the DeKalb FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2017 • VOL. 19, NO. 51 • 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

A passionate career choice
by Carla Parker

Contance Chatmon said she
believes God put her on Earth for a
reason and she found that reason
10 years ago.
Chatmon is the director and
owner of Sportz Center Academy
in Decatur. The academy is a
non-profit organization that caters
to children ages 5 to 18. It offers
basketball, cheerleading, dance,
summer camp and a before- and
after- school program.
Sportz Center Academy, a non-profit organization in Decatur, offers basketball, cheerleading, dance, summer camp and a
See Sports on page 5 before- and after- school program for children ages 5 to 18.

Time to start
hunting for
Easter eggs
Easter is one of the most sacred
holidays among Christians with Good
Friday and Easter Sunday attracting
the faithful to services at churches and
outdoor venues.
Some of the most widely held
traditions of Easter, however, aren’t
specifically religious in nature.
“The most prominent secular
symbol of the Christian holiday,
the Easter bunny reportedly was
introduced to America by the
German immigrants who brought
over their stories of an egg-laying
hare,” according to “The
decoration of eggs is believed to date
back to at least the 13th century.”
Easter egg hunts are a popular
spring tradition for children and
While April 16 is the official day
for the celebration of Easter this year,
local Easter egg hunts span two
weeks from April 1 to 16. They range
from small events in parks and church
grounds to mega-events on large
tracts of land in rural parts of the state.

See Easter on page 5 A toddler reaches for an egg at Decatur First Baptist Church and the Decatur Business Association’s Easter Egg Hunt.
Photo by Travis Hudgons

Visit for local, real DeKalb County news. @DeKalbChampNews
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 2

Overlay district allows alcohol sales adjacent to church
McCorkle said he made several
by Horace Holloman attempts to contact the county and address Lemon Drop’s license. In
an email sent to McCorkle from the
Charles McCorkle describes himself county’s planning director Andrew
as a “very persistent” man, which is Baker, Baker wrote, “Although staff
why he said he’s not giving up until was instructed not to issue the alcohol
something is done about a business license for Lemon Drop by the zoning
selling alcohol that he says is too close to administrator, the license was issued on
a church. Friday, December 23, 2016. I continue
McCorkle, owner of GB Event to work with the law department to
Facility off Wesley Chapel Road in render a final decision as it relates to the
Decatur, said the Lemon Drop Bar license.”
and Grill located next to his property, However, a county official said that
is selling alcohol illegally and the Lemon Drop is not in violation of any
county shouldn’t allow it based on county code. According to county
its ordinances. However a county spokesperson Andrew Cauthen, the
spokesman said that’s not the whole restaurant is located in an overlay
story. district, which allows Lemon Drop to
According to county code, a sell alcohol despite the county’s code
business cannot receive a license to restrictions on selling alcohol too close
sell alcohol if it is within 200 yards to a church.
of a church.  Lemon Drop is 65 yards “Lemon Drop is in an overlay district
away from Agape Christian Family A DeKalb County business owner says Lemon Drop Bar and Grill is operating illegally but county so, for example, one of the concerns was
Church and 135 yards away from the officials say it is not.
about the church restrictions, but in an
New Life and Faith church according overlay district those restrictions are not
to an alcoholic beverage license survey “I am a minister of the gospel. applicable,” Cauthen said. “A community
community and it has been for years.”
completed by Boundary Zone Inc. in My residence happens to be [close can get together and say they want
McCorkle said the establishment
May 2016. to Lemon Drop] as well. I care about special zoning. A lot of the times it’s to
is more of a “club atmosphere” than a
McCorkle is also the lead pastor my community and I care about what attract business.”
restaurant. In 2015 Lemon Drop’s owner
at GB Ministries. He said he has no takes place there,” McCorkle said. “The McCorkle said, based on county
applied for a special land use permit to
vendetta against Lemon Drop’s owner restaurant that is located within that be zoned as a “late night establishment.”
or the county, but wants the county to Economy Inn hotel is a blight on the See Alcohol Page 4A
That application was denied.
follow its rules.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 3

BROOKHAVEN COUNTYWIDE music, food vendors and more.
According to Stephanie Van Parys, executive
DeKalb students to participate in state musical director of the Wylde Center, the event will also debut
theater awards several programs, including the center’s Nature Series
City to host sidewalk meeting and Art in the Garden at Oakhurst Garden, Mulberry
Eleven DeKalb County high school students will Fields, Hawk Hollow, Sugar Creek and Edgewood
Brookhaven Public Works Department will host Community Learning Garden.
a meeting March 30 to present concept plans for participate in the Georgia High School Musical Theatre
Awards on April 20 at the Cobb Performing Arts Admission to the event is free. For more informa-
Phase 2 of the Woodrow Way Sidewalk Project. tion, visit
The purpose of the meeting is to solicit feedback on Center.
the design and layout of the project. Phase 2 of the DeKalb students from Chamblee Charter, Decatur,
Lakeside and Dunwoody high schools will perform Library to host video production workshop
project constructs sidewalk along Woodrow Way
from Inman Drive to Windsor Parkway. Phase 1 of in the Shuler Student Ensemble—which united actors
and actresses from across the state—as well as the Kids Video Connection and Emory University’s
the project constructs sidewalks on the north side of Department of Film and Media Studies will conduct an
Woodrow Way from Breton Circle to Inman Drive S.T.A.R. (Students Take a Role) Council as production
assistants. Introduction to Video Production and Media Literacy
and should be under construction in April. The workshop April 4 at Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown
meeting will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Lynwood The awards—aired on Georgia Public
Broadcasting—will showcase and honor upcoming Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Park Recreation Center, 3360 Osborne Road. For Students will be introduced to media literacy
more information, visit musical theater talent in Georgia and allow participants
to perform the opening and finale numbers at the show. concepts, camera operations, video production and
Students from DeKalb County who are careers in media.
participating include Adrian Waller, Bailey Fisher, Under the supervision of a professional producer,
City to host blood drive Chloe Constant, Jonathan Pennie, Kate Fowler, Leah students will produce their own video autobiography
Thomas, Nina Stecker, Paris Ruiz, Joi’Anna Partee, project. The workshop is open to the first 16
Brookhaven will host a blood drive March 31, 10 participants. The library is located at 2861 Wesley
Natalie Carson and Charles Cardot.
a.m. to 3 p.m. at city hall, located at 4362 Peachtree Chapel Road in Decatur. For more information, call
The awards are based on Broadway’s Tony Awards,
Road. For more information, visit www.brookhaven- (404) 286-6980.
which honors and showcases musical theatre in the
same way as the American Academy Awards, Grammy
or Emmy Awards. DeKalb commissioner to host opioid symposium
For more information, visit
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson,
CLARKSTON programs/shuler-awards.
in partnership with Aetna, National Association of
Counties, The Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority and
Morehouse School of Medicine will host an Opioid
Family empowerment day scheduled for April Symposium on May 4.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College director The event will be held at Porter Sanford III Per-
receives community service award The DeKalb County School District’s Office of forming Arts & Community Center, 3181 Rainbow
Parent and Family Engagement in collaboration Dr., Decatur. Registration will start at 8:30 a.m. and the
Judge Virgil Costley Jr., director of paralegal with Check and Connect team and local community program begins at 9 a.m. Registration is open online at
studies at Georgia Piedmont Technical College agencies will present Region 4 Family Empowerment
(GPTC), received the Justice Robert Benham Award day.
for Community Service on March 21. The event is scheduled for April 22 from 10 a.m. to
The award is bestowed by the State Bar of Geor- 1 p.m. at Miller Grove High School. Event organizers
gia each year to lawyers and judges who make
positive contributions to communities beyond their
official duties.
said the Family Empowerment Day will connect
families with educational opportunities, job placement, STONE MOUNTAIN
legal guidance and community resources that provide
Costley said several community members in- services to assist with children’s success. EGGAPALOOZA and vendor’s market announced
formed him he has time to volunteer, practice law The event is expecting to bring in roughly 500
and give back to his local, state and national com- families. For more information, call (404) 668-2087. Wade Walker Park Family YMCA located at 5605
munities. His 20-year career involved outreach to Rockbridge Road in Stone Mountain will be the setting
disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth as well as for the annual EGGAPALOOZA event on April 15.
the mentally ill—all while teaching at the National The event is free and open to the public. There will
College of Juvenile and Family Law, earned Costley
the award, according to spokesmen from GTPC.
DECATUR be arts and crafts, games, an egg hunt and vendors.
Children are encouraged to bring Easter baskets!
Costley also developed GPTC’s criminal justice A vendors market will be held from 10: a.m. until  3
program as well as its paralegal studies program. He p.m. EGGAPALOOZA events will be held from 11 a.m.
currently serves on the Newton County Board of Wylde Center announces ‘Earth Day, Birthday’ until 1 p.m. An egg hunt for children 12 years of age
Education. event and younger will be held at 12:45 p.m. No registration
is required.
The Wylde Center—located at 435 Oakview Road in Vendors are needed for the event; if interested in
Decatur—announced this year’s Earth Day will coin- being a vendor or for additional information about the
cide with the center’s 20th birthday on April 23. event contact or call (404)-
The event will feature a festive parade at 12:30 p.m. 379-6779.
and Earth Day activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Activities will
include children’s games, a t-shirt design contest, live

LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 4

E-SPLOST V project
list released
DeKalb school district releases schedule of
upcoming capital projects
A 21-classroom addition at Cross Keys
by R. Scott Belzer High School for an anticipated Cross Keys Middle School—will begin in November
2018 with a scheduled completion in
Building a new John R. Lewis June 2020. The project will cost DCSD
Elementary School along Skyland Trail approximately $10 million.
NE in Brookhaven is the first project Chamblee Charter High School is next
scheduled on DeKalb County School on the list with a 30-classroom addition
District’s (DCSD) E-SPLOST V project estimated to cost $21.5 million. The
list. project will also begin in November 2018
The list—approved by the DCSD with a October 2020 completion date.
board of education on March 20—states In December 2018, DCSD will begin
the school’s construction, worth $31.5 construction on a new $30.5 million, 900-
million, will begin in July 2017 and finish seat elementary school for the Cross Keys
by November 2018. cluster. According to the list, the district
The DCSD board approved a $21 will begin searching for land for the Skyland Park—located at 2600 Skyland Drive in Brookhaven—is set to be the new home of
John R. Lewis Elementary School as early as November 2018. Photos by R. Scott Belzer
million general contractor’s agreement school in August 2017.
with Barton Marlow Company, an Three projects are scheduled to begin
engineering and design firm based in in 2019, the first being Cedar Grove High and synthetic turf installation approval of the list does not mean it
Alpharetta. According to the March 20 School’s auditorium and synthetic turf beginning in July. The $26.9 million cannot be changed.
agenda item, Barton Marlow was chosen installation in May. The project will be project is scheduled for completion by “Even with [the board’s] approval
because of its experience in working with completed by September 2020 and cost March 2022. today, the district has flexibility in
school districts, legal history and staff approximately $6 million. Dunwoody High School’s modifying project sequencing as
members assigned to the project. In September 2019, DCSD will begin 26-classroom addition and synthetic program assumptions are validated
Other projects scheduled to begin in construction on a new Cross Keys High turf installation will begin in October and changed over the next several
2017 include playground replacements School, possibly at the former Briarcliff 2020 and conclude by June 2022. months and years ahead,” Williams
at 19 elementary schools; bus parking High School site. Construction will cost According to the list, the project will said.
improvements; school bus purchases; the district an anticipated $84.8 million cost $17.7 million. All projects will be funded through
support vehicle purchases; portable and is scheduled to be completed by In 2021, construction will begin on an education-specific special-purpose
classroom purchases; and salary increases September 2021. a 26-classroom addition at Peachtree local option sales tax (E-SPLOST) of
for district employees. Construction for Clarkston High Middle School ($14.1 million) as one penny for every dollar spent in
The tear-down and rebuild of Indian School’s 38-classroom addition and well as a 17-classroom addition DeKalb County. The revenue source
Creek Elementary School will begin in synthetic turf installation will begin at Freedom Middle School ($8.5 was approved by DeKalb County
July 2018. The project is scheduled for in October 2019. The project—worth million). The projects will conclude voters during a special election on
completion by November 2019 and, $18 million—is scheduled for use by in February 2023 and January 2023, May 24, 2016.
according to the list, be worth $28.5 September 2021. respectively. Collections on the tax will begin in
million. Two projects will begin in 2020, with According to DCSD Chief July 2017.
Lakeside High School’s 38-room addition Operations Officer Josh Williams,

Brookhaven hires first CENTER Continued From Page 1A
economic developer director
code, that an overlay district does not and into my establishment and he lied to
supersede the county’s original code. my landlord, which caused some friction,”
by Carla Parker set and achieve new economic Cauthen said McCorkle’s assertion is Lemons said. “It’s frustrating. I’m coming
development goals for our city,” incorrect. into the community and trying to provide Brownell said. “He’s not reading the entire code. He’s employment for people.”
Before she was a corporate stopping at one section and not reading the Lemons said the area was riddled with
Brookhaven hired Shirlynn solutions project manager, entire thing,” Cauthen said. drugs and prostitution before Lemon Drop.
Brownell as its first director of Brownell served as a project According to section 4-101.1-H-2 of the Lemons, who wrote a book From Prison to
economic development, the city analyst at GDEcD. Brownell also county’s code of ordinances, the distance the Penthouse: 12 Steps to a Successful Life
announced March 21. managed statistical research and restriction does not apply to a restaurant if it After Prison, said he wants to be a positive
Brownell, a former corporate analysis for GDEcD. is within an overlay district. example in the community.
solutions project manager “With the addition of A zoning board of appeals upheld the “I was a young kid and went to prison in
at the Georgia Department Shirlynn Brownell and the wealth county’s ruling to allow Lemon Drop to sell 1995 and wrote about it and the obstacles I
of Economic Development of knowledge and expertise she alcohol. had to go through being a convicted felon,”
(GDEcD), will begin her role brings from the state of Georgia, Myrio Lemons, owner of Lemon Drop, Lemons said. “I overcame and became a
April 3. Brookhaven can take charge of its said he enjoys doing business in DeKalb corporate engineer in corporate America. I
“I am excited and ready own destiny in terms of creating county and wants to be a good neighbor. turned my life around and I want people to
to take on this new role, and jobs and capital investments “I have been unfairly targeted by my see what I did so I can be a role model and a
I look forward to working in in the city,” Brookhaven City neighbor, which is Charles [McCorkle]. mentor.”
conjunction with the members Manager Christian Sigman said He told lies to the county to get them to McCorkle said he plans to continue to
of the city of Brookhaven to in a statement. dig a little bit deeper into my background dispute the county’s ruling.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 5

SPORTS Continued From Page 1
Before she discovered her program and the facility has two mobile feeding at local parks in,” she said. “I love my staff.
passion, Chatmon was running basketball courts and a fitness and hotels. Without them I would be nothing.
her own business. center. “I go out to different parks, I They’re my backbone.”
“In the beginning, after I “Sometimes the parents go out to different hotels to feed She said she would love
got married, I ran a furniture would go back there and work the kids because a lot them to expand the academy, but
business with my first husband, I out while their kids [were] basically don’t have food,” she struggles to find grant money.
hated it,” she said. “I had no love practicing,” she said. said. “They’re hungry and they “Finding grants is hard,” she
for it, I did not want to do it and The academy has a count on the school system to said.
my compassion for it was not competitive dance program feed them during the day time. Chatmon said some of her
there.” and rec-league basketball and Well, during the summertime, no goals are to have another facility
Her sister, who played cheerleading. There is also one is feeding them.” in Gwinnett County and feed
basketball, suggested creating an after-school program and She volunteers with the more children in that area. She
a basketball and cheerleading Chatmon said she is working to Atlanta Food Bank, which said she would also like to get a
program for children. After add a pre-k program. provides food for her efforts. van.
spreading the word about “We’re putting the Out of all that she has “We pick up kids in the
the academy, approximately application in,” she said. “I accomplished with Sportz Center afternoon for our after-school
200 children signed up. am a quality-rated childcare Academy, Chatmon said she is program,” she said. “We bring
The academy now has 600 facility.” most proud of the support she them [to the academy], we feed
participants. Along with serving children has received in the 10 years the them, we help them with their
Sportz Center Academy through the academy, Chatmon academy has been open. homework and they go in the
features an Amateur Athletic also feeds 500 to 600 children “It’s a struggle to run the back to cheer, dance or play
Union (AAU) basketball daily during the summer by business in the area that I’m basketball.”

