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WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2012 • VOL. 14, NO. 45 • FREE

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Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl
Annual reading event brings thousands to Miller Grove High

by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com

T

HYIS SHE HAPPY ?

ews updates online from the The Champion.

he stands in the Miller Grove High School gymnasium were packed with cheering fans on Jan. 28, but it wasn’t a basketball game that drew the large crowd. Students, teachers and parents had gathered in the gym to recognize the winners of the 13th annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. Gwen Green, a media specialist at Stephenson Middle School, has been volunteering for the reading bowl every year The 13th Annual DeKalb Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl was held at Miller Grove High School on Jan. 28. The students participating in the competition were tested on their knowledge of 20 books, which they were supposed to have read throughout the year. Photos by Daniel Beauregard since it began. “The teams are split up like a basketball team; there are five starters, five alternates,” Green said. This year 84 DeKalb County schools participated in the reading bowl: 52 elementary, 18 middle and 14 high schools. Green said the students are given a list of 20 books to read over the summer and throughout the year, which they are tested on in different rounds during the bowl. “There are only 10 questions in a round and they don’t know which ones they’re going to be asked about. Either you know it or you don’t,” Green said. Green said the bowl, begun by Helen Ruffin, started out small—at first there were only one or two schools participating. Ruffin, a retired media The results of the 13th annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl: specialist from Sky Haven Elementary School, soon caught Elementary School: Middle School: High School: the interest of many of her colleagues and the reading bowl First place: First place: First place: spread county-wide. Now, Montgomery Henderson Chamblee Charter similar events take place across the state. Second place: Second place: Second place: “The winners of this comAshford Park Champion Theme Arabia Mountain petition go on to compete down in Clayton [County] for the reThird place: Third place: Because she gets her news updates online from theThirdChampion. Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. The place: gionals. Then, after that, there’s Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. Avondale Tucker Tucker the division and state competiAnd you can too! Follow us. Shadowrock tions,” Green said. www.facebook.com/championnewspaper

WHYIS SHE WHYIS SHE SO SO HAPPY ? HAPPY ?

WHYIS SHE SO HAPPY ?

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3,

School board appeals in hope to avoid another lengthy lawsuit
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com The DeKalb County Board of Education is trying to dismiss a lawsuit that, if it goes to trial, could cost the DeKalb County School System millions of dollars. In 2011, two DeKalb County teachers filed a lawsuit against the board alleging it owes them, and thousands of other teachers, money that has been withheld from a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) fund since 2009. Plaintiffs Elaine Gold and Amy Shaye, both teachers in the DeKalb County School System, filed the complaint on March 16, 2011. “When they made this decision they were trying to plug a hole in the budget and their estimation for this line item was $26 million for the 2009-10 school year,” attorney John Salter said of the board’s decision to stop contributing to the fund. “It’s our belief that the termination and suspension is invalid and they should catch up and continue to pay. Now we’re getting into the second and third year of those benefits not being paid.” In 1979, the DeKalb County School Board began seeking alternatives to Social Security and according to the lawsuit, passed a resolution authorizing an alternative plan and also requiring, “the board of education shall give a two-year notice to employees before reducing the funding provisions of the alternative plan to Social Security.” However, in 2009 the school board, facing budget cuts and financial strain, voted to freeze contributions to the TSA plan. “The view of the board is that they acted appropriately given the economic conditions of the time,” schools spokesman Walter Woods said. Late in 2011, DeKalb County Judge Clarence Seeliger rejected a motion made by school board lawyers to have the case dismissed. The school system appealed that decision and oral arguments are scheduled to begin in April. The plaintiffs filed the suit on behalf of “themselves and all others similarly situated.” They are seeking to have the suit elevated to a class-action suit but before a judge can make that decision the case must first make its way out of the appellate court. “This motion and this appeal need to be resolved before we can turn it into a class-action suit,” Salter said. The lawsuit also alleges the board realized the mistake and tried to “paper over” it by waiving the policy that required two-year notification. This suit comes on the heels of another lengthy lawsuit the board is involved in against construction firm Heery/Mitchell, which has already cost it more than $15 million in legal fees.

A hand like this.

It took a skillful hand like this to draft the plans of our nation’s capital city. It was a visionary hand like this which pointed out the moral superiority of a way based on character and not color. It was a thorough, good hand like this that championed our rights before the U.S. Supreme Court. It took millions of laboring hands like this to build the wealth and infrastructure of this mighty country. And it was a raised hand like this that was sworn in and gave kids of all complexions and cultures the legitimacy to believe they can achieve anything. During Black History Month, Georgia Power takes pride in celebrating the countless hands like this which have worked to uplift us all. We’ve got to hand it to you.
GEORGIAPOWER.COM

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3,

Youth summit to be held at Sanford Center
The 100 Black Men of DeKalb County in collaboration with seminar promotions and professional speaking company CS Inspires Inc. will host the Seventh Annual Youth Summit on Saturday, Feb. 18, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Under the theme So You Want to be Rich, this year’s event will be at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Decatur. It will be hosted by WSB-TV 2 anchor Monica Pearson and will include a theatrical production Faces of American Justice, featuring youth dancers from Berean Christian Church. Invitations have been extended to Burrell Ellis, CEO of DeKalb County, and Cheryl Atkinson, superintendent of DeKalb County Schools. The keynote speaker will be John Hope Bryant, founder/CEO of Operation Hope. “The goal of this year’s summit is to inspire and empower the 500 students expected to attend by talking honestly and candidly about becoming rich, including dispelling many of the common myths. The focus will be on improving financial literacy within the minority community. While many of today’s youth aspire to wealth, most lack positive role models and a sound plan for achieving their goals. The objective of the summit will be to arm students with practical insights and proven strategies that will empower them to make better financial decisions,” states an announcement from the sponsoring organizations. “This year we want to use the summit to give special recognition to young leaders. Especially, those who have exhibited academic excellence, community service and the spirit of entrepreneurship,” said Cornelius Stafford, chairman of the Youth Summit. In addition, he said, it will also recognize an adult leader/ organization that has contributed significantly to youth causes and programs. The honorees, who will receive a William C. Brown Award in honor of the founding chapter president, will include 13-year-old Stephen Stafford, who will be recognized for his academic achievements. He is a junior at Morehouse College pursuing a double major in math and science. The second honoree, 14-year-old Marypat Hector, will be recognized for community service. She organized a support team that aided the tornado victims in Alabama and recently launched the ShakeOff the Violence town hall meetings in Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb counties. The third youth honoree is Tony Betton (aka T-REP) 15-yearold entrepreneur who is an actor, model, host, speaker, columnist and 2012 Stellar Award nominee. E. Lamont Houston, president of the 100 Black Men of DeKalb County, said, “We are very proud of all of the recipients of the William C. Brown Awards.” He added that the organization is especially proud of an award to Porter Sanford III, which will be awarded posthumously to his widow Bobbie Sanford for the many things he did to advance the causes for youth. The 100 Black Men of DeKalb provides an after-school leadership and developmental program called The Leadership Academy for students enrolled in the sixth through 12th grades of the DeKalb County Schools.

Commissioners want control of county’s auditors
CEO Burrell Ellis’ proposed 2012 budget of $547.3 million. Commissioner Lee May The proposal, which is is recommending that the 1.2 percent higher than the five auditors in the county’s 2011 budget and contains no finance department be put tax increase and no county under the employee direction furlough of the days, also Board of includes Commisfunding for sioners. all county “It’s holidays, a within our lower-cost duties and healthcare responoption for sibilities county May Ellis within employDeKalb County’s organizaees and implementation of a tional act for the Board of recently announced homeCommissioners to provide buying initiative and jobs the auditing function,” May stimulus program tied to a said. “Historically, it’s been billion-dollar water-sewer done under the administraimprovement plan. tion.” The Board of CommisCurrently, all external and sioners is set to adopt a budinternal audits are performed get in its Feb. 28 meeting. or overseen by the adminisMay said he made the tration. proposal during the budget “That’s asking the adprocess “so that we can be ministration to handle the responsible for the auditing day-to-day operations of the function.” county, to also audit its own “When you deal with auoperations, to disclose the diting it needs to be as open findings of those audits and and free and unfettered as then implement the changes possible,” May said. “Since that need to occur,” May said. we don’t handle the day-to“That’s a lot to ask of any day operations of this govorganization and there are no ernment, we should be underchecks and balances.” taking those functions.” May’s proposal was made County Finance Director during a Jan. 26 meeting of Joel Gottlieb said moving the Board of Commissionthe auditors would eliminate ers’ finance, audit and budget his entire audit staff, “but it committee, which is meeting does not eliminate the funcweekly to review DeKalb tions that [they] have to perby Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com form.” The auditors “do various financial audits and some operational audits that are required by our annual audit,” Gottlieb said. The county should be augmenting the staff, not reducing it, Gottlieb said. Gottlieb said that about 25 percent of the auditors’ time Stogner is spent on the county’s annual audit. During the meeting, the commissioners and the representatives from the administration agreed to come up with a feasible plan for putting auditors under the Board of Commissioners. “We’ll work it out,” said Richard Stogner, the county’s chief operating officer. The commissioners’ finance committee will be meeting with county department heads during two allday sessions on Feb. 2 and Feb. 9. Department heads are being asked to present alternatives to their proposed budgets, which have cuts of five and 10 percent. Stogner said commissioners should expect the county’s constitutional officers to ask for additional funds in the 2012 budget.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

