the DeKalb FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017 • VOL. 21, NO. 29 • 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

‘Many hands make light work’
mural receives
official welcome
in Clarkston Rhonda Briggins will receive
the 2017 Catalyst Award from
The National Coalition of 100
Black Women Inc. Metropolitan
Atlanta Chapter.

ocal artist Shannon
Willow and
resident to
Clarkston city
officials came
be honored
together Aug. 10 to unveil a
finished community mural by 100 Black
at 4154 E. Ponce de Leon
Ave. Women
Willow joined more than
100 Clarkston residents Local artist Shannon Willow officially unveiled a public mural at Christ Community AME Church on
May 20 to paint the Human Aug. 10, which was painted with help from more than 200 Clarkston residents. BY CARLA PARKER
Family Forest Mural at
Christ Community AME
Church and has been Rhonda Briggins
working on final touches has been named the
since. 2017 Catalyst Award
“This is a celebration recipient by The National
of community together Coalition of 100 Black
through art,” Willow said. Women Inc. Metropolitan
“This is about thanking Atlanta Chapter.
the community—I couldn’t Briggins will be
complete a piece like this presented the award
without their hands. Many at Unsung Heroine
hands make light work. It’s Award Gala Aug. 26.
beautiful when we come the Catalyst Award
together and plug into that is presented to an
emotional intelligence. individual who brings
When you create art as about a positive change
a community, everyone within the community,
gets to experience that joy according to the 100
collectively.” Black Women. Briggins,
According to Willow, the a DeKalb County
mural—consisting of six resident, said she has
trees—depicts five healthy multiple emotions about
pillars of a community. receiving the award.
These include spirituality, “I’m excited and
wellness, sustainability, humbled at the same
early learning and time to be recognized for
diversity. Each tree the work that [I’ve] been
is decorated with doing for a while in the
corresponding terminology. community,” she said.
City officials such as Mayor Ted Terry, city manager Keith Barker and council members Awet
Eyasu, Beverly Burks and Jamie Carroll joined Shannon Willow in unveiling the completed mural.
See Mural on page 5 Photos by R. Scott Belzer See Honored on page 5

Visit for local, real DeKalb County news. @DeKalbChampNews


A ‘tender’ moment
McDonald’s surprises DeKalb
firefighters with chicken tenders
as McDonald’s surprised Sutton said.
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN Sutton and his fire station Many DeKalb County with a free lunch Aug. 16. officials hailed Sutton as
The Greater Atlanta a hero, but Sutton said DeKalb County Firefighter Robert Sutton enjoys a meal provided by McDonald’s.
Almost overnight, McDonald’s Owners/ he was just doing his job.
DeKalb County firefighter Operators Association The April fire started at a
Robert Sutton became a provided more than 80 Glenwood Road apartment
local celebrity when video chicken sandwiches, complex in Decatur. Sutton
surfaced of him catching a chicken tenders and fries said when he saw columns
baby thrown from a burning to Firehouse No. 26 on of smoke pouring out of
building. McAfee Road in Decatur. the building he knew it
The video quickly went Sutton said he’s was going to be a working
viral and Sutton’s actions still getting used to his incident.
have appeared on multiple newfound fame. Sutton said when
media outlets including “I’m not used to all these firefighters arrived at a
Good Morning America. cameras or talking and particular unit, the screen
Media outlets weren’t the speaking in public. I’m not popped off a second-story
only organizations taking used to seeing myself on window to reveal a man
notice of Sutton’s actions [television]. When the video holding a baby in his arms.
went viral…it was a shock,” “I told him to drop the
The Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Owners/Operators Association provided chicken
See Tender on Page 24A sandwiches, chicken tenders and fries to Firehouse No. 26 on McAfee Road in

classes beginning Aug. 31.
The free-of-charge classes—which will
take place at Clarkston City Hall, located at
3921 Church St.—will cover such subjects

as domestic violence and stalking; traffic
safety; prevention of becoming a victim;
and child/teen safety.
Men’s club to hold meeting Classes will take place Aug. 31, Sept.
City to host yoga in the park event
28, Oct. 26 and Nov. 30. All classes are
The Avondale Estates Men’s Club will scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. The first 10 to Stone Mountain will host Yoga in the Park
hold its monthly meeting Aug. 30 at noon. arrive will receive a free gift. at Randolph Medlock Park on Sept. 9 from
The meeting will be held at American To register, contact Clarkston Police 9 to 10 a.m. For more information, contact
Legion Post 66, located at 30 Covington Department at (404) 292-9465 or police@ Sara Abrams at (704) 965-1800.
Highway. This month’s speaker will be
Alma Karamesic of LifeLine Animal
Project. Karamesic will give a presentation
on projects LifeLine is involved in in the
community. For more information, visit
Volunteers needed for 2017 Teen Maze
Volunteers and presenters are needed

BROOKHAVEN for the 2017 Teen Maze scheduled to take
place at 2771 Columbia Drive in Decatur
from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Nov. 4.
Police department to host 5K The Teen Maze relates such topics
as drugs, dating, sexting, bullying, peer
The Brookhaven Police Department pressure, social media, careers and
will host its “In the Hot Pursuit 5K and Tot education to teenagers by creating a 12-
Trot” Sept. 9. The race starts and ends on room maze. Each room has a theme for
Apple Valley Drive with parking in the rear participants to navigate.
lot of the Brookhaven MARTA station at “The goal of the Teen Maze is to create
3360 Peachtree Road. Entry fee is $30 per an environment in which teenagers
runner for those registered by Aug. 31; $35 are exposed to engaging and thought–
for those registered afterwards and on race Wylde Center to host plant sale provoking situations,” event organizers
day. All proceeds will fund the Brookhaven from DeKalb Initiative for Children &
Police “Shop-With-A-Badge” program. For The Wylde Center’s Oakhurst Garden— Families (DICF) state. “It is hoped that
more information, visit www.hotpursuit5k. located at 435 Oakview Road—is by experiencing the Teen Maze, DeKalb scheduled to hosts its annual fall plant sale County youth will increase their chances of
beginning Sept. 2 through Oct. 14. by success by reducing risky behaviors.”
Plants available will include varieties of For more information, contact DICF
lettuce, Asian greens, arugula, Swiss chard executive director Lisa Tiller at (404) 298-
and other season edible plants, according 4090 or
CLARKSTON to event officials. All vegetables available
have been propagated by Wylde Center’s
horticulture staff, local growers and partner
“Our plant sale coordinator and our
volunteers have spent hundreds of
hours sowing seeds in the greenhouse
and potting up plants for the sale,” said
Stephanie Van Parys, executive director
of the Wylde Center. “We only offer plants
that we know will grow well in the fall,
and each plant is well-labeled. Because
the Wylde Center’s mission is to inspire
communities of environmental stewards,
we encourage all gardeners to stop by the
ongoing sale.”
Proceeds from the sale will benefit
Police department to offer community educational offerings by the Wylde Center
classes and support its five public greenspaces in
metro Atlanta.
Clarkston Police Department is For more information, visit www.
scheduled to host a series of community


