48 • FREE

Octogenarian re-launches artistic career


Medal of Freedom

Photos by John Hewitt

Congressman John Lewis received the Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama at a ceremony at The White House on Feb. 15. Lewis was among the 15 2010 recipients of the Medal of Freedom. He was cited for his work during the Civil Rights Movement. Among those in attendance were Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reid, radio personality Frank Ski, former first lady Barbara Bush, United States Attorney General Eric Holder and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Photo courtesy of the White House.

With no budget shortfall, Walker eager to tackle school budget
by Robert Naddra robertnaddra@aol.com As newly appointed chairman of the DeKalb County School Board’s budget committee, Dr. Eugene Walker has some extra motivation to begin his new duty. Walker and the other budget committee members will be dealing with a budget that is not expected to have a shortfall.

due to good financial decisions made at an earlier time. We want to clearly minimize a hit on personnel and programs.” Interim school superintendent Ramona Tyson told a gathering last week at the state of the system address Tyson Walker that there will be no shortfall “I feel good about it and in the 2011-12 budget and look forward to it,” Walker no millage increase. The said. “This is the first year in a system entered this school while we’re not talking about a year with an $85 million deficit on the front end. That’s shortfall, but trimmed $104

by Gale Horton Gay Creating art is second nature to Corrine Workmaster. Growing up with parents who were teachers, she recalls that the family’s dining room table was always covered with crayons and paper. Asked

when she started working as an artist, she replies, “Since I can remember.” Workmaster is now 84 years old and following a career as an artist and a 10-year hiatus, she’s at it again—creating and exhibiting. Her work is on display at The Seen Gal-

See Budget on Page 15A

See Art on Page 15A

by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com A former DeKalb Sheriff’s Office manager was found not guilty last week of two counts of racketeering charges, while her co-defendant was convicted of the crime. Dorcas Jernigan, a former manager in the civil process unit of the sheriff’s office, had been indicted for 81 alleged acts of theft, forgery, bribery and false swearing from November 2007 through July 2008. A jury cleared her of the charges on Feb. 17. Nathan Hoyte Jones was convicted on all charges and will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Daniel Coursey on Feb. 25. Jones and another indictee Shandarrick Barnes, were accused of using their company, Refund Solutions, to fraudulently obtain funds that should have been returned to people who had posted cash bonds.


Former sheriff’s employee cleared of charges
obtain the funds before the money is turned over to the state. Assistant District Atobtain funds due to other people, Melvin said. During the trial Jernigan’s attorney, Keith Adams, portrayed Jernigan as a victim of the fraud of Jones and Barnes. Adams said there is no evidence that Jernigan “knew that they were creating forged documents, that she assisted them in creating forged documents, that she told them to come and present these documents, [or] that she told anyone to turn a blind eye.” There is “not one shred of evidence that she was involved in their fraud at all,” Adams said. Barnes pled guilty in 2010 for his role and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 20 years probation and was ordered to pay $412,000 in restitution. DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown, who testified in the trial, said he does not regret firing Jernigan because she violated policies regarding the use of his signature on checks. Jernigan was not allowed to use Brown’s signature stamp on refund checks of $5,000 or more. “My standard operating procedure was quite clear,” Brown said. Brown, who originally hired Jernigan to work in the jail division, later promoted her to manage the civil process unit, which holds cash bonds until the associated court case has been disposed of. In court on Feb. 15, Brown told the jury that Jernigan was promoted to the position because he needed a quick learner to fill the position. “I put her over there specifically to watch my back, Brown said. “She violated my trust.”

There is ‘not one shred of evidence that she was involved in their fraud at all.’
– Keith Adams When a person uses cash for bond, the money is held by the sheriff’s office until the case is completed. The person putting up the bond money then has five years to torney John Melvin said Refund Solutions had a “pattern of racketeering.” The company would present forged documents to Jernigan’s unit to fraudulently

News Brief
Decatur court clerk arrested
by Andrew Cauthen from the Department of Driver Services that his license would be A court clerk with the suspended for nonpayment Decatur Municipal Court of a traffic fine. The has been charged with individual was able to felony theft after attentive produce a receipt from coworkers became James showing that he had suspicious about missing paid in cash. funds. James was suspended On Friday, Feb. 18, without pay on Feb. 14 Sonequa L. James, who when the investigation has worked for the court began. She was arrested since 2006, was arrested on Feb. 18 and her by the Decatur Police termination process has Department for the alleged been initiated, Arnold crime that occurred within said. her capacity as court clerk. “The city will not Andrea Arnold, tolerate behavior that Decatur’s assistant city undermines the public’s manager for administrative trust in our government,” services, said James’ Arnold said in a press coworkers became release. “We intend to suspicious when they prosecute Ms. James to discovered paperwork the fullest extent possible for two deposits but no under the law.” funds associated with the Additional charges paperwork. may come from an Arnold said a person ongoing investigation told the court that he had by the Decatur Police received a notification Department.



DeKalb County Community Development Department 2010 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER)
The DeKalb County Community Development Department is preparing to submit its Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The report covers the status of activities and programs carried out through the use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds during the most recently completed program year that ended December 31, 2010. The Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report is available for citizens’ review and comments from February 24, 2011 through March 10, 2011 at the following address: DeKalb County Community Development Department 150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 330 Decatur, GA 30030

The office hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The document may also be reviewed at the libraries listed below. Please contact the libraries for hours of operation. Chamblee Branch 4115 Clairmont Road, Chamblee (770-936-1380) Redan-Trotti Branch 1569 Wellborn Road, Redan (770-482-3821) Decatur Branch 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur (404-370-3070) Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Branch 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur (404-286-6980)

Telephone: 404-286-3308

Hearing Impaired (TDD) (404) 286-3336

(Written comments should be submitted to the 150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue address.) All locations are accessible to persons with disabilities.



Page 3A

Four firefighters demoted for drinking incident
by Robert Naddra robert@dekalbchamp.com Four DeKalb County Fire Rescue employees were demoted last week after a month-long investigation concerning alleged drinking on duty during the January snowstorm. Assistant Chief Joseph Tinsley was demoted to captain; Capt. Marcus Reed was demoted two ranks to firefighter level 2; and fire apparatus operator William Corbett and firefighter Joshua Crawford also were demoted, according to Fire Chief Eddie O’Brien. The incident happened on Jan. 11. Several firefighters met at Savage Pizza in Avondale Estates for dinner and consumed alcohol, then most of them went to Twain’s Billiards & Tap in Decatur where more food and alcohol were consumed, according to the report. Reed was found guilty of conduct unbecoming and possession of alcohol at a place of work; Corbett and Crawford also were found guilty of possessing alcohol at a place of work. Tinsley was exonerated of the charge of conduct unbecoming and a charge of neglect of duty was deemed unfounded, according to the report. Tinsley admitted to having one beer at Twain’s and was not intoxicated, which is not a violation of company policy, according to the report. On the neglect of duty charge, it was determined that he immediately notified a supervisor of his involvement in the incident. The investigation showed that Corbett and Crawford drank alcohol at their fire station and were seen there with open bottles of beer. Reed admitted to having too much to drink at Savage Pizza and Twain’s. The bill at Savage Pizza was $102.81 and the bill at Twain’s was $12.99, according to the report. “Due to the amount of alcohol I had consumed while at Savage Pizza and at Twain’s, I don’t remember much after leaving Twain’s,” Reed said in the report. “I am ashamed and embarrassed by my actions of that night. I was way out of line and way out of control.” Reed, Corbett, Crawford and Anthony Smith all had their blood-alcohol level tested the following morning because they were on duty then. The initial test showed that Reed had a bloodalcohol level of .054 and Corbett registered .02. DeKalb County Public Safety has a “No Tolerance” policy for any test result at .02 and higher. Because of the initial test results, both Corbett and Reed were placed on administrative leave without pay pending the completion of the investigation. It was later determined that Corbett was not unfit for duty, but he and Crawford were found guilty of having beer at the firehouse. On the way back from Twain’s to the firehouse, Corbett bought a 12-pack of beer and brought it into the firehouse. Both Corbett and Crawford were found drinking in the fire station. They went into the captain’s office, opened a window and poured out the beers, but kept the bottles because they didn’t want the bottles to be found in the trash cans, according to the report. Smith was exonerated of misconduct after he admitted to having beer but tests revealed he was never intoxicated, which is not a policy violation, according to the report. A total of 10 firefighters were investigated for the incident. Capt. Allen Garcia and Capt. Stevy Duke, who were not demoted, both were found guilty of misconduct. They “did not notify their chain-of-command and act in a prompt manner to remedy the policy violations that occurred” in their presence. Deputy Chief William Smith, who has since resigned from the department, was exonerated on one charge while three others were deemed unfounded in the investigation.

2011 sewer spills nearing 400,000 gallons
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com With seven sewer spills since Feb. 7, DeKalb County workers have had to deal with approximated 395,000 gallons of raw sewage spills so far this year. That makes 38 reported spills for the first seven weeks of 2011. The latest spills include a major one that occurred on Valentine’s Day in the Aviara Oaks Apartments complex, located at 3200 Oakwood Village Lane in Chamblee. County workers estimated that nearly 18,000 gallons of sewage spilled. Rob Clemmons, who works for complex and who reported the spill, said a manhole was overflowing and took less than an hour to fix the clog which was on the private property of the apartment complex. “There’s no way it was 18,000 gallons,” Clemmons said of the spill. A 7,800-gallon spill at the Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club at 5001 Biffle Road in Stone Mountain was caused by grease. County workers used rods to unstop the blockage. Sewage from this spill entered Snapfinger Creek, according to county reports. Grease and rags in a pipe were the cause of a 5,660-gallon spill on Feb. 7 at 5349 New Peachtree Road in Chamblee. County reports state that the sewage from this spill never reached a creek or storm drain. The property owners had to call a plumber to the fix the problem. Two days later, debris in a pipe caused 5,270 gallons of sewage to spill near the Northlake Office Park located at 3330 Northlake Parkway. Sewage from this

spill entered Burnt Creek. Other recent spills include 2,880 gallons at 2877 Brandywine Road in Atlanta and a 1,980-gallon spill on Panola Industrial Boulevard in Lithonia. Grease was the cause of both incidents. A 1,575-gallon spill on Feb. 17 on Cottonwood Drive in Decatur was caused by broken infrastructure. In December, DeKalb County agreed to pay a $453,000 penalty from the EPA for excessive sewage spills. Since 2006, there have more than 840 county sewer spills. After a vote last month by the county’s Board of Commissioners, water and sewer rates will increase by 11-percent each year for three years beginning in 2012. This increase will fund a $1.345 billion project to fix the county’s aging water and sewer system.

