Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and

Stone Mountain.

DeKalb adoption agency finds safe homes for abuse victims
by Ricky Riley

WWW. C H A M P I O N N E WS PA P E R . C OM • FR ID AY, A U GU ST 1 2 , 2 0 11 • VOL. 1 4 , N O. 2 0 • FR EE


DeKalb County fails to meet AYP in 2011
by Daniel Beauregard The DeKalb County School System has failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year, according to a report released by the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE). Of the 136 schools in the DeKalb system, 34.6 percent made AYP in 2011. However, according to school officials the report only lists preliminary findings that will likely change once data from summer school is considered. “We won’t have final calculations until September so you’re kind of comparing apples to oranges,” said DeKalb School System’s Executive Director of Assessment and Accountability Trenton Arnold. AYP is a measurement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act that uses standardized test results and other measures to determine how every public school and school system in the country is performing academically. The results determine how much federal and state funding a system receives based on the number of schools it has making AYP. The act also calls for all schools in the country to meet AYP by the year 2014. Arnold said one factor that played a role in DeKalb’s failure to meet AYP this year was that the benchmarks needed for a school to meet AYP have increased each year and will continue to increase until 2014. In September when all of DeKalb’s data is given to the GDOE and a final report is made, Arnold said, the system will most likely see a slight increase in schools that met AYP, but he would not speculate on how many. “From a historical perspective we do see scores roll over,” he said. Although he thinks No Child Left Behind has had some benefits, Arnold said having an assessment system based mainly on standardized test results was not the best predictor for a school’s success. Organization of DeKalb Educators President David Schutten said it was difficult to pinpoint why a certain school failed to reach its benchmarks without an in-depth study of AYP data and looking at every sub-group. Schutten, who taught math to a group of third graders this year, said it was frustrating when teachers and administrators worked hard only to learn that what they taught their students was not being reinforced at home. He said that even with his help, many of the third grade students still failed the math portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. “Until parents start enforcing what the teachers are doing in school the scores won’t get better,” Shutten said. “I think when it comes to math there needs to be a community-wide effort.” See AYP on Page 15A

Planting the foundations of family
Former Alabama residents Gary Sledge and partner Ralph Pearson have been together for 20 years. They had tried to adopt a child together for eight years. However, Alabama would not place a child with a same sex family, said Sledge, who added that they were introduced to The Giving Tree in 2005 The Giving Tree is a nonprofit adoption agency based in DeKalb County that has worked with foster care children for more than a decade. There are an estimated 130,000 children in the United States waiting to be adopted. The Giving Tree works with agencies in Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and Oregon. Throughout its history The Giving Tree has placed children with 300 families. The placement families come from all over Georgia, though most are from DeKalb County and many are residents of Decatur. Children placed in adoptive families by The Giving Tree are victims of abuse—sexual, physical or emotional—neglect or abandonment by their families of origin. As a result, all parental rights have been severed by the court, placing these children in the hands of the state foster care system. After several failed attempts to find a suitable child for Sledge and Pearson, The Giving Tree selected Ivan, a boy from Lubbock, Texas. Ivan’s mother was incarcerated when he was 2. He lived with family members for a while but ended up in the foster care system. Ivan was 9 when the adoption process started. The Giving Tree conducted multiple home studies on the couple. Ivan was placed in the care of a therapist to help him understand the family dynamic he was getting into, Sledge said. Eight months later, Ivan was Sledge and Pearson’s See ADOPTION on Page 15A

Partners Ralph Pearson and Gary Sledge adopted their son Ivan, front, three years ago. The couple was unable to adopt Ivan’s sister, right, but keeps in contact with her as much as possible. Photo provided

Jordan Nicole Heusner-Wilkinson, center, was adopted by Michelle, left, and Pepper Heusner-Wilkinson more than a decade ago. Photo provided

Page 2A

The Champion, Thursday,Aug. 4 - 10, 2011

by Daniel Beauregard

Clarkston city manager stays connected with community

very Friday morning Clarkston City Manager Keith Barker gets to work at 8:15 a.m., has a quick cup of coffee then gets into a blue Ford pickup truck with a City of Clarkston Public Works logo on the side. Barker, who has been the city manager for a little more than two months, said he gets in the truck each week to see what needs to be fixed in the community instead of just spending his time behind a desk. “One of the things about working in a place this small is that you can get out and ride around and see things,” Barker said. “If I see people out, I like to just stop and talk to them. If you just listen to the people who go to the meetings you might a skewed perspective.” Barker’s first stop on his July 29 ride was the Clarkston Women’s Club, which was built in 1913 and is one of the oldest women’s club buildings in the state. There he met former councilwoman Karen Feltz standing on a gravel road that led behind the club to the entrance of the building. Feltz had contacted Barker because she was upset with the condition of the club. When she was on the city council they had renovated the club, spent money on landscaping and began renting it out to the public for events. Feltz said that over the past few years the club had been neglected. “This was a restoration project and the reason why we had the roses is we were trying to recreate the way it would have been in Victorian times,” Feltz said, pointing to a brittle, flowerless rosebush. Barker assured Feltz that he would make the upkeep of the club a priority but also asked her if she would be willing to volunteer. Throughout the ride that became a common theme for Barker. “Because of our diversity and our refugee and immigrant population, there are a lot of people who have their hands in Clarkston, a lot of service agencies and non-profit organizations,” Barker said. As he pulled up in front of Clarkston Lake, Barker put the truck in park and explained that those who worked on some of the restoration projects in the city are sometimes hesitant to let the community use them. “We have the tendency to work on something and get it nice and then we’ll say, ‘We don’t want anybody coming to use it because folks will tear it up,’” Barker said. The lake had recently been dredged, stocked and a new dock was added, which was blocked off by a padlocked fence. “You see the lock there? I want to work on getting it off. It was


Clarkston City Manager Keith Barker sits behind the wheel on one of his weekly ride arounds.

The foundation for the new Milam Park Pool in Clarkston. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

put there because we didn’t want anyone fishing until the fish grew. Well, put a no fishing sign on there instead,” Barker said. Across from the lake is Milam Park, where a construction crew was laying the groundwork for a new pool slated to open in September. There was also a new tennis facility that was also padlocked, and Barker said he wanted everyone to have easy access. Now, if one wants to play tennis one has to go to city hall, reserve the court and then be given the key to unlock the courts. Barker said that when he was hired he quickly realized there was a lot that needed to be done. Now, he said he was in the process of bringing in experts to assess where the city’s operations are lacking. These are things that are behind the scenes but essential to make a city function smoothly. “No one will see the fact that we have revamped our human resources procedures; no one will see the fact that we now have an employee handbook where before we didn’t,” Barker said. As Barker was driving through a neighborhood he stopped, rolled the window down and began chatting to a woman with a toy poodle. It was Karen Feltz’s 85-year-old mother Naomi. Naomi complained that many of the yards on her street were overgrown with grass and weeds, and some had yard debris on the curb. “When it’s so bad that somebody has to come and tell you that your yard needs mowing…if you don’t know it needs mowing then there’s something wrong with you,” she said. Until recently, Barker said there was a problem with residents disposing of yard waste in front of their homes, which is a code violation. So, he made it a point to contact residents to make them more aware of the ordinances. He also put it up for discussion at a recent council meeting and said that since then he has seen a dramatic decrease of curbside waste. “Public works was virtually

Concerned resident Karen Feltz talks with Barker about the upkeep of the Clarkston Women’s Center.

non-existent when I was hired. Hopefully, when [residents] see that the catch basins are clean and their houses aren’t flooded, they see that we’ve started a program where we’ve gotten better sidewalks. That’s something tangible,” Barker said. Barker said that although the

city has a ways to go, these rides helped him identify a lot of things that he might not have seen otherwise. “I’ve got to make sure to shore up the bottom of the house and make sure that the basement’s not flooding before I start painting the exterior,” he said.

Lithonia gas plant on hold; state wants more information
by Andrew Cauthen stated that Green Energy’s permit was incomplete and gave the applicant a list of 15 items needThe proposed Lithonia gasifi- ed to complete the application cation plant is on hold after the by July 26, including a descripdevelopers failed to complete the tion of the proposed gasification environmental permit applicaprocess. tion in time. The EPD said it did not have Green Energy Partners, in enough information about the a July 20 letter to the Georgia proposed facility to grant a perEnvironmental Protection Dimit. vision, stated that it wished to Green Energy Partners is withdraw its permit application planning to construct a $60 milfor the proposed wood gasificalion plant to convert yard waste tion plant. into renewable natural gas. The letter was in response “We will refile,” said Neville to an EPD request for additional Anderson, chief executive offiinformation on the planned gascer of Green Energy Partners. ification process to be used in “It was really not a big deal,” the plant. In a May 6 letter, the EPD See Gas plant on Page 3A

The Champion, Thursday, Aug. 4 - 10, 2011

Local News

Page 3A

Mitchell calls on educators guilty of cheating to return bonuses
by Nigel Roberts dardized test,” Mitchell said. “By passing this In addition to accolegislation, Georgians lades, some of the teachwill be able to rest asers and administrators sured that those relative involved in the CRCT few bad actors would testing scandal also not be unjustly enriched, reaped financial rewards while their students are for what many believed placed in peril.” was a job well done. ParCalvine Rollins, ents, school board mempresident of the Georgia bers and others are outAssociation of Educaraged by the deception tors, said in a statement and say those educators Mitchell that she supports Mitchshould not be financially ell’s measure. rewarded for bad behavior. “This proposed legislation Their indignation has reached would not affect honest educators, the Georgia General Assembly. Rep. and would only apply to cases that Billy Mitchell (D – Stone Mounhave been fully vetted for the validtain) is spearheading a legislative ity of the evidence,” she said. “The effort to address the issue. On July current version protects educators’ 18, Mitchell announced his plan due process under Georgia’s Fair to introduce legislation that would Dismissal Law, and we want to enprevent those dishonest educators sure that this protection remains in from walking away with money the legislation’s final language.” they did not earn. Following news of widespread “This legislation simply calls cheating, Rollins defended the “99 for the return of any funds to the percent” of educators in the school school system that were paid to any system who “stay true to the tenets administrator or teacher who admits of teaching because of their proto or is found guilty of cheating or fessional ethics” and concern for causing the cheating on any stanchildren’s future. She lamented that a few rogue educators have tainted the vast majority. According to reports of the scandal, teachers and principals in several metro area schools erased and corrected mistakes on students’ CRCT answer sheets. The test is designed to measure academic achievement and can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses. Test scores have also become a measure of teacher ability and a standard to justify pay raises. Mitchell’s legislation would affect teachers and other personnel whose salary increase or bonus was based in whole, or in part, on scores from falsified assessment tests. The legislation would make them forfeit promised monetary rewards and liable for repayment of financial rewards they received. In a statement, Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers, said, “No one condones cheating. The ill-gotten fruits of cheating should be returned to Georgia’s children.” She added that Mitchell’s proposal “is both a fair and common-sense approach.”

