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

Stone Mountain.




CEO Ellis: County’s ‘house stands strong’
by Andrew Cauthen Despite facing a budgetary “hollow tree” that fell last year, damaging the county’s financial house, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said the state of the county is “strong.” “Through hard work, decisive action and collaborative effort, we were able to hoist the tree, repair the damage, restore credit and save the house,” said Ellis during his annual State of the County address before county business leaders. “Today the house stands strong and the state of DeKalb County is good,” Ellis said. In his address, Ellis said DeKalb is threatened by those who support the cityhood movement and would “exploit our rich diversity in an effort to divide our county.” “It is a fundamental right for our citizens to • Thursday, Jan. 12-18 , 2012 choose more government and pay a premium for heightened levels of service, but it is wrong to impact others who have no voice,” Ellis said. and is a member of Friends of the Alphabet. She also runs by Gale Horton Gay Cityhood “places an undue tax burden on a business doing calligraphy for weddings and corporate those who are drawn outside of arbitrarily creevents from the basement of her home. Gray has developed Some things are best done by hand. ated boundaries and have no say in the process,” a niche market, inscribing Quaker wedding vows on large Carol Gray and Marcia Watt agree that learning the documents that brides and grooms sign and display in their skills to do calligraphy is rewarding in more ways than Ellis said. homes. one. Better policy is needed to stop the moveWhile her two Dobermans kept watch, Gray showed Gray is both an instructor and student of the hand letment’s “social isolation, class and ethnic an interested party the various tools of her craft–writing tering art form. She first took a class in it in 1980. Since then she estimates that she’s probably taken 75 classes and implements that range from a quill to a sponge to markers stratification.” and other—more utilitarian looking—implements. She exworkshops to define and advance her craft. “We need laws that prevent the cherry-pickplained that a wide array of instruments can be used to do She said she’s fallen in love with the simplicity of caling of the choicest residential and commercial calligraphy, however, one needs to know how to use them. ligraphy. “I don’t think it’s something that’s for everybody,” ex“It’s pen, ink and paper,” said Gray. “I think I like the areas, while disenfranchising residents in the plained Gray. “People who learn things quickly sometimes order of it. It can be almost meditative.” remainder of the county,” Ellis said. “We need get frustrated with calligraphy. You really have to pracGray, an Avondale Estates resident, teaches at Callanlaws which respect the costs of services to our tice…work on small steps.” wolde Fine Arts Center and the Lou Walker Senior Center citizens in both cities and counties.” Ellis said the proposed penny sales tax See Calligraphy on Page 12B referendum that goes to voters this year is an opportunity for the DeKalb to get a “great return on our investment…given DeKalb County’s 40-year support of the MARTA tax.” “This is a regional stimulus plan, and that’s why it is so important that we pass this transportation referendum,” Ellis said. “We have much at stake in the transportation referendum.” To help pass the referendum and to help re-elect President Barack Obama, Ellis said he would “visit every corner in this county to by Gale Horton Gay “It’s pen, ink and paper,” said kept watch, Gray showed an indiscuss the importance of voting and registering Gray. “I think I like the order of it. terested party the various tools of new voters.” Some things are best done by It can be almost meditative.” her craft–writing implements that Kathleen Bowen, who works with the Ashand. Gray, an Avondale Estates res- range from a quill to a sponge to sociation County Commissioners of Georgia, Carol Gray and Marcia Watt ident, teaches at Callanwolde Fine markers and other—more utilitarsaid Ellis’ address was “very optimistic.” agree that learning the skills to do Arts Center and the Lou Walker ian looking—implements. She “I’m proud of the accomplishments of the calligraphy is rewarding in more Senior Center and is a member of explained that a wide array of past year and I’m optimistic about the future,” ways than one. Friends of the Alphabet. She also instruments can be used to do calBowen said. “I’m leaving optimistic.” Gray is both an instructor and runs a business doing calligraphy ligraphy, however, one needs to Kevin Privette, a senior project manager student of the hand lettering art for weddings and corporate events know how to use them. with Accura Engineering and Consulting Serform. She first took a class in it from the basement of her home. “I don’t think it’s something vices, which does business with DeKalb Counin 1980. Since then she estimates Gray has developed a niche marthat’s for everybody,” explained ty, said he was impressed with Ellis’ address. that she’s probably taken 75 class- ket, inscribing Quaker wedding Gray. “People who learn things “A lot of times people have a have a hard es and workshops to define andonlinevows on large Champion.that documents Because she gets her news sometimes get frustrated quickly updates online from the The Champion. Because she getscraft. Horton Gay her news updates from the The sign member time expressing what they’ve done,” Privette advance her by her news updates online from the The Champion. of Friendswith Alphabet. She also runs really have brides and grooms and is aand disof the calligraphy. You Gale Because she gets said. “I think he did a great job in bring to the a She said she’s fallen in love play in their homes. business doing calligraphy for weddings and work on small to practice… corporate events from the Some things are best done by forefront what he’s done. with the simplicity of calligraphy.Watthand. While herthe Dobermansbasement of her home. Gray has developed steps.” Carol Gray and Marcia agree that learning two a niche market, inscribing Quaker wedding vows on large After the address, when asked by The Chamdocuments that brides and grooms sign and display in their skills to do calligraphy is rewarding in more ways than See Calligraphy on Page 15A pion why no new initiatives were introduced homes. one. in his address, Ellis said, “Implementation is going to be the key in 2012. “We’ve got 4,700 jobs between now and 2015 to be created, so we’re going to have to implement that. We’ve got to restore our neighborhoods, so there’s got to be the implementation of that. Code compliance, construction of more libraries and recreation centers, and working towards the passage of the transportation sales tax will all be priorities in 2012, Ellis said. “It’s going to be all about implementation,” Ellis said. “Our work is not finished. Rolling out is one thing, but completing the job, in and of itself, is a worthwhile task.”

Mastering the art of




B Section


Mastering the art of

And you can too! Follow us.
Gray is both an instructor and student of the hand lettering art form. She first took a class in it in 1980. Since then she estimates that she’s probably taken 75 classes and workshops to define and advance her craft. She said she’s fallen in love with the simplicity of calligraphy. “It’s pen, ink and paper,” said Gray. “I think I like the order of it. It can be almost meditative.” Gray, an Avondale Estates resident, teaches at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center and the Lou Walker Senior Center While her two Dobermans kept watch, Gray showed an interested party the various tools of her craft–writing implements that range from a quill to a sponge to markers and other—more utilitarian looking—implements. She explained that a wide array of instruments can be used to do calligraphy, however, one needs www. to know how to use them. “I don’t think it’s something that’s for everybody,” explained Gray. “People who learn things quickly sometimes get frustrated with calligraphy. You really have to practice…work on small steps.”

ews updates online from the The Champion.

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Page 2A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Sewage spills increase, judge signs consent decree
by Andrew Cauthen A full year after it was announced, a federal judge has signed a consent decree in which DeKalb County agreed to pay a $453,000 penalty for excessive sewage spills. In the consent decree, signed by U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr., on Dec. 20, the county agreed to pay the penalty, which was split between the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state’s Environmental Protection Division. The fines were paid earlier this month, according to Joe Basista, the county’s director of watershed management. The approval of the deSee Spill on Page 7A

Notice of Public Hearings January 24 & 26, 2012
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority will hold public hearings for the purpose of considering

Proposed Bus Service Modifications for April 24, 2012
Proposed routing and adjustments for the following bus routes:

County enhances its emergency alert system
by Andrew Cauthen The alert system informing DeKalb residents of emergency situations just got upgraded. The Code Red system that the county has been using for several years has been enhanced with the Code Red Weather Warning systems. The enhancement gives county officials the ability to pinpoint communities that may be affected by weather-related emergencies. “This will allow recipients of the alerts more time to prepare and take precautionary measures while reducing the amount of false alarms and unnecessary alerts, as this system only calls those residents and businesses in the predicted path of the storm,” said the county’s Public Safety Director William Miller during a Jan. 11 press conference. In the weather warning system, phone messages will go out “moments after the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm, flood or tornado warning,” Miller said. The system “automatically disseminates warnings to residents based on the projected path of the storm,” Miller said. If the phone call from the system is missed, residents will be able to call the system to retrieve the most recent warning. In the past the Code Red system has been used to notify residents of severe weather, boil water advisories, gas main or water main breaks, road closings, and police or fire activities, Miller said. “Some people didn’t get the alerts until after the National Weather Service had cancelled the warning,” Miller said. The system, which is being funded by a DeKalb Emergency Management Agency grant, is designed to give residents and business owners an “added layer of protection,” Miller said. A notice about the Code Red system will go out in DeKalb County water bills. To receive the alerts, register at the DeKalb County website at

Route 1 – Centennial Olympic Park / Park and Ride lot is proposed to become the perCoronet Way: The temporary re-routing manent routing. From Evans Mill Road and Mall
implemented June 18, 2011 to improve bus turn movement is proposed to become the permanent routing.

ed June 18, 2011 to improve bus turn movement is proposed to become the permanent routing.

Route 12 – Howell Mill Road / Cumberland: The temporary re-routing implement-

Parkway, Route 86 will continue Mall Parkway, Left-Stonecrest Trace, and Left-Mall Loop Road to bus shelter at Mall at Stonecrest which will be the new terminus for Route 86. The segment along Millwood Lane will be discontinued.

at Five Points Station after 7:30 pm on all service days. The segment from Five Points Station along Marietta Street, Jones Avenue, Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Spring Street, Pine Street and West Peachtree Street to Civic Center Station will be discontinued after 7:30 pm on all service days.

Route 32 – Bouldercrest / Georgia closure of the Evans Mill Park and Ride lot is proAquarium: is proposed to terminate service

implemented December 17, 2011 due to the

Route 115 – Covington Highway / South Hairston Road: The re-routing

posed to become the permanent routing. From Covington Highway and Evans Mill Road, Route 115 will operate via Left-Evans Mill Road continue Main Street, Left-Max Cleland Boulevard and Right-Swift Street to Main Street which will become the new terminus for Route 115. The segment of Evans Mill Road south of Covington Route 86 – Fairington Road / McAfee Highway, Mall Parkway and Millwood Lane will Road: The re-routing implemented December be discontinued. 17, 2011 due to the closure of the Evans Mill

Tuesday, Jan. 24
55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta 30303

Thursday, Jan. 26
1300 Commerce Dr, Decatur, 30030

7:00 p.m. Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.
Riding MARTA: Bus route 49 from Five Points Station. Special bus shuttle also provided.

Downtown Atlanta City Hall

7:00 p.m. Community Exchange: 6-7 p.m.
Riding MARTA: Walk one block west of Decatur Rail Station.

DeKalb Maloof Auditorium

Copies of the proposed bus service modifications will also be available at MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, Georgia 30324 during regular business hours, MonFri 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For formats (FREE of charge) in accordance with the ADA and Limited English Proficiency regulations contact (404) 848-4037. For those patrons requiring further accommodations, information can be obtained by calling the Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 404 848-5665.

may: (1) leave a message at (404) 848-5299; (2) write to MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30324-3330; (3) complete an online Comment Card at; (4) or fax your comments no later than February 3, 2012 to (404) 848-4179.