A Past to Cherish...A Future to Fulfill
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cases a year and 165 employees. As EPA administrator for the Southeast Region, Keyes Fleming is responsible for eight states, including Georgia, and six tribal nations. Keyes Fleming is a woman of stellar achievements modeled from a rich family history. Her late father was one of the famed When she took the oath of Tuskegee Airmen, which was office in January 1999, Gwen a source of great pride. Keyes Keyes Fleming made DeKalb Fleming takes great pride in her County history as the first African community involvement. There American, the first female and the is not room here to list all of her youngest solicitor general. Later awards and recognitions. There in 2005, the New Jersey native are some programs and projects would become the first African she initiated that became a American and first female district passion. attorney of DeKalb County. During her first term as She was re-elected district attorney she created a preto the post in 2008. Last trial diversion program, expanded September, President Obama’s services for victims and created administration tapped Keyes a unit focusing on crimes against Fleming to head up the women that was a continuation Environmental Protection of her commitment as solicitor Agency’s Southeast Region. As general to fight domestic district attorney, Gwen managed violence. While solicitor, Keyes an $11 million budget, 13,000 Fleming increased resources in

DeKalb firsts–Gwen Keyes Fleming
the Domestic Violence Unit and increased use of the office’s Elder Abuse and Consumer Fraud Units by obtaining numerous federal awards and grants. In 1999, Keyes Fleming coordinated a pilot project with the DeKalb County School Board called “DUI: Truth and Consequences.” A judge held court in a local high school and introduced students to the legal consequences of risky driving behavior. A pilot video that grew out of that project received international acclaim and is still used today. Also in 1999, Gwen initiated a faith-based coalition to end domestic violence in DeKalb County. The project was designed to not only educate members of the faith community about the dynamics of domestic violence and the counseling resources available, but also provide training and assistance to religious leaders who wished to establish their own counseling

The Newslady

programs or shelter facilities. Keyes Fleming received a bachelor of science degree in finance from Douglass College, the all women’s college affiliated with Rutgers University. Later, she attended the Emory University School of Law and graduated in 1993. The Georgia Association of Women Lawyers presented Keyes Fleming with its Outstanding Law Student Award for high academic achievement, dignity, integrity and commitment to the law. Keyes Fleming is married to Randall Fleming and they have two young sons. Keyes Fleming has her place in DeKalb County history. It’s fair to predict that there is some national “first” in her future. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.

Improve infrastructure, create jobs
by Judge Greg Mathis You have no doubt heard a lot about President Obama’s proposed federal budget in the news lately. With an eye toward reducing the nation’s trillionplus-dollar deficit, the president suggests some difficult-to-swallow budget cuts while still investing in America’s future. It’s not much different from what a struggling corporation would do, or a family. One of those proposed investments would not only modernize our nation’s highways and railways, it will also create millions of jobs. Over the last several years, Mathis bridges across the United States have collapsed, gas lines have exploded and streets have deteriorated to unsafe levels. The president proposes that we shore up our infrastructure and put Americans to work at the same time. How? By spending just more than $50 billion to build a high-speed rail system and by investing slightly more than $330 billion in our nation’s highways. Obama’s advisors estimate the plan would create more than five million construction jobs and 10 million additional jobs in related industries. Yes, this is a lot of money. However, investing in America and its infrastructure is the smart thing – the right thing – to do. Americans will be able to travel from place to place, knowing that bridges and roads are sound. High-speed rail will connect towns and cities and, over the long term, improve our environment since there will be fewer cars on the road. Lastly, the new jobs this investment will help create will bring the unemployment rate down from its record high levels. Of course, the proposal has its critics. They say there’s no way the government can pay for it. The president thought of that, too. Currently, the gasoline tax raises about $35 billion a year. That money is used to pay for highway projects. The president wants to use that fund to offset the infrastructure projects and raise additional revenue through various other taxes and tolls. There is no doubt that the president’s plan is a strong one, with past success to back it up. The 2009 stimulus package included more than $130 billion in infrastructure spending; this spending created 8 million jobs. So we know this is the right way to go. Money spent now, would improve the economy–and our bridges and roads–and position the country for a more prosperous future. Write your Congress men and women; tell them to support the president’s plan to create jobs by improving our nation’s infrastructure. Visit www.usa.gov if you need help locating your elected official’s contact information. Judge Greg Mathis currently provides legal advice to more than three million listeners on the Steve Harvey Morning Show and also on his website, www.askjudgemathis.com.

Let Us Know What You Think!
THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions from its readers. Please write to us and express your views. Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain the writer’s name, address and telephone number for verification. All letters will be considered for publication.
Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Send E-Mail to Kathy@dekalbchamp.com FAX To: (404) 370-3903 Phone: (404) 373-7779 Deadline for news releases and advertising: Thursday, one week prior to publication date. EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

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A Section • Page 5A

William C. Crane, 1974-1992

Raise my taxes, please!
crease. It should also be noted, that by a margin of one vote, the DeKalb County School Board also held the line in 2010. The federal stimulus funds are gone, or soon will be spent. Georgia is facing its tightest state budget in decades. Many counties across the country, now paying the price of bad management in good times—or the costs of promises they can’t keep (such as sky-rocketing employee health care and pension funds)—are now leading many local governments to the brink of bankruptcy. A stark reality of politics, despite Mr. Franklin’s wise words of more than two centuries ago, is that tax increases are never popular and many an incumbent has been ousted for supporting same. That brings us to the brink of a vote on DeKalb County’s 2011-12 budget as currently presented by DeKalb CEO Ellis, and awaiting changes and a final approval by the DeKalb County Commission. The budget offered by the CEO requires a millage rate increase of 2.32 mills. Balancing the budget without that increase will require an additional $28 million in budget cuts. The majority of those dollars would come out of DeKalb’s public safety budgets. The water department is funded directly by its customers and related bond issuances, and the school system’s funding comes from the property taxes paid to the DeKalb County tax commissioner and separate millage rates set by the DeKalb School Board. DeKalb Sheriff Tom Brown (a longtime fiscal conservative who typically returns unspent funds to the commission each year), and DeKalb’s new district attorney, Robert James, are joining the CEO in advocating for this slight millage increase to avoid drastic cuts in the courts and public safety budgets. It should be noted, without blaming the DeKalb Police Department or Sheriff’s Office that murders in DeKalb County in 2010 rose by an alarming 41 percent. Solving and prosecuting those cases will also require a strong police department and judiciary. The trial load in county courts during 2010 increased 22 percent, and is expected to rise another 12 percent during 2011. Delayed criminal trials could likely expose the county to additional litigation costs brought on by the lack of access to a speedy trial. County voters are unlikely to support another Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) in the near term, and record foreclosures and bankruptcies unfortunately will place the burden of paying these bills on a decreasing number of DeKalb taxpayers and households. That is clearly unfortunate too, but life is simply not fair. Unless we

One Man’s Opinion C. William “Bill” Crane, 2009 - ?
choose a path of decline, deterioration and fiscal irresponsibility, we need to look to our leadership, and the DeKalb County Commission to make the tough choices as we move ahead together. Better economic times are ahead. This millage rate increase may be rolled back in a year or three, but to hold our ground and maintain our community this year we all need to dig a little bit deeper. Clearly, there is fat still to be trimmed in some areas, particularly among executive salaries, and hidden benefits or golden parachutes upon their departure. Review of those concerns does not end with this budget. But the law requires a new and approved budget within a matter of days. And when we leave our houses next Monday, we expect our schools to be open, and our streets to be safe. When we turn on the water, we expect it to flow. Keeping those expectations turning into daily reality will require a bit more self-sacrifice for the next few years, so Mr. CEO and commissions, raise our millage rate ever so slightly, if you please. Bill Crane is a DeKalb County native and business owner, living in Scottdale, Georgia. He also serves as chief political analyst and commentator for 11Alive News and WSB Radio, News/Talk 750. Contact Bill Crane at Bill@dekalbchamp.com.

“The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” –Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy (Nov. 13, 1789) No one, including me, likes to pay taxes. On the other hand, we all want safe streets and neighborhoods, quality schools and working infrastructure. Those things all cost lots of money. The question of course remains how much is too much, and when do “good government programs and initiatives” grow into the unsustainable monstrosities, which many have become? I won’t have that answer for you today. DeKalb County, despite its more than occasional flaws, operates a leaner-than-many county government. Our public services are not perfect, but having lived in many other municipalities and counties, ours are more reliable and responsive than most. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, as well as commissioners, admirably cobbled together a budget last year that did not require a tax in-

Page 6A


My favorite Republican
Eisenhower's farewell address sounds like a speech not merely from another era but from another planet.
There’s been a good deal happening lately needing immediate attention, but it’s not too late to recognize the 50th anniversary of one of our great presidential speeches–Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address. The only part of it much remembered is his admonition to avoid “unwarranted influence” by the “military-industrial” complex. There’d been a military-industrial complex operating since World War I, but Ike was the first to name it. What’s striking about the speech today is its tone of balance and moderation. It sounds like a speech not merely from another era but from another planet. Near the top the president said: “Like every other citizen, I wish the new President [John F. Kennedy, a Democrat] and all who will labor with him Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all. “Our people expect their president and the Congress to find essential agreement on questions of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the nation.” Can you imagine a Republican leader saying something like that now? Not if the leader is Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Jon Kyl or Eric Cantor. Had Ike been that kind of Republican he’d have said: “I want our new president to be a one-term president and I expect our party in Congress to work to make him so.” Eisenhower was the very model of Republican
by Donald Kaul Columnist

probity (yes, Virginia, there was such a thing back then) and something of a national father figure. As a five-star general and the commander of Allied Forces in Europe, he led us to victory in World War II. As president, he brought an end to the unpopular armed conflict in Korea. He had perhaps the best campaign slogan of any American politician: “I Like Ike.” And we did. Even liberals liked him personally, if not politically. His farewell had a kind of Polonius lilt (“Neither a borrower nor a lender be”), embodying timehonored conservative principles–idealism, caution and moderation. “Throughout America’s adventure in free government,” he said, [our] “basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among peoples and nations.” Then he warned against overreaching: “There is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties…But each proposal must be weighed in light of a broader consideration; the need to maintain balance in and among national programs…. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.”

His warning against the military-industrial complex took only a moment of the speech, but carried the testimony of a man whose life had been devoted to military service: “We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions…In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” The speech is a virtual critique of the present. Almost everything he feared would happen, happened. I wasn’t a fan of Eisenhower as president. He was too conservative for me, too ineloquent. I cast my first vote against him. I can’t imagine what I was thinking. For all his faults, Ike was a fine president. If one were to seek to name his lasting accomplishments, one needs look no further than the Interstate highway system, the largest public works program in our history. Yet far more than that, he was the last American president able to look the military-industrial complex in the eye and make it blink. For that, if for nothing else, we should honor him and remember his words. A perfect president? Hardly. But a damn good one. OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. www. otherwords.org

The following comments are pulled straight from our website and are not edited for content or grammar.

Avondale Publix development on hold IDevelopments are BUST from Downtown Atlanta to Buckhead to Brookhaven but the DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is in Washington DC on my dime wasting my money trying once again to revive the Doraville GM Property Bad Deal ! Have you ever been in that area during Morning and Evening Traffic ? If the existing roads could not handle the GM Employees with extra traffic how can the area handle the traffic from any grand plan from CEO “Little Lord Faunteroy” ? – Iva Ben Hadd posted this on 2/16/11 at 5:48 p.m. Old school becomes new movie set Great question cynic, perhaps it will be used to pay the new public relations person. Since I’m sure his salary is twice that of the former person Dale Davis. Or maybe DCSS won’t have to cut more jobs from the bottom to pay Tyson’s salary? Or maybe they will use the money to pay for the redistricting scam and the superintendent scam search since Tyson is the boards Girl! More of the same Black on Black crime. Stay tuned DeKalb! – Loreen Booker Brown posted this on 2/16/11 at 6:56 p.m. It would have been nice to include in this story how much DCSS is being paid for the use of this school, and where those $ are going. – cynic posted this on 2/13/11 at 9:52 a.m. Proposed county budget cuts five recreation centers As for the recreation centers - good riddance. I have spent 50 years in DeKalb and never used them once. They are largely irrelevant. –The Evangelist posted this on 2/18/11 at 7:30 p.m.