Gas plant
Continued From Page 2A

The Decatur City Commission officially announces the Call for the City's General Election to be held in the City of Decatur, Georgia, on November 8, 2011 for two Decatur Board of Education members for four year terms of office, and three City of Decatur Commissioners for four year terms, such terms to begin at the organizational meeting in January 2012. One City Commissioner from Election District 1, Post B One City Commissioner from Election District 2, Post B One City Commissioner at large One Decatur Board of Education member from Election District 1, Post B One Decatur Board of Education member from Election District 2, Post B DeKalb County will conduct this election at the following proposed precincts: Election District District : Polling Place for Election Clairemont East 1 : First Baptist Church of Decatur, 308 Clairemont Ave Clairemont West 1 : Lutheran Church of Messiah, 465 Clairemont Ave. Glenwood Precinct 1 : Holy Trinity Parish, 515 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. Oakhurst 2 : Oakhurst Baptist Church, 222 E. Lake Dr. Ponce De Leon 1&2 : First Christain Church of Decatur, 601 W. Ponce de Leon Ave Renfroe 2 : Renfroe Middle School, 220 W. College Ave. Winnona Park 2 : Winnona Park Elementary School, 510 Avery St. Each candidate will file notice of his or her candidacy and the appropriate affidavit in the office of the Election Superintendent at City Hall, 509 North McDonough Street, Decatur, Georgia. The opening dates for qualifying will start Monday, August 29, 2011 beginning at 8:30 A. M., and continuing until Friday, September 2, 2011 at 4:30 P.M. The qualifying fee for City Commission office is $144.00 and the qualifying fee for Board of Education members is $35.00 Registration for voting in the November 8, 2011 election will close Tuesday, October 11, 2011. Advance Voting is from October 31 – November 4, 2011; Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM at DeKalb County voter registration office, 1300 Commerce Drive, Room 101, Decatur, Georgia. Absentee voting begins on October 17, 2011 at DeKalb County voter registration office, 4380 Memorial Dr., Ste. 300, Decatur, Georgia, Monday through Friday between 8:30 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. Questions concerning absentee voting, early voting or voter registration should be directed to DeKalb County Elections Division at 404-298-4020. The Decatur City Commission gives notice this July 18, 2011.

Anderson said of the EPD’s request for more information. In its letter to the EPD, Green Energy stated “the best way to address EPD’s request is to prepare a new application.” According to Green Energy officials, the plant will use a method called pyrolysis in which yard trimmings are placed in oxygen-free chambers. The chambers are then heated to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit with natural gas burners to produce syngas, which is turned into renewable natural gas (RNG). The withdrawal of the application “vindicates the community’s position that the application was incomplete,” said Deborah Jackson, a Lithonia City Council member and plant opponent. “It really wasn’t clear what the project was,” Jackson said. “It raises the question whether this applicant really knows what it is doing,” In its letter the EPD asked for “a very detailed description of this wood gasification project, including each piece of equipment mentioned in the permit application.” “Since wood gasification is a new technology, please include any vendor documentation or brochure to describe this process in detail.” The EPD also asked for “emissions estimated and supporting documentation for the greenhouse gases for each piece of equipment in tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent.” Also missing from the application were emissions calculations for hazardous air pollutants, a toxic impact assessment and detailed emissions calculations for the entire facility. The plant, which received approval from the county’s Board of Commissioners in June, has been heavily opposed by Lithonia residents. A lawsuit was filed in July by two Lithonia residents living beside the plant’s proposed site and by Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) “We urged the county to wait until the EPD granted a permit,” Jackson said. “The Board of Commissioners was premature in granting it.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Opinion The Newslady

Page 4A

Washington got it—for a few minutes
tears in their eyes. They knew that in the lunacy prevalent in the world today, the fate that befell Gifford could have been any one of them. So for a few minutes, as they clapped hands and smiled broadly, Congress was united in a spirit of humanness. It seems too much to dream that they could go beyond the mere civility of decorum and actually exhibit that same kind of compassion routinely. One could dare hope that our lawmakers could hold uppermost in their minds that kind of caring for the least of these as they carry out their legislative responsibilities. What would our country look like if the love and respect for the Gabbie Gifford resolve could somehow be transformed into the mindset of all of our lawmakers? What if our lawmakers could think about the resolve of senior citizens around the country who have worked hard all their lives and paid into a system that promises a modest return and who now worry and struggle to make ends meet. Think of the Gabbie Gifford compassion for the widow and children of the young serviceman who lost his life on foreign shores fighting their war and you want to cut their benefits. Think of the teacher whose classroom numbers continue to increase and resources decrease while the demands of paperwork and surrogate parenting dampen the calling of that noble profession. Think about the haunting look of shame in the eyes of the father whose job has ended and he doesn’t know how he’s going to make the mortgage and keep a roof over the families’ head. Think of dead tired police officers who keep us safe and alive having to “moonlight” to make ends meet. Think of the young couple struggling with a special needs child. There’s a long list of Gabbie Gifford resolve in this country – people who also deserve a standing ovation. Think of this: According to an IRS study the 400 wealthiest people in America, or .0003 of the nation’s 134 million taxpayers, reported total income of $85.6 billion in 2005, an average of $213.9 million each. And they are worried that a 3 percent tax hike would drive them to the poor house? The statistics show that between 2002 and 2005, the rich reaped phenomenal incomes and enjoyed wonderful tax cuts and loopholes. Tea party members have been duped. They think they are really part of this elite group of 400 who want to “take our country back.” From whom? Yes, something beautiful happened earlier in the week when the vote to approve raising the nation’s debt ceiling was taken in Congress. They came together in the 11th hour to prevent an economic catastrophe. In the process a wounded warrior entered the room to jubilant applause. It was an all too rare show of non-partisan humanness. How do we differentiate from Gifford’s heroic struggle to make it back and the gargantuan life struggles people go through daily. Where is the compassion? Our lawmakers can make a difference in the lives of the people who make this country work if they would focus on their behalf. Think about President John F. Kennedy’s words: “If a FREE society cannot HELP the many who are POOR, it cannot SAVE the FEW who are RICH.” Wouldn’t it be lovely if Congress could routinely come together with a show of that Gabbie Gifford compassion? Congress got it. Sadly it was only for a few fleeting minutes. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at

Something beautiful happened when the vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling was approved in Congress, averting a virtual collapse of the nation’s economy. It was the thunderous applause that erupted when Arizona Congresswoman Gabbie Gifford entered the chamber. Congress displayed a bi-partisan outpouring of love for a colleague who had taken a would-be assassin’s bullet to the head just seven months earlier. Congresswoman Gifford fought back and came back from a horrific near-death experience in a fashion that is nothing short of miraculous. The beauty of what occurred in the hallowed halls of Congress was that it didn’t matter the party affiliation or whether it was a yea or nay vote cast, it was that men and women were united in a show of care, compassion and love. It was a sight to see battle-worn, grizzled old geezers with

America's real job creators are broke
by Jim Hightower Columnist

Despite the GOP’s ideological claptrap about corporate executives being “job creators,” it's ordinary Americans who actually create jobs.
zoomed, sopping up an unprecedented 88 percent of America's economic growth. Meanwhile, only one percent of the growth that we all help produce has gone to wages and salaries, the primary sources of income for 90 percent of us. Yet, those same CEOs say they won't invest in new jobs or raise wages until consumers start buying again. That's like saying, "The beatings will continue until morale improves." Hello? The consumers whom CEOs are waiting on are the workers whose jobs and wages the CEOs won't increase. You see, despite the GOP's ideological claptrap about corporate executives being "job creators," it's ordinary Americans who actually create jobs by spending from their paychecks. This is why our obtuse policymakers need to quit pampering the rich and fussing over budgets. Instead, they should launch a national, FDR-style jobs program that will immediately increase paychecks, perk up consumer spending and generate grassroots economic growth. Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

As narrators used to say in Western movies: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." Our policymakers in Washington have totally lost sight of what's happening at the ranch. John Boehner's GOP-controlled House and Barack Obama's White House have agreed to slash trillions of dollars from the federal budget, as though that's America's most important need. Bovine excrement! If they'd lift their vision to the countryside, even they could figure out that our great economic urgency is for the creation of good, middle-class jobs to get America moving again — moving upward and moving together. Today, we are a dangerously disunited society. Elite CEOs and big investors are grabbing all the gains, leaving the vast majority mired in recession and facing falling incomes. Since the recession technically "ended" 18 months ago, corporate profits have