DCSD renews $2.4 million DeKalb rep speaks
landscaping contract on Charlottesville
BY R. SCOTT BELZER Calls for reopening of Extremism & Radicalization Branch of Homeland Security
DeKalb County School
District (DCSD) renewed BY R. SCOTT BELZER
a $2.4 million contract
for outsourced lawn and
landscaping services on Aug.
7. United States Rep.
Yellowstone Landscape— Hank Johnson—who
based in Bunnell, Fla., represents Georgia’s 4th
with offices in Lilburn—will congressional district,
continue to provide lawn made up of parts of
care and landscape services DeKalb, Gwinnett, Newton
to DCSD’s 138 facilities and Rockdale counties—
following a year’s worth of DeKalb County School District board DeKalb County School District Director called for action against
“excellent service,” according of education member Joyce Morley of Planning Dan Drake said services homegrown extremism
said she has heard from constituents supplied by Yellowstone Landscape Aug. 15 via social media in
to DCSD’s extension officer and is in possession of photographs have positively changed public
and school personnel. proving Yellowstone Landscape’s perceptions of district facilities. Photo response to recent events
“We are very honored services may be inadequate. Photo submitted. in Charlottesville, Va. Georgia 4th Congressional District
submitted. Violence erupted in Rep. Hank Johnson called for
to see the services from a reopening of a branch at the
Yellowstone Landscaping, Charlottesville during a Department of Homeland Security
where our yards are now schools and has positively DCSD’s number of auxiliary “Unite the Right” protest following a weekend filled with
held Aug. 11 and 12, which violence in Charlottesville, Va. Photo
professionally manicured,” impacted community workers has gone from 328 submitted.
said Kyia Clark, principal at perception of our schools.” to 85. sought to oppose the
Stone Mill Elementary. “From Drake said Yellowstone Hampton also said the removal of a Confederate
the front doors to the curb Landscape provides turf money could be used to monument in the city. The investigation of the groups
appeal, it is very evident that maintenance, weeding, provide adequate salaries event—led by various and individuals responsible
we love DeKalb. Our parents shrub and bedding, tree districtwide. White supremacists, for causing the violence in
and constituents can see trimming, retention pond Board of education White nationalists, neo- Charlottesville.”
that we care.” maintenance, leaf removal, member Joyce Morley said Confederates and neo- Johnson called upon
Yellowstone Landscape’s fertilization, pest removal, the district may not hear Nazis—caused bouts of Trump to reopen the
services were originally over seeding, playground such positive reinforcement violence throughout the Extremism & Radicalization
approved in August 2016. maintenance and pesticide. about Yellowstone two-day period, eventually Branch of the Department
The company’s contract is During the growing Landscape’s contract resulting in the deaths of of Homeland Security.
scheduled to be considered season—April to when consulting officials Heather Heyer as well The branch—founded
for extension on an annual November—Yellowstone at Stoneview Elementary, as Virginia State Police in 2004 and shut down
basis until 2020. Landscape visits DCSD Panola Way Elementary or officers Jay Cullen and in 2009—issued a 2009
DCSD Director of facilities every two weeks. Bethune Middle schools. Berke Bates. report detailing potential
Planning Dan Drake On the off season— “[There are] dead trees “The hate and extremism associated with
presented the item to the December to March— and limbs falling in there or violence perpetrated by right-wing politics shortly
board of education on Aug. workers visit schools once paper all over the place,” white supremacists in before it was disbanded,
7 on behalf of DCSD chief per month. Morley said. “Based on what Charlottesville [Aug. 11 according to reports from
operations officer Joshua Since March 2017, DCSD I saw, and I have pictures to and Aug. 12] is in part a The Washington Post at
Williams. custodial, transportation, prove it, they have not done product of political rhetoric the time.
Drake said the contract technicians, carpenters and a great job. Unless they are that appealed to it, and Johson called for the
will allow DCSD custodial landscapers—classified as picking and choosing where its emergence is a step branch’s reopening as
staff to continue focusing on “auxiliary” by the district— they want to make it look backward,” Johnson said. well as an “order [for]
interior school maintenance. have voiced opposition good, I’m not buying into it.” “President [Donald Trump] that agency to issue an
“As a reminder, no to DCSD’s choice to hire Board member Vicki must use the power of updated report detailing
district employees lost outside laborers. Turner said she also heard his office to confront and what must be done to
a job as a result of this One worker, Robert from constituents about defeat the forces of racist, deter, prevent, preempt
new landscaping and Hampton, said the money facilities not looking well right-wing extremism that and respond to the rise
lawn maintenance service being spent on outside kept. threaten that domestic of domestic right-wing
initiative,” Drake said. “Over contractors—Yellowstone DCSD unanimously tranquility, and order extremism in America.”
the course of this past year, Landscaping included— approved renewing Attorney General Jeff To read Johnson’s
this lawn maintenance should be spent on rehiring Yellowstone Landscape’s Sessions to immediately statement in its entirety,
initiative has transformed workers who have steadily contract, which went into commence a Justice visit
the curb appeal at our local been laid off. Since 2008, effect Aug. 19. Department criminal RepHankJohnson.

More than 50 residents joined Clarkston city officials and local artist Shannon Willow in unveiling a finished community mural near Refuge Coffee on Aug. 10. Photo by R.
Scott Belzer

MURAL Continued From Page 1
Willow, who has completed five other resonate with her the most include “Love,” with councilmen Awet Eyasu, Jamie Caroll
murals in Clarkston, said the trees were “Friendship,” ‘Diversity,” “Joy,” “Empathy,” as well as councilwoman Beverly Burks
sponsored by appropriate Clarkston “Consciousness,” and “Sustainability.” She and city manager Keith Barker.
businesses and agencies. For example, the said it’s important for residents to remember “It’s great that the city can support
sustainability tree is sponsored by Habitat their commonalities when other barriers public art projects like this that are making
for Humanity, a local chiropractor business, seem insurmountable. a difference in our community,” Terry said.
Injury to Wellness, sponsored the wellness “Tell all your friends and family to come “We know in certain census blocks where
tree and Clarkston Development Foundation read the words—they are meant to be public art and public art initiatives are taken,
sponsored the early learning and diversity read,” Willow said. “They were written with [observers] can see a downward trend in the
trees. community—I engaged over 200 people for crime rate. Engagement goes up and people
She said the spirituality tree represents this mural. It shows we care about what the take ownership of the places they live. That’s
the wall on which the mural is painted: Christ community is saying about what it wants in a very important to us here in Clarkston.”
Community AME Church. mural.”
Willow said the words on the mural that Mayor Ted Terry attended the unveiling

HONORED Continued From Page 1
The National Coalition of 100 affairs and community relations awareness to social action and Speaker David Ralston to the
Black Women Inc. Metropolitan activities regarding matters on politics through voter registration House Commission on Transit
Atlanta Chapter event co-chair federal, state and local levels. drives. Governance and Funding.
Lila Vaughn said the chapter is She said her work at MARTA “We do tons of different Briggins said everyone has
delighted to recognize Briggins ties into giving back to the things in the community and I’ve a moral and social responsibility
and other women. community. been working and serving in that when it comes to their
“Ms. Briggins has a “Being senior director of capacity for a number of years,” community.
tremendous track record external affairs, [I’m] serving as she said. “That moral responsibility
of influencing change in a liaison for our customers and Briggins also serves on doesn’t change just because you
communities across the Atlanta the community,” she said. “[I’m] many boards including the have a job,” she said. “So, we
metro area and serving as a working with them to make sure Georgia Transit Association have to use that understanding
catalyst for positive change,” they are delivered a service they and the Conference of Minority in everything that we do,
Vaughn said. can utilize, and have mobility Transportation Officials. She from our employment to the
Briggins, who has worked and accessibility in their lives.” currently serves as president for community. At the end of the day
at MARTA for 13 years, is the She also volunteers with each board. She is also on the we all have to make it better for
senior director of external affairs many organizations, including DeKalb Workforce Development the next generation.”
for the transit system. She her sorority Delta Sigma Theta board and she was recently
manages MARTA’s government where she has worked to bring appointed by Georgia House

The changing tides of life
Having just celebrated a of the grains of sand that have allow special people to enter
milestone birthday, I’ve reflected taken a permanent place in your life. Special people bring
a great deal on life in general the landscape of life. These love, insight, power, knowledge
but more so on the things in life friendships are invaluable and and pleasure. Love, laughter and
that are the most meaningful. are to be treasured. friendship are truly the best gifts
I’ve come to the realization that John Hewitt Lifelong friends are the ones anyone can bestow on another.
meaningful, sincere, personal who you know you can count As we continue our journey
relationships are more important on for anything. You know if you of life, through the many trials
than any material possessions have a problem, even though and tribulations that face us,
one may acquire. Other than seem to wash into and out of our it may seem trivial to the other know that if we have meaningful
my wife and my dogs, who lives, continuously reshaping our person, they will be there for personal relationships, we are
mean more to me than anything lives much as the continuous you—to lend an ear, to give better equipped to conquer the
in life, my friends are a close reshaping of the seashore advice or just to offer a different ills that life often presents and
second and are among the most occurs. Occasionally, a grain of perspective on the issue. You we most likely can overcome
treasured of possessions. sand will become lodged in the know that no matter what hour any obstacle encountered.
I often equate aspects of landscape of life, some for a of the day or night, if you need I encourage each of you to
life and the world in general to relatively brief period, some for them, they will be there for you share your love and your life
grains of sand that collectively an extended period and some and vice-versa. with others; the rewards will
shape the surface of the Earth become permanently embedded, Those who build emotional be reaped a thousand times in
and our world as we know it. thus creating the beginning of walls that are difficult to return.
Friends are much like grains the next phase in the seashore penetrate may be inadvertently
of sand along the seashore of of life’s experiences. blocking others who care for *An earlier version of this
life. With the changing tides of Typically, there are just a few them and want the best for them. published in August of 2013
life, friends and acquaintances friends who fall into the category I encourage you to open up and

