the DeKalb FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 • VOL. 21, NO. 30 • 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

Variety is at the heart of the
AJC Decatur Book Festival

Omar and Kimberly Finley, owners of The Listening Tree,
say they review each book before accepting it for their
store. Photo provided

Bridging cultural
through books

Photos by Travis Hudgons

ooks are clearly the focus of the AJC also known at The Fonz. Together with his he more than 80,000 attendees
Decatur Book Festival that runs Sept. writing partner, Lin Oliver, he writes the “Hank to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
1-3 and they are celebrated in a myriad Zipzer” and “Here’s Hank” book series for Decatur Book Festival this Labor
of ways at the event. Book signings, young readers. The New York Times best- Day weekend are evidence
author readings, panel discussions, an selling “Hank Zipzer” series chronicles the that there’s no shortage of
interactive children’s area, live music, parades, “high-spirited and funny adventures of a boy people who love books. Owners of a small
cooking demonstrations, poetry slams, writing with learning differences,” and in 2014, the
independent bookstore a short distance from
workshops, and more are scheduled throughout writers introduced “Here’s Hank,” a series
the festival, taking place in a variety of Decatur targeting even younger children with reading
the downtown Decatur event are working to
venues. difficulties. As a youngster, Winkler suffered keep the love of books and learning alive in
The keynote topic this year is “Journalism from undiagnosed dyslexia. generations to come.
in Our Current Environment” and is set to Here are a few highlights among the The Listening Tree, a small children’s
be presented from 8 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 1 hundreds of activities scheduled during the bookstore on Candler Road, is owned by
at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for festival: Omar Finley and his wife Kimberly, who say
the Performing Arts. National Public Radio their own children prompted them to focus on
host Brooke Gladstone headlines a panel putting books that educate and inspire in the
of journalists discussing the importance of A short version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream hands of young readers from toddlers through
journalism in a time of the 24-hour news cycle, is performed by The Atlanta Shakespeare teens, especially Black youth.
social media generated fake news and society’s Company at 11 a.m. on Sept. 2 at the Decatur “One of our children was writing a poem
perceptions of media today. The panel also will Community Bandstand. for school—a Christian school—about
include Carolyn Ryan, an editor with The New Photographer Kate T. Parker, author of Strong the creation. My wife and I took that and
York Times, and Wesley Lowery, a Pulitzer is the New Pretty, is scheduled to be at the expanded it into a book, A World of Our
Prize-winning reporter from The Washington Decatur Library at 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 2 Own—The Beginning, with illustrations
Post. showing Black biblical characters,” Finley
Younger book lovers may want to head At 1: 45 on Sept. 2, the public is invited to listen said.
to the Decatur High School Performing Arts to a panel of Atlanta Writers Club members “We realized that there aren’t many
Center on Sept. 1 for Kidnote, which this year
features actor and author Henry Winkler,
See Book Festival on page 5 See Listening Tree on page 5

Visit for local, real DeKalb County news. @DeKalbChampNews


alumni BBQ
unwelcome in
Salem Park

BY R. SCOTT BELZER Southwest DeKalb High School’s Alumni Association was told they should seek a different venue for their annual cookout event after record numbers participated
this year at Salem Park. Photo by R. Scott Belzer
classes dating back to the Association president County] parks and the park’s limit on people
early 1980s gathered Aug. Danny Davison, the recreation expressing their two years in a row although
Alumni from Southwest
4 to celebrate the seventh event—which attracted disappointment in me,” we left the park better than
DeKalb High School may
annual Alumni Cookout at more than 1,500 alumni— Davison announced via we found it. We are officially
have to seek an alternate
Salem Park. The day was may be the last one held Facebook Aug. 14. “I was banned. We weren’t going
venue for their annual
filled with reconnecting with in Salem Park following told I misled them on the to be there next year
cookout, according to event
old classmates, singing, subsequent contact with number of participants anyways—they just made it
dancing, barbecue and county officials. attending the park. We have
Southwest DeKalb
celebration. “I just received a officially been banned from
alumni from graduating See SW DeKalb on Page 14A
According to Alumni phone call from [DeKalb Salem Park. We exceeded

Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University, where
I was getting my master of fine arts,” King
said. “We had one weekend to write a full
“The former Gateway Manor development
spanned two highly desirable locations in

play based on several prompts, most notably downtown Decatur, but the buildings were
that two characters had to be trapped in a over 50 years old and were completely
space and each had to have a secret. I have outdated in design and function, and lacked
been working on the play ever since.” any amenities,” said Doug Faust, executive
Labor Day race scheduled Fallout has undergone readings in director of the Decatur Housing Authority.
Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina. “Our residents value the community’s
Avondale Estates will host its 39th Annual Productions at Onion Man run Thursday location with its proximity to MARTA, Decatur
Labor Day 5K Race and 1 Mile Race Sept. 4. through Sunday. On Thursday, Friday and City schools, downtown jobs and many
On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m., the Saturday, plays begin at 7:30 p.m. On city amenities. We spent a great deal of
1-mile race will start at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K Sunday, plays begin at 3 p.m. time strategizing with our partners and the
race will begin at 9 a.m. To register the day residents to create achievable development
before the race, visit For more Take a stroll through downtown goals.”
information, contact Karen Holmes at (404) For more information, visit www.
294-5400 or City officials in Chamblee will host the Mid-

City Stroll on Sept. 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Stroll will give DeKalb County
residents the opportunity to provide input on TUCKER
Chamblee’s Peachtree Road Streetscape
project, which intends to redesign the Organization to host car show
city’s downtown roadways, sidewalks and
pedestrian amenities. The last Tucker Cruise-In of the year will
For three hours, participants will have be held Sept. 9 on Main Street in Tucker.
an opportunity to stop at businesses in There will be a variety of cars, ranging from
downtown Chamblee, mingle and comment antiques to street rods and motorcycles to
on initial concept designs. The Stroll will imports. The event begins at 5 p.m. and ends
begin at the Chamblee MARTA station at with the presentation of awards around 8
Peachtree Road and Malone Drive and p.m. There is a $5 registration fee to enter
conclude at the Frosty Caboose restaurant, a car into judging. The cut off time to enter
located at Peachtree Road and American a car for judging is 6:30 p.m. For more
Industrial Way. information, call (770) 527-1521.
Other participating businesses include

Doggy Dip Day at the park
Hopstix, Blue Top, Southbound, Hello
Gorgeous, Breathe Yoga Studio, Union Hill
Kitchen, IDEA Chamblee, Lenox Cupcakes,
Vintage Pizza and Gus’s Fried Chicken. Registration open for breast cancer walk
Brookhaven Parks & Recreation invites Tour guides will be at each business to
dogs to come out and enjoy one last splash share information. Acitivities, giveaways and DeKalb County, along with Susan G.
of summer at Doggy Dip Day. The event children activities will also be available. Komen and Northlake Mall, will host its
takes place at Murphey Candler pool Sept. For more information, visit www. second annual DeKalb Breast Cancer
10. Small dogs up to 35 pounds will be let Awareness 5K Run/Walk Oct. 21.
in the pool from 1 to 2:30 p.m., while larger
The route begins at 9 a.m. and ends
dogs weighing more than 35 pounds can
at Northlake Mall, located in Tucker.
jump in from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $10
per dog. Murphey Candler Park is located
at 1551 W. Nancy Creek Drive. For more
DECATUR Immediately following, there will be a health
fair that will include health screenings,
educational opportunities and other activities.
information, contact Jason Collins at jason.
Housing Authority to host grand opening All proceeds from the 5K walk/run will
go to fund Susan G. Komen programming
event initiatives in DeKalb County.
To register for the event, visit www.