All citizens of the City of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Gwinnett whose interests are affected by the subjects to be considered at these hearings are hereby notified and invited to appear at said times and places and present such evidence, comment or objection as their In addition, a sign language interpreter will interests require. be available at all hearings. If you cannot attend the hearings and want to provide comments you Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D. General Manager/CEO

Page 3A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston, who recently completed her first year in office, says she wants to be “a voice in the courtroom for victims.” Photo by Andrew Cauthen

Solicitor general a courtroom voice for victims
by Andrew Cauthen DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston says her first year in office feels like “the day that’s never ended.” “It feels like yesterday I was getting sworn in,” said Boston, who was appointed to the position previously held by current county district attorney Robert James. “It actually feels really good. It’s been a good year.” Boston began her second year in office by successfully prosecuting Tywann Vaughn, a Lithonia woman accused of not properly restraining her two pit bulls that attacked an 8-year-old girl who subsequently lost part of an arm. “I was really glad that I had the opportunity to try the Tywann Vaughn case,” Boston said. “[As] a trial lawyer, being in the courtroom is really where my passion lies.” Boston said the Vaughn case was important for the county because it allowed her to be “a voice in the courtroom for victims in our community.” “At the end of the day, that is the most important thing that this office does,” Boston said. The solicitor general’s office, which handled approximately 13,000 cases last year, prosecutes all misdemeanor crimes, including driving under the influence, family violence, elder abuse, sexual battery, animal cruelty, educational negligence,

File photo

second-degree vehicular homicide, non-payment of child support and shoplifting. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said, “Sherry Boston has done an admirable job in her first year in office, prosecuting and deterring crime and maintaining the high quality of life here in DeKalb County. “Her pre-trial diversion programs are at the forefront of the national standard, which illustrates her leadership in this area,” Ellis said. Boston “came in and hit the ground running,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May. “One thing that I like about her approach is that she’s come forward with a number of ideas as to how she could bring additional revenue to the county [and] how she could streamline their operations,” May said. “She’s kept the line of com-

munications open with the BOC. I’ve been pretty satisfied with her work.” After taking office, Boston reorganized the operations, establishing a special victims’ unit headed by Deputy Chief Solicitor General Jessica Rock. Boston also formed Diversion and Community Alternative Program (DCAP), which is the umbrella over all programs that have a diversionary component. Kiesha Storey is the deputy chief over DCAP and Deputy Chief Solicitor General Kelly McMichael oversees the state court prosecutions. “We really are a family and a team in this office,” Boston said. “I feel really blessed. I could not do any of what I do without the amazing team of folks that is here to help me every day.” Boston also hired the county’s first full-time com-

munity prosecutor, Sonja Brown. “She is really going to be the liaison between the community, my office, other elected officials, homeowner associations, other community leaders and private partners to find alternative ways to attack crime,” Boston said. Boston said she made the position full time to show “we can make sure we are focusing in on the areas that are the most crime-ridden.” Boston’s goal as solicitor general is to “make really smart decisions about how we approach cases, collaborate with other partners in the community in an effort to make sure that we are address all the issues that they have, not just opening and closing cases that come to us through the door, but hoping to stop some of these crimes before they happen.”

Last year Boston’s office participated in several community events, including Paws for the Cause, back to school expositions, anticrime events, community clean-ups and she held a domestic violence forum. When she’s not working Boston tries to be a “normal, everyday, average mom” of her two daughters, ages 3 and 5, that she rears with her husband of seven years, Ed Baines, a vice president of a national sales account at Coca-Cola. “I don’t know if that’s possible any more, but I really try,” Boston said. “Much of my free time is spent with my children and trying to be best mother and role model and support system for them.” That includes being a room mom at her daughter’s preschool, making crafts, baking cookies and “being a cheerleader on the sideline for the stuff that they love,” Boston said. Boston is also an avid reader and considers herself to be “somewhat of a budding culinary foodie chef.” Boston said her goals for 2012 are to make her office more technologically savvy and to establish an abandonment court to address people who are not paying child support. “Our goal, obviously, is not to put those people in jail,” Boston said. “Our goal is to get those families the support that they are entitled to have.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday January 20, 2012

Opinion The Newslady

Page 4A

Red Tails: At a theater near you
on edge of your seat. No surprise here. The movie is produced by George Lucas of Star Wars fame. Sadly, bigotry is as much alive as the racism of the ‘40s. Lucas couldn’t get major backing to produce the film. Like the Tuskegee Airmen who were told they didn’t have the mental capacity to fly planes, Lucas was told the public wouldn’t support a film with so many Black leading men, so he wrote the check himself for production. Then he couldn’t get major distributors for the film, so he wrote another check. All told it has taken Lucas more than 10 years and some $58 million of his own money to get the movie produced and into theaters. Lucas is owed a huge debt of gratitude and deserves support in huge numbers of moviegoers for the yeoman task of getting this major history lesson on celluloid. Besides, there are thousands of young people out there who don’t know who the Tuskegee Airmen are, or the story of their heroic feats. Fortunately, my grandson does. He had the rare opportunity when he was 7 years old to meet some of the original Tuskegee Airmen during a visit to the famed Alabama school. One of the men autographed a picture for him. That autographed picture hung on my grandson’s bedroom wall throughout elementary, junior high and high school until he realized his dream of attending Tuskegee. He is there now on an academic scholarship studying aerospace engineering. You see, he wants to be a fighter pilot. Oh, the impression those senior citizens had on that young boy. How many young boys or girls seeing Red Tails might be inspired to want to fly a plane in service to their country? And guess what, if members of the audience aren’t careful, they might just learn a history lesson or two. See the movie. Step back in history. Show our appreciation to Lucas for his tenacity and cinematic genius. Large numbers of viewers and the dollars received during the first few days of a movie release can send a powerful message. The message should be made to the production and distribution companies that the public is interested in seeing this type of film and they made a gross miscalculation. The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is one that all America and the world should know. The movie version is called Red Tails–at a theater near you. The story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during World War II: In 1944, as the war in Europe continued to take its toll on Allied forces, the Pentagon brass had no recourse but to consider unorthodox options–including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men were on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they were given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen took to the skies to fight for their country–and the fate of the free world. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at

A suggestion: Every AfricanAmerican man, woman and child should go to see Red Tails and take along a couple friends of another ethnicity with you this weekend. Red Tails is the movie adaptation of the story of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, courageous African American fighter pilots who downed so many German planes during World War II, many credit them with turning around the war in favor of the Allied forces. The Tuskegee Airmen achieved these phenomenal successes during the 1940s in the face of a segregated armed forces and sometimes blatant racism. The movie opens Jan. 20 at a theater near you. The previews promise a fast-paced, gripping experience that is very realistic of the times. It will have you

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

A sad, mad dog’s tale
Pit bulls are different The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a national study in 2000, reviewing dog bite/attack related fatalities over a 24-year year span (1979-98). During that span, 238 people lost their lives, with 76 of those in attacks by a pit bull terrier or mixes (32 percent). Rottweilers were a distant second, accounting for 44 fatalities and 18 percent of the total. During the final two years studied (1996-98), the two species combined represented 67 percent of all dog-bite related fatalities, while only a small fraction of total dog ownership. The rapid rise in pit bull attacks is also tied more to human bad behavior, brutalizing and using pit bulls in dog fighting. According to law enforcement, they are used increasingly within the illegal narcotics industry, where pit bulls are often trained to protect or guard drug stashes, factories or distribution points as well as to physically attack law enforcement personnel in uniform. This of course does not mean that every pit bull is evil, bad or a danger to any community. “Petey,” the famous black-eyed pup and constant companion of the Our Gang Little Rascals, was a pit bull. However, the pit bull breed is the predominant strain, along with mixes of the breed, used in illegal dog-fighting. Breed specific restrictions The United Kingdom now has a ban on pit bull ownership. Miami, Fla., Denver, Colo., and Ontario, Canada, are among other governmental jurisdictions where breed specific laws regulate/restrict the ownership of pit bulls, and/or their time spent in public. These laws vary, in some cases requiring muzzles in public and in other cases outrights bans of ownership in certain circumstances. A majority of international air carriers also severely restrict or prohibit the transport of pit bulls. ‘One free bite’ Significant court precedent exists where dog owners and their pets, in civil and criminal cases, have in effect been allowed, “one free bite,” if there are no other documented cases or instances of harm, potential harm or dangerous/threatening behavior on the part of the dog. As we cannot hold an animal accountable to the “rule of law,” we are left to follow the path already blazed by insurers, who charge demonstrably higher premiums for property/casualty and liability insurance to owners of pit bulls. As the risk is greater so is the responsibility of the owner. Pit bulls and any other animal breed trained to protect, fight or attack, may have a hard time remembering on occasion when and who is proper to bite. Though I’m also clear that the vast majority of dog owners and pit bull owners love their pets, and believe their dogs are not a threat to society, the owners who train their pets for that specific purpose (attack dogs, dog fighting, etc.) are really the ones doing the others the disservice. I am reminded of the tainting and demonization of the Confederate battle flag, where its embrace by rednecks, racists and White supremacists redefined the St. Andrews Cross as tantamount to fighting words and now it’s practically completely banned from display in all public locations excluding museums. It wasn’t the flag’s fault, just as all pit bulls are not responsible for the savage attacks of a few hundred dogs. For the greater good of the many, that flag has been relegated to the realm of relics and those who cling to the lesser elements of our past. Let’s not let another child lose both of her hands before we take action to protect them. Bill Crane is a DeKalb County native and business owner, living in Scottdale. He also serves as chief political analyst and commentator for 11Alive News and WSB Radio, News/Talk 750. Contact Bill Crane at billcrane@

Opinion One Man’s Opinion

Page 5A

“The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go.” Sir Winston Churchill (18741966), served twice as British prime minister and also somewhat resembled a bulldog. I am a proud Georgia Bulldog, though currently not a dog owner. I’m not a veterinarian, nor an expert on animal behavior, but as a parent of a small child, I paid close attention to the recent case involving the mauling of a small young girl by two pit bulls in Lithonia, resulting in the loss of one arm, and permanently disabling her other limb. Congratulations to our DeKalb County Solicitor General Sherry Boston on the successful prosecution of her first case. Boston kept an attentive jury and judge focused on the viewpoint that these attacks were clearly avoidable. At risk of angering several friends and animal lovers, I believe this is a case, like others resulting in serious injury or fatality, where we have to first simply look at the facts.