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Michael and Eunice Shinn

Champion of the Week

Chamblee mayor Eric Clarkson speaks to the Chamblee Business Association about the positive changes that have happened in the city since annexation. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Chamblee’s annexation brings changes
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com A year ago during his state of the city address, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson told the city that there might be a referendum on annexation on the ballots in November 2010. The vote came and 58 percent of the residents in the Huntley Hills area voted to be annexed into the city. In this year’s address before the Chamblee Business Association, Clarkson said the recently annexed area now has a “government that’s much closer to the people.” After adding 6,000 residents and 1.5 square miles to the city, Chamblee starts the year off approximately 50 percent larger. Before the annexation, the city was approximately 3.5 square miles with about 12,000 residents. “There were some folks that were not in favor of it [the annexation] and put out a fairly large campaign to try to stop it,” Clarkson said. Clarkson, who has been Chamblee’s part-time mayor since 2005, said he has received several e-mails from new residents who say they are pleased with their new municipal residency. Because of the annexation, Chamblee had to hire additional employees bringing its workforce to 104. Among the additional workers, the city hired 12 police officers and four 911 officers. The city’s 2011 budget is $13 million and Chamblee is expected to bring in $13.7 million, Clarkson said. With the $700,000 in unbudgeted funds, the city will be able have approximately $2.4 million in reserves. “We’re still below where the city would like to be,” Clarkson said. Clarkson said he hopes Chamblee officials will be able to lower the 7.95-millage rate later this year. “It’s just a shame that we’ve had to balance our budget on the backs of our property owners,” Clarkson said. “For just way too long now the millage has gone up. I think that it is time for it to come back down.”

Gail Smith feels that the work her pastor and his wife, Michael and Eunice Shinn, do in the community goes so far beyond what would normally be expected of people in their position that they deserve special recognition. “I know people would say that these are things a church is suppose to do, and they’re right, but their efforts make it possible for us to do so much more. We have no money; what we have is Pastor Shinn and his wife,” Smith said. She added that because of the time and effort they put in New World Harvest Church in Stone Mountain, which has been around for a little more than 10 years, is even able to help other churches. “We could never forget where God brought us from and the many days our parents struggled to make ends meet for our family. During those days families along with churches would come together to assist others less fortunate than our family,” Michael Shinn

said. “Now days the demand has become greater and of course the middle class and poor always get hit the hardest.” Among the projects that keep the Shinns busy are ones that provide food baskets, clothing and health information in the community. They host Friday night family movie nights and give away back-to-school items in the fall and toys during the Christmas season. They are especially interested in the well being of children in local shelters, schools, hospitals and the Stone Mountain community. They seek “to provide love, acceptance, guidance and encouragement to those who may have felt abused, abandoned, overlooked or misunderstood,” according to Michael Shinn. They also help the youth build their self-esteem by teaching them how to improve their problem-solving abilities, how to interact with others socially, and be prepared for the work force, the couple said.

If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at kathy@DeKalbchamp.com or at 404-373-7779, ext. 104.

Page 8A


DeKalb District Attorney Robert James handles one of the 200 confiscated weapons set to be destroyed by James’ office. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

District attorney destroys 200 weapons
“We have entirely too many weapons on the streets,” said District AttorThree years ago, Tajuan ney Robert James during Gurvin, 22 of Decatur, went a press conference Feb. 17. to an apartment complex in “When you have weapClarkston, and fired an ARons on the streets, bad 15 assault rifle in the air. He people gain access to then entered an apartment those weapons and they and held five people captive do bad things.” while threatening to shoot The weapons will be them. Gurvin assaulted one shredded at Newell Reof the victims with the butt cycling in Doraville. of the weapon before fleeing “We basically recycle the scene. them as scrap metal,” Gurvin was later apJames said. “They’re prehended, convicted and gone and you’ll never sentenced to 10 years for see these weapons again aggravated assault, false on the streets after we’re imprisonment, burglary and done. criminal damage to property. “Every time we take a The weapon he used in gun off the street…that’s the crime was one of 200 one less gun that can be revolvers, rifles and semiused against a young automatic confiscated guns mother or a police officer set to be destroyed by the or someone caught in the DeKalb County district atcrossfire when they’re going torney’s office. to church,” James said. by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com The weapons were used in various felonies in DeKalb County and confiscated by the investigating jurisdiction, James said. held for a few years until the appellate process has ended. Some of the weapons destroyed were from 10-year-old cases.

‘By taking these off the streets, I believe DeKalb is a safer place.’
– Robert James After the district attorneys’ office gets a conviction in cases involving weapons, the weapons are usually “We are ecstatic about … taking these weapons off the streets [and] getting them destroyed,” James

said. “We’re lessening the opportunity for bad people to do bad things with these weapons.” James said that although the weapons were just a fraction of those available on the streets, each one confiscated makes DeKalb safer. “By taking these off the streets, I believe DeKalb is a safer place,” James said. “We’re safer 200 times.” James said that many of the weapons were obtained illegally by repeat offenders. “These aren’t Boy Scouts committing these offenses,” James said. “These are people who have been in prison before. They’re not getting these weapons at Walmart. They’re not getting these weapons at a reputable pawn shop. They’re buying these weapons off the street.”



Page 9A

Outsourcing provides best health care for inmates
by Nigel Roberts The United States Supreme Court declared more than three decades ago that prisoners have a constitutional right to quality health care. At a time when budgets are tight and health care costs are skyrocketing, county officials seek the best way to comply with the law while spending tax dollars wisely. Outsourcing inmate health care, said DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown, is the most cost effective use of public funds. In January, the department contracted with Correct Care Solutions, a Nashville Tenn.based company, to provided health care to county jail inmates. CCS’ services, which include medical, dental and mental health, cost the county about $13 million a year. “It’s expensive,” said Brown, “but the law requires that we provide quality health care to our prisoners.” Brown said he could not recall a time during his long career when health care was handled in-house. But he estimated that in-house health care would cost perhaps a little less than the amount the county pays CCS. “However, several factors, including recruitment and purchasing liability insurance, would drive up our in-house costs,” he explained. By outsourcing, the medical vendor assumes the responsibility for medical malpractice suits. “This protects the Sheriff’s Department and the taxpayers,” Brown continued. After declining to renew its contract with a different health care general population have is often controversial. Nevertheless, the courts have been largely steadfast in protecting prisoners’ health care rights. The constitutional underpinning of the Supreme Court’s 1976 decision in Estelle v. Gamble is that an inmate’s untreated illness could result in pain and suffering—a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. As Cummiskey explained, “Nationally, incarcerated populations tend to be very litigious.” Lawsuits and complaints from inmates and inmate advocacy organizations have led courts throughout the nation to intervene on the behalf of prisoners. In some instances, the courts have ordered jails and prisons to increase staffing or to enlarge its range of health care services. Brown said he had concerns about the quality of care the previous health care vendor provided. “Our previous medical provider failed to meet our standards of performance measures,” he said, “and that didn’t serve the taxpayers.” So far, the sheriff is pleased with the quality of care CCS provides to county inmates. He highlighted that the company is a leader in the electronic medical records industry and has made significant progress toward transforming the jail’s old paper files. The sheriff said the company also impressed him when it “proactively” placed its staff in hotels near the jail so that they could report to work during January’s inclement weather.

vendor, the department signed a five-year contract with CCS—the third-largest correctional health care provider in the country. On a typical day, CCS health care providers have more than 3,000 patient contacts, said Patrick Cummiskey, a CCS executive vice president in charge of client development. These patient contacts include screening new inmates, sick call service, daily medication administration, chronic care management, medical records management, chronic care management and other services. “This patient population is often skewed toward individuals who

have not traditionally taken good care of themselves,” said Cummiskey. “This is often driven by mental illness, challenges with addiction or simply limited access to health care services.” He added that inmates typically come from a segment of the general population that is “noncompliant on their treatments” or newly diagnosed. Consequently, DeKalb’s inmates, as well as other prison populations, tend to have a higher than average rate of chronic illness, HIV/ AIDS and communicable diseases, Cummiskey explained. Providing a higher level of health care to inmates than many in the

DeKalb County School System proposes to decommission six education facilities: (1) Atherton ES, (2) Glen Haven ES, (3) Gresham Park ES, (4) Peachcrest ES, (5) Medlock ES, and (6) Sky Haven ES and to place two schools in inactive status: (1) Avondale MS and (2) Avondale HS. Students from these schools will be relocated to other existing nearby schools, as listed in Table 1 and Table 2, and this will take place by August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. The proposed use for each affected building is listed below in Table 1. All existing school sizes and grade configurations will remain the same and no new facilities or expansion of existing facilities are proposed as part of these relocations and closures. Attendance lines will be redrawn for some of the receiving schools and their adjacent schools in order to accommodate the relocated students within each existing school’s capacity limits.
g Table 1. Decommissioned Schools p y

Public Hearings Tuesday, March 1, 2011 6:30 P.M. Thursday, March 3, 2011 6:30 P.M. Administrative and Instructional Complex Board Room Administrative and Instructional Complex Board Room 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard Stone Mountain, GA 30083 Stone Mountain, GA 30083

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE School Decommissioning

Table 2. Receiving Schools, Size and Configuration

School Building
1. Atherton ES 2. Glen Haven ES 3. Gresham Park ES 4. Peachcrest ES 5. Medlock ES 6. Sky Haven ES 7. Avondale MS 8. Avondale HS

1674 Atherton Drive Decatur, GA 30035 1402 Austin Drive Decatur, GA 30032 1848 Vicki Ln, SE Atlanta, GA 30316 1530 Joy Lane Decatur, GA 30032 2418 Wood Trail Lane Decatur, GA 30033 1372 Sky Haven Rd, SE Atlanta, GA 30316 3131 Old Rockbridge Rd Avondale Estates, 30002 1192 Clarendon Road Avondale Estates, GA 30002

2010-11 Resident Students Transferred and Where
Canby Lane ES (76), Rowland ES (143), and Snapfinger ES (81) Midway ES (320), Rowland ES (80), and Snapfinger ES (15) Clifton ES (27), Flat Shoals ES (49), McNair DLA ES (21), and Meadowview ES (88) Midway ES (85) and Knollwood ES (127) Avondale ES (71), Laurel Ridge ES (60), and McLendon ES (104) McNair DLA ES (159) and Meadowview ES (51) Bethune MS (293), Freedom MS (8), Shamrock MS (184) Clarkston HS (4), Druid Hills HS (174), Towers HS (374)

Proposed Use of Building
Decommission Facility Decommission Facility Decommission Facility Decommission Facility Decommission Facility Decommission Facility Put in inactive status Put in inactive status

$0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Receiving Schools
Avondale ES Bethune MS Canby Lanes ES Clarkston HS Clifton ES Druid Hills HS Flat Shoals ES Freedom MS Laurel Ridge ES McLendon ES McNair DLA ES Meadowview ES Midway ES Rowland ES Druid Hills MS Snapfinger ES Towers HS