Subscribe to The Champion Newspaper
To subscribe, visit or call 404-373-7779

Hooray for Hollywood
With apologies to friends dollar to wealthy Georgians Few industries are growing
in Hollywood, Fla., as well as
the Hard Rock Resort and
‘One Man’s with significant tax liabilities,
or bundled and sold as a tax
at such a rapid clip in the state’s
diverse economy, and virtually
Casino there. “Hollywood” is a Opinion’ shelter to larger groups of none bring a like amount of
place (Los Angeles), a mind- smaller taxpayers. fame, acclaim and typically
set (creativity, artistry, La-la Bill Crane If you are producing a $100 non-polluting enterprises, with
land) and an industry (nearing million blockbuster movie in comparatively minimal drain on
America’s largest single export). Georgia, during that same year, area natural resources. 
And according to no less an even prior to the film’s opening, Most any way you slice
industry authority than Film L.A. members. It has been gaining you can slap on the Peach, and it, the bang for these boom
Inc., the Peach State is now roughly 200 new dues-paying reap a harvest of as much as microphones and production
the number one filming location members per quarter, with 4,000 nearly 30 percent of your hard cranes have a much quicker
in the world. According to the current members, making it the dollar investment back. Not a payback on investment, and
most recent data available, the fourth-largest studio mechanic bad return. this explosion is among the
film industry generated $9.5 local in the country. And the industry is drawing many reasons that Georgia tax
billion in economic impact during And the primary difference not only big names with big coffers are also experiencing
fiscal year 2017 in Georgia, between previous film spurts by ideas and bigger games, some glowing returns. That’s
including $2.7 billion in direct Burt Reynolds and others in such as Tyler Perry Studios in entertainment! Or at the very
spending. That is an increase of Georgia filming before is that the Fayetteville and Fort McPherson least, a wry smile and cheer
more than 25 percent over the industry is putting down roots or Dan Cathy’s Pinewood of Hooray for Hollywood.
prior fiscal year and a nearly 33 and building studios as well as a Atlanta Studios, now on 700
percent hike in direct spending skilled work force. acres and the second-largest Bill Crane also serves as
compared to the prior year. According to the Motion film studio in the country, but a political analyst and com-
Hollywood South is no longer Picture Association of America one-time production tenants mentator for Channel 2’s Action
just a bumper sticker. Florida (MPAA) there are 28,656 are now becoming longtime News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750
and North Carolina may still Georgians now employed in owners. AMC, the cable channel and now 95.5 FM, as well as a
hold sway in the industry, but film and television production, that produces the long-time TV columnist for The Champion,
the flow of productions there is and 12,518 more working in a series The Walking Dead, just DeKalb Free Press and Georgia
much more like vacation rental production-related field. purchased Riverwood Studios in Trend. Crane is a DeKalb na-
property with high seasons, low The original underlying Senoia where the show is filmed. tive and business owner, living
seasons and dead seasons.  Georgia Film Tax Credit law Now entering its eighth season, in Scottdale. You can reach him
During the past calendar went on the books in 2005, it TWD may not have much life or comment on a column at bill.
year there were 320 film and was expanded in 2008 and in left, but AMC is here to stay.
television productions completed 2017, Gov. Nathan Deal signed
across Georgia, ranging from two bills extending these credits
the AMC perennial ratings- to the post-production and video
favorite, The Walking Dead, gaming industries. The state
to Marvel Studios’ Spiderman- projects that roughly $957 million
Homecoming. in tax revenues have been
And though many a Georgian abated by the program, versus
is still likely to mock the left billions in direct and indirect
coast or the politics of the economic impact and thousands
entertainment industry, actors, of full and part-time artists and
producers and directors alike, craftsman employed. 
in industry trade publications The costs of an entire film
and elsewhere are praising production can be written down
Georgia, the realities of southern to up to 20 percent in Georgia
hospitality and the new-found income tax credits, with an
rarity of communities routinely additional 10 percent credit for
excited about becoming a including a blazing Georgia
location production site. Even Peach logo in the film credits. As
jobs you might not expect are many production companies
growing in this right-to-work don’t call Georgia home and
state. Georgia’s film industry have little tax consequence
union is IATSE Local 479. During here, those film credits may
2006-2007, the shop had 400 be sold for 60-95 cents on the

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 DEKALB FREE PRESS encourages opinions from Production Manager: Horace Holloman expressly to provide a forum for
The DeKalb Free Press, discourse for all community residents
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Gubernatorial candidate wants Confederate carving removed from Stone Mountain
BY CARLA PARKER C. Helen Plane, a charter member
of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). The Venable
In the wake of the White family, owners of the mountain,
supremacists rally in Charlottesville, deeded the north face of the
Va., that led to three deaths, a mountain to the UDC in 1916. The
Democratic gubernatorial candidate UDC was given 12 years to complete
is calling for the Confederate carving a large Civil War monument.
to be removed from Stone Mountain Gutzon Borglum was
in Stone Mountain Park. commissioned to do the carving, but
In a series of tweets, Stacey abandoned the project in 1925 and
Abrams said on Twitter that the went on to begin Mount Rushmore.
carving of Confederate leaders on American sculptor Augustus
the mountain is a “blight on our state Lukeman continued the project until
and should be removed.” 1928, when further work stopped
“The removal of the [carving] of for thirty years. In 1958, at the
Confederates from Stone Mountain urging of Governor Marvin Griffin,
has been a constant debate since the the Georgia Legislature approved
state bought the property in 1958,” a measure to purchase Stone
she said. “Paid for by founders of Mountain for $1,125,000.
the [second] [Klu Klux Klan], the In 1963, Walker Hancock was
monument has no purpose other
Democratic governor candidate Stacey Abrams is calling for the Confederate carving to be removed selected to complete the carving, and
from Stone Mountain. Photo by Carla Parker
than celebration of racism, terror work began in 1964. The carving was
and division when carved in 1915. completed by Roy Faulkner. The
Champion, Abrams said she wrote triumphantly and it sends the wrong carving was considered complete on
Confederate monuments belong in these tweets after she was asked message.”
museums where we can study and March 3, 1972.
where she stood on the issue of The carving on the mountain For years, civil rights leaders and
reflect on that terrible history, not in Confederate memorials. portrays three Confederate leaders
places of honor across our state.” activists have petitioned the state to
“We cannot celebrate, on state of the Civil War: President Jefferson have the carving and Confederate
Abrams acknowledged the grounds, the confederacy,” she Davis and Generals Robert E.
managers of Stone Mountain Park flags removed from the park, which
said. “The massive size [of Stone Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” was the site of Ku Klux Klan rallies
and their efforts to educate visitors Mountain] is much louder than any Jackson and their favorite horses,
about slavery through an audio tour in the 1960s. In 2015, thousands
degree of exhibits. You can see “Blackjack,” “Traveller” and “Little of people signed a petition to have
in her tweets. Stone Mountain from everywhere. Sorrel.”
In an interview with The You can see those leaders riding The carving was conceived by See Confederate on Page 15A


Decatur mayor, commissioners increase salary
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN the increase. “We ask a lot of our
elected officials and we
demand a lot of you
When Decatur and it’s only fair that the
commissioners decided compensation in Decatur be
to increase the mayor’s increased,” Floyd said. “The
salary in 1994, then Decatur last time we did this was in
Mayor Elizabeth Wilson 1994. We raised [the annual
made $50 a month. The salary] 10 times from $50 a
commission decided to month to $500 a month.”
raise the salary to $500, an Floyd said a low
increase of 900 percent. salary for the mayor and
Approximately 23 years commissioner would
later, the Decatur City “penalize” them.
Commission decided it was “Sometimes it’s hard
time to raise the salary to vote on a pay increase
again. for yourself and the last
In a 4-0 vote Aug. 7 time we did this Elizabeth
during a regular meeting Wilson was mayor getting
of the city commission, $50 a month. That was not
commissioners and Mayor Decatur City Commissioners and Mayor Patti Garrett voted to approve a pay increase to take effect January of 2018. appropriate,” Floyd said. “I
Patti Garrett approved a encourage you to support [a
resolution to increase the pay increase].”
mayor’s salary from $500 other municipal elected of 10,” Meriss wrote in a mayor of Decatur would Currently, four cities in
per month to $1,250 per officials’ salaries in DeKalb memo. “Given the 23 years rank fifth among 11 DeKalb DeKalb County have city
month ($15,000 annually) County. since the compensation County mayors. According council members who make
and $1,000 per month “The information has been changed and to a list of salaries compiled more than $10,000 annually
($12,000 annually) for city indicates that the current the increased demands on by the Decatur city (Tucker, Brookhaven,
commissioners effective salary for the mayor is 10 the positions, an increase manager, Tucker’s mayor Dunwoody and Chamblee).
Jan. 1, 2018. out of 11, only higher than in compensation...seems ranks first with an annual After the pay increase,
According to Decatur Pine Lake. The current reasonable.” salary of $20,000. Decatur will become the fifth
City Manager Peggy salary for the other city Once the salary Former Decatur Mayor at $12,000 annually for city
Meriss, the city analyzed commissioners is sixth out increases take effect, the Bill Floyd spoke in favor of council members.


Amos King, president of Justice for Veterans, said he wants to help veterans suffering from mental health issues.