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

Publisher: Dr. Earl D. Glenn Managing Editor: Kathy Mitchell News Editor: Robert Naddra Production Manager: Kemesha Hunt Graphic Designer: Travis Hudgons The Champion Free Press is published each Friday by ACE III Communications, Inc., 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur, GA. 30030 Phone (404) 373-7779.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

What I'm giving up in 2012


Page 6A

Big money makes writing about climate change action and gun control a lost cause.
oil spill without me. I’m also giving up on gun control. Over the years, I’ve written I don’t know how many columns urging that some control be placed on the sale of weapons that go bang. Dozens probably, possibly even scores of them. I generally make New Year’s resoEvery time some clown would lutions in hopes of becoming a better go berserk and mow down a baker’s person — more disciplined, healthier, dozen of his fellow citizens, I would or, at the very least, less pathetic. deliver a rant about the idiocy of our Some of these resolutions last until failure to do something about the pronightfall. Some don’t. None ever sees liferation of guns in our society. February. Did it do any good? Even less than This year, I’m taking a different my global warming columns. There approach. I’m going to concentrate are more guns out there now than on giving up things. Not things like ever, and states have grown increassmoking — been there, done that. I ingly permissive about where and mean giving up on ideas I have purhow people can pack heat. sued through the years into one blind In other words, the battle has been alley after another. lost. The absurd arguments of the NaIdeas like climate change, for extional Rifle Association and the Merample. chants of Death lobby have carried You and I both know that the earth the day. is heating up, right? Everybody knows Why? Money, of course. Too many that, with the possible exception of oil politicians have learned that to deviexecutives, the owners of coal mines, ate even the slightest degree from and Republican politicians. the NRA’s absolutist positions is to Yet no number of hurricanes, invite a truckload of money into your droughts, floods, wild fires, melted opponent’s campaign, ensuring your glaciers or columns by granola liberelectoral defeat. als like me has inspired a somnolent The argument I find most absurd, Congress to confront the problem. by the way, is the constitutional one. Why? Money, of course. Yes, the Constitution guarantees the If money is the mother’s milk of right to bear arms. But “arms” back politics (and it is), then the oil and then had as much resemblance to coal industries are the biggest mothers modern weapons as an 18th-century on the block. They own our political schooner has to a nuclear submarine. system lock, stock and sleazebag. Do you think our Founding Fathers As a result, our energy policies would have looked at an assault rifle are crafted largely by the extraction that can fire at a speed of 400 rounds industries, which care little if at all a minute and said: “Oh yeah, that’s a about global warming, clean water or good thing to have around the house”? breathable air. Meanwhile, the Earth’s Or “Everybody should have one”? poorest nations, which sat back for Get real. The Constitution is a 200 years while the countries known wonderful document, but it’s outas “the West” burned forests, polluted moded in many ways. Consider the the air and water, and made a lot of preposterousness of North Dakota money, now want their turn at the having the same number of senators trough. as California. But it’s not going to It’s hopeless. Even if we suddenly change any time soon, at least not for got serious about the issue, it’s probthe better. ably too late. We’ve reached a point Ladies and gentlemen, the Forces where the warming already out there of Darkness are in the saddle and is producing a dynamic that will prothey’re wearing spurs. duce more warming. OtherWords columnist Donald So I’m giving up on writing about Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. climate change. You can start the next

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Local News

Page 7A

Psychologist ordered to turn over evaluation of Dunwoody murder suspect
by Andrew Cauthen The doctor who evaluated the mental state of Hemy Neuman, accused of the November 2010 killing of a Dunwoody man, has been ordered to turn over the records of the evaluation. Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams on Jan. 11 ordered Dr. Peter Thomas to “transmit all records in his possession concerning his evaluation of [Neuman].” The order states that “any records received by the Court…which do not contain privileged attorneyclient communications will thereafter be turned over to the state and the defendant.” Neuman has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges that he killed Russell Sneiderman, an entrepreneur who had just dropped his child at a daycare when he was shot. During a hearing on Jan. 4, Neuman’s defense attorney Bob Rubin objected to the release of the mental evaluation saying it was never intended for Peters to be a witness in the case. “We were trying to understand what this case was all about,” Rubin said. Rubin also said the district attorney’s office has had the opportunity to do its own evaluation of Neuman. Erik Burton, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said the judge’s order was delivered to Thomas on Jan. 11 and he has until the end of today to turn over the documents to the district attorney.

Champion of the Week
Suzy Kilgo

Spill Continued From Page 2A
cree is “good news,” Basista said. “The consent decree is signed [and] we have the capital,” Basista said. “Things are good.” In his official opinion and order in the case, Judge Duffey said, “This is an important and complex issue involving significant matters of public interest and concern. “This consent decree establishes a reasonable, viable framework for enacting a necessary plan of remediation in DeKalb County,” Duffey stated. “It offers benefits … to the public, the citizens of DeKalb County, and Georgia. The decree is fair, reasonable, lawful, and in accord with public policy and the public interest.” DeKalb County has 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. Basista said the consent decree is full of milestones that the county is expected to meet in the first six to 24 months of the decree. “We have been advancing the consent decree, doing the things that we could,” Basista said. “We weren’t going to sit around and wait until the consent decree was signed.” Some of those advancements include physically surveying the county’s sewer system. Approximately 60 percent of the system has already been examined and Basista said the survey will be fully complete with in the next three years. The county has also begun a computerized hydrological model of the system and has performed some cleaning and inspections, Basista said. The consent agreement is a resolution of a joint federal and state complaint filed against the county for violations of the Clean Water Act and the Georgia Water Quality Control Act. From 2006-2010, the county had 871 sewage overflows. In 2011, there were 187 sanitary sewer overflows, the highest number since 2006 when the number was 256. Of the spills last year, 136 of the spills, or 73 percent, were caused by grease blockages in sewer pipes. The amount of sewage that flowed into local creeks and rivers topped 1.69 million gallons, according to documents from the county’s Department of Watershed Management. “The number of spills has varied over the years,” Basista said. “But they’re in the same magnitude, in the same severity.” Basista said the number of sewer spills was not expected to decrease until the county $1.345 billion watershed capital improvement project gets underway. “We didn’t have the money to invest,” Basista said. In December, the Board of Commissioners approved a $381 million water and sewer bond and the county plans to secure a $390 million bond later this year as part of several anticipated bonds during the watershed improvement process. The bonds will be repaid by increases in the county’s water and sewer rates. A 11-percent rate went into effect this month and the rate will also increase in 2013 and 2014 by 11 percent, according to a plan adopted by the Board of Commissioners. “We now have the ability to do more capital things,” Basista said. Now that funding is in place, the county will undertake a “robust cleaning and inspection of the system” Basista said. It will cost approximately $10 million to $15 million per mile to clean the system. “If we can get the system cleaned, I know the number of spills will go down,” Basista said.

Mike DeVine calls friend Suzy Kilgo a hero and said that her actions bring to mind a quote from the seventh U.S. president, Andrew Jackson: “One man with courage makes a majority.” DeVine said that while Kilgo isn’t a national hero she “sure has rescued people and at-risk animals, despite the sacrifices of time and money, in ways that this beneficiary of her charity deems heroic and inspirational.” He said that the DeKalb native and “fixture in the Stone Mountain community” like many others has been affected by the economic downturn of recent years. Because she is in the real estate business, which has been hit especially hard, Kilgo has had a difficult time despite hard work, he said. “Suzy’s hours of work were greatly reduced, thus threatening her ability to keep her home,” he added. “Throughout these years, Suzy continued to lead her homeowners association and rescue those worse off than herself with shelter and food, whether they were other victims of the economy or abused and/or abandoned

dogs and cats, due to her passion to alleviate the suffering of all of God’s creatures. She maintained a Christ-like love and tolerance for people and helped the disabled with fellowship and assistance, all while overcoming much adversity in her own life,” DeVine noted. “Suzy is my hero and an example of how to live in troubled times,” DeVine said. “And it warms my heart that… no matter the economic suffering Suzy has endured and continues to endure, that this story has a happy ending. Suzy was married a few weeks ago to a wonderful man.” Kilgo said that some of the outreach she does is through her homeowners’ association and some is through the Elks Lodge of which she’s a member. But most of it, she said, is a matter of staying in touch with neighbors and remaining sensitive to their needs. “If I talk with a neighbor who has a need and I know someone who can help with that need, I get them together,” she said. “If they need someone to help organize a yard sale to raise some cash, I’m glad to be able to do that. “It’s tough out there, whatever you can do just to keep someone going, whether they need a little bit of money, an encouraging word—whatever—it’s important for us to be there for each other,” she said.

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Local News

Page 8A

Grand jury to investigate county water and sewer department
by Daniel Beauregard DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James has called for a special grand jury investigation of alleged corruption in the county’s water and sewer department. The grand jury, which will convene soon, will consider whether over-billing from a contractor could have cost the county nearly $3 million. “The district attorney’s office received information that would indicate there were questionable practices in the management of the watershed department to the point that we feel a thorough investigation is needed,” said Erik Burton, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. The county alleges the water department was over-billed an estimated $3 million by Champion Tree Service, a company hired by the county to cut vegetation so it could overhaul its storm drain system. “This is something that happened and focuses primarily on the previous administration and the period of time within that,” county spokesman Burke Brennan said. DeKalb County Chief Operating Officer Richard Stogner said that in 2008 one of the county’s deputy directors of watershed management noticed “irregularities” in transactions. “As a result of this she asked for a review, and in that review it was discovered there were two employees who engaged in activities contrary to our policies, and they were suspended and later terminated,” Stogner said. Brennan said at that point, the county ended its contract with Champion Tree Service. “Our position was that the tree company was over-billing for work and work not done, and duplicate billing, and that’s when we stopped payment,” Brennan said. In 2010 Paul Champion, owner of Champion Tree Service, filed a lawsuit alleging the county owed him $880,000 for work he was never paid for. However, Brennan said the county stopped paying Champion because of the over-billing it found, and because the two employees, Nagmeh Maghsoudlou and Hadi Haeri, were allegedly involved in approving the invoices. Maghsoudlou was the supervisor who oversaw the Champion contract and her brother-in-law, Haeri, worked for Champion, but was subcontracted by the county. The county then filed a countersuit against Champion for $3 million and fired Maghsoudlou and Haeri. However, Champion’s attorney Bob Wilson said the county never said it over billed until he filed suit. “What you’re going to find is that the county spent more money than what was budgeted,” Wilson said. “I think there are some people who are trying to cover up their mistakes but it’s not my client.” Brennan said the contracts the county reviewed date back to 2006 and the district attorney has asked for contracts dating back to 2002 for the investigation. “I want to say we’re cooperating fully,” Brennan said. A special grand jury must be approved by DeKalb Superior Court before it is convened, officials said. If any criminal wrongdoing is determined as a result of the special grand jury investigation, it will then present its findings to the grand jury for an indictment.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Local News

Page 9A

January 19, 2012 DeKalb County Community Development Department 150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 330 Decatur, Georgia 30030 Telephone (404) 286-3308

The DeKalb County Community Development Department gives notice that it will submit a request for release of grant funds and an environmental certification pertaining to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 15 days following this publication. The request and certification relate to the following projects. Project: HOME Program: Lane Manor Housing