10 Lakeshore Dr Avondale Estates, GA 30002 5200 Covington Highway, Decatur, GA 30035 4150 Green Hawk Trail, Decatur, GA 30035 618 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 3132 Clifton Church Rd. S.E. Atlanta, GA 30316 1798 Haygood Drive, NE, Atlanta, GA 30317 3226 Flat Shoals Road, Decatur, GA 30034 505 South Hairston Road, Stone Mountain, GA 30088 1215 Balsam Drive, Decatur, GA 30033 3169 Hollywood Drive, Decatur, GA 30033 2162 Second Avenue, Decatur, GA 30032 1879 Wee Kirk Road, Atlanta, GA 30316 3318 Midway Rd, Decatur, GA 30032 1317 S. Indian Creek Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30083 3100 Mount Olive Drive, Decatur, GA 30033 1365 Snapfinger Road, Decatur, GA 30032 3919 Brookcrest Circle, Decatur, GA 30032

2010-11 Enrollment After School Decommissioning
593 1,002 650 1,399 466 1,334 533 1,119 342 512 984 404 734 479 1,082 926 1,109

Configurati on
PK-5 6-8 PK-5 9-12 PK-5 9-12 PK-5 6-8 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5 PK-5 6-8 PK-5 9-12

Page 10A


Leaders discuss state of Black DeKalb
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Many of the ills of the Black community have occurred because of the negligence of Blacks, according to one community leader. “We as a people have allowed a whole lot of things to take place in our community,” said Gil Turman, president of the South DeKalb Neighborhood Coalition. Community leaders have allowed drug businesses to thrive and have turned a blind eye to people casing their neighborhoods, preparing to rob homes, he said. These comments came Feb. 21 during one of seven panel discussions on “The State of Black DeKalb: How Far Have We Come?” The event, sponsored by DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson in recognition of Black History Month, brought together an estimated 200 Black government, school, business and community leaders. There were panel discussions on education, economic development, community, religion, health care, politics and the future of DeKalb. Charles Peagler, president of the Kings Ridge Homeowners Association, said concerned DeKalb residents must participate in all levels of schools, churches and government to make DeKalb a solid community. “Go to the PTA meeting whether you have a child in that school or not,” Peagler said. “Go to your homeownDuring the panel discussion on community, John Evans, president of DeKalb’s NAACP, said that many problems in the county

‘We’ve got everything we need to begin to solve our problems in the church, but we’re underutilized.’
ers association and voice your opinion. Participate in your government. Voting is one of those things that make your neighborhoods strong.” Community is foremost a mindset, said John Leak, of the Columbia Valley community. “When you ask White people where they live, they say ‘I live in Druid Hills,’” Leak said. “You ask Black people, they say ‘Well, I stay over by South DeKalb Mall.’ There’s a difference in living and staying. And for our communities to improve, we have to live in our communities. Live, work, play and shop.”

funding. “You don’t have to have a whole lot of money to do that,” Evans said. “Grandma used to sweep the dirt in the front yard just to keep it clean.” James Murphy, of the Churchill Downs Civic Association, said one problem in the community is that parents and leaders need to have more of an interest in the lives of young people. “We have to teach our young people core values, and we have to bring them to a place where they understand what integrity is,” Mur– Timothy McDonald phy said. Commenting during the religion panel discuswould improve if the county sion, Timothy McDonald, were cleaner, aestetically. pastor of First Iconium Bap“Our communities are not tist Church, said the Black clean,” Evans said. “If you church is still the hope of the don’t have a clean commucommunity. nity, nobody wants to come “We’ve got everything we into your community. If it’s need to begin to solve our not clean it says…“don’t problems in the church, but come in here.” we’re underutilized,” McEvans said that cleanliDonald said. Teachers and ness does not require much business leaders need to join

churches in addressing the problems of the Black community, he added. However, Andre Grier, pastor of Union Missionary Baptist Church, said the church is not the answer to every problem in the community. “You want us to solve the crime problem. You want us to solve the domestic violence problem. You want us to have all the answers to political and social and economic needs,” Grier said. “But we need help. We are not the end all, be all for every ill in our society.” Grier said that he hopes and prays that the Black church is still a viable part of the community. “If it is not, I think that all of us are in trouble,” Grier said. In a summary comment during his panel, Peagler said DeKalb County is one of the greatest counties in the nation. “I’m not going anywhere until I retire and can’t pay these high millage rates,” Peagler said.

Traffic accident victim ran red light, police say
by Robert Naddra robert@dekalbchamp.com The woman whose car struck a DeKalb County Police cruiser last weekend ran a red light, according to the police department’s initial investigation, spokeswoman Mekka Parish said. The driver of the car, Cheryl Blount, 51, and 56-yearold Shelley Amos were killed after the vehicle T-boned the patrol car of officer Kristina Hambie. Hambie was driving westbound on Covington Highway just outside Avondale Estates when her cruiser was struck by a 2001 Nissan Altima driven by Blount, according to police. Amos was pronounced dead at the scene and Blount died after being taken to an area hospital. Drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the accident, according to Parish. It is not known how fast Blount was traveling when her car struck Hambie’s vehicle, she said. Hambie was taken to an area hospital for injuries, but is recovering at home. She is on leave while recovering, Parish said. The nature of Hambie’s injuries is not known, Parish said.

Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd, right, and a few Trees Atlanta volunteers kick-off tree planting festivities at Decatur Cemetery on Feb. 18, Georgia’s Arbor Day.



Page 11A

Wesley Ruland found an old-fashioned phone among the pile of items in a storage unit he and business partner Doug Jordan won recently at the monthly auction at Storage World in Decatur. Photos by Robert Naddra

TV show causes spike in storage unit auctions
by Robert Naddra robert@dekalbchamp.com work for you,” Ruland said. the auctions. Now we get hidden treasure. men live in McDonough and “If we can get these chairs around 50,” Dozier said. Before the auction betake anything of value they cleaned up and if the matIf no payment has been gins, interested buyers are find at auctions to a large At first glance, Wesley tresses are in good shape, it made on a unit after 60 allowed to walk past the flea market in McDonough Ruland thought he had just might be worth something.” days, the lien process beopen door of a unit, but are to sell. bid $75 for a heap of trash. Ruland won one of four gins, Dozier said. They can not allowed to go in a unit. Ruland, who is in the real The 10-feet by 20-feet auctions held recently at sell the contents of a unit if “We average about estate business, has been storage unit was piled with Storage World on Panthers- no payment has been made 10 units up for auction bidding on storage units for rolls of carpet backing, a ville Road in Decatur. The after 90 days. each month, “Dozier said. about a year since leaving washer and dryer in apbusiness holds monthly aucFor the most recent auc“We’ve had as many as 15 the Army. parently poor condition, tions on units that have been tion, the business’s parking units up for auction and the “I was inspired by the electronics with the cords defaulted on by renters. lot was full with trucks and bids can get into the thouTV show,” he said. “You’d cut and garbage bags full of Ruland’s unit was the trailers nearly 30 minutes sands for a 5 by 10 unit.” be surprised at what people miscellaneous junk. largest up for bid at the most before the auction began. After a few minutes of will buy. We had one unit “Looks like I’ll be doing recent auction, but it drew Vehicles also were lined up investigating their unit, Ru- that had 30 or 40 bags full 100 Three other good to get the $75 back,” the lowest bid.Crescent Center Pkwy., Suite 680. Tucker, GA 30084Jordan were happywww.DeKalbChamber.org on the shoulder of Panthers- land and (404) 378-8000 of clothes, and people were Ruland said before entering 10-by-10 units were won for ville Road as more than 60 at the prospect of doubling buying entire bags.” the unit. $300, $135 and $220. people came to try to find their $75 investment. Both But after rummaging Since the debut of the through the unit with busipopular A&E television ness partner Doug Jordan, show Storage Wars, interest PUBLIC NOTICE the Redan High School in the auctions has doubled, 100 Crescent Center Pkwy., Suite 680. Tucker, GA 30084 (404) 378-8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org graduate was more hopeful. said Storage World manager The proposed Capital Improvement budgets for the City of Pine Lake will be available There were mattresses that Latasha Dozier. may be able to be salvaged, The auctions are a necesfor public review at the Pine Lake City Hall, 462 Clubhouse Drive, Pine Lake, Georgia two pieces of furniture that sary part of the business, but during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, beginning the week of February may be sellable after a good it is not something Dozier 28, 2011. cleaning and some interestand her employees take joy The City Council for the City of Pine Lake will conduct a Public Hearing to solicit citizen ing smaller items, includin. The down economy has ing an old-fashioned rotary increased the number of deinput on the proposed budgets during the regular City Council meeting scheduled for 100 phone and an artificial ficus faulted units. Crescent Center Pkwy., Suite 680. Tucker, GA 30084PM. The Public Hearing will be held in the March 14,www.DeKalbChamber.org 2011, beginning at 7:30 tree. “We’ve404-378-8000 been here since Courtroom/Council Chambers located at 459 Pine Drive, Pine Lake, GA 30072. “This is a classic exam2004 and we used to get All interested citizens are invited to attend and be heard. ple of getting your money to about 25 to 30 people at

So many reasons to join!
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Looking for new customers? We can help!
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Your competitor is likely a member!
100 Crescent Center Pkwy., Suite 680. Tucker, GA 30084 (404) 378-8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Page 12A


Setback does not stop Dunwoody’s music hall efforts
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Despite getting a setback from the Dunwoody City Council, it’s still full steam ahead for a bid to bring the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to the city. Dunwoody’s city council on Feb. 15 voted down a plan to raise its hotel excise tax by 1 percent. Under the proposal, revenue from the tax would have collected $1.2 million over three years. That money would have been used to help finance the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. But members of the Dunwoody Music Conservancy, organized to try to bring the hall to Dunwoody, are not giving up the fight. “We’re still moving ahead as forcefully as we started,” said Danny Ross, chairman of the conservancy and a Dunwoody city councilman. Ross did not vote on the hotel tax increase because of his role with the conservancy. “This is the right thing for our community and we need to make this happen,” Ross said. Currently, the hall of fame, which opened in 1996, is located in Macon, the birthplace of Little Richard, Otis Redding and Southern rock. The hall of fame attracts approximately 20,000 visitors annually and is dependent on state funding. Because of the state’s financial troubles, lawmakers are planning to stop subsidizing the hall. In addition to Dunwoody, representatives from Athens, Woodstock and Macon are bidding to get the hall. The Dunwoody Music Conservancy wanted the tax increase to show that it had money in hand and support from the city government. “All of the other bidders had money in hand,” Ross said. “Our proposal was always to fund it through private sources. I’m very confident we can raise funds.” Ross said he and other members of the conservancy have extensive experience raising large amounts of money. One member, William McCahan, served as chief marketing officer for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, raising more than $900 million. Ross said the city’s five hotels supported the tax because of the tourists the Music Hall of Fame would bring to the city. “It gives them a venue they can promote,” Ross said. Ross said he believes the hall in Dunwoody would attract 250,000 visitors and add about $50 million to the economy of the two-year-old city. “That would bring $550,000 in taxes to the city,” Ross said. “It would increase our tax income without increasing the property tax rate.” The governing board of the hall is expected to choose a new city for the attraction by April 15.
Photo by Travis Hudgons

Congratulations to an American Hero.

To be granted the highest civilian honor, is not only a testament to his work, but proof that his struggles were not in vain. Georgia Power is proud to congratulate Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Civil Rights leader and Congressman, Representative John Lewis.




