mullen, Mullen said the designers version of our logo that’s classic this kind of work for a living Mullen said the next steps
communications director, each devoted approximately 40 in nature,” Mullen said. and volunteered their time in branding will be a rollout
Dunwoody’s development of hours of work total. Councilman Terry Nall to collaborate,” Nall said. “It’s plan and style guide with a
a new logo began in 2016 and The online conversations said everything about the logo simple, clean and timeless. Best proposed completion date in
was deemed complete on Feb. allowed staff members to is local to the community. of all, it lacks an asterisk and July.
10 during city council’s annual
It was there that Dunwoody
City Council unanimously
approved the new logo, which
reads “City of Dunwoody
Georgia” colored blue-purple

and forest green with a green

accent mark underneath.
The new logo replaces one
with an asterisk and the slogan,

“Smart people, Smart City.”
“Within the next year, we’ll
be in a new city hall building,”
Mullen said. “Changes will
come on business cards and
both physical and electronic
letter-heads. There’s an
opportunity to take another
look at what our look and feel
is as a city, what we represent.
There’s an opportunity to
create community pride and
some unity around a new logo.”
Mullen said this will be a
chance for the city to “refresh
and begin anew” since it’s
establishment in 2008.
Mullen said city staff

local news at its best!
examined local and
international cities, including

Toronto, Sao Paulo, Melbourne
and Montreal.
“We wanted to see what
designs were out there and
what cities were saying about

themselves,” Mullen said.

On Jan. 3, Dunwoody
Perimeter Chamber member
Heyward Wescott publicly
asked Facebook subscribers

to describe Dunwoody in
one word. He received a
mixed response, with posters
using such words as “traffic,”
“homogenized,” “banks,”
“elite” mixed with “central,”
“pleasant,” “attractive,”
welcoming,” and “supportive.”

The Champion he could not DELIVERY FOR ONLY
discuss his motivations for the
Facebook post. He has now
been revealed as one of three
members of a design team that
also includes Jackson Spalding
official Mike Martin and Kapp
Koncepts president Jay Kapp.
“These are professional CALL 404.373.7779 FOR DETAILS
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 10

Avondale Estates is considering repealing the Lake
Avondale fishing ordinance.

Avondale considers
repealing fishing ordinance
For years, DeKalb County residents have urged county officials to look into high water bills and the water meter system. Recently, new CEO
by Carla Parker Michael Thurmond addressed the causes of the county’s water meter and billing system problems in an open meeting Feb. 23.

With the resent wording changes to the Lake
Avondale sign and ordinance, the Avondale
Residents looking for solutions after
Estate Board of Mayor and Commissioners are
considering repealing the fishing ordinance for
the lake.
Thurmond addresses water billing issues
The board would like to remove the by Horace Holloman In a water meters/billing issues “The third-party mediation,
regulations regarding fishing at the lake from the flowchart presented at the meeting, in spirit, sounds like a good idea
code of ordinances. When the board removed
Thurmond highlighted dozens of but I think most people think
wording from the lake sign and ordinance and causes related to billing and meter it’s a complete waste of time
discuss new wording options, fishing at the lake Some DeKalb County residents malfunctions. and money,” Harper said. “If the
was brought up. Those discussions led to the say they still have unanswered The county’s daily “exception system is truly flawed, how can any
consideration of repealing the fishing ordinance. questions after DeKalb County rate,” which describes how customer show up and dispute the
“We’re repealing pretty much the entire CEO Michael Thurmond often technicians record unusual charges?”
fishing ordinance, which still would allow addressed issues with the county’s consumption or are unable to get In a recent regular board of
anybody [to fish] at the lake [but] to have a water billing system in a public a meter reading, is roughly 25 commissioners meeting, Thurmond
Georgia fishing license,” City Manager Clai meeting with commissioners. percent. The industry standard is said the third-party mediation
Brown said. “When the signs do go back up, it’s The meeting, held Feb. 23 6 to 10 percent, according to the process would be optional for
a catch and release program, but anyone can fish and called “a new day project,” county. customers. Commissioner Jeff
in the lake.” addressed how the inaccurate “It’s just frustrating,” Buettner Rader suggested the county “write
The board decided to add “enjoy fishing with water bills started, but didn’t offer said. “Me, Lisa Harper and Star off” excessively high bills.
a Georgia license but please catch and release” to any solutions, said some county McKenzie sat down to talk with “It’s a notion that we have to
the lake sign. residents. Thurmond and share our concerns prove a negative that they didn’t
The board voted unanimously in December Ellen Buettner, a DeKalb with him and he told us we would use that water,” Rader said. “Rather
to remove dated wording from the lake and County resident and representative be very pleased after the meeting. than dispute those bills, we would
Willis Park signs and city ordinance that some of the Facebook group But when you don’t give real allow the regular rate or the most
felt was unwelcoming. Unbelievable DeKalb Water Bills, concrete answers and solutions... average rate that they have then
The current ordinance states that George said she was frustrated after the we’re not happy. I understand the proceed from that point forward so
Francis Willis, who founded the city, deeded meeting. in-depth look. I get that. It has to there would not be a chance of an
certain property to the city on Aug. 16, 1928 “for “I think it’s great that [the be done, but give us a timeline for arbitrator sticking [customers] with
the exclusive use and pleasure of the residents of county] did an in-depth look at solutions in details. Without it, a high bill.”
the city, their children, and guests.” The wording the issues, but these are problems you’ve done nothing.” Members of the Unbelievable
from the deed was added to the city ordinance that we were already aware of,” Harper, who attended the Feb. DeKalb Water Bills Facebook group
and to the signs at the lake and park in 1974. Buettner said. “It’s great that the 23 meeting, said she still had said they plan to have a town hall in
Mayor Jonathan Elmore and city CEO has an understanding of what questions regarding how the county the future in hopes of getting their
commissioners have argued that the wording the problem is, but we were looking would resolve the bills that are questions answered.
on the signs and ordinances sends the wrong for more of a timeline on when currently in dispute. “I had so many questions that I
message to non-residents that the city is these issues would be resolved.” According to the county, 37,000 didn’t get answers to,” Harper said.
exclusive. During the meeting, Thurmond bills are being held and are in the “We all just have to continue to stay
The board had the second of the third reading said a long-term solution to the dispute process. County officials active. We’re cautiously optimistic.
of the proposed ordinance repeal at its Feb. 27 problem would take roughly two to stated a third-party mediator would Mr. Thurmond hasn’t been in this
regular meeting and will have the final reading four years, which includes replacing be used for residents wanting an position long and I feel positive
at this month’s regular meeting and will vote on the county’s water meters and independent review process to settle that he has made this one of his top
whether to approve the repeal. billing software. water billing disputes. priorities.”
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 11