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Playing chicken at the brink
first does not define manhood or make for intelligent lessons in political leadership. First, a few facts that are not in dispute: As per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), at the end of 2008, paying off our total U.S. debt would have consumed 40 percent of that entire year’s gross domestic product (GDP). By the end of 2010, with the recession having shrunken our GDP, and Congress and the White House continuing an unabated spending spree, that same measurement of U.S. debt versus consumption of GDP would consume 70 percent of our entire economic output that year. Blame George Bush, blame Barack Obama, blame Wall Street. We are here. The path we are treading is not sustainable. Again, the CBO has repeatedly stated publicly that our current federal budgets are borrowing nearly 40 cents on every dollar. Even with the best possible credit ratings (which are in serious jeopardy) there is no entity on the planet which can generate sufficient cash flow to sustain that level of expenditure. Unfortunately, our Congress appears to have lost the ability to compromise, build consensus and stop playing the blame game long enough to seriously deal with the challenges our country is facing. Economic growth in even solid single digits is a major part of the solution, but the continuing uncertainty over what this Congress and White House will or won’t do will keep that expansion on hold indefinitely. So after driving the credibility and global reputation of our credit worthiness to the brink, slamming on the breaks and passing a deal that no one can completely and credibly explain in any significant detail, we are told that a magical bi-partisan team of 12 members of a select committee will spend the next 90 days identifying a list of nearly another $2 trillion in spending cuts, or offsetting new revenue to further close this immense budget deficit. As both sides dug in their heels deeper in the final days and weeks leading our economy to the brink, it became harder to accept their earnest remarks, on both sides, that the “other side” was being unreasonable and willing to put everything at risk. However, neither side wanted the United States to default on its financial obligations. It is certainly worth mentioning that when the current roles were reversed, and the president was a Republican (Bush), and the Congress was faced with one of the 70 prior instances that raising the debt ceiling was debated, and ultimately passed that a loud and vocal minority also voted no at that time. Among those speaking the loudest, and voting against that last previous raise in the debt ceiling was one then-freshman U.S. Senator Barack Obama. As positions and viewpoints can clearly change dependent on the particular circumstances, we would suggest that the White House and our Congressional leadership spend the next 100 days setting and sharing spending and taxing priorities with the American people. We have passed the day where the American government can be all things to all of our people. If the French government can raise its retirement age, and our allies in Asia can use market competition to reduce health care costs (the fastest rising expenditure within the U.S. budget) then we can too. But this and other necessary changes will require taking a stand, being a man (figuratively speaking), and being willing to lose an election for the greater good. We do not elect our leaders to ensure or protect their own re-election. We elect them to help lead us to solutions, solve problems and continue to make this country a better place for generations and decades to come. 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

Opinion One Man’s Opinion

Page 5A

“What do you do when you have to be a man?” —actor James Dean’s character in the movie Rebel Without a Cause to his father in the film. If you’ve ever seen the iconic teen rebellion movie Rebel Without a Cause, you will likely remember a moronic game of “chicken” with James Dean, a friend and few punks all racing toward a cliff—with the first car to turn away from the abyss and its driver being deemed “chicken.” Dean’s character won the “chicken” game, but a friend lost his life in the process, Dean himself died shortly after filming the movie in a real head-on collision. Many still believe Dean lost his own life playing “chicken” on a California highway. Sad story, horrible result. But playing “chicken” or games to see who blinks

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011


Page 6A

In Washington, adults are playing games that even slow-witted teenagers don’t play any more.
woefully short on experience, but he was obviously whip-smart and able to speak eloquently about the problems that vexed us. After eight years of being Bushwhacked, that seemed like sheer heaven. Then he relocated to the White House. Obama the Eloquent disappeared, replaced by the Great Compromiser. Rather than using the Oval Office’s bully pulpit to make the case for his positions, he started playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with the Republicans. He sought a bipartisan solution to every problem and he always began by giving away half the store before negotiations started. Someone should tell him that it takes two to tango and that the Republicans don’t want to dance. He allowed the Republicans an open field to push the view that the deficit was the crucial issue of the moment, rather than chronic unemployment. Thus, he was only able to get an anemic stimulus package passed which, while it helped avoid disaster, didn’t do enough to put a real dent in joblessness. As a result he managed to alienate his political base — liberals — while empowering his fiercest enemy, the tea party. And he keeps running around, looking for someone to hug. I realize that Obama has faced a very difficult situation — I’ve defended him on that basis for months now — but sooner or later he’s going to have to do something or we’ll decide he’s not very good at politics. That’s not the worst thing you can say about a citizen, but it’s one of the worst you can say about a U.S. president. Politics is his job. That said, the deal that emerged from the debt ceiling crisis is an awful thing, a Frankenstein monster of a “compromise” that promises more than it can possibly deliver. Put into action it will do more harm than good. The deficit will continue to balloon, poor people will get poorer, and rich people and vast corporations will continue to avert paying their fair share of taxes. Can we stop the world for a minute? This is where I want to get off.

Playing chicken in the Capitol

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

DeKalb County fails to meet AYP in 2011
Perhaps the results are an indication that teachers and administration in Dekalb County are ethical and honest! – Bob posted this on 8/5/11 at 8:52 a.m. There needs to be some kind of measure that makes the parents accountable as well. Everything falls on the teachers but there are a lot of teachers who work very hard by as stated in the article there is no reinforcement at home. Parents must take some responsibility in this. I know there are parents who do make the effort, but why should all the blame be put on the teachers. After reading this article, as a parent, I am taking a look at what I need to do to assist teachers in making sure our students succeed. – Pat posted this on 8/4/11 at 2:55 a.m. This is utterly ridiculous. The entire school board needs to be cleared out. This is the result of years of mismanagement, corruption within the district office, and either indifference or collusion on the part of the school board. South DeKalb is served miserably on the school board, and the BOC does nothing but point the finger in the direction of Mountain Industrial instead of putting political pressure on the school system to improve. There are a lot of reasons why things are so bad, and the lack of substantial parental involvement is a big one, but when the numbers are THIS bad, the organization in charge needs to be held accountable. – JT posted this on 8/3/11 at 2:35 p.m.

The problem with the game of chicken — two people racing toward each other, each daring the other to turn aside — is that the crazy one always wins. The one who doesn’t care about head-on collisions has a stunted imagination and can’t conceive of the consequences a crash would produce. The rational player, on the other hand, is ultimately forced to swerve out of the oncoming madman’s way. It’s the responsible thing to do. Yet the guy who swerves first is viewed as the loser and a wimp. That’s pretty much the way President Obama’s debt-ceiling game with the tea party Republicans has played out. Obama has been branded the loser and a wimp. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is beating his chest in triumph. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s what we have in Washington these days. Adults are playing games that not even slow-witted teenagers play any more. I fear that in swerving to avoid the Tea Party Express, Obama has driven his administration into a ditch from which it won’t soon climb out. Even his staunchest supporters are asking questions like these: “If you cannot stand up against the right wing on an issue like the debt ceiling — which is, after all, more a legal requirement than an option — what can you stand up for?” “If you cannot explain to the American people the need to raise the debt ceiling without surrendering to political blackmail, what can you explain?” I don’t get it. If he can’t be outraged at this spectacle, what can he be outraged by? Instead of “No Drama Obama,” he’s more like “No Pulse Obama.” When Senator Barack Obama popped onto the national scene — just seven years ago — he dazzled millions of Americans. He was

Decatur’s fourth and fifth graders all under one roof
Too many school changes with the grades. Too much turmoil and instability. Actually, Decatur could just have one school - pre-K through 8th grade for everyone. Would achieve cost savings and deliver better programs. –Butch posted this on 8/6/11 at 9:39 p.m.

Jewish communities in DeKalb adapt to suburban life
Interesting article that highlights the diversity and complexity of the county in which we live. There are many significant ethnic and religious groups in the county. Thanks, Champion, for taking the interest and effort in featuring one of them that many in the county may be unaware of. This also may help others appreciate the challenges in running a county government that is responsive to all. – Butch posted this on 8/3/11 at 8:31 a.m. David is right, it seems like an odd article to publish in the Champion, but I did enjoy reading it. It does have more significance to people who might want to learn about other religions or about their own. – Caroline posted this on 8/2/11 at 10:56 p.m. This story makes no more sense to me than G-d telling Catholics to eat or not eat fish on Friday, or to kill “bad” people but not good people. The only thing a G-d would care about is whether the planet remains green. – David posted this on 8/1/11 at 12 pm

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Local News

Page 7A

Service contracts save Dunwoody $1 million
by Andrew Cauthen When the city of Dunwoody needs a new employee, there’s a chance the worker will not get on the city’s payroll. Instead, Dunwoody is providing some of its government services using a split contract service model. A form of outsourcing, the split contract service model “allows the city to enter into public-private partnerships with highly specialized service providers who have the capability and resources to provide top tier service and increased efficiency of municipal operations,” said Edie Damann, Dunwoody’s marketing and public relations manager. The contracts, which have will save Dunwoody more than $1 million over four years, are the “city’s way of creating a specialized workforce for the government,” Damann said. Dunwoody is not the only metropolitan Atlanta municipality using this service delivery model. Sandy Springs and Johns Creek were already using it when Dunwoody incorporated in 2008. “It’s definitely a model that is working for the city of Dunwoody,” said Damann, whose own job is a result of the outsourcing. The split contract service model provides a highly specialized work force and best-in-class services at a fixed cost

Champion of the Week
Judy Yi
ment our tree plantings with photos and keeps our social media outreach lively,” said Cunningham. Yi is the primary content producer for the Trees Atlanta blog. Her photos bring life to the Trees Atlanta Facebook page and give prospective volunteers insight into the non-profit. Yi also manages Twitter and helps plant trees with other volunteers. In the social media aspect she said that “[Trees Atlanta] started from scratch.” Yi said that the purpose of her role is to focus and highlight the work of others. Every weekend volunteers go out around Atlanta to Plant trees. There are about 100-150 volunteers participating, according to Yi. “It is a way to show appreciation to other volunteers.” She gets satisfaction from displaying the work of others but also for helping out the environment. Yi has lived in Las Vegas and New York but she has always returned to Atlanta. She earned her BFA from New York University and her masters from Georgia State University. Yi urges people to visit www.treesatlanta. org, where visitors can see links to their Facebook page and Twitter.

on flexible terms, Damann said. By creating a competitive environment for municipal service delivery, Dunwoody is benefitting from increased cost savings and greater accountability, Damann said. Dunwoody has awarded contracts to JAT and Calvin Giordano & Associates for finance and administration services; Clark Patterson Lee for planning and zoning, permits, inspections and code compliance services; InterDev for information technology services; and Jacobs for public relations and marketing services. The city is currently looking for a company to handle its public works and parks and recreation functions. Dunwoody had previously released requests for proposal (RFPs) for public works and parks separately, but when the proposals came in, the companies had bid on both functions together. “The consolidation and rebid of the public works and parks and recreation contracts showcases the city’s commitment to access a broad depth of experience and talent which will ultimately benefit our citizens as well as our infrastructure, public safety and parks,” City Manager Warren Hutmacher said. “The city remains dedicated to providing the best services for our community at fixed, manageable costs by contracting with specialized service providers,” Hutmacher said.