Shooting death raises questions about veterans’ mental health
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN Administration concluded
that half of returning veterans who need mental health
treatment will not receive the
A DeKalb County support services they need.
group established to protect “There are a lot of
the interests of veterans are challenges and one of the
searching for answers after signature issues we’re
a man was shot and killed by seeing from our post-Sept.
DeKalb County police. 11 veterans is that they
Amos King, president are returning with invisible
of Justice for Veterans, said wounds like PTSD,” Blair
he was saddened by the said. “But it’s not just that,
news of Quintas Harris—a a lot of our veterans are
DeKalb County man killed returning with depression,
Aug. 3 after he allegedly shot anxiety and substance abuse
at police during what some as well.”
said was a mental health Blair said at times
breakdown. the recourse after you start an unloaded 9mm firearm by police DeKalb County veterans can be reluctant to
Harris, 27, reportedly shooting? We hear from with three rounds and a Police officer after officers seek help because there’s
suffered from mental health veterans all the time that are magazine in a backpack,” an responded to a call of a a stigma associated with
issues ranging from post- suffering from mental health affidavit for Harris stated. naked man acting erratically mental health issues. Nearly
traumatic stress disorder [issues],” King said. “I want The following year outside of an apartment 20 veterans a day die by
(PTSD), bipolar disorder and to help prevent situations like Harris was charged with complex. Hill, a veteran who suicide, she said.
schizophrenia. this. There’s such a backlog aggravated stalking, family was unarmed, was shot “Fourteen out of those
According to reports, of veterans waiting to receive violence battery and criminal by former DeKalb Officer 20 veterans aren’t receiving
the incident occurred at the help.” trespassing when he kicked Robert Olsen. Hill’s family any care from the [U.S.
Maple Walk Apartments in The Aug. 3 incident in the door of his child’s said he suffered from mental Department of Veterans
Decatur when Harris fired his wasn’t Harris’ first run-in with mother, punched her in health issues. Affairs]. Mental health issues
weapon at two men before law enforcement. According the face and bit her finger, “Both men were young,” is not a sign of weakness,
police arrived. Once DeKalb to documents obtained by according to an affidavit. King said. “These are young it’s a normal response when
police were on the scene, The Champion through an “It’s just sad when you guys, young people gone too experiencing trauma,” Blair
Harris fired at officers and open records request, Harris hear things like this. These soon.” said.
four DeKalb officers returned was charged in October veterans need our help,” In an interview with The NAMI is doing all it can
fire according to a Georgia 2013 for obstruction of an Amos said. “This is a big Champion, Emily Blair, to help veterans by working
Bureau of Investigation officer, marijuana possession concern because too many manager of military and with Congress and the VA
report. with intent to distribute and of them are dying young.” veterans policy for the hospital. Blair said NAMI
Harris died of gunfire possession of a firearm In 2014, Harris was found National Alliance of Mental also established a program
while DeKalb officer R. during a felony. incompetent to stand trial Illness (NAMI), said veterans initiative called NAMI
Mason was shot in the hand. According to police, because he “was unable of war after the Sept. 11 Homefront. The program is a
The GBI said the incident is Harris was selling drugs to demonstrate functional terrorist attacks are suffering free, six-session educational
currently under investigation. at a local Foodmart while capacity with respect to legal from mental illness at a high program for families,
Harris’ family told the carrying a baby. When proceedings...he could not rate. caregivers and friends of
Atlanta Journal Constitution officers began questioning exhibit an understanding According to Military military service members
he struggled to accept help him, Harris swung at officers. of the nature and object Health Policy Research, and vets with mental health
for his mental health issues “One officer was punched of the proceeding against 20 percent of veterans conditions.
after being discharged from in the face, one officer was him,” according to court who served in either Iraq Blair said the program is
the Navy and was off his bruised on the hand and documents. or Afghanistan suffer from offered in 29 states, including
medication the time of the another officer was involved King said Harris’ situation either depression or PTSD. Georgia.  According to
incident. in the altercation. On [Harris], is similar to that of Anthony A study conducted by the NAMI’s Education/Programs
“[The police] knew he there were 14 individual Hill, a DeKalb County man Substance Abuse and
had a problem, but what’s packages of marijuana, who was shot and killed Mental Health Services
See Veteran on Page 24A


Evidence of DeKalb commissioner sexual harassment ‘irrefutable’
comments verbally and via to “public interests.” Wright,
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN text messages. who worked for former Some of those messag- DeKalb County Commis-
es include Adams making sioner Sharon Barnes-Sut-
repeated requests to see ton, is seeking $750,000
photos of Wright in a bikini, from the county to settle out
“She knows according to the complaint.
Wright also claims Ad-
of court.
Wright claims she also
what her big ams sent her a text mes-
sage while away on an
feared for her job when Ad-
ams allegedly sent a mes-
out-of-town trip at 3:29 a.m. sage to her stating, “it’s ei-
daddy likes.” requesting to come to her
ther ride or die or goodbye.”
Adams denied the al-
“It’s inappropriate and legations, stating they are
Those are the alleged wrong. I have three daugh- a ploy for Wright to finance
words DeKalb County Com- ters, a wife, a mother and a a future in politics. Wright is
missioner Gregory Ad- sister in corporate America. currently running for Atlanta
ams told another DeKalb As far as I’m concerned, City Council District 9.
official while referring to [the evidence] is irrefutable “She’s a liar and there’s
his district director, Ashlee and that’s what we’re deal- two sides to every story.
Wright.   ing with,” James said. There’s no sexual harass-
 In an interview with The
Champion, Wright’s attor-
ney, former DeKalb County
District Attorney Robert
James, said his client has
text messages and audio
proof of Adams’ alleged
‘I’m a man of God
sexual harassment.
“It’s important to note this
is not he said she said…
and I serve him as Gregory Adams speaks at the Hidden Figures of DeKalb award ceremony meant
to honor women and their hard work in the community.

a preacher.’
there’s audiotape conversa-
tions and text messages, so
this is not a situation where Ministries. Adams said his wife is in
we’re putting credibility In regards to the text his presence “90 percent of
against credibility,” James messages and “big daddy” the time.” He also claimed
said. “I don’t believe that comment, Adams said they Wright never notified any
any person or any woman were taken out of context. other DeKalb officials about
should have to endure sex- James said the county ment on my part. She may “I used that expression alleged misconduct in the
ual advances at work.” was notified of Wright’s have desired me, and jokingly and said that all of office.
Wright is currently on complaint in June and maybe I was naive to that my stuff was taken care of. When asked if Wright
paid administrative leave. launched an investigation. fact, but I never came on to It was humorous. The case ever mentioned to him that
She filed the claim through James’ law firm, Morriss, her,” Adams said. “I have at hand is one that is fabri- his behavior was inappropri-
her attorneys with the coun- Shim & James, stated they no reason to lie or fabricate cated,” Adams said. “Any- ate, he responded by say-
ty and with the U.S. Equal had no response from the anything.” thing can be doctored. You ing, “Never. Never. Never.”
Employment Opportunity county and decided to make Adams was elected last can take a text message “I’m a man of God and
Commission in June, alleg- the complaint public. December to serve as com- out of context and make it I serve him as a preacher.
ing that, during the course  James said it is im- missioner for District 7. He sound bad or take a voice There’s an underlying agen-
of her tenure in Adams’ of- portant to make the public is also a bishop at Restora- recording…but you need to da here and someone got
fice, he made inappropriate aware of the allegations due tion in Christ International get [the full context].” into her ear,” Adams said.

*For new subscriptions only



DeKalb firefighters busiest in nation

Some DeKalb County
officials say the DeKalb
County Fire and Rescue
Department has some of the
hardest working fire fighters
in the country, and now
there’s proof.
Two DeKalb fire trucks
ranked in the top 20 for
number of calls run in 2016
according to Firehouse
News. The firefighter-
based magazine compiled
statistics provided by fire
departments around the
United States. Engine 7
in DeKalb County ranked
No. 19 for busiest engine,
running a total of 5,178 calls
in the year.
Fire engine Quint 24
ranked third busiest for
ladder trucks, running 5,551
calls last year just behind
ladder trucks in Denver, Co., Two DeKalb County fire trucks ranked among the top busiest in the country The DeKalb County Fire and Rescue Department responded to 83,601 calls last
and New York, NY.   based on a survey from FireHouse News year, making it the 41st busiest fire department based on a survey taken by
FireHouse News.  
DeKalb County Fire and
Rescue Department Chief
Darnell Fullum said the Firehouse News national place is the right answer. the community to know the This is a subject near and
high number of calls is a survey. Of the 83,601 calls [Thurmond] understands the DeKalb County Fire and dear to me. Even if I have
testament to how hard his run by the fire department importance of public safety Rescue Department is here to come and speak at the
firefighters work, but also a last year, 19,834 were fire and he’s made it a priority,” to help. meetings myself, we want
cause for concern. calls. Fullum said. “Whatever we can do to help,” Fullum said.
“As fire chief, it’s my goal “While we do go out and Fullum said he wants to help educate the public.
to reduce the number of do a lot, we really would
calls and we have to do that like to do more,” Burrell
with aggressive community said. “Whether it’s a civic
reduction programs...we association or schools, we
want to educate the public want to be a part of your FREE CUSTOMER FREE FAMILY REUNION
to prevent those fires and events. Our fire chief is
injuries and accidents proactive about going out SERVICE TRAINING PLANNING WORKSHOP
occurring,” Fullum said. and speaking with people
“Educating the public is on what we do and the fire Wednesday, Sept. 13th Saturday, Sept. 16th
one of the leading ways to station is open to that. The 9:00 a.m. to Noon Workshop - 10 a.m. to Noon
reduce those calls.” doors to the fire station are Showcase - Noon to 2 p.m.
open year-round.” Discover DeKalb Conference Room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Northlake
Fullum said he’s proud 1957 Lakeside Parkway, Suite 510 4156 LaVista Road
of his firefighters working DeKalb County CEO
Michael Thurmond Tucker, GA 30084 Tucker, GA 30084
at a high level despite the
number of calls responded said an increase in pay
to. According to Tom for the county’s public
Burrell with the DeKalb safety officials is a top
Professional Firefighters priority. DeKalb County
Local 1492, DeKalb commissioners passed
firefighters respond to Thurmond’s proposed
approximately 245 calls per budget this year, which
day. will include approximately
“DeKalb County is $4.6 million in pay raises
ahead of places like county wide for experienced
Houston, Texas and Miami firefighters, police and 911
Dade, Florida,” Burrell employees. Register Now!
said. “A lot of people don’t “I’m sure [DeKalb Discover DeKalb Workshops and Classes
recognize how busy the fire residents] recognize the are free, but pre-registration is required by
department really is.” effort that these men and calling 770-492-5000. Visit us at
In 2016, DeKalb County’s women put into their jobs
fire department ran 83,601 and skills and ability play
calls—making it the 41st into that. Following the
busiest fire department in CEO’s recommendation of #DISCOVERDEKALB
the nation based off the having a strategic plan in


