the DeKalb FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • VOL. 22, NO.

40 • 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

Bethune Middle principal removed following alleged ‘groping’
by R. Scott Belzer conference took place Oct. 16 Mr. Myron Broome, principal at Mary
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com through 18. McLeod Bethune Middle School,”
Sources to The Champion state reads an official statement. “As soon
Mary McLeod Bethune Middle the employee’s husband contacted as the alleged incident was reported
School principal Myron Broome DCSD superintendent R. Stephen to administration, Mr. Broome was
has been placed on paid administra- Green directly on Oct. 19, stating removed from the school and placed
tive leave following reports of “seri- “If you don’t do something about on paid administrative leave.”
ous employee misconduct,” accord- this, I will.” DCSD is conducting an
ing to DeKalb County School District Broome was removed as soon internal investigation, officials
(DCSD) officials. as the incident was reported, state. Broome will remain on
The Champion received an officials state. DCSD spokesmen administrative leave until the
anonymous tip that Broome did not confirm the nature of outcome of the investigation is
allegedly groped a fellow DCSD Broome’s conduct. revealed. An unnamed retired
employee during the Statewide “On Oct. 19, 2017, the DCSD DCSD administrator is serving as
Instructional Leadership administration received a report of principal of the school during the
Conference in Macon. The serious employee misconduct by interim.
Broome

Autistic man finds joy in helping
by Carla Parker At 6-months-old, his mother
carla@dekalbchamp.com said, Jay had what appeared
to be a muscle spasm, but

W
hen Jay Merlin was a Merlin, who was an elementary
child, he would not step education major, knew it was
foot in a gymnasium more than that.
because for children with “I had a professor at The
autism—which Jay has—loud University of Georgia that acted
noises are often unbearable. out seizures,” she said. “I was
However, at 37 years old, he an elementary education major
finds loud noises don’t faze him. and we were required to take one
Merlin is the scoreboard operator special education class. He dem-
at Adams Stadium and Druid Hills onstrated the different types of
High School. He has operated seizures and when I saw Jay do
the scoreboard at football and what looked like a muscle flinch, I
basketball games for 10 years. remembered that.”
“It’s fun,” he said. She called Jay’s pediatrician
Although Merlin was officially and told him what she saw, Jay Merlin, who has autism, has operated the scoreboard at Adams Stadium for
10 years.
diagnosed with Asperger but the doctor didn’t believe it
syndrome—a form of autism— was a seizure, but Merlin was
when he was a preteen, his sure it was. Merlin took Jay to
parents said they believe he Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-
was born with a certain level of Scottish Rite and the doctors
autism. there diagnosed him with infantile
“When Jay was born, I noticed motor spasms, a seizure disorder.
his nervous system seemed kind “Although [the spasms]
of wound up and he just wasn’t a look very mild, it was a very
baby that would relax,” Merlin’s dangerous and highly involved
mother Marguerite said. “A lot seizure disorder that went on
of it seemed to be after he ate. for about six months,” she said.
Whether he was breast-fed or “Those spasms [became] more
bottle-fed, he was just real cranky exaggerated.”
afterwards. Jay’s symptoms and Although the seizures ceased,
conditions were varied, but his Merlin said Jay’s motor skills
growth motor skills did seem to progress slowed even more as
be a little delayed. He didn’t roll he received treatment for the
over early, he didn’t walk early, all seizure disorder.
Jay Merlin, left, and PA announcer John Becker have worked side-by-side for 10
of that was delayed.” years. Photos by Carla Parker
See Jay on page 5

Visit www.championnewspaper.com for local, real DeKalb County news.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 2

TUCKER

Auman Deaton Penkava Robbins Soltys Van De Kreke

Two Tucker council members face challengers
BY CARLA PARKER of stopping. held elected office and served for the most part, is not a with commercial, arts and
carla@dekalbchamp.com “I’ve been working hard all as an officer on the school part of what most people living options. Connectivity
my life to develop, redevelop, board in Coventry, Conn.,” historically thought of as is needed to make the city
improve, and protect this she said on her website. Tucker and in many ways of Tucker one with valuable
Tucker City Council could community,” she said in a “Community service was a still is not. We must create a attributes at each point.”
have two new faces after the released statement. “Tucker part of our family upbringing. connected community which Penkava, who also was
Nov. 7 election. is at a crossroads right now, My father always said that we not only serves but draws elected to Tucker’s inaugural
Councilwomen Honey and will either go down a needed to be a part of the
Van De Kreke and Michelle path toward high-quality solution and not simply voice SEE TUCKER ON PAGE 4A
Penkava have challengers destination development, or discontent about what was
for their council seats. Pat make decisions that risk our happening.”
Soltys is challenging Van De property values and stability Soltys is a member
Kreke for the District 1, Post as a community. of several organizations,
1, seat and Dave Deaton is “I will continue to serve including the Smoke Rise
challenging Penkava for the the people of Smoke Rise, Community Association,
District 3, Post 1, seat. Oakengate, Idlewood Parc, Tucker Business Association
Mayor Frank Auman and and all of Tucker, to make sure and General Federation
District 2, Post 1, Councilman
Matt Robbins are running
unopposed.
we don’t encourage short-
sighted plans that threaten to
bring high-density blight to
of Women’s Clubs Stone
Mountain Woman’s Club. 84th
Van De Kreke was elected
to Tucker’s inaugural city
council in 2016 to serve
any part of Tucker,” she added.
Soltys is a founding
partner on the Smoke Rise
She said there are many
issues facing District 1 as well
as concerns to be addressed,
Annual
Meeting
District 1, which includes Agents team. She and her including connectivity
the Smoke Rise community husband moved to Tucker between the district and the
where she has lived for 32 in 2004 and she said she has city.
years. She said it has been an always been involved in her “Most of the District 1 is
honor to serve the people of Tuesday, November 14, 2017
communities. east of the industrial corridor
Smoke Rise and all of Tucker “I bring a lot of skills and and south of [Highway] Atlanta Marriott Marquis
and that she has no intention experience including having 78,” she said. “District 1 265 Peachtree Center Ave., NE | Atlanta, GA 30303
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LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 3

AROUNDDEKALB
AVONDALE focusing on Irish culture. The event will also
offer cultural activities, film viewings, lectures, LITHONIA
ESTATES food, beverages and workshops.
Headlining acts include Pride of New Vision plan meeting in Lithonia
York, Pride of Moyvane and The Yanks. Music
HOLIDAY BAZAAR IN AVONDALE ESTATES and theater performances will take place Lithonia and community stakeholders
throughout both days on multiple stages. are working with Park Pride to develop a
The Avondale Estates Garden Club will host Favorite workshops of past IrishFests vision plan for Lithonia Park. There will be a
its annual Holiday Bazaar at the community include “How to Pull the Perfect Guinness,” public meeting Nov. 5 for residents to share
club Nov. 11. The event kicks off the holiday Irish sports demonstrations, Irish tea with the their ideas for the park. The meeting will be
season and is a fundraiser for the Avondale Irish Consul General of Ireland, Irish fiddle, held at the Lithonia Amphitheater, located
Estates Garden Club. It's called a bazaar Irish pub songs and ballads, Irish set dancing, at 2515 Park Drive, from 3 to 5 p.m. For more
because of the variety of merchandise to be Irish harp and more. information, call city hall at (770) 482-8136.
found there. Jewelry, gourmet baked goods, A silent auction held over the course of
hand-built birdhouses, Christmas décor, the entire event will provide funds for local
books, children’s toys, antiques, house plants scholarships.
and more will be available between 9 a.m. and Ticket prices vary. For more information,
4 p.m. There will also be raffles throughout the visit www.irishfestatlanta.org.
day. The community center is located at 59
Lakeshore Drive. For more information, visit
www.avondaleestates.org.
CLARKSTON
BROOKHAVEN International Food & Wine Fest arrives
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS PARADE ANNOUNCED The Clarkston Community Center—located
at 3701 College Ave.—will present its second
We Love BuHi, in partnership with annual International Food & Wine Festival on
Mailchimp and Community Foundation for Nov. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Greater Atlanta, will host a Dia de Los Muertos According to event officials, the event will
festival and parade on Nov. 4 from 5 until 10 showcase cuisine from Ethiopia, Turkey, India,
p.m. at Northeast Plaza, located at 3307 Buford Afghanistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Morocco,
Highway N.E. Uganda and other populations of Clarkston.
Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), is Attendees will have opportunities to sample
a celebration and remembrance of departed dishes from local restaurants and taste a
family members and ancestors. It is commonly variety of international wines.
celebrated throughout Mexico and Latin
The event will also feature an art gallery of
American countries Oct. 31 through Nov. 2
by processions through town squares, food, works from local artists. Guests can view the
visits to the local cemetery, dance, music and arts and crafts and make purchase the work
homemade altars. the night of the event.
Attendees of the festival will have the Attendees can also expect music, dancing,
opportunity to learn about Dia de Los Muertos, door prizes and other entertainment,
view community altars honoring the departed, according to Clarkston Community Center
participate in arts and crafts associated with the executive director Cindy Bowden.
holiday, have their faces painted and participate “Clarkston is one of the most diverse small
in the procession along Buford Highway. towns in the U.S., if not the most diverse,”
The event is free to attend and bicyclists Bowden said. “Our neighbors who have
are encouraged to participate. For more relocated to DeKalb County from around

a hairbrush.
information, visit www.welovebuhi.com/
the world bring with them their culture,
diadelosmuertos.
their language and their cuisine. We hope