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Trees Atlanta has planted and served the greater Atlanta metropolitan area for the past 25 years. The organization was founded in 1985 by Central Atlanta Progress, the Junior League of Atlanta and the Atlanta Parks Commissioner. The organization has planted 75,000 trees, cared for more than 100,000 trees and recruited thousands of volunteers over the years, making Trees Atlanta an Atlanta staple. Volunteer Judy Yi was introduced to the organization by her neighbor, who happened to be the former executive director of Trees Atlanta. Since 2004, she has been part of the organization. “Having Judy around as a volunteer has been like having an extra staff person. And because we are a small staff, that means a lot to us,” said neighborhoods coordinator Susan Pierce Cunningham. “She helps us docu-

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Local News

Page 8A

The closet in Lawson's office is lined with facial models of unidentified vitctims.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation sketch artist Marla Lawson sits behind the desk of her office in DeKalb. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

by Daniel Beauregard

Sketch artist drawn into a life of catching criminals
person they saw,” Lawson said. Lawson combines all of the different features into a sketch and makes sure, with the witness’ help, that it looks as similar to the suspect as possible. She then releases the sketch to investigators. “A lot of times they make it to the six o’ clock news or Crime Stoppers,” Lawson said. Lawson said that soon people began coming from all over the state to have her draw composite sketches. However, after 15 years Lawson decided she needed a break and left the department. “I did 300 composites a year. So, I went to my husband and I said, ‘I am sick of working, I don’t even know who I am and I’m stressed out.’ I was a little pile of skin and bones,” Lawson said. She took some time off, then decided after several years to go back to work. Lawson knew she didn’t want to return to law enforcement so she applied to work at a new sandwich shop that was being built in Coweta County where she lived. “I said, ‘I’ll go down there and be a sandwich artist,’” Lawson said. One day, while she was working at the shop, Lawson said a man came in with a gun stuffed into his pants and tried to rob the store. Customers rushed the man and nobody was hurt, but the suspect escaped. “I went home that night and drew his face and when the deputies came to get the sketches they offered me a job,” Lawson said. She worked for Coweta County for two years before the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, that killed two and injured 111 people. Lawson said that shortly after the bombing the GBI paid her a visit. “I don’t know how they knew where I worked,” Lawson said. “But, I did the sketch of Eric Rudolph and then the GBI offered me this job.” More recently, Lawson did a sketch that

Lawson holds a skull with a bullet hole in it. After she recieves DNA information about the victim she will begin recreating the face using the skeletal features and forensic evidence.

he lifelike clay heads with glazed eyes that line the shelves of Marla Lawson’s office in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) headquarters in DeKalb County create a spooky scene. Lawson, a forensic artist, who has been sketching criminals and doing facial recognition work for nearly 30 years, got her start in a place much different than a police precinct. Fresh out of high school, Lawson was told by her mom that she needed to “spread her wings and fly,” meaning, go get a job. “My mother told me that they needed an artist for Underground Atlanta and I said, ‘Mom I can’t do that.’ She said, ‘Sure you can. All you do is just go down there and sit around and draw people’s faces,’” Lawson said. So, Lawson bought a pad of paper and some pencils and drew portraits for tourists and passersby in the early 1970s. Lawson worked there for several years, then decided she needed a more substantial job. “I walked up the street to the Atlanta Police annex and put in an application for typist and they hired me. I started working there and word got out, ‘There’s a girl down there who can draw a face,’” Lawson said. After word spread around the department, Lawson said that people began to “bombard” her with requests to do composite drawings. That was much more difficult back then because the field was still relatively new, she said. Lawson said doing a composite takes her around an hour. First, she sits down with the witness to show them some pictures. “I show them a whole [bunch] of old photos I have of people’s faces; some of them are rap stars, some are movie stars, some are old mug shots. Then, they sit in the chair and I tell them to pick out anything that reminds them of the


helped police catch Hemy Neuman, who is accused of murdering the husband of a former co-worker in front of a Dunwoody daycare. In addition to doing sketches for the GBI, she is contacted by investigators from local police departments. Another area that Lawson specializes in is facial recognition. If a body or skeleton is found that is unrecognizable she can, based on certain skeletal features and forensic evidence, model the face of a victim. “When I do it, there’s a method [I use] that goes strictly by the skeleton and the muscles on top of the face,” Lawson said. In some cases, Lawson said that these reconstructions are helpful but there is too much room for error. “There’s too much play in [it] as far as I’m concerned. It’s a lot of guesswork,” she said, explaining that for the hair and eye color artists just have to “go with their gut.” Lawson has worked for the GBI for 14 years. She said that even though she is “old with one foot on the banana peel,” she realizes that she will most likely continue as a forensic artist as long as she can. “I’m ready to retire but I don’t know what I would do if I stayed home. I’ll probably be doing it until I die,” Lawson said. She said that, at first, her job took some getting used to. But working crime scenes helped her and now she doesn’t think her job is depressing at all. “There are people crying to me from the dirt for a name,” she said. “So I just keep on doing it. That is the most important part of my job.” Lawson said that when victims/witnesses come to her and describe their attacker or a suspect who committed a crime, it brings them relief in many cases. “Some of them are just so upset, and they feel so much better once they get it off their chest,” Lawson said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Local News

Page 9A

Group seeks to restore South River
by Andrew Cauthen It’s sometimes called Atlanta’s “other river.” South River begins underground near the state capitol and winds 63 miles through south DeKalb on its way into Lake Jackson in Butts County, where it joins the Yellow and Alcovy rivers to form the Ocmulgee River before eventually emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. It is “the most important and visible natural resource in south DeKalb County,” said Jacqueline Echols, president of the South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA). “South River is not as big, but it can be just as important as the Chattahoochee,” its more popular neighboring river, Echols said. While the Chattahoochee, as a designated National Recreation Area, attracts fisherman, kayakers and nature lovers, the polluted South River has warning signs from DeKalb County officials urging residents to stay out of the river. “It has been degraded terribly, but that does not need to be a permanent condition,” Echols said. The SRWA, formed 12 years ago, is now starting an initiative called South River 2020. In this effort, the alliance is seeking to improve the river’s water quality and recreational value, according to Doug Denton, vice president of the alliance. In addition to increasing long-term support for the river, SRWA wants to raise awareness of the proposed consent decree between DeKalb County and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. In the proposed consent decree, the county has agreed to pay a $453,000 penalty for excessive sewage spills. Since 2006, there have been nearly 1,000 county sewer spills. The county also agreed to implement a $600,000 stream cleanup project, focusing on debris removal from parts of the South River, South Fork Peachtree Creek and Snapfinger Creek. Sewage spills in DeKalb County are not the only threats to the river. Combined sewer overflows into the river by the city of Atlanta are degrading the water quality of South River, Echols said. The SRWA also wants “some definitive data about what pollutants are actually there,” Echols said. “We don’t know really what pollutants are there.” Kevin Ferrell, an assistant bureau chief with the EPD’s watershed protection branch, said while no water quality standards have been violated in the South River, “it’s probably not a good idea” for people to fish and swim in the river. “All kinds of things wash into it from the streets and it’s subject to sewer spills,” Ferrell said. “That pretty much goes for any urban stream.” Echols said south DeKalb residents should not give up on the river. “Folks have just been so comfortable with the notion that the South River is polluted,” Echols said. Some residents believe that “since the South River is an urban river, it’s polluted and will always be polluted.” In a briefing to an EPA administrator, several Atlanta, DeKalb County and Rockdale County organizations stated that “writing off the South River means writing off the communities surrounding the river and no community deserves to be discarded.” “The community and river are connected and the people who live along South River get the connection,” stated the briefing by the Metropolitan Atlanta Urban Watershed Institute, Miners Creek Civic Association,
See South River on Page 13A

“NOTICE OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF DORAVILLE, GEORGIA: “Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 36-35-3, notice is hereby given that the City Council of the City of Doraville, Georgia will be reviewing an Amendment to the City Charter by Ordinance to revise Section 2.12 of the Charter to eliminate the hearing appeal rights for employee terminations. The Doraville City Council will hold a public hearing on August 15,2011 to allow the citizens to voice their opinion regarding this proposed amendment prior to its adoption on that date. A copy of this proposed amendment is on file in the office of the Clerk of the City of Doraville, Georgia and in the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of DeKalb County, Georgia for the purpose of examination and inspection by the public.”

PUBLIC NOTICE City of Doraville 2011 Municipal Election Notice is hereby given that in accordance with O.C.G.A. 21-2-132 (a) (1), the qualifying fees are set for the City of Doraville as follows: Councilmember District 1 $ 432.00 Councilmember District 2 $ 432.00 Councilmember District 3 $ 432.00 Mayor $2,100.00 Qualifying for the offices listed above will begin on August 29, 2011 and end on September 2, 2011. Hours of qualifying are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Municipal Election will be held on November 8th, 2011.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Local News

Page 10A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Local News

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

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Page 12A

Instructor has heart for dance
by Andrew Cauthen For 50 years, Lucretia Roberson has been has been dancing or teaching others how to dance. Roberson, who first started taking lessons when she was 7 years old, said her family was not always able to afford the dance instructions and paraphernalia. But someone helped her out. “Since then I’ve had a love for dance,” Roberson said. “I think I just have a heart for it.” Beginning teaching when she was 12, Roberson, now 58, has more than 40 years experience as an instructor of ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance technique. Roberson has taught dance for various programs in metro Atlanta, Marshall, Texas, and Shreveport, La. While living in Shreveport, Roberson served on the board of directors for the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet and the Inter City Row Modern Dance Company. She also worked as a contractor for the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. Currently, she runs the Valley Brook Community Dance Center Project, an outreach

Lucretia Roberson, a dance instructor for more than 40 years, uses her classes at Valley Brook Baptist Church in Decatur to teach Christian values along with dance theory to her students. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

program of dance classes and camps at her church, Valley Brook Baptist Church, located at 1198 North Valley Brook Road in Decatur. The program promotes spiritual health, peace and sportsmanship. It also encourages good discipline and education through dance theory. The dance program holds weekly classes in ballet, modern, jazz, tap and Christian hip hop for students who want to develop an appreciation for dance and who have a desire to learn the fundamentals of dance and dance movement. Now in her third year at Valley Brook, Roberson said the goal of the program is to teach the students “to become Christ-centered in everything they do.” “Sometimes we might not dance to Christian music, but we put God first in everything we do,” Roberson said. “I like to keep everything positive.” Although Roberson said she tries to be a Christian role model, she does not have Bible studies with the children. “I don’t believe we have to beat it [Christianity] over their heads for them to get it,” said Roberson, who started with a dozen students and now has 27. “We work it in through dance and the choreography.”