DeKalb Black history
Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history. The contributions of African Americans here in the United States run the gamut from jazz music to traffic signals, shoe soles and the first open heart surgery. They are simply too numerous to mention in this space. But there are many African American history makers right here in DeKalb Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans started County. Here are a few of them: First Black state senator from Negro History Week in 1926 to recDeKalb, Dr. Eugene Walker, now ognize the key role African AmeriChairman of the DeKalb County cans played in shaping this great School Board; youngest and first nation of ours. Fifty years later in Black fire chief and public safety 1976, Republican President Gerald director, Tom Brown, now DeKalb Ford designated the month of FebCounty sheriff; first Black Superior ruary as Black History Month and Court and Recorder’s Court judge, every United States president since Michael Hancock; first Black has followed suit. Superior Court clerk, Jeanette Little known is the fact that Rozier; first Black mayor of the other countries around the world, city of Decatur, Elizabeth Wilson; including Canada and the United first Black mayor of Lithonia, Allison Venable; first Black mayor of Stone Mountain, the late Chuck Burris; first Black DeKalb County commissioner, John Evans, now president of the DeKalb NAACP; first Black auto dealership owners, Greg and Juanita Baranco, now owners of Buckhead Mercedes; first Black Georgia attorney general, Thurbert Baker; first Black Georgia labor commissioner, Mike Thurmond; first Black county CEO, Vernon Jones; first Black school superintendent, Johnny Brown; first Black School Board member, Phil McGregor. These historic firsts ought to be taught in every DeKalb County social studies and or civics class. Their stories are fascinating and inspiring. Many of these individuals are still around and no doubt would readily accept an invitation to share with students. While some Gwinnett County teachers are reportedly illustrating a very dark period in our nation’s history by having students play the role of slaves being chased by slave catchers, or teaching math by counting slaves, we in DeKalb could demonstrate the correct way to integrate the contributions of African Americans into the curriculum and not debase and embarrass students. Black history is the history of this country. It should be taught the other 11 months of the year in every subject matter. Then, Black history month would become—history. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.

Opinion The Newslady

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Making the grade
I am not here simply to defend our DeKalb BOE or new system superintendent, but I am willing and able to say, much of what has been happening of late is positive. The top to bottom audit and review of central office personnel, job descriptions and salaries unearthed what many have believed for years to be fact. DeKalb’s administrative headquarters are bloated. Salaries, job descriptions and titles are often a jumble, with a secretary making near six figures and a manager of many making a salary half that size. As often happens in the public and private sectors, personal connections have on occasion been a faster path to advancement. Correcting these systemic challenges won’t happen overnight. Morale may be low, as reported. A little bit of fear at the mammoth headquarters campus out on Mountain Industrial Boulevard isn’t exactly a bad thing. Competition and the possibility of job irrelevance can also improve performance, work ethic and end product...if the fears are mitigated and the period of doubt is not sustained indefinitely. For all the embrace of “hope and change” during the election of 2008, we have to remember that change and progress are not only good when applied to a president or bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.—but also closer to home to a school system doing a disservice to many of our children, and still in jeopardy of losing its accreditation. To turn around a ship as large as the DeKalb Schools, and not end up running up on a reef like that Italian cruise ship, will also require a knowledgeable and proven captain surrounded, supported and enabled by a seasoned-crew. Another annoying reality of change is that new leaders generally bring in their own trusted team, to save time, as well as to know what the team can accomplish in a fixed time frame, and the kind of results which can be expected. This is not new, nor is it rocket science, and as we see with every change in White House administrations, this changing of the guard unfortunately may often devalue the contributions of the prior team. If our child came home early in the spring semester struggling with a single class or teacher, we would most likely offer support, encouragement and try to determine how else we might be able to be of assistance—before we would transfer the child to another class, another school or suggest to him or her that they are a failure. I’m suggesting that before our new superintendent has been on the ground for six months, we invest hope, support in word and deed and give the benefit of the doubt. DeKalb voters will hold our Board of Education accountable. The BOE will hold the superintendent accountable for performance as well as results. If we took nearly two years to select and hire a Superintendent, we should spend at least a school year to determine how solid a decision was made. With an annual system budget exceeding $1 billion, and hundreds of millions more to be invested in new construction and facility renovation as well as the future of nearly 100,000 school children in the balance. There is simply too much at stake to rush to judgment to declare whether or not an individual or single new hire is making the grade. When spring arrives and the school year is drawing to an end, we should be much better able to determine if we are making real progress, or simply change, for change’s sake. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at billcrane@ earthlink.net.

Opinion One Man’s Opinion

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“I’m all for progress. It’s the damn change I’m against!” – humorist Mark Twain. Let’s start from a position that we can most all agree. Our DeKalb School System has been on a downward trajectory of several years, with significant change and improvement needed to restore the system to its former reputation of glory. However, before we start assessing performance and handing out letter grades, we need to allow our new system leadership team a full semester or even the school year to complete their work. Given the mess we were in, we cannot expect the cleanup to be without some pains and a few sticky spots. The DeKalb Board of Education, through some fault of their own, as well as some circumstances beyond their control, took too long in the eyes of many in selecting our new superintendent. As tempers flared, and patience was lost, many families and even system employees began hoping for a Messiah.

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

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Destroy our future
I'm forming my very own Super PAC.

Opinion

Page 6A

Newt Gingrich has a Super PAC called “Winning Our Future.” Mitt Romney’s is called “Restore Our Future.” I know, technically Super PACs don’t belong to candidates. But only innocents like Boy Scouts and the Supreme Court believe that. In the real world, this new kind of political action committee, created in the wake of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, is a powerful campaign weapon. Super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals. They then may spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against specific political candidates as they wish. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are technically prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates. In practice, they serve a specific candidate, who directs them with winks and nudges. Gingrich’s Super PAC apparently thinks the way to win the future is to say nasty things about Mitt Romney. Romney’s Super PAC, meanwhile, is attempting to restore the future by saying nasty things about Gingrich. It’s called free speech. If you don’t believe me, ask the aforementioned Supreme Court justices, a majority of whom don’t seem drunk. But they sure vote that way. As a long-time practitioner of speech, free and otherwise, I see no reason for Gingrich and Romney to have all the fun. My new motto is “let a thousand Super PACs bloom.” To that end, I’m announcing the formation of my very own Super PAC. It’s dedicated to good government, free speech and saying nasty things about practically everybody. I’m calling it “Destroy Our Future.” Its main beneficiaries will, of course, be our grandchildren. You can’t be a credible candidate these days without voicing concern about leaving future generations a better world than the one we live in now — or just one with lower taxes for the rich. Destroy Our Future will assist candidates who are dedicated to lowering taxes by doing away with schools,

roads, bridges, scientific research, airports, high-speed rail, low-speed rail, public television and libraries. How will that help our grandchildren? They won’t have to pay upkeep on any of those things, which will be lucky because they probably won’t be making much money. What decent job needs a worker who went to a lousy school with a lousy library? Decent jobs aren’t the only thing we’ll lack. Unions won’t be around either. Wages will be low enough for our workers to compete with China, India and even countries where shoes are a luxury item. Health care? Don’t worry. You’ll be taken care of by our world-famous health care industry, so long as you don’t get sick. If you do, however, I’m afraid you’ll just have to sell a kidney or something. Just don’t whine and expect government to solve all of your problems. That is so 20th-century. With Social Security just a memory, you’ll have to live your golden years with your kids of course, which is only fair since they lived with you until they were 35 years old. Who among the remaining Republican presidential candidates should my Super PAC support to accomplish these lofty goals? Looking over the cast of characters, I find an embarrassment of riches. Nearly all of them have endorsed most, if not all, of Destroy Our Future’s agenda. Romney brings the zeal of a recent convert to the battle. Gingrich wields the well-honed skill of a political knife-fighter. No one could be more sincere than former Sen. Rick Santorum, whose views on procreation are somewhat to the right of Pope Benedict XVI, while Rep. Ron Paul is to big government what the atom bomb was to Hiroshima. You can hardly go wrong with any of them. I urge you to send in your donations to Destroy Our Future so I can make this country safe for the 18th century. Naturally, my lovely wife and I will expect a small fee for administering the fund. Don’t worry, it won’t exceed the $1.6 million Newt got for those history lessons he gave Freddie Mac. Oh, and I’ll need to pay my grown kids to manage this patriotic initiative. Kids don’t come cheap. OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. otherwords.org