SWD debuts new ‘old gold’ jerseys

The past and present partnering with Bush and
came together Aug. 18 Prime Time Barbershop is a
when the Southwest way to connect the players
DeKalb High School football with the community.
team debuted its new gold “I think when a lot of
jerseys against Redan. people saw us doing some
The jerseys are replicas other stuff in the community
of the old gold jerseys that such as the car washes,
the Panthers football teams the youth camps and
wore in the late 1980s and everything, I think people
90s, but with the tight fit wanted to be a part of that,”
of today’s football jerseys. Wimes said. “For Rick, that
Coach Damien Wimes, a was a real sacrifice to do
1991 graduate who played that and in return we want
football at Southwest to make sure that we let
DeKalb, said one his first people know that he did that
tasks when he was hired for us because people need
as the new head coach in to support his businesses.
February was to bring back He supported us, so
the old golds. people need to support his
“It was important that businesses.”
we got a custom-made The jerseys all so
jersey,” he said. “I wanted includes a Panther logo
to recreate the gold jerseys. on each shoulder blade.
That was a big thing in Wimes said that was
Southwest’s history, and something new that they
a really big thing to coach wanted to add.
[Buck] Godfrey when I was “I didn’t know how it
playing there.” would look at first,” he said.
Wimes said he wanted “When I saw the prototype
the same company, Bob’s of it I thought that was a Southwest DeKalb football team wore all gold uniforms in the late 80s and 90s.
Athletics in Moultrie, Ga., way to make [the jersey]
that made the old jerseys better.”

to make the new ones The team is also going
because they could match back to wearing all black
the same color. Once they Nike cleats with white
were made, they were paid socks, another old tradition.
by Rick Bush of Prime
Time Barbershop. Bush,
and his wife Kenyatta—who
Wimes said he has gotten
positive responses from a
few former players about Mammography
are both 1993 graduates
of Southwest DeKalb—
requested to be sponsors
and pay for the jerseys,
the jerseys.
“[The old players] loved
it. It was big,” he said. “I
think people just like the
3242 Avalon Blvd.,
which cost nearly $8,000. effort we are showing to not
Bush said this is he and only recreate some things Conyers GA 30013
his wife first year doing from the past, but also

Now offering
sponsorship with the school. pressing forward to bring
“We just wanted to give the community together.
back because we both went They loved it.”
to Southwest DeKalb, and
with the business doing
“It brings back
memories,” Bush, who did Saturday appointments
9 am-1 pm
well I figured that was the not play football, said. “The
best way to give back to the old gold uniforms are like
kids,” he said. “It was an old times.”
honor for me to do it. I thank
God we’re in this position to
give back, and we will keep
giving back.”
In need of a car?
Schedule your appointment today!
Wimes and the team
presented the Bushes a
Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Jaguar
Call Vincent:
jersey with the number
93, which represents their
graduating class. He said Special Financing Available “Our Passion Runs PINK!”


Three generations of Decatur women observed the eclipse along Col-
lege Avenue in Decatur on Aug. 21. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Mochi Kallenberg grand dog of Bonnie and Parke Kallenberg of Avondale Estates being fitted for her
eclipse viewing glasses.

Three Taverns Brewery in Decatur hosted an eclipse watching event
where patrons could enjoy a beverage while watching the cosmic
phenomenon. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Henderson Mill Elementary welcomed WSB-TV meteorologist Katie Walls on Aug. 17 to prepare students Officers from the Dunwoody Police Department took part in a health
for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. Photo submitted. fair at Dunwoody Pines Retirement Home, located at 4355 Georgetown
Square. 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

KIRKWOOD Alleah and Ayana Salone founded Mother’s Legacy and the The Hometown Country
Cookout in 2010 when they were 16 and 13, respectively. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

BY R. SCOTT BELZER pillar of her community,” to in older times,” Ayana
Hometown Country Cookout honors
Kirkwood community, residents
members who have made grandmothers, caretakers,
Alleah said. “She gave back said. “Then we started to a positive impact. In 2015, providers, motivators, in multiple ways, whether celebrate people.” Mother’s Legacy honored spiritual leaders and
According to East Atlanta it was through church or a Alleah and Ayana say longtime residents Thelma inspirational women.”
natives Alleah and Ayana community organization.’ the cookout is a chance Faverand, Carrie Cook
Salone, leaving a legacy Alleah and Ayana to recognize past, present and Gussie Mae Lowe for
is about impacting your decided to follow in their and future community being “legendary mothers, See Tradition on Page 13A
community one small act of grandmother’s footsteps
kindness at a time. and become active
“Legacy is community members in
Kirkwood. The result is
generational—the food
you eat has a recipe that Mother’s Legacy. New Patient Special

has been brought down Every other year,
generation by generation
and it still tastes wonderful,”
Mother’s Legacy hosts
the Hometown Country We’re open. $
Ayana said. “That’s legacy. Cookout—a celebration
We provide thoughtful, modern
When you’re put on this of community through
food, fellowship and
dental care. Call for an appointment today. Cleaning, Exam
Earth, you have a legacy to
put on. Your mother, father family. The cookout—set & Digital X-Rays*
and grandparents try to to take place this year on
build a legacy for you and
it’s up to you to carry it on.”
“It’s the little things that
Sept. 3—provides school
supplies to those in need,
hosts a dance contest, a
50 off
happen day by day, week macaroni-n-cheese cook
by week that can add to off, and other family-friendly
your character,” Alleah said. entertainment in a block
Alleah, 22, and Ayana, party setting.
19, are the founders of “It started with my family
Mother’s Legacy, a 501(c)3 wanting to get together and
nonprofit that advocates honor my grandmother,
for education, charity, honor family and just have
financial literacy and the a good time,” Alleah said. NORTH DECATUR Zi Jian Wu, DMD
2570 Blackmon Dr, Ste 310
arts. The sisters founded “It has evolved. It now D E N T I ST RY Decatur, GA 30033
Mother’s Legacy when they encompasses the entire
were 16 and 13 in honor community.” *Regular value of at least $290. In absence of gum (periodontal) disease. New patients only. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Coupon must
of their grandmother, Leila “We don’t go to a lot of be presented at appointment. Limit 1 per patient. Subject to insurance restrictions; cannot be applied to insurance co-payments or deductible. Not
valid for appointments with pediatric dentist. †Not valid on previous or ongoing treatment. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Coupon must be
Johnson, who began family reunions ourselves, presented at appointment. Limit 1 per patient. Excludes cleaning, exam, Digital X-rays, root planing and scaling and/or periodontal maintenance. Subject
missionary work at the age so we thought about getting to insurance restrictions; cannot be applied to insurance co-payments or deductible. Not valid for appointments with pediatric dentist, orthodontist,
periodontist, endodontist or oral surgeon. AZ, CO, ID, NM Delta Dental members: valid toward cosmetic dentistry only. No cash redemption value. If full
of 12. our friends and family to value is not redeemed, no credit value.

“She was very much a come together like we used

Willie Mae Hardy, 109, will be honored Louise Hall Robinson Henry Austin
at this year’s Hometown Country
Cookout as a local legend. Photo