A month long can food drive in DeKalb County helped collect nearly 3.5 tons of food to be donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Commissioner Kathie Gannon,
District Attorney Sherry Boston, Solicitor Donna Coleman-Stribling, Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry, Tax Commissioner Irvin Johnson, State Court Clerk Melanie Wilson
and DeKalb’s Senior centers and libraries partnered together for the event.

Dunwoody Police Department was recognized at the 2017 Polar Plunge at
Lake Acworth for being the top fundraising law enforcement team. Photo

Sprouts Decatur store manager Amonde Younger, left, presents a $500 donation to Brittney Boyd of the
Jones Boys and Girls Club. Photo by Travis Hudgons

The Hopstix raw bar, brewery and robata grill celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting
ceremony in Chamblee on Feb. 28. The new restaurant is located at 3404 Pierce Drive. Photo
submitted. Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan addresses the 2017 Citizens Police Academy during its first meet-
ing on Feb. 28. 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 10, 2017 • Page 12

House paint disputed in Doraville
City council drops ordinance regulating house color, lawn décor following public outcry

enforcement of standards to protect
by R. Scott Belzer property values. “Doraville’s residents have asked
for architectural standards for many
After residents aired grievances years,” Malcolm said. “We have
related to legal precedent, freedom a little farther to go to ensure a
of expression, property ownership sustainable neighborhood that will
right and creativity, Doraville attract vibrant people that will allow
City Council dropped a proposed us to have schools and everything
ordinance regulating house color else we dream of having. These
and completion. decisions do affect our property
Proposed by council members values.”
Shannon Hillard and Sharon According to Hillard, residents
Spangler, the potential ordinance have complained to council about
limited houses and commercial being “overwhelmed with the
property to three colors: trim, base amount of, or lack of, completion of
and accent. The ordinance would paint.”
also require residents to “complete” “People have complained to me
house paint jobs. that they cannot sell their house,”
Dozens attended the meeting to Hillard said. “I have friends who
voice opposition to the ordinance. will dine and eat here all day long
Seven of the 11 public commenters but they will not buy a home in the
called referred to the measure as city of Doraville. I know people
“exclusive,” “illegal,” “unenforceable” who work for the city of Doraville
and “useless.” that refuse to buy a house in the
Resident Stephe Koontz said city because we’re doing a lot for
Doraville’s motto—“Diversity, commercial [real estate] but lacking
Vitality, Community”—involves in residential.”
being inclusive, not exclusive. She Hillard said the matter has
said there are more important nothing to do with ethnicity and
matters to discuss involving home that the proposed ordinance reflects
values than paint color. her being the voice of her district.
“When the city decides to start Spangler said the matter had
doing tasks that are normally home nothing to do with diversity and
owner’s association (HOA) type everything to do with completing
things, it sends a message to the paint jobs on houses.
community that we want to be Council member Pam Fleming
exclusive,” Koontz said. said she has been opposed to such a
Bonita Hoffmeister, another discussion since its inception.
resident, recalled a house in Councilman Robert Patrick
Avondale Estates that was painted asked council whether it needed
neon green with purple polka-dots to do this, stating the property
in protest of such an ordinance. maintenance code is adequate for
She, too, said Doraville has better property maintenance.
ways to increase property value in Mayor Donna Pittman called
neighborhoods. the matter “a difficult discussion.”
“Ordinances that Avondale She said she supported finishing a
Estates passed were ruled illegal,” paint job but said that was already
Hoffmeister said. “We can covered in Doraville’s property
create points of interest, give maintenance code. She also voiced
the community a sense of being, concern regarding enforcement.
improve the structural standards
downtown, [and] work with the “People have differing opinions,”
county to improve our schools.” Pittman said. “We’ve heard a lot
Resident Sara Marks said of opinions this week—a lot of
legislating color is “deeply emails, text messages and calling.
offensive.” She also said there is It’s an interesting subject. I’m not
no legal precedent to enforcing sure what limiting the colors will
such ordinances, bringing up cases accomplish, to be very candid. I
in Texas, Avondale Estates and have questions about enforcement
Maryland where city ordinances and how we’re going to enforce it. ”
were ruled against. Pittman’s tie-breaking vote cast
“Which one of you seeks to be down the measure 3-4, with Patrick,
Martha Stewart over all of us?” Fleming and M.D. Naser also
Marks asked. “Which one of you opposing and Spangler, Hillard and
has such superior tastes that you Dawn O’Connor supporting.
can render a person’s color choice “I respect [Spangler and Hillard]
inadequate?” for what they’re trying to do,”
Residents Alan Malcolm and Pittman said. “But there’s a portion
Linda Rollins spoke in favor of of the ordinance I cannot support.” Residents from the Oakcliff neighborhood whose homes have more than three paint colors spoke at a
Doraville City Council meeting to oppose a potential ordinance limiting house paint colors and requiring
completion. Photos by R. Scott Belzer
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 13