Location: 4683 Redan Road, Stone Mountain, GA Purpose: The purpose of the project is to provide supplemental funding to assist in the development of 54 units of multifamily housing for seniors. 53 units will serve seniors and 1 unit serves as an employee unit. The property will serve seniors at or below 50% of AMI. The property will have a HUD based rental assistance contract for all residential units so that the resident pays no greater than 30% of income towards rent and utilities. It has been determined that such request for release of funds will not constitute an action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment and, accordingly, DeKalb County has decided not to prepare Environmental Impact Statements under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (P.L. 91-190). The reasons for such decision not to prepare such Statements are as follows: An Environmental Assessment has been made for the project which concludes that all adverse effects will be minor, and any short-term impacts will be mitigated by either the requirements of the construction contract documents or by the requirements of applicable local, state or federal permits and environmental ordinances. The positive effects of providing activities that augment and substantially improve the County’s efforts towards supporting affordable senior housing in the targeted areas of the County outweigh any potential negative impacts. This project is consistent with the goals and objectives of the DeKalb County Community Development Department, approved Consolidated Plan. The Environmental Review Records, respecting the proposed projects, have been made by DeKalb County which documents the environmental review of the projects and fully sets forth the reasons why such Environmental Impact Statements are not required. The Environmental Review Records are on file at the DeKalb County Community Development Department, 150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 330, Decatur, Georgia 30030 and is available for public examination and copying upon request between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. No further environmental reviews of the subject project are proposed to be conducted prior to the request for release of Federal funds. All interested agencies, groups, and persons disagreeing with this decision are invited to submit written comments for consideration by DeKalb County to the Community Development Director. Written comments will be received at 150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 330, Decatur, Georgia on or before February 3, 2012. All comments received will be considered and DeKalb County will not request the release of Federal funds or take any administrative action on the proposed projects prior to the date specified in the preceding sentence. At least one day after the termination of the public comment period for the FONSI, but not before comments on the FONSI have been considered and resolved, DeKalb County will submit a Request for Release of Funds (RROF) and certification to HUD. By so doing DeKalb County will ask HUD to allow it to commit funds to these projects, certifying that (1) it has performed the environmental reviews prescribed by HUD regulations ("Environmental Review Procedures for Title I Community Development Block Grant Program" - 24 CFR part 58), and (2) the Certifying Officer, Chris Morris, Director, DeKalb County Community Development Department, consents to accept and enforce responsibilities in relation to the environmental reviews or resulting decision-making and action. The legal effect of the certification is that by approving it, HUD will have satisfied its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act, thus allowing DeKalb County to commit CDBG funds to these projects. HUD will accept objections to its approval of the release of funds and the certification only if it is on one of the following basis: (a) that the certification was not in fact executed by the Certifying Officer; or (b) that the applicant's Environmental Review Record for the project indicated omission of a required decision, funding, or step applicable to the project in the environmental review process. Objections must be prepared and submitted in accordance to HUD at the Regional Environmental Branch, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 40 Marietta Street N.W., 15th floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-9812. Objections to the release of funds on basis other than those stated above will not be considered by HUD. No objection received after February 21, 2012 will be considered by HUD. Chris H. Morris, Director DeKalb County Community Development Department 150 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 330, Decatur, Georgia 30030 Date of Publication and Dissemination of Notice January 19, 2012


Public Comments on FONSI


Objection to Release of Funds

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Local News

Page 10A

Bill for city of Brookhaven moving forward in House of Representatives
by Daniel Beauregard A bill that establishes a vote for the cityhood of Brookhaven is making its way through the Georgia House of Representatives, said Rep. Mike Jacobs (RAtlanta). Late in 2011, a feasibility study released by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute showed that the proposed city would work financially and could leave the city with a surplus of $3.4 million, if a cityhood vote passed. “There is a hearing on it scheduled for Jan. 24 and I anticipate there will be two or three more hearings on the bill. It should be wrapped up in the House some time in the month of February,” Jacobs said. Recently a group known as the Ashford Neighbors has publicly criticized the feasibility study and called for a halt on the looming vote so it could have more time to execute its own feasibility
See Brookhaven on Page 13A

The Stone Mountain nonprofit Young People Matter, founded by Simone Joye, recently received a federal grant of $540,000 to operate a homeless shelter for children. Photo provided

Stone Mountain shelter provides haven to runaway and throwaway youth
by Nigel Roberts What image comes to mind when one thinks of the homeless? Typically, that image is a man wearing rags, unshaven and sleeping on a cardboard box on a city sidewalk. Sometimes that image is a woman carrying her possessions in shopping bags, wandering the streets and muttering to herself. Seldom does one picture a young person. But in fact, youth are among the chronic homeless. “It is estimated on any given night there may be 2,500 kids under the age of 18 living on the streets in metro Atlanta, and they are hidden in plain view,” said Simone Joye, founder and executive director of Young People Matter in Stone Mountain. YPM is one of the few organizations that does outreach and provides shelter exclusively to unaccompanied homeless youth in the metro area. These runaways and throwaways often bounce from place to place, surviving on their own or in groups on the streets. Joye added: “No child should ever have to sleep on the streets. When they do, they are at greater risk for exploitation and abuse.” A recent report from the National Center on Family Homelessness ranks Georgia 41 out of the 50 states in child homelessness. The report, titled America’s Youngest Outcasts, states that more than 1.6 million children and youth, or one in 45, are homeless every year in America. About 45,500 of them are Georgians. Quite often, the youth desperately in need of shelter is a 16-year-old boy has been kicked out of the home. “But there is no typical case or profile,” Joye explained. “Sometimes it’s a 17-year-old girl who just got off a Greyhound bus, lured here with the promise of being in a music video. Sometimes it’s the child of a prostitute, a girl or boy escaping sexual abuse at home, or a kid from Seattle who thought he could meet [the rapper] Ludacris. They are Black, White, from parents who said ‘take my kid because I can’t deal with him anymore.’” Joye, whose background includes a lifetime of volunteerism, had previously worked with young victims of sexual abuse and exploita tion—some as young as 12 years old. She started providing shelter in her living room (and garage when there was no more room in the house) for runaways and throwaways before establishing YPM. Her organization recently received a federal grant totaling more than $540,000 to operate an emergency 24hour youth shelter in Stone Mountain. The Open Hearts Youth Shelter provides shortterm haven, food, medical care and counseling for 10- to 18-year-old homeless youth. When YPM encounters one of these young people in need of help, Joye said her team must act quickly. State law permits shelters to house minors up to 72 hours, during which they must make every effort to contact the child’s parent or guardian. After that period, the organization must contact state authorities. In best-case scenarios, YPM is able to resolve family disputes and reunite the youth with his parent. In more challenging cases, YPM works toward finding longterm shelter solutions if the youth cannot return home. Some options include Job Corps, the military or longterm transitional programs— sometimes in another state. These youth are quite resourceful while living on the streets, according to Joye. She recalled an incident involving a 16-year-old who sought her help to find a job. After having trouble contacting his parents to obtain permission, the boy broke down in tears and revealed that he was homeless. He took her to where he was living; it turned out to be an abandoned house in Lithonia, she recalled. “There were about eight kids living in the house, she said, reliving the amazement of what she witnessed. “It was like a village. What boggled my mind was that they were getting up in the morning and going to school as if there was nothing wrong.” Despite their resilience, these homeless youth face many dangers while living on their own. For example, there are the dangers of becoming sexually exploited in exchange for food, clothing and shelter. Some youth become drug dealers to meet their basic needs. And few are able to complete their high school education. Many of them develop a “façade of toughness,” Joye said. But their circumstances leave them emotionally scarred from feeling unloved. “It’s tough on the streets,” she added, “but it’s often easier than living with a stepfather who rapes you.”

DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management Public Advisory Superior Avenue Sanitary Sewer Improvements Project
January 19, 2012 Advisory Close Date February 19, 2012 Advisory Issue Date

This advisory is issued to inform the public of a receipt of an application for a variance submitted pursuant to a State environmental law. The public is invited to comment during a 30 day period on the proposed activity. Since the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has no authority to zone property or determine land use, only those comments addressing environmental issues related to air, water, and land protection will be considered in the application review process. Written comments should be submitted to: Program Manager, Non Point Source Program, Erosion and Sedimentation Control, 4220 International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, Georgia 30354. Type of Permit Application: Variance to encroach within the 25-foot State waters buffer. Applicable Law: Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act O.C.G.A. 12-7-1 et seq. Applicable Rules: Erosion and Sedimentation Control Chapter 391-3-7 Basis under which variance shall be considered {391-37.05(2)(A-J)}: d Description and Location of Proposed Activity: Applicant proposes to impact 300 linear feet of buffer along a tributary of South Fork Peachtree Creek to conduct sanitary sewer improvements along Superior Avenue near the intersection with North Decatur Road. Map of the project worksite and location can be seen on the DeKalb County Watershed Management website at

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Local News

Page 11A

E911 operators say they feel underpaid, under-appreciated
by Andrew Cauthen If it weren’t for negative attention, DeKalb County E911 dispatcher Nyesha Brown says she and her coworkers would hardly get any recognition. In September, when the county recognized first responders during its Sept. 11 commemoration, Brown said E911 operators were not mentioned. “911 is not a clerical nonessential position,” Brown said. “We are the heartbeat of DeKalb and without us there is basically no public safety.” For the National E911 recognition week last April, Brown said dispatchers held bake sales and hotdog sales to raise money to “appreciate ourselves.” “When Mr. Doe has fallen on hard times and can’t pay his mortgage and feels like life is at the end for him, I’m the one that talks him off the bridge at Spaghetti Junction,” Brown said. “Contrary to popular belief, we are more than just cackling hens sitting at a console dying to get nasty with the public. We are lawyers, we are counselors. We are doctors.” Brown and two other E911 operators spoke to the county Board of Commissioners on Jan. 10 about being underpaid, unappreciated and understaffed. Dannie Rivera, who has worked as a DeKalb E911 dispatcher for seven years, said that although she loves her job she has “begun to question if that’s reason enough to stay.” “Not because of the furlough days that we have to take, not because of the occasional reduction in pay we had to take and not because of the raises we have not received in more than five and a half years,” Rivera said. The E911 dispatchers are upset that they have not received pay raises even though there is money available for the salary increases. E911 operations are not funded by the cash-strapped county budget, but by E911 fees on telephone bills. “Yes the county is in a budget shortfall and has been for a while,” Rivera said. “Yes, there is no money in the county budget to give anyone raises and yes it would be absolutely unfair if what little money the county has is spent to give us a raise. “Those are all valid reasons to not to give us a raise if the county was the one paying our salaries in the first place,” Rivera said. The mandatory furlough day, pay cuts, and lack of raises for E911 operators “saved the county absolutely no money whatsoever,” Rivera said. “We should not have to do any of that at all.” Rivera said there is more than enough money in the E911 fund for annual raises. “Who would think that in this economy, the problem would not be that there isn’t money to grant raises, it’s that for whatever reason, the county is just not going to provide raises.” Fairness for all county employees is the reason there have not been raises for the dispatchers, according to DeKalb’s Public Safety Director William Miller. “There’s funding there,” Miller said. “However, they are employees of DeKalb County just like every other employee. We try our best, even in these hard economic times to adequately and fairly compensate our employees. “We don’t want to get into a scheme where we are elevating the salaries of one particular class of employees over another,” Miller said. “We want [the dispatchers] to be fairly compensated. We just have to make sure that everybody is fairly and equally compensated based on the jobs that they perform.” To the complaints that the E911 center is understaffed, Miller said “I wouldn’t say [it’s] very understaffed. All county departments are kind of shorthanded right now.” According to Mekka Parish, a DeKalb County Police spokeswoman, there are 16 funded, open positions in the department, 12 operations personnel, one watch commander and three supervisors. The “turnover rate has been somewhat unstable in the past few years,” Miller said. “I believe it has stabilized to some degree now.” Rivera had a different perspective. “People are leaving in droves,” Rivera said. “Some are leaving to do the same thing for another agency that pays less, has better benefits and lower pension deductions. The pay is less but they’re still able to get annual raises and have less responsibilities and liabilities than what’s put upon us.” E911 dispatcher Danielle Stewart said people calling 911 quite possibly will get a recording “not because someone put you on hold, but because there just aren’t enough operators to take the more than 1 million calls that we process annually.” In the past 12 months, 33 employees quit, with some going to lower-paying jobs, some opting to stay at home and some gone to trucking company dispatch jobs, Stewart said. “It’s easy to see we are extremely understaffed,” Stewart said. “Why are we understaffed? Because there’s no incentive to stay.”