EASTER Continued From Page 1
Here is a list of some egg hunts that includes a vendor market, arts and crafts, the Easter Bunny, family pictures,
may make for a memorable time for young games and, of course, egg hunt for ages face painting and thousands of eggs
and old: 12 and younger at 12:45 p.m. Don’t forget including golden prize eggs are part
to bring a basket. The park and YMCA is of the event. There will be a separate
Decatur First Baptist Church and located at 5605 Rockbridge Road SW, area for toddlers. It’s free. The park
the Decatur Business Association’s Stone Mountain. The vendor market will is located at 1340 McConnell Drive,
Easter Egg Hunt takes place at 11 a.m. be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Interested Decatur.
on April 8 on the front lawn of the church, vendors should email: steelepm@
308 Clairemont Ave., Decatur. The Easter or call (404) 379-6779. Annual Easter Egg Hunt begins at
Bunny is expected to arrive at 10:30 am. 10 a.m. on April 15 at Lutheran Church
“The hunt begins at 11 a.m. sharp and is Avondale Estates Annual Easter Egg of the Messiah. The free event includes
staggered by age groups so that parents Hunt and Dog Parade will be held from hunting for prize-filled eggs on the front
with more than one child, in different age 10 a.m. to noon on April 15 at Willis Park. lawn, face painting, puppet show, cake
groups, can experience the fun with each The event is free and open to children walk, crafts. The church is located at 465
of their children,” according to organizers. of all ages. The park is located at 51 Clairemont Ave., Decatur.
Dartmouth Ave., Avondale Estates.
Eggstravaganza Easter Egg Hunt Egg-citing Hike Hunt takes place at
is Callanwolde Fine Arts Center’s annual Fernbank Museum’s Spring EGG- 10 a.m. on April 15 at Panola Mountain
event, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. on stravanganza is a day of exploration, State Park. “Peter Cottontail is leaving
April 15. “The hunt features thousands crafts and surprises. The event starts at 10 lots of eggs hidden on our nature trails.
of candy-filled eggs to find (including a.m. on April 8 with activities including a Can you help us find them all? Bring your
three golden ‘prize’ eggs) and a chance petting zoo, egg basket crafts, big bubbles basket and be ready for the hunt” is how
to meet the Easter Bunny. There will be and exploring the Great Hall searching for the event is described. Age categories are:
family friendly games, a LEGO building secret egg stations and collecting eggs. 2 and younger, 3-6 and 7-12. Registration
station, a face painter, The Home Depot Cost is museum admission. Go to www. is required. Cost is $5 plus $5 parking. For
station, and a kids’ dance floor. For adults for more information. more information, call (770) 389-7801. The
there also will be an indoor bar with beer, Fernbank is located at 767 Clifton Road, park is located at 2620 Highway 155 SW,
wine, mimosas, coffee, hot chocolate, Atlanta. Stockbridge.
and soft drinks for sale. Tickets are $4 in
advance or $8 at the door. All kids and The First Annual Easter Egg Hunt The Easter Eggsravaganza at
adults must have a ticket. We strongly takes place between 10 a.m. to noon on The Rock Ranch is a bit of a drive from
recommend buying in advance, as tickets April 8 at Blackburn Park in Brookhaven. DeKalb County, but 40,000 plastic prize
may sell out. There is no onsite parking Egg hunts for both children and parents, eggs await. The event is set for 11 a.m.
available. Parking is located across the prizes and a deejay are part of this to 4 p.m. on April 8. “Families can snag
street at Atlanta Metro Cathedral, 999 free event. Participants must RSVP photos with the Easter Bunny, and enjoy
Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta. For tickets or by 6 p.m. on March 31. Go to https:// a presentation of the Easter story from
more information, go to www.callanwolde. a local pastor – all for free. Wristbands
org. to register. The park is located at 3493 are offered for purchase to participate in
Ashford Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven. extra attractions such as carousel rides.,”
EGGAPALOOZA is scheduled to according to organizers. The Rock Ranch
hop off at 10 a.m. on April 15 at Wade Mason Mill Park Easter Egg Hunt is located at 5020 Barnesville Highway,
Walker Park Family YMCA. The free event begins at 9:30 a.m. on April 15. Crafts, The Rock, Ga.
OPINION DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 6

Cuba excursion changes perspective
I recently had the pleasure whom we visited with daily likes of mega stores such as
of visiting Cuba and have and had candid conversation Walmart or Target, there is less
returned with a bit of a different regarding religion, politics, of a desire for materials items
perspective on life in general— racial issues and life in general. that to most Americans are so
Americans have too many They all worked together at a important.
choices. John Hewitt government-owned restaurant Healthcare in Cuba is
For decades, most called La Republica and were ranked among the best in the
Americans have been led to of differing ethnicities. Being world and is provided at no
believe that the people of Cuba the inquisitive person that I cost to the people. There are
live oppressed lives and that in One evening, we were a am, I was curious about race no privately owned clinics
comparison to our standards of bit lost in Havana’s historic relations and asked my friend or physician’s offices; all
living, far-less desirable lives in district where all the buildings Alex if there is much prejudice are government staffed and
general. I did not find this to be look similar and street signage among the many different managed and offer general
the case. is difficult at best to see. I ethnic groups. He explained medical, vision and dental
When I was walking on the approached the front door of to me that most Cubans think services.
streets, it was not uncommon a home where locals were of all others simply as Cubans My overall impression of
to make eye contact with having a party and asked for and don’t identify others based Cuba and her people is that
those approaching and to in- directions. Not only did they on the color of their skin. “We the people are happy and
turn receive a nod of the head welcome us into their home, are all Cubans,” he said. healthy. They are not tempted
or a greeting of “Hola, como they offered us beer and asked Alex also told us that to buy the latest technological
esta?”—which, in English, is us to sit and visit for a while. there is little to be afraid of in advancement, as they are not
“Hello, how are you?” Not only We sat with them for maybe Cuba as guns and weapons available. There is little class-
were the greetings offered, but 20 minutes and then the father are strictly prohibited and the envy as most people are pretty
appeared to be sincere. and younger son insisted that overall crime rate is extremely much equally educated and
Numerous times, and in they accompany us back to our low. equally compensated.
broken Spanish, we asked room just to make sure that we Another interesting Not having as many choices
strangers for directions and/ didn’t get lost again. A similar observation that I made was an as do those of us who live
or assistance and virtually occurrence is highly unlikely to obvious lack of department and in first-world countries isn’t
every time, those being asked happen here. Most Americans grocery stores, yet everyone necessarily a bad thing, to me
were as helpful as possible would likely help but would was well-clothed and healthy it simplifies life and makes for a
considering the language be reluctant to invite total appearing. Perhaps when one happier life.
barriers and our lack of strangers into their homes. is not exposed to as many
familiarity with their city. We met a few locals choices as we are with the
OPINION DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 7