Page 13A

County commissioners reject tax increase
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp. com There will not be a tax increase in DeKalb County—at least not now. DeKalb County’s Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 to reject the proposed $563 million budget of the county’s chief executive officer, which called for a property tax increase of 2.32 mills, or 12 percent. Instead, the board substituted its own zeroincrease budget while stating that it will continue to review the budget and amend it if necessary before it is implemented in two months. County officials said the board’s vote will force the county to shut down the police helicopter, eliminate 80 police and fire recruits, and 800 positions throughout the county. Eddie O’Brien, chief of the county’s fire department, said that the budget would force the cutting of at least 125 positions. “Our whole service model will have to change,” O’Brien said. The budget cuts the position of director of public safety held by William Miller, who said all public safety departments will suffer without his position. “I can truthfully say that DeKalb County public safety officers respond in a more coordinated fashion and a more efficient fashion since I’ve been here,” Miller said. Commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader voted against the budget. Commissioner Lee May said the administration still needs to look at ways to provide services more efficiently. “I don’t think you want us to put more money into a bag with holes in it,” May said. In addition to eliminating the proposed tax increase, the commission’s budget continues to fund the five recreation centers, the University of Georgia’s extension program for DeKalb and partially funds the tax commissioner’s satellite offices—all of which were threatened by the county administration’s proposed budget. A resolution associated with the commission’s budget also calls for the privatization of the county’s emergency medical services. In DeKalb County, because of cross-training, paramedics are firefighters who provide emergency medical services, so a cut in paramedics is essentially a cut in firemen, O’Brien said. The budget passed by the board is $33.64 million less than the one proposed by CEO Burrell Ellis. During an impromptu press conference before the board’s vote, Ellis said the “draconian cuts… will have the impact of shutting down the people’s government.” “We’ve cut our spending more than $109 million since I’ve become CEO,” Ellis said. “I think we’ve done more than any local government in the Atlanta metro region.” But a tax increase is still needed, Ellis said. “There’ll be no way that we can continue to deliver those services at the same level as we have in the past without some adjustment in our millage,” Ellis said.

DeKalb County Wants to Hear From You Regarding the Proposed Franchise Agreement Renewal with Comcast Cable Communications
Send your comments and/or concerns regarding Comcast’s current performance under the current franchise agreement and/or the future cable-related needs and interests of your community to cable@co.dekalb.ga.us.

The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast THURSDAY
Mostly Cloudy High: 65 Low: 54

Feb. 24, 2011
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Feb. 24, 1936 - Vermont and New Hampshire received brown snow due to dust from storms in the Great Plains Region. A muddy rain fell across parts of northern New York State. Dunwoody 63/53 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 64/54 64/54 64/54 Snellville Decatur 65/54 Atlanta 65/54 65/54 Lithonia College Park 66/54 66/54 Morrow 66/54 Union City 66/54 Hampton 67/55

In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see mostly cloudy skies with a slight chance of showers, high temperature of 65º, humidity of 68%. South wind 5 to 10 mph. The record high temperature for today is 77º set in 1982. Expect cloudy skies tonight with a 50% chance of showers, overnight low of 54º.

Showers Likely High: 68 Low: 42

*Last Week’s Almanac
Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 63 34 57/36 0.00" Wednesday 65 42 57/37 0.00" Thursday 71 42 57/37 0.00" Friday 68 48 58/37 0.00" Saturday 75 47 58/37 0.00" Sunday 63 46 58/38 0.00" Monday 72 45 58/38 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.00" Average temp . .55.8 Normal rainfall . .1.19" Average normal 47.4 Departure . . . . .-1.19" Departure . . . . .+8.4
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport

Mostly Sunny High: 66 Low: 48

Few Showers High: 69 Low: 52

Few Showers High: 69 Low: 51

Feb. 25, 1989 - Thirteen cities in Florida reported record low temperatures for the date, including Jacksonville with a reading of 24 degrees. Severe cold in Florida claimed three lives and resulted in 250 to 300 million dollars crop damage.

Few Showers High: 64 Low: 48 Last 2/24

Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:12 a.m. 7:10 a.m. 7:09 a.m. 7:08 a.m. 7:07 a.m. 7:06 a.m. 7:04 a.m. Sunset 6:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 6:31 p.m. 6:32 p.m. 6:33 p.m. 6:34 p.m. 6:35 p.m. Moonrise 12:58 a.m. 2:00 a.m. 2:56 a.m. 3:45 a.m. 4:28 a.m. 5:06 a.m. 5:39 a.m. Moonset 11:12 a.m. 12:04 p.m. 1:01 p.m. 1:59 p.m. 2:58 p.m. 3:56 p.m. 4:53 p.m. First 3/12

Tonight's Planets
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise 7:19 a.m. 4:55 a.m. 7:05 a.m. 8:40 a.m. 9:31 p.m. 8:19 a.m. Set 6:24 p.m. 3:08 p.m. 6:05 p.m. 8:53 p.m. 9:18 a.m. 8:17 p.m.

Partly Cloudy High: 64 Low: 42 New 3/4

Full 3/19

Local UV Index

National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see isolated rain and snow today, widespread rain and snow Friday, partly cloudy to cloudy skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 61º in Carbondale, Ill. The Southeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy today, isolated thunderstorms Friday, mostly clear skies Saturday, with the highest temperature of 81º in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Northwest will see widespread snow today and Friday, isolated snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 44º in Brookings, Ore. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today, scattered rain Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 77º in Carlsbad, N.M.

Weather Trivia
What was the biggest recorded tornado outbreak?

0 - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11+

UV Index 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate, 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High 11+: Extreme Exposure

Answer: On April 3rd and 4th of 1974, 148 tornadoes traveled across 13 states.



StarWatch By Gary Becker - Vega and the Prince
When I was a volunteer astronomer at Chaco Culture near Nageezi, NM, I worked with a former Exxon executive named Johnny Prince. Prince headed Exxon’s initiative to clean up the Alaskan coastline after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in March of 1989. Johnny could be quite a fistful, and on those rare occasions when his demeanor seemed more like a boardroom CEO, our little cadre would gently remind him that he had been responsible for releasing two friendly seals that Exxon had spent hundred of thousands of dollars rehabilitating. It was a huge media event which deflated immediately when one of the mammals was eaten by a killer whale. In all fairness, Johnny Prince was really a decent guy, and I enjoyed his camaraderie, especially when we were observing or photographing the night sky. On one such occasion, Johnny was having trouble with his computerized drive. He had a beautiful refractor, but the drive which allowed the scope to follow the stars was a handful. After tinkering with it for hours he realized that he had forgotten a book containing star positions and couldn’t initialize the mount without it. So he yelled matter-of-factly to me, inquiring whether I knew the precise coordinates of Vega, the bright star that was nearly over our heads. I smiled because I knew the precise coordinates of only one star in the entire sky and that was Vega, the star from which “the message” was transmitted back to Earth in the movie, Contact. I closed my eyes and watched Jodie Foster’s surprised look as she realized the radio telescopes were picking up ET. Her lithe body jumped into the driver’s seat of her convertible. Reaching for her walky-talky, she (I) screamed, “Right ascension 18 hr., 36 min., 56.2 sec.; declination +36 deg., 46 min. 56.2 sec. Confirm!” Okay, Jodie was off just a little, but Johnny Prince never asked me for another stellar coordinate again. www.astronomy.org



State legislators step forward to raise lupus awareness
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com It’s been more than 50 years since a new drug to treat the disease lupus has come on the market. Representative of the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter, were joined at the state Capitol Feb. 16 by a number of state lawmakers, including several from DeKalb, to underscore that fact. More than 100 lupus patients and their family members came from across the state as part of the fourth annual Lupus Awareness Day in the Georgia Capitol Rotunda. The event was hosted by two of the newest members of Georgia Legislature, Sen. Jason Carter and Rep. Elena Parent, both of whom represent parts of DeKalb County. “Lupus is one the most misunderstood diseases. We must take advantage of every opportunity to shed light on this disease and educate the public about this serious threat to Americans’ safety,” Carter said. “The effects of lupus reach beyond the patient and into their families and support systems at home. It’s an honor to work with those devoted to fighting the disease and I hope researchers will continue to make advancements in treatment and eventually cure lupus,” Carter said. “Even though I’m 35 years old, I have known a number of people affected by lupus.” Former Sen. David Adelman, now U.S. ambassador to Singapore, hosted the previous Lupus Awareness Days. Carter holds the senate seat formerly occupied by Adelman. “We need to do everything we can to make people aware of this life-threatening disease,” said Parent, who added that several members of her family have had the disease, including one who died from its complications. “It can strike at any level from slightly debilitating to deadly.” Rep. Michele Henson said that she, too, has had a number of people close to her with lupus. “Your coming here will help legislators understand the issues and keep them on the forefront of their agendas,” she told the Lupus Foundation members. Sen. Gloria Butler said that she was glad to see that the group representing the foundation was getting “larger and louder.” She promised to roll lupus awareness into this year’s rendition of an annual park event that she sponsors. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s cells and tissues resulting in inflammation, pain and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body, especially the skin, joints, blood and kidneys. The word lupus, which means “wolf,” refers to the bright red rash resembling a wolf bite that often comes with the disease. The disease affects primarily young women in their childbearing years, but is also can affect men, children and women of all ages. To make the point that not all lupus suffers are young women, Rep. Calvin Hill came to lectern to announce that he has a form of the disease. Lupus affects more than 55,000 Georgians and 1.5 million Americans.

Members of the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter, gathered from across the state to raise awareness among state legislators of the life-threatening disease. Georgia lawmakers who came to the lectern tin support of the Lupus Foundation include, at right from top, Sen. Jason Carter, Sen. Gloria Butler, Rep. Michele Henson, Rep. Elena Parent and Sen. Steve Henson. Photos by Kathy Mitchell



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Ellis discusses GM plant with Washington leaders
by Gale Horton Gay gale@dekalbchamp.com A three-day trip to Washington to focus on economic growth and development for DeKalb County has been termed a success by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. Ellis traveled to the nation’s capital last week as part of a six-member delegation from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Ellis, who serves on the ARC board, traveled with ARC Chairman Tad Leithead, ARC executive director Charles Kraulter, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, who’s also head of ARC’s Transportation Roundtable, and two ARC staff members. Ellis said one of the purposes of the trip was to convey to Washington officials that leaders in DeKalb County and metro Atlanta are working collaboratively in finding solutions to some of the area’s most pressing issues. “In regional issues, such as the common agenda of sustainability, it is imperative we speak with one voice,” said Ellis. He added it is vital to show a united front when seeking federal grants. “We weren’t there asking for any specific pot of money,” said Ellis. However he noted that during his first year in office in 2009, he traveled to Washington nine times, which resulted in securing $174 million in stimulus funding. “DeKalb County is well known on Capitol Hill,” he said. Ellis met with Congressman John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation Committee and Derek Douglas, special assistant to President Barack Obama on the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) on urban and metropolitan policy issues. According to a press release, Ellis conveyed his willingness to partner with the Obama administration to promote livability and long-term sustainability of the Atlanta metropolitan region. “I wanted Congressman Mica to hear firsthand what our transportation needs are in DeKalb County, so he will be knowledgeable when appropriations are recommended in his committee,” said Ellis in a statement. In addition, the CEO met with Congressman Hank Johnson on strategies to bring unspent stimulus funds to DeKalb County, and John Fernandez, assistant secretary over the Economic Development Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as other senior advisors regarding the funding for the redevelopment of the General Motors site in Doraville. He also met with representatives of the Department of Transportation as well as the Office of Management and Budget. Ellis said they were “very well received.” Of his meeting with Congressman Tom Price on potential redevelopment of the General Motors site in Doraville, Ellis said Price reassured him that he understood

the significance and impact of redeveloping the site and emphasized that all the congressional leaders representing parts of DeKalb know what’s going on with it and “move together” on it. “We learned there may be an opportunity for funding to help to facilitate the redevelop [the GM site]” said Ellis. “We told them we expect this to be a public/private partnership. Everybody realizes this is a tremendous economic development opportunity. The public sector really has to drive this thing.” The CEO’s trip was not without a chance to socialize. On Feb. 15 he was a guest of Vice President Joe Biden and his wife at their home for a celebration of Black History Month. He also attended a reception for Congressman John Lewis, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a White House ceremony. “This was a very successful trip,” said Ellis.