File Photo

Miller said the public safety department is trying to staff the 911 center and regularly hold hiring fairs. Miller said the hard work of the dispatchers is appreciated. “We have quality employees in there,” Miller said. “They do an excellent outstanding job every single day. We’ve had employees in there who have saved lives via the response they’ve given. “Our 911 operators are the backbone and the foundation of this department,” Miller said. “I’ve told them that. They’re well aware of that.”

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Commissioners say proposed budget has issues
by Andrew Cauthen The 2012 budget proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis has problems. That’s what commissioners said during a county finance meeting on Jan. 12. The budget is overly optimistic in its assumption of how much revenue the county will bring in, and it fails to forecast future economic events, including the effect of the possible incorporation of Brookhaven, according to findings of the Board of Commissioners’ finance committee. “We have a lot of challenges regarding the CEO’s proposed budget,” said Commissioner Lee May, chairman of the finance committee. “This is not gloom and doom, but we have some real issues we have to address for the future of this county.” Ellis’ proposed $547.3 million budget, which is 1.2 percent higher than the 2011 budget, contains no tax increase and no county employee furlough days. The proposal also includes funding for all county holidays, a lower-cost healthcare option for county employees and implementation of a recently announced homebuying initiative and jobs stimulus program tied to a billion-dollar water-sewer improvement plan. The proposal, which predicts a 5 percent drop in income from county property taxes, is “overly optimistic,” May said. “We have to err on the side of caution in this tax digest.” Commissioner Jeff Rader said he has concerns about how the county controls its spending. “How can we enforce whatever budgetary commitment we make?” Rader said. “There should be some means of enforcing the budget that is adopted or the budget is meaningless.” “Financial control is key and critical,” May said. “We need to work with the administration and the administration needs to work with us.” As a rule, the Board of Commissioners adopts a budget early in the year and later makes mid-year adjustments. Making those mid-year adjustments can be a problem when there is a budget crunch, said Commissioner Elaine Boyer. “No one ever slows down,” Boyer said about department heads spending money. “It’s much harder at mid-year.” May said commissioners must decide on the best time to adjust the budget. “Do you make the adjustments in the revenue now or do wait until mid-year to make the adjustments… knowing that it just exacerbates the problem to make the adjustments mid-year?” May asked. May said that one of the problems with the budget is that it does not address the Brookhaven cityhood movement. “There’s a real concern about the …potential incorporation of Brookhaven,” May said. “You have to plan for the worse. “We see the incorporation of Brookhaven occurring,” May said. “It’s not going to happen in 2012, but it may happen in 2013 or 2014. How is the administration preparing for that?” May said he believes the county is in a good position when comparing revenue versus expenditures, but he added that there are “some real concerns” when looking at the day-to-day operations. “I haven’t seen anything to come out of this administration to show a change in how we operate on a daily basis,” May said. “Over [Ellis’] tenure, his resolution to our problems in this county has been, year after, year after year, a tax increase. “Of course, this is an election year for the CEO, so he’s not going to propose that,” May said. “My concern is for 2013 after his reelection.” The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to adopt a budget by its Feb. 28 meeting.

Local News

Page 12A

Our specialty is treating people suffering from the status quo.
How it is in healthcare, is not how it has to be. That’s why we challenged what a state-of-the-art healthcare facility should look like, how it should operate and even where it should be. DeKalb Medical at Hillandale became the first all-digital master planned hospital in Georgia and brought advanced medicine outside of the perimeter, where people actually live. We recruited nationally-acclaimed physicians and a dedicated support staff who are passionate about providing world-class service. We made sure that the hospital didn’t look or smell like one and that the food was actually delicious, all of which make close to home, feel more like home. We even make a point to care for the community outside of our doors. Every day, we continue to ask ourselves, “What can we do differently? What can we do better than them?” because the last thing we want to be is like everybody else.

To learn more, visit

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Local News

Page 13A

Photos by Travis Hudgons and Daniel Beauregard

Continued From Page 10A

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

study. One of the founders, Laurenthia Mesh, said the small group has been notifying people in the proposed city by handing out fliers door to door that cite numerous reasons a city of Brookhaven could be harmful. The flier also stated some of the numbers used in the feasibility study were wrong. However, Jacobs disputed that claim and said he didn’t see any hurdles to stop the bill from moving through the House of Representatives, eventually making its way to the ballot for a vote in the presidential primary on March 6. “I am not going to respond to a group that is speaking off the cuff, providing false information about what the study contains, when all you need to do is read the study to understand what is being said,” Jacobs said. Several months earlier, DeKalb County officials asked the general assembly to table any cityhood votes for a year until more research could be done on how a city of Brookhaven would affect the county. However, Jacobs said that too was unlikely. “I doubt that proposal will get any traction in the general assembly,” Jacobs said. The study defines the city as being 12.02 square miles, with boundaries of the Fulton County line to the west, the city of Dunwoody to the north, the city of Chamblee to the east, and to the south a portion of I-85.

The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast THURSDAY
Sunny High: 57 Low: 34

Jan. 19, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Jan. 19, 1987 - A storm tracking toward the northeastern United States produced up to 14 inches of snow in northern Indiana. Peru, Ind. reported a foot of snow. Six cities in Florida reported new record high temperatures for the date. Jan. 20, 1943 - Strange vertical antics took place in the Black Hills of South Dakota. While the temperature at Deadwood was a frigid 16 degrees below zero, the town of Lead, just a mile and a half away, but 600 feet higher in elevation, reported a balmy 52 degree reading. Dunwoody 55/33 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 56/34 56/34 56/34 Snellville Decatur 57/34 Atlanta 57/34 57/34 Lithonia College Park 58/34 58/34 Morrow 58/34 Union City 58/34 Hampton 59/35

In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see sunny skies with a high temperature of 57º, humidity of 37%. West wind 5 to 10 mph. The record high temperature for today is 69º set in 1950. Expect partly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 34º. The record low for tonight is 1º set in 1977.

Partly Cloudy High: 57 Low: 48

*Last Week’s Almanac
Hi Lo Normals Precip Date Tuesday 62 53 51/33 0.10" Wednesday 64 49 51/33 0.20" Thursday 58 29 51/33 0.01" Friday 37 25 51/33 0.00" Saturday 51 24 51/33 0.00" Sunday 52 34 51/33 0.00" Monday 55 30 52/33 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.31" Average temp . .44.5 Normal rainfall . .1.14" Average normal 42.1 Departure . . . . .-0.83" Departure . . . . .+2.4
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport

Few Showers High: 63 Low: 45

Partly Cloudy High: 58 Low: 48

Few Showers High: 65 Low: 51

Partly Cloudy High: 64 Low: 45 New 1/23

Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:41 a.m. 7:40 a.m. 7:40 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 7:39 a.m. 7:38 a.m. Sunset 5:55 p.m. 5:56 p.m. 5:57 p.m. 5:58 p.m. 5:59 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:01 p.m. Moonrise 4:13 a.m. 5:13 a.m. 6:08 a.m. 6:55 a.m. 7:37 a.m. 8:14 a.m. 8:47 a.m. Moonset 2:29 p.m. 3:30 p.m. 4:34 p.m. 5:38 p.m. 6:42 p.m. 7:43 p.m. 8:42 p.m. Full 2/7

Tonight's Planets
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 7:03 a.m. 4:54 p.m. 9:44 a.m. 8:54 p.m. 10:03 p.m.10:42 a.m. 12:09 p.m. 1:16 a.m. 12:58 a.m.12:14 p.m. 10:47 a.m.10:50 p.m.

Partly Cloudy High: 62 Low: 40 First 1/30

Last 2/14

Local UV Index

National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see scattered rain and snow today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated snow Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 61º in Georgetown, Del. The Southeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 78º in Hollywood, Fla. The Northwest will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 62º in Colville, Wash. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 77º in Fullerton, Calif.

Weather Trivia
What is ice fog known as that forms in mountain valleys?
Answer: Pogonip.

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


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

StarWatch By Gary Becker - A Horizon for All Seasons
As I write these words near mid-January, my new North Face winter jacket hangs idly in the closet patiently waiting for winter to begin. Maybe we’ll skip this dreaded season altogether and emerge into an early spring. I thought about this the other evening as I exited my SUV in a light jacket. It was about 6:00 p.m. Looking towards the NW, I spied a madly scintillating star across the street near the tree line. It was Vega, the brightest luminary in the constellation of Lyra the Harp. Vega is also the brightest star of the Great Summer Triangle, an asterism of two seasons ago, and yes, still visible low in the west and NW. I like seeing constellations at odd seasons of the year, such as winter’s Orion the Hunter rising in the predawn hour of mid-August while watching for Perseid meteors. Now the winter group featuring Orion, Auriga the Charioteer, Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins, and Canis Major and Canis Minor, the big and little dogs are on the rise in the east at the same time the Great Summer Triangle is on the wane in the west. Due south at 6 p.m. and nearly two-thirds of the way up in the sky will be found bright Jupiter. To Jupiter’s right and slightly higher in the sky can be found the four vivid stars that form autumn’s Great Square of Pegasus the Flying Horse. Find the two stars farthest to the right in the Great Square and follow them downward towards the horizon. On the way, it will be impossible to miss radiant Venus to the right, the brightest object of the night except for the moon. Keep trekking downward and just before reaching the horizon will be lonely Fomalhaut of Piscis Austrinus the Southern Fish. Looking NE near the horizon, the bowl of the Big Dipper is beginning to point upward, a sure indication that winter, at least astronomically, must give way to spring. There are the leftovers and appetizers of all of the seasons along the lowly horizons.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012


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Senior Connections offers free diabetes workshop
According to the National Institutes of Health, 26.9 percent or 10.9 million U.S. citizens 65 and older, suffered from diabetes in 2010. Currently, 50 percent of the senior population is pre-diabetic. Senior Connections, a provider of home and community-based services for seniors, is offering “Truth & Consequences of Living With Diabetes,” a new free health workshop for seniors who currently suffer from Type II diabetes. On Saturday, March 3, registered dietitians will lead a two-hour class at the Mack Love Community Center. Participation is limited because of the interactive nature of the class. Registration is available online at or by reserving a seat via mail at: Diabetes Workshop, Senior Connections, 5238 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30341. “The rising number of seniors living with diabetes is staggering,” said Debra Furtado, CEO of Senior Connections. “Our vision at Senior Connections is a world where everyone ages with grace and dignity. Learning to live well with a chronic disease such as diabetes is a major step toward achieving that vision.” Class members are encouraged to participate interactively to reach a better understanding of what diabetes is, how it affects the body and mind, what is myth and what is fact, and learn about tools and exercises that can help seniors live independently and take care of their disease. Seniors 50 and older can register for either the morning session (9 - 11 a.m., with a chance to network with other members after class) or the afternoon session (1 – 3 p.m.). There is no cost to register but space must be reserved with a credit card. A $50 fee will be charged if a registrant doesn’t attend and fails to cancel at least 48 hours in advance. To register, visit