The Decatur Housing Authority will host
a grand opening event for Phases I and II of The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors,
Trinity Walk on Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. $10 for members of teams of 10 or more,
Trinity Walk is the redevelopment of $5 for youth five years and older and $5 for
Onion Man to premiere Fallout the former Gateway Manor and Oakview DeKalb County employees.
apartment complexes in downtown Decatur. For more information on the DeKalb
Nonprofit theater Onion Man Productions Located at 421 West Trinity Place, the
will premiere Fallout by local playwright County Breast Cancer Awareness 5K Walk/
development offers 121 one-, two- and three- Run or to be a sponsor, contact Nichole
Laura King Sept. 8 through Sept. 24. bedroom units in six, three-story buildings.
According to King, Fallout is about how Simms at or
In addition to the public, guests will include (404)-371-2552.
the systems the public turns to for comfort Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, city council
have failed and how the only hope to save members, housing and urban development
humanity is through interpersonal connection. officials, housing authority staff, investors and
“Fallout began in 2013 in a class at the

Confederate monument Pay raises for
should be moved elected officials
Mayor, city council increase pay to
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN $14,400 and $8,400 respectively
Elizabeth Wilson,
Decatur’s first Black mayor
and first female mayor, said
she remembers seeing the Doraville Mayor and City Council officially raised
Klu Klux Klan hold a rally members compensation Aug. 21 following a second
at the square in downtown read of an amended city ordinance.
Decatur. The ordinance guarantees Doraville city council
Nearly 60 years later, members $14,400 (previously $8,400) annually and
a monument was erected the mayor $18,000 (previously $14,800). According
in honor of Wilson in to a total calculation, as of January 2018 Doraville
the location where the taxpayers will be paying its elected officials $104,400
KKK once marched. In per year.
an interview with The During the first read of the amended ordinance,
Champion, Wilson said Councilwoman Pam Fleming said the ordinance will
another monument in the bring elected officials’ pay up to scale with Chamblee.
area needs to go. On Aug. 21, Fleming said part-time employees
The Decatur Confederate such as the mayor deserve to be recognized for their
monument, erected in 1908, contributions to the city.
is the topic of discussion for “I was doing some research on other part-time
city employees who do not do as much work as the
mayor,” Fleming said. “Unfortunately, when we went
to city manager form of government and went to a
part-time mayor, there was a word listed for the mayor:
ceremonial. This is so inaccurate that it needs to be
stricken. Ceremonial makes one feel they are kissing
babies and only being there for photographs. That
is not the case. The position for mayor is a 70-hour
in a way, or a statue of her standing workweek. I think the compensation for mayor should
represents alongside the Confederate be $20,000.”
the racial monument, Wilson laughed Doraville’s pay increase will assure higher salaries
basis at that for several minutes. than those in Dunwoody and Brookhaven, according
time. “For some of us, the to the Georgia Department of Community Affair’s 2016
“In the Confederate monument is Municipal Wage and Salary Survey. Councilmen in the
Elizabeth Wilson, Decatur’s first Black mayor, said it’s time
African- going to be offensive as neighboring cities receive $12,000 annually while the
to remove the Confederate monument in downtown Decatur. American long as it sits where it sits. mayor receives $16,000.
community, The rest of the people want According to Doraville’s most recent budget (2017-
we fought in it there and how they view it 2018), $210,350—a $20,150 increase from the
many DeKalb County and these wars, too. My family is different. There could be previous year—was appropriated to the general fund
city of Decatur officials. members fought hard for a place for it,” Wilson said. specifically for the mayor and city council. Another
After a protest turned this country and many Many Decatur $5,000 was appropriated for elections.
deadly in Charlottesville, African-American families residents have expressed Doraville resident Bernadette Pannier spoke in
Va., over the removal of a fought for this country, their concern with the favor of the amended ordinance, stating Doraville
Confederate statue, many but we were treated like Confederate monument’s deserves to be in line with surrounding cities.
cities have considered second-class citizens,” current location. Joseph “As long as it’s within the budget, I don’t see why
moving such monuments to Wilson said. “No one Walker of Hate Free we shouldn’t be paying our council and mayor the way
different locations. thought to recognize that. Decatur said his petition to other cities are,” Pannier said.
“I think the [monument] No one thought to say thank remove the monument has Former councilman and resident Tom Hart spoke
should be somewhere, just you.” reached more than 2,000 against the increases, stating, “When I was on council
not in the public square,” During a recent city signatures. I think the pay was $600 a month and I think I worked
Wilson said. “It should be in commission meeting, “Hate has no place in 70 hours a week.
a place where people can Decatur Mayor Patti the city, and neither does “We have a council, I’m sorry to say, that has
study it, because there is Garrett addressed this monument,” Walker indebted the city for the first time since 1871,” Hart
some history behind it.” residents who want to said. “We’re asking for the said. “We’re leasing cop cars. We have over $200
In 1907, the Agnes replace the Confederate city of Decatur to honor our million in tax abatement areas. The entire city of
Lee chapter of the monument with a statue in request and remove the Chamblee has a maximum of $18 million for all of the
United Daughters of Wilson’s honor. statue.” development they have… And the council wants to
the Confederacy raised Garrett said Wilson DeKalb and Decatur reward themselves with a pay increase.”
approximately $2,000 to already has a statue in the officials said there are The council voted 3-1 in favor of the amended
commission the statue. Decatur square, which was legal concerns in regards ordinance, with councilman Robert Patrick opposing
Some believe the statue created in 2000. to removing the statue. and councilwomen Dawn O’Connor and Sharon
was created as a symbol of When asked her According to state law, “It Spangler absent.
support for Jim Crow laws thoughts on a statue shall be unlawful for any
in the South. of herself replacing the
Wilson said the statue, Confederate monument,
See Monument on Page 20A

Continued From Page 1
discuss their experiences and motivation
to write children’s books. Marcey Perry
Morse brings You Can’t Fly, about a flying
rabbit who wants to fit in; Rosemarie
Perry shares My Dog, Me, about a boy
and his dog who switch places; and Mary
Mueller brings What Do You Call An
Ant, in which readers solve riddles and
can learn about ants. Takes place at the
downtown Decatur Marriott Conference
Center auditorium.
National Book Award winner Charles
Frazier returns to the festival to discuss
the 20th anniversary edition of his novel
Cold Mountain, and to give a preview of
his forthcoming Civil War novel. Takes
place at 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 2 at Marriott
Conference Center B.
“Black American Voices” is a composition
of African works of art, photographs of
Black Americans, and narratives from
Black Americans Joe Barry Carroll,
author and former NBA player, draws
the connection with Africa and Black The store’s inventory has grown from 27 titles to more than 130—more than the store can shelve. Photo by Kathy
Americans to illustrate the continuation Mitchell
of African cultures, shared values, and
emotions as they have flowed to the
descendants of Africans. Set for 4:15 p.m.
on Sept. 2 at Marriott Conference Center
LISTENING TREE Continued From Page 1
C. children’s books with Black central characters and I know that sometimes it’s tough getting a
and such books can be important in shaping new business off the ground,” said Finley, who
Award-winning author Daniel Handler
a child’s self-image. Many of our traditional conducts youth programs in entrepreneurship
(also known as Lemony Snicket), and
Adam Silvera, author of They Both Die children’s stories come from European folklore and financial literacy in association with The
at the End, discuss their protagonists’ and typically include such descriptions as Listening Tree.
quests to discover what love means to ‘there was a beautiful princess with long “Like any business we want to make
them (and whether they actually want it at blonde hair and big blue eyes.’ Black children money, but the real payoff is the delight on
all). Session is titled “Love in the Age of especially need also to see books that the children’s faces when they see all these
Tech” and takes place at noon on Sept. 3 celebrate the beauty in their features as well books featuring people who look like them,” he
at Marriott Conference Center B. as their history and culture,” he continued. continued.
Finley said children of all ethnicities come The store’s name is similar to that of the
“A Shifting View of Home” is set for 1:15 to The Listening Tree and all are welcome. Gordon Parks movie The Learning Tree;
p.m. on Sept. 3 at the Historic DeKalb “Although Black children are our focus, we however, that’s not its origin, Finley said. “I get
Courthouse. It features Lisa Ko, author want other children to learn about Black that a lot, but that’s not what we derived the
of The Leavers, and Thrity Umrigar, culture from a Black perspective,” he said. The name from,” he said, explaining that the store’s
author of Everbody’s Son, in which the shelves display such titles as Big Hair, Don’t name was inspired by the ancient tradition of
protagonists grapple with the slippery Care; The President Looks Like Me; Counting students gathering under a tree to listen to
sense of “home.” in Kiswahili; Color my Fro; and Telling Time their teachers.
In “Secrets, Lies and Murder” dive into a with Benjamin Banneker and Sekou. The store’s décor, which Finley designed,
world of distrust and paranoia with J.T. “We review every book we accept for our includes a tree mural with the word READ in
Ellison, author of Lie to Me, and Tess store. Not only do my wife and I read it, we front of which is a rocking chair surrounded by
Gerritsen, author of I Know a Secret, the ask others such as teachers and librarians tufts of artificial grass in a variety of shapes.
12th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. who work with children—even children “The person reading to the children, often the
This session begins at 1:15 p.m. Sept. 3 themselves—to read the books and tell author, sits in the rocking chair. The children
at Decatur Presbyterian’s sanctuary. us what they think. We want to be able to sit on the ‘grass.’ But first we play a game in
recommend books and discuss any one of which they go to each tuft of grass and name
Author Lachelle Weaver is scheduled to them with potential buyers,” Finley said. its shape—square, triangle, circle, etc.—if
appear on the Emerging Writer’s Stage He added that the couple look for books they name them all they get a prize. Trapezoid
at 4:20 p.m. on Sept. 3. Weaver’s debut that inspire. “Later, we might start to carry throws a lot of them, but they have fun playing.
novel, Sister Surrogate, was released more challenging books that deal with tough We try to incorporate as many learning
in 2016. Her sophomore novel, Yellow
subjects, but right now we want books that experiences into their visit as we can.”
Ribbon, is set for release this summer.
present a positive image of Black culture The store’s inventory, Finley said, has grown
Poetry as Witness takes place from 2:30 and make children think, ‘Hey, I could be like from 27 titles to more than 130—more than
to 3:15 p.m. on Sept. 3 at the Historic that’—and we want the books to be fun. We the store can shelve. Some he said come from
DeKalb Courthouse. It features Derrick want children to come here, feel comfortable outside the country and are available in the
Harriell, author of Ropes and Cotton, and and have a good time.” United States only at The Listening Tree. “We
Adrian Matejka, author of Map to the The small shop that shares a building with a didn’t participate in the Decatur Book Festival
Stars. hair salon in its third year in business is doing last year because I didn’t feel we had the
well, according to the owners. “Frankly, we’re inventory to support our participation, but this
For the full lineup of festival activities, doing better than I thought we might, starting year, we’ll be there. We’ll definitely be there.”
go to out. I have a good deal of business expertise