Hank Johnson hosts Affordable Care Act town hall
appreciate the congressman’s staff
by Horace Holloman coming in, but Congressman Johnson is a Democrat. Who’s running the House
and the Senate?” Hunter said. “We need
Some senior citizens at the Lou to contact our Republican representatives
Walker Senior Center in Lithonia in Congress and let them know our
expressed their concerns about the position on the Affordable Care Act.”
uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act Hunter said DeKalb senior
and how changes might affect Medicare residents should stop voicing their
and Medicaid in a town hall meeting concerns individually and start calling
March 1. representatives collectively.
The meeting, organized by “We want to have a seat at the table
Congressman Hank Johnson’s office, and if you’re not at the table, you’re on
addressed President Donald Trump’s the menu,” Hunter said.
attempt to repeal and replace the Johnson did not attend the meeting,
Affordable Care Act.   but a pre-recorded message from him
In the president’s first address to was played on a monitor.
Congress, Trump urged Congress to Cindy Zeldin, executive director
replace the ACA. for Georgians for a Healthy Future,
“I am also calling on this Congress was a guest speaker at the event. Zedlin
to repeal and replace Obamacare with answered questions from the audience
reforms that expand choice, increase about Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA.  
access, lower cost and at the same time According to Zedline the ACA, which Marcia Hunter, president of DeKalb for Seniors Inc., speaks to a group of seniors during a
town hall meeting discussing the effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act.
provide better healthcare,” Trump said. went into law roughly seven years ago,
“Mandating every American to buy helped 20 million Americans become
government health insurance was never insured who were not before.
the right solution.” “The nation’s uninsured rate is the
During the town hall, seniors raised lowest level ever recorded. That is major
questions about how a repeal could progress and we’ve heard people with
negatively affect their lives. More than preexistent conditions no longer being
100 people were in attendance at the denied affordable coverage and many
meeting. other features of this law that have
According to a press release from improved people’s lives,” Zedline said.
Johnson’s office, under ACA repeal According to Trump, his
seniors would have to pay sometimes administration plans to “lower the cost
hefty co-pays for key preventive services of healthcare for everyone” and ensure
such as cancer screenings, whereas, people with preexisting health conditions
under the ACA, key preventive services are guaranteed access to health
are free under Medicare. insurance.
During the meeting, Marcia Hunter, “Premiums nationwide have
president of DeKalb for Seniors Inc., increased by double and triple digits,”
said concerned DeKalb senior residents Trump said during his address to
should get to know and contact congress. “Obamacare is collapsing and
republican leadership. we need to make sure we protect all
“If you don’t hear anything anybody Americans.”
else says, you need to hear this. We More than 100 residents at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Lithonia gathered to listen to
guest speakers discuss the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid, March 1.