Recycle me.
the community will again support this fun
DUNWOODY event through corporate sponsorships and
individual ticket purchases.”
Tickets for the International Food & Wine
IRISHFEST 2017 TAKES OVER Festival are $30 each in advance and $40
at the door. All proceeds will benefit the
The DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta Perimeter Clarkston Community Center.
Dunwoody—located at 4386 Chamblee For more information, visit www.
Dunwoody Road—will host IrishFest Atlanta clarkstoncommunitycenter.org.
2017 Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
The event will feature more than 20
performances from local and national acts
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 4

CLARKSTON

Clarkston city manager, Keith Barker, above left, held two special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) briefings at Refuge Coffee Co. on Oct. 24. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

City details SPLOST projects
Clarkston plans to spend $10.9 million on road repairs, projects
improvement projects throughout the studies completed by the DeKalb costs associated with general
BY R. SCOTT BELZER county. Board of Health and Active Living obligation bonds at $1.5 million.
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com Cities throughout DeKalb County Initiative. On Oct. 24, residents had questions
submitted project lists following “Clarkston, like a lot of cities, [has] about fiscal accountability as well as
public input and discussions at city what we call in the business, ‘deferred checks and balances. One resident
Clarkston city manager Keith
council meetings in mid-September. capital projects,’ which is just a fancy asked how the general public could
Barker is hoping to receive taxpayer
Each city was awarded amounts based way to say raggedy sidewalks and old track SPLOST-related projects as well
assistance in improving local
on 2016 population estimates. pot-holed roads that the city couldn’t as where dollars are being spent.
infrastructure.
For Clarkston residents, a vote afford to fix over the past few years,” he “Fortunately, in Clarkston, we went
“I’m not advocating, but if
for SPLOST is a vote for a 20-year said. out and hired a professional, educated
this SPLOST passes, between the
comprehensive transportation plan According to Barker, SPLOST funds finance director who has experience
streetscape [projects], Friendship
as well as more than 20 resurfacing, make it easier to obtain general in handling government finances,”
Forest, the PATH, Forty Oaks Nature
rehabilitation, pedestrian and obligation bonds. He said general Barker said. “It is required by law to
Preserve and other projects… four or
intersection improvements worth an obligation bonds—a financing not integrate those funds into [the
five years from now, Clarkston will look
estimated $10.9 million. mechanism available with anticipated city’s general fund]. We have several
very different,” Barker said.
Projected improvements would SPLOST revenue streams—allow cities independent audits and provide many
Barker hosted special purpose local
include sections of Indian Creek such as Clarkston to complete multiple public reports. We’ll provide that on
option sales tax (SPLOST) roundtable
Drive, Rowland Street, Church Street, transportation projects, which are in our website so you can monitor our
discussions on Oct. 24 at Refuge
Glendale Road, Northern Avenue, high demand in Georgia. progress.”
Coffee Company—located at 4170 E
Mell Avenue, East Ponce de Leon, Barker said he anticipates seeking Should DeKalb County voters
Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E.—at 8 a.m. and
Market Street, Casa Drive, Norman two general obligation bonds—one approve SPLOST, Barker said cities
6 p.m.
Road, Montreal Road, Caroll Park Drive, short term, one long term—to begin will be issued funds as early as April
The SPLOST referendum is on the
Brockett Road and Erskine Road. multiple projects, possibly lump them 2018. He said Clarkston will begin the
DeKalb County ballot in this year’s
Barker said projects were given together and begin showing taxpayers process of bidding out projects and
election. If DeKalb taxpayers vote
priority based on Georgia Department results. locating viable construction firms
for its approval, a penny sales tax
of Transportation standards, phone “We can finish a number of projects almost immediately.
will be added to all purchases made
calls, emails, remarks made to within the first three years,” Barker said. “This is a chance for Clarkston to
within the county. The revenue from
Clarkston City Council as well as Barker estimates administrative catch up,” Barker said.
SPLOST will be used for various capital

TUCKER Continued From Page 1A
city council in 2016, lists three his life. He has been legally blind for “I want to make sure that these expensive.
priorities she will focus on if re- six years, but said he still has working specific issues were addressed and “We need a designated dog park
elected. knowledge of the Tucker area. I think I would be more effective as area, we need to expand the number
“Guaranteeing broad citizen input “I’m not without some sort of a member of the city council than of butterfly gardens—which most
on decisions impacting the city of visual insight into what this year’s someone simply showing up to the of the parks don’t have,” he said.
Tucker, safeguarding Tucker’s future graphic situation is,” he said. city council meetings, which I have “Those are sustainable and extremely
through effective management of Deaton said he is running for done,” he said. inexpensive to establish and
city resources and ensuring a smooth city council because certain issues One issue he said haven’t been maintain.”
transition of services from DeKalb in the city that are important to him addressed is priorities related to Deaton also said he wants
County,” she said. were not addressed by the current parks and recreation, such as park the heavily visited parks to have
Deaton has lived in Tucker most of representation. improvements that would be less restrooms.
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 5

JAY Continued From Page 1
“How much of the autism Adams Stadium and Druid
was created from that or a Hills through his job coach.
genetic disorder, it’s hard to “She gave me an
know,” she said. “But I think opportunity to practice and
he did have some genetic they thought that I was very
predisposition before the good at what I do,” Jay said.
seizure disorder. This seizure Jay, who also works
disorder does come with at the Georgia Aquarium,
Asperger syndrome, which is said he loves operating the
the type of autism Jay has.” scoreboard because it allows
Jay went through many him to be helpful to others.
treatments and therapy while “The most thing I like
growing up, although no about it is that I help out and
one knew exactly what he make sure people can see
condition was. the right stuff instead of the
“It was so many years wrong stuff,” he said.
ago,” his mother said. “Not Jay’s partner in the booth,
much was known about public address announcer
autism then and most of John Becker, said Jay is
the information you got was awesome on the scoreboard.
on the internet from other “Not only is Jay awesome,
mothers.” but we’ve become an
It was at the Emory incredible team from 10 years
Autism Center where he was of working together in this
diagnosed with Asperger stadium,” Becker said.
syndrome. Jay’s parents Becker said it took a little
enrolled him at The Cottage time for he and Jay to get
School in Roswell, a middle in sync on making sure the
and high school for students correct information was being
with special needs. At the announced and displayed on
time, the school did not take the scoreboard.
children with autism, but “Partially because I hadn’t
Jay’s mother begged them to done announcing before, so
accept Jay. it was new to me,” he said.
“The next thing you know, “And I had never worked with
they now have many children an autistic person before,
with many varied disabilities,” so it took me a little while to
she said. “Originally, the understand where Jay was
school was for children with coming from and be able
learning disabilities.” to find a way for us to work
It was at The Cottage together in a way that made
School where Jay began sense to both of us. It took a
volunteering with the athletic little while, but once we got
program. there [there] was no looking
“I helped them with back.”
volleyball, basketball and During their 10 years
I made sure the kids were together, Becker said his
hydrated,” Jay said. relationship with Jay has
Jay is a big sports fan. He transformed from coworker to
plays in a basketball league friend.
for people with disabilities “He has really helped me
at the Marcus Jewish put my own life in perspective
Community Center of Atlanta. and in many ways made me
It was at the community appreciate how good my life
center where he learned how is and the blessings that I
to operate a scoreboard. have,” Becker said. “But he
When he was 9 years has also made me see a
old, a teen at the center whole side of a condition in
taught Jay how to operate the a significant segment of our
scoreboard clock, according population that I just didn’t
to his mother. know anything about.”
“I would’ve never Jay said he doesn’t know
thought Jay would work in a how long he will continue to
gymnasium,” Merlin said. “As be the scoreboard operator.
afraid as he was of sound “Probably until I don’t
and as sensitive as he was to want to do it no more and
it, that’s pretty remarkable. I that’s probably a long way
guess you can attribute that away,” he said. “I feel like
to therapy and age.” I can make the most out
Jay got the job as the of it by helping out in the
scoreboard operator at community.”
OPINION DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 6