Continued From Page 12A
While Alleah and Ayana
did not name who will be
honored this year, the
The Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools (PGCS), a community
pair have a list of lifelong organization serving Chamblee, Cross Keys and Dunwoody high
residents who have school clusters, is seeking liaisons for elementary, middle and
bettered the Kirkwood high schools in DeKalb County School District (DCSD).
community through
business ownership, charity
work, anecdotes or church
Velma Speakman Trinity Moreland, 5, will be honored at
the Hometown Country Cookout for
her business, Trinity’s Tasty Treats. DeKalb County education
council seeks volunteers
activity. Photo submitted.
“These are people
who have been in this majors themselves, the Cookout. The sisters have
neighborhood for so long sisters consider young been preparing since March The Peachtree Gateway According to a flier
who just give back,” Ayana economic minds exceptional for the largest event since Council on Schools (PGCS), distributed by PGCS,
said. “They have so much among their peers. One its beginning in 2010, a community organization liaisons will meet with DCSD
knowledge and we want to example, Courtney Gage, planning the menu and serving Chamblee, Cross and school officials; share
appreciate them for being is a high school girl with her developing partnerships Keys and Dunwoody high information from PGCS
there.” own dog-sitting business. with sponsors. school clusters, is seeking with principals, PTA boards
The 2017 “legends” “What are kids doing in “This isn’t so much liaisons for elementary, and school councils; attend
include Willie Mae Hardy, the community, like what a gathering, but a middle and high schools meetings with stakeholders;
Cassie Nell Edwards, we did when we were celebration of people who in DeKalb County School and attend a PGCS-
Louise Hall Robinson, younger?” asked Ayana. deserve it,” Alleah said. District (DCSD). sponsored event in spring to
Henry Thomas Austin, “There are kids starting “People are attracted to it, According to its website, share information with his or
Jesse Dixon, Rose their own businesses. understanding what it is PGCS provides events for her corresponding school.
Mitchell, John B. Davis, We’re celebrating kids while and coming out in force. parents and stakeholders Events are expected to
Velma Speakman, Sarah they’re young, but they We hope people take away seeking knowledge about take place in September
Fitten, Rosa Holmes, didn’t get that drive and a renewed sense of family education policy and or October, November,
Jasper Brooks and that push [from nowhere]. and community.” planning within the district. February and March.
Thelma Virgil. That came from their For more information The organization partners For more information,
“They have so many parents, which came from on the 2017 Hometown with local schools, school contact pgcsdekalb@
awesome stories,” Alleah their grandparents. That’s Country Cookout, visit www. councils and parent-teacher or visit
said. “We’re always legacy.” associations (PTAs) to
intrigued by those who “We’re always looking for strive for better education peachtreegatewaycouncil.
gave back to the community young people who have a experiences.
without being asked, passion for something and
whether it be through have created a business
serving our country or
serving people in the
for it, whether that’s making
popsicles, bracelets or
CONFEDERATE Continued From Page 8A
neighborhood—people who selling something else the flags taken down after changed the state flag re-segregation of African
have made their mark here.” they’ve made,” Alleah said. nine African Americans expressly prohibited any Americans.
Alleah and Ayana said “These are kids who go were gunned down by changes at Stone Mountain “We have an obligation
they hope the honorees beyond the usual activities White supremacist Dylann Park,” the association to say these should come
provide cookout attendees of students.” Roof at Emanuel African said. “In recent weeks, down; this is not history,”
with a perspective on Other young Methodist Episcopal Church many on both sides of the she said. “I think the issue
communal progress and entrepreneurs being in Charleston, S.C. argument have said that is we have to understand
inspire neighborhood considered include Trinity Two months later, a these Confederate symbols our history if we wish not to
residents to do more for Moreland, 5, who operates rally was held at the park belong in places where we repeat it. There’s a difference
their community. a cotton-candy business, in support of the flag. The view historical artifacts, such between historical context
This also applies to and Jaida Elise Jackson, Stone Mountain Memorial as museums. In Georgia, and celebration. [Stone
young entrepreneurs at 8, who has a bracelet Association said Stone Stone Mountain serves that Mountain] is celebrating
the Hometown Country business. Mountain is preserved by purpose.” bigotry and racism. That is
Cookout, who will receive Alleah and Ayana say state law as a Confederate Abrams said the unacceptable.”
their own honor from Alleah everyone is invited to the memorial. monuments are not historical
and Ayana. Business 2017 Hometown Country “In fact, the law that and send the message of


By any means
DeKalb teachers use music videos to reach students
is important,” Stickland
BY R. SCOTT BELZER positive. states. “We have the power
“We’re getting a lot to influence, lead and of love,” Casey said. motivate. To the world, we
“Our coworkers love it may be just teachers, but to
Thanks to the internet and share it. Faculty and RayShun Casey and Sheldon Strickland, also known as Casey & Strick, are
students, we’re heroes.” spreading positive educational messages through music videos, one of which
and a little creativity, two administration love it. We In “D.A.D.D.Y.,” Casey & has been shared more than 42,000 times. Photos submitted.
DeKalb County School want to reach as many Strick tackle the complexity
District (DCSD) teachers people as we can to spread of fatherhood by using The
have discovered a unique the positivity.” Fresh Prince of Bel Air
way to reach students. “It’s exciting to see the footage and home movies.
Sheldon Strickland, a work we’ve done get into Strickland and Casey
second grade teacher at other peoples’ hands,” said their families’ history
Kingsley Elementary and Strickland said. “We’re in education led to creating
Rayshun Casey, a sixth spreading positive energy music videos. They said the
grade teacher at Redan and getting positive energy overall goal was to motivate
Middle, have released four in return and that’s inspiring and inspire others the way
educational music videos us to do more.” their families motivated and
under the name Casey & Casey & Strick inspired them.
Strick. Each video—the have addressed other “There’s a lot of
latest of which has received inspirational topics in past opportunities we didn’t
more than 42,000 views— videos. get and that others didn’t
contains a message for In “I Can Do Anything,” get,” Casey said. “We want
students to dance to, which has had more than to give students those
consider and internalize. 10,000 views, students are opportunities to be what
On July 20, Casey & taught they can accomplish they want to be.”
Strick released “Read a anything they put their “We want to show kids
Book,” which uses puppetry minds to, despite possible they can do whatever they
and footage of students setbacks, negativity and want. We want teachers
reading in the library to self-doubt. who are talking about [being
communicate to students “If I wanna be a doctor, teachers] to be teachers,”
the importance of reading I can do it / If I wanna be a Strickland said. “We want
books. lawyer, I can do it / Even if kids to have a spark plug
“There’s so much I wanna be an astronaut, that keeps them engaged
knowledge / The more that I can do it / Because all I throughout the school year.”
you read / There’s so many gotta do is put my mind into Casey & Strick’s music
secrets / That you won’t it,” raps Strickland. has been featured on
believe,” raps Casey. “Your thoughts and your WSBTV and Power 96.1 in
“We gotta let them know, feelings create your life Atlanta. The video “Read
Casey / It’s our mission / Everything that you do A Book,” has been shared
to succeed / And when comes with a price / The more than 1,000 times on
you read you’ll make that sweat, the pain and the Facebook. Strickland said
mission complete,” raps tears, you can’t afford it / school districts from as
Strickland. Just keep on the grind and far away as London have
Casey and Strickland you can pay for it,” raps contacted the duo for more
communicate through the Casey. material.
video that reading can show In “What is a In the interim, Casey &
opportunities for the future, TEACHER?” Casey & Strick Strick will do what they have
solutions to problems, tell the story of a LaShawn been doing for the past few
routes to achievement, James, who joins the NBA months—create positive,
stimulation and more—all to after high school and wins catchy, relatable content.
the sound of a catchy beat three championships. The “We want to reach
and positive lyrics. story—geared toward as many platforms as
The video also takes teachers rather than possible,” Strickland said.
shots at trends viewed as students—demonstrates “We have to do something
distractions, such as online to students that behind to get education moving
videos, negative peers, every success story there’s again in a positive way.”
fidget-spinners and social a teacher who practices “We want to do more and
media. punctuality, alertness and put more love out there,”
Casey said the response rigor. Casey said.”
from students as well as “Teachers, always
fellow teachers has been remember that your job


Outgoing Dunwoody
principal honored “I didn’t know when McFerrin, a DHS
I went to Chestnut graduate, is also credited Elementary and was in with “uniting the Dunwoody
Dunwoody Mayor whatever grade that I would community,” by developing
Denis Shortal and city go on to Peachtree Middle ties with the local business
council honored outgoing School, Dunwoody High community and community
Dunwoody High School School and come back to organizations as well
(DHS) principal Tom Dunwoody High School as as University of West
McFerrin on Aug. 14 principal,” McFerrin said Georgia and Georgia State
with an official city-wide Aug. 14. “I’ve spent my University.
proclamation. entire career and childhood The proclamation
“I, Denis L. Shortal, in the city of Dunwoody. also mentions McFerrin’s
Mayor of Dunwoody, do Thanks for all of your contributions to DHS’s
hereby proclaim August support.” standardized test scores.
14, 2017, as Principal Tom McFerrin said his As mentioned by DCSD
McFerrin Day in the city of expertise in career board member Stan Jester
Dunwoody in honor of his education combined with in July, McFerrin’s three
service, dedication, and his experience as a teacher years at DHS have seen the
commitment to the students, will allow him to excel in his school’s College and Career
faculty, and community as new role and have more Readiness Performance
Dunwoody High School positive influence in DeKalb Index (CCRPI) scores
principal,” the proclamation County. improve from 73 overall in Outgoing Dunwoody High School principal Tom McFerrin was honored Aug.
states. According to the 2014 to 93 overall in 2016. 14 by Dunwoody City Council and Mayor Denis Shortal for his service to the
proclamation, McFerrin Jester also credits community. Photo submitted.
McFerrin, principal
at DHS since 2014, was honored for serving in McFerrin for attracting more
announced his intent to multiple capacities in the than 100 students each
education system, including year to DHS from local creating a healthy and named by DCSD. Since
depart the school on July happy learning environment the announcement, parents
27. In a letter sent home as a middle school teacher, private high schools.
high school teacher, “Students were coming at Dunwoody High School, have provided input to the
to parents, McFerrin said Principal Tom McFerrin district through an online
he has accepted a role coach as well as assistant back to the high school in
principal. droves,” Jester said the has set the example of the survey.
of Career Technical and definition of ‘Wildcat Pride,’ “I’m still around,”
Agricultural Education “McFerrin has day of the announcement.
demonstrated a compelling “CCRPI scores were earning him the respect of McFerrin said. “It’s
(CTAE) coordinator at the the citizens of Dunwoody,” bittersweet, it’s tough,
DeKalb County School devotion to the education through the roof.”
system,” the proclamation The proclamation McFerrin said he will but I’m looking forward to
District (DCSD) central remain at DHS as principal supporting all of DeKalb
office. states. concludes by stating, “In
until a replacement is County.”