million in expenses, she said “We’ve been very conservative with our spending and we have an increase in our reserves so that regardless of the decrease of the property tax digest we will not need a millage rate increase,” Tyson said. The cuts that eliminated the shortfall were across the board, said school spokesman Walter Woods, but included trimming down the number of employees in the central office. “I don’t think it’s sunk in to people the number of major cuts we’ve made at the central office,” Walker said. “We eliminated a number of administrative positions. Our administration now is lean. “[Tyson] has reorganized and cut

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a number of key administrative positions,” Walker continued. “The lady has quietly and efficiently made significant changes that have had a positive financial impact on the system.” Part of savings have come from the Tyson’s redistricting and consolidation proposal, where eight schools are slated to be closed instead of 14 schools in the original plan. The consolidation plan will save the county an estimated $12 million annually. The lack of a shortfall in the coming budget also means that furloughs will be eliminated, Tyson said. Ten- and 11-month employees will get all their furlough days back and 12-month employees will get 11 of 15 furlough days back, Tyson said.

lery, 415 Church St., Decatur. Workmaster describes her layered paper works as “dimensional drawings.” They are her artistic interpretations of Victorian houses, buildings, gardens, windows, etc. She’s a self taught artist and said she fought with art officials not to have her work categorized as a craft. She views it as fine art. And while her work may appear complex, the tools that she uses aren’t—a dental lab knife, Elmer’s glue and the paper. There’s even a story in that paper. After trying different papers, Workmaster fell in love with a 100 percent rag paper from the Beckett paper company. When the company decided to discontinue that particular card stock, they contacted her and had stacks and stacks of the surplus paper delivered to her Ohio home. She still has two boxes of the paper that she says “cuts like butter.” In describing the process she uses, Workmaster said, “I feel like I am drawing with my knife when I am building these things. I love it because

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it’s a challenge every time.” During her prime, Workmaster traveled the country exhibiting at shows and winning awards as well as completing numerous commissioned pieces for clients such as Disney World and Dayton Kettering Hospital. Although she struggled at first, in time, she said she was able to support herself and her family, which included six children. One complaint she received from one of her children was about why they couldn’t have a dining room table like other families with an arrangement of flowers and candles on top. Bill Bibb, co-owner of The Seen Gallery, said that he and his partner agreed to represent Workmaster and display her work. “We were struck immediately how exquisite the work was,” said Bibb, noting Workmaster’s composition and presentation. The five Workmaster pieces at the gallery are available for sale, ranging from $100 to $350. He said feedback on her work from patrons has been “marvelous.”

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100 Crescent Center Pkwy, Suite 680, Tucker, GA 30084 • 404.378.8000• www.DeKalbchamberofcommerce.org

News and events of the DEKALB CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
In the days ahead, we will partner with the Small Business Finance Institute (March 16) for a half day business finance and funding seminar and Franchise Mart of Atlanta, DeKalb Economic Development, and Commissioners Watson and May for a seminar (March 24) on starting and funding a franchise. Simply stated, the ability to partner creates leverage. Sometimes small businesses are leary to partner and joint venture with other firms for lack of trust and fear of minimized profits. In today’s environment,

Message from the President
Achieving Goals Thru Partnerships and Collaborations
Business has always been about relationships–cultivating existing ones, establishing new ones, and re-establishing old ones. The ability to partner has never been more paramount for businesses and organizations as it is today. Our economic climate continues to make us do more with less. Fewer resources and fewer people can lead to minimized opportunities. Yet, the ability to partner enables us to grow in size, expertise, stature and capabilities. The DeKalb Chamber could not do what it does without partnerships. In many respects our partners are typical– business, local government, non-profits, and other business groups. Just this year alone, the DeKalb Chamber has partnered with the DeKalb CEO’s Office and Council for Quality for Growth on the State of the County address and the DeKalb County School System and Public Schools Foundation on the State of the System. I would argue one cannot afford to not partner. To share the spoils is better than no spoils at all.

Leonardo McClarty President, DeKalb Chamber 404-378-8000 ext 222 lmcclarty@dekalbchamber.org

Chamber Breakfast - March 10
Each year, the DeKalb Chamber looks to refine its programs with the goal of providing more value and relevancy for its membership. This year, the DeKalb will launch its Executive Speaker Series program which is a quarterly breakfast program geared towards business owners and senior level executives. Attendees will hear from Atlanta’s top business leaders on key issues facing business today. Speakers will address topics related to public policy and tax reform, healthcare, improving productivity, strategic planning, and maintaining market share just to name a few.

DeKalb Chamber Launches Executive Speaker Series
The first program of the 2011 calendar year will feature Atlanta Gas Light’s Suzanne Sitherwood who will speak on tax reform in Georgia which comes on the heels of the recommendation of the Tax Reform Commission to the General Assembly. Derived from 2010 HR 1737, the Commission’s sole purpose was to make recommendations and design a balanced tax system. Sitherwood was one of the 17 commission members who on December 15, 2010 began a comprehensive and exhaustive study of the tax laws and tax policy of this state. The group’s goal and objective was modernize and revitalize the state revenue structure so as to create an equitable and flexible tax system which properly balances the taxes based on fixed wealth, current expenditures, and current flow of income. The group met until January 15 after which its recommendations were disseminated to the General Assembly for review, modification, and possible passage. The March 10 breakfast will take place at the Holiday Inn Select – Decatur/Conference Center located at 130 Suzanne Sitherwood Clairemont Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030. The cost is $25.00 interested parties should visit for members and $35.00 gen- http://dcocexecspeaker.eventeral admission. To register, brite.com/.
Brought to you in partnership with
March 15 March 16 March 16 March 24 – Principal Shadow Day Luncheon – Stepping Up To Business – Network DeKalb Leads Group – FranchiseMart – Own Your Own Business

Save these important dates for March: March 4 March 8 March 10 – Page Awards – Recognition of STAR Students – New Members Lunch Reception Sponsored by the AJC – Executive Speaker Series – Suzanne Sitherwood, Atlanta Gas Light



Top teachers help Southwest DeKalb earn top AP scores, principal says
by Daniel Beauregard Southwest DeKalb High School was recently recognized by the College Board as one of 14 top schools in the nation with the most AfricanAmerican students scoring a three or higher in Advanced Placement tests in 2010. According to the College Board’s seventh annual AP Report to the Nation released on Feb. 9, Southwest DeKalb was recognized for having exemplary AP scores in both Macroeconomics and U.S. History. “Southwest DeKalb is an example of a school that’s doing the sort of work [needed], to reach out to African-American students and prepare them in earlier grade levels so that they’re ready for AP once they get to be a junior or senior and then helping them succeed once they’re in AP,” said Trevor Packer, vice president of the Advanced Placement Program for the College Board. Principal Angela Bethea said one of the reasons why the school has been recognized this year, as well as in previous years, is due in large part to the teaching success of a core group of AP teachers. “Our numbers have grown because the teachers are helping us get great results, so parents of course want their children to be a part of that,” Bethea said. “We have a pool of advanced placement teachers here who are veterans at this point, and we do push our [students] to take more rigorous courses so we can fill up these classes.” Bethea also mentioned that the school has seen a rise in the number of students enrolled in AP classes at the school. “We’re increasing the number of [AP] classes we offer; this year we offer 15 courses but in the summer we’re training additional teachers in order to offer 18 courses next year,” she said. “We also reach out to the parents and ask them to place their students into more rigorous courses so we can get our numbers up.” Georgia was also recognized as one of the top 10 states that had the greatest five-year increase in seniors scoring three or higher on AP tests during high school, an increase of 4.7 percent. “I will say that Georgia is doing much, much better than almost every other state in the nation in helping a greater percentage of AfricanAmericans students,” Packer said. According to a College Board report of AP test results for DeKalb County, there has been a significant rise in the number of students taking AP tests, an increase of approximately 3,000 students since 2005. “Although there has been an increase in African-Americans taking AP courses and scoring three or better on AP exams, they still remain significantly under represented despite the progress that has occurred over the past decade,” Packer said. He explained that this under representation is the most significant equity gap in advanced academics in U.S. high schools. “In the nation, 14.6 percent of students in the high school class of 2010 are African-American but for every 100 test takers that score a three or better, only 3.9 of them are African-American students,” Packer said. “Now in Georgia, for every 100 students that score a three or better on an AP exam, 11.6 are African Americans, and Georgia ranks third in nation behind Maryland and Delaware for having the greatest increase in African-American student success on the AP exam.” Since 2005, Southwest DeKalb High School has also been recognized as an exemplary school in each of the College Board’s Annual AP Report’s to the Nation, except in 2008 when the data only highlighted state achievements rather than those of specific schools.

International Community School wins national theater award
DeKalb’s International Community School won national recognition at the 2011 Junior Theater Festival held in Atlanta last month. A cast from the school won the Freddie G. Broadway Junior Spirit Award for performing selections of Disney’s The Jungle Book KIDS. Also, ICS student Gezai Eta won both the Outstanding Individual Male Performance Award and the Junior Slam Award. As a result, an ICS teacher will attend the Freddie G. Theatre Experience in New York this summer, which includes theater workshops and performances. ICS consists of 400 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.

Tyson makes influential list
DeKalb County School System Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson has been named to the Atlanta Business League’s “100 Top Black Women of Influence.” The honorees are women in the community who have influenced large public bodies politically and in government, or are leading entrepreneurs in their industry. The Atlanta Business League also recognizes women who have demonstrated commitment to the residents of metro Atlanta by maintaining significant involvement and participation in community and civic activities. Tyson was among those recognized Feb. 22 at the 16th annual Women of Vision breakfast. Tyson also was chosen by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce to receive the Sirius Star Award, which recognizes her dedication and commitment to public service. Tyson took over as interim superintendent in February 2010 and is contracted to continue serving in that capacity until June 2012.

National recognition
Southwest DeKalb has been recognized by the College Board for being one of the top schools in the nation for having Black students score three or higher on AP exams in the following subjects: U.S. History: 2005-07; 2009-10 Calculus: 2007 English langauge and composition: 2007 Macroeconomics: 2010 (data doesn’t exist for exemplary school breakdown in 2008)

Dunwoody baseball team helps refugee group
Members of the Dunwoody High School baseball team assisted the City of Refuge Outreach program last month by cleaning and organizing the agency’s warehouse, and loading boxes of food for families in need. The Atlanta-based agency offers both life-saving resources and life-building tools for Atlanta families in need.