Welcome to our world
“Once you become in this community, attending else. Though they realize
accustomed to celebrating life’s
many small victories...there is
‘One Man’s and participating in numerous
gatherings, formal and informal,
their differences at varying
levels and ages, they don’t
no longer any need for a finish Opinion’ ranging from a Down syndrome fault you for not being like
line.” Anonymous quote, in honor play group, to the National Down them. Try thinking about that
of World Down Syndrome Day, Bill Crane Syndrome Congress. With each and acting on the reverse.
3/21/2017. meeting there is often a new Their love and friendship
lesson learned, and even more comes without question or
Dr. John Langdon Down of frequently a new friendship judgment. Their loyalty and
England first recognized and a bit more widely (and often made. support is unquestioning,
characterized what we now with later manifesting vision  Our children do not judge steadfast and true. Yes, there
know as a genetic disorder as challenges), the spaced big toe and befriend each other and will be frustrations, occasional
a mental disability in 1862, and and palm crease, slower growth, others almost instantaneously. embarrassing moments and
later in a widely publicized report weaker muscle tone, etc...and Little Olivia is popular and well- frequent redo’s—but I again can
in 1866. Occurring in roughly all this can frequently result in regarded at her school, but assure you, they daily deliver
eight of every 1,000 live births, our children and family members noting the forlorn and lonesome way more upsides—than down. 
Down syndrome, or Trisomy being stereotyped.  looks of the many teenagers in
21, remains the most common Though frequently happy and our midst, we know that teasing,
genetic abnormality among at ease around even strangers, bullying and social rejection lie Bill Crane also serves as a
infants.  our children are not simpletons, just around the corner. political analyst and commentator
We knew our Olivia was nor the village idiots, nor even  The current, and clearly for Channel 2’s Action News,
going to be part of this special Lenny from Of Mice and Men. It kinder label for our kids is WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and
world well before her arrival can be more challenging for “special needs” children. They now 95.5 FM, as well as a
in 2007. Upon diagnosis, a them to discern the finer points are “special” and all children columnist for The Champion,
majority of prospective parents of social mores and customs, have needs. I will ask for your Champion Free Press and
across the globe still frequently some speak loudly and without consideration though of what Georgia Trend. Crane is a
choose to terminate their a social filter—and most share a I have actually seen, learned DeKalb native and business
pregnancy. Though our life and strong tendency toward candor and observed to be their most owner, living in Scottdale. You
world is not without challenges, and making their affections pressing desire. They want to be can reach him or comment on a
I can only say that I am sorry for known. But just like you or accepted, befriended and liked.  column at bill.csicrane@gmail.
those families as they will never me, they are individuals, with In the main, they prefer com.
know the joys and profound life differences of personality and to be treated just like anyone
lessons they are missing, and temperament, and living good
that we experience on a regular days as well as bad.
basis.   I am blessed to have two
Yes, it can take our children daughters, one now a married
longer to learn, comprehend adult, teaching the second
and master many tasks and grade, and her younger half-
functions so easy for others in sister Olivia, now in the second
day-to-day life. Our children grade. The two are as close
may never drive, gain regular as their different lives and life
employment or in most cases be decades will allow. I could not
allowed to have or raise children love either child any more than I
of their own. That said, none of do. Both bring me pride and joy
those things is impossible for on a regular basis. 
the typical, atypical person living However, the more profound
their life with Trisomy 21. and almost daily life lessons,
 The genetic disorder is so on what really matters most
named due to the presence and the comparative triviality of
of an extra chromosome or many things that once brought
partial chromosome on the me great stress; I learned from
21st pair of our 26 pairs of young Olivia.
chromosomes. That extra data  During our 10-year journey
delivers many of the familiar in this world we have also
physical characteristics, the had the pleasure of meeting
almond-shaped eyes, spaced hundreds of other families

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
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The DeKalb Free Press, discourse for all community residents
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LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 8

Water woes for DeKalb residents
by Horace Holloman other foot to drop. They want “On Feb. 23, the CEO to know where their bill is and presented The New Day Project
how much it’s going to be. Is to the Board of Commissioners
DeKalb County resident it going to be an affordable and the public, rolling out a
and founder of the Facebook amount that they can handle, short- and long-term strategy
group Unbelievable DeKalb or will they be in the same for regaining trust of customers
Water Bills Star McKenzie said situation they were in before?” and rectifying the billing
she understands DeKalb CEO McKenzie, whose Facebook issues plaguing our citizens.
Michael Thurmond inherited group now has more than Five days later, on Feb. 28,
a mess. However, the mother 2,400 members, said she’s also the CEO presented budget
of two said it’s time for DeKalb disappointed that the county amendments to specifically
residents to get answers. doesn’t seem to be advertising address the water billing issues
According to county the event to the public. and presented a 90-day plan
officials, Thurmond plans to In an email exchange for implementation,” Carlos
hold a public meeting April between McKenzie and wrote in the email. “The CEO
5 to address what he called a Thurmond’s chief of staff has committed to making
“water billing crisis” in DeKalb La’Keitha Carlos obtained by updates to the public, giving DeKalb resident Star McKenzie sits by the Maloof Building in downtown Decatur
County. The Champion, Carlos outlines the opportunity for feedback receiving an email in her phone from CEO Michael Thurmond’s chief of staff.
some of the steps the CEO has and questions, at the end of Photo by Horace Holloman
McKenzie said residents
have heard what the problem made to be more transparent each 30-day segment. The first
is, but now they’re ready to with residents. update will be on April 5 at 6:30
hear solutions. According to a DeKalb p.m. at Maloof Auditorium.” of bills the week of April 10. that. We want to be patient and
“People are unsure about County spokesperson, the On Feb. 28, Thurmond Between 7,000 and 9,000 be helpful anyway we can, but
their bills or what the status is county plans to send a press urged commissioners to bills will be released. County one thing they have to start
with billing because that’s what release informing the public of approve the 2017 budget, which officials were unsure of a doing is communicating with
everyone is wondering. Most the event and will also advertise includes $1.5 million to address timeline for further bills to be us to let us know what’s going
people haven’t gotten a bill the event on the county’s billing issues. released. on,” McKenzie said. “Even if
since October,” McKenzie said. official website. The meeting Currently, the county has “The main thing we you don’t know what the plan
“I think that the community will also be streamed live on 37,000 held water bills and understand is that [the CEO] is, let us know you’re working
at large is just waiting for the DCTV. plans to send its first batch inherited a big mess. We get on it.

Brookhaven presents draft of
Ashford Dunwoody Corridor Study
The city hopes to develop an overall vision
by Carla Parker for the corridor which serves the needs of all users and minimizes adverse impacts to property
Brookhaven has presented the draft of the owners and neighborhoods in the corridor;
Mauricio Oliveros, a 17-year-old Dunwoody High School student and Doraville Ashford Dunwoody Corridor Study. is harmonious with existing development
resident, was killed in a collision along GA-400 on March 22. Four others were
injured and sent to the hospital. Photo submitted. The city is studying Ashford Dunwoody and future growth along the corridor; and is
Road between I-285 and Peachtree Road to cost-effective, implementable; and has broad

Dunwoody High student killed
develop a vision for a multimodal corridor. The community support from residents, stakeholders,
city is focusing on the corridor to address traffic and other partners.
congestion along Ashford Dunwoody Road. In the study’s draft, the overall vision includes
No other names have The study is one of several visioning processes 35 miles per hour roadways, narrower lanes,
by R. Scott Belzer been released to the public that are underway in the city. The study’s goal is safer pedestrian crossings at key locations, traffic by Georgia State Patrol or the to develop a consensus for long-range options to calming in residential neighborhood, enhanced
Department of Public Safety, improve traffic operations, safety and multimodal streetscaping and more.
A fatal accident along but authorities did say both connectivity for the Ashford Dunwoody If the recommendations are approved by the
GA-400 claimed the life of drivers are juveniles. Corridor, according to city officials. cty council, the city will develop a plan to fund
a Dunwoody High School “The GSP Specialized “This is the first phase of what will be and implement the recommended projects,
student on March 22. Collision Reconstruction Team integrated into the 20-year comprehensive plan according to city officials. The design details of
Georgia State Patrol and the is conducting a follow-up for Brookhaven, providing the framework for recommendations from the first phase of the
Georgia Department of Public investigation,” states a release. responsible smart growth and traffic efficiency in study will be worked out during the planning
Safety say Mauricio Oliveros, “Names are not releasable at this area,” Brookhaven City Manager Christian and design of the individual projects, which will
17, of Doraville, was killed this time. The report has not Sigman said. “The public input over the past include the opportunity for residents to review
in the early afternoon while been completed.” several months has been vital toward developing and provide input and comment on the proposed
traveling southbound on GA- Doraville Mayor Donna that consensus and ensuring that we have the detail designs.
400 just north of Lenox Road Pittman was one of the first best models possible.”
in Atlanta. public officials to comment on
Oliveros was a passenger the case.
of a Chevrolet SUV with four “Prayers please for the NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
others when it collided with family of a Dunwoody High The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a
a Honda, authorities said. School student who was public hearing on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540
The crash caused the SUV to killed in a hit-and-run car Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 7:30 p.m. to receive public comments
overturn and roll; while the accident on GA-400 yesterday
regarding the following matters:
Honda fled. It has since been and prayers for the other
Dunwoody students who were Applicant: Adam Pollock; Owner: Holly and Grant Yarbrough. The
Authorities said everyone in in the car and are recovering applicant requests a Stream Buffer Variance from UDO Section 310-19 for
the vehicle was transported to physically and emotionally,” the construction of a deck, screen porch, addition to an existing single-family
Grady Hospital for injuries. Pittman said on her Facebook residence and other improvements located at 2084 Plantation Lane.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 9

MIcky Rosenfeld with Israeli police broke the An arrest involving a bomb threat at Marcus Jewish Community Center in Dunwoody was made on March 23, Israeli Minister of Security Gilad
news involving the arrest on March 23. according to Israeli and FBI authorities. Photo submitted Erdan said the arrest involved several
investigative agencies, including the FBI.
Photo submitted.