• Choose from over 100 career paths • $75 per credit hour • Apply by July 19th for Fall Semester

DeKalb Technical College 404-297-9522

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Local News

Page 13A

An alliance is seeking to restore South River, which runs through south DeKalb before making its way to the Atlantic Ocean. The South River Watershed Alliance wants to change the warning signs to welcome signs. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

South River
Continued From Page 9A

DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District, South DeKalb Neighborhoods Coalition, South Rockdale Civic Association and SRWA. “With this connection made, restoration of the South River becomes a special kind of environmental amenity; by restoring the river, communities are restoring themselves,” the briefing stated. SRWA members are aiming to get a Blueway designation for South River. A proposal by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Recreational Blueway Trails Initiative would focus on the development and protection of water trails across the country. Although the Blueways project has not yet been approved by the federal government, some local municipalities around the country are already using the designation. In Georgia, officials have developed the Ocmulgee Blueway Project, consisting of 54 miles of water trail on the Ocmulgee River flowing through Bleckley, Houston, Twiggs and Pulaski counties. “This would be recognition of what the South River means to south DeKalb,” Echols said. With its beautiful shoals and runs, South River “can be a major economic engine in south DeKalb once it’s cleaned up,” Echols said. The SRWA wants to see “people return to the river and have contact with the river,” Echols said. “Frolicking in the river. That’s what I want to see.”

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Page 14A

New virtual simulator trains cops for real situations
by Andrew Cauthen Tablet PCs and Bluetooth technology just joined the war on crime in DeKalb County. During a media demonstration on Aug. 4, the DeKalb County Police Department unveiled its new, high-tech firearms training tool, the XVT Meggitt Firearms Simulator. With a price tag of $153,000, the simulator is a virtual system that allows instructors to create various scenarios to teach officers how to react during active shooter situations. “This is a fantastic tool for us,” DeKalb County Police Chief William O’Brien said. “It enables us to put officers in scenario-based training that we can actually see how they are reacting.” The simulator, which was purchased with a grant, allows instructors to determine whether officers are following policies and procedures on handling particular incidents. Instructors can “grade officers and make sure we’re doing what we should be doing when we encounter situations that could become hostile,” O’Brien said. “We have an opportunity to see

DeKalb County Police Sgt. Mark Johnson demonstrates the department’s new firearms training tool. The XVT Meggitt Firearms Simulator allows officers to use real weapons that have been retrofitted with lasers and Bluetooth to work in a virtual environment. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

them interact with the situation,” O’Brien continued. “If we just do everything at the outdoor range, we’re shooting at a fixed paper target; nobody’s yelling back at you; there are no distractions and dogs barking or phones beeping. “We can throw all these things at them to throw that added stress and pressure to the officer,” O’Brien said. Patrick Grella, a training manager with Meggitt, said the system uses real weapons that have been

modified for use in the virtual environment. “All of these weapons were once live fired and that’s what gives this realism for this virtual [system],” Grella said. “Everything is what they’re going to be using in the field.” Grella said the simulator’s marksmanship program prepares officers for the actual live-fire course. “By doing these fundamental skills it reinforces the training aspect and makes you more confident

when you actually use your weapon, if you have to use your weapon,” Grella said. “This is not designed to replace live fire training but it is designed to help improve that.” The system’s judgmental training takes the training further. “Once you know how to shoot, we then show you situations on when to shoot or when to engage a target and what type of escalational force should be used,” Grella said. Branching technologies allow the instructor to navigate the student into different scenarios involving verbal commands, Tasers and lethal force. The system has approximately 250 scenarios with more than 430 branching paths. In addition to the simulator, the police department purchased a shoot house with $135,000 in confiscated funds. The shoot house has padded walls, where officers can use live fire, and a catwalk for instructors. This facility enhances officers’ training by exposing them to judgmental scenario-based incidents encountering and reacting to threatening situations. “This is one of the latest and greatest simulation tools that we use for law enforcement,” Grella said.

The City of Stone Mountain will hold a general municipal election for three (3) Council Member seats on November 8, 2011 for four-year terms. All persons desiring to run for any of these offices shall qualify at City Hall located at 922 Main Street, Stone Mountain, GA, 30083. The qualifying period shall begin at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 and end at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 1, 2011. The qualifying fee for the office of Council Member will be $108.00. The qualifying fee must be paid during the qualifying period.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Local News

Page 15A

ADOPTION Continued From Page 1A
we both have short hair,” she said. “Raising a child takes a lot of energy but it is worthwhile,” said Michelle Heusner-Wilkinson. During the two to three months Toni Oliver has been the executive director of The Giving Tree she has led the way to placing 10 to15 children with families. “We target children in the foster care system that can be legally adopted. When people are looking for a child, they tend to be looking for children that are school age,” Oliver said. The process begins with an orientation and introduction to The Giving Tree. “Once they have completed that process, we find the best child for them. Some have mild mental, medical and developmental issues.” Some [families] may say that they can’t handle a child with many issues.” However, DeKalb residents Hannah Hawkins and Ken Mallory could. They adopted their son Anthony from Cleveland by way of The Giving Tree. Due to the numerous family issues Anthony faced with his birth family, he was placed into the foster care system. Things did not work out well with Anthony’s first foster family. The Giving Tree then recommended Anthony to the couple. After Anthony was adopted, his birth mother died after giving birth to his brother Nicholas. The couple took in Nicholas as well. That was three years ago. Anthony, 9, and Nicholas, 3, both have special needs. Anthony suffers from ADHD and has many “emotional issues,” according to the family. Even though there were rough patches, Anthony and Nicholas have become a vital part of their adoptive parents’ lives. Because of these challenges, Oliver said “the matching is the tough part.” Perspective families start by reading the children’s bios. After an interest is expressed, a social worker visits the family at home. If children are old enough, they can say whether they want to be part of the family. Depending on the situation, a family can be placed with a child within a year or sometimes longer. In some cases adoption does not happen at all. “The families get frustrated when they see photos and spend time getting to know the children and then they are not chosen,” said Oliver, who said that state agencies help find families interested in adoption. After the child is living in the home, The Giving Tree continues visits two times a month. The organization has programs to help both children and parents make the adjustment.

Hannah Hawkins with adopted sons Anthony, front, and Nicholas.

Ken Mallory and Hannah Hawkins get their adopted son Anthony ready for his first day of school as a first grader.

son. At first the couple had to deal with Ivan’s mild temper tantrums, but now Ivan is 12 years old and his parents say everything is fine. “We plan on adopting another child. We are open to either a boy or girl. We will go back to The Giving Tree to start the process all over,” Sledge said.

Another same-sex couple, Michelle and Pepper Heusner-Wilkinson, adopted their daughter Jordan through The Giving Tree. Pepper Heusner-Wilkinson said The Giving Tree thought she and her partner would be a perfect fit because Jordan has alopecia, a condition that causes her to have no hair. “The Giving Tree wanted us because

AYP Continued From Page 1A
Matt Cardoza, a spokesman for the GDOE, said that his agency is addressing the AYP issue at the state level. “As you look at AYP numbers, everyone across the country is starting to realize that 100 percent efficiency all across the country by 2014 is really unrealistic,” Cardoza said. According to Cardoza, the U. S. Department of Education said it was willing to entertain waivers if a state presented a better system to determine a school’s success. Now, Cardoza said that the GDOE is working to obtain a waiver that would allow them to change the way schools in Georgia are assessed. “We’ve been working on a College and Career Ready Performance Index that takes into account many factors for a school’s success rather than just the one test given at one point in time [during] the school year,” Cardoza said.

AYP Numbers
Number of schools: Schools meeting AYP: Schools not meeting AYP:

133 83 (62.4 %) 50 (37.6%)

136 47 (34.6%) 89 (65.4%)

Information obtained from the Georgia Department of Education *2011 are preliminary results. Final results will become available in September.


The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011


Page 16A

CDC study shows annual HIV infections relatively stable, except among certain groups
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week in a media teleconference and published statements released its first multi-year estimates from its national HIV incidence surveillance. There was encouraging news and not so encouraging news. “While we’re encouraged that prevention efforts have helped avoid overall increases in HIV infections in the United States, and have significantly reduced new infections from the peak in the mid-1980s, we have plateaued at an unacceptably high level,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. The federal agency found that overall the annual number of new HIV infections in the United States was relatively stable at approximately 50,000 new infections each year between 2006 and 2009—the most recent data available. There were no statistically significant differences in the total number of new HIV infections in each year in that four-year period. “More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, about 50,000 people in this country still become infected each year,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D. “HIV infections can be prevented. By getting tested, reducing risky behaviors and getting treatment, people can protect themselves and their loved ones.” There were demographic groupings within which the number of new infections increased. For example, HIV infections increased among young men who have sex with men—a category the CDC calls MSM—between 2006 and 2009, driven by what the CDC characterized as “alarming increases among young Black MSM—the only subpopulation to experience a sustained increase during the time period.” “Not only do men who have sex with men continue to account for most new infections, young gay and bisexual men are the only group in which infections are increasing, and this increase is particularly concerning among young African American MSM,” Frieden said. The study also showed that the number of HIV infections is much higher in communities of color than among Whites. While Blacks represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for nearly half of new infections in 2009 (44 percent, or an estimated 21,200 infections). The HIV infection rate among Blacks was nearly eight times as high as among Whites and almost three times as high as among Hispanics. Among African Americans, men are hardest hit, comprising 70 percent of new infections among African Americans in 2009 – the vast majority was among men who have sex with men. Black women are also significantly impacted, accounting for nearly a third (30 percent) of new infections among Blacks and almost 60 percent of all new HIV infections among women overall in 2009. “Without intensified HIV prevention efforts, we are likely to face an era of rising infection rates and higher health care costs for a preventable condition that already affects more than one million people in this country,” Frieden said. The new estimates were published Aug. 3 in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE. The incidence estimates are based on direct measurement of new HIV infections with a laboratory test that can distinguish recent from long-standing HIV infections. CDC officials said that their agency works closely with U.S. Health and Human Services. They said the government’s strategy for preventing future infections and helping those already infected would be to focus on problem areas that the study identified: infected individuals who don’t know they’re infected, individuals who know they’re infected but do not seek treatment and individuals who started treatment but discontinued it. Announced by White House officials in July 2010, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy seeks to reduce HIV incidence in the United States and prioritizes HIV prevention efforts in the populations where HIV is most heavily concentrated – gay and bisexual men of all races, African Americans and Latinos. To implement the strategy, CDC is pursuing “high-impact prevention,” an approach that will prioritize prevention activities based on their effectiveness, cost, coverage, feasibility and scalability, to have the greatest possible impact with available resources. “We are deeply concerned by the alarming rise in new HIV infections in young, Black gay and bisexual men and the continued impact of HIV among young gay and bisexual men of all races,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “We cannot allow the health of a new generation of gay men to be lost to a preventable disease. It’s time to renew the focus on HIV among gay men and confront the homophobia and stigma that all too often accompany this disease.”