County stalls on pay increases for public safety officials
by Horace Holloman pay increase is needed for public safety next two years. DeKalb County police officers and personnel. Commissioners argued over the DeKalb Fire and Rescue department
“It’s that simple. It’s that basic. [The language of the resolution, saying that employees were at the Feb. 28 meeting.
county] does not put in enough money public safety workers is a broad term Jeff Wiggs, president of the fraternal
Concerned residents and public to pay police, fire and 911 operators,” that needs to be defined and could order of police DeKalb Lodge No. 10,
safety officials must wait a while for Coffield said. “They need at least a 20 include sheriff ’s office personnel and said he was in favor of pay raises for
pay increases for the county’s police, percent increase in pay.” other non-sworn personnel. officers.
firefighter and 911 personnel. Longtime DeKalb civil rights activist Commissioners decided to defer “I say no to this budget. I understand
In a Feb. 28 regular board of John Evans said it is time the county the resolution and consider it for the we can adjust at the midyear, but this
commissioners meeting, residents urged pay public safety officials. midyear budget adjustment period. past week we lost four [officers]. We’re
the county to increase pay for public “They deserve whatever they can get. CEO Michael Thurmond said at a critical stage right now,” Wiggs said.
safety workers. They do a great job in this community he hoped residents would give the “We need to do some adjusting on this
The budget, which passed by a 5-2 and we want to see them get some administration a chance to address the before we pass this budget.”
vote from commissioners, includes $2.1 money in their pocket,” Evans said. need of increased pay. During his speech, Wiggs motioned
million to fund 20 additional police Before the final budget was “There’s rarely enough resources to the back of the room where roughly
positions and 36 more fire rescue staff approved, commissioners Larry to address all the people we serve,” 50 officers stood. He said that the room
members and $600,000 for police body Johnson and Gregory Adams Thurmond said. “One of the most the officers were standing in—Maloof
cameras. Some DeKalb residents say it’s attempted to add a resolution to the critical issues we face is providing Auditorium in Decatur—is the safest
not enough. budget that would increase pay for competitive and fair salaries for our place to be.
“I hope you don’t pass this budget public safety workers. men and women. Part of our request is “All of you look around. This is the
unless you plan on paying our police, Johnson suggested the resolution that we recognize that something must safest place in DeKalb County,” Wiggs
fire and 911 operators,” said Faye would give public safety officials a 10 be done. It is my hope that you give us said. “Why is it the safest place? Because
Coffield. percent increase in 2017 followed by a an opportunity to return at the midterm of all these officers.”
Coffield, a former officer who subsequent 5 percent increase for the and address this issue.”
worked in Atlanta, said a 20 percent
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 14

Thurmond’s budget passes with
three ‘major’ amendments
by Horace Holloman
DeKalb County
commissioners in a 5-2 vote
approved the $1.3 billion
operating budget for 2017 that
was officially submitted by
CEO Michael Thurmond’s
office in January.
A regular board meeting
Feb. 28, which lasted roughly
six hours and featured a back-
and-forth debate between the amendment. “I want to
the CEO and commissioners be clear that we are ready to
over the budget, ended with proceed, but we can’t proceed
Comcast representatives listen to the complaints of Tucker residents and business owners. Photo by Carla Parker Thurmond adding three “major” without the support of the
amendments to address county- commissioners.”

Tucker business owners voice
wide issues. Eventually, commissioners
The amendments addressed voted to approve the initiative.  
the county’s water billing DeKalb commissioners
system errors, residential