Israeli hacker arrested for MJCCA threats
19-year-old American-Israeli dual citizen arrested by Israeli police for wave of international bomb threats

by R. Scott Belzer New Zealand and Australia, including According to authorities, which on leading a complex international
MJCCA. include the Federal Bureau of investigation, together with law “Police and FBI investigation arrest Investigation, the man allegedly placed enforcement agencies from around
Israeli [man] age 19, suspected of threatening phone calls and emails the world, which led to the arrest of
Israeli police announced the arrest of making threats to Jewish organizations, to public venues, synagogues and the suspect,” said Israeli Minister of
an unnamed 19-year-old Israeli Jewish communities, and JCC bomb threats community centers in several countries. Security Gilad Erdan in a release. “We
man with both American and Israeli in [the United States,]” Rosenfeld Police also linked the man to a hope that this investigation will help
citizenship on March 23 in connection announced on Twitter. “He’s the guy threatening phone call to Delta Airlines shed light on some of the recent threats
to a recent bomb threat at Marcus who is behind the JCC threats.” in February 2015 that caused an against Jewish institutions, which have
Jewish Community Center Atlanta Rosenfeld said the man used emergency landing. caused great concern both among
(MJCCA) in Dunwoody. “advanced technologies” such as proxies Police could not cite a motive as of Jewish communities and the Israeli
Israeli police spokesman Micky and irregular phone lines to hide his press time or confirm the man’s identity. government.”
Rosenfeld labeled the man a “primary origin, which was found to be in south Authorities did state, however, that the As of press time, spokesmen for the
suspect,” as well as a “hacker” connected Israel. A police search at the man’s man had been found mentally unfit for MJCCA did not provide comment on
to threats made to Jewish community house revealed antennas and satellite military service. the ongoing investigation.
centers (JCC) across the United States, equipment, he said. “I congratulate the Israeli police

Call 770.270.6243 and press 2 report
or email
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 10

Fifth grade students at Henderson Mill Elementary show off their urban garden projects. Education professionals hear from teachers and students about Henderson Mill Elementary’s STEAM certification.
Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Principal Mitch Green (left photo) said students at Henderson Mill Elementary learn how to create gardens, make stop-motion movies and use technology for artistic learning. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Henderson Mill Elementary recognized as first STEAM school in state
by R. Scott Belzer the school’s blueprint with guests. process of designing, building and is not a harmful plant to caterpillars,”
Green said Henderson Mill aims to be putting to use sustainable planters made one student said. “Without milkweed, a world-class STEAM school “where from recycled materials. The plants will caterpillars can’t eat and turn into
children are highly motivated” and eventually be transferred to the student- monarch butterflies. Without butterflies’
On March 24, students at “achieving at the highest levels.” designed aquaponics, hydroponic, and nectar, we can’t grow plants for food.
Henderson Mill Elementary proved it’s “It’s an honor for us to achieve this,” tower garden centers to see which one Without food, we die!”
possible to protect a stuffed bear from Green said. “You can feel the buzz grows the fastest. Other projects—spanning all grade
an avalanche, create a stop-motion and the acitivity. These teachers could “We want to make an impact on levels—included finding more uses
video, act in a play, build a bird’s leave the room and kids will continue hunger at Henderson Mill,” Blackston from K-Cups, building dioramas about
nest, create a clay pinch pot, control working. That’s what we call true, said. “People can learn to make their the environment, using Photoshop to
a robot, construct a diorama or draw authentic engagement. They are that own gardens at home and that will be artistically find solutions to erosion,
monarch butterflies while learning involved and that motivated—they want simple and cheap.” acting out erosion prevention tools,
about science, technology, engineering to be here; they want to work with one Blackston said the gardens will learning about portions by creating
and mathematics—otherwise known as another; and they want to achieve.” directly benefit the approximate 70 appropriately sized rice pinch pots and
STEM disciplines. Green said STEAM-involved percent of fellow classmates enrolled on creating stop-motion videos about
Henderson Mill was certified as classroom activities mirror the adult free or reduced lunch. animal species.
the first STEAM school in Georgia on work environment and involve In another classroom, students were Henderson Mill parent and PTA
March 20 for its ability to integrate art creativity, collaboration and critical designing sustainable, washable lunch co-president Katherine Schuessler
into the four STEM disciplines. The thinking. He said the activities also trays on an iPad and building them said it is hard to describe the school as
DeKalb County school held a three- benefit the school’s non-English with sewing materials and a 3D printer. anything other than “fantastic.”
hour tour on March 24 to showcase speaking students by requiring a In the same classroom, students were “Two days ago, my son came up to
its talents to curious education student “do” rather than “hear,” “read,” feeding Styrofoam to “superworms” to me—after he finished his homework—
professionals from around the state. or “see.” see if the species is a viable solution to and asked to borrow my computer to
Henderson Mill began seeking Henderson Mill’s hallways are address pollution. make a PowerPoint presentation on
STEM certification in 2010, received it decorated with projects dealing with Fourth-grader Liam Ferguson recycling,” Schuessler said. “It’s usually
in 2014, and immediately began seeking erosion, monarch butterflies, lunch explained that several versions of the to go play XBOX. He wanted to learn
STEAM certification. The program tray recycling, environments, bird tray have been created and changed to how to use PowerPoint and we spent
is now school wide at the traditional, nests, edible utensils and more—all suit all grade levels at Henderson Mill the afternoon discussing font sizes.”
pre-K through fifth-grade campus. using science, engineering, technology, Elementary. For more information about STEAM
Principal Mitch Green said he is mathematics art. In another classroom, students drew certification and Henderson Mill
elated to be the first school to receive For example, fifth-grader Mikkyah monarch butterflies. Elementary School, visit http://www.
such a distinction and proud to share Blackston said her class was in the “People don’t know that milkweed
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 11


Miller Grove girls’ basketball coach Yolanda Redmond presents
Clarkston’s AJ McNeil with the Senior Boys’ All-Star basketball game MVP
trophy. Photo by Mark Brock

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office visited a DeKalb County High School to show students what they deal with on a
daily basis. Photo submitted.

A flashlight spotlights 14-year-old cellist Lexine Feng as she performed
with the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra during the Young Artists Concerto
Competition Tuesday, March 21 at Georgia State University’s Clarkston
Campus. Other symphony members used cell phones to illuminate their
Dunwoody Police Department was visited by two members of Dunwoody United Methodist preschool on March 23 to say “Thank music when a storm caused the power outage. Photo by Bill Roa, submitted
you” to officers. 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 31, 2017 • Page 12

On April 18th,
Jon Ossoff
for Congress.
Washington should be
accountable to you.

Paid for by Jon Ossoff for Congress jonossoff @ossoff
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 13

Board members Joyce Morley and Vicki Turner commended DeKalb County School District Chief Operatons
Officer Josh Williams on ensuring schools in need are fixed. Photo submitted.
Former Stonecrest mayoral candidate Charles Hill said he plans to seek legal action after a
mailer was sent to residents days prior to the election.