Board of Health expands nicotine replacement therapy treatment support
Among current adult smokers in the United States, approximately 70 percent report that they want to quit completely and have attempted to quit, according to the DeKalb County Board of Health, which reports that in DeKalb County, two out of every five deaths are tobacco related. The DeKalb County Board of Health, which offers free tobacco cessation medication support, recently announced that it is intensifying its efforts in this area. It now offers free nicotine replacement therapy support administered through the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at (877) 270STOP to uninsured adult callers living in DeKalb County. Uninsured adults ages 18 and older are eligible to obtain free nicotine patches or gum to assist with tobacco use cessation. The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line is a core public health service funded by the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The Quit Line is administered by the Georgia Department of Public Health through the Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention Program. Regardless of insurance status, the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line provides free and confidential, evidence-based professional counseling tailored for tobacco users ages 13 and older, including pregnant women. Georgia adults who use tobacco are also encouraged to speak to their physicians, pharmacists or nurses about safe and effective treatment options to assist with tobacco use cessation. The best time to quit is now, said Dr. Kimberly Redding, director of Georgia’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programs. “Research indicates that most smokers make several attempts before they can successfully quit and resist the nicotine addiction.” Health department official say that the shortand long-term health benefits of tobacco use cessation significantly outweigh the deadly health risks due to tobacco use. For every person who dies from tobacco use, another 20 suffer with at least one serious tobacco-related illness. The toll of tobacco use impacts Georgia children, families, communities and the economy. In Georgia, one out of every six deaths or more than 10,300 adults die each year due to tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco use cessation lowers the risk for lung and other types of cancer, according to the health department. In addition, it reduces the risk for developing severe respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, one of the leading causes of death nationwide. For more information about nicotine replacement therapy, contact the DeKalb County Board of Health or the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP (7867).

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

internet users—the Toco Hills store was the launch point in August 2010 for what originally was to be a one-year pilot project. The Brookhaven store was chosen because of a real estate opportunity, said Brenda Reid, Publix regional media and community relations manager. There was enough land available next to the store to allow Publix to build a separate curbside store. Also, the area has experienced a huge growth spurt in recent years. The two DeKalb County stores—one with the curbside pickup service in the same store with basket-pushing shoppers and the other with it in a separate store—represent two different models, she said, and an opportunity for the grocery chain to compare the two approaches. A year after opening its first curbside facility, Publix still has not decided whether to continue offering the service. “We’re going to continue for a few more months before we make a final decision,” Reid said. “In the meantime, we’re going to make a few changes such as publicizing the service more externally.” Right now, Publix’s website is about the only place customers can learn about curbside pickup. Also, Reid said, Publix is reviewing its online selection and tweaking the online product mix based on customer demand. “We have quite a large variety of products that can be ordered online, but in the store we have some 30,000 to 40,000 items. It would be impossible to offer them all online.”

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Publix still weighing whether to continue curbside service
Reid said that Publix gets quit a bit of repeat business for its curbside service. She added that it would be difficult to identify a typical user of the service. Many, she said, are families with young children. “Toddlers and grocery shopping aren’t always a good mix,” she noted. She said the service also is often used by elderly or disabled customers who have others shop for them. “This way they can pick their items online and the person shopping for them only has to drive to the store and pick up the order.” Orders must be placed at least four hours before the appointment to pick them up and a $7.99 service charge is added no matter the size of the order. On a recent Friday morning at the Brookhaven store, a number of orders were waiting for pickup, but most of the traffic seemed to be flowing to the adjacent regular Publix. “It’s a roller coaster,” said curbside specialist Bill Ballor. “We’ve had times when we had more employees than we needed at the moment and times when we were so busy we could have used some extra help. We’ve pretty much solved that problem by training employees from the regular store to work curbside pickup. Without the training, they were sometimes more a problem than a solution.” Ballor was transferred to the Brookhaven facility when it opened in April. He had been at the Toco Hills store, where he was one of the original curbside service employees.

by Kathy Mitchell Busy families in some areas of DeKalb County have the opportunity to scratch one item off their to-do lists—walking around the grocery store to select items for the week’s meals. Nationwide, Publix has three grocery stores that allow customers to select items online then pick up the order at their convenience—without getting out of the car if they prefer. Two of those are in DeKalb County, in Toco Hills and Brookhaven. The third is in Tampa, Fla. Initially, Publix offered the service only at the Toco Hills Publix on North Druid Hills Road. Chosen for its size and location—near large numbers of

The theme of the 2011 DeKalb Small Business Summit is “Promoting the Growth of Small Businesses in DeKalb County.” The purpose is to promote the growth of small business in DeKalb County by providing information to help businesses have access to capital, identify public and private resources, opportunities for networking, so businesses can aid one another. The conference will be held Thursday, Aug. 18, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Conference Center at DeKalb Tech, 495 North Indian Creek Road, Clarkston. The keynote speaker will be Gregory B. Levett, CEO, Gregory B. Levett & Sons Inc.

Summit to promote small business
Sessions include: • Accessing Capital • Conducting Business with DeKalb County • Stabilizing and Training Your Workforce to Increase Your Bottom Line • Evaluating Your Total Compensation Plan • Enhancing Your Business Through Information Technology • Entertainment DeKalb! The event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. To register, visit http://dekalbsummit2011.

Johnson, Lewis to co-host jobs fair
As African-American unemployment tops 16 percent—and in many cases is even higher among young men—members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have launched a “For the People” jobs initiative to raise awareness and garner support for H. Res. 348, which calls on Congress to pass more than 40 bills proposed by CBC to help alleviate the crisis. Reps. Hank Johnson (GA-04) and John Lewis (GA-05) are co-hosting the CBC’s Atlanta event. The jobs expo will be followed by a town hall meeting featuring 10 members of the CBC, including Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Al Green (D-TX) and Maxine Waters (D-CA). The daylong event will be Thursday, Aug. 18, at Atlanta Technical College, 1560 Metropolitan Parkway SW, Atlanta, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. but job seekers can also register online at HANKJOHNSON.HOUSE.GOV.

So many reasons to join!

100 Crescent Center Pkwy., Suite 680. Tucker, GA 30084 (404) 378-8000


Shoppers can help a local nonprofit

Notice is hereby given that a General Municipal Election for the City of Avondale Estates will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 to elect one (1) Mayor and two (2) Commissioners to the Avondale Estates Board of Mayor and Commissioners. The term of office is four (4) years. Voting will take place at Avondale Estates City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Any person who is a Macy’s shoppers will have the opportunity to help resident of the City of Avondale Estates and who is registered with DeKalb County Board of Registrations Students Without Mothers, a Tucker-based non-profit, and Elections as an elector within the City of Avondale Estates at least thirty (30) days prior to this through its Shop For a Cause program. Those who 100 Crescent Center Pkwy., Suite 680. Tucker, GAeligible to (404) 378-8000 www.DeKalbChamber.orgis October 11, 2011. election, shall be 30084 vote in this election. Deadline for voter registration purchase a $5 shopping pass will be eligible for 10-25 Persons wishing to qualify for this election may file a notice of candidacy with the Qualifying Officer at percent discounts in every Macy’s store nationwide Avondale Estates City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to Aug. 18 and online at on Saturday, Aug. 4:30 p.m. beginning Monday, August 29, 2011 through Friday, September 2, 2011. The qualifying 27. Students Without Mothers keeps 100 percent of fee is $3.00. the ticket sales proceeds. The organization has a goal Application for absentee ballots may be made by mail, fax or in person to: DeKalb County Election of raising $5,000 by selling 1,000 tickets. Visit www. Supervisor, Memorial Drive Complex , 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032-1239, to purchase tickets online Telephone: (404) 298-4020, Fax: (404) 298-4038. and click on Macy’s Shop For A Cause in100 Events the Crescent Center Pkwy., Suite 680. Tucker, GA 30084 Official Code of Georgia, as amended, pertaining to This notice is given pursuant to Chapter 21 of the section. municipal elections, this 11th day of August, 2011. 404-378-8000 Juliette Sims-Owens City Clerk, City of Avondale Estates

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

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

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DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011


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Lindsay bends down and gets her hands dirty weeding a cranberry bed.