Letter to the Editor

A family gathering in Pine Lake
Having recently spent a day and special gatherings. use their property as a weekend Everything about Pine
with family in the smallest city Pine Lake, once a summer getaway – even after Pine Lake Lake seems to be a “well-oiled
in DeKalb County, Georgia, retreat run by the Pine Woods became incorporated. Even machine.” We found it quite
called Pine Lake, we all found Corporation, was established today, it is just a great place to fascinating and wonderful
the setting in this community as a city in 1937. Today cute, visit and have fun. The nearly Perhaps once known as a
to be quite exquisite and quaint homes are located 800 residents don’t seem to sleepy little town, Pine Lake
accommodating. Our gathering near the small lake that was mind the flow of visitors to their in 2017 is a jewel among the
took place at one of the three dammed by the Army Corps of charming area located in the best kept secrets in Georgia – a
event rental facilities offered by Engineers for erosion and flood central part of the county. Our great place for a family reunion!
this lake side community called control. Locals will remember family reunion will always be
The Clubhouse. Note that the how the lake was once a remembered as we reflect on Sylvia and Lorenzo Harris
Beach House and Gazebo are region of Snapfinger Creek. this quiet, peaceful, and “well- DeKalb County residents
equally nice for holding events Originally homeowners would kept” secret by the lake.

Looking for hope in a world gone crazy
The events of recent weeks “everything’s going to be OK,” ages, ethnicities, education and
have left me in a funk—the clash but I couldn’t utter those words. I income levels and representing
between protesting groups that sense that events in this country a mix of religions. Two were
turned deadly in Charlottesville, and abroad are likely going outdoor music events and the
the deaths and injuries in to get worse before they get other a high school sporting
Barcelona from a terrorist attack, Gale Horton Gay better. Still, I know that as dark, event. Those individuals
the growing prominence of desperate, tragic and uncertain attending didn’t seem to have
hate groups, the protests and as the current times are, this is a care about the differences of
counter-protests surrounding but a moment in time. their neighbors in the stadium,
removal of Confederate Last week my 25-year-old History has repeatedly shown amphitheater and atrium.
monuments. Add to that the daughter called to vent about us that good triumphs over evil They shared a common bond,
mounting controversies involving world affairs and how she isn’t and we must never stop working cheering for a team, jamming
President Donald Trump, his feeling as trusting of people toward making our communities to the beats and applauding
administration and the nation’s and places as she once did. places where people are treated the individuals at center stage.
political leaders. She was familiar with the place fairly, decently and respectfully Despite the size of the crowds—
I’ve been shocked, angered where the carnage took place in and where they will not be ranging from a few hundred
and frustrated by the constant Spain as a few months ago she victimized due to their beliefs, to several thousand—I didn’t
ratcheting up of tensions. and her girlfriends vacationed their age, their race, their gender see or hear of any violence or
In recent weeks it seemed in Barcelona and had strolled or nationality. And we must not negative incidents at any of the
society has devolved into baring along Las Ramblas Boulevard, stop speaking up and speaking events.
its teeth and tearing each other the site of the terrorists’ van out. I took the joy, harmony
apart, demonstrating ugliness attack that left 13 dead and 100 Over the weekend I observed and raucous-yet-peaceful
at every turn and speaking in injured. several gatherings in metro atmosphere at these events as a
ways intended to polarize and As a mother, I’ve spent my Atlanta that attracted large hopeful sign that maybe civility is
humiliate. life reassuring my children that numbers of people of various not dead.

A war without end
“I think it’s too costly to re- continue for some time, among of Heather Hyer, who lost her life
fight the Civil War. We have
paid too great a price in trying
‘One Man’s those who paid the price
of fighting the Civil Rights
during the recent Charlottesville
protests to the stage of MTV’s
to bring people together.  I’ve Opinion’ movement a century later—there American Music Awards on Aug.
always been interested more is perhaps some surprising 27.
in substance over symbols,” Bill Crane support for not reopening old The Rev. Lee is the great-
Andrew Young, former United wounds or picking at scabs long great-great grand-nephew of the
Nations ambassador, U.S. healed. Confederate commander. Prior to
Congressman and Atlanta “That is a tremendous introducing Bro, Lee saluted the
mayor, as well as Civil Rights advisor, and later was appointed carving. And I don’t want to see Black Lives Matter Movement,
icon. Confederate commander-in- that destroyed. I don’t care who the Women’s March on
chief. Though Lee strongly it is,” Andrew Young said during Washington and said, “I call on
There are few places in opposed seccession, and an interview with National Public all of us with privilege and power
our nation where tradition and declined the Union command Radio on Aug. 23. to confront racism and White
history matter more than the offer from Scott and Lincoln, Young is speaking of the giant supremacy head-on.”
Commonwealth of Virginia, and he did so primarily out of carving of Lee, Gen. Stonewall Chivalry is in fact only
despite the fact that “Virginia loyalty to his home state, the Jackson and Confederate wounded. Not dead. Let’s all
is for Lovers,” it may become Commonwealth of Virginia. President Jefferson Davis, work together and not try to kill
better known in modern times In addition to being a general three acres across and 400 feet that.
for the recent tragic, and still who often joined his troops on up the side of Stone Mountain,
reverberating, clash among the field of battle, Lee had three the world’s largest granite Bill Crane also serves as
haters. sons among the Confederate out-cropping. Calls to blast a political analyst and com-
The Confederacy is long ranks. Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh away the carving are growing mentator for Channel 2’s Action
dead. Yet, there are aspects (Rooney) Lee, had been a among activists and at least News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750
of the Old South, still worthy of Union Army cavalry commander one Democratic gubernatorial and now 95.5 FM, as well as a
attention and consideration— until just before this war, eldest candidate in Georgia. columnist for The Champion,
chivalry, honor and supporting a son Maj. Gen. Custice Lee (who The Lee family remains DeKalb Free Press and Georgia
cause of your region and people, became a Union prisoner of prominent in the Commonwealth Trend. Crane is a DeKalb na-
even if you personally objected. war during the Battle of Sayler’s of Virginia, and perhaps proof of tive and business owner, living
Confederate General Robert E. Creek) and his youngest, Capt. the strength of that bloodline was in Scottdale. You can reach him
Lee was twice offered the Union Robert E. Lee Jr., who was most recently demonstrated by or comment on a column at bill.
Army command by President missing in action for weeks the Rev. Robert E. Lee IV, who
Abraham Lincoln. Lee was after the Battle of Richmond, accompanied Susan Bro, mother
already known as an outstanding and re-united with his father
strategist and civil engineer, shortly after the surrender at
near the top of his class at West Appomattox. The younger Lee
Point. Lee designed the water would succeed his father as
and irrigation systems as well as president of Washington & Lee
many of the battlements at Fort University, post-war.
Pulaski on Tybee Island near I am not an advocate, nor
Savannah. Lee’s grandfather, a believer in all of the lost
Richard Henry Lee was a cause mythology which would
Revolutionary War hero and later enshroud Lee, other
signer of the Declaration of Confederate commanders and
Independence, and Lee’s father, the Lee family, but like many
‘Lighthorse’ Harry Lee is buried of those in charge of leading
in Georgia. Confederate forces, they were
Lee distinguished himself community leaders of their day,
during the Mexican-American from their respective states,
War, working alongside Ulysses and they made many lasting
S. Grant among others, in contributions to society and their
service of Gen. Winfield Scott, nation, prior to and after the war.
during Scott’s march from And though the ongoing
Veracruz to Mexico City. Lee culture war over what to do
was Confederate president about Confederate monuments,
Jefferson Davis’ highest military carvings and memorials may

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
its readers. Please write to us and express your views. P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Kemesha Wadley on all sides of an issue. We have no
Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain the Send email to desire to make the news only to
FAX To: (404) 370-3903; Phone: (404) 373-7779. The DeKalb Free Press is published each Friday report news and opinions to effect
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forward. We are happy to present
Phone (404) 373-7779. ideas for discussion; however,
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions we make every effort to avoid
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The Clarkston Charter Review Committee held its first in-depth discussion on the city’s constitution Aug. 22 since forming in late July.