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

Audit states DeKalb Schools has too many central office personnel
The 2006 Ernst & Young study referred to showed a bloat of $15 million per year. Lots of friends and family employed at bloated salaries. But the study has been lost and has never seen the light of day. Some citizens have requested it by an open records request and the DCSS refuses to produce it. Read the DeKalb County School Watch blog. Like the county, DCSS is nothing more than a job machine. County taxpayers get taken from all sides. –Dundevil posted this on 1/25/12 At 9:10 p.m. And you wonder why our TAXES went up 26 % ??? Now what about the CEO and BOC Staffs and the rest of this Bloated and Dumb-Downed DeKalb County ! Read the : Georgia State Study on DeKalb County ! –JerryMyer Jackson Jr posted this on 1/25/12 at 5:52 p.m.

Decatur school tries new take on parent/ teacher conference
I think this is an excellent idea and should be implemented asap. This program will give the parent an opportunity to witness the behavior and proformence of the child and the special close peer(s). The program will also keep the kids on task – sherry land posted this on 1/24/12 at 1:13 p.m

Cross Keys graduate finds the good in DeKalb Schools
Thank you for reprinting Mpaza’s wonderful essay. He is a fine example of conquering life even in difficult situations. We hope that all of our DeKalb students can find success in life like Mpaza. I hope you will all click over to our new, improved Wordpress blog, where we will be able to cross-reference postings and store documents, videos and other media. http://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/ –Cere posted this on 1/30/12 at 8:19 a.m.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 7A

Emory offers rare glimpse into 20th century poetry for poets and readers alike
himself on July 4, 1855, is the earliest signed copy known. The Danowski Library also contains In 1981, Emory one of 11 known University acquired a copies of William collection of Irish poet Carlos Williams’ William Butler Yeats’ first book, Poems, manuscripts. Since then, which was never the university has never reprinted, and a stopped collecting litersigned-first edition ary manuscripts. of T. S. Eliot’s Pru“That was our real frock and Other Obforay into poetry,” Ginservations. ger Smith, director “It is really one of external affairs for of the things that Emory Libraries, said. makes a poet coming Smith is also the interim to Emory a distinct director of Emory’s experience,” Smith Manuscript, Archives said. “They’re surand Rare Book Library rounded by rare (MARBL). manuscripts. When Smith said after the Eamon Grennan first university acquired the Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins gave a housed his manuYeats collection, Emhour reading at scripts, he said he ory’s interest in poetry oneCollins, who wasEmory University on Jan. 29. laureate from 2001-2003, grew and the university is a distinguished American poet who has pub- was ‘happy to leave his work in the Irish began intentionally col- lished more than 13 poetry collections. Photo by Steven Kovich Village at Emory.’” lecting literary manuSmith said each scripts and tailoring Collins read for an hour. year Young also events around them. Collins adds his name to a teaches a class where his stuIn 2005, MARBL aclong list of poets and writdents use items in the Danquired the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, which ers who have read, taught or owski collection as their text been involved in events at for the class, which gives is a 75,000-volume collecthem a hands-on view of the tion of rare and first editions the university. “As the collections grew library very few get to see. of modern and contemporary “One of the things that poetry, in addition to literary and the opportunities to study poetry grew we really I observe is that poetry, in journals, broadsides, manumany ways, is literary comscripts, audiovisual materials had a unique experience to offer a major writer,” Smith mon ground so it brings and related objects. Until together an interesting crossEmory received the Danows- said. “When poets come to read they also have the opsection of people. They reki Library, it was thought to portunity to go to class and ally come together around be the largest privately held engage with students, and their love of poetry,” Smith collection of 20th century the opportunity to explore said. English language poetry in our collection.” The Emory Bookstore existence. Smith said each poet inalso hosts a monthly reading “The collection grew and series called “What’s New in the opportunities grew and a vited to the university has the opportunity to visit with Poetry?” that brings together creative writing program is Kevin Young, the curator contemporary poets. All of part of the university now,” of the Raymond Danowski the literary events at Emory Smith said of MARBL. Poetry Library and also an coexist and build off each Emory has since hosted award-winning poet, and other with “everybody havsuch famous writers as have a hands-on tour of the ing a piece of the action,” Salmon Rushdie, Seamus items in the collection. Smith said. Heaney and others. Re“It’s neat because Billy “One of the things the cently, the university added Collins will get to sit with library can contribute on the manuscripts and letters Kevin and flip through a the campus is creating comof poets D.A. Powell and signed first edition of Walt munity, and I think poetry is Eamon Grennan. Whitman’s Leaves of one of the things that does. On Jan. 29, hundreds Grass,” Smith said, using In many ways people who packed the Glenn Memorial Whitman’s book as an exlove poetry cut across all the Auditorium to hear former ample. In fact, that specific disciplines,” Smith said. U.S. Poet Laureate Billy book, printed by Whitman by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp. com

Champion of the Week
David Sibley

David Sibley found his calling while in recovery for alcohol addiction in 1998. He was leading a 12-step recovery program when a former CEO of the DeKalb Community Service Board approached him about joining the board of directors. Sibley, a resident of DeKalb County, is a commercial real estate appraiser but earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia more than two decades ago. “This gives me an opportunity to use my skills,” said Sibley, who has been sober since 1992. He earned dual undergraduate degrees in Christianity and sociology from Mercer University in Macon. A native of Miami, Sibley moved to Atlanta after graduating from Mercer. The non-profit CSB, which has more than 500 employees with revenue in 2011 of $31 million, provides community based behavioral health care, offering a full range of mental health services, substance abuse treatment and developmental dis-

abilities programs. When Sibley joined the board of directors in 1998 the CSB had revenue of $42.3 million and had 750 employees. The agency in 2011 had revenue of $31.6 million and served 11,000 clients at more than 20 locations. As a member of the agency’s board of directors, Sibley is an advocate for the CSB and the people it assists. “My passion centers around substance abuse, but first and foremost [the board of directors] represents the agency as a whole,” said Sibley, who now leads two 12-step recovery groups. “The Community Service Board is a safety net provider; if not for us, people with these disabilities would get little or no funding.” Sibley has represented the CSB at national and state conferences, and has attended the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia. His passion for helping others, especially those with struggles similar to his own, stems from his experience in recovery programs. “A major component of 12-step recovery is service work,” Sibley said. “I place a very strong value on service work. By telling your story you can carry a message to still-suffering adults. It’s about doing for others without any expectation of return. The return for me is that it keeps me sober.”

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 8A

Police Alliance fundraiser set for Feb. 11
The DeKalb Police Alliance (DPA) will celebrate the service of the county’s law enforcement officers at the Hearts for Heroes Ball on Feb. 11. Proceeds from the event will be used to underwrite a supplemental $100,000 life insurance policy for the beneficiaries of DeKalb-based law enforcement officers whose lives are lost in the line of duty. The event will be held at the Hellenic Center in Decatur. “We appreciate the unselfish dedication of our sheriff’s office, police officers and marshals so much,” said Carolyn Rehling, chairwoman of the DPA board. “This expression of our support may help them feel more secure about risking their lives to protect us. However, a broad base of community support is critical to our mission to fund our life insurance program, which is unprecedented in the metropolitan area.” The DPA, a non-profit organization founded in 2005, is made up of businesses and concerned residents in DeKalb County. Dining, dancing and a live auction will be featured at the Hearts for Heroes Ball. Among the items to be auctioned include a week’s stay at a private mountain and island villas. Also, the first Hero Among Heroes Award will be presented to an outstanding law enforcement officer, and municipal police departments will recognize other officers for their extraordinary services. The DPA insurance policy covers full-time sworn officers and marshals from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the DeKalb County Police Department and the police departments of Avondale Estates, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake and Stone Mountain. For information on tax-deductible donations, sponsorship opportunities or tickets to the Hearts for Heroes Ball, visit the DPA website at www. dekalbpolicealliance.org or call (678) 362-0392.