Arabia Mountain High students spend a summer in the weeds
by Daniel Beauregard “I’m very proud of her for doing this, I think it takes a lot of maturity to be able to go away to a completeThis summer, three seniors from ly different environment, and I think Arabia Mountain High School spent they were working pretty hard.” a month in the small town of Shady During the week the girls Valley, Tenn., working as interns for weeded cranberry beds, did stream the Nature Conservancy’s Leaders restoration and planted trees along in Environmental Action for the Fu- the stream banks to help prevent ture (LEAF) program. erosion. They also used telemetry to “The idea of the program is to find turtles in the wetlands. expose kids to the outdoors who “I believe that putting kids out might not otherwise get [the chance] there gives them a chance to learn and let them experience nature first about [conservation] and if you hand so they can become more con- don’t learn about it, you don’t care servation minded,” mentor Kelly about it. So, I think that direct expoO’Connell said. sure in environmental education is a Gayle Lindsay, 16-year-old necessity for developing that kind of Taylor’s mother, said that having relationship,” O’Connell said. her daughter away from home was Taylor said that she wasn’t plantough for the family because they ning on becoming a conservationist have never been apart for that long. but that she wanted to use what she “It was a long time for the fam- had learned as in intern in her caily but she was learning a lot and reer. having a lot of fun,” Gayle said. “I want to be a pediatrician so I can look at holistic healing,” Taylor said. All the girls said that learning about conservation was important not only for them but for those who came after them. They also said they thought it was important to lead by example. “It’s our future and if we don’t protect it, then there will be no future for our kids and grandkids. We need to change,” Desiree Evans said. “And be an example to other people,” Taylor added. “Like, if we come back and tell people about this experience maybe they will do some conservation work of their own.” Evans said that she decided to apply for the program because it would be a chance for a new experience, one that she might never get again. “When they described it to us they told us that we would be doing a lot of things that we wouldn’t get to do back home,” Evans said. In fact, when asked what activities they did over their four weeks at Shady Valley that they may never have done at home, they replied in unison, “Everything!” The girls said they went whitewater rafting, zip lining, camping, fishing, to the Nashville Zoo and made smores. Jaimee Carroll even rode a bike for the first time. The girls said that it took some getting used to at first but by the time they left being outside in the elements didn’t bother them in the least. They said most difficult part for them was being away from home and not having any cell reception to call their moms. “We got used to it. The fourth week we were like ‘We can handle this, but by then we were already on our way home,” Carroll said.

Taylor Lindsay helps till the earth in Shady Valley, Tenn. Photos provided

Desiree Evans smiles as she feeds a goat.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Cross Keys High offers engineering and IT classes for DeKalb Schools
The Cross Keys Foundation will be a source of fund raising and organizational support for two new programs at Cross Keys High School—one in manufacturing and one in information technology. The programs will also be available to students from Dunwoody, Tucker, Chamblee, Lakeside, Clarkston, Druid Hills and Stone Mountain high schools. Students enrolled in the information technology program will learn the fundamentals of enterprise information technology, advanced web design and animation. The students will also participate in a yearlong project to deliver a software solution to an area non-profit. By the spring semester, internships involving both programs will be awarded to those students who have excelled.


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Supplies in demand
DeKalb County schoolchildren rounded up school supplies at two events recently. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office and sheriff Thomas Brown, top photo, teamed with Suburban Lanes on Aug. 4 to provide school supplies for more than 125 county youth. The DCSO and the bowling center treated youth from the International Rescue Committee, the Decatur YMCA, Big Miller Grove Baptist Church, Greenforest Baptist Church, Suburban Youth Group and DeKalb County Juvenile Services to a day of bowling and pizza. Brown handed out the school supplies, top right, which were donated by Office Depot. Solicitor General Sherry Boston also attended the event. Also, members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority welcome schoolchildren and their parents to a back-to-school event at the Community Achievement Center on Flat Shoals Parkway on Aug. 6. The two fraternal organizations partnered with Bob Mathis and Chapel Hill Elementary to provide supplies for students attending those schools, bottom. Sisters Jade and Camille Jones, below right, are among the many youngsters to receive free school supplies Aug. 6 at the Community Achievement Center in Decatur. Photos by Robert Naddra and Kathy Mitchell

CNN, Emory’s James Weldon Johnson Institute and National Center for Civil and Human Rights join to launch forum series
CNN, the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights have joined together to launch CNN Dialogues, a series of public discussions featuring prominent figures debating the major issues that define our times. CNN’s lead political anchor and host of The Situation Room Wolf Blitzer will moderate the inaugural program on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Cecil B. Day Chapel of The Carter Center in Atlanta. This first public forum will focus on the U.S. Census and the impact of the nation’s changing demographics upon who we are and how we live, examining our national identity, economy, politics and the view of America in the broader world. For the inaugural program, CNN Dialogues: The 2010 Census and a New America, Blitzer will facilitate a discussion with panelists including: • Author Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” (2011); • Attorney Yul Kwon, host of PBS’ America Revealed and winner of television’s Survivor: Cook Islands; • University of Maryland sociology and demography professor Kris Marsh; • Actor Edward James Olmos; and • Emory University American Studies professor Dana White.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

ATLANTA Business breakfast marks fifth anniversary
Church of Christ at Bouldercrest has announced that its next business breakfast will be held Saturday, Aug. 13, 8 - 9:30 a.m. The event will feature Atlanta copywriter Nicole Bazemore. The announcement states, “She’ll help you get into the minds of your prospective buyers, speak their language and turn readers of your message into cheerleaders for your company.” The program is for those currently in business or thinking about going into business. Those attending should bring a pad and pen. To celebrate its fifth year of business breakfasts, the church is making this event an all-white anniversary breakfast. The cost of the breakfast is $5. Those planning to attend are asked to make reservations no later than Aug. 11 by calling (404)-622-9935 or sending an e-mail to Church Of Christ at Bouldercrest is located at 2727 Bouldercrest Road, Atlanta.

features. The app is not intended for emergency use. “Many people in our community use smart phones. This app gives them an easy way to communicate with the Dunwoody Police Department, no matter where they are, and stay informed about our activity and keep track of items of interest, said Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan.

of valuable community resources dedicated for the elder community.” The ball is for seniors age 60 and older. The event begins with a comprehensive resource and information fair 5-6 p.m. and continues with an interactive safety program known as the S.A.F.E. Game. “We mix music with a message during the Senior Ball,” said James. “Our seniors leave educated, enlightened and entertained.”

City, county present fire safety classes
The city of Clarkston and DeKalb County Fire Rescue present fire safety classes Aug. 11-12 at the city’s council meeting chambers. Classes Aug. 11 are noon-1:30 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. Classes Aug. 12 are noon-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. The training sessions will include home, office and business fire safety tips, keeping one’s home or business safe from the outside in, reminders on keeping exit pathways clear, identifying fire extinguisher locations, mitigating and preventing cooking fires and electrical fires, and how to respond if a fire happens. For more information, contact Clarkston City Manager Keith Barker at (404) 2966480 or

Pianist to perform in Keyboard Conversations
Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel returns to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 4 p.m., as part of Keyboard Conversations, a series of concert-plus-commentary programs. The series is held in the MJCCA’s Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. The Aug. 21 concert, the first in the 2011-12 Keyboard Conversations series, is “A Beethoven Bonanza,” which explores the many moods of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The concert program will include the humorous Rage Over a Lost Penny, the brooding, dynamic Pathétique Sonata, the charming, playful Sonata Opus 54, and the Sonata Opus 109, written after deafness had engulfed the composer. General admission tickets are $25 and tickets for MJCCA members are $18.

Urban faming presentation announced
Charis Books and More has announced that the presentation Edgewood Farm Crew: Urban Agriculture as a Tool for Job Skills Training will be held Wednesday, Aug. 17, 7:30-9 p.m. The Southeastern Horticultural Society’s Edgewood Farm Crew program gives teens and young adults an opportunity to develop job skills through maintaining a subacre urban farm. From planting, harvesting and cooking to running a farmer’s market booth, the Farm Crew gets a full urban agricultural experience in this eight-week summer program. Program manager Kyla Zaro-Moore and secondyear graduate, Desmond “Ike” Thompson, will present on how this little plot of land in Edgewood can transform people’s lives. This event takes place at Charis Books and More, 1189 Euclid Ave, NE, Atlanta, and is part of Charis Circle’s Urban Sustainability Project. For more information, visit

DECATUR Guitarist to perform at retirement home
Popular blues guitarist/vocalist Beverly “Guitar” Watkins will host a free show at The Regency House retirement community on Aug. 20, 2-3 p.m. Watkins, 73, is based in Atlanta and has worked with such artists as James Brown, B.B. King and Ray Charles. She joined legendary Piano Red as a junior in high school and has performed at the Blues to Bop Festival, Cognac Blues Passion Festival and Ottawa Bluesfest. The event is open to the public. To RSVP for the show, call The Regency House at (404) 296-1152. The Regency House is located at 341 Winn Way in Decatur.

LITHONIA Former pastor to speak at Men’s Day
Ousley United Methodist Church will host its Men’s Day Program on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 10 a.m. with Pastor Rodney Thomas Smothers, a former pastor of Ousley UMC, as its Men’s Day speaker. He is now the lead pastor of St. Paul UMC in Oxon Hill, Md. The theme for this year’s Men’s Day Program is “Brothers Dwelling Together in Unity: A Call for Spiritual Excellence,” based on Psalms 133:1. Immediately following the Men’s Day Program, there will be a reception in the Tom Curtis Christian Life Center. The public is invited. Ousley United Methodist Church is located at 3261 Panola Road, Lithonia. For more information, contact the church at (770) 981-0180.

Concert Series is Aug. 22, 7 p.m. The Summer Singers and Hope Sings choirs will perform. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Martha Brown United Methodist Church is at 468 Moreland Ave. in East Atlanta Village. Call (404) 622-1473 for more information.

Martha Brown UMC to host final Animal Services Task Force to summer concert hold public meetings The final event in the Martha Brown UMC Summer

TUCKER Methodist Women present humor with a message
“All area women, Methodist or not, are invited to hear Cathy Lee Phillips,” announced Maryanne Geiger, president of United Methodist Women at Lawrenceville Road United Methodist Church in Tucker. “We will host one of the nation’s most inspirational, down to earth and humorous speakers.” Phillips lives in Tucker. The program will be held Sunday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m., in the sanctuary. The church is located at 3142 Lawrenceville Highway in Tucker. To register, call (770) 939-3717. Former DeKalb County student, PFC Danielle E. Gilmer returned from 10-month tour of military duty as a communication specialist in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. She is the daughter of Maria E. Gilmer and granddaughter of Army retired Chief Warrant Officer Four Mary E. Gilmer of Stone Mountain. Gilmer Gilmer and other soldiers in her unit returned to their home station at Fort Campbell, Ky., on July 24. Danielle attended DeKalb County’s Allgood Elementary, Freedom Middle and Clarkston High School. She graduated from The Piney Woods School, Jackson, Miss., May 2008.