Hill: ‘Someone benefited from
this mailer and it wasn’t me’
by Horace Holloman In a press release, Lary said the mailer was disgusting and has no
place in Stonecrest.
“Yes, we may disagree on city
DeKalb County resident and issues, neighborhood problems
Yale graduate student Charles Hill, and the way in which to go about
who recently lost the mayor’s race getting the job done. Even so, with
to Jason Lary for the newly formed this recent development, I could not
city of Stonecrest March 21, said remain silent. Healthy competition
he plans to seek legal action after and political debate are one thing,
a mailer regarding Hill’s mental but this disgusting mailer crosses
state was sent out days prior to the the line,” Lary said in his statement.
election. DeKalb County Commissioner
The mailer states that Hill Kathie Gannon also released
was declared mentally ill by a a statement saying one of the
licensed psychiatrist and that he is Panola Way Elementary School is one of four schools in DeKalb County School District set to receive
organizations she is involved with capital improvements and renovations following a March 20 board of education meeting. Photo by R.
manic-depressive, bipolar and has had no affiliation with the mailer. Scott Belzer
cyclothymic disorder. On the flyer, the sender’s name

Elementary schools set for upgrades
Hill said when he found appears as Blueprint to Redefine
out about the mailer his “heart DeKalb.
dropped” and said he plans “Recently a political flyer has
on taking legal action against been circulated that smears a
whomever is responsible.
“I am seeking legal action and
candidate in the Stonecrest city Bob Mathis, Panola Way, Browns Mill and Rainbow elementary
elections. The individual who
I’m filing a complaint with the circulated this flyer uses the term schools to receive $7.3 million in facility improvements
Georgia Ethics Commission,” ‘Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb’ in
said Hill in an interview with The the organization’s name. I want
Champion. “I’ve seen some negative it to be crystal clear: There is no by R. Scott Belzer conditioning system for the school gym,
mailers in the past, but this went relationship or connection between grease interceptors, restrooms, fire alarms,
beyond a dirty mailer. This was security system and carpeting. The scope
that smear political mailer and
meant to hurt me personally.” the Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb, of work will cost the district an estimated
Hill said he was told the mailer Four schools are set for facility $745,000.
which accomplished so much,” improvements involving air conditioning,
was sent by a mailing house but he Gannon said in a statement. Panola Way—located at 2170 Panola
can’t identify the origin. restroom renovations, sprinkler systems, Way Court in Lithonia—will receive a
The mailer also used a photo roofing and more following a March 20
“The person who owns [the of Anthony Hill and compared new air conditioning system for the school
mailing house] says he can’t identify DeKalb County School District (DCSD) gym, a new roof, new water heaters,
him to Charles Hill. In the photo board of education meeting.
the person because they paid it states “Hill was confronted by restrooms renovations, fire alarm system,
in cash,” Hill said. “We do plan Bob Mathis, Panola Way, Browns Mill piping, boiler and digital data control
police as he walked around naked and Rainbow elementary schools will
on trying to pursue every angle in his apartment complex.” Below system. Improvements to the school are
possible so we can bring this person receive the improvements via Evergreen estimated to cost approximately $2.7
the photo is a disclaimer that says Construction, a contracting firm based
to justice.” Anthony Hill and Charles Hill are million.
One of Hill’s opponents, Lary, in Cobb County that was awarded the Browns Mill—located at 4863 Browns
not the same person, but have the $7.3 million contract, according to DCSD
said he regrets how the mayoral race same disorder. Mill Road in Lithonia—is scheduled
played out. Soon after the mailer Chief Operations Officer Josh Williams. for a new roof, a new air conditioning
Anthony Hill was a 27-year-old Williams said the improvements will
was sent, Lary emailed a press veteran who was shot by police. system in the gym, a new school air
release denying his involvement bring the four schools up to code and conditioning system and new plumbing.
“I think that’s the part that hurt be funded through E-SPLOST IV tax
with the mailer. the most. Not just for my family but Costs associated with improvements are
“I do have one regret. I regret revenue. an estimated $1.4 million.
for [Anthony Hill’s] family as well. “The award of this contract will
the mayor’s race wasn’t like the race I know they’re still hurting from Rainbow Elementary—located at 2801
from districts one through five. They provide for a safe and healthy learning Kelley Chapel Road in Decatur—will
that,” Hill said. “I think someone environment through the capital renewal
never slandered each other and just was trying to send a message. This receive a new air conditioning system
ran on their issues,” Lary said. “The and code requirement upgrades to [the in its gym, several new air conditioning
is what happens when young people four schools],” Williams said.
stuff with the flyer and me having try to run for election. Someone units, new wiring, grease interceptors, roof
to put out my personal information, According to district documents, drains and carpeting. Improvements to
benefited from this mailer and it Bob Mathis—located at 3505 Boring
that’s not how I envisioned this wasn’t me.” Rainbow are expected to cost $2.4 million.
going. I was not happy about that.” Road in Decatur—will receive a new air
EDUCATION DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 14

County school board divided on political goals
Legislative agenda to GSBA disputed by board of education
by R. Scott Belzer

The DeKalb County School
District (DCSD) board of
education members disagreed
on its political agenda after
board member Marshall
Orson recommended the
district take a stance on the
matters of tax abatement,
E-SPLOST funds being
used for maintenance and
Orson recommended the
board adopt a 2018 legislative
agenda to recommend to
the Georgia School Boards Board member Stan Jester opposed a Board members Marshall Orson, above, and Board member James McMahan advised the
district-wide legislative agenda involving tax James McMahan disagreed on DeKalb County DeKalb County School District board of educa-
Association (GSBA) with the abatement, E-SPLOST spending and annexa- School District’s position on political issues tion to consider the possibility of spending E-
three main caveats relevant to tion. Photo by R. Scott Belzer involving finances. Photo by R. Scott Belzer SPLOST funds on maintenance and operations.
DeKalb County. Photo by R. Scott Belzer
Orson said taxes are abated
in DeKalb County regularly
Orson clarified that DCSD our world upside down.” property taxes [by using] said. “This puts county school
and such allowances divert
deserves a voice in abatement. McMahan also said funding alternative sources of revenue,” districts at risk, but only
tax revenue from the district.
“These are people who maintenance and operations McMahan said. pertains to a tiny subset of
He said the board should be
take our money to be used for through E-SPLOST would Orson also suggested county school districts in the
able to vote on whether the
something else,” Orson said. allow the district to lower its the district draft its own state.”
district is willing to sacrifice
“These are the same people millage rate on property by as legislative agenda dealing with McMahan and Jester
tax revenue for the sake of
who complain that we aren’t much as 25 percent. annexation. opposed the amended agenda,
development in the county.
doing our job.” “It would benefit DeKalb “We have filed a suit against but the measure passed 5-2.
“Multiple government
GSBA’s agenda recommends County as a whole to the city of Atlanta involving
entities and development
that school districts be given dramatically reduce our the issue of annexation,” Orson
agencies have the right to abate
the authority to spend special
our taxes without us having
purpose local option sales
any say-so or our agreement,”
tax (E-SPLOST) funds on
Orson said. “We have the
maintenance in addition to
largest share of property taxes
capital projects. Orson said
and there’s an ongoing risk
DCSD should amend its own
for our ability to do our job
agenda to not propose such a
if other government agencies
keep giving away our taxes
“I understand that
without our consent.” Sienna (ID# 31205966) can’t believe she hasn’t found her
there may be smaller, more
Board member Stan forever home yet! This joyful sweetie loves to do morning zoomies
economically stressed districts
Jester said he is in favor of tax
that are really driven in trying around the yard. She is a cheerful two year old girl who loves to play,
abatement in DeKalb County.
He called it the only leverage
to find funds for their district,” stick close to your side, and wants nothing more than to be your best
the state has over school
Orson said. “If the state were friend. Sienna weighs about 40 pounds, loves treats, and gets along
to see that we could repurpose great with other dogs and probably wouldn’t mind having a canine
districts in working with new
capital funds to maintenance companion. Come meet Sienna at the DeKalb Animal
businesses and reducing intake.
and operations, we’re at great Shelter; she will steal your heart with her loving
“Generally speaking, asking
risk … at cuts for state funding.
for the legislature to not allow affection.
It puts us at too great a risk and
abatement usually just irritates
we should oppose it.” If you would like to expand your family
them and I don’t think it will
Board member James by 4 furry little feet; come meet Sienna at
have any effect,” Jester said. the DeKalb Animal Shelter and have a
McMahan did not agree
“We have the second highest loving friend forever. During March and
with Orson, stating financial
millage rate in the state and April you can “Spring into Adoption” with a new
advisers typically instruct
by the end of this year we’re
clients not to “place all their furry friend. Adoptions are $40 for all dogs over 25 lbs.
expected to have $120 million
in reserves. We have 20
eggs in one basket.” and all cats and includes spay/neuter, vaccinations and
something schools on a list
“Using a penny sales tax for microchip! If you would like more information about
[maintenance and operations] Sienna please call (404) 294-2165 or email
[that are] deemed perpetually
may be good,” McMahan said. All
failing. We have less than a
“I understand the fear from the potential adopters will be screened to
friendly relationship with other
state legislature, but I think it’s
governments—we should ensure Sienna goes to a good
incumbent upon us to explain
be their partners. We have
to our legislators how much home. Hours: Mon-Fri;
little outreach to the business
it costs to educate a child. We 11am-7pm / Sat-
community and we’re seen as Sun; 11am-6pm
saw the harm that was caused
obstacles to overcome. We’re
in property taxes from the
seen as insular and isolated.”
recession in 2008—it turned
EDUCATION DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 15