Giving wisely makes all the difference
With cooler temperatures recipients. think about yourself and your
upon us and the holiday season Charitable organizations family. Clothing and toys that
just weeks away, expect dedicated to those in need are dirty, stained, ripped, out of
an uptick in the number of generally make it a priority to fashion and worn out should not
food drives and requests for treat their clients with dignity be passed on to others. Books
donations from organizations Gale Horton Gay and respect. They request new that are in poor condition, have
that serve the needy. gale@dekalbchamp.com or gently used donations so the been written in extensively and
It’s wonderful to give, individuals receiving them can have pages missing also should
especially when the giving is feel positive about the handouts. not be donated. Items with
from the heart. However, we donations were used—a great Recently a news story missing pieces, don’t operate
should think twice about what many far exceeded the “gently circulated that someone donated properly or are hazardous should
we’re giving and why. worn” guideline the organization a 46-year-old can of soup to a be trashed. Also check the
I once served on the board specified. It often took volunteers food bank. Was this a joke? Did expiration dates of food before
of a day shelter for homeless considerable time to sort through someone really think that what giving it away. Any food product
women and children and the these donations, separating should have gone in the trash that has been opened or used is
outpouring of donations from what was acceptable and years ago would be appropriate not appropriate for donation.
the community was always discarding large quantities of and acceptable for the needy? Sharing what we have to
incredible, especially at items that should have gone in The notion that beggars help others can be a wonderful
Thanksgiving and the winter the dumpster in the first place. shouldn’t be choosy and that experience especially if done
holiday season. Toys, books, I suspect that some people who are down and thoughtfully. Take the time to
clothes and household items individuals turn helping the less out should accept anything select items that are in good
would arrive at the shelter fortunate into an opportunity regardless of its condition condition and aren’t likely to
in large plastic bags, paper to clean out their pantries and doesn’t show respect or make the recipient feel like a
shopping totes and boxes. closets, thinking more about compassion. second-class citizen.
Some items were new, but many themselves and less about the When deciding what to give,

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OPINION DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 7

What were they smokin’?
Voters passing a tax increase contractors.  These questions are serious,
is a tough sale in the very best of ‘One Man’s  This time the funding formula they deserve your consideration,
circumstances. Our new DeKalb
CEO and newly-constituted
Opinion’ for each DeKalb city, courtesy of
an intergovernmental agreement
and I’ll argue your support. Poll
workers are not allowed, by
county commission are work- disbursing sales tax revenue statute, to provide guidance,
ing together restoring trust and
Bill Crane via residential population, is assistance or interpretation of
bill.csicrane@gmail.com
re-building our county, but there spelled out. And unlike property ballot questions at the polls. 
was a lot of prior damage done to taxes, a healthy percentage of We have some very smart
county government credibility and these new dollars will come from folks on our board of elections
this process will take time.   Thankfully, the question non-residents working, dining, and running our county these
Fixing the damage caused does contain these words as a visiting or traveling through days. While I am hopeful for
by a combination of mismanage- header—“DeKalb County Special our county. Every meal, every passage, I’m not optimistic on the
ment, corruption, greed and long- Purpose Local Option Sales soft drink, every hotel stay, etc, odds, as folks tend to abandon
overdue maintenance placed our Tax.” The complete question will ring in a new cent, as we word jumbles which they cannot
county in need of new capital in- requires two full single-spaced hopefully prepare our county for a comprehend without a lawyer
fusion to repair and replace aging screens on our electronic voting new day. present. Knowing all the brain
roads, bridges and infrastructure, machines. Choose the enlarged  Local seniors are our most power that went into this...I
as well as make necessary im- type, and plan to settle in for reliable voter population. Parti- simply have to ask...what were
provements to our police and fire several pages of reading.  san activists may largely sit out they smokin’?
protection capacity and other less  This will be a low turnout this nonpartisan municipal off-  
urgent, though long-desired im- election. Given the attention that year election cycle. Our county
provements to our quality of life. Washington, D.C., congressional government has 5,000 employ- Bill Crane also serves as a
 But passing a special inaction and this president—like ees, our school system another political analyst and commentator
purpose local option sales tax no other—consumes in the daily 15,000.  for Channel 2’s Action News,
(SPLOST) requires a public news hole, local government and Sales tax provides a much WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and
vote in favor of same. And this ballot question have received better stream of cash flow for now 95.5 FM, as well as a
though metro Atlanta remains in comparatively scant attention. A government services. We can columnist for The Champion,
existential traffic gridlock almost mailer received recently, which hope that our government em- DeKalb Free Press and Georgia
daily, and DeKalb roads are in hopefully went to the households ployees are a bit better informed Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native
dire need of patching and repair; of most every registered voter is than most, and plan to exercise and business owner, living in
the argument for a new penny in titled, “IMPORTANT Information their civic duty, though sadly, Scottdale. You can reach him
sales tax still needs to be clear, About the SPLOST and E-Host many of  these folks are not or comment on a column at bill.
compelling and concise.  Vote on November 7th.” DeKalb residents nor voters. csicrane@gmail.com.
Having voted early, and  Funded with no government
living in unincorporated DeKalb dollars or resources, the brochure
County (specifically Scottdale), provides a breakdown of
I voted “yes” on all three ballot where $636 million in projected
questions. The first and last will sales tax proceeds would be
alter and increase the H.O.S.T. spent, as collected, over the
homestead exemption for DeKalb six-year renewal term of the
homeowners in each of our 13 SPLOST. This new penny
municipalities, as well as those will bring DeKalb sales tax
in unincorporated DeKalb, but for to 8 percent, while leaving
the H.O.S.T. cut to pass, voters pharmaceutical products and
have to also support the six-year unprepared food, produce and
new SPLOST.  perishables exempt from the
 But reading the actual sales tax. 
ballot requires more detailed  The metro-wide T-SPLOST
knowledge of these issues, of a few years, and several billion
perhaps a legal degree and dollars back, failed by a margin
clearly a government mumbo of roughly 75-25 percent. Voters
jumbo translator. Ballot question understood the problem of
#2 is 1,463 words. Though that traffic, but the T-SPLOST was
does include the choices of “Yes”, not explained in any great detail
and “No”—it is twice the length of as the solution to the problem,
this column.  versus a potential boondoogle for

FREEPRESS
the DeKalb
Publisher: Photographer: STATEMENT FROM THE
John Hewitt Travis Hudgons
PUBLISHER
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 Johnh@dekalbchamp.com 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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us that is known to be false and/or
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LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 8

DUNWOODY

Dunwoody City Council is in the process of outlining its legislative agenda for the 2018 session, set to begin in January. Photo submitted.

Dunwoody outlines legislative priorities
State rep briefs city on capital, council discusses needs
BY R. SCOTT BELZER 2009. continuing “strong and independent school system
The city is also monitoring expensive efforts” to reduce in Dunwoody but said it may
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com the collection and city authority. not be possible in 2018.
distribution of emergency According to Dunwoody “Right now, as it stands,
Dunwoody City Council 911 funds after the formation finance director Chris I still have a live bill for a
put its legislative requests in of a statewide authority in Pike, with the exception of constitutional amendment
writing on Oct. 23 during a early 2017. educational opportunities, for an independent school
regular meeting, outlining six “With such an authority, each priority ties into a system, but in reality, we’re State Rep. Tom Taylor spoke at
specific priorities that include administrative bureaucracy statewide initiative that not going to have the
Dunwoody City Council’s Oct. 23
educational opportunities for meeting where the council discussed
and costs are clearly a directly affects the city. numbers,” Taylor said. “We’ve legislative priorities. Photo submitted.
residents, cell phone towers concern,” reads a staff “Some of these have got people who are going
and taxes. prepared memo. “The city gotten statewide attention to have to resign to run for
Council agreed to examine of Dunwoody, Doraville and
would not want the cost in other cities,” Pike said. higher offices and again, we
the list of requests on Oct. Chamblee—he can think of at
to outweigh the benefit, “Combined, we can weigh in have 10 or 11 new people
23 with hopes of adding, least two ideal locations.
and should watch any 2018 with a lot of [issues].” coming in. We’re not going to
clarifying or subtracting items Mayor Denis Shortal
legislation that follows up on The 2018 legislative get there.”
before formal approval on asked one member of city
the 2017 law that now needs session will start on Jan. 9. Taylor said DeKalb
Nov. 6. council to be the city’s
a funding mechanism.” State Rep. Tom Taylor, County has a good chance of
Dunwoody is requesting representative at the Georgia
The city requests that who spoke at the Oct. 23 picking up the “21st century
a formal amendment to the Municipal Association to
legislators monitor any meeting, asked Dunwoody headquarters” of Amazon,
Georgia state constitution ensure the city’s requests are
legislation regulating City Council to have any but a major caveat stipulated
to allow the formation of an met.
Dunwoody’s access to rights- state-level legislation—such by the Washington-based
independent school district. Dunwoody City Council is
of-way, traffic poles and as annexation—ready by company is access to public
The issue has been part of expected to formally approve
other infrastructure relating early December. transportation. He said in
conversations in Dunwoody a list of legislative priorities at
to cell phone poles, stating Since being elected, Taylor his district alone—made up
since the city’s formation in its Nov. 6 meeting.
cell phone companies are has repeatedly called for an