A recommendation for the rezoning of a property located at intersection of 3449 Church Street and 801 Glendale Road in Clarkston has public officials and residents worried. Photos by R. Scott Belzer

Rezoning recommendation sparks debate in Clarkston
BY R. SCOTT BELZER among fellow council members and in more than 100 replies and an vote for gentrification. It was to better inform the public. ongoing conversation. a recommendation to the City
Terry posted the board’s Glover, who has been the Council to be allowed to proceed
A decision to recommend decision on his Facebook page, chairman of the planning and on a rezoning, whereby a property
rezoning at the intersection of 3449 stating Dhakal and fellow planning zoning board for nine years, said owner MAY be allowed to sell a
Church Street and 801 Glendale and zoning board members Vinh Terry’s comments were offensive vacant industrial property to a
Road in Clarkston has resulted in Glover and Chuck McFarland and inaccurate. Glover said developer who wants to MAYBE
an outcry from the public. “voted to move forward with Clarkston has long been in need put some townhouses on it.
On Aug. 15, Clarkston’s planning gentrification in Clarkston.” of infrastructure improvements and What’s next depends on what the
and zoning board approved a Terry claimed allowing high- the property has long been vacant. city council decides,” McFarland
recommendation to rezone the density neighborhood residential “This is bullying—a lot of stated on Facebook. “Look, this
property from light industrial property allows for $300,000 members of the board have been thing had nothing to do with the
to high-density neighborhood townhomes uncharacteristic of the shook up by this,” Glover said. LCI or the Comprehensive Plan…
residential. The rezoning request city’s economic profile and plans for “We have a landowner who’s It had everything to do with a nice
comes from Robert Buckler of the future. trying to rezone property—there’s guy with local roots wanting to
RBM Decatur, according to the “[There was] no consideration no telling what he’s going to do maximize his investment, in full
meeting’s agenda. for affordable housing, or the with the property. We just gave a accordance with the city charter
Buckler did not present the comprehensive plan (developed recommendation to city council. and the American way, and we
board with a site plan. According after [more than] eight months of That’s it. To say we, a citizen board, voted to send this recommendation
to city officials, the meeting’s other community input),” Terry’s post support gentrification in Clarkston is to the city council, which can do
agenda item—an amendment to states. “The land owner was very just plain offensive.” whatever it wants with it.”
not require a site plan for rezoning clear—he wants to rezone because Glover said Terry’s comments, “It was definitely not our
applications, eliminate zoning he will double his profits; and as a mayor and city representative, intention to promote gentrification in
reversions when property is not Clarkston will get luxury townhomes are signs of immaturity. Clarkston,” Dhakal said. “We have
developed in one year and require out of the price range of 98% of “There’s no sense of diplomacy,” forwarded our recommendation
zoning for annexed property—was current Clarkston residents.” Glover said. “It’s like he’s mad he to the council. It is up to them to
also recommended to city council Terry criticized Buckler’s intent didn’t get his way. To call us out on take a decision. The public has the
for approval. to bring a “different” type of person social media with wrong information opportunity to voice their concerns
At the meeting, committee to Clarkston, stating it was a is just crazy. A lot of his followers in the September city council
member Birendra Dhakal euphemism for gentrification. don’t even live in Clarkston.” meeting. A large crowd is always
asked Buckler what benefit the “Disgraceful that he would be Dhakal and McFarland were welcome in this kind of meeting.
development would bring to so transparent in his disdain for among the Facebook responses. It helps public officials to obtain
Clarkston if established. Buckler our community,” Terry said. “He McFarland called the rezoning diverse opinion on the subject and
said the rezoning will “bring a wants more money. I understand request minor, the property arrive at an appropriate decision.”
different type of person” to the city. why he wants more money, but our long-vacant, and stated the The recommendation will be
Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry residents won’t benefit from this, board’s decision was merely a brought before Clarkston City
attended the meeting to request the thus the rezone should be denied.” recommendation ultimately up to Council at its September meeting
commission table their decision for The post stirred both the public city council. for final approval.
one month to allow for discussion and Clarkston city officials, resulting “This was by no means a

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Mitch Leff, right, says his company’s online media guide is now faster, more accessible and more effective. Photos provided

PR firm creates new online business tools to stay abreast of times
BY KATHY MITCHELL comprehensive database broadcast. “The guide not springboard to increased not a person on the other
of Atlanta media,” and only helps clients navigate awareness and profits. As side of the country,” he said,
FREELANCE REPORTER Mitch’s Media Match, which the world of media, but it a top 10 media market, adding that the databank
connects reporters with helps writers and reporters Atlanta has thousands of had hundreds of experts
After 30 years in local sources. who don’t want to waste journalists working every searchable by keywords.
public relations, DeKalb Leff said that in the their time being pitched day and inclusion in those “This allows companies to
resident Mitch Leff, 15 years he has been stories that are of no news stories can build highlight their expertise on
founder and president of producing his guide a great interest to their audience,” awareness and credibility television, radio, in print and
Leff & Associates Public deal has changed. “In Leff said. for a company. online. At the same time,
Relations, finds there’s addition to advancements in He said the guide is an “At the same time,” he journalists have access to
truth in the saying “the only technology in recent years, option for organizations noted. “A reporter who a free database of sources
constant is change.” when I started doing this, that don’t want to use wants to interview an expert who are ready and available
While the basics of there was no social media. such resources as staff in a particular area likely to provide information or
helping organizations tell Facebook, Twitter and the time creating their own wants to talk with someone interviews for their stories.”
their stories to the public others didn’t exist. Today, Atlanta media lists. “Small in his or her service area,
remain constant the tools those are key elements in businesses, small local
with which public relations public relations,” he said, governments and nonprofits
work is done must keep
Notice of Public Hearing
announcing an update of often don’t have the budget
pace with a changing his suite of online services. for this type of research. The Mayor and City Council of the City of
world, according to Leff. “We’ve rebuilt Leff’s This information changes Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on
Responding to changes in Atlanta Media and Mitch’s constantly. We keep Thursday, September 14, 2017 at the Chamblee
society and technology, he Media Match, giving clients track of the moves, beat Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA
recently announced that more tools to be organized changes and new hires at 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments
his 15-year-old firm is re- and efficient,” Leff said. publications and broadcast regarding the following matters:
launching two of its principal “The improvements organizations. Companies •PZ2017-152: Applicant: Adrian Howard;
products. make both sites faster, can search for the correct Owner: Terminus Rusted, LLC request approval
He explained that Leff & more accessible and media targets, prepare their of a variance from the City of Chamblee Code of
Associates Public Relations more effective for our information, and pitch their Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development
began offering a media subscribers.” The new stories,” Leff noted. Ordinance, Sec. 260-14 to allow for exposed neon
guide after one published version, he said, has “There are similar bulbs on a building sign. The property is located at
by one of his former additional features and services provided by 5486 Peachtree Road, being DeKalb County tax
employers was discontinued enhanced mobile access. national companies, but parcel 18-309-11-068 and zoned Village Commercial.
and clients urged him to “Subscribers can find our focus is the metro •PZ2017-153: Applicant: Carl King;
fill what they saw as a void media contacts info while Atlanta area. Organizations Owner: Housing First Rosalynn Apartments, LLC
in the industry. “People they’re at client meetings, wanting to connect with requests approval of a variance from the City of
suggested that I publish working an event— and market their products, Chamblee Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified
a similar guide, providing anywhere they’re on the services, events and issues Development Ordinance, Sec. 270-5 to allow the
businesses, nonprofits, go. The mobile version has to the right audience,
nonconforming structure to be rebuilt in its entirety
religious organizations if structure is destroyed. The property is located at
a voice-capable search are most effective when 2198 Dresden Drive, being DeKalb County tax parcel
and government offices feature so you don’t even they concentration on the
information on media 18-244-08-006 and zoned Corridor Commercial.
need to type,” Leff said. appropriate Atlanta media,” •2017TA-005: The City of Chamblee,
outlets,” Leff said. In Leff’s Atlanta Media lists Leff said. “For Atlanta
response, he created Leff’s Georgia proposes to amend the Official City Code
contact information for local companies seeking to of Ordinances, Appendix A, Unified Development
Atlanta Media, which he media, including the topics build their business, local Ordinance, Title 3, “Development and Permitting”,
describes as “the only on which they write or media coverage can be a Chapters 300 through 350.


Brian Herron ran the first leg of the 4x400-meter relay.