BY R. SCOTT BELZER members may call a and set an agenda or of the city and provides Beck, fellow committee
special-called meeting. special-called session?” opportunities to speak members and attending Medford compared Williams said he is not candidly. If one council councilman Awet Eyasu
Clarkston’s charter with fully convinced on the member has beef with doubted there would be
The Clarkston Charter those of Sandy Springs, matter one way or the other someone, they shouldn’t enough public interest.
Review Committee held its Atlanta and John’s Creek but said he would be open have the ability to demand According to Williams,
first in-depth discussion on to ask why the city’s mayor to discussing it. that the rest of council the committee’s full
the city’s constitution Aug. cannot unilaterally call a “The option of having a come to city hall and have suggestions will be
22 since forming in late July. meeting. unilateral decision maker, a discussion about that presented before the
The committee—made “I’m looking for checks having one person being beef. That’s what town hall public and the Clarkston
up of residents Susan and balances,” Medford able to wake up in the meetings are for. If it’s a city attorney before being
Hood, Brian Medford, said. “If city council does morning and for whatever big enough beef to involve presented to council for a
Warren Hadlock, Emanuel not want to deal with [an emotional reason or the business of the city, it formal vote.
Ransom and Traci issue], they won’t ever call whatever legitimate reason should be an easy sell to “The starting point
Turgeon in addition to [a special-called meeting]. say, ‘I’m going to call a [other council members].” is getting suggestions
councilmen Mario Williams I’m looking 20 years down special session today and Turgeon pointed out and questions out there,
and Dean Moore—will the road and I don’t want everyone is going to be that in 2017, Clarkston discussing them a bit, and
examine Clarkston’s a city council to have a called to appear,’… I don’t City Council has held six bringing people in to answer
entire city charter and fighting match with a mayor agree with that,” Williams special-called meetings. questions before solidifying
provide clarifications, because neither one wants said. In 2016, the council only a recommendation,”
recommendations and to talk about what the public Moore said it is important held four special-called Williams said.
edifications to Clarkston wants to hear. We don’t to remember the distinction meetings. “We’re always willing to
City Council. want either side to freeze between town hall meetings Moore questioned the take written input from the
Council will take the the other one out.” and city council meetings. mayor’s right to veto council community,” Hood added.
recommendations—should According to Williams, He said the council decisions, but the rest of the A city charter, according
they prove to be legal by the mayor’s inability to functions as a board of committee insisted it is a to the National League of
the original charter authors vote on an item brought directors in conducting the power they want the mayor Cities, acts as the city’s
and city attorney Stephen before council except for business of the city and to keep. constitution. As long as it
Quinn—to vote. Officials a tie should be considered meetings are meant to Another topic of complies with state and
hope to complete certain before amending the conduct business. discussion included federal law, it creates
sections of the review by charter. “Council meetings changing from electing city- bylaws and outlines the
November. “Two council members are generally business wide councilman to electing function of city government.
On Aug. 22, the are needed to put meetings—this is the by district. “Occasionally, a city will
committee focused on city something on the agenda— passing of legislation and “I’m putting that out there seek to revise its charter.
limits, corporate powers, two general voting council so forth. Special-called as a possibility because There are several reasons
council and mayoral members,” Williams said. meetings should be for that we’ve almost doubled in to do so, since the charter
elections, as well as “Here’s the issue: if you do purpose,” Moore said. “If size,” said Hadlock. “We’re affects everything the city
functions of elected officials. a special-called session, you’re going to get together not quite as tight-knit as we government does,” states
A topic discussed in which means you’re doing to have a discussion, it used to be where everybody the National League of
Clarkston since January a session outside the norm shouldn’t be mandatory knew everybody in town. It’s Cities’ website.
has been special-called and can’t wait two or three that the full council show an interesting demographic The charter review
meetings. Under Clarkston’s weeks for something to up… It encourages better out there looking for committee’s next discussion
current charter—amended happen, should the mayor— communication. Having representation.” is tentatively scheduled for
in early 2017—only two who’s not a general voting town hall meetings is very While the idea was Sept. 7.
council members or the member—be allowed to get important—it gets the supported by residents
mayor and two council one general voting member information from the people Andrea Cervone and John


Doing the ‘right thing’

BY HORACE HOLLOMAN are crucial and both of
those jobs are important. It was incumbent to show the
respect of people that work
On any given day, in those positions.”
DeKalb Medical CEO The change in pay
The DeKalb Medical Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a minimum living wage policy, guaranteeing all
Bob Wilson said he tours affects more than 200 employees of the health system that they will earn at least $12 per hour.
the halls of the hospital, employees at DeKalb
talking to employees in Medical. The not-for-
profit hospital has three “The folks who make This was the right thing to we’re in this position that we
every department. Wilson do and by God we’re going set the example for others.”
said every position in the locations including hospitals $9.50 or $10.25 an hour
in downtown Decatur have spoke up and said to do it,’ Wilson said. “We’re The health system’s
hospital plays a key role a hospital of the people livable wage policy took
in the functionality of the and Hillandale with more ‘thank you,’ but it’s the
than 800 doctors in 55 other people who work and it’s important that while effect the week of Aug. 13.
organization, but everyone’s
paycheck did not reflect it— specialties. here who have thanked
until now. The increase in salary the board for doing this for
The DeKalb Medical for some employees was their coworkers. People
Board of Directors voted calculated based on the who aren’t directly affected
unanimously to adopt a living wage for DeKalb by this have said thank you
minimum living wage policy, County. According to and that speaks volumes
guaranteeing all employees, a about this institution,”
will earn at least $12 per livable wage for one Wilson said.
hour. adult is $12.01, while the Last year, DeKalb
Wilson said this new livable wage for one adult Medical reportedly
policy is the right thing to with a child is $23.18. released 60 employees
do. According to the site, the and eliminated 80
“Collectively, the average healthcare support vacant positions. Wilson
leadership team and our professional makes a acknowledged that the
finance committee felt very little more than $25,000 hospital has gone through
strongly that we needed annually. Currently, the tough financial times, but
to step up and improve minimum wage is $7.25. the pay raise sets the tone
pay,” Wilson said. “We Wilson, who is also vice for the future.
have nurses who often put chair for DeKalb Medical’s “Is it financially stressful?
things into people and our board, said the increase in Sure, but just because
environmental services salary will help the hospital you pay [employees] the
have to clean up what in the long-term by retaining minimum doesn’t mean they
comes out of us...both ends workers. will have a quality of life.


Cedar Grove High students
get free ‘hot spots’

BY R. SCOTT BELZER donation. Digital Dreamers is
a two-year technology
Approximately 300 program plan composed
students at Cedar Grove of laptops for students and
High School—located teachers; the replacement
at 2360 River Road in of outdated desktops at
Ellenwood—received free elementary schools; and
mobile wireless hotspots Sprint’s Digital Dreamers 1
courtesy of Sprint on Aug. Million Project in which the
21. company donates 25,000 About 300 Cedar Grove High School students are the first in DeKalb County School District to benefit from a donation of
Mobile hotspots allow mobile hotspots to qualified 25,000 mobile hotspots. Photos courtesy of DeKalb County School District.
users to connect to the DCSD students.
internet without a physical DCSD Superintendent
connection. Sprint’s R. Stephen Green joined confines of their homes,
donation will allow Cedar Sprint regional president our students will have
Grove High students to Brian Miller at Cedar Grove access to the world. Your
connect on and off campus to celebrate the occasion. ZIP code should not limit
to better complete projects “Our goal is to create your connectivity, and at
and link up to five units, student access any time, DCSD, we are committed to
according to DeKalb County any place, anywhere,” ensuring that it does not.”
School District (DCSD) Green said. “And through According to DCSD
officials. Digital Dreamers and officials, research shows 5
“The hotspots, equipped partnerships such as million families with school-
with safeguards to protect this one, we will do just aged children in the United
students online, directly that. About 25 percent of States do not have internet
support DCSD’s Digital students in urban school access. Despite this,
Dreamers initiative districts do not presently approximately 70 percent of
to increase students’ have access any time, any teachers assign homework
technological footprint and place, anywhere. Knowing that requires web access,
prepare them to be globally this, our district is taking creating a homework gap
competitive citizens,” proactive measures to close that places such students at
states a release about the that gap. Even within the an academic disadvantage.