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Mayor and
Commissioners for the City of Avondale Estates will
hold a Public Hearing for the 2018 Proposed Budget on
November 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 21 North
Avondale Plaza. Final Adoption of the 2018 budget will
occur in conjunction with the Board’s regular monthly
Gus (ID# 36770899) knows a lot of tricks, but his meeting on December 11, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall,
21 North Avondale Plaza.
favorite has to be his tried and true handshake! This The proposed 2018 budget is available for public
lively senior boy is ready to stick by your side wherever review on the City website and at City Hall during normal
you go. He is 9 years young and still has plenty of pep business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00
in his step. He knows all the basics, loves water, gets p.m.
along great with other dogs, and can't wait to meet
you! Gus is waiting for you at LifeLine's DeKalb Animal CITY OF STONE MOUNTAIN
Services! . PUBLIC NOTICE
If you would like to expand your family by 4 furry The proposed 2018 fiscal budget will be presented to the City of Stone Mountain
little feet; ask to meet this handsome boy and have a governing authority at the City Council Regular Session held on Wednesday,
loving friend forever. While visiting any of our pups November 8, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. Beginning Thursday, November 9,
please be sure to ask about our November adoption 2017, the recommended budget will be made available for public inspection at City
Hall, 875 Main St, Stone Mountain, GA between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon-
promotion!! It includes spay/neuter, vaccinations and Fri and at www.stonemountaincity.org. The Public Hearing to discuss and hear
microchip! If you would like more information about public input on the proposed 2018 fiscal budget will be held on Monday, November
Gus please call (404) 294-2165 or email adoption@ 20, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 875 Main Street, Stone Mountain, Georgia. The
GUS dekalbanimalservices.com. All potential adopters will Mayor and City Council of the City of Stone Mountain are scheduled to adopt the
2018 Fiscal Budget at a Regular Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday, December
be screened to ensure Gus goes to a good home. 5, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 875 Main Street, Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Hours: Mon-Fri; 11am-7pm / Sat-Sun; 11am-6pm
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 9

COUNTYWIDE

Election server wipe draws criticism
Congressman questions validity of Georgia election results
BY R. SCOTT BELZER retirement of the state’s by malicious hackers.” He
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com voting management system includes the November 2016
as well as an independent presidential election as well
“Georgia voters should be investigation of servers as the June 20 congressional
as outraged as I am.” holding poll book data. runoff between Karen
These are the words of 4th According to 140 pages Handel and Jon Ossoff,
District Congressman Hank of emails obtained via open which plaintiffs state “cannot
Johnson in response to a records requests—some sent be trusted.”
recent report from Associated as recently as the week of Plaintiffs were spurred
Press (AP) involving Georgia Oct. 16—technicians at the by an August 2016 report
election data—or rather, a Center for Elections Systems completed by Atlanta
lack thereof. at Kennesaw State University security researcher Logan
AP’s Frank Bajak reported irretrievably destroyed such Lamb that found issues with
Oct. 26 that a computer server data on July 7. the server’s security. Lamb
crucial to a lawsuit involving According to the report, concluded hackers could An election server at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State
Georgia election officials was Kemp’s office denies any have altered server data to University in Cobb County was wiped clean shortly after a lawsuit calling for
wiped clean shortly after the involvement with the wipe, skew election results and that better voting management. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
suit was filed. and center director Michael there was a “strong possibility
Plaintiffs, made up of Barnes referred all press [the center’s] site is already
Georgia voters and advocacy inquiries to Kennesaw State compromised.” Ossoff in April 2017. votes shy of winning outright
groups, are pursuing legal University’s press office. Rep. Johnson said the data “[The wipe] heightens without a runoff,” Johnson
action against Georgia’s The press office declined to wipe appears to be a “willful my suspicion that there was said. “The apparent deliberate
Secretary of State Brian Kemp comment. and premeditated destruction manipulation of the election destruction of evidence
and other voting officials Bajak states the server data of evidence by Georgia results in the April 18th that could have proven the
for the purpose of election “could have revealed whether election officials” and called 6th District congressional unreliability of Georgia’s
reform, Bajak reports. Georgia’s most recent into question election results primary, in which Jon Ossoff electronic voting process tells
The suit calls for the elections were compromised pertaining to Handel and came only 3,200
SEE SERVER ON PAGE 12A

This message
provided by:

Georgia Department
of Behavioral Health
and Developmental
Disabilities

He went through a tough time last year: He didn’t seem like Withdrawing from family and friends, hearing or
himself, he never wanted to go out anywhere anymore, and seeing things that others don’t, and feeling fearful or
he was hearing voices. Then his family and I helped connect suspicious for no clear reason can be signs of mental
him to really good mental health care. illness. Don’t ignore them. For young adults between
the ages of 16-30, getting help early can make all the
Now he’s doing much better. I’m so glad we’re still
difference.
best friends.
For more information:

Lightdf@vphealth.org
or call 678-209-2390
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 10

LITHONIA TUCKER

A SHARED VISION
Lithonia business
and nonprofit
team up to aid
community
BY R. SCOTT BELZER
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com
On Oct. 25, East DeKalb
Boys & Girls Club—located
at 1939 Phillips Road in
Lithonia—temporarily
transformed into a vision
screening clinic.
The club teamed with
America’s Best Contacts &
Eyeglasses Lithonia to offer
club participants free vision
tests. More than 90 children
from the east DeKalb County
community read letters of
various sizes, covered one
eye at a time to test their
eyesight.
If students were found to
have impaired vision, they More than 90 East DeKalb Boys & Girls Club students were tested on Oct. 25.
Photos by R. Scott Belzer
received recommendations
for free eyeglasses courtesy
of America’s Best. According
to one employee, the average
elementary-age child should
have 20/30 vision.
According to America’s Tucker resident Forrest Tuff co-produced and directed the documentary
Released: When does the sentence end?
Best general manager Joann
Phinazee, the purpose of the
event is to assure children in
the community have their
vision needs met.
Tucker filmmaker’s movie
“This is something that
America’s Best does every
year,” Phinazee said. “We love
premiers in DeKalb
our job, we love what we do, BY HORACE HOLLOMAN Tuff is the film's co-
we love helping people see producer and director.
better.” horace@dekalbchamp.com “One of the things I
East DeKalb Boys & Girls wanted to do and achieve
Club director Brandon Riley Tucker resident and CEO was to humanize the subject
said clubs throughout the East DeKalb Boys & Girls Club teamed with America’s Best Contacts &
Eyeglasses to offer free vision screenings to students. of One Vision Productions matter,” Tuff said. “I want
country have worked with Forrest Tuff said he wanted to people to know that you
America’s Best for the past create a film that “humanized” can’t judge people forever.
two years. Riley said the individuals returning to life You have to look at each
partnership helps identify for kids,” Riley said. “This is employees as having vision
one of our three pillars as problems will be referred to after prison. person individually. These
problems parents may not be Tuff’s work was on full people want to come out and
aware of. an organization: healthy an ophthalmologist where, if
lifestyles, character and necessary, they will be given display as his movie Released: be productive members of
Riley said vision problems When Does the Sentence End society.”
can often lead to problems in academic success. This vouchers for free eyeglasses.
supports our healthy lifestyle For more information on premiered in DeKalb County Tuff said there are certain
the classroom. Oct. 24 at the Porter Sanford stigmas placed on individuals
“This is one of our parents’ initiative.” East DeKalb Boys & Girls Club
Children who were and other metro-Atlanta III Performing Arts and returning to “normal life”
favorite events and favorite Community Center in Decatur. after spending time behind
resources that we provide identified by America’s Best clubs, visit www.bgcma.org.
The 45-minute bars. Despite the stigma, Tuff
documentary highlights said he has worked with and
the challenges people face even hired multiple people
after they are released from convicted of crimes.