City Schools of Decatur adapts to growing enrollment
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com City Schools of Decatur’s (CSD) enrollment jumped 12 percent this year and school officials cited several factors for the significant increase. We do feel like we’ve created a quality school system and people have a confidence in [it],” Superintendent Phyllis A. Edwards said. At first, Edwards said they were concerned about the unpredicted increase in enrollment. It was because of these concerns the enrollment committee was established. “We’ve had growth that has come from outside and the inside; we’ve had some folks coming back in from private schools to save money,” Edwards said. She also said Associate Superintendent Thomas Van Soelen did some research and found that some of the new students had come from out of state, or in some cases, out of the country. The enrollment committee was charged with calculating the growth the school system might see over the next several years and finding ways to deal with the population increase. The committee then presented its findings at a board meeting on Jan. 10. Currently, CSD has 3,246 students and is the smallest school system in the state of Georgia. “One of the pieces the committee helped us with was defining the census information and looking at how things changed in Decatur,” Edwards said. Traditionally, Edwards said, a lot of Decatur’s growth had been in the north but now the city is seeing areas farther south, such as the neighborhood of Oakhurst, increase in population. Recently, CSD opened the 4/5 Academy, the first new school the system had built in nearly 50 years. Edwards said since Decatur is so small, there aren’t many opportunities to buy land and build new schools. The 4/5 Academy replaced Fifth Avenue Elementary School, which sat vacant at the same location for years. “It’s always an issue for a small school system,” Edwards said. “We’ve done a lot of work with our facilities, some which were built in 1919.” Edwards said CSD doesn’t have any “bottomline specific” projects outlined yet but one idea proposed to deal with projected student population increases is to convert the old Westchester Elementary building, which now houses all of the system’s central office staff, into a new school. “If we do open up Westchester we have to be [aware] of the fact that many more children may be sitting in the south side than the north side. But we believe we can structure it in a way where people can have a school choice option,” Edwards said, stating students not located in the attendance zone could attend the school. “People think that being in a small system is easy somehow but it’s not—in a lot of different ways— because kids don’t come in nice neat bundles of 25, but we have to be able to accommodate them,” Edwards said. Van Soelen said CSD’s enrollment has increased 31 percent since 2007. Van Soelen, a member of the enrollment committee that reports to the Decatur Board of Education, said CSD originally predicted a 6 percent increase for this year. CSD, which became a charter system four years ago, also allows students from outside its four-mile radius to attend its schools for $6,000 a year. Van Soelen said CSD also saw a 2 percent increase in tuition students enrolling, but that was planned for. Currently the system has approximately 150 tuition students enrolled.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 9A

Members of DeKalb’s legislative delegation meet to discuss issues facing the county in 2012. Photo by Andrew Cauthen

DeKalb legislatures set to take on foreclosures, Brookhaven cityhood, ethics
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com A Georgia state representative wants to make it a little tougher for lenders to foreclose on homes. Dar’shun Kendrick (D94) will attempt to tackle the foreclosure problem with a proposed bill that would institute a judicial foreclosure process. The bill would require personal service for all foreclosure notices. This bill, called the Homeowners Fairness Act, would also require financial institutions to prove to a judge what amount the homeowner owes “to make sure lenders are giving accurate amounts out,” Kendrick said. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Feb. 15 and a rally following the hearing is being planned. This is just one of the many issues being addressed by DeKalb’s legislative delegation, which is meeting weekly during the General Assembly session. Kendrick is also sponsoring a bill that would restrict employers from checking the credit histories of potential employees unless it is directly related to the role of the job. “There’s no reason a veterinarian or a dog keeper… would need a credit check,” Kendrick said. Because the legislature is Republican-led, Kendrick said, she does not expect her foreclosure and credit check bills to garner much support. Rep. Stephanie Stucky Benfield (D-85) said she will be reintroducing her “farm to school” initiative, an effort to improve the quality of school lunches. “That’s been a passion of mine since I have two children in public school,” Benfield said. The bill would create Georgia Grown Week, “to encourage schools, during that week, to serve healthy nutritious local products in the schools,” Benfield said. “Regardless of whether that bill passes, there’s a lot of energy around this issue,” Benfield said. “At the state Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture, there’s a lot of effort to improve access to local markets.” Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-91) also has a bill that deals with home ownership. Mayo said his No. 1 priority is a bill that would “help prevent the free-fall on home assessment values.” “The bill would change the law to require that tax assessors consider distressed sales when assessing values of homes but not require that they use the distressed prices as the predominant factor for home assessments,” Mayo said. Mayo is also sponsoring a bill that would require handsfree cell phone technology for drivers. Rep. Elena Parent (D-81) is working with Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-83) on a bill to “improve the General Assembly’s current procedures on incorporating a new city,” Parent said. “Observing the discussion in my district with incorporating this new city of Brookhaven, while already representing Chamblee, Doraville and a very small part of Dunwoody, I see that the procedures are a little bit out of whack,” Parent said. Currently, the procedures are “favoring the wishes of the new city and not really taking into account the residents who remain in the unincorporated area or the wishes of the existing municipalities,” Parent said. “The proposed procedures
See Brookhaven on Page 11A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 10A

Prescription drug abuse on the rise
by Nigel Roberts Nearly everywhere one looks, prescription drug abuse cases are escalating. Last November, DeKalb was entangled in a long-term investigation of so-called “pill mills” that are fueling the crisis. These facilities are unaffiliated with local hospitals, pain treatment centers or hospices yet dispense addictive prescription medications with little patient screenings. As neighboring states, such as Florida, close pill mills, many are concerned that the metro area is becoming a hub for obtaining prescription drugs illegitimately. Dr. NZinga A. Harrison, an addiction psychiatrist, said she has observed an increase in prescription drug abuse cases in DeKalb. The former director of the DeKalb Addiction Clinic, who now heads Anka Behavioral Health, added that it is unclear whether more patients are coming to DeKalb drug rehabilitation facilities because of increased use or as a result of increased attention from law enforcement agencies and the courts. Although reports indicate that prescription drug abuse is on the rise, it difficult to qualify. Melanie Storrusten, executive director of Action Ministries Breakthru House in Decatur, said prescription drug abuse “often overlaps with most other drugs of choice.” Breakthru House, a treatment facility for women, makes services available to those who do not otherwise have access to treatment. Storrusten stated that Breakthru House asks its clients to cite their drug of choice. In most cases, the clients indicate alcohol and cocaine. “But we usually see alcohol and drug use in combination with other substances of abuse – including prescription medications,” she explained. “I would say that a large number of alcohol and drug abusers are abusing prescription medications because they are so readily available.” According to Harrison, the research literature reveals that in most cases addiction to prescription drugs stems from recreational use—not from gradual use by people legitimately prescribed medication by a physician. “Often it is kids who say, ‘grandma has prescription medication; let’s try it,’” she said. A National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than half of the nonmedical users of pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives older than 12 obtained prescription drugs “from a friend or relative for free.” And threequarters of those friends or relatives obtained the prescription medications from a doctor. Increasingly, though, the source of prescription medications are pill mills that front as legitimate pain clinics. Many of them advertise their services on billboards and on roadside signs. “The people that are part of this scheme are drug dealers,” DeKalb District Attorney Robert James told The Champion in an earlier interview. “They’re dope dealers and they’re dealing in ostensibly legitimate items, so they hide in plain sight.” He added, “They’re no different than crack dealers. They’re pushing poison.” Erik H. Burton, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said the department established a Public Integrity Unit that takes the lead on pill mill cases. The key to the rise in prescription drug abuse, according to most experts, is easy accessibility and the lack of a stigma attached to prescription drugs. According to Harrison, prescription drugs can be a gateway to illicit narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin. She said prescription drug abusers often develop a tolerance for the euphoria they get and ultimately turn to illicit narcotics to achieve the same high. Harrison, who is also on the board of Breakthru House, said rehabilitation facilities typically use the same paradigms to treat prescrip-

tion drug addiction as they do with illicit narcotics and alcohol. However, as with cases of alcoholism, treating prescription drug addiction is often more challenging than treating addiction to illegal drugs. Pain pills, sedatives and stimulants are everywhere and have no stigma attached to them. Consequently, treatment often involves contacting pharmacies and doctors to shut down supply sources before the cravings start. It can be easy to slip into addiction, even under a doctor’s care, said Harrison. He stressed that physicians should get a thorough history of a patient’s drug abuse before giving a prescription. At the same time, patients should ask a few important questions to their doctors before taking medications, such as whether a particular drug is addictive. Harrison said physicians should watch for signs of early addiction. These include running out of pills sooner than the prescription calls for, returning to the doctor to get more or a higher dosage before a prescription is finished, and substituting other drugs when a prescription runs out.

DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management Public Advisory Superior Avenue Sanitary Sewer Improvements Project
January 19, 2012 Advisory Issue Date February 19, 2012 Advisory Close 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 http://dekalbwatershed.com.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 11A

Several education bills being batted around in House, Senate
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com With the 2012 legislative session under way, several DeKalb County legislators have introduced educationrelated bills that would affect both the state and county. Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver Oliver has introduced HB 22, which she said is an effort to ease the transition of the DeKalb County School Board from nine to seven members. The bill piggybacks SB 79, which was Mayo passed last year and states that any new school board must have no more than seven members, and any existing school board must be reduced to seven members by 2013. Oliver is also backing a bill that would target parents, and possibly school employees, with criminal charges for the truancy of a student. HB 821, sponsored by fellow Decatur Democrat Rep. Rahn Mayo, requires new residents in a local school system to enroll a child within 15 days. Mayo’s Stuckey Benfield bill also states that violations of mandatory attendance requirements must be reported and “a local school system official who fails to make certain reports is guilty of a misdemeanor” as well as “a person Millar who fails to enroll a child.” Legislators also are deciding whether to amend Georgia’s constitution to allow state-funding of local charter schools. In 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the creation of the Georgia Charter School Commission unconstitutional because it gave local tax dollars to charter schools without the approval of local school boards. If the vote passes with a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, the amendment would go before Georgia voters. “The issue is not so much whether we support charter schools, it’s how we are going to fund charter schools in a way that’s equitable and fair to all children in public schools,” Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-Atlanta) said. “I’m watching that bill very closely. I haven’t decided if I’m supporting it or not. At this point, I’m veering toward no.” Sen. Fran Millar (RAtlanta), chairman of the education and youth committee, said there would also be a lot of bills dealing with the education funding commission. “The only other thing would be redistricting,” Millar said. “We’ve got to redraw the lines for the county commission as well as the school board and that will start over in the House.”

Brookhaven Continued From Page 9A
would require the proponents of the new city to engage in a conversation with existing cities that are adjacent [and] lay out the financial ramifications of the incorporation of the new city on the county and on existing cities in the county,” Parent said. “It would be a different way of moving a bill for a new city through the legislative process here at the General Assembly,” Parent said. Rep. Howard Mosby (D-90) said the proponents and opponents of the proposed city are evenly split. “The people aren’t saying they don’t want a city,” Mosby said. “They’re saying, ‘Let’s postpone [it] and let’s do a further study.’ The legislature may be willing to hear that argument.” Mosby said state legislators “are tired of listening to DeKalb County fight its local issues out on the floor of the house.” Sen. Steve Henson, the Democratic leader in the Senate, said he is sponsoring an ethics bill that would cap gifts to politicians at $100 and one that would require workers in the governor’s office and other executive offices to wait a year before working as a lobbyist. “We’re trying to restore faith in government and improve ethics,” Henson said.

Presents

THE 7TH ANNUAL YOUTH SUMMIT

Saturday, February 18 Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
So You Want to be Rich.
hosted by WSB-TV 2 Anchor Monica Pearson And including a theatrical production, “Faces of American Justice” featuring youth dancers from Berean Christian Church. The honorees will include Stephen Stafford (age 13) a junior at Morehouse College pursuing a double major in math and science. Marypat Hector (age 14) who organized a support team that aided the tornado victims in Alabama and recently launched the Shake-Off the Violence town hall meetings in Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb counties. Tony Betton (aka T-REP) a 15-year-old actor, model, host, speaker, columnist and 2012 Stellar Award Nominee. The 100 Black Men of DeKalb provides an after-school leadership and developmental program called The Leadership Academy for students enrolled in the sixth through twelfth grades of the DeKalb County Schools.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 12A

Soap box derby track stalled at the starting line
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com It was mentioned in DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis’ State of the County speech last month and it’s beginning to raise some eyebrows: a proposed $1 million soap box derby track near Lithonia. The track would be built at 1253 Rock Chapel Road adjacent to the Bransby YMCA on 10.9 acres purchased last year with approximately $600,000 from a parks bond approved by taxpayers in 2001. Plans call for an 890-foot, twolane track with a separate service lane. Included in the plans are a multi-use building for supplies and cars, a classroom, concession stand and a pavilion at the finish line. A grandstand on the banked sides of the track is planned. “This facility will expand the diversity of recreational programs in DeKalb County, and will provide the first dedicated track in Georgia,” said Roy Wilson, director of the county’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs. “It will provide the county and the new Sports DeKalb association an opportunity to foster new partnerships by attracting non-traditional sponsors. “It also promotes an environment in which families, clubs, scouting associations, church groups and others will work together to complete the soap box car from start to finish and teaches youth skills, sportsmanship and a healthy spirit of competition,” Wilson said. Ellis’ administration has recommended a contract for the project to Astra Group Inc. of Woodstock but the plan has been held up. The Board of Commissioners’ finance committee has asked for an operational plan for the track. Commissioner Elaine Boyer said, if given the choice, she would “absolutely” use the money for the track somewhere else because soap box racing is “a limited sport where not a lot of kids can participate.” “It’s extremely limited and $1 million can go a long way to do something else at another park,” Boyer said. “No constituent group has ever called us about that. A million dollars—we’ve still got things that haven’t been done. Henderson Park could really use another million [dollars] to finish out that master plan that was adopted 10 years ago.” “The [county’s] CEO has not put forward any business plan,” said Commissioner Lee May, chairman of the finance committee. “What kind of revenue would it generate?” When the county built libraries using bond funds, some of the libraries remained closed because the county did not have funds to open the buildings, May said. “We built libraries but didn’t give thought to operating them,” May said. “We didn’t plan forward. We have to begin to operate differently.” May said he slowed down the progress of the soap box derby track to get some questions answered by the Ellis administration. “We don’t even know who the target audience is,” May said. “We need a good business plan. It might be good. It sounds wonderful, but we have to operate efficiently.” The proposed soap box derby track was part of a March 2010 agreement in which the Board of Commissioners approved a partnership with the YMCA to acquire, construct and operate recreational facilities in the county. “County parks are not intended to be businesses or profit centers, thus there are no business plans for any parks property,” Wilson said. “There are some users and organizations that do pay a fee to defray expenses (such as swimming and golf), but the entire cost of the operation is not supported by this. Having said that, at the board’s request, we are formulating a business plan for this facility and will submit it to them within three weeks.” County officials estimate that the derby will generate approximately $125,000 annually from sponsored events, association rentals and general public usage, Wilson said. This amount would be sufficient to cover the operating expenses and periodic maintenance and repairs of the derby. “The larger impact of the facility will be the ability to promote the track regionally, and to generate economic benefits to DeKalb as a destination for regional competitions,” Wilson said. “It is anticipated that since DeKalb County’s facility will be a dedicated track, the facility will be ideal for sanctioned events, test runs for new derby cars and the premier track to qualify for the championship race in Akron, Ohio.” Wilson said the county’s parks and recreation department has had discussions with representatives of the soap box derby in the Atlanta area to establish a partnership with them similar to the youth athletic associations that the department has for baseball, softball, football, soccer or swimming. In addition to sponsored events, the recreation department will rent the facility to associations on a half-day or one-day basis and will provide at least one day per week of open hours for the general public to practice running derby cars for a minimal fee, Wilson said. Michael Rabern, president of the Dunwoody Northeast Georgia Soap Box Derby Association, one of two such associations in the Atlanta area, said, “If you’re looking at a business plan, entry fees aren’t going to offset the cost of the operations of a facility.” A booster club has the ability to

sell sponsorships and a weekend race or world championship would bring in money to the community, but “the real benefit is the county giving back to itself,” Rabern said. Rabern, who said his Dunwoody group is “uniquely placed to help to manage a program, if asked,” described the proposed track as “a natural for DeKalb County.” “It’ll make DeKalb County and that track a national focal point” for soap box derby racing, Rabern said. “To be able to have one in a temperate climate in a city as great as Atlanta…will be very advantageous.” The Dunwoody soap box association, which represents Gwinnett, DeKalb, Clayton, Henry and Rockdale counties and part of Fulton, held two races last year and is planning up to three in 2012. Currently, the races are held on the property of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta in Dunwoody. “We have to fit into other people’s schedules,” said Rabern, about not having access to a race site full time. Rabern, who first raced at age 9 in front of the old Decatur High School, said the proposed track could help DeKalb County “to be known nationwide as the mecca in the Southeast for soap box racing.” Rabern, who has talked with county officials about DeKalb’s plan to construct the track, said the track could also have an educational component. “There’s a lot of physics and engineering in the construction of soap box cars,” Rabern said. At the facility, students could be taught those subjects, along with the skill of using tools, while assembling soap derby cars, whose prices start at approximately $450. “It’s more than a bunch of elite people buying expensive cars and racing them,” Rabern said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 13A