A home’s age important for child lead exposure
by Lauran Neergaard WASHINGTON (AP) Those who’ve been putting off repairing a peeling window sill, or are thinking of knocking out a wall should note: Check how old the house is. It may be necessary to take steps to protect children from dangerous lead. The risk of lead-based paint from older homes is back in the news, as the government considers tightening the definition of lead poisoning in babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Lower levels than previously thought may harm their developing brains. That’s a scary-sounding message. But from a practical standpoint, it’s not clear how much would change if the government follows that advice. Already there’s been a big drop in childhood lead poisoning in the United States over the past few decades. Public health programs have targeted the youngsters most at risk—poor children living in crumbling housing, mostly in cities—to try to get them tested and their homes cleaned up. But specialists say it can be a risk in more affluent areas, too, as do-it-yourselfers embark on fix-ups without knowing anything about an environmental hazard that long ago faded from the headlines. The main value of the proposed change may be in increasing awareness of how to avoid lead in everyday life. “What we need to do is prevent the exposure in the first place,” said Dr. Nicholas Newman, who directs the environmental health and lead clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. There are lots of ways people can be exposed to lead: Soil polluted from the leaded gasoline of yesteryear. Old plumbing with lead solder. Improperly using lead-glazed pottery or leaded crystal with food. Certain jobs that expose workers to the metal. Hobbies like refinishing old painted furniture. Sometimes even imported toys or children’s jewelry can have illegal lead levels, prompting recalls if they’re caught on the U.S. market. But the main way that U.S. children are exposed is from layers of old paint in buildings built before 1978, when lead was banned from residential paint. Sure, the walls might have been painted over recently, and there may be no obvious paint chips to attract a tot crawling around on the floor. But friction from opening and closing windows and doors allows tiny leaded particles to make their way into household dust—and youngsters then get it on their hands that go into their mouths, explained Dr. John Rosen, a lead poisoning specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. Very high lead levels can cause coma, convulsions, even death, fortunately a rarity today. But lower levels, especially in children younger than 6, can harm a child’s brain, can reduce IQ and cause other learning, attention and behavioral problems— without any obvious symptoms to alert the parent. How much is too much? Until now, the definition of lead poisoning in young children was 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. But in a draft report last fall, the National Toxicology Program analyzed recent scientific research to conclude there’s good evidence that levels lower than 10 are a risk. Now advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging that agency to lower the definition to 5 micrograms for now, periodically reassessing. If the CDC agrees, its advisers estimated that could classify about 450,000 children with lead poisoning, up from roughly 250,000 today. At these levels, there’s no treatment for the child other than to end the ongoing exposure—clean up the house, Newman stressed. That’s why prevention is so important. And while the youngest children are the most vulnerable, lead’s not good for anyone’s brain, so he advises taking common-sense precautions before potential exposures like renovating an old home. What should families do? Here’s advice from the Environmental Protection Agency and public health agencies: • Check the age of your house. At checkups for babies through age 5, pediatricians are supposed to ask if you live in a home built before 1960, or one built before 1978 that’s recently undergone renovation. The answers help guide who may need a blood test to check lead levels. Some states require testing of toddlers on Medicaid. • Wash kids’ hands before they eat, good advice no matter where you live or how old your house. • Clean up paint chips immediately, and regularly wash toys that tots put in their mouths. • Regularly wash windowsills and floors where paint dust can collect. • If you’re planning repairs or renovation in an old building, use lead-certified contractors who must follow EPA rules to minimize exposure from the work and can perform quality tests to see if your old paint really contains lead. • If you rent and have peeling paint, notify your landlord. Many cities and states have lead-abatement rules, and programs to contact for help. • Aside from paint, take off shoes at the door, to minimize tracking in lead-tainted soil. • Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula, and run it for 15 to 30 seconds. Hot tap water can pick up more lead from older plumbing than cold water.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

Local News

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012


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DeKalb Board of Education Chairman Eugene Walker stands with wife Patricia, left, and granddaughter Candice Kelly, right. Walker was elected to replace Tom Bowen, who decided not to run again, as board chairman on Jan. 9. Photo provided

DeKalb school board elects seasoned educator as new board chair
by Daniel Beauregard New DeKalb County School Board Chairman Dr. Eugene Walker said he has very high expectations for what the board and school system can accomplish in the next year. Walker, who has served on the board for four years, is the first board chairman elected in three years. He replaced Tom Bowen, who decided not to run again and was elected vice-chairman. “I believe education is one of the most important things a community can try to provide for its citizens and I wanted to try to contribute to that,” Walker said about joining the board in 2008. Walker had retired from his position on the State Board of Pardons and Paroles several years earlier but he said his strong belief in public education and the state of education in DeKalb made him run for school board. “I think we need to have people on the board representing the best interests of the community,” Walker said. Although it was Walker’s first time being elected to the DeKalb County School Board, he was no stranger to public education and working with children. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Clark College in Atlanta, a master’s degree in history from Atlanta University and a doctoral degree in history from Duke University, Walker taught at Drake High School in his native Thomaston, Ga. “I taught history, social studies and coached football and basketball,” Walker said. In 1969 Walker also taught at Clark College where he served as professor of history and assistant football and basketball coach. Walker has been a resident of DeKalb County since 1969, and after his time at Clark College, he was vice president of personnel and community relations at DeKalb College, followed by a stint as executive vice president at DeKalb Technical Institute. Walker said his primary goal now is to enhance the education of every student in the school system, and said he thinks the recent hiring of Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson was a great start. “She’s touching all of the bases in the school system and seeing firsthand by talking to all of the personnel. She’s also put some presentations together and done a lot of work in her first several months,” he said. The DeKalb County School Board has been in the spotlight several times in the past year, most notably for leaks that allegedly caused one finalist for superintendent to withdraw. However, Walker said the board works well together. “I truly believe that we have an excellent board and some outstanding people who exhibit independent thought, but once we arrive at a consensus we move along. It doesn’t mean that we all agree but we don’t become disagreeable,” he said. Walker said he is optimistic about the year ahead. He said with the current personnel audit slated to be completed in mid-January, board members and central office staff will have a clear set of expectations. Based on the findings of the audit, Atkinson plans to develop a new organization chart for all school system personnel. Walker said this will designate a clear role for both the board and superintendent’s office. “I’m optimistic and I’ve got very high expectations,” Walker said. “Our job is to work and improve academic achievement and come up with any policies or resources to help improve the education of each child in DeKalb County, and we’ll do that.”

Decatur school tries new take on parent/teacher conference
by Daniel Beauregard One Decatur school is implementing a pilot program to build student confidence by letting them become head of the class for a while. Oakhurst Elementary is an expeditionary learning school that integrates multiple subject areas to allow students to investigate a particular topic in-depth to help students see the connection in what they are learning and comprehend broad themes. Oakhurst Principal Mary Mack said students took another step forward on Jan. 17, when they presented to their parents in the school’s first student-led conferences. “It is a way for the students to own their learning,” Mack said. Instructional Coach Marcia Fowler said the conferences are part of City Schools of Decatur’s strategic plan and Oakhurst is the first to implement them. “It promotes student accountability and responsibility for learning; it’s one of the research-based ways to promote student achievement,” Fowler said. Each student at Oakhurst, which is a K-3 school, selected work throughout the year to create a portfolio with the help of their teachers. The work each student selected demonstrated a learning process they went through over a period of time. The students then presented these portfolios to their parents during the conference. Fowler said each student prepared for their conference by practicing scripts and skills such as eye contact, clear articulation of ideas and presenting evidence to support statements. “We want to get feedback from the parents because their view on this whole process is very important. We also want to go back and get some feedback from our
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

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School Continued From Page 16A
teachers,” Fowler said. Mack said last year Oakhurst sent a team of teachers, including Fowler, to a seminar in Kansas City, Mo., where a similar pilot program was being implemented. She said most schools using the program have at least two student-led conferences a year. “Hopefully some of the other schools will say, ‘OK, Oakhurst has tried this and now we’re ready to take on this new initiative also.’ Since it’s included in the strategic plan it’s probably going to be something that will be required of each school within the next five years,” Mack said. Before the school decides whether to have another conference in the spring, Fowler said it first needed to review all the feedback collected from parents and teachers. “There are some teachers who are already willing to automatically say they want to do it again in the springtime but because it’s a pilot we want to make sure that it’s something done seamlessly and not too stressful for students or teachers,” Fowler said. After the conference, parents were asked to give their child feedback. Mack said another important part of the process was giving each student a chance to give their feedback. Both Mack and Fowler said the conferences wouldn’t impact student grades, they were just a way to build confidence and student achievement. She also said the school would still have the same number of parent/teacher conferences each year. “Just like educators have to stop and reflect and think about the things that they did right and they’re proud of, we’re trying to get kids into that too…if you can get kids to that point at five or six, just imagine what will happen as they continue to grow in life,” Mack said.

DeKalb Schools hosts Annual School Choice Expo
The DeKalb County School System is hosting the fifth annual School Choice Expo Jan. 21, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Parents will have the opportunity to browse displays of DeKalb’s School Choice programs and speak with county teachers and administrators. The event will take place at The Mall at Stonecrest, at 2929 Turner Hill Road in Lithonia. attended the rally, according to a release from GCSA, Those interested in attending can register their group or school at Bus routes will also be affected and parents can check CSD’s bus updates blog at www. for information about buses running late.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School to hold open house
The Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School (IHM) will be holding an open house Jan. 22, 3 - 5 p.m. The school, located at 2855 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta, invites all prospective K-8 students and their parents to attend a special presentation at 3:15 p.m. that will provide an overview of IHM from both the administrative and student perspective. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet teachers and administrators and tour the campus.

DeKalb schools named Title I Distinguished Schools
The DeKalb County School System announced Jan. 12 that 25 DeKalb County schools have been named Title I Distinguished Schools by the Georgia Department of Education. Title I Distinguished Schools that have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for three consecutive years are awarded a certificate, while those who have made AYP eight or more years receive a monetary award paid by federal funds. Certificates were awarded to the following schools: Allgood Elementary School Avondale Elementary School Brockett Elementary School Browns Mill Elementary School Canby Lane Elementary School Clifton Elementary School DeKalb Early College Academy DeKalb PATH Academy Charter School Dresden Elementary School Hambrick Elementary School Henderson Mill Elementary School Huntley Hills Elementary School Marbut Elementary School Montclair Elementary School Pine Ridge Elementary School Rock Chapel Elementary School Shadow Rock Elementary School Snapfinger Elementary School The Champion Middle Theme School The following schools received monetary awards: Hightower Elementary School: $21,624 Oakcliff Elementary School: $18,020 Kelley Lake Elementary School: $18,020 Bob Mathis Elementary School: $14,416 DeKalb Elementary School Arts: $1,530 Robert Shaw Theme School: $1,530

Local students recognized in peace essay contest
Five students from local high schools were honored as the winners of the Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace Essay Contest at a ceremony in Atlanta on Jan. 8. The contest winners read their essays and were presented with their prizes by U.S. Rep. John Lewis. The winners included: First prize – Stephen Woolfitt, Chamblee Charter High School; Second prize – Bertha Nigibira, Global Village School, Decatur; Third prize – Kennedy Saulsberry, Chamblee Charter; Honorable mention – Peter Mei, Chamblee Charter; Rita Sui Par, Global Village. The five students’ essays were chosen from 83 entries from four metro Atlanta schools. The winners received cash awards ranging from $500 to $50.