REDUCE • REUSE • RECYCLE prison and attempt to find
sustainable employment, Tuff
said.
“I’ve worked with people
that have been murderers
or have hired people from

SEE FILMMAKER ON PAGE 13A
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 11

WEEKinPICTURES

A local photographer asked Decatur Police Officer Johnson to help with a young
boy’s birthday photo shoot. Photo by Decatur Police Department
Local children participate in the Sycamore Ridge October Fun and Pumpkin Decorating event. Photo by Decatur Police
Department.

East DeKalb Boys & Girls Club teamed with Buffalo Wild Wings in Stonecrest for a car wash fundraising event. Photo=
submitted.

Renfro Middle School of Decatur announced Krysta Jenson as its 2017-2018
Teacher of the Year on Oct. 25. Photos courtesy of Renfro Middle School.

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office employees lined up for snacks at “S.O.FIT 2017,” the seventh annual DeKalb Sheriff’s Office Brookhaven officials recently signed off on the occupancy of 4004 Summit,
employee health fair. Pictured are Detention Officers P. Burnett, A. Jones and S. Mattox; Sgt. M. Deadwiler, Sgt. T. Cribbs, the newest addition to Brookhaven’s skyline. “This Seven Oaks project is the
Officer B. Boyd and Sgt. D. Stringer. Photo by DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. largest single development that the City of Brookhaven has ever approved in its
nearly 5-year history,” said Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman. 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 DeKalb25@outlook.com DeKalb25.com
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 12

LITHONIA STONECREST
More bang for the buck
SPLOST funding could have big
impact on small, newer cities
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN
horace@dekalbchamp.com

Dodd Howard Inman Williams Many DeKalb County
residents are days away from
deciding to deny or approve a

Twenty-six-year-old running
1-cent increase in sales tax for
a special purpose local option
sales tax (SPLOST) that could

for Lithonia council seat
last six years. Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary said
If approved by voters in a SPLOST funding could have a great
Nov. 7 election, DeKalb County impact on the community. Stonecrest
would receive the largest portion of
along with 12 cities would split funding for a municipality.
an estimated $636 million in
of city news, implementing more funding from April 2018 to
BY CARLA PARKER crosswalks and installing a turning signal police services, fire stations
March 2024.
carla@dekalbchamp.com on Stone Mountain Street and Max Cleland The cities and the county and city hall improvements.
Boulevard, and address the issue of signed an intergovernmental Stonecrest has now
Lithonia City Council candidate Amelia abandoned homes in the city. agreement (IGA) that will replaced Tucker as the “newest
Inman is hoping to bring change to “[I want to] eliminate or transform distribute the proceeds city in DeKalb County.” Tucker
Lithonia if elected. abandoned homes to a cosmetic style that based on a formula for the was created in November of
The 26-year-old is running for one of would be consistent to Lithonia’s long-term population of each city. Cities 2015 when voters approved
the three at-large city council seats up for branding [and] offer these homes to only with a larger population will the referendum.
grabs. She is facing incumbents William owner-occupants by way of affordable receive more funding. Tucker could receive
“Ric” Dodd, Diane Howard and Tracy- housing or grant programs,” she said. Officials from the county’s just less than 5 percent of
Ann Williams. Dodd has been on the Inman said some of the challenges in smaller and newer cities said the total SPLOST funding,
city council since 2009, Howard was first the city are the number of dilapidated the potential funding could be approximately $31 million over
elected in 2015 and Williams has been a abandoned homes, noise levels during a win-win situation. six years.
city council member since 2011. events at the city park and lack of cosmetic “World-class county, According to Tucker
An at-large council seat is a designation appeal to assist branding Lithonia as “The world-class city, world-class officials, at least 65 percent
for members of the council who are elected City of Granite.” companies that are going to of SPLOST proceeds
or appointed to represent the whole city “Many of these concerns can be move here. The only way to would go toward road and
instead of individual districts. addressed with viewing and possibly do that is to make sure you drainage improvements
Inman is a graduate of Valdosta State restructuring city ordinances as well as have world-class facilities,” said while 20 percent would
University and the Georgia Institute of partnering with code enforcement to Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary. go toward multi-modal
Real Estate. She is currently a real estate review effective ways to target abandoned Last year, DeKalb voters transportation projects, as
executive at Keller Williams Chattahoochee homes,” she said. approved to incorporate the well as improvements to fire
North. Inman said her experience in real city of Stonecrest. The new city facilities and citywide safety
Inman said she decided to run for office estates can help her make Lithonia a more serves approximately 53,000 equipment. Approximately 15
after hosting millennial mixers and home attractive city for future homeowners. residents, making it not only percent would be designated
buying seminars in the city. “As a Realtor and involved resident in the newest city in DeKalb for improvements in parks and
“I became more aware of local residents’ my community I will use what I know of County, but the largest as well. recreation and other public
concerns,” she said. “Running for city real estate and the concerns of residents Stonecrest will receive the facilities.  
council is an opportunity to positively to increase knowledge, value, and pride of largest amount of funding “We need some help with
effect change and increase city pride our homes and community,” she said. “I am based on the IGA formula. If our [fire] stations and that’s
and community standards. After prayer, an advocate for home ownership. One of approved by voters, Stonecrest one thing [SPLOST] could help
confirmation and a supportive team it was the goals is to further beautify Lithonia— will get 7.5 percent of the total with. I’m personally in favor
so simple to take that leap of faith in an making it more attractive and an ideal SPLOST funding. of it,” said Tucker Mayor Frank
arena of politics, which I’ve never been in.” place for people to consider.” “We need world-class Auman. “We want to spend
Concerns Inman would like to address if police department facilities the next few weeks helping
elected include increasing communication and fire department facilities. our citizens understand this
In order to make this happen, measure.”
we have to have this SPLOST, Melanie Hammet, mayor
period,” Lary said. “This is of DeKalb’s smallest city—Pine
Lake, said SPLOST could be
SERVER Continued From Page 9A how we move forward for
the future. As the largest city, beneficial to the area despite
receiving less than 1 percent
we’re proud to participate
in this. This is so important of the overall funding. Pine
me that electronic voting has not impeded officials deleted and destroyed the evidence.” as an initiative and we want Lake’s estimated population
what has occurred throughout Georgia’s In January 2017, Georgia state Rep. Scott to encourage everyone to in 2016 is 762 residents, which
electoral history – blatant cheating.” Holcomb—whose district includes Chamblee, know about what this SPLOST would give the city more than
Johnson said Georgia’s current election Doraville and parts of unincorporated DeKalb means.” $680,000 in funding.
management system—approaching its 15th County, which make up the Georgia Sixth Stonecrest officials plan “We have small projects
year in use—makes it much easier to fabricate District—submitted open records requests to on using proceeds to fund with a big impact. We have
voting results. Kemp’s office to disprove voter fraud alleged projects such as road repaving roads in need of repair and the
“What used to take place in courthouse by President Donald Trump. and facility repairs. An proceeds would go to roads
basements and back rooms on election According to Kemp, fewer than 10 voters estimated $10 million will be that have been undercut by
night can now be accomplished with a few out of 4 million were investigated for voting used for road repaving and erosion,” Hammet said. “If the
key strokes on a laptop computer,” he said. twice. Kemp credited Georgia’s protections, $18 million on transportation SPLOST passes, I think you’ll
“Unfortunately, my suspicions can never security and maintenance for this low number improvements. The city also see some very visible signs of
be proven wrong because Georgia election of occurrences. plans to spend $7 million on progress.”
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 13