Tax provides decade of park development
by Andrew Cauthen andrew@dekalbchamp.com Ten years ago, there was no Browns Mills Aquatics Center and Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve was nonexistent. Commissioner Lee May said the parks bond “has really been a definite bonus for DeKalb County. “It has allowed us to acquire more park space to limit the amount of development,” May said. “It protected some of the assets of our greenspace.” Without the park bond, the county would have “some real voids in terms of recreational activities,” May said. “We would not have Arabia Mountain Park, which is just a beautiful asset. It would not be a national heritage area.” Instead of parks and recreation centers, there “we would have possibly had a lot of development in those areas,” May said. “You would see a lot of trees cut down and asphalt put down.” May said there is a lesson the county needs to learn in how it implemented the parks bond projects. “We used the funds to acquire greenspace and to build park facilities,” May said. “What we didn’t do is allocate appropriate amount of funding for operations and maintenance.” In 2001, a voter-approved parks bond went to into effect that has allowed the county to divide nearly $40 million between the county’s seven districts. Of that amount, $2.68 million have not been allocated to a project. Some of the projects the money has paid for include Henderson Park, Dunwoody Nature Center, Mason Mill Park, Exchange Park, Brook Run Park, and the continuing Wade Walker Recreation center project. Several other projects are under way or are in the planning stages. Commissioner Elaine Boyer said a highlight in her district is the walking trails in the Smokerise community. Before the trails were developed, “we had nowhere to go,” Boyer said. “We had to get in our cars and drive over to Stone Mountain Park, but now we can walk around on the trails.” Because of the park bonds, “there’s a little more for people to do,” Boyer said. “A few key parks have really been improved. But we still lack. In my district we could still use more.” Boyer said she is pleased with how well the implementation of the park bond projects has gone. “Overall people got implemented what they were promised,” Boyer said. “I haven’t really seen any waste.

Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. File photo

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 www.dekalbcountyga.gov.

The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast THURSDAY
Partly Cloudy High: 66 Low: 43

Feb. 2, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Feb. 2, 1952 - The only tropical storm of record to hit the United States in February moved out of the Gulf of Mexico and across southern Florida. It produced 60 mph winds and two to four inches of rain. Feb. 3, 1988 - Arctic air continued to invade the central United States. The temperature at Midland, Texas plunged from a record high of 80 degrees to 37 degrees in just three hours. Morning lows in the higher elevations of Wyoming were as cold as 38 degrees below zero. Dunwoody 64/42 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 65/43 65/43 65/43 Snellville Decatur 66/43 Atlanta 66/43 66/43 Lithonia College Park 67/43 67/43 Morrow 67/43 Union City 67/43 Hampton 68/44

In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see partly cloudy skies with a slight chance of showers, high temperature of 66º, humidity of 55%. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. The record high temperature for today is 73º set in 1974. Expect partly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 43º.

FRIDAY
Mostly Sunny High: 65 Low: 46

*Last Week’s Almanac
Hi Lo Normals Precip Date Tuesday 62 43 52/34 0.00" Wednesday 65 34 52/34 0.00" Thursday 69 53 53/34 0.00" Friday 61 38 53/34 0.00" Saturday 61 32 53/34 0.00" Sunday 53 27 53/34 0.00" Monday 60 27 53/34 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.00" Average temp . .48.9 Normal rainfall . .1.19" Average normal 43.4 Departure . . . . .-1.19" Departure . . . . .+5.5
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport

SATURDAY
Showers Likely High: 61 Low: 45

SUNDAY
Few Showers High: 60 Low: 41

MONDAY
Mostly Sunny High: 55 Low: 34

TUESDAY
Partly Cloudy High: 51 Low: 32 Full 2/7

Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:33 a.m. 7:32 a.m. 7:32 a.m. 7:31 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 7:29 a.m. 7:28 a.m. Sunset 6:09 p.m. 6:10 p.m. 6:11 p.m. 6:12 p.m. 6:13 p.m. 6:14 p.m. 6:15 p.m. Moonrise 1:25 p.m. 2:16 p.m. 3:12 p.m. 4:12 p.m. 5:15 p.m. 6:20 p.m. 7:26 p.m. Moonset 3:10 a.m. 4:02 a.m. 4:51 a.m. 5:37 a.m. 6:20 a.m. 7:00 a.m. 7:37 a.m. New 2/21

Tonight's Planets
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 7:32 a.m. 5:48 p.m. 9:32 a.m. 9:20 p.m. 9:04 p.m. 9:47 a.m. 11:18 a.m.12:28 a.m. 12:05 a.m.11:20 a.m. 9:53 a.m. 9:57 p.m.

WEDNESDAY
Mostly Sunny High: 57 Low: 35 Last 2/14

First 2/29

Local UV Index

National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see scattered rain and snow today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Friday, scattered rain and snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 58º in Stockton, Md. The Southeast will see scattered showers and thunderstorms today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 82º in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Northwest will see isolated snow today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 59º in Medford, Ore. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 83º in Los Angeles, Calif.

Weather Trivia
Can there be lightning during a snowstorm?

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

?

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

Answer: Yes. Lightning and thunder are common during snowstorms.

www.WhatsOurWeather.com

StarWatch By Gary Becker - The Analemma Dilemma
Have you ever seen that elongated figure eight on a globe? Usually placed in the Pacific Ocean far away from any land masses, it is called the analemma. If you would observe the sun each day of the year, at noon, and start with the sun due south (June 12), you would see several effects. First, because the Earth’s axis is tilted, you would notice the height of the sun changing above the horizon. The sun would appear highest at summer solstice and lowest six months later at winter solstice, but another more subtle motion would also be viewed. As the sun was changing its altitude, it would appear to move to the right and left of the due south position. In other words, as the days passed, your watch would say 12 noon, but the sun might be to the left or to the right of due south. The combination of the change in the height of the sun and its motion to the right or left of south would create the analemma in the sky. Our clocks beat to an average rhythm called mean solar time which has been standardized into time zones and then further modified to daylight saving time during the warmer months. Each day at noon, one p.m. for daylight saving time, an imaginary or fictitious sun is due south by this convention. As the Earth revolves around the sun, it shifts the sun about one degree to the east each day. We correct for this by adding an extra four minutes to the Earth’s spin period to create the mean solar day. But the eastward shift of the sun is not uniform. This results from Earth’s speed varying due to its elliptical orbit. Another change in the sun’s eastward motion results because the sun moves northward and southward with respect to the celestial equator. This is created by Earth’s axial tilt. This combination of motions may put the real sun ahead of our clocks by 16 minutes and behind by just over 14 minutes. A detailed analemma is online at www.astronomy.org

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Health

Page 14A

CDC: Young adults down nine drinks when they binge
by Mike Stobbe ATLANTA (AP) Collegeage drinkers average nine drinks when they get drunk, government health officials said Jan. 17. That surprising statistic is part of a new report highlighting the dangers of binge drinking, which usually means four to five drinks at a time. Overall, about one in six U.S. adults surveyed said they had binged on alcohol at least once in the previous month, though it was more than one in four for those ages 18 to 34. And that’s likely an underestimate: Alcohol sales figures suggest people are buying a lot more alcohol than they say they are consuming. Health officials estimate that about half of the beer, wine and liquor consumed in the United States by adults each year is downed during binge drinking. “I know this sounds astounding, but I think the numbers we’re reporting are really an underestimate,” said Dr. Robert Brewer, who leads the alcohol program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC report is based on telephone surveys last year of more than 450,000 adults. They were asked about their alcohol drinking in the past month, including the largest number of drinks they had at one time. Binge drinking is generally defined as four drinks for women and five for men in a period of a few hours. Binge drinkers ages 18 to 24 reported nine drinks, or one more than the national average of eight drinks. But those numbers are likely averages for all episodes of binge drinking, Brewer said, citing other studies. The number of drinks per binge went down with age, to less than six for those ages 65 and older. Binge drinking may be considered socially acceptable—to many, a fun night out at the bar. And many don’t see it as a sign of a serious drinking problem. Indeed, experts say fewer than 20 percent of binge drinkers would be medically diagnosed as alcoholics. But health officials say binge drinking accounts for more than 40,000 deaths each year. It contributes to problems like violence and drunk-driving accidents and longer-term issues like cancer, heart disease and liver failure. It is possible that a round of binge drinking could lead to acute alcohol poisoning. But how many drinks at one sitting could kill you depends on many factors, including how big you are, what you consumed and how quickly you did it. Other findings of the report: • Binge drinking continues to be most common in men, people who have been to college, and those with incomes of $75,000 or more. • Only about 4 percent of people 65 and older binge drink, far fewer than adults in other age groups. But they do it more often—five times a month, on average. Younger adults average closer to four episodes per month. • The upper Midwest continues to report the highest prevalence of binge drinking. Wisconsin topped the list in 2010 with nearly 26 percent of adults saying they had at least one binge drinking episode in the previous month. West Virginia, at just less than 11 percent, was at the other end of the spectrum.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Local News