Decatur Police Department recruits Allison, Downer and Stage fin-
ish up their first week of Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s law
enforcement academy Aug. 25. The recruits will complete 16 more
weeks of training before graduating.

Stone Mountain Elementary School’s Green Dot Club served ice cream sundaes on Aug. 25. Photo sub-

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst and the Brookhaven City Council
celebrated the accomplishments of 12-year-old Malena Shipley who
recently competed in the 80th FirstEnergy All-American Soapbox
Dunwoody Police Department invited residents to Brook Run Park’s skatepark on Aug. 20 for free hot Derby World Championships, winning the Local Masters World
dogs and water for a two-hour evening period. Photo submitted. Championship in Akron, Ohio

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


Positive Growth Inc. in Clarkston provides residential, educational and community-based services. Photo Positive Growth Inc. has served young men for 20 years as of October 2017. The organization
submitted. hosted an open house event Aug. 24. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

Positive Growth Inc. hosts open house, celebrates 20 years of service
impact. We’ve had the According to Arnold community. There’s a
BY R. SCOTT BELZER other side too, but when and Multicultural Service stigma about mental health they’re with us, we can say Director Jamal Ziad, the overseas—depression,
they go to school, get their Multicultural Services anger management,
Imagine a young person education and stay out of Center—opened in 2015— acculturation—and it’s
in a home where parents trouble. When they trip, allowed PGI to offer mental, hard to sit with a client and
are abusive or simply not we’re there to catch them.” community support and explain to them how mental
there—matters such as PGI—governed by physical health services to health in the United States
food, transportation and an independent board of new American young men is different.”
other needs turn into daily directors and accredited in 20 different languages. Former client and U.S.
struggles. Imagine the by the National Council on “We call it ‘the bundle,’” Army veteran Nafese
scenario when the same Accreditation—was once a Ziad said. “We started as Brown related how PGI
young person is a new consulting agency. Today, a small refugee team in affected him.
American and English is a it boasts 80 employees 2012, but Clarkston is one “I came to PGI when I
second language. across three facilities: of the most diverse cities in was 15, I wasn’t necessarily
What are this person’s Former education professional and
a Residential Care the whole world. We have a bad kid but if I had too
CEO of Positive Growth Inc., Joseph
options? Arnold, said the non-profit helps build Program, an Intervention & a couple hundred clients— much time on my hands
One local nonprofit— and restore healthy families. Photo by Education Center as well there’s a huge need in I’d get into trouble,” Brown
Positive Growth Inc. (PGI), R. Scott Belzer
as a Multicultural Services the new American, non-
in Clarkston—has sought Center. English speaking refugee See Community on Page 20A
to provide answers since its children, youth, adults and
founding in October 1994. families seeking service, or
PGI is a licensed 501(c)3 sometimes happen to know
dedicated to providing someone who needs our
residential care for males service. These are young
ages 5 to 21, afterschool men who may be homeless,
programs, day school for abused, been down, have
general education degrees issues with the law or
(GED), summer camp, getting settled here in our
mental health services and fine country.”
multicultural programs. Arnold said PGI provides
On Aug. 24, PGI hosted a “safe haven” until a
an open house event meaningful solution can be
celebrating its 20 years of found for each individual
service in Georgia. served. In the same way,
PGI seeks to help young PGI provides a positive
men who feel they may be afterschool environment for
in helpless situations. students, it offers a program
PGI partners with the for parents as part of a
Georgia Division of Family prevention tactic. According
Services, United Way and to Arnold, PGI has worked
the Child Welfare League with 1,400 young men.
of America to provide such “Healthy families are
services to children from an important cornerstone
throughout the state. in building a strong
“I was just trying to work community,” Arnold said.
with young people,” said “We don’t’ have the
CEO and former education blueprint, but we do have
professional Joseph young men who have done
Arnold. “All of this came 15 years in the military,
about through [God’s] will. I graduated from college,
didn’t see it but He saw it… become business owners,
The people we serve are fathers. We’ve had that


The city was awarded a $150,000 grant for streambank
restoration along the north fork of Nancy Creek, south of the
Murphey Candler dam.

Murphey Candler Park receives
donation for playground
East Decatur Greenway (EDG) proposed installing an opening in the fence at the end of Exeter Road
for the hard work of the near Craigie Avenue for a walking/biking trail.
BY CARLA PARKER MCPC, which has been

IT’S A NO improving the park and
allowing it to thrive for many
years before Brookhaven
A new playground is became a city.”
coming to Murphey Candler The Murphey Candler
Park. Park Conservancy, a 501c3
The Murphey Candler non-profit organization, is
Park Conservancy (MCPC)
was awarded a $75,000
grant from the Resurgens
trying to raise $100,000 for
the playground. Donations Avondale Estates says ‘no’ to East Decatur
Charitable Foundation to
construct a new playground
can be made at www.
In other Murphey
Greenway proposal
at the park. According to Candler Park news, the city
MCPC, the grant is the was awarded a $150,000 expressed concerns [about] having to put
largest donation to the BY CARLA PARKER another crossing guard there,” Elmore said.
grant for stream bank
conservancy. restoration along the north “That’s a very busy corner in the morning
“The MCPC is very fork of Nancy Creek, south and afternoon and it could present a safety
thankful for the generosity of the Murphey Candler issue. It’s not really good sidewalks there,
shown by the Resurgens dam. The Avondale Estates Board of Mayor we would have to paint a crosswalk. So,
Charitable Foundation The city plans to restore and Commissioners is not in favor of a for all those reasons and for many others, I
and our partnership with the stream and buffer from pedestrian/bike trail that would connect the personally don’t think this is a good idea for
Brookhaven,” MCPC the dam to the convergence East Decatur Greenway trail to the city. the neighborhood. I don’t see the benefits
president Shane Day of the North Fork and Nancy East Decatur Greenway (EDG) proposed outweighing the costs.”
Boyer said. Creek. creating an opening in the fence at the end The commissioners agreed, but also said
The playground will be “I want to thank Sen. of Exeter Road near Craigie Avenue for a they hope the conversation continues on
the first new playground Johnny Isakson for his walking/biking trail. EDG developed a trail connecting trails.
in Murphey Candler Park guidance in securing network plan in collaboration with The PATH “Overall, I’m supportive of opening
in decades, according to this grant that will have a Foundation, city of Decatur, the Friends up our community and creating more
MCPC. Groundbreaking for regional benefit,” Ernst said. School of Atlanta, Columbia Ventures connections to the neighborhoods and
the playground is expected “The health of the Nancy (Avondale TOD developer) and DeKalb areas that are adjacent to our [city], but I
later this year. Creek Watershed impacts County. The group said the trail would don’t think this particular proposal is ready,
Brookhaven and the the entire basin. While provide a safe pedestrian/cyclist connection in its current state, to move forward,”
MCPC are partnering on this project will restore to the trail for Avondale Estates residents. Commissioner Adela Yelton said. “But I like
the design and financing the natural beauty of the Avondale Estates officials said it would the fact that we are starting to have these
of the project, according to waterway, its true intent is be a jurisdictional logistics headache. conversations and we’re starting to look
MCPC. The playground will to significantly decrease “I did talk with Clai [Brown], our city at the issues about what it would mean to
be located on the west side the amount of silt flowing manager, and our Police Chief Lynn open up our community.”
of the park, between the downstream that negatively Thomas, and asked him about his Commissioner Brian Fisher said
caretaker’s home and the impacts water quality, concerns, which were pretty much what the conversations also presented an
pool, and will be accessible vegetation and native we thought—that we have a bit of a opportunity for the city to engage with the
to children of all ages and wildlife,” jurisdictional problem,” Mayor Jonathan Jones family, who lives near the proposed
abilities. The project is the Elmore said. “We’ve heard a lot from the opening.
In a statement, first of several initiatives neighborhood, which was largely opposed “Right now, we’ve have left the Joneses
Brookhaven Mayor John outlined in the Nancy Creek to the opening. There was a petition that in a situation where the city owns something
Ernst praised MCPC for Watershed Improvement looked like the majority of the neighborhood and allows [people] to park with no written
its efforts in building a Plan, which was adopted signed.” documentation—that if 20 years from now
playground that all children by the Brookhaven City Elmore said putting an opening in the someone says, ‘Hey the city is going to take
can play on. Council in 2016. The fence would cause safety issues for a family this parking space’—they could,” Fisher
“An ADA playground will city said the total cost of who lives nearby as well as for students at said. “I think not giving them legal access to
be a wonderful addition to restoration is expected to be the Museum School. parking and doing something there would
Murphey Candler Park,” approximately $300,000. “We also spoke to the school and they be a mistake.”
Ernst said. “We are grateful