FILMMAKER Continued From Page 10A COUNTYWIDE
prison. There’s no promise it’s going to be a
great situation, but you have to expose your
business to different people,” Tuff said. “I think
this is a really great project and the screenings
have gone really well.”
“The movie really talks about the
ramifications of how people are affected by
criminal convictions and prison continues
for those that are released,” Boston said.
“Sometimes these people struggle to find
NAME GAME
DeKalb county resident
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry employment and housing when [they] have
Boston hosted the screening of Released along
with the United States Attorney’s Office for
the stain of a criminal conviction on your
record.”
seeks name change to jail
the Northern District of Georgia, the DeKalb Boston said society sometimes has a
Chamber of Commerce, Leadership DeKalb misconception of people recently released BY HORACE HOLLOMAN Derwin Brown, who was
and the Metro Atlanta Reentry Coalition. from prison and the movie helps to shed light elected to serve as sheriff of
horace@dekalbchamp.com DeKalb County in 2000, was
After the screening, Boston moderated a on some of those issues.
30-minute panel discussion with individuals “The truth of the matter is, most folks are A Lithonia man said he gunned down in his driveway
who were released from prison and are in the doing their time and trying to come back wants the name of the DeKalb on his wife’s birthday.
process of trying to find employment. into society. They are our brothers, sisters, our County Sheriff’s Office to be Brown was killed on the
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and husbands, wives and daughters,” Boston said. changed. His reasoning was order of political rival Sidney
Vera Institute of Justice, Georgia had the fifth “They have taken responsibility, served their that an elected sheriff wasn’t Dorsey, who admitted to the
largest prison population in 2010 with 53,704 time and they’re hoping to be productive given the opportunity to crime in 2007.
offenders. Georgia also released an average members of society, but there are barriers in serve the county due to his During a board of
of 20,000 offenders per year from 2009 to their way.” untimely death. commissioners meeting,
2013, according to the Georgia Department of The documentary can be viewed www. Phillip Peoples said the
Corrections. releasedthemovie.com.
SEE JAIL ON PAGE 18A

I-20 EAST TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIC PLAN

A more livable, walkable,
transit-friendly DeKalb.
Come join us to learn about and provide your input on transit-
supportive development along DeKalb’s I-20 East corridor!

November 8, 2017 November 9, 2017
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Lou Walker Senior Center Community Achievement Center
2538 Panola Rd. 422 Flat Shoals Parkway
Lithonia, GA 30058 Decatur, GA 30034

For more info, please visit the project website at
https://itsmarta.com/i20-east-corridor-overview.aspx
EDUCATION DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 14

TUCKER

Cole P. Turner
D. Turner

Two Tucker High School parents and one student spoke at DeKalb County School District’s board of education meeting on Oct. 2 listing Tucker High School principal Tamra Watts was relieved of her
ongoing concerns at the school due to leadership. Photos courtesy of DeKalb County School District. position on Oct. 20 for undisclosed reasons. Photo submitted.

TUCKER HIGH PRINCIPAL OUT
Rocky start, complaints point to early exit
BY R. SCOTT BELZER the Georgia highway codes capacity ordinance violations, subsequently gone to little to schedules and do things at
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com regarding pedestrian safety. growing student unrest and no visibility.” different times of the day for
We hope you will take the teacher morale erosion. Student Daelyn Turner different periods of time in
time to go over them with “The Tucker community said the past two months different locations so that we
The new principal at Tucker your student.” is not one where a leader have been different from can meet as many parents
High School, Tamra Watts, At DCSD’s Oct. 2 board seeking absolute power will her previous three years where they are,” Watts said.
was relieved of her position of education meeting, two work,” Turner said. at the school. She said a The story also quoted
Oct. 20 for reasons that remain parents and one student from Erin Cole, another parent, lack of communication, Tucker council member
unreported. Tucker High voiced concerns said the Tucker community growing number of fights Anne Lerner as saying,
Watts, who came to Tucker about leadership at the school, “needs [the board’s] help.” She and dwindling morale at the “[Watts] always put the needs
High from Towers High at the located at 5036 Lavista Road. listed unanswered emails, school concern her most. of students first and lets
end of the 2016-2017 school Patrick Turner, a parent communication lapses and “As a senior, I need to know nothing get in the way of their
year, has been reassigned and school council member, a general lack of leadership about all of the opportunities progress and success.”
within DeKalb County School told the board the school “is as reasons to consider available to me at Tucker High According to a letter
District (DCSD) approximately in need of change at the top investigating the leadership at School,” Turner said. “There sent to parents from DCSD
two months after being with [its] leader.” Tucker High School. was little to no information officials, as of Oct. 23, assistant
appointed. Among his complaints She also said students shared about college fairs principal Robert Williams
Watts’ reassignment arrives were, “continued feel unsafe at the school, and financial aid seminars. has been appointed to serve
in the wake of complaints communication issues; poor citing six fights in the span There were many fights within as interim principal and
submitted by parents as customer service; a focus of two months. Cole said this the halls of our school. We “provide the district with
early as Aug. 8, when Tucker on self and power versus has led to a lack of teacher had four fights in one day. It the time necessary to utilize
High School was evacuated establishing trust with a involvement in extracurricular made me question my safety the superintendent’s new
because of a rumored gas leak. team of teachers and staff; activities, sponsorships and at school. As a student, I principal selection process.”
Watts sent an email to parents an inability to motivate, chaperoning. shouldn’t have to question my “DCSD has made a change
in response to the gas leak inspire and break through— “We, the parents of Tucker safety…I’m only a senior once, in the leadership at Tucker
instructing them to review what should have been an High School are asking [the and I only want to focus on High School,” states the
laws involving pedestrian expectation—some cynicism; board] for a closer assessment my studies instead of focusing letter, written by regional
safety. and most troubling, this had and/or intervention of our on my safety and a lack of superintendent Trenton
“Parents and guardians led to some safety issues in current leader,” Cole said. communication within the Arnold. “During this process,
please review with your our building; non-visibility of “Two months into our school.” the expectation will be for the
student the laws regarding administrators in the hallway; school year, we have serious According to a story on the outstanding staff of Tucker
pedestrian safety,” the email and an erosion of the happy, safety and administration city of Tucker’s website, Watts High School to continue
states. “We want to ensure the welcoming environment of issues. Communication said parental involvement was to provide a high quality
safety of each student and teachers and students that is between parents and one of her highest priorities. education, and that this sole
ask that you do not drop your Tucker High School.” administration is stifled at “The administrative team focus will allow the students to
student off in the roadway Turner also listed violations best. We are accustomed to and I are working with the continue to learn in a manner
in front of the school. We of student confidentiality, constant visibility from the calendars so that we can that prepares them for college
have included a link about class scheduling issues, administration team and have meet all the different work and career readiness.”
EDUCATION DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 15

DUNWOODY

City welcomes new
Dunwoody High principal
Priscilla Cole speaks at Oct. 23 council meeting
has been hired in DeKalb According to Cole’s
BY R. SCOTT BELZER biography on Dunwoody
County School District’s
sbelzer@dekalbchamp.com (DCSD) central office, and High School’s website, she
began her tenure as principal is originally from Memphis,
According to new Tenn., with education
Oct. 16. Dunwoody High School principal Priscilla Cole was formally introduced at an
Dunwoody High School experience in Washington,
DCSD superintendent R. Oct. 23 Dunwoody City Council meeting following one week of work. Photo
principal Priscilla Cole, Oct. D.C., and Fulton County submitted
Stephen Green originally
16 through Oct. 20 was a Schools. She has degrees
announced Cole’s arrival on
landmark week in her life. from Georgia College & State administrative role at and Career Readiness
Oct. 4 during a Dunwoody
“Last week was my first University as well as Fisk Woodland before becoming Performance Index (CCPRI)
Perimeter Chamber luncheon
full week at Dunwoody High University. a behavioral specialist for the scores from 73 in 2014 to 93
on Oct. 4 at Seasons 52 near
School and it was amazing,” Cole began as a math northern region of Fulton in 2016.
Perimeter Mall.
Cole said. “The students teacher at a charter school County Schools. In 2013, she “I’m very excited about
“Dunwoody is at a very
are great, the teachers are before moving to Woodland was promoted to assistant the work we’re going to do
important crossroad right
great, and the community is Middle in Fulton County. principal of Centennial High together to advance the
now,” Green said at the event.
welcoming.” While there, she earned the School, a position she held success of Dunwoody High
“[McFerrin] has left a powerful
Cole was formally Women of Color in Science until arriving in Dunwoody. School,” Cole said.
legacy and brought the
introduced to the Dunwoody Technology Engineering and Cole told city council Dunwoody Mayor Denis
school to new heights—it’s
community on Oct. 23 during Mathematics (STEM) and was she hopes to continue Shortal said Cole has a lot of
time for the next era.”
a city council meeting. She named Teacher of the Year the successes achieved by energy and the ability to keep
Cole appeared at a meet-
was originally hired in early 2008. McFerrin, who increased Dunwoody High School’s
and-greet event at Dunwoody
October to replace outgoing Cole advanced to an Dunwoody High’s College momentum strong.
High on Oct. 10.
principal Tom McFerrin, who
LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 16