Page 15A

Reading Continued From Page 1A
Underneath one of the basketball hoops in the Miller Grove gym stood a table with trophies for each school that participated in the bowl, including trophies for the winners. Green and others involved in the reading bowl help raise money each year to pay for the trophies by selling T-shirts, which are always designed by a student. “We have at least 170 volunteers,” Green said. “We get volunteers from the school and we have teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals—the whole gamut.” David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, announced each winning school. The winners were presented a trophy by Ruffin and, as each school was announced, the excitement grew—cheers erupted and echoed throughout the gym. Chamblee Charter High School was awarded first prize for its division and coaches Christine Holland and Shelby Failing said preparing for the bowl began with each student reading as many books as possible over summer break. “We have a smaller team but we do pick our five strongest and a captain,” Holland said. “We read 20 books and we write questions and we meet once a week, sometimes twice a week, after school.” Green said parental involvement was important because, in most cases, students stayed after school to practice and their parents had to pack them a snack and pick them up. She also said it helped to have parents reinforce what the students were reading. “The kids demanded that we start one at the high school level—that wasn’t in the plans. It started out just as elementary school but the kids wanted it,” Green said.

Helen Ruffin, right, sits with Gwen Green, a media specialist at Stephenson Middle School who has been volunteering with the reading bowl since it began.

Audit states DeKalb Schools has too many central office personnel
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com A recent audit of central office positions at the DeKalb County School System found it has approximately 300 jobs too many. School spokesman Walter Woods said it would take the recommendations from Virginia-based Management Advisory Group (MAG) to “do the work needed to organize and run an efficient school system.” The school system has approximately 15,000 employees—1,499 in the central office. According to the report, the system has 15.5 central office positions per 1,000 students and should have closer to 12 per 1,000. Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson ordered the audit and said she will use the findings and recommendations to develop a new organizational structure for each department within the school system. Woods said the system hasn’t done a full audit similar to the one performed by MAG in several years. An Ernst and Young study in 2005 is the most recent. “Basically, we have a lot of work to do and it’s going to take some time to sift through everything,” Woods said. “We need alignment on job titles and job descriptions that are accurate descriptions for jobs performed.” Woods said in some cases at the central office level, the audit found there was confusion as to who should be doing specific jobs and how much they should be getting paid. “There are people who have a title but are doing a completely different job,” Woods said. The results of the audit released on Jan. 18 are part of a two-phase project to audit each position within the school system. According to Woods, phase two of the audit is scheduled to be complete in March. Woods said each year there were jobs phased out due to attrition for various reasons. He wouldn’t say when, or if, a significant amount of positions would be cut from the central office. “The realignment process is under way and we won’t know the number of positions until that process is complete,” Woods said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Education

Page 16A

Recently, more than 18 former students of Wesley Avenue Elementary met to celebrate their accomplishments, and how their kindergarten class in 1956 taught them lessons they held dear for years to come. Photo by Walter Martin

Baby boomers reflect on school during Civil Rights Era
by Daniel Beauregard daniel@dekalbchamp.com In 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and America was engaged in the Cold War. Schools in Atlanta were segregated and a group of 5-year-olds was beginning kindergarten at Wesley Avenue Elementary. Debra Moore said she and her classmates, who grew up in the Edgewood community in DeKalb, were the first generation of children to benefit from the Civil Rights Movement. She said many of them were also the first members of their families to attend college. “We believe that despite any real or imagined circumstances that beset this group of kindergarteners, for the most part, we became and lived the American dream,” Moore said. Moore, a retired DeKalb County teacher, said several members of her kindergarten class maintained close relationships with one another that began in 1956. “After [we reflected] upon the sustained relationships, the idea for a celebration was born,” Moore said. On Dec. 20, 2011, more than 18 former students from the Wesley Avenue kindergarten class of 1956 attended a dinner and dance to celebrate their accomplishments. It was also a chance for them to reminisce on how the lessons they learned at such a young age influenced them and helped shape their lives. Geri Thomas, now Atlanta Market President for Bank of America Georgia, said she was

no thought that we wouldn’t be successful,” Thomas said. Thomas said most of the students went to church with each other, walked to and from school together and attended the same middle school and high school; there was a very strong sense of community. “At the time that we came up Atlanta was, and still is, the place to be for opportunities for African Americans, so even if you went away to school you came back,” Thomas said. Moore explained that although class reunions typically serve as mile-markers highlighting the number of years since a specific education level, kindergarten is

“From five years old to 55 years later, everything we wanted to know we learned in kindergarten

“ “

living in a different world when she entered Anna Rogers’ class 55 years ago. She said she lived in a world where failure—regardless of social or economic background— was not an option. “I don’t know if we so much saw it as a struggle, it was our reality. The expectations were very clear. We were in a segregated school environment and there was

almost never included. “Having traveled through most of the remaining elementary grades together, the social changes under way in the early 1960s also impacted the elementary years and beginning high school years,” Moore said. Throughout their lives, the students of Rogers’ class experienced some of the most

“I had to get to understanding what comprehend meant at that time, and it challenged me to continue to move forward and to take those school books home and study,” Martin said. Many students in the class, including Thomas, Moore and Frida Patillo, said community involvement played a large role in their education, something they said is lacking in the lives of children today. “Regardless of what your parents’ background was, and regardless of what people thought of you, home was very important,” Patillo said. “I knew that it was not acceptable for me to fail—that was not even an issue in my house. My parents expected me to succeed therefore I expected to succeed, and – Debra Moore I tried to pass it off to my children.” Moore said those life lessons, community involvement and great expectations were all they needed to go out into the world to be important moments in history: successful. The reunion gave them They were seventh graders when a chance to come together and see President John F. Kennedy what each had accomplished since was assassinated; they were the such a tumultuous era. first group of students to enter Without the foundation laid in desegregated high school as eighth Rogers’ classroom, Moore said the graders in Atlanta; they were juniors students would have never been in high school when Dr. Martin able to become successful members Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. of society such as educators, “It was about all of us turning 60 doctors, business owners and civic but it was also about us serving as a leaders. beacon to others,” Moore said. “From five years old to 55 years Nelson Martin, a retired General later, everything we wanted to know Motors employee who worked at we learned in kindergarten—that the plant in Doraville, told a story was our theme for the reunion. The at the reunion about when he was common thread was and remains the asked to read something aloud to the kindergarten,” Moore said. teacher. When he was finished, she asked him if he comprehended it.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Page 17A

DeKalb County School System appoints new chief operating officer
The DeKalb County Board of Education voted unanimously on Jan. 26, to approve the appointment of Stephen Wilkins as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the DeKalb County School System. The appointment was based on the recommendation of Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson after the board hired search firm Ray and Associates to find a replacement for former COO Barbara Colman. Wilkins was most recently chief of human capital initiatives for the Alexandria City Public Schools in Alexandria, Va. He was previously facilities director for the Chicago Public Schools. Wilkins is a retired U.S. Army colonel and served in key leadership positions over a 27-year military career. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he also served as an assistant professor. As COO, Wilkins will be in charge of all operational aspects of the School System, including facilities be held at Cross Keys High School located at 1626 North Druid Hills Road. The robotics championship will start at 7:30 a.m. with inspection and open practice in the school gymnasium. From 8:30-11:30 a.m., the teams will participate in practice matches and skills challenges. From 10-11:30 a.m., the teams will compete in elimination matches to crown a county champion. and maintenance, transportation, school nutrition and construction. “Mr. Wilkins is an experienced leader who will be an asset to the School System as we work to improve our efficiency and effectiveness,” Atkinson said.

IHM named top employee
Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) middle school teacher Haydee Vader was recently named the school’s employee of the year. Vader has worked at IHM for 20 years and has taught physical education, fifth grade and middle school science, religion and math. She also is the advisor to the yearbook staff and the National Junior Honor Society. Currently, Vader is the middle school coordinator and was instrumental in facilitating the Eighth Grade iPad/ NetText program at IHM, which replaces textbooks with iPads. Vader will be honored at the Atlanta Archdiocesan Education Banquet this month.

Oakhurst Elementary (K-3) (404) 370-4470 8 - 9 a.m. Feb. 27 March 26 April 23 Winnona Park Elementary (K-3) (404) 370-4490 1:15-2:30 p.m. Feb. 10 March 9 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue (4-5) (404) 371-6680 9:30-10:30 a.m. Feb. 8 Feb.22 March 14 Renfroe Middle School (6-8) (404) 370-4440 Every Thursday in February and March at 9 a.m.