Cross Keys hosting open house
Cross Keys High School will be hosting an open house Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The high school is located at 1626 North Druid Hills Road and the event will feature refreshments and presentations showcasing its career tech programs. For more information please contact the school at (678) 874-6102.

Construction affects schools’ arrival, dismissal times
There will be construction on a stormwater sewer on South McDonough Street through Feb. 6. A portion of the street will be closed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. City Schools of Decatur officials said the closure is expected to impact the arrival and dismissal of College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center, Winnona Park Elementary and Renfroe Middle School. Officials said to allow at least 15 extra minutes in the morning when dropping off children and even more time if he or she attends College Heights ECLC.

Rally for charter schools to be held on steps of Capitol
The Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) will be hosting a rally for charter schools on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol, Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. in Atlanta. Last year more than 1,000 parents, students, teachers and supporters of school choice options

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012


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Business concept combines passion for history with principles of leadership
by John Hewitt Decatur-based entrepreneur Matt Spaulding is combining two of his passions into a creative approach for business development. Spaulding, president of Spaulding Communications, a strategic communications consulting firm in Decatur, is also a regional representative for Battlefield Leadership. Battlefield Leadership is a consulting and training company based in Hilton Head, S.C., that specializes in leadership training based on some of America’s most famous battles and military leaders. Spaulding said the company’s concept is very much a “niche.” “The concept of Battlefield Leadership that the two co-founders, Rich Thomas and Col. Cole Kingseed (Army ret.), developed was just so intriguing to me. I come from a family that has a long line of American history. So I’ve always been fascinated with American military history. When I learned what Cole and Rich were doing and the connection to business and leadership, I knew I had to get involved in some way.” A typical Battlefield Leadership program involves participants traveling to the actual battle site and being briefed on the significance of the specific battle being studied. Participants are provided with reading materials during the orientation period that are to be read and studied prior to going onto the battle site. Spaulding helps promote the customized leadership programs that are held onsite at such locations as Gettysburg, Pa.; Cowpens S.C.; Shiloh, Tenn.; and Chickamauga, Ga. After assessing the specific leadership needs of an organization, Spaulding and his Movement. In addition to leadership training programs, Spaulding is developing a locally based leisure program that would concentrate on Sherman’s march to the sea with emphasis on the Battle of Atlanta and the impact and battle locations within DeKalb County and the greater metro area. The proposed program will be a historically based leisure tour package with stops in Decatur, Atlanta and Stone Mountain. Spaulding has suggested a two- to three-day all-inclusive approach that would include an overnight stay in a local historic bed and breakfast for the first night. On the second day, guests would travel on a luxury motor coach to Macon where they would tour sites of historic interest and overnight at the 1842 Inn, on the third day participants would continue to Savannah where the tour would complete. Leisure packages would emphasize historical information and facts but not be concentrate on leadership principles. Spaulding said historically based programs are “a great way to see how history and the people who made history can be used to teach lessons that are applicable to business.” He explained further, “While we live in a time that is almost completely foreign to what America was like in the 1860s during the Civil War for example, people of that era faced grave issues and challenges too. If you stop to study those issues and challenges and understand how the leaders of that time dealt with those things, we can find potential solutions for the issues and challenges we face today. History is a great teacher; we just have to be willing to participate in learning about our history.”

Battlefield Leadership associate Matt Spaulding at DeKalb History Center. Photo by John Hewittt

associates develop a program and training agenda designed to illustrate how military battle principles can be applied in a practical approach to address corporate leadership needs. “One of the great things about Battlefield Leadership is its focus on the experience. Standing on the very ground which men fought and died over is beyond compelling and so highly

memorable. You cannot be at one of our programs and not feel a sense of great reverence for what our fellow Americans went through during these battles... The experience and expertise Battlefield Leadership brings are so much more powerful than sitting in a conference room watching a Power Point presentation about leadership.” An Avondale Estates

resident and self-confessed history buff, Spaulding is researching along with Battlefield Leadership to develop a locally based leadership development program on civil rights struggles and principles that would include a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Stone Mountain and other locations that were significant in the Civil Rights

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County
Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012


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Ads Due By Friday - Noon
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, January 20, 2012

Around deKAlb
Chinese New Year festival in Chamblee
The Atlanta Chinatown mall in Chamblee will host a Chinese New Year celebration Jan. 21-22 to celebrate the year of the dragon. The event will take place in the Chinese Cultural Center located behind the mall at 5383C New Peachtree Road, N.E., Chamblee. For mor information, call (678)-516-6048 or e-mail for more information.

Book launch party to be at library
The Decatur Library on Wednesday, Jan. 25, is hosting the launch party for Atlanta author Joshilyn Jackson’s new novel A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. The library will have first editions ready for signing at this reception in her honor. The new novel, which New York Times bestselling author Sara Gruen calls “giddy and enthralling and a little bit dangerous,” is already getting rave notices, according to the library. It’s a story told in the voices of three women in one family—a grandmother, mother and young daughter. “Their lives will grip you as they struggle with hardships and face crises born of a devastating secret,” the announcement from the library states. Jackson’s other novels include Gods in Alabama; Between, Georgia; Backseat Saints and The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.; the event begins at 7:15 p.m. Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 3703070.

Annual DSO children’s concert set
The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra’s annual children’s concert, “Around the World in 60 Minutes,” is set for Sunday, Jan. 22, at Georgia Perimeter College’s Clarkston campus. The event begins at 3 p.m. Variety and musical acts will join the DSO in a portrayal of music from around the world. General admission tickets are $5. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dekalbsymphony. com and general admission tickets may be picked up at the gymnasium box office one hour before the concert begins. The campus is at 555 North Indian Creek Drive in Clarkston. Call (678) 891-3565.

youth soccer may also to do at the Forest Fleming Arena through Feb. 29, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Atlanta Spurs Football Club is a youth soccer club and will offer three levels of youth soccer for boys and girls ages 4 to 12: Recreation (under 6 to under 12), Academy (under 9 to under 12) and Select (under 13 to under 19). The registration fee is $100 for the season. Each participant must register prior to Feb. 29. The registration fee must be paid to the Atlanta Spurs FC on the first day of practice. Practices start March 1 and games begin on March 10. The season ends on May 12. Practices and games will take place at Honeysuckle Park.


Library to screen Enchanted April
Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library is showing the 1992 movie Enchanted April, starring Miranda Richardson and Joan Plowright, on Jan. 20 as part of its Friday Movies series. The series offers a mix of new releases and old favorites. When available, movies are presented with closed captioning to assist the hearing impaired. The movie starts at 1:30 p.m. and runs 93 minutes; it is rated PG. Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library is located at 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 679-4404.

Social media helps residents connect with police
The Clarkston Police Department has introduced Interactive Defense, a social media format that allows residents and officers to communicate more effectively. Residents can sign up for home watches while they are on vacation, view a list of wanted and missing people, receive e-mails directly from officers about suspicious activities and crimes, and send and receive e-mails from other residents in the city. Residents can choose to receive e-mail and text message alerts on information released by the police department. To register or log on, go to

Rotary Club helps area non-profits
The Rotary Club of Stone Mountain recently made two donations to area non-profit organizations. Friends of Disabled Adults and Children received $8,000 that facilitated a network upgrade and Side By Side Brain Injury Clubhouse received $1,000 to support general operation of the facility. Both agencies are based in Stone Mountain. Side By Side helps people living with the lifelong effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). FODAC provides home medical equipment and supplies, such as hospital beds and wheelchairs, at little or no cost to the recipients. “A major part of our mission statement is supporting our local community,” stated Al Lipphardt, president of Stone Mountain Rotary. “While our club contributes to global initiatives, such as the eradication of polio, the majority of our efforts are focused in our local community, to help those in need.”

Registration open for youth baseball and soccer
The City of Doraville Recreation Department is now registering for youth baseball leagues for boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 14. Practices will take place at Honeysuckle Park in Doraville. Games will take place at Honeysuckle Park and the Newtown Recreation complex in Johns Creek, 10.2 miles from Honeysuckle Park. Registration is located at Forest Fleming Arena at 3037 Pleasant Valley Drive and will take place from Jan. 6 to Feb. 10, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The registration fee for T-Ball is $75. The fee for all other age groups is $110 for the first child, $100 for the second child and $90 for the third child in each family. Checks must be made out to the City of Doraville Recreation Department. Evaluations are scheduled for March 10 and practices begin March 13. For more information about registration call the Doraville Recreation Department at (770) 936-3850. Those interested in registering children for


Handwriting Day event set


Monday, Jan. 23, is National Handwriting Day. It was founded by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of John Hancock, the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence. The public is invited to celebrate National Handwriting Day with the Atlanta Friends of the Alphabet Calligraphy Guild and receive bookmarks with their names written in calligraphy. The event is 4 - 6 p.m. The Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012


Page 21A

Senior Tyauna Ellison (32), along with sophomores Destini McClary (10), Jada Byrd (12) and Brea Elmore (5) make up the nucleus of a Redan team that has only one senior and one junior on the roster. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Redan girls’ growing up quickly with underclassmen
by Robert Naddra he last six players on Redan’s 2009 girls’ Class AAAAA state basketball championship team graduated in May. That group of state champions included eight players who signed college basketball scholarships. It also was responsible for a 58-game winning streak that ended with a loss in the 2010 Class AAAA state championship game. This year coach Jerry Jackson is working with a roster that features five freshmen, five sophomores, one junior and one senior. Only one player, senior Tyauna Ellison, was even in high school when the Lady Raiders won the state championship. But the team hasn’t been deterred

Fresh start
by its youthfulness. Redan is 11-4 with a 5-3 record in Region 6-AAAA, its crowning achievement so far a 56-51 upset of No. 1 Chamblee on Jan. 10. “They understand now but earlier they didn’t understand about the pride and tradition that goes along with the program,” Jackson said. “They know they have a high standard to uphold.” Redan is 27-17 in state tournament games, third in the county behind Southwest DeKalb and Stephenson. The Raiders have qualified for the state tournament 12 seasons in a row and have lost in the first round only twice during that stretch—in 2000 and last season. Jackson noticed a collective commitment in the summer and again over the holiday break to put the necessary work in to be competitive in a region that features the state’s top-ranked team (Cham


See Redan on Page 23

Redan coach Jerry Jackson has endured an unpredictable season that has included a win over No. 1 Chamblee followed by a loss Jan. 13 to Tucker. Photo by Travis Hudgons

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012


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DeKalb High School Sports Highlights
Miller Grove: After snapping a fivegame losing streak with a 75-33 win over Lakeside on Jan. 10, the Wolverines played in the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield Mo., beginning Jan. 12. The Wolverines beat St. Rita (Ill.) 73-47 in the opening round of the tournament. Brandon Morris had 17 points and six rebounds, Kyre Hamer came off the bench to score 16 points and Tony Evans had 10. Miller Grove lost to San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln 6461 in the second round. Tony Parker had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Christian Houston had 14 points and six assists. The Wolverines made only 9 of 20 free throw attempts. In the win over Lakeside, Parker had 22 points, Justin Colvin added 15, Morris had 12 and Evans 10. Columbia: The Eagles beat McNair 84-24 and Stone Mountain 57-39. Tahj Shamsid-Deen had 19 points and 10 assists, and Jhaustin Thomas had 12 points and 10 rebounds against McNair. In the win over the Pirates, Thomas had 12 points and 12 rebounds, ShamsidDeen had 18 points and 10 assists, and Nate Mason scored 15 points. Southwest DeKalb: William Goodwin had 39 points and 28 rebounds as the Panthers defeated Tucker 68-63 and Dunwoody 8054. Goodwin had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Jordan Price had 18 points and Kaderius Turner had 10 against Tucker. Against Dunwoody, Price had 21 points, Goodwin had 20 points and 18 rebounds, Emmanuel Walker added 12 points and Justin Hollimon had 10.