STONE MOUNTAIN CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES Q&A
BY CARLA PARKER Bryant: “The reason I decided to citizens. 2: Be fiscally responsible. 3: help me to be a good council member.”
run for city council, because I felt I Help to return our city to the vibrant,
carla@dekalbchamp.com could make a difference in the Stone thriving prosperous community that 4) What do you believe are some
Mountain community. There are many we were, but only better.” of the challenges facing Stone
The Stone Mountain City Council issues that need to be addressed and I Mountain and how will you address
will have three new members after the plan on dedicating the necessary time 3) What qualities do you have that them?
Nov. 7 election. and resources appointed to me to get will help you be a good council
Post 4 councilmember Susan these problems solved.” member for Stone Mountain? Asher: “1: Honesty and openness in
Coletti, Post 5 councilmember Steve our city government—communicate
Higgins and Post 6 councilmember Hollis: “I decided to run for Stone Asher: “The qualities that I have with the citizens (e.g. newsletter,
Andrea Redmond did not seek re- Mountain City Council to be part of that will help me be a good council E-blast, website, etc.) informing them
election, leaving the seats open for the solution.” member for Stone Mountain are of all activities that are taking place,
others to run. Mayor Patricia Wheeler organizational skills. As a former which would include crime statistics. 2:
2) What are your top three priorities member of the Merchants Association, Trust—residents need to believe that
is the only incumbent on the ballot, you will focus on if you’re elected to I was instrumental in creating a the council members are working for
and is running unopposed. the city council? walking map of the city and reviving them. All projects need to be done
The Champion sent a questionnaire ‘Breakfast with Santa.’ Listening and equitable for all the citizens and areas
to the five candidates running for Asher: “1: Crime is the most coping skills are my best qualities. I of the city. 3: Being heard— create
city council. Diana Roe Hollis and important. The residents should have lived in Stone Mountain for 34 citizen listening forums to enable
J. Michael Rollins are running for have the ability to find out where years and I envision the restoration of residents to voice their concerns
the Post 4 seat, Shawnette Bryant the crime areas are in the city, with the city to its original state or better so outside of the regular council or work
is running unopposed in Post 5 and the numerous burglaries throughout the citizens can enjoy and call it home.” session meetings at a neutral location.”
Judy Asher and Jasmine Little are the city over the past several years. 2:
running for Post 6. Continue to improve the appearance Bryant: “I possess many qualities that Bryant: “Property values, rental
Little and Rollins did not respond to of our business district. 3: Reduce qualify me in becoming a great council properties that are not kept up in the
the number of run down or vacant member. I feel having an open mind neighborhoods and maintaining the
the questionnaire by deadline. housing.” to each and every issue is critical, great subdivision cleanliness.”
listening skills and attention to detail.
1) Why did you decide to run for city Bryant: “1: Maintain public safety These are just a few of the qualities Hollis: Our challenges are many—
council? for the citizens of Stone Mountain. one must exhibit as a member of the infrastructure, lack of viable businesses
2: Encourage the citizens to attend board.” to welcome visitors and citizens,
Asher: “I decided to run for the city city council meetings. 3: Economic lack of responsive government. Our
council to give the residents of Stone growth—more attractive businesses Hollis: “I feel that my many years of citizens have lost faith in the elected
Mountain a voice. There should be for tourists. leading professional organizations officials and feel that their voices are
transparency of the city government and dedication to the Stone Mountain not heard or do not matter.”
so the citizens are aware of the issues Hollis: “1: Listen and respond to our Village are the main qualities that will
that will affect them in the city.”

EXPERT: Benefits may mean as much as salary
BY KATHY MITCHELL headline-making issue companies began realizing been paid when money is
through several recent that with people living withdrawn in retirement.
FREELANCE REPORTER
presidential cycles. “Health longer, traditional employer People shouldn’t depend
care can be very expensive. pension plans were becoming on Social Security to maintain
Both employers and Not having adequate health quite expensive. Many their lifestyle in their
employees who look at insurance can wreck a family’s addressed this by putting the retirement years, Singh said.
the value of a job only in finances if someone is injured responsibility for retirement “As much as half your living
terms of salary are not or develops an illness and income back on the employee expenses may have to come
considering the full picture, expenses must be paid out of through an employer match from savings,” he said, “now
according to DeKalb County pocket. For a young, healthy program,” Singh said. A 1978 is the time to be sure those
resident Tom Singh, senior person health insurance change in the federal tax code savings are adequate.”
resident director and senior may not seem so important created the 401(k) provision, Just as employees should
vice president—wealth and while it’s true that an which allows employees to look at available benefits
management advisor at older person is more likely to defer taxes on part of their as they decide whether
Merrill Lynch. develop an expensive illness salary set aside for retirement to accept or stay with a
“The salary a job pays anyone can get sick or be as well as matching funds particular job, employers
doesn’t really tell you all you “Which benefits are injured,” he said. from their employers. Many looking to attract top-notch
need to know,” explained important depends on a In addition to conventional companies began offering a talent should consider
Singh, “My business is person’s situation—age, health coverage, many 401(k) instead of a traditional offering quality benefits
advising people on managing assets, plans, lifestyle, family companies now offer flexible pension, according to Singh. packages in addition to
their wealth. Tax liability responsibilities—as well as his spending accounts that allow “If a company offers such competitive salaries.
and company benefits may or her values. The first thing employees to have money a program, it’s important to “Many in the generation
figure heavily into a person’s to ask is what’s important set aside in a tax-free account know what the company now entering the workforce
economic wellbeing.” to you and your family. For for a wide range of health match is and be sure they value time off more than
Singh noted that now is example, some may find that needs, including dental and are contributing at least that those in previous generations
open enrollment season in health insurance plans with eye care in a tax-free account. amount. For a young person it did. More vacation time and
which employees may have a high deductible but lower Employees also should learn may seem more important to holidays may mean more to
the opportunity to change premiums suit them better whether their company have cash for current needs, them than a higher salary,”
or upgrade their benefit than higher premiums and offers disability insurance in but failing to take advantage Singh said. “They also may
packages—a procedure a lower deductible,” he said. the event that an injury or of an employer’s match is look for flexibility. Standard
he said they should take “In a two-income household, illness leaves them unable leaving money on the table in nine-to-five hours in the
seriously. “One of the biggest a couple should consider to work for an extended the long run,” he continued. office may not appeal to
mistakes people can make which employer offers better period, Singh said. For a Also, he noted, employees people used to working on
is living in the moment and health insurance and consider person with dependents, he should consider their computers at what were once
not developing an organized insuring both spouses under added, life insurance may anticipated retirement considered odd hours.”
game plan to be sure they that plan.” be an important part of the situation to decide whether
are taken care of throughout Health care coverage, package. to choose a tax deferred plan
their lives,” he said. Singh noted, has been a “Staring in the 1970s or one in which taxes have
DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 17

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LOCAL DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 18

COUNTYWIDE

Friends and family of Derwin Brown gathered to remember the life
of Derwin and Phyllis Brown in 2015.  

The DeKalb County Police Derwin Brown Memorial South Precinct
was unveiled in 2013, more than a decade after Brown’s death. File
photo by The Champion.