Is integrity asleep
in DeKalb County?
If she is, please,
wake her.’ - Michael Burdette

Michael Burdette said “integrity” on behalf of workers in DeKalb County School District may be asleep. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Laborers not pleased with DeKalb
school district spending
classifications of Tech 1, Tech 2 or Tech district. What about the people who DCSD officials stated they would
by R. Scott Belzer 3—which hires workers at a fixed salary used to work here, who have given their consider suggestions from any worker without the chance of a raise—is unfair sweat and love to the district? I know in developing a budget and that a
and unjust. we can do better.” strong fund balance trend would ensure
“As [workers] come in, whatever Burdette, who has worked for DCSD additional compensation.
In early March, Lithonia Middle [they] make, that’s going to be the for 17 years, said mistreatment of “DCSD appreciates the
School parent Ashonti Dixon posted a best [they’ll] have,” Hampton said. fellow workers caused him to speak on contributions of its auxiliary workers in
video to Facebook highlighting the lack “[The district] gives money to teachers March 20. He said he and his coworkers support of student achievement and we
of cleanliness in her son’s school. and bonuses for everybody else are the only district employees to want to ensure they are treated equally.
The video shows bathroom stalls but [they’re] not looking out for all suffer furloughs, salary reductions, We are currently developing our budget
without doors, out-of-order toilets, no members of the family—this is one reclassifications and layoffs. for the 2017-2018 school year, and
soap, dirty sinks and toilet paper on the family we’re supposed to be looking “As I stand before you tonight, it anticipate continuing our trend of a
floor. It shows Dixon asking students out for. If you give to one child and not is my integrity that will not allow me strong fund balance. If that financial
how long the bathroom has been in the other, sooner or later, it will show to sit back and watch my peers, as outlook continues, we will seek to
such a state and her dismay finding out discrepancy.” well as myself, struggle to make ends apply some surplus funds to additional
it’s the norm. Hampton criticized DCSD’s meet when the school system has compensation for those workers—
“I know DeKalb County Schools spending on contractors—out of the funds and the power to make a whatever we do will be done to ensure
can do better than that,” Dixon can be district labor—rather than rehiring change,” Burdette said. “We have been fiscal responsibility and stability.”
heard saying. laborers who have been laid off in overlooked. We have vendors working Over the past year, DCSD staff,
Dixon’s video is the latest complaint recent years. Hampton said DCSD had for the district making more than us parents and students have all voiced
highlighting a problem that has 328 auxiliary workers in 2008, 236 in and knowing less. On average, we get concern regarding facility conditions at
festered in DeKalb County School 2012 and 89 for the 2016-2017 school paid 17 percent less than [those in] Cary Reynolds Elementary, Columbia
District (DCSD) for more than a year— year. surrounding counties—for the same Elementary, Columbia High School,
maintenance, or a lack thereof. In August 2016, district spokesmen positions. Is integrity asleep in DeKalb Stone Mountain High School, Midvale
According to a group of six workers, said there is approximately $1 billion County? If she is, please, wake her.” Elementary and more.
representing bus drivers, technicians, in deferred maintenance needed, Dean, a 12-year employee, said he Board member Joyce Morley has
carpenters, custodians and landscapers according to a 2015 facilities condition was told in 2012 that workers who were spoken about this issue at several board
(classified as “auxiliary” by DCSD’s assessment. At the time, the district had laid off would be rehired should the of education meetings.
central office), the problem can be 105 full-time employees responsible for economy improve. He said that jobs, ““We have people who need jobs
attributed to how the district treats its 1,700 work orders per month. such as painting, are no longer being and here we are talking about another
workers. The same month, the district done due to a lack of workers. vendor. The spending seems like a
Robert Hampton, Michael outsourced $8.8 million in labor costs “That’s a shame,” Dean said. “We child with a cookie jar,” Morley said
Burdette and Andrew Dean—three to SSC Services—based in Knoxville, should look at schools like our own in August. “Just because we have the
of the workers—addressed DCSD’s Tenn.—as well as Yellowstone home. We used to have cleaning crews money, doesn’t mean we should keep
board of education and superintendent Landscaping, which is based in Lilburn. that came in when custodial staff grabbing and spending. It concerns
Stephen Green on March 20 during “Nothing is being done to bring gets behind. We used to have carpet me—this year seems like the year of
the district’s monthly community input our guys back to work,” Hampton cleaning guys. It’s not fair to those who vendor, vendor, vendor. It doesn’t seem
session. said. “[The district] is bringing in were laid off. We have to do better, like we’re looking at the needs of people
Hampton said the district’s salary contractors, paying the money out of DeKalb.” here and helping those people.”
BUSINESS DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 16

Owner Fred Delawalla, right, greets Jessica Boykin, manager of the Decatur Louisiana Bistreaux. The restaurant has a full bar, but Delawalla says the emphasis is on food.

Seafood medley with shrimp, grilled salmon and crawfish over
pasta with a creole spicy sauce is the specialty of the day on a Louisiana Bistreaux is among the newest additions to the revitalized Suburban Plaza.
menu that features lots of seafood offerings.

by Kathy Mitchell
Cajun flavors come to Decatur Delawalla is especially proud of He opened two restaurants near the concept. Delawalla said he’s pleased
“crawtator crusted grouper,” a dish he Atlanta airport. In 1984, he met Paul with his decision to open the second
Those who didn’t make it to New created personally that’s only available Prudhomme, a celebrity chef whose Louisiana Bistreaux in the newly
Orleans for Mardi Gras this year have at his restaurants. He describes it as specialties were Creole and Cajun revitalized Suburban Plaza. “We are
a chance year-round to sample Cajun grouper crusted with crawfish flavored cuisines, as Prudhomme was promoting excited about our new location,” he said.
food and a southern Louisiana party chips in a Cajun crawfish cream sauce, his first cookbook, Louisiana Kitchen. “There is such community support here
atmosphere. Fred Delawalla, owner served with sautéed spinach and The two struck up a relationship that in Decatur.”
of Louisiana Bistreaux in East Point, jalapeno grits. led to Prudhomme inviting Delawalla to “Food is what distinguishes a
recently opened a second location in Delawalla’s more than three visit K-Paul’s, Prudhomme’s restaurant restaurant,” Delawalla commented.
Decatur’s Suburban Plaza. decades in the restaurant business are a in New Orleans’ French Quarter. “The bar, for example, is going to offer
With a décor that features Mardi departure from his original career path. “Over the next year I made basically the same drinks everywhere.
Gras masks, beads and the festival’s As a chemical engineering student at numerous trips to New Orleans There might be a specialty drink, but
signature colors—purple, green and Georgia Tech, he took a part-time job in from three days to a week at a time,” that’s not enough to make a restaurant
yellow—Louisiana Bistreaux offers a a restaurant, where he learned various Delawalla recalled. “I learned volumes stand out. The food has to be really
menu inspired by the bayou country of aspects of the business from managing a about Cajun cooking. Chef Paul was good.”
Louisiana. kitchen to food preparation. “Also, as a a master. He taught me that each bite While he’s not a chef, Delawalla said
“There’s a lot of seafood on the menu student, I cooked for myself a lot. Even should be an explosion of flavor in the he enjoys playing around in the kitchen.
and all the dishes people associate with when I made a mistake in my cooking I mouth. He also said you have to keep “It’s how I relax. I’m not the type of
Cajun cuisine such as gumbo, jambalaya ate it because I couldn’t afford to throw tasting to be sure the flavor is where you person who gets really stressed, but
and crawfish etouffee. We also have it out and start over. In that situation, want it. It’s not an accident—you make there are times when I have a lot going
dishes we have created that have a you quickly learn to be careful and do it it happen.” on and I just need to take my mind off
Cajun flair. Not everyone eats seafood right the first time.” Delawalla said he was immediately things. The kitchen is where I go,” he
so there also are chicken, steak and pork When Delawalla graduated from drawn to Cajun cuisine because the said.
dishes,” Delawalla said. Georgia Tech in the 1970s, the nation spices remind him of the food in his The name Louisiana Bistreaux
The red beans and rice with was in an energy crisis and companies native Pakistan. “The first time I tried (pronounced bistro) was chosen to
Andouille sausage is made with that use chemical engineers weren’t Cajun barbecued shrimp it started a suggest French Louisiana. “It isn’t really
beans shipped from Louisiana, the hiring. He decided to stay in the love fest with Cajun food. I knew this strictly speaking French. It’s actually
restaurateur said. “People in Louisiana restaurant business. After working was a cuisine I wanted to feature,” he Cajun.” he acknowledged, adding that
are particular about ingredients. We for several chains and helping one said. he hopes people will come ready to
not only are careful to use the authentic get started in Atlanta before going He introduced Cajun menu items laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good
spices, but we order the beans that are nationwide, Delawalla decided it was over the years at both his restaurants times roll).
used in Louisiana.” time to go out on his own. before opening one with a full Cajun
CLASSIFIED DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 17