CLARKSTON District attorney to host Senior Ball
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James is the host for the 2011 Senior Ball on Aug. 27 at the DeKalb Technical College Conference Center. The black tie event, which begins at 5 p.m. with a resource fair, will feature an interactive session led by James to educate attendees about precautions seniors can take to minimize theft, crime, abuse and exploitation. “Crimes against seniors have become a major issue in our area and across the nation. With DeKalb having one of the fastest growing senior populations in the state and with an aging baby-boomer population nationwide, we have to find ways to connect with our seniors and educate them on crimes targeted at the elderly,” James said. “The Senior Ball is the perfect platform to educate DeKalb’s seniors about issues of elder abuse, exploitation, consumer fraud, and telemarketing scandals while also making them aware

The DeKalb County Animal Services Task Force is seeking public opinion on several proposed initiatives to improve public health, safety and code enforcement related to animal services in DeKalb County. The proposed initiatives seek to increase adoptions of abandoned and lost animals, encourage responsible pet ownership, improve the conditions of animals under the county’s care and reduce euthanasia rates at the animal shelter. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 16, 6 - 8 p.m. at the Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more information, contact

DUNWOODY Police introduces new iphone app
The Dunwoody Police Department has introduced a new police application for smart phones called MYPD (My Police Department). The application is available online at as a free download, according to police spokesman Sgt. Mike Carlson. Residents can download the app, click on the Dunwoody Police Department and use it to ask questions, submit tips, view the police department’s website, see current news, access the department’s social media sites and other

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011


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Page 21A

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for next publication date. The Champion is not responsible for any damages resulting from advertisements. All sales final.

We do not knowingly accept advertisements that discriminate, or intend to discriminate, on any illegal basis. Nor do we knowingly accept employment advertisements that are not bona-fide job offers. All real estate advertisements are subject to the fair housing act and we do not accept advertising that is in violation of the law. The law prohibits discrimination based on color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or familial status.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011


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Softball preview
Replacing pitchers a priority for playoff teams
by Robert Naddra Replacing the top two pitchers in the county from 2010 will help determine if Chamblee and Southwest DeKalb can make return trips to the state playoffs this season. The two teams were among five schools in DeKalb County that earned playoff berths. Marist and Dunwoody joined Chamblee and Southwest in the Class AAAA playoffs, and St. Pius made the AAA tournament. At Chamblee, second-year coach Adrienne Keathley has replaced the graduated Erin Bell with senior Jessie Bragg. Bell led the county in earned run average (1.06) and strikeouts (148 in 99 innings). Bragg was second to Bell last season for the Bulldogs with a .525 batting average. Keathley in her first season at Chamblee led the team to a 13-7 record in 2010. It was the most wins since 2005 and eight wins more than the 2009 team. “Losing Erin definitely hurts but we only had two seniors graduate so the majority of our team is intact,” Keathley said. Basic fundamentals and communication were two areas where Keathley saw plenty of improvement last season. “I tried to emphasize the idea of cohesion and working as a unit,” Keathley said. “We tried to build a familial type of rapport and it transferred onto the field. The girls were talking on the field a lot more.” Southwest DeKalb coach Bernice Foreman is working with two pitchers to replace Imani Gayle who graduated in the spring. Gayle had a countyhigh 15 wins and an ERA of 2.90. The Panthers have participated in the state tournament seven straight seasons. Pitching may be lacking experience, Foreman said, with senior

Chamblee seniors, from left, Jessie Bragg, Taylor Harris and Lucy Mason will lead the Bulldogs after a breakout 13-7 season in 2010. Photos by Robert Naddra

Shana Wilson a candidate for the starting job. Seniors Trenece Nash and Ashley Parker will be the team leaders, Foreman said. Nash led the county in hitting in 2010, with a .719 batting average, seven home runs and 33 RBIs. Parker batted .500 last season. Both have been on the varsity since ninth grade. “They are both pretty good role models, especially Trenece,” Foreman said. “The girls look up to the ones who play well and both Trenece and Ashley did very well last season.” Their leadership will be counted on, Foreman said, with the graduation of seven seniors from last year’s team. “We have a lot of eighth-, ninth- and 10thgraders,” Foreman said. “We’re basically starting the team over. But the girls all know about the tradition here and it gives them something to work for. They come out of the gate already knowing what to expect.” Keathley is working to establish the same kind of success at Chamblee, and has a veteran team this season. The Bulldogs only lost two seniors from the 2010 team and Keathley has seven seniors o the roster this year. In addition to Bragg, senior Taylor Harris returns after batting .453 and leading the county with five triples in 2010. Lucy Mason, who is one of the top basketball players in the county, returns this season after taking a year off from softball in 2010. All four AAAA teams from DeKalb lost in the first round of the state tournament last year, but St. Pius advanced to the second round. “We had a taste of it last year and we ended up how we should have last season in the sectionals,” Keathley said. “If we have a chance to get there again I don’t think the nervousness will be an issue like last season.”

Chamblee pitcher Jessie Bragg.

Chamblee senior Lucy Mason.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011


Page 23A

Severe heat causes coaches to monitor athletes closely
by Robert Naddra Kip Hall can better keep up with his football players now that school is back in session. Hall, the head coach at Druid Hills, is able to monitor his players’ fluid intake and make sure they’re eating right. With the heat index hovering near or above 100 degrees for the past few weeks, that’s the best way Hall and other coaches around DeKalb County can ensure that their players are safe from the heat. “We water our kids every 15 minutes at practice and some of them take water bottles to class,” Hall said. “We make sure they’re eating lunch. The only times they get light-headed is if they don’t drink enough water or have enough to eat.” Coaches are taking extra precaution regarding outdoor practices in the wake of the deaths of two Georgia high school football players. Both players—one at Locust Grove High Scholl in Henry County and the other at Fitzgerald High School in south Georgia—died after participating in summer workouts. The Fitzgerald player was attending a camp in Florida when he died. “We take the heat very seriously and have talked to the kids about [the deaths],” Hall said. “We keep emphasizing the importance of eating right and drinking right.” DeKalb County mandates that all outdoor activities be cancelled if the heat index reaches 103 degrees and all practices were cancelled Aug. 3 because of the weather. Coaches have use of a psychrometer, said DeKalb County director of athletics Ron Sebree, which gives wet and dry bulb temperatures and gives a heat index reading. If the temperature is between 95 and 103 degrees, teams must either practice early in the morning or late in the afternoon, Sebree said. “In addition to the heat, there is a concern for air quality in the middle of the day,” Sebree said. “The time for the worst air quality is between noon and 6 p.m. Any time the heat index is 103 or higher, the kids should not be outside.” Hall has been diligent about monitoring his players and said he has not had a player fall ill from the heat in the six years he has been at Druid Hills. Hall took the Red Devils to a summer football camp at Jekyll Island and didn’t have any heat-related incidents. “We do all our conditioning at the beginning of practice, so they’re not too tired at the end,” Hall said. All coaches in DeKalb County are required annually to attend meetings regarding the heat, Sebree said. “This year has been nerve-wracking because it has been so hot,” Sebree said. “We don’t want to hold the coaches too much, but we want them to be mindful that safety is our No. 1 priority. We want the coaches to understand that a kid’s life and safety is more important than winning games.”

Druid Hills coach Kip Hall watches his players during a recent practice where the heat index reached 100 degrees at 6 p.m. Photos by Robert Naddra

Druid Hills players take water breaks every 15 minutes during practices. Coaches are closely monitoring players' eating and drinking habits in the wake of the deaths of two football players outside DeKalb.

Page 24A

Depth expected to carry defending champs Marist again
by Robert Naddra The most dominant high school cross country program in the state over the past decade has half of its top runners returning from last season. And that’s bad news for the competition. Marist won both the boys and girls Class AAAA state championships in 2010 and each have won three straight state titles. The boys have won seven titles since 2002 and the girls have 11 state championships since 1996, including seven in a row from 1998-2004. “We’re returning four out of our top seven on both sides,” Marist coach Eric Heintz said. “It’s just a question of if the people returning can fill the roles of the ones that vacated.” The boys placed five runners among the top 24 in the state in last year’s meet. Among those, senior Porter Harrast of Decatur and sophomore Michael Thornton return. Decatur resident Ty Nelson, a sophomore, also figures in the mix this season, Heintz said. On the girls’ side, Kate Northrop leads a group of three runners returning who placed among the top 26 in the state last year. Northrop, a junior, was 10th overall with a time of 19:26.66. Sophomores Erin Connolly (20:39.14) and Courtney Marburger (20:44.93) also return. “Generally we have pretty good depth,” Heintz said. “We have a lot of people finishing15-30 at state, and that’s been our saving grace. I just hope we can follow that trend this year.” Lakeside will likely be Marist’s biggest competition on the girls’ side. The Vikings placed second in the state meet a year ago, just 10 points behin the state champs. Lakeside’s two top runners—senior Meghan Wetterhall and junior Haley Keady—return. Wetterhall won the state title as a freshman in 2008 and was seventh last season. Keady placed 14th last year as both runners finished in the 19-minute range. Other top DeKalb girls’ runners returning include sophomore Alex Cameron of Dunwoody, senior Greciana Cooper of Southwest DeKalb and sophomore Maddy Wetterhall of Chamblee. Cameron placed third at state last season with a time of 18:55.53 while Maddy Wetterhall and Cooper came in at No. 21 and No. 22, respectively. Also, St. Pius returns two of its top runners from 2010. Junior Devon Dabney placed 11th and senior Taylor Glenn was 17th last season, helping the Golden Lions to a third-place finish in the Class AAA state meet. On the boys’ side, many of the top runners from 2010 have graduated, including two-time Class AA champion Leonel Ayala of Cross Keys. Senior Brent Reynolds is the top returning runner for Lakeside, which finished fifth at the AAAA state meet. Reynolds placed 15th at the state meet with a time of 16:47.87.

Cross country preview

The Champion Free Press, Friday, August 12, 2011

Lakeside's Meghan Wetterhall is back for her senior season after placing seventh in the Class AAAA state meet in 2010. Photo provided

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