SPLOST could help
backlog of road repairs
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN language of House Bill 596. If the
bill was approved, a tax break for DeKalb homeowners “shall be
tolled” or otherwise would lose their
With another opportunity at tax break.
a Special Purpose Local Option Rader said it’s important DeKalb
Sales Tax (SPLOST) that could improves its roadway system if
bring $500 million to DeKalb SPLOST is approved by voters.
County over the next five years, “This is important to our
The Brookhaven City Council approved a sidewalk project that will provide road repairs could become a top stakeholders. We need sidewalk
approximately 820 feet of sidewalk along Lanier Drive and Woodrow Way. priority. and road improvements as well as
DeKalb County voters will have multi-use trails as a way of being
the option to approve a referendum able to upgrade our transportation

City Council approves sidewalks project in November on increasing taxes.
According to Senate Bill 156,
system and really help to improve
quality of life,” Rader said.
DeKalb officials will have certain Commissioner Larry Johnson,
BY CARLA PARKER to see this project moving forward.” provisions on what the one-cent a vocal advocate of roadway
Precise Development Group sales tax money can be used for. improvements in his district, was awarded the bid to do the According to the provisions of said he was disappointed the
project for $229,956. Work begins the legislation, SPLOST money SPLOST referendum failed last
More sidewalks are coming to
on Sept. 11 and is expected to be must be spent on transportation year. Johnson said he would like
completed by Nov. 1. purposes such as roads, bridges SPLOST proceeds to be used in
The Brookhaven City
The city also announced that it public transit, airports, buses and residential areas first.
Council voted during it Aug. 22
has rejected bids for the Ashford seaports. “I was really upset about
regular meeting to approved a
Park Trike Track. DeKalb County CEO Michael [last year] because the citizens
sidewalk project that will provide
The city estimated a cost of Thurmond stated an estimated 85 that we appointed made great
approximately 820 feet of sidewalk
approximately $10,000 for the percent of the proceeds would be recommendations. It was a lot of
along Lanier Drive and Woodrow
project. The only two bids the used for repaving some of DeKalb’s meetings, tools and resources
Way. City officials said the project
city received were $65,000 and most deteriorated roads. we used and they brought a good
is a part of the city’s overall plan
$75,000. DeKalb County Commissioner project list to go forward,” Johnson
to connect Peachtree Road and
“We are rejecting all of Jeff Rader said legislators said. “I’m going to sound the drum
Hearst Drive with sidewalk along
the bids; these amounts are are beginning to listen to their loud and clear. We need to take
Lanier Drive.
unconscionable,” Brookhaven City constituents. care of the neighborhood roads
The project includes grass strips
Manager Christian Sigman said. “The legislation does help first.”
between the sidewalk and the road,
“Staff will revisit the scope of work to focus on the transportation Based on a January road ratings
as well as help define on-street
to ensure the description is clear, agenda. Road repaving is the report, DeKalb County officials will
parking along Woodrow Way. City
and that all qualified contractors most important of that,” Rader focus on roads that are rated 30
officials said the intersection of
have an ample opportunity to said. “In the past decade or more, and above. According to the report,
Woodrow Way and Lanier Drive will
provide a competitive bid.” our resources have steadily DeKalb County has nearly 400
get a “refuge island” for pedestrian
The project is one of the decreased.” miles of roads in need of repair.
traffic to enhance the intersection’s
improvements identified in the Last year, before a SPLOST “It’s all about preventative
ADA compliance.
Ashford Park Master Plan, option was put on a November maintenance,” Johnson said. “I’m
“The community has been
according to city officials. A referendum, DeKalb officials excited because we get to do some
looking forward to this sidewalk for
majority of the work involves noticed the word “tolled” in the things that we haven’t done in a
a long, long time,” City councilman
converting an existing concrete long time.”
Bates Mattison said. “I am excited
pathway into a tricycle track.

SW DEKALB Continued From Page 2A
official. Oh well, on to the next big director DeKalb County Recreation, Over the course of three years, enough.”
thing.” Parks & Cultural Affairs. “Unless Davison said the association has Davison insists the association
Davison said on Aug. 21 that their past event clearly overran a built fruitful relationships with is thorough with picking up after the
he spoke with a DeKalb County park or a neighborhood.” officials at nearby Salem Middle alumni cookout but is instructed to
reservationist on Aug. 14 who Davison said the maximum School as well as neighbors close leave trash bags at the park at a
informed him he “may need to amount of people allowed to to the park. In the seven years designated area.
consider another venue,” for future reserve space at Salem Park is Southwest DeKalb High School has “I assume they thought it was a
events. He admitted he may have based on the pavilion capacity of held its alumni cookout, not a single bit excessive,” Davison said.
misspoken on being officially 200 to 300 people. incident has been reported. Davison said DeKalb County
banned from Salem Park. “I don’t understand that number “Throughout the process, we’ve commissioner Larry Johnson and
“She called me and she asked based on the size of the field that never had any issues,” Davison former DeKalb County CEO Lee
me what the attendance was, and we used,” Davison said. “That’s said. “Nobody starts anything, May promised to help him find a
I did mislead her with the numbers a 200-yard field that’s 200 yards nobody gets overly inebriated. It’s new location for the next alumni
for two years in a row,’ Davison wide.” just all about love and admiration. cookout.
said. “She commented about the This year is the third year People are impressed in the “If at all possible, we would
amount of trash bags we left. I did Southwest DeKalb Alumni amount of people who choose like to try to get a big open field at
apologize for misleading her but Association has used Salem Park. to hang out that much without Stonecrest Mall,” Davison said. “It
she suggested we consider another He said the alumni association incident. That’s a big thing for me— would facilitate us well. It’d be the
park in the future.” originally chose Salem Park to debunk the myths about African- best place to do it before football
“Rarely, if ever, a group is denied because its location, as it’s close to Americans gathering in one place. fields and softball fields start getting
reservation of a park due to their Southwest DeKalb High and many We conducted ourselves as adults worked on.”
estimation,” said Marvin Billups, alumni still live in the area. and I can’t congratulate people

Cross Keys High School is currently storing trailers on one of its athletic fields,
BROOKHAVEN sparking debate among school officials and stakeholders. Photo submitted