Wynnbrooke Elementary class wins Jeopardy classroom contest
Cynammon Walden-Smalls’ fifth grade class at Wynnbrooke Elementary Theme School in Stone Mountain recently won the WXIA/11Alive Jeopardy Classroom Contest. The class received the classroom edition of Jeopardy! The students posted a song on YouTube that they wrote and performed, explaining why they should win the contest and how they would use the game if they won.

Printed on 100% postconsumer recycled paper

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Wind ensemble concert to be held at Emory Emory Wind Ensemble will give a free concert Saturday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Emerson Concert Hall, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. The Emory Wind Ensemble is a select ensemble dedicated to the study and performance of literature for wind bands. It sponsors an active commissioning program, hosts guest artists and tours nationally or internationally. For more information, call (404) 727-5050, artsmarketing@emory.edu, www.arts. emory.edu. Registration for spring classes at Callanwolde opening soon Callanwolde Fine Arts Center announces that registration opens soon for day, evening and weekend classes and workshops for adults and children of all ages. Classes and workshops will be offered in visual arts, pottery, music, dance, yoga, jewelry making, writing, photography, Kindermusik and more. The spring quarter runs March through May. Registration begins March 7 and is accepted up to the first day of each class if space is available. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is located at 980 Briarcliff Road, NE, Atlanta. For more information, call (404) 8725338 or visit www.callanwolde.org. Event offers help for underrepresented students Georgia’s five law schools will present “Law School 101: A How-To Guide for Underrepresented Students on Applying and Getting into Law School,” 6 - 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Emory University School of Law, 1501 Clifton Road, Atlanta. Law School 101 is presented in cooperation with the Law School Admission Council’s DiscoverLaw. org months. From Jan. 15 to March 15, events are held at law schools across the country aimed at high school and undergraduate college students from underrepresented racially and ethnically diverse groups who are interested in law careers. The event will feature panel discussions on topics ranging from “The Importance of Undergraduate Performance” to a “Law School Admissions Panel.” Students also will participate in a mock class led by an Emory Law professor. Alumni and current law students will be on hand to discuss their experiences in law school and in the legal profession. Admission is free, but registration is required. Registration is available at http://www.law.emory. edu/discoverlaw.

age from 2 to 16 through its Spring Into Reading initiative. Highlights of the 2011 program include adultchild reading sessions, a writers’ corner for the children to create their own stories, an author’s pavilion, an arts and crafts corner, and free distribution of books, along with other motivational activities. The Gallery at South DeKalb is located at 2801 Candler Road, Decatur. The Spring Into Reading program will be hosted in the mall corridor near the Macy’s entrance. For more information, visit www. dstdac.org or call (678) 895-9360. Beekeeping presentation announced As part of its Enhancing Life Through Gardening workshop series, the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension is presenting Beekeeping - How to Start Your Own Bee Hive, taught by Phillip J. Quinn Thursday, March 3, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Quinn is a certified master beekeeper who “knows everything there is to know about bees,” according to the announcement from the Cooperative Extension. He will discuss the importance of bees, the basics of beekeeping, where to find materials and when and how to get started. The workshop will be held at the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Training Facility at 4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur. Black history expo to feature arts, food and more The AID Africa Black History Expo will be held Saturday Feb. 26, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Redan High School. The event will include such performing arts as drumming, singing, dancing and poetry. Health information, food, children’s activities, a marketplace and more will be available. Redan High School is located at 5247 Redan Road, Stone Mountain. Tickets are $3. For more information, call (678) 357-2549.



Veterans’ seminar announced The Regency House retirement community is hosting a free veterans’ benefits seminar on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. The seminar, led by Ron Baker of the American Association of Wartime Veterans, will shed light on a little-known VA program that provides eligible veterans and surviving spouses up to $1,949 per month, tax-free. The VA estimates that 100,000 people are eligible. But many, especially widows of veterans, are unaware these benefits exist. The public is invited to attend this seminar and refreshments will be provided. The Regency House is located at 341 Winn Way, Decatur. To RSVP, or to learn more, call The Regency House at (404) 296-1152. Sorority to host reading program The Decatur Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. will host its sixth annual Spring Into Reading program on Saturday, March 5, at The Gallery at South DeKalb, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. The program focuses on literacy and increasing children’s interest in reading. To date, more than 350 children have participated in reading sessions and received a free book. More than 700 people have attended these events. This year, the chapter hopes to continue in this legacy by serving more than 300 children ranging in

Community health seminar announced A free health seminar that’s open to the public will be held on Saturday, Feb. 26, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the Northlake Library in Tucker. With the theme “Good Health Comes With A Price,” the event is sponsored by the American Red Cross Metro Atlanta Chapter. Health related topics will be discussed throughout the day. A special presentation on the contributions of those in the health, wellness and other sectors of society will be made in recognition of Black History Month. A discussion on financial health will be incorporated during the session to emphasize the importance of financial literacy. Free literature and resource information will be provided along with refreshments and door prizes. The NorthlakeBarbara Loar Library is located at 3772 Lavista Road, Tucker. Scouts to hold blood drive Boy Scout Troop 129 is hosting a community blood drive Saturday, Feb. 26, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., on the Bloodmobile, 4217 N. Park Drive, near Cofer Park, Tucker. Donors should bring a photo ID, and eat iron-rich foods and drink plenty of non-caffeinated beverages prior to donating blood. For more information, contact Jim Towhey at jimbo2e@yahoo.com.


Baby Boomer seminar announced A free Baby Boomer Seminar will be held at Redan-Trotti Library on Saturday, Feb. 26, 10:15 a.m. – noon. Under the theme “Keep Living—Takin’ Care of Business— Your Life,” the event will feature health and help resources and a free blood pressure screening 10:15 -11 a.m. The RedanTrotti Library is located at 1569 Wellborn Road, Lithonia. For more information, call (770) 879-9954.



Cooper Piano President Blake Cooper shows a handmade 100-year-old European grand piano, one of the most expensive items in the store. Dozens of other pianos, including a bright red one, top left, customized for University of Georgia fans, are displayed in the showroom. The poster at bottom right is one of many in the store that tell the history of the 105-year-old business. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

After 105 years, Cooper Piano still striking the right notes
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com In the early days of the 20th century, many men in western Pennsylvania earned their living in coal mines, where back-breaking labor and coal dust inhaled with every breath shortened their lives and made them old men before their time. Jonathan Cooper’s wife insisted that he find another way to earn a living. Drawing on his Welsh roots, he turned to the only other thing he knew–music. Today, 105-year-old Cooper Piano is still in the family, run by Blake Cooper, Jonathan’s great-greatgrandson. “We’re one of the few family-owned businesses in America that are more than 100 years old. I believe we’re one of about three in this industry,” he said. That’s one reason customers may choose Cooper Piano over its competitors, Cooper said. They can return years later and not only find the company there, but very likely the same employees. The company relocated to Atlanta in 1976, and is now one of the biggest such companies in the Southeast. “It was the right move at the right time,” Cooper said. “The economy in western Pennsylvania, which depended heavily on the coal and steel industries, was in decline while the Atlanta area was starting a growth spurt.” From Cooper Piano’s unassuming exterior on the southbound I-85 access road between North Druid Hills and Clairmont roads, visitors might not guess that its retail space is more than 10,000 square feet with rooms devoted to various types of pianos as well as to teaching and tryout space. There’s even a small recital hall, Liberty Theatre, where widely known and community artists give concerts. Cooper estimates that his company has sold more than 20,000 pianos since it first opened. Although the demand for pianos is down, the business continues to stay afloat. Approximately 350,000 pianos were purchased worldwide in 1924; last year fewer than 30,000 were bought. While many families 85 years ago depended on the piano in the parlor for entertainment, lots of other options are available today. Besides, Cooper pointed out, “Pianos last a long time. Once a family buys one, they may not buy another for generations.” He added that the downturn in the economy was especially hard on his business. “Pianos are a luxury item,” he said. “They don’t sell well in hard times.” He said his company had approximately 90,000 instruments in stock in 2007; in 2010 that was down to 28,000. Cooper said it’s likely his company still is among the largest in the country since his competitors face the same challenges he faces. He said the company has put greater emphasis on the service end of the business—renting and tuning pianos. Outstanding service and community involvement have helped the company maintain an excellent reputation, according to Cooper. “When the recession hit about three years ago, I had some choices to make. I decided not to lay people off. If we’re going to continue giving the level of service that makes us one of the best in the country, we have to have good employees,” Cooper said. According to the New York City-based U.S. Commerce Association, Cooper Piano is one of the best in business. For the third consecutive year, the organization chose Cooper Piano as Atlanta’s best piano store. It’s also one of eight music retailers in the United States to earn the Number One Performance Award from the Keyboard Insights Group, a national music research organization. In addition to grand pianos and uprights, Cooper Piano also sells digital pianos and organs. “At first I poo-pooed the idea of digital pianos, but they became so popular that I decided I couldn’t lick them so I’d better join them,” Cooper said. Besides, he reasoned, if a customer becomes interested in playing through an inexpensive digital piano, he might upgrade to regular piano as he becomes more serious about it. Cooper said that quality pianos are available from many sources, but relationships make the difference. “We treat our customers and our employees the way we would want to be treated,” he said.




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Redan girls ready for another shot at championship 16 teams in county qualify for state
by Robert Naddra robert@dekalbchamp.com


here is no 58-game winning streak to cloud the vision and weigh on the minds of the Redan girls basketball team this time. There is only clarity. Redan was the Class AAAAA runner-up last season after falling in the state title game to Norcross and watching its winning streak come to an end. This year, however, coach Jerry Jackson has watched his team evolve and grow closer after winning the final two games of the Region 6-AAAA tournament in the final seconds. “This year it has been easier to focus,” Jackson said. “Last year there was so much pressure to keep the winning streak going. I think the region tournament brought them closer together as a team. If you’re in a battle like we were, you’ve got to trust each other.” That bond helped the Raiders win the region title and become one of 16 teams in the county to qualify for the state basketball tournament, which begins Feb. 25. At least one team has made the field in each of the five classifications. In addition to the Redan girls, St. Pius and Stephenson also won girls region titles, and Southwest DeKalb and Columbia won boys region titles. The Redan girls are making their 12th straight appearance in the state tournament, but two teams expected to challenge for the girls AAAA state title were eliminated in the region tournament. No. 1 and previously unbeaten Chamblee lost to Miller Grove and three-time defending AAAA champion Southwest

Redan’s Aneesah Daniels looks to pass in front of Miller Grove’s Katie Hunt.

Brittany Hawkins of Redan (11) puts up a shot over Miller Grove's Tabitha Fudge in the Region 6-AAAA championship game, won by Redan 40-37 in overtime. Photos by Travis Hudgons

See Playoffs on Page 22A

Aniefiok Udofia of Miller Grove drives to the basket past Redan’s Jamesa Abney.