frustrations with Comcast
also approved Thurmond’s
blight and DeKalb youth “operation clean sweep”
unemployment. initiative. The overall program,
Commissioners Jeff Rader which consists of road and
and Nancy Jester voted against drainage fixes, removing debris
by Carla Parker hall.” fact that there was some old the budget. Commissioner
When city officials told equipment that was servicing and mowing grass in the county, Kathie Gannon voted for will cost $2.6 million. The
Comcast about the issues, her mode,” Horowitz said. the budget, but stated the
they said they did not see “We went in there, took out funds are already available
Several Tucker business commissioners should have for the operation and will be
any notable uptake in service the old equipment and put in had more time to look over
owners complained publicly problems or complaints. new equipment and she’s been reallocated, a county official
about the unsatisfactory service Auman said the reason for the amendments, which were said.
up and running ever since., introduced at the meeting.
they received in the past few that is because residents aren’t according to our records.” When the initiative was
months from Comcast. “The problem is the also at risk of being deferred,
calling in to complain. Horowitz said Comcast goes day before and the day of
The city held a public “[Residents] may just sit in and tests signal levels, looks Thurmond addressed
information session on we’re dealing with all these commissioners again saying,
there and curse and hope it gets for any kind of noise and looks amendments. I hope that will
Comcast internet service better,” he said. at the equipment to determine not happen in the future,” “When you live on a street and
Feb. 28 with Comcast Carmel Booth, owner if there needs to be an upgrade. Gannon said. “Even though [the for years have begged for the
representatives in attendance. of Booth Insurance, has “For many customers, it’s a county to do something about it,
The session was scheduled after made several complaints to budget] contains a whole lot of one month is a long time.”
matter of old equipment,” he things I don’t believe in, I’m
the city received numerous Comcast about the unreliable said. The clean up initiative
complaints about unreliable voting for it.” begins March 11.
internet service. Booth has Comcast External Affairs Commissioners approved an
internet service. City hall staff had problems with the internet Director Deyanna Jones said An amount of $250,000
have also experienced bad amendment for $1.5 million to from the county’s general
since November. Comcast had spent more address the 37,000 customers
internet service. “Any time the internet than $1 billion upgrading the fund also will be reallocated
Comcast has an agreement who had their bills held by the
drops, I’m unable to do my networks and trying to change county. Commissioners initially to DeKalb Workforce
with the city to pay for the job,” Booth said. “Throw in the the customer experience. Development for a DeKalb
privilege of bringing their voted to defer the amendment, works summer employment
phones going down and my “Have we gotten it right? however Thurmond said his
service inside the city limits. business may as well be closed.” No,” Jones said. “This company administration would not be program. The program will
Payment comes in the form of For four months, Booth is 53 years old, and at the end provide employment training
an agreed upon franchise fee. able to move forward and fix the for DeKalb County’s youth,
said she was unable to provide of the day it took 53 years to problem without the funds.
“Comcast is and was her normal level of services to build this problem and we’re Thurmond said.
the franchisee for DeKalb “I just want to be clear “We must not allow the
customers due to the internet not going to fix it overnight.” that we’re deciding to wait on
County as a whole, and when 3/14- St. Andrews Church
going out. She said it has pimps and the drug dealers to
we became a city it became 3/28affected this,” said Thurmond when be the only ones recruiting our
Redeemed Christian
her income, Church of
damaged commissioners voted to defer
necessary for us to have our Godher reputation, jeopardized kids,” Thurmond said.
own agreement with them to contracts and she has lost
continue to be the franchisee
for the new city of Tucker,”
customers. Coming to
Mayor Frank Auman said.
“In January, I knew I would
soon be closing my doors if this
Decatur & Tucker
The city experienced a
service outage Feb. 14-15, and
continued much longer,” she in March!
said. “I hadn’t had a paycheck Register now to check the health of your arteries
the website was unavailable to in months, my income was
“It’s just an unacceptably
gone and I would have to let 5 important screenings for only $149
go of my employee. I couldn’t
high level of service issues— believe Comcast was going to
Carotid artery screening (plaque)
quality of service, availability of bankrupt my business.” Heart Rhythm Screening (A Fib)
service, responsiveness when Alex Horowitz, vice
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
you need to make a service president of public relations
Peripheral Arterial Disease Screening
call—those kinds of things,” at Comcast, said Comcast has Osteoporosis risk assessment
Auman said. “We’ve been looked at Booth’s account to
hearing a lot about that. We— determine what was causing March 14-St. Andrews Church, Tucker
city council and staff—[have] the outages. March 28-Redeemed Christian Church of God, Decatur.
experienced it ourselves in our
own businesses and even at city
“In that case, it was the Pre-registration is required call 1-888-653-6441 to receive a $10 discount
EDUCATION DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 15

State representative Tom Taylor spoke to Dunwoody City Council to inform them there will not be a measure for independent city school districts until 2018 at the earliest.
Photo submitted.

No independent school systems for Georgia cities
DeKalb state rep briefs Dunwoody on failed house resolution
by R. Scott Belzer acting on behalf of Gwinnett’s in the interim to empower education for students. superintendent, Alvin charter school clusters. Taylor At a Dec. 12 city council
Wilbanks. said there is something to be meeting, Taylor told city
Georgia residents will not “Let’s just say he got one of done outside of the legislative officials DeKalb County School
be given the opportunity to those Godfather calls,” Taylor session but he was not willing District hired the world’s
vote on city-based school said. “They have over 176,000 to discuss it in a public forum. largest law firm, Dentons LLP,
districts this year, according students; Alvin Wilbanks “There’s something else out to lobby on its behalf and
to Georgia state representative is a very powerful guy, not there but it’s a strategic issue oppose the bill. The Champion
Tom Taylor. just in Gwinnett County, that I’m not ready to discuss confirmed the initiative—
Taylor, who represents but throughout the state. He right now,” Taylor said. which cost the district
District 79 encompassing carries a lot of weight with Dunwoody Mayor $99,900—in January and
northern DeKalb County, superintendents.” Denis Shortal promised an prompted a discussion with
spoke at a Feb. 27 Dunwoody Taylor said the bill was also independent school district DCSD’s board of education.
City Council meeting to update less about education and more during his 2016 State of the
city officials on the current about a “transfer of assets.” City Address, stating it was
legislative session which began “We’re not dealing with the best way to improve public
Jan. 9 curriculum,” Taylor said. “At
According to Taylor, House the end of the day, this is
Resolution 58 (HR58)— not enough time right now.” an asset transfer. It’s about DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
which proposed to amend the Taylor also said there was turf and jobs. Outside the
Georgia Constitution to allow too much turnover at the metro area, school systems
and hospitals are the largest PUBLIC BUDGET INPUT MEETING
cities to form independent legislative level to receive full FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2018
school districts—will not move support on the bill. employers.
forward in 2017. “You’ve seen the new faces,” Both Republicans and
Though the bill made it Taylor said. “A lot of these Democrats have opposed Monday, March 20, 2017
through the House Committee folks, we really haven’t had the and supported HR58 and
for Governmental Affairs and chance to let [the bill] sink in. similar legislation proposed TIME LOCATION
was favorably reported on I’d hate to bring it to the floor, by Taylor in the past. He said 5:30 p.m. J. David Williamson Board Room
Feb. 23, Taylor said there is requiring a super majority, and state representatives have Robert R. Freeman Administrative Complex
not enough time to receive the not have that.” approached him to say they 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
amount of approval required to Taylor said the bill was like the bill, but cannot support Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083
place on the November ballot. handled in the committee it due to constituents’ interest
“This is a constitutional for governmental affairs in being county-owned. The DeKalb County Board of Education will hold a public budget
amendment requiring a super rather than the committee Councilwoman Lynn input meeting to solicit feedback from the public regarding the
majority and that will not pass for cducation because the Deutsch speculated this may 2017-2018 school system’s budget.
[House and Senate] until 2018,” chairman—Gwinnett County not be a “fruitful exercise”
Taylor said. “There’s, frankly, Rep. Brooks Coleman—was and asked Taylor if there was FOR INFORMATION, CALL THE OFFICE OF THE
anything council could do CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AT 678-676-0069.
BUSINESS DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 16