earned his 300th career win in the Jaguars’ 53-24 win over Langston Hughes on Jan. 10. The Jaguars also beat Westlake 59-42 on Jan. 13. Watkins is 301-92 in his 14th season at the school. He has led the Jaguars to at least 21 wins in 10 straight seasons. He also led the Jaguars to the Class AAAAA state championship in 2008 and the Jaguars are 28-9 in state tournament games, second only to Southwest DeKalb among girls’ programs in the county. Southwest DeKalb: Nicole Martin had 11 points and 16 rebounds in a 58-43 win over Tucker on Jan. 10. Martin scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Nicole Razor added 11 points, as the Panthers defeated Dunwoody 72-7 on Jan. 13. Decatur: Queen Alford scored 25 points and Jordan Dillard added 14 in an 82-16 win over W.D. Mohammed on Jan. 14. Redan: The Raiders made only 15 of 50 field goal attempts in a 51-38 loss to Tucker. Brea Elmore had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Jada Byrd had 13 rebounds and Tyuana Ellison had 10 rebounds. Tucker: Erykah Davenport had 21 points and 11 rebounds in a 51-38 win over Redan on Feb. 13. Kristen Kennebrew added 15 points and Quiana Tucker grabbed 10 rebounds for the Tigers (10-5, 4-3 in Region 6-AAAA). Davenport also scored 24 points in a 58-43 loss to Southwest DeKalb on Jan. 10. St. Pius: The Golden Lions (13-3, 5-0) defeated North Atlanta 37-34 on Jan. 10 as Anna O’Donnell scored eight points to lead the way. Asia Durr scored 19 points and Sydni Payne added 13 in a 61-26 win over Grady on Jan. 13. On Jan. 14, Greater Atlanta Christian defeated the Golden Lions 45-30. Dylan Krause led all scorers with nine points.

Tucker senior Joseph Ledbetter (21) blocks a shot against Redan in a win on Jan. 13. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Dunwoody: The Wildcats went 1-2 in games Jan. 10-16. Richard Carrington scored 16 points in an 80-54 loss to Southwest DeKalb and 22 in a 73-54 loss to Wesleyan. The Wildcats beat Mount Pisgah with GIRLS BASKETBALL DeChard Hamilton scoring 24 Towers: Brett Oakman scored 18 points to lead the Titans past Arabia points, Ryan Elmore 15 and Bradley Mountain on Jan. 13. The Titans also Stephenson: Coach Dennis Watkins McKnight 13.

Arabia Mountain: Bakari Copeland scored 27 points in two games as the Rams beat Cedar Grove 50-37 and lost to Towers 69-57. Copeland scored 14 points against Cedar Grove, while Curtis Wilson added 11 and Phillip Reeves had 12 rebounds. Austin Henderson scored 18 in the loss to Towers, Copeland added 13 and Reeves had 10 rebounds and five blocks.

defeated Woodward Academy 42-39 in overtime on Jan. 10. Tucker: The Tigers lost to Southwest DeKalb 68-63 on Jan. 10 and defeated Redan on Jan. 13. In the loss to Southwest, Daniel Woodard scored 18 points and Joseph Ledbetter had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Tigers had won four of their previous five games before the loss.

Wrestling: Marist wins two matches in state duals tournament
by Robert Naddra arist was the only team in DeKalb County to win more than one match at the Georgia High School Association state wrestling duals tournament in Macon. The War Eagles went 2-2 in Class AAAA. After losing to Cass in the first round of the double elimination tournament, Marist defeated Northside Warner Robins 49-25 and Forest Park 54-21 before being eliminated by Clarke Central.


Marist freshman Kenneth Brinson (195 pounds) went undefeated in the tournament and raised his record to 39-0 this season. Stephenson, the Area 2-AAAAA champion, was the only county team to win its first match. The Jaguars defeated Benedictine 52-24 in the first round, then lost to North Forsyth and Tift County in the elimination bracket. The Jaguars forfeited two weight classes against North Forsyth, coach Phillip Noble said. “We’re a very young team,” Noble said. “We’re only losing three seniors

from this team and everyone else will be back. We felt like we had a pretty good tournament. We only lost to North Forsyth by one match.” The Jaguars had three wrestlers who went undefeated in three matches at the state tournament—Darrion Perry (160 pounds), Steven Wiley (152) and Brandon Addison (285). Perry, a sophomore, is 28-0 this season and is considered one of the top wrestlers in the state in his weight class. Wiley, also, a sophomore, is 27-0. McNair, the runner-up to Woodward Academy in the Area 5-AAA

tournament a week ago, went 1-2 in the Class AAA state meet. After a loss to Glenn Hills in the first round, the Mustangs defeated Crisp County 56-12 and were eliminated in a 40-33 loss to Columbus. Four Mustangs’ wrestlers went undefeated in the tournament—Khalil Williams (120 pounds), Darius Harris (106), Fred Armstrong (160) and Dontavious Smith (182). Williams is undefeated at 31-0 and Smith is at 24-2. Southwest DeKalb went 0-2 in the AAAA tournament, losing to Forest Park 43-33 and to Alexander 46-30.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012


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Playing together as a team, according to coach Jerry Jackson, has helped Redan compile an 11-4 record. Photos by Travis Hudgons


Continued From Page 21A

blee), a former state champion (Southwest DeKalb) and two other teams (Miller Grove and Marist) that will be fighting for a spot in the state playoffs. “You’ve got to be prepared to play in this region,” Jackson said. “This was the most effective Christmas break we’ve had. Plus, their attitude, hard work and dedication showed in the off season.” Jackson has seen his team grow up quickly this season. Redan had a four-game winning streak snapped Jan. 13 in a loss to Tucker. The

Raiders’ only other losses have come by five points to Miller Grove, three points to Southwest DeKalb and by 10 against Douglas County. “Our strength has really been our togetherness and willingness to accept each other and play together as a team,” Jackson said. “They all do a great job of supporting each other and picking each other up. They don’t care who’s going to score 20, they just want to win.” Despite the lack of upperclassmen, Jackson knew experience would not be an issue as many of

his players are on AAU teams, and most have played in recreation leagues for years. Ellison, an undersized post player, personifies the team’s work ethic. She is the team’s leading rebounder, averages double figures in scoring and is a defensive catalyst. Sophomores Destiny McClary and Brea Elmore are the team’s top two scorers. Sophomore Jada Byrd and freshmen Kiante Jones and Jaylen Black also have made an impact, Jackson said. “We’re young and we’re learn-

ing from experience,” Jackson said. “That’s what is keeping us together. If things don’t go the way we want, we come back and work on it. We don’t get down.” Jackson knows that with youth also comes unpredictability, which is something he has prepared for this season. “We never know which team we’re going to get each game,” Jackson said. “We got a good one on the court the other night [against Chamblee]. The last few games they’ve played well together.”

Decatur kicker named football all-American
Harrison Butker of Decatur, a junior at Westminster School in Atlanta, has been named a high school football all-American by Butker was named to the first team as a kicker and third team as a punter. The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder made 16 of 17 field goal attempts last season, including a 51-yarder. Butker’s only miss was a 59-yard attempt. He also had touchbacks on 47 of 59 kickoffs (80 percent) and punted for a 39.5 average on 33 punts. Four of the punts were more than 50 yards with six downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. “It was an incredible season,” Butker said. “A lot of credit goes to the (long) snappers and holders. I was lucky to have a kicking coach (Joe Sturniolo) and a head coach (Gerry Romberg) who liked to kick.” Butker helped the Wildcats earn a state playoff berth in 2011 for the fifth straight season. Westminster finished 7-5 last year, losing to Dublin in the second round of the Class AA state playoffs. Guy, a Georgia native and former All-Pro punter for the Oakland Raiders, is generally considered the greatest punter in NFL history.

Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Frank Adams, Young Harris (basketball): The sophomore from Stephenson had his third double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds in a 91-78 win over North Greenville. He also had 18 points and nine rebounds in an 87-85 win over North Georgia on Jan. 14. Michelle Ivey, Air Force Academy (basketball): The sophomore from Stone Mountain (Pace Academy) scored a season-high 18 points in her second start of the season in an 81-75 loss to Boise State on Jan. 14. She made 7 of 9 field goal attempts and had seven rebounds. Donte Williams, Georgia (basketball): The sophomore from Miller Grove scored 18 points and had two blocked shots in a 77-66 loss to Vanderbilt on Jan. 14. Williams, who has started all 17 games for the Bulldogs this season, leads the team with 24 blocks and is second in rebounding.

Oglethorpe AD named conference commissioner
The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) recently named current Oglethorpe University athletics director Jay Gardiner as conference commissioner. Gardiner has been working as the interim SAA commissioner since the league’s inception in June 2011. He will finish the current academic year at Oglethorpe before assuming the SAA commissioner’s appointment this spring. Since his appointment as Oglethorpe’s athletic director in 2004, Gardiner has overseen facilities upgrades and funding improvements for all 16 Division III varsity sports. Prior to Oglethorpe, Gardiner spent nine years in Division I as associate athletic director for Tulane University and Miami University (Ohio).

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, January 20, 2012

10-year-old accident victim honored in Fun Run/Walk at Stone Mountain Park
Olivia Hayes, 10, was on her way to school on a rainy day in August 2008, when an armored truck struck the school bus she was riding on. Days later, Olivia died. To cope with their loss, Olivia’s parents, Norman and Nikki Hayes founded a non-profit organization to honor their daughter’s compassionate spirit. Livvy’s Love Inc. supports youth in education, community service and extra-curricular activities. “Olivia had aspirations to become a lawyer, teacher and a preacher,” said Norman Hayes. “Though my little angel has gone too soon, she is able to fulfill these dreams through this organization by giving deserving children access to fair opportunities in educational enrichment and inspiring the spirit of compassion in others.” “Olivia was the nurturer in our family,” added Nikki Hayes. “Though the loss of her has been an indescribable hurt, we celebrate the gift of her life.... This is an excellent way to give back in the new year and for MLK weekend. There are so many children in need of assistance. Olivia would be so proud.” On Jan. 14, Livvy’s Love Inc. held its first Livvy’s Love Fun Run/Walk at Stone Mountain Park. Funds raised from the event will benefit youth development grants and scholarships. The event was sponsored in part by the Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation, Universal Fitness Solutions, a national bicycle retailer, Rock Hard Fitness, Hudgons Photography, The Copy Shoppe, Sun Digitizing, Creative Tent Events, Roly Poly Sandwiches and Dick Famous. There were approximately 500 participants and nearly $10,000 was raised for Livvy’s Love,Inc. For more information about the organization, please visit

Photos by Travis Hudgons

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