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12 DeKalb players chosen for state all-star games
Miller Grove; Keenan Palmore, Paideia; Jordan Price, Southwest DeKalb; and William Goodwin, DeKalb County will be well Southwest DeKalb. Also, Chamblee represented in the upcoming Georhead coach Caesar Burgess will be gia Athletic Coaches Association the team’s head coach, and assisAll-Star Basketball Showcase on tants will be Lakeside head coach March 26. Larry Pierce and Chamblee assisThe event features a junior tant Roosevelt Weatherly. game and a senior game for both Algie Key of Columbia and boys and girls at Armstrong AtlanHenry Brooks of Miller Grove tic State University in Savannah. were selected to the senior boys Twelve players and five coaches North roster. Miller Grove head from public and private schools in coach Sharman White will be an the county have been selected to assistant coach. participate. On the girls side, Jasmine Five area players are on the juCamp of Chamblee, Destinee nior boys North roster: Tony Park- Smith of Columbia and Aneesah er, Miller Grove; Brandon Morris, Daniels of Redan made the senior by Robert Naddra robert@dekalbchamp.com North roster, while Breanna McDonald of Chamblee and Zuri Frost of Columbia were selected to the junior North roster. Columbia head coach Chantay Frost was named an assistant coach for the game. Several of the players are among the county’s statistical leaders this season. Price is second in the county in scoring at 19.7 points per game. Goodwin is fourth in scoring at 19.2 points per game and leads the county shooting 72 percent from the field. Parker is the top rebounder in DeKalb with 15 per game. Palmore, rated the No. 1 junior point guard in Georgia by ESPN, is averaging 20 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. Brooks has earned the Wolverine Academic Award for having the team’s highest grade point average at 4.0. Daniels is among the county leaders in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. She leads the county shooting 59 percent (98 of 165) from the field, and averages 14.9 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Camp, who has signed a scholarship with Stanford, is shooting 42 percent (10 of 24) from 3-point range and 70 percent (38 of 54) from the free throw line. Frost is one of the top junior point guards in the state and averages 3.5 assists and steals per game.

DeKalb was eliminated by Carver Atlanta. Miller Grove, which lost to Redan in the 6-AAAA finals, is making its second trip to state in the seven-year history of the school. Stone Mountain, which finished third in Region 5-AAA, is making its first appearance in the girls tournament since 2007. St. Pius won 5-AAA for its first region title since 2007 and first state appearance since 2008. For Redan, more depth this season also has Jackson optimistic. In addition to seniors Kierra Paige and Aneesah Daniels, Jackson has four freshmen that he uses regularly. One, Brea Elmore, made game-winning baskets in the final seconds against both Miller Grove and Mays in the region tournament. “We couldn’t really go to the bench last year,” Jackson said. “But now we have these freshmen who can play late in the game and produce. Our level of play doesn’t change when we go to the bench.” On the boys side, Southwest DeKalb heads into the AAAA state tournament as the No. 1 seed from 6-AAAA after upsetting No. 1 Miller Grove in the region final. The Panthers are in state for the first time since 2006 and haven’t made it past the sec-

Continued From Page 21A
ond round since 1998. First-year Panthers coach Dwayne McKinney can see a change in his team since they lost to Miller Grove by 32 points in December. The loss came four games after scoring 100 points in each of their first two games of the season. Earlier this month the Panthers lost again to the Wolverines, but this time by only three points. “I was a little lax with them and gave them too much rope earlier,” McKinney said. “I think they’re mentally tougher now. We had some tough games over Christmas break and I think we saw where we could be during that time.” Southwest DeKalb and Columbia have benefitted from underclassmen stepping up in the postseason. At Southwest, juniors Jordan Price and William Goodwin have dominated, while sophomore point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen performed well for the Eagles in the region tournament. “We’re approaching state one game at a time and focusing on the first round right now,” said Columbia coach Phil McCrary, who has led the Eagles to two straight state titles. “Our depth is always strong and we always try to get great support from our bench.”

Teams advancing to state tournament

Southwest DeKalb's Tony Parker powers to the basket over Chamblee defenders Charles Savoy (4) and Sedarius Boyd (21) in the semifinals of the Region 6-AAAA basketball tournament. Southwest DeKalb won the game and went on to win the region title. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Region 2-AAAAA: Boys—Stephenson; Girls—Stephenson. Region 6-AAAA: Boys—Southwest DeKalb, Miller Grove, Tucker, Chamblee; Girls—Redan, Miller Grove. Region 5-AAA: Boys—Columbia; Girls—St. Pius, Columbia, Stone Mountain. Region 6-AA: Boys—Decatur; Girls—Decatur Region 7-A: Boys—Paideia; Girls—Paideia



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DeKalb High School Sports Highlights
Region 2-AAAAA Stephenson: The Jaguars qualified for the state tournament with a second-place finish in the region tournament. Derek Harper scored 25 points and Jonathan Tinch added 18 in a 60-50 win over M.L. King in the first round. Harper had 20 points and Tyler Burch scored 14 in a 47-46 win over Langston Hughes in the semifinals, then the Jaguars lost to Newton 64-50 in the championship game.

Region 2-AAAAA Stephenson: Kaliyah Mitchell scored 15 points, Kayla Kudratt and Danielle Jackson each added 12 and Tyhela Whittington had 10 as the Jaguars won the region title 70-57 over Westlake. The Jaguars defeated Langston Hughes in the first round and beat Luella 58-34 in the semifinals.

gion championship since 2007 with a 43-40 win over defending state champion Columbia in the region finals. The Golden Lions beat Woodward Academy 43-34 in the first round and Washington 29-28 in the semifinals. Columbia: The Eagles lost to St. Pius in the region finals after leading 12-1 in the first quarter. The Eagles were outscored 21-6 after that and trailed 22-18 at halftime. Miah Spencer hit a basket with 21 seconds

remaining to tie the game 40-40, but St. Pius won it on a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Columbia beat Riverwood 69-21 in the quarterfinals, and forced 34 turnovers. Victoria Gonzales had 14 points and Zuri Frost added 10. Stone Mountain: The Pirates advance to the state tournament for the first time in five years after finishing third in the region tournament. Charra Reeves scored 19 points and Danielle Clark 13 in a 56-41

win over North Springs in the first round. Clark had 21 and Reeves added 18 in a 58-46 win over North Atlanta in the second round, then Clark led with 15 in a loss to Columbia in the semifinals. The Pirates (18-10) beat Washington 57-44 for third place as Reeves scored 25 points and Clark had 16.

Gabriel Miller of Tucker won the Class AAAA state championship at 130 pounds and was among 15 wres
See Highlights on Page 24A

Region 6-AAAA Redan: Brea Elmore scored the go-ahead basket with 2.8 seconds remaining Region 6-AAAA to help the Raiders defeat Southwest DeKalb: Jordan Miller Grove 50-47 in overPrice scored 67 points in time in the championship three games, including 24 game. Jada Byrd led the in the Panthers 61-56 win Raiders with 14 points and over Miller Grove in the Aneesah Daniels added region championship game. 13. In a 58-56 win over Kaderius Turner added 19 Mays in the semifinals, points and William GoodElmore scored all seven win had eight points and 10 of her points in the final rebounds in the final. Price 42 seconds, including the scored 21 points and Chaz game-winning basket with 8 Bullock added 10 in a 47-29 seconds to go. Kierra Paige first-round win over Marist. led with 22 and Daniels Also, Price had 22 points scored 15. Daniels had 14 and 11 rebounds, and Turner in a 51-42 win over Tucker scored 12 in a 70-56 win in the semifinals, and Byrd over Tucker in the semifiadded 13. nals. Miller Grove: Sophomore Miller Grove: Tony Parker Klarissa Weaver made two scored 28 points in a 61-56 free throws with 7.5 secloss to Southwest DeKalb in onds remaining to give the the tournament finals. Park- Wolverines a 43-41 upset of er had 15 points and 21 reNo. 1 Chamblee in the first bounds in a 55-36 win over round of the tournament. Chamblee in the semifinals. The loss kept Chamblee from advancing to the state Region 5-AAA tournament. The Wolverines Columbia: The Eagles finished second in the region won their third straight reafter defeating Carver Atgion title with a 64-48 win lanta 47-37 in the semifinals over Woodward Academy. and losing to Redan 40-37 Jhaustin Thomas had 15 in overtime in the champipoints and 14 rebounds, onship game. Tahj Shamsid-Deen had 14 points and nine assists, and Southwest DeKalb: The Jarmal Reid had 12 points Panthers, who have won and eight rebounds for the three straight Class AAAA Eagles in the final. In a win state titles, will miss the over North Atlanta in the tournament this season affirst round, Algie Key had ter being eliminated in the 13 points, seven assists and quarterfinals of the region seven rebounds, and Reid tournament. Olivia Gibbs had 11 points and seven had 19 points and Shayla rebounds. Shamsid-Deen Rivers scored 10 in a 56-46 had 22 points and 10 assists, loss to Carver Atlanta. and Nate Mason added 13 points in a win over Grady Region 5-AAA in the semifinals. The Eagles St. Pius: Anne Lloyd Bean averaged margin of victory hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the tournament was 21 to give the Golden Lions points. (23-5) their first girls re-



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The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please e-mail nominations to robert@dekalbchamp.com by Monday at noon.

Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level.

Marshon Brooks, Providence (basketball): The senior from Tucker scored 80 points in three games last week. He had 27 in a 93-81 overtime loss to Cincinnati, 28 in a 79-76 loss to DePaul and 25 points in a 75-57 loss to Connecticut. Gabrielle Lahowitch, Guilford College (swimming): The freshman from Decatur recorded her fastest time in the 200-yard freestyle (3:11.51) recently at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference/Atlantic States Championship. She also recorded career bests in the 50 freestyle (33.64) and 100 freestyle (1:16.23) in a tri-meet on Jan. 29. Jeremy Price, Georgia (basketball): The senior from Columbia had 20 points on Feb. 19 in a 69-63 win over Tennessee on the road. He is averaging 9.2 points per game and is second on the team making 49.4 percent of his field goal attempts.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Jordan Price, Southwest DeKalb (basketball): The junior scored 67 points in three games to help the Panthers win the Region 6-AAAA tournament. Price had 24 points in the 61-56 win over Miller Grove in the championship game. He also scored 21 points in a 47-29 win over Marist, and had 22 points and 11 rebounds in a 70-56 win over Tucker. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Brea Elmore, Redan (basketball): The freshman scored the winning points in each of the final two games of the Region 6-AAAA tournament. She scored the go-ahead basket with 2.8 seconds remaining in overtime in the Raiders’ 50-47 win over Miller Grove in the title game. Elmore also scored seven points in the final 42 seconds, including a basket with 8 seconds to go, in a 58-56 win over Mays in the semifinals.

tlers who placed among the top six in their weight classes. Miller, who ended his senior season with a 52-0 record, defeated Ryan Cecil of Woodland-Cartersville 3-2 in the championship match. Here are the other top finishers from schools in DeKalb County. Class AAAAA 160: Darian Perry, Stephenson, fourth 215: Jonathan Abrams, Stephenson, fifth Class AAAA 125: Connor Carrier, Marist, fifth 140: Charlton Benjamin, Miller Grove,

Continued From Page 23A
third; Hunter Bailey, Marist, fourth 145: Carey Cloud, Tucker, second 171: James Philpot, Redan, fifth 215: Ernest Moore, Redan, fourth 285: Gabriel Echols, Southwest DeKalb, second Class AAA 103: Alema Favors, Arabia Mountain, third 125: Robbie Martin, St. Pius, fourth 130: Gaslaw Belete, Druid Hills, sixth 189: Joseph Ray, Druid Hills, third Class AA 189: Eric Palmore, Clarkston, fourth