Owner Randall Bloomquist says he chose to put his FASTSIGNS franchise in Designer/production specialist Courtney Coprich completes a job in the Decatur shop,
the heart of the Decatur business district. where 60 to 70 percent of the business’ projects are done.

Franchise owner says, ‘We’re a local business’
by Kathy Mitchell chose to not just have a done in the Decatur shop. “For Bloomquist added, “We can complete a project
Decatur address but to be right really large projects we work “Affiliation with a national very quickly when that’s what
“The fact that we’re a in middle of the city’s business with an outside vendor.” company allows us to tap a customer needs. We have
franchise doesn’t mean we’re district.” He said banners, yard into resources and expertise turned projects around the
not local,” said Randall Calling Decatur “a diverse signs and other small projects that might not otherwise be same day,” he said, “But we also
Bloomquist, who recently and thriving community,” account for much of the available to us.” FASTSIGNS, offer a great depth of industry
opened a FASTSIGNS Bloomquist said the city has business, but FASTSIGNS is he said, handles projects of knowledge and skill. The
franchise on East Trinity in the best of urban and small able to handle large exterior all sizes—across a wide range feedback we’ve gotten from
downtown Decatur. town living. “There’s lots going signs. Bloomquist said his of industries—ranging from our customers so far has been
“Although we’re affiliated on here, but people still know company recently provided business cards and printed really exciting.”
with a national company, and care about their neighbors. new signs for a more than materials to large-scale Bloomquist’s background
we are locally owned and “We’ve had several 30-year-old Decatur business exterior signage, interior décor is in media and marketing. He
operated and absolutely part customers tell us that they that changed its name. graphics, digital displays, has worked for a newspaper
of the Decatur community,” are pleased that there’s now a FASTSIGNS originated vehicle wraps and other visual as well as in public relations,
Bloomquist said of his company in Decatur that can in Dallas, Texas, in 1985 and communications. marketing and broadcasting.
signage, graphics and visual handle projects they might began selling franchises the Despite the name, “When I decided it was time
communications company. “All otherwise have had to take next year. The company now Bloomquist said, speed is only to have my own business, I
our employees live in the area to a company further away,” has more than 650 franchised part of the company’s value wanted it to be in an area that I
and we participate in nonprofit Bloomquist said, adding that centers located in nine package. In fact, its motto is already know well,” he said.
events here in Decatur. We 60 to 70 percent of the work is countries. “Not Just Fast. Not Just Signs.”

Stone Mountain UPS driver among company’s safest
by Kathy Mitchell it one day at a time. You want to “They teach you to be aware as a low-hanging branch we tell delivering nearly 5 billion
get home safely to your family at all times of your situation, to the others so they can watch packages annually. 
When Georgia-based every day and avoid accidents always make sure you see the for it when they’re in that area,” A news release from UPS
United Parcel Service (UPS) that could cause property big picture—and that picture is Turner said. states that 9,349 active drivers
announced last month that damage or harm someone else, always changing,” Turner said. He said that while being are Circle of Honor members.
42 Georgia drivers are among but as you start approaching 25 Turner said UPS holds its inducted into the Circle of The 110-year-old company
1,575 being inducted worldwide or 30 years you start being extra drivers to a high standard. “If Honor is an accomplishment reports that it issued its first
into the company’s Circle of careful because you want to you have an accident—even if he’s proud of, his greatest pride driver handbook in 1917
Honor, Stone Mountain resident reach that mark.” the police say you were not at in being a safe driver comes and started its safe driver
Oliver Turner was on the list. The most important thing fault—UPS investigates and if from knowing he has kept recognition program in 1923.
Circle of Honor is an honorary a driver can do to be accident in their opinion you could have himself and others safe. “We’re
organization for UPS drivers free, according to Turner, is prevented the accident, it still out there every day and we want
who have achieved 25 or more get plenty of rest to stay alert goes on your record.” to be sure that we never harm NOTICE TO
years of accident-free driving.   throughout the shift. “The Drivers talk about safety anyone. Keeping the public safe LEGISLATION
Turner, who has been with company teaches us 10 habits to among themselves, he said, is a top priority for us.” UPS Notice is hereby given
UPS 33 years, said he was improve safety, but being well and pass along tips that work reports that it has approximately that the City of Doraville
intends to introduce a
not initially aiming for the rested is central to all of them,” for them. “Also, when we know 102,000 drivers who log more local bill in the 2017
milestone. “At first, you just take he commented. that a place has a hazard such than 3 billion miles a year, General Assembly,
enabling an amendment
to Section 4.03 of the
Doraville City Charter.
Said amendment would
eliminate the ad valorem
millage cap for special
service and/ or special tax
CLASSIFIED DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 17