Lakeside’s Herron
breaks world record Brian Herron holds up the American flag after winning the 4x400-meter relay at the Pan-American
U20 Championships in Trujillo, Peru.
BY CARLA PARKER at 3:00.33, breaking the
previous world U20 record of 3:01.09 which was set
by another US team at
Lakeside High School the 2004 World Junior
junior Brian Herron is now Championships in Grosseto,
a world record-holder in Italy.
track and field. The other members of
Herron was a part of the the team were Zachary
US mens 4x400-meter relay Schinnick of Glendora,
team that broke the world Calif., Josephus Lyles of
U20 record on the final day Clermont, Fla. and Sean
of the Pan-American U20 Hooper of Fort Worth,
Championships in Trujillo, Texas. Brian Herron, second left, celebrates with the 4x400-meter relay team. Photos provided
Peru. The team clocked


Decatur, Redan
victorious at Spikefest
BY CARLA PARKER against Decatur after beating Lakeside. However,
Chamblee could not get
DeKalb County’s high revenge and finished second
school volleyball season in the bracket. Lakeside
kicked-off Aug. 12 with finished third.
the 4th annual Spikefest Decatur’s AnnaLisa
tournament. Mendoza was named the
Decatur won the Gold Spikefest Gold Tournament
Redan won its second consecutive Silver Bracket championship. Bracket tournament, which MVP.
was held at Chamblee, Redan’s Silver Bracket
and Redan used home championship win was its
court advantage to win the second consecutive Silver
Silver Bracket of the event. Bracket championship.
Decatur didn’t lose a set Wins over Clarkston and
through four matches and Miller Grove earned Redan
won with a 2-0 win over a trip to the finals. Redan
Chamblee. faced Miller Grove again in
Decatur had victories the finals after Miller Grove
over Druid Hills and beat Columbia in the losers’
Lakeside in the first two bracket.
rounds. Decatur faced Redan beat Miller Grove
Chamblee in semifinals again in the finals 2-0
first and won that match two in the Silver Bracket
2-0. Chamblee fell to the tournament. Columbia
losers’ bracket after that finished third. Redan’s
loss, but bounced back Hydeah Hinesman was
to the finals for a rematch named the tournament MVP.

Druid Hills beat Tucker 2-0 in the first round of the Gold Bracket. Photo by Carla Parker


kicks off
Cedar Grove rolls
past Stephenson

The defending state
champions Cedar Grove
Saints did not seem to
have a championship
hangover after beating the
Stephenson Jaguars 34-13
on Aug. 18.
It was the second
consecutive year Cedar
Grove has beaten
Stephenson at Hallford
Stadium. The first quarter
was a defensive battle as
both teams struggled to get
anything going on offense.
The Saints, led by new
quarterback Xavier Dennis,
were able to get a drive
going in the second quarter
and running back Darrell
Neal found the end zone on
a 6-yard run, giving Cedar
Grove a 6-0 lead. The extra
point kick was no good.
Before half time, Dennis
found Devon Barnes in the
back corner of the end zone
for a 26-yard touchdown,
extending the Saints’ lead to
In the third quarter, a47-
yard punt by Cedar Grove’s

Middle school
Kortney Cox set up the
Saints’ next touchdown.
Stephenson had the ball at

football teams
its own 3-yard-line, and on
the first play the Jaguars
fumbled. The ball popped

prepare for season
in the air, was caught by
defensive tackle Rashad
Cheney, who then stumbled
his way to the end zone.

at Jamboree
Dennis connected with wide
receiver Jadon Haselwood
for the two-point conversion
pass to bring the score to
BY CARLA PARKER 21-0. Stephenson responded
with a touchdown drive.
Quarterback Gav’on Wray
DeKalb County middle school football teams had their led the Jaguars a 23-yard
own scrimmage Aug. 19. pass to Izaiah Salaam and
The 2017 DeKalb County School District Middle School a 16-yard pass to Darren
Football Jamboree featured 10 games between three Parker, which set up a
stadiums—Adams, Godfrey and Hallford stadiums. All 20 14-yard touchdown run by
teams, including City Schools of Decatur’s Renfore Middle,
Lithonia beat Columbia 12-0 and Cedar Grove and Tucker tied at 0-0 during the participated in the Jamboree.
Jamboree scrimmage. Photos by Travis Hudgons See High School on Page 23A

Continued From Page 22A
Jevon Goff, cutting Cedar for a 2-point conversion,
Grove’s lead to 21-7. then Tucker called a
Cedar Grove answered timeout. After the timeout,
with an 83-yard drive Kell decided to kick an extra
that ended with a 5-yard point.
touchdown pass from Logan Flesher’s kick
Dennis to Haselwood, was blocked by Tucker
extending the lead to 27-7 cornerback Garren
late in the third quarter. McKinney, sealing the 28-
Midway through the fourth 27 win over Kell. Vann said
quarter, Neal got his second it felt good to come back
score of the game on a and beat a Kell team that
1-yard run, giving the Saints beat them last year in the
a 34-7 lead. Corky Kell Classic.
Stephenson closed out “You always want to start
the game with an 8-yard the season off with a win,”
touchdown pass from Wray Vann said. “We work hard
to Deshon Stoudemire, and dig deep every day
bringing the score to a 34- in practice, so going into
13 final. overtime was good for us.”
Cedar Grove coach Before overtime, Tucker
Jermaine Smith said his was down 21-14 with 5:01
team made many mistakes, to play. With the ball on
but he was proud of their their own 22-yard line, Ford
effort. launched the ball deep
“They executed a little bit to Vann, who separated
better than I thought they himself from the defender
would, honestly,” he said. and caught the pass for a
“We had a lot of new guys 71-yard touchdown.
in new spots, but we’re Vann said he knew the
going to fix it,” play was coming by the look
Dennis finished the the Kell defense gave them.
game with 128 passing “We saw that there were
yards on 16 completions no safeties in the middle
out of 21 attempts and two of the field,” he said. “We
touchdowns in his debut knew we had to put the
with Cedar Grove. He also ball right there and I’m a Cedar Grove running back Darrell Neal II scores his second touchdown of the game.
had 71 rushing yards. playmaker, so I’ll go get it—
“I think he did a anywhere the ball is at.”
great job of taking what Vann had three
[Stephenson’s defense] was touchdowns in the game.
giving us and understanding His first came in the second
what I wanted offensively,” quarter on an 18-yard pass
Smith said. “I didn’t give him from Ford, cutting Kell’s
too much. I didn’t want to lead to 8-7. Kell scored
put too much on his plate earlier in the quarter on a
for the first game but now, 27-yard pass from Conley
he’ll get a little more.” to Michael Luckie. Conely
scrabbled to the end zone
Tucker beats Kell in on the following 2-point
conversion to give Kell n
overtime thriller 8-0 lead.
Flesher kicked two 30-
A blocked extra point
yard field goals in the third
sealed the victory for Tucker
quarter, giving Kell a 14-11
in an exciting rematch
lead. Early in the fourth
against Kell in the Corky
quarter, the Tigers capped
Kell Classic Aug. 19.
off an 11-play, 67-yard drive
With the game tied at 21-
with a 3-yard touchdown
21 after four quarters, the
run by Gerry Vaughn, tying
Tucker Tigers got the ball
the game at 14-14.
first in overtime and scored
Midway through the
on the first play on a 15-
fourth quarter, Tucker
yard touchdown pass from
fumbled on a bad pitch
quarterback Travon Ford
by Ford and the ball was
to wide receiver Joshua
picked up by Kell’s Vincent
Vann, giving Tucker a 28-21
Dinkins, who returned 31
lead after they made extra Cedar Grove safety Montre Montfort tries to avoid a tackle after an interception. Photos by Travis
yards for a touchdown,
point kick. Hudgons
giving Kell a 21-14 lead
On Kell’s overtime drive,
before the Tigers came
it took the Longhorns four
plays to reach the end zone.
back to win it. OTHER SCORES
Ford finished the game
Quarterback Evan Conley
with 201 yards and three Aug. 18 SW DeKalb 41, Redan 2
found Blake Simpson on
touchdowns, and Vann Carver-Atlanta (1-0) 50, Lithonia (0-1) 18
a 5-yard touchdown pass. Miller Grove (0-1) 49, Clarkston (0-1) 0
had seven receptions
After the touchdown, Kell Dunwoody (1-0) 38, Lakeside (0-1) 21 Aug. 19
for 163 yards and three Towers (1-0) 22, Forest Park (0-1) 19
called a timeout. After the Arabia Mountain (1-0) 56, Stone Mountain (0-1) 0
touchdowns. Columbia (1-0) 7, M.L. King (0-1) 0
timeout, Kell lined up to go Chamblee (0-1) 27, Druid Hills (0-1) 19

VETERAN Continued From Page 9A
team, NAMI Georgia has Decatur, Lawrenceville, The program also offers
offered the NAMI Homefront Atlanta, Augusta, Vidalia and an online module in all 50
program in Flowery Branch, Statesboro. states.

TENDER Continued From Page 2A
baby and he did,” Sutton great deed he did in the
said. “The dedication of all community.”
the crew members made it Hurt said he was happy
possible.” to see some positivity on
John Hurt, a the news about DeKalb
McDonald’s owner and County and wanted to offer
operator who operates the his assistance.
restaurant on the corner of The free lunch featured
Candler Road and McAfee one of McDonald’s newest
in Decatur, said he was sandwiches as well as a
happy to give back to new sriracha dipping sauce.
Sutton and his fire station.   Sutton said he was ‘lovin’
“We wanted to show it.”
our appreciation for Sutton “It was good,” Sutton
and let him know that the said laughing, referring to
community cares about his meal. “I wasn’t expecting
him,” Hurt said. “The that, but they definitely
community wants to put our showed me and the crew
arms around him and show love. Everyone in DeKalb
him all the love for what a County has shown us love.”

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