Trailers spark debate
BY R. SCOTT BELZER trailers without explanation. No
letter was sent home to parents and the parents I’ve talked to are worn
out in expressing frustration. They
The decision to place a number think it falls on deaf ears.”
of portable classrooms on an District spokesmen said, “DCSD
athletic field at Cross Keys High is placing great care to ensure
School—located at 1626 N Druid students at Cross Keys High School
Hills Rd. NE in Brookhaven—has have access to the appropriate
sparked discussion and interest facilities, while supporting
in DeKalb County School District extracurricular activities.”
(DCSD). “Recently, students participating
On Aug. 19, former Cross Keys in fall sports have had access to
teacher Rebekah Cohen Morris half of the football practice field
posted an image of eight to 10 while 10 portable learning facilities
portable classrooms on a Cross were placed on site,” reads the
Keys High School athletic field. response. “Other locations, such as
“These are a few of the 23 the school baseball field, have been
[portable classrooms] on the employed as alternatives. DCSD is
property of Cross Keys,” Morris working closely with the school to
stated in a caption. “Where do they rearrange the portables on those
practice football? Where do they do fields within two weeks to create
[physical education]?” more space for students.”
Morris’s picture sparked a Rebekah Cohen Morris, a former Cross Keys High teacher, brought public attention to the DeKalb Portable classrooms, also
discussion on Facebook, Twitter County school’s issue on Aug. 19. Also pictured: Cross Keys High principal Jason Heard. Photo by R.
known as modulars, trailers and
Scott Belzer
and Instagram with fellow DCSD modular classrooms have been a
stakeholders and district officials, controversial topic in DCSD for the
including board of education Jester said on his blog— can address the logistics issues past several years because of cost
member Stan Jester. Among other—that raised in [Morris’s comments]. In an and legality.
comments, Jester pointed out the conversion is estimated for urban setting space is frequently a DCSD spent $2.5 million on
Lakeside High School currently has completion in 2020 with a new challenge and other schools face trailers in March 2016 and $3.1
portable classrooms on its tennis Cross Keys High school expected similar issues. For example, due to million in February 2017.
court and that Chamblee Charter in 2021. space constraints, many athletes The 2017 purchase resulted
High School expects to receive Fellow board member at Druid Hills High School travel in questions from DeKalb County
approximately 10 trailers in the next Marshall Orson said addressing to Druid Hills Middle School for commissioner Nancy Jester
few years. overcrowding in the Cross Keys practices and/or matches. We are regarding the legality of portables
Jester also said the trailers are High School cluster is one of committed to providing comparable without certificates of occupancy
necessary to convert Cross Keys DCSD’s highest priorities. opportunities for all students (COs). According to West’s
High into Cross Keys Middle, as “Given these circumstances, and continue to work to address Encyclopedia of American Law,
approved by DCSD’s E-SPLOST we will be building a new high circumstances where there are a CO confirms a building is in
project list this year. school for the cluster—in addition obstacles to doing so.” compliance with all applicable
“The trailers at Cross Keys to two new elementary schools Morris said she respects Jester building codes. COs are typically
High School aren’t a function of and renovations of other schools, and Orson’s work for the district issued before a building can be
overcrowding, but the conversion including the current Cross Keys board of education, but said Cross used.
from a high school to a middle High School, which will become Keys High School’s problem needs According to documents
school,” Jester said. “The trailers a middle school,” Orson said. to be directly addressed. obtained by The Champion, the
have been placed at Cross Keys for “We are searching diligently for a “Students need to know why city of Brookhaven has issued
a renovation project. They are not suitable property in order to build there are trailers on school fields,” 12 certificates of occupancy for
there due to enrollment or capacity this school as quickly and prudently Morris said. “They already have portables at Cross Keys High
issues.” as possible. The administration five lunches and have gotten more School.


Students shown ‘inappropriate’ film in school
certainly not part of the content from the very first racist caricatures contained personnel responsible
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN lesson plan. We were moment. I thought, ‘what in the video. Those images for the showing have still holding students in does this have to do with have absolutely no place been addressed through
class and I allowed them anything educational?’” in our classrooms, and personnel matters. Moving
to request French music, Lawson and Britt said the decision to show the forward, DCSD will partner
Parents of students who which I displayed on the they would like the school video is totally outside with community agencies to
attend DeKalb School of the Promethean Board. I had to provide DSA faculty and of the district’s policies, provide support and work
Arts say their children were seen the movie years ago staff with development expectations and standards. to ensure that incidents like
shown an “inappropriate” and know it is considered a training in diversity and An investigation was this do not happen in the
film that displayed elements ‘classic,’ but I had forgotten inclusion, contact all conducted, and the future.”
of racism and sexism during about this aspect of it. I did parents with students in
class. stop the video before it was the class and inform them
According to parents, the finished and will definitely of the circumstances and
students of Jim Dickson not show it again,” Dickson coordinate with a school
were shown an excerpt wrote. counselor to address the
from the film The Triplets Susan McCauley, matter.
of Belleville to a third level principal at DeKalb School “In this case, this school
French class. of the Arts, said Dickson has not been able to find
The animated movie, also apologized to his class the tools to address this.
made in 2003, received and the school will “work The [superintendent] said
a 94 percent rating on on a plan to move forward, this is a personnel matter. and film and create opportunities for I can appreciate that, but
critic Roger Ebert described growth for our staff.” it’s also a matter of student
it as “creepy, eccentric, Valerie Britt, whose harm and that’s where the
eerie, flaky, freaky, funky, daughter also attends DSA, challenge lies and there
grotesque, inscrutable, said the school needs to do isn’t an understanding,”
kinky, kooky, magical, more. Lawson said.
oddball, spooky, uncanny, “I watched it quite a few The DeKalb County
uncouth and unearthly. times and I kept thinking School District issued
Especially uncouth.” Other ‘did I really just see that?’ a statement regarding
critics have called the movie [The clip] exploited so many the video stating, “The
a “classic.” stereotypes. It’s a mockery DeKalb County School
However, a particular and it’s designed to be a District (DCSD) regrets
scene in the movie upset mockery. I know people that students at the DeKalb
parents. Nwandi Lawson, are going to think this is an School of the Arts were
whose daughter attends issue of racial stereotypes, exposed to the nudity and
DeKalb School of the Arts but I was appalled by the
and watched the movie in
Dickson’s class, said the
school should have a better
screening policy.
“When I saw this video,
I gasped from the moment
that several morbidly obese
animated caricatures of
women exit a limousine, one
with a small man wedged
between the cheeks of her
buttocks,” Nwandi wrote
in an email exchange with
The Champion. “Like my
daughter, I was furious by
the time I arrived at images
of a grotesquely drawn
Black woman who gyrates
across the stage with her
bared breasts jiggling at the
audience before turning her
backside to the camera and
having a pack of monkeys
rip away the ‘banana belt’
that serves as her only
The dancer in the film
depicts popular 1920s
France singer and dancer
Josephine Baker. Baker
worked for the French
Resistance during World
War II and became a civil
rights activists in the 1950s.
Lawson said the movie
clip was racist and sexist
and not appropriate for
Dickson apologized to
Lawson in an email, stating
it was a “lapse in diligence”
on his part.
“I just wanted to let
you know that this was

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Lakeside tops Clarkston in county cross country openers
by Mark Brock Genevieve Ferrara
(24:08.60) and senior Lisa
The first DeKalb County Medford (24:14.60).
cross country meet was Columbia senior Franol
held Aug. 22 with the Hulufe (31:38.40) was
Lakeside Vikings and Lady 16th and the first non-Druid
Vikings getting season Hills runner to cross the
opening wins over Clarkston line. She was followed by
at Druid Hills Middle School. Cedar Grove senior Zenera
Lakeside won the girls’ Foster (32:13.60).
race by sweeping the top In the boys’ race, Druid
seven spots for a 15-74 win Hills had five of the top six
over the Clarkston Lady runners to outrun Martin
Angoras. Junior Emma Luther King Jr. 16-50 for
Hanson captured the the win. Arabia Mountain
individual title with a time of was third (106) followed by
22:46.00. McNair (112), Lithonia (138)
The rest of the Top and Cedar Grove (143).
5 finishers for Lakeside Druid Hills junior Carter
included sophomore Rathur took top honors in
Sydney DeWoody the race with his time of
(22:58.50), junior Abbie 19:13.90 to lead a group
Hunter (23:22.00), eighth of four consecutive Red
graders Abigail McHail Devils to cross the finish
(23:41.10) and Kate Van line. Junior Ian Shunk
Horn (23:45.50). (19:26.70) was second with
Tucker sophomore Luma Druid Hills freshman Jalen Smith finished first in the second Lakeside sophomore Mikias Mekonen finished first in
sophomore Senai Ghezai
Younis was the only non- girls’ race of the DeKalb County School District meet. the first boys’ race of the DeKalb County School District (19:57.70) third and senior
Lakeside runner in the Top meet. Ermias Genet (20:27.80)
10 as she finished ninth with fourth.
a time of 25:54.70. Younis Lakeside put six runners with a time of 18:07.70, (20:20.40). Sophomore Thomas
helped Tucker finish fifth in the Top 10, led by senior Enoch Kabwende Weingardner (20:51.20)
with 124 points. sophomore Mikias (18:40.10) finished fifth Second Varsity Race finished out the scoring for
Clarkston’s top finisher Mekonen, who was the and junior Ngabo Daniel Druid Hills swept the Druid Hills with his sixth-
was junior Angel Wilson only runner in the meet to (19:14.30) finished sixth. second county varsity race place finish.
with a time 28:23.00 to run under 18 minutes, with Lakeside sophomore of the day at Druid Hills Martin Luther King
come in 17th overall. a time of 17:56.30 to take Alex Bachman (19:27.20) Middle. junior Demetrius Carson
Dunwoody came in fourth medalist honors. was seventh, while junior The Lady Red Devils (20:47.70) climbed into the
in the team standings with Juniors Jay Clinton teammate Oliver Hewett had the only full team in Top 5 to lead the Lions to a
85 points led by sophomore (18:26.30) and William (19:34.90) and senior the contest, but swept the second-place finish in the
Marina Von Behren, who Nelson (18:40.10) Daniel Martinez (19:36.20) Top 15 finishes, led by ninth team standings. Sophomore
was 15th (27:19.90). were third and fourth, was 10th. grader Jalen Smith with a Christian Abraham
Cross Keys was fourth respectively, to aid the Tucker junior Abdilnur time of 22:27.30. (22:11.60) was ninth and
in the girls’ standings with Vikings in their 24-42 victory Tiroro (19:29.70) finished The next four Druid junior Deonne Wragg
87 points led by senior over Clarkston in the boys’ eight overall to lead the Hills runners to score (22:24.50) was 10th.
Joyce Korir with a time opener. Tigers to a third-place finish points were ninth graders Cedar Grove freshman
of 28:54.50 to finish 22nd Clarkston junior (78). Dunwoody finished Harrison Baer (23:17.70) Omari Walker (22:10.70)
overall. Rukundo Uwimana 17th with 100 points, led and Reese Rathur finished eighth overall to
In the boys’ meet, finished second overall by senior Max Marion (23:47.70), sophomore lead the Saints.