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RATES: $30 for up to 40 words, each Ads due by Friday at noon for next
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SPORTS DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 18

Pilar King won the 2017 8-Under High Point award at the 31st Annual Black History Meet in Washington, D.C.

The HLHK SEALs swim club finished fifth overall at swim meets in Atlanta and Washington D.C.

Marist girls, St. Pius X boys win swim and dive state titles
by Carla Parker and nine bronze medals. The team was These swimmers qualified among provides instructional and competitive led by Pilar King, who won the 2017 the fastest in Georgia. Berry led the swimming, soccer and basketball
8-Under High Point award. She is the team, winning two gold medals, experiences year-round for youth ages
Young swimmers from south third consecutive SEALs swimmer to making her the state’s fastest 10-Under 4-18.
DeKalb put on a performance in win the award. Trinity Zackary won swimmer in the 50- and 100-yard The program also teaches children
Washington, D.C. and at a state swim the award last year and Kala Berry backstroke. Berry is HLHK’s first state and parents how to eat healthfully.
meet. won it in 2015. championship swimmer. King said he tries to reach the children
The Healthy Lifestyle Healthy Kids King broke five records at the meet, Berry, Jayla Thompson and Nasir and get them active at an early age.
“HLHK” SEALs swim club competed including the 8-Under 500 freestyle and Harrison led the team to 12 medals— The swim team is led by coaches
in the 31st Annual Black History 8-Under 200 individual medley. two gold, four silver and six bronze. Jabari King—founder and executive
Meet in Washington, D.C. during the The HLHK SEALs also had six LHK, as a nonprofit organization director—and Brandon Little, who are
President’s Day weekend. HLHK sent swimmers to compete in the 2017 that works to increase opportunities for both former competitive swimmers.
27 swimmers to the meet and the group 14 & Under Short Course State kids to be physically active in an effort
came in fifth out of 27 teams. Championships in Atlanta. The team to prevent childhood obesity. Located
The team won 13 gold, eight silver also placed fifth at the state meet. in south DeKalb County, HLHK
SPORTS DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 19