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SPORTS DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 18

Chamblee, Chapel Hill
claim 2017 county middle
school track titles
by Mark Brock time of 1:56.12 to finish first.
The Chapel Hill Panthers
New boys’ and girls’ champions overtook the Tucker Tigers in the
were crowned 2017 DeKalb County final race of the day to claim the
School District Middle School Track boys’ track title.
and Field Champions March 20 at Eighth graders Ka’Jaun
Godfrey Stadium. Williams, AnJuan Ross, Terrence
Chamblee girls and Chapel Reid and Mateen Smith did their
Hill boys took home the titles. The job in the 4x400 relay to close out
Chamblee Lady Bulldogs set meet the track meet by winning the event
records on the way to an 85-78 with a time of 3:43.18 to clinch the Chapel Hill won its first title since 2010 and third overall since 2008.
victory against Henderson to win school’s first track title since 2010
their fourth title in the past nine and third overall since 2008.
seasons. Tucker was leading the
Chamblee, leading 75-70 over championships 84-81 and the
Henderson, entered the final Panthers needed to score at least 14
race needing to win to stave off points with two teams in the 4x400
Henderson, which had two teams to win the title.
qualified for the 4x400 relay. The victory, combined with
The relay team of eighth Tucker’s sixth-place finish, gave
graders Kennedy Bates, Keahndra Chapel Hill a 93-87 advantage at the
McClendon and Divine Drayton end of the meet as their B relay team
and seventh grader Cydney Bowe added two points with its seventh-
grabbed the lead in the first 400 place finish.
meters and Bowe closed out the win A one-two finish in the long
for a time of 4:21.74 to clinch the jump played a big part in Chapel
title for Chamblee. Hill’s title victory as Smith took gold
Henderson’s teams came in with a leap of 19-06.50 feet and Reid
fourth and sixth to collect eight finished second with a jump of 19-
points to seal a second-place finish. 02.00 feet.
Bowe led Chamblee, setting Meet MVP Lorenzo Lee of
a meet record in the 200-meter Chapel Hill added a gold with a
dash with a time of 25.45. She also time of 11.76 to win the 100-meter
captured gold in the 100-meter dash.
dash with a time of 12.45. She was Tucker’s second-place finish was
also named the girls’ MVP as she fueled by double gold medal winner
was also a part of two gold-medal Amanuel Zawudie, who won the
winning relay teams. 800-meter (2:11.80) and 1600-meter
The other record to fall was (5:5.39) runs.
the 4x100 meter relay as Bates, The Tigers’ 1600-sprint medley
McClendon, Divine and Bowe team was the only group to break a
clocked a 49.90, which broke the 11- record in the boys’ meet as the team
year old record of 50.16 set in 2006 of Latavius Johnson, Jaylen Outler,
by Tucker. Joshua Morgan and Corey Cooper
Chamblee picked up a fifth gold ran a 3:59.45 to break the record of
medal as Janae Profit came up just 4:04.37 set in 2016 by Champion.
2.5 inches short of tying the meet Stephenson finished third overall
record in the shot put with a toss of in the standings with 51 points led
39 feet, 5.5 inches. by Bradely Favors’ gold medal in
Henderson’s second-place effort the 200-meter dash (23.57) and
included gold medals by Abigail the 4x100 relay team of Cordell
McHoul in the 1600-mter run Andrews, Ahmad Drummer,
(5:33.12) and Hayley Iverson in the Ronnie Baker and Favors, who won
long jump (16-04.50). the event with a time of 46.15.
Champion finished third with Chamblee was fourth in the
63 points behind gold medals by team standings with 41 points
Shani Simon in the 800-meter behind a gold medal by Anderson
run (2:28.17) and the 1600-sprint Crawford in the shot put (45-
medley team of Deyana Macon, 06.00).
Janiyah Alibey, Rhema Lake and Salem’s 800-sprint medley relay
Simon, which clocked a time of team of Jhamar Jakes, Quandarius
4:31.37 for the gold. Patrick, Dvonte Slaton and Mekye
Tucker was fourth overall in the Slaton ran a time of 1:43.41 to win
team standings with 41 points while the event to pace the team’s fifth-
taking home a pair of gold medals. place finish with 35 points.
Mallory Hodge won the 400-meter Miller Grove was sixth overall
dash (1:00.82), and the 800-sprint with 28 points keyed by Donsay
medley relay team of N’lasya Brown’s gold medal in the
Wright, Ashlyn Carthen, Destiny 400-meter dash (53.66).
Jones and Hodge put together a The Chamblee Lady Bulldogs won their fourth title in the past nine seasons.
SPORTS DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 19

Police, students to team up
in basketball tournament
“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids or partnered with or become a sponsor of the
by Carla Parker anyone else to make friends with police officers,” Gates tournament, including the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks said. “I think one of the things that DeKalb police will host competitions—a free throw challenge,
wants to do is cultivate the public’s trust and this is dribble relay and more—during the tournament,
To help bridge the gap between the community
a good opportunity to do so. It’s an opportunity for and give out prizes. Some of the Hawks’ alumni and
and law enforcement, a Tucker minister created a
the community, particularly young people, to interact cheerleaders will also be in attendance.
3-on-3 basketball tournament.
with police officers in a way that they don’t ordinarily Other sponsors and partners includes the city
Cliff Gates of Mountain West Church in Tucker
get to.” of Tucker, the DeKalb County Board of Education,
came up with the idea to host the tournament
Gates said students can register for the tournament Northlake Mall, the Tucker Chick-fil-A and more.
with DeKalb County Police Athletic League. The
in teams of three. However, when they get to the The tournament will begin at 8 a.m. and end at
tournament will take place April 29 at Tucker High
tournament a police officer will be raffled into a team, 4 p.m. The cost is $20 per three-man team to pre-
School. Gates said this is an opportunity for young
and player will be substituted in and out of the game. register. To register, visit www.tuckerhoopsummit.
people to develop a healthy relationship with police
Several businesses and organizations have com.


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North Hall 4, Marist 1
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Pace Academy 17, McNair 0 Norcross 10, Lakeside 2
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LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS Friday, March 31, 2017 • Page 20

Shallow Creek Kennels will partner with Doraville Police Department in providing and training two K9 officers as well as two handlers. Photos courtesy of Shallow Creek Kennels.

Doraville police get training, new canines
Penn.—will also include six week the proper drives and characteristics” in According to Doraville Police
by R. Scott Belzer training sessions for two Doraville the areas of tracking, area and building Department’s website, K9 units, known police officers. searches, criminal apprehension, as officers, aid in narcotics, marijuana
“This is a company we have used obedience as well as marijuana, and explosive detection in addition to
The Doraville Police Department several times before,” said Major Chuck cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine locating suspects, missing persons and
will be joined by two new canine (K9) Atkinson, who presented the item to detection. crime scene evidence.
units within the next few months council. “We’ve definitely been happy Doraville’s approved budget for 2017 In April 2016, Doraville K9 officer
following a city council-approved with what they have provided us in the states the police department will receive Tryko was fatally stabbed several times
contract worth $27,500 on March 20. line of canines as well as the training approximately $7.6 million, an increase by a fleeing suspect when a warrant was
In addition to the K9 units, the they’ve given to our officers.” of $1.6 million from 2016. The budget being served. Tryko’s bravery earned
contract—made with Shallow Creek According to the agreement, lists $34,700 for education and training him the Paw of Courage Award from
Kennels based out of Sharpsville, Shallow Creek Kennels will be as well as $269,100 available for general the American Kennel Club.
responsible for training K9s “possessing supplies and materials.

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