Aug. 22 Cedar Grove 16, McNair 1
Arabia Mountain 18, Columbia 2 Chamblee 3, Southwest DeKalb 0
Cedar Grove 23, Towers 1 Lakeside 12, Berkmar 6
Chamblee 15, Clarkston 0 Lithonia 27, Clarkston 10
Druid Hills 15, Salem 11 Marist 11, Blessed Trinity 4
Miller Grove 12, Lithonia 0 MLK 22, Jonesboro 7
Southwest DeKalb 20, Meadowcreek 0 Madison County 9, St. Pius X 1
Brookwood 16, Lakeside 0 Mundy’s Mill 7, Stephenson 5
Chattahoochee 10, Dunwoody 2 Pace 28, Redan 6
Jefferson 13, St. Pius X 3 Pope 7, Dunwoody 5
Pace 18, Stone Mountain 0 Salem 12, Druid Hills 4

Aug. 23 Aug. 26
Arabia Mountain 15, Lithonia 2 Arabia Mountain 17, Westlake 2
Chamblee 10, North Springs 1 Cedar Grove 8, Drew Charter 1
Stephenson 18, Cedar Grove 3 Chamblee 14, Stephenson 2
Meadowcreek 19, Columbia 2 Miller Grove 4, Decatur 1
South Atlanta 19, Clarkston 6 Southwest DeKalb 17, Stockbridge 1
Stephenson 3, Westlake 1
Aug. 24
Arabia Mountain 4, Miller Grove 2

FOOTBALL Photos by Travis Hudgons

Arabia Mountain running back Joshua Campbell trays to avoid a tackle while Arabia Mountain defensive end Demetric Barnes sacks M.L. King quarterback Coleman White.

Arabia Mountain rolls past MLK in chippy rivalry game
BY CARLA PARKER better team. Quarterback halftime. of the ball I think we played passing yards on 12-of-
Bryson Williams led the Midway through the really well,” he said. “We 17 completions, three offense with four total third quarter, Williams hit could’ve scored a couple of touchdowns and an
The Arabia Mountain touchdowns—three passing Corey Rolle on a slant more touchdowns, but we interception, and 66 rushing
Rams outscored the M.L. and one rushing touchdown. pass for the touchdown and had some turnovers. We’re yards on eight attempts and
King Lions by 26 points, His first touchdown came extended the Rams’ lead to going to clean it up and get one touchdown. The Rams
but the score didn’t keep on a 3-yard strike to Jordan 33-7. Pritchett said he was ready for Redan.” defense held MLK to 102
the two neighborhood rivals Barrow, giving the Rams a pleased with the offense. Williams finished yards of offense and two
from smack-talking and 6-0 lead. MLK took the lead “On the offensive side the game with 150 first downs.
pushing and shoving each in the second quarter on a
other. 72-yard rushing touchdown
Before the Rams’ 33-7 by Jaelon Thomas. MLK
made the extra point kick
victory over the Lions Aug.
giving the Lions a 7-6 lead OTHER SCORES
25 at Avondale Stadium, Photo by Travis Hudgons
the two teams were trading with 11:33 left in the first
verbal jabs from pregame half. Aug. 25
warmups until the final Arabia Mountain McNair (1-0) 41, Clarkston (0-2) 6
seconds of the game. responded two minutes Columbia (2-0) 42, Druid Hills (0-2) 7
There were several shoving later when Williams found Tucker (2-0) 54, Lakeside (0-2) 0
matches that occurred after Barrow again on a deep Decatur (1-1) 40, Chamblee (1-1) 7
the whistle was blown, but pass to the end zone,
Mill Creek (2-0) 31, Stephenson (0-2) 13
no fights. and the two connected
on the following two-point Cedar Grove (2-0) 37, SW DeKalb (1-1) 7
Arabia Mountain coach Marist (1-0) 31, Lovett (0-2) 14
Stanley Pritchett said he conversion to give the
Rams a 14-7 lead. Blessed Trinity (2-0) 35, St. Pius X (0-1) 21
expected a battle between
the two teams. After a MLK fumble, the
Rams ran two plays before Aug. 26
“It’s a neighborhood
rivalry. Every time we play Williams walked into the Redan (1-1) 18, Lithonia (0-2) 9
them, since I’ve been here, end zone on a quarterback Miller Grove (2-0) 39, Stone Mountain (0-2) 0
it’s been a battle,” he said. keeper for a rushing Banneker 24, Towers (1-1) 12
“I knew it was going to be a touchdown, extending
battle, but I’m glad we came Arabia Mountain’s lead to Open: Cross Keys (0-0), Dunwoody (1-0)
out on the winning side this 20-7. With 52 seconds left
year.” in the first half, Williams hit
Despite the between- wide receiver Tyler Suber McNair wide receiver Calvin George Jr. catches a
plays battle, Arabia in the end zone, giving touchdown pass as Clarkston cornerback Jaiquon
Johnson tries to defend the pass.
Mountain proved to be the the Rams a 26-7 lead at

Continued From Page 4A Continued From Page 12A
person, firm, corporation, or other entity said. “PGI taught me discipline, respect,
acting without authority to mutilate, deface, what it’s like to have a family.”
defile, abuse contemptuously, relocate, Volunteer and board member
remove, conceal, or obscure any privately Theo Anderson said PGI acts as “the
owned monument, plaque, marker, or village” in the adage “It takes a village
memorial which is dedicated to, honors, to raise a child.”
or recounts the military service of any past “I implore anyone to think about
or present military personnel of this state, how they can give back and help our
the United States of America or the several organization,” Anderson said. “This has
states thereof, or the Confederate States of evolved into a wonderful community
America or the several states thereof.” resource.”
County commissioners and state To celebrate its 20th anniversary,
representatives could request the state PGI will host a celebration event
legislature change or amend the law to allow featuring jazz trumpeter Joey
cities to remove such monuments. Sommerville, vocalist Julie Dexter,
A petition to keep the monument where it and comedian GRIFF at the Porter
is circulated around DeKalb County and as Sanford III Performing Arts &
of Aug. 23 has more than 1,000 signatures. Community Center, located at 3181
The creator of the petition, listed as Rainbow Drive, on Nov. 3.
CHRIS Barry Colbaugh on the site, Arnold said the public is welcome to
said residents should urge officials to keep attend. The goal of the event is to raise
the monument at its current location. $20,000.
Chris (ID# 24219560) could smile for days! This happy “The Decatur Confederate monument “When I step back and think about
ham knows his basic manners, loves all people, and has been was designed for one purpose, to remember
waiting way too long for his forever home. Make his dreams 20 years, what a milestone it is for
come true, meet him at LifeLine's DeKalb Animal Services! the soldiers who served and died in Positive Growth and landing here in the
If you would like to expand your family by 4 furry little defense of their homes. Some of whom city of Clarkston… looking back at the
feet; come meet this sweet pup at the DeKalb Animal Shelter went on to help Decatur recover after the
and have a loving friend forever. During the month of August work that we have done, we can say it
help us celebrate the “Tail End of Summer” the adoption fee war,” Colbaugh wrote. “The Confederate was not just done by Positive Growth,
is only $25 for all dogs over 25 lbs. and all cats. It includes veterans of Decatur and DeKalb County but by our community,” Arnold said.
spay/neuter, vaccinations and microchip! If you would like deserve better. This monument has sat at
more information about Chris please call (404) 294-2165 or “We’re excited about the work we have
email All potential the Decatur Courthouse since 1908 and has done and what we’ll do in the future.”
adopters will be screened to ensure Chris goes to a good had no issues for over a century until groups For more information, visit www.
home. seeking to destroy history put the monument
Hours: Mon-Fri; 11am-7pm / Sat-Sun; 11 am - 6 pm
squarely in their sights.”