by Carla Parker
Three basketball teams from DeKalb County public and
private schools will try to bring home state championships.
Greenforest and St. Pius X boys as well as Southwest DeKalb
girls will play for a state title.
The Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers will defend their Class
AAAAA state title March 8 against Buford at the University of
Georgia’s Stegman Coliseum at 6 p.m. This is the Lady Panthers’
eighth championship appearance in 10 seasons.
Southwest DeKalb defeated Flowery Branch 66-63 March
4 in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.
Jada Walton led the team with 24 points, while Ogheneruona
Uwusiaba added 13 and seven rebounds; Chantz Cherry had 10
The Greenforest Eagles have faced St. Francis in the Class
A-Private championship game the last two seasons with both
teams winning one game in the series. Greenforest won round
three after dominating St. Francis 86-56 in the semifinals March
4 at the Cobb County Civic Center.
The Eagles advanced to their third consecutive state title
game and fourth in the last five seasons. Greenforest coach
Larry Thompson said the team set a goal at the beginning of the
season to play for another state title.
“[It was almost] state championship or bust for us with that
crew we had coming back,” Thompson said. “I’m just happy the
guys came out and played with a sense of passion and urgency to
propel us to the state championship game.”
The game was tight in the first quarter with Greenforest
leading by one point (18-17) at the end of the quarter. The
Eagles ultimately outscored St. Francis by 15 points or more in
each quarter. Thompson said the first quarter was a feeling-out
process between the two teams.
“It’s kind of how it always goes with Greenforest and St.
Francis—back and forth early, then one team kind of pulls away,”
he said. “That’s kind of how it was when they beat us two years
ago, and we beat them last year. Guess it was our turn to play tug
of war a little bit and then figure it out.”
David Quimby and Abayomi Iyiola led the team with
18 points each. Greenforest will take on Southwest Atlanta
Christian for the Class A-Private title March 10 at Georgia Tech Greenforest defeated St. Francis to advance to the Class A-Private championship game. Photos by
at 4 p.m. Carla Parker
The St. Pius X Golden Lions will play in its second
championship game in school history in an effort to win its first PUBLIC NOTICE
title. St. Pius X will take on Upson-Lee in the Class AAAA state NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY
championship game March 10 at Georgia Tech at 8 p.m.
St. Pius advanced to the championship game after beating
DeKalb County Community Development Department
Sandy Creek 87-68 in the semifinals. Carson Seramur led the 2016 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER)
team with 22 points and Everett Lane added 17 points. The DeKalb County Community Development Department is preparing to submit its Consolidated Annual
Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) to the United States Department of Housing and Urban
Playoff scores Development (HUD). The report covers the status of activities and programs carried out through the use
of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME),
Quarterfinals and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds during the most recently completed program year that ended
Boys December 31, 2016.
Greenforest 89, Holy Innocents’ 55
Miller Grove 59, Riverwood 43 The Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report is available for citizens’ review and com-
St. Pius 64, Carver-Columbus 60 ments from March 09, 2017 through March 23, 2017 at the following address:
Cedar Shoals 59, Lithonia 52 DeKalb County Community Development Department
3486 Covington Hwy
Girls Decatur, GA 30032
Southwest DeKalb 45, McIntosh 26 Telephone: 404-371-2727
Northview 65, Stephenson 46 The office hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Semifinals The document may also be reviewed at the libraries listed below.
Boys Please contact the libraries for hours of operation.
Greenforest 86, St. Francis 56 Chamblee Branch Decatur Branch
St. Pius 87, Sandy Creek 68 4115 Clairmont Road, 215 Sycamore Street,
Chamblee Decatur
Cedar Shoals 59, Miller Grove 38 (770-936-1380) (404-370-3070)
Girls Redan-Trotti Branch Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown
Southwest DeKalb 66, Flowery Branch 63 1569 Wellborn Road, Branch
Redan 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur
(770-482-3821) (404-286-6980)

(Written comments should be submitted to the 3486 Covington Hwy address.)
All locations are accessible to persons with disabilities.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 10, 2017 • Page 20

Atlanta Sports Connection CEO Patrick Henderson speaks to a crowd at the proposed Atlanta Sports City location A large crowd gathers as developers and community leaders announce the addition
Feb. 22 along with Zeric Foster, Atlanta Sports Connection COO, APD Solutions CEO Vaughn Irons and Discover DeKalb of a sports complex in the Stonecrest area Feb. 22.
Executive Director James Tsismanakis.

Developers, local officials excited about sports complex potential
CEO of Discover DeKalb. “This is Developers working on the project project where we get started and a year
by Horace Holloman something to be very proud of.” said Atlanta Sports City could support and a half later you’re wondering what Officials have worked on the 3 million visitors annually and bring happened to it,” Irons said. “By 2020
logistics of the project for roughly eight in $105 million in revenue to DeKalb this entire area will be transformed.”
Residents, business owners years, said Atlanta Sports Connection County. The complex could be home to two
and developers investing in the CEO Patrick Henderson. Atlanta Henderson said construction for the professional soccer teams in the next
Stonecrest’s area seem excited after Sports Connection will own and develop complex will begin in the third quarter two years. Irons said the responsibility
the announcement of a sports complex the property. of this year in phases with fields being of investing $200 million for the
headed to the newly formed city. The project is expected to bring built first, then the construction of the complex will not fall on the Stonecrest
Atlanta Sports City will be inside 1,937 permanent jobs to the area along 204,325 square-foot indoor athletic taxpayers.
Stonecrest’s city limits located across with 300 new construction jobs to facility followed by the construction “Essentially this project is funded
from the AMC theater at the Mall at Stonecrest. Developer Vaughn Irons of  338,966 square foot retail space and from private sources. There’s private
Stonecrest. said at least 25 percent of those jobs will a stadium which should seat 15,000. equity, some debt that’s being
The $200 million development go to Stonecrest residents. “This will take about two and a half undertaken for the project, then some
is projected to have a $197 million “We think that we found a home for years total,” Henderson said. “We will revenue bonds supported by one of the
economic impact on the area. many, many years to come,” Henderson try to have the fields ready to go around local joint authorities to support the
“This will be one of the biggest said. “Atlanta Sports Connection is here the fall or the end of the year.” project as well...about $160 million,”
tourism sports products, not just in to develop not only sports entertainment Irons said the complex will host Irons said. “There are no public
DeKalb County, not just in the city of and sports medicine, but we’re here to tournaments as early as this year. incentives or general obligations of local
Stonecrest but in all of metro-Atlanta help develop the community through “In 2017 you’re going to see children citizens involved in this project.”
as well as the south,” said James sports.” playing out in these fields. This is not a
Tsismanakis, executive director and


62 million Publix would like to thank our associates and
Publix Super Markets Charities for strengthening our
communities through their generous support of United Way.