JAIL Continued From Page 13A
name of the sheriff’s office and ordered to serve a life
should be changed to honor sentence. Dorsey is also
Brown, who never got the serving a life sentence.
opportunity to serve as sheriff. “I just think his name
“For years I followed the should be on the building. His
story, like most people, and it name should be put on the
just never sat right with me,” building and [renamed] to
Peoples said. “His murder was the Derwin Brown Facilities,”

Organization works to increase
planned and carried out by Peoples said. “I would also like
the sheriff’s department. It to see his wife and family get
was just ugly.” the restitution they deserve

awareness of sex trafficking
According to reports, and his death should be ruled
Brown was returning home in the line of duty.”
from a party the night of Dec. In 2013, DeKalb officials
women, you see young children as well,” 15, 2000, and was ambushed opened the DeKalb County
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN Durden said. “We want kids to know that outside of his home. Brown Police Derwin Brown
there is another means and way of life they was shot more than 10 times Memorial South Precinct,
horace@dekalbchamp.com and died while holding onto dedicated in Brown’s honor.
can pursue and we have people here that can
help. That’s where TAG comes in and the more the roses he brought his The facility cost approximately
According to DeKalb County law knowledge we can push out to people the wife, Phyllis—who died in $3.5 million.
enforcement officials, DeKalb is a hotbed for better.” December of 2006 as a result Peoples said because
sex trafficking and a problem that must be According to the U.S. Department of of health issues after her there’s no formal process to
addressed. Justice and the National Center for Missing husband’s death, according to petition a name change of
A few years ago, DeKalb County resident and Exploited Children, the metro-Atlanta The Champion. a building, he would urge
Iris Durden met the problem face-to-face area is ranked in the top 20 human sex Brown was shot by former county commissioners to
near a hotel on Covington Highway. Darden trafficking jurisdictions in the United States. DeKalb County Deputy push for legislation to change
said she noticed a young woman running Sex trafficking also generates an estimated Melvin Walker, who was the name.
from the area—naked. The girl approached $9.6 billion in the U.S. annually. The average convicted for conspiracy “I think this is a good first
Darden’s car and told her she had been held age of a victim of sex trafficking is 14. to commit murder for hire step,” Peoples said.
captive for eight months as part of a sex “These children get sexually exploited by
trafficking ring in DeKalb County. pimps and they get sexually exploited by the
Durden, president of the community people who purchase them for sex acts,” said CITY OF BROOKHAVEN FY 2018 BUDGET
organization Towers Action Group (TAG), said Destiny Harris-Bryant, a prosecutor in the REVIEW, PUBLIC HEARINGS,
the group will continue to discuss the issue of district attorney’s Sexual Exploitation and AND ADOPTION
sex trafficking in DeKalb County and ways to Crimes Against Children unit. The proposed FY 2018 City of Brookhaven
prevent it. Harris-Bryant said sex trafficking can take Budget will be presented to Mayor and Council
“This issue touches me very closely,” place anywhere. by the City Manager on October 10, 2017 at the
Durden said. “I think it’s important that we get “This could happen at Panola Road, regularly scheduled Council Meeting beginning at
the message out and set up forums to talk Wesley Chapel, Stonecrest; it doesn’t matter. 7:00p.m.
about this. DeKalb County is one of the major Anywhere there’s a man, hotel or car or The City of Brookhaven will hold a public hearing
ports for sex trafficking.” anyone that’s willing to pay for sex, you can on the proposed FY 2018 Budget at the regularly
On Oct. 19, TAG hosted an information have sex trafficking,” Harris-Bryant said. “I scheduled Council Meeting on Tuesday, October
meeting to educate community members on don’t want anyone to think that this can never 24, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Another public hearing will be
how to spot sex trafficking in their area and happen in my community.”   held during the City Council meeting on Tuesday,
tips to prevent it. The county has worked to address issues November, 14, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. Following the
The meeting was cohosted by officials related to sex trafficking in recent years. public hearing on November 14, 2017, the City
from the DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb County also created an anti-trafficking Council will vote to adopt the FY 2018 Budget.
DeKalb County District Attorney’s office and and exploitation watch unit last year. The FY 2018 Budget will be available for public
the Georgia branch of Homeland Security Durden said she plans to keep the inspection at City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, and
Investigations. community updated through forums and on the website www.brookhavenga.gov October 10,
“It’s scary. You see not only men and community meetings. 2017.
SPORTS DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 19

BASKETBALL

DeKalb County School District Media Day participants. Photos by Travis Hudgons

ON TO 2017…
DeKalb basketball coaches ready for upcoming season
BY CARLA PARKER and show what they have learned,” she said. “The
carla@dekalbchamp.com leadership has been great. They can hardly wait to get
started and I think some of the young kids will buy
The 2016 season featured high moments and low into it. I know we lost the big three, but the younger
moments for DeKalb County high school basketball players are ready to step up.”
teams. SWD will have to get through some tough
However, coaches are ready to put those moments competition in its region to get back to the title game.
behind them and move forward to the 2017-18 Arabia Mountain has the talent and a new coach with
season. Players and coaches from DeKalb’s public a championship ring to make a playoff run this year.
and private schools gathered Oct. 23 for the annual Jerry Jackson, who led Redan’s girls’ basketball team
basketball media day. The 2017-18 regular season to a championship in 2014, is now the head coach at
tips off Nov. 11 and coaches and players are eager Arabia Mountain. Jackson said his decision to leave
to start a season that they hope ends with a state Redan after nine years for Arabia Mountain was a
championship. spiritual decision.
DeKalb had three teams—Greenforest boys, “Every season at the end of the year, I go down to
Southwest DeKalb girls and St. Pius X boys—to play the country, set [other matters] aside and pray and
for a state title last season, but only Greenforest won ask God to place me where he wants me,” Jackson
it all. St. Pius lost by 5 points to Upson-Lee in the Class Walton said. “[Arabia Mountain was] where I was placed and
AAAA title game. The Golden Lions fell behind big I’m just doing the charge.”
early in the game, but fought back in the second half Jackson didn’t spend much time with his players
“I just think they’re more mature from the
to make it a competitive game. during the off season, but he is familiar with what
experiences they had last year—playing in some
St. Pius coach Aaron Parr said the game was a they can do and how they can win together.
tough environments and some tough games,” he said.
learning experience for his team. “They were in a region with us for a couple of
“I think they’ll take that experience and I think they’ll
“We’d love to get that first quarter back because years, so I kind of know them just as well but even
be better for it this year.”
we just put ourselves in a little hole and once we better because I watched a lot of film of them over
The Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers hope they
started playing St. Pius basketball we got right back in the years,” he said. “I kind of understand some of
can return to the title game and redeem themselves,
the game, but that deficit negatively affected us,” he things they can do and some of the things we need to
but will have to do so with a new starting lineup. SWD
said. “I think the biggest thing we learned [from the work on.”
graduated its leading scorer (Jada Walton), leading
championship game] was treating every game the The Tucker Tigers is another team projected to
rebounder (Ogheneruona Uwusiaba) and leader in
same. Whether it’s the first game of the season or the be one of the top teams in Class AAAAA due to the
assists (Chantz Cherry) from last year’s team.
state championship—we approach it the same way. number of players returning this year. Tucker had
However, coach Kathy Walton is confident her
We approach it with a business-like mentality and we three sophomores—Nicholas Watson, Jevon Tatum
new starting lineup can make another run to the
don’t get too high or too low and we go and compete and Nathaniel Ogbu—who played significant
championship game.
as hard as we can.” minutes last season.
“I think one of the exciting things about our
Parr said the team was young last year and the Tucker coach James Hartry said the experience
program is that [the young players] look forward
experience and growth the players gained last season those players gained last season prepared them for
to [the seniors] graduating so the next class has an
will help the Golden Lions this season. this new season.
opportunity to step up and show what they can do
SEE BASKETBALL ON PAGE 20A
SPORTS DEKALB FREE PRESS • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2017 • Page 20

FOOTBALL

Tucker quarterback Travon Ford dives for the pylon.

TUCKER 62, MT. ZION 0
The Class 6A No. 1 ranked Tucker Tigers rolled to a 62-0 Region
4-6A victory over Mt. Zion-Jonesboro behind three touchdown
passes by quarterback Travon Ford on Oct. 27 at Adams Stadium.
Ford connected for touchdowns with Isaiah Dunson, Joshua
Vann and Gerry Vaughn as the Tigers (8-1, 6-0) jumped out quickly
on Mt. Zion.
The Tiger defense held Mt. Zion to just 21 yards of offense and
special teams picked up a touchdown as a blocked field goal turned
into a 70-yard touchdown return by Garen McKinney.
Tucker’s Josh Vann, right, fights for a reception against a Mt. Zion Garen McKinney recovers a blocked punt and runs for a
defender. Photos by Travis Hudgons Tucker touchdown.

BASKETBALL that junior varsity and varsity are totally
different. The game is much quicker,
winning season since 2006 and went
five consecutive seasons (2011-16)
from lifting weights to coming to get
some extra work in,” Kelly said. “We’re
Continued From Page 1A much faster, much stronger, athletes without winning a game. The Indians trying to change the culture at our
are much bigger and players are much won their first game last year, and school. As long as I got kids that buy in,
better. These kids learned that and they second-year head coach Duane Kelly I feel like we’re going to change some
“It’s hard for a sophomore to play
saw that. They got a lot of experience is confident the team can win more things and people will be surprised by
6-A basketball; you have to be a big boy
and got hit upside the head three or games this season. what they see from Cross Keys.”
to play in 6-A,” Hartry said. “Coming off
four times, so they’re ready.” “We have about 30 kids now in our
of junior varsity, they learned quickly
Cross Keys boys haven’t had a program and everybody is buying in—

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