Robotics championship held at Cross Keys
The DeKalb County School System will host the first VEX Robotics DeKalb County League Championship and will have a technology education open house on Feb. 11. The events, which are free and open to the public, will

The matches will be followed by an awards ceremony and conclude at noon. The open house will run from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. It will showcase Cross Keys’ technical and agricultural programs including health science, dental science, manufacturing and information technology. The programs are available to students from a seven-highschool area serving more than 10,000 students.

Decatur hosts tours for parents
City Schools of Decatur will be hosting tours for prospective parents and students over the next months. The schools participating are: College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center (infants - preK) (404) 370-4480 Pre-K program tours are offered the first and third Friday of every month beginning at 9:30 a.m. Clairemont Elementary (K-3) (404) 370-4450 Tour begins at 8 a.m. Feb. 10 March 9 April 13 Glennwood Elementary (K-3) (404) 370-4435 Tour begins at 8:30 Feb. 3 March 16 April 27

Vanderbilt professor to lecture at Agnes Scott
Amy-Jill Levine will deliver Agnes Scott College’s 2012 James Ross McCain Faith and Learning Lecture titled “Agreeing to Disagree: How Jews and Christians Read Scripture Differently.” This event is free and open to the public and takes place Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Agnes Scott’s Gaines Chapel. Levine is the E. Rhodes and Leona Be Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies and professor of Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Her newest book, The Jewish Annotated New Testament, was published in December 2011. A book signing and reception will follow in the Katharine Woltz Reception Room of Rebekah Scott Hall.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Business

Page 18A

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Homesmart to open in Avondale/Decatur area
Homesmart, a retailer specializing in rental purchase options for furniture, appliances, computers and electronics, will hold the grand opening of its Avondale location on Saturday, Feb. 4. The event will feature prizes, entertainment and refreshments for the family. Latinisha Jackson, general manager of the new store, said, “Economic struggles have restricted many incomes, but the need for these everyday necessities still exists. With Homesmart’s low weekly rental rates and no credit checks, we can help our customers achieve ownership faster with superior customer service.” Launched late in 2010, Homesmart now has 74 stores in 10 states with plans to open more in 2012. The grand opening will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 3570 Memorial Drive, Suite 101.

Ahzjah Simons samples food while local musicians perform at the first community mixer Sevananda Natural Foods Market has sponsored in 18 months. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

More than a market—Sevananda Natural Foods seeks to be a community resource
by Kathy Mitchell kathy@dekalbchamp.com More than 38 years ago “a small group of likeminded folks” got together to assure nutritious and economical food was available in their east Atlanta community. First established in a storefront near Emory, what became Sevananda Natural Foods Market moved several times before locating in 1999 to its current home in Little Five Points on the DeKalb County side of Moreland Avenue. Today, the food co-op whose operators once made change out of a cigar box has more than 3,400 members and operates a multimillion-dollar market that’s open to the community as well as to members. It also sponsors related activities such as classes on nutrition, food safety, disease prevention and food economics. Those who would like to explore what Sevananda has to offer have the opportunity once a month when the market sponsors a “healthy happy hour mixer.” The events include cooking demonstrations, samples of healthful dishes, entertainment and opportunities to meet staff and class instructors. General Manager Tom Pawlenko, who has been with Sevananda a little less than a year, attended his first mixer Jan. 26. “They used to have these every month,” he explained, noting that the mixers were suspended for about a year and a half while the organization did strategic planning. “When I came on board, I started talking with the staff about what we want to do going forward. They told me about the mixers and I said, ‘Oh, yeah, we definitely want to get those going again.’” Marketing Manager Ahzjah Simons, who is approaching her eighth year with Sevananda, called the mixers a great opportunity to interact with the community. The Jan. 26 event was at The Wrecking Bar on Moreland less than a mile from the market. A local band provided entertainment as attendees sampled such dishes as vegan shepherd’s pie. “We vary the location,” Simons said. “It’s a way of bringing neighbors together. We also partner with the visual and performing arts community so people can experience all the area has to offer.” Pawlenko added that the market acquires produce—most of it organically grown—from local farmers when possible. “It’s about local sustainability,” he said. “We want to support people in the community and keep dollars in the community.” He said that the fact that Sevananda is owned, used and operated by its members makes a difference in everything from what it stocks to customer service to business practices. Members pay an annual fee, which can be split into small payments. After a profitable year, members may be eligible to receive a share of the profits. One of the things that impressed him most when he first became acquainted with Sevananda, Pawlenko said, was the diversity of the community that supports it. “We have people of all ages and backgrounds— everybody from lawyers to street people,” he said, adding the Sevananda is more than a market, it’s a community resource. Although Sevananda was founded as a vegetarian market, it is open everyone, Simons noted. “We have vegetarians, vegans (those who consume no animal products, including dairy and eggs) and meat eaters. Once in a while we talk about offering meat, but so far we’ve decided to remain a vegetarian market.”

Von Maur department store to replace Bloomindale’s at Perimeter Mall
General Growth Properties recently announced the addition of Von Maur department store as an anchor to Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody. The new store is projected to open in fall 2012. Von Maur will replace the soon to be vacant Bloomingdale’s location. Von Maur joins a retailer line-up that includes Apple, Nordstrom, Michael Kors, Sur La Table, and Forever 21 among others. Perimeter Mall is a 1.6 million-square foot two-level center north of downtown Atlanta. “Our shoppers expect only the best in retail, dining, and above all, unparalleled customer service,” said Richard Pesin, executive vice president of anchors and development for General Growth Properties Inc. “Von Maur combines exceptional customer service with brand-name and high-quality merchandise in an aesthetically pleasing environment to create a shopping experience like no other. Adding Von Maur to the retail line-up of Perimeter Mall further solidifies Perimeter Mall as a premier shopping destination for all of Atlanta.” “We are excited about our expansion to Perimeter Mall. General Growth’s commitment to quality shopping centers fits well with our plans for steady growth. We are a destination in the markets we serve by providing customers with a high level of service and a unique assortment of merchandise,” said Jim von Maur, president of Von Maur.

New business comes to Dunwoody
A ribbon cutting marking the official grand opening of H&R Block Tax & Business Services in Dunwoody was held Jan. 21. The business now occupies a newly remodeled space in the Ashford Place strip shopping center. Bibiano Lopez, owner, said he is “very excited to have relocated this office to Dunwoody and looking forward to welcoming the community.” He noted that this H & R Block office will be open year-round, offering a full complement of services, including individual and corporate tax preparation, QuickBooks consulting, accounting, payroll and various business services. H&R Block Tax & Business Services is a member of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce.

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

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce
404-378-8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Page 19A

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3,

Around deKAlb
ATLANTA
Meeting focuses on teen violence
A free forum on teen violence will be presented Feb. 7, 6-8 p.m., at McNair High School in DeKalb County. The “Shake Off Violence” round table discussion brings together youth, parents, local politicians and community leaders. The event is sponsored by Youth in Action along with NAN Youth Move, and hosted by 100 Black Men of DeKalb. The roundtable is the second in a national series of three town hall meetings sponsored by Youth Move. After the round table, Youth Move will put together a resource guide based on all of the information gathered from the three forums and the guide will be made available across the country. McNair High School is at 1804 Bouldercrest Road SE, Atlanta. For more information about the “Shake Off Violence” town hall meeting, contact The Southeast Office of National Action Network at (678) 732-0405 or visit NANYouth@nationalactionnetwork.net. that are increasingly populated by art and artists. For more information and event schedule, go to www.railartsdistrict.com.

Library to show romantic films

CHAMBLEE

YMCA are presenting this event. The PPPD will be open for 15-minute appointments at the Decatur Family YMCA, 1100 Clairemont Ave., Decatur. Appointments must be made in advance and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit http://www.williamdavidcreative.com/ pppd/ or call (404) 799-6610 to schedule an appointment.

During February, the Chamblee Library will show classic romantic movies as part of its Classic Movie Monday series. On Monday, Feb. 6, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m., the movie will be Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. The 1961 movie is not rated. The Chamblee Library is located at 4115 Clairmont Road, Chamblee. For more information, call (770) 936-1380.

BINGO offered at library

DORAVILLE

Local cadet honored

CLARKSTON

Seniors are invited to play BINGO at the Doraville Library on Thursday, Feb. 9, 1 – 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. The Doraville Library is located at 3748 Central Ave., Doraville. For more information, call (770) 936-3852.

DUNWOODY
Police announce award winners The Dunwoody Police Department handed out its 2011 achievement awards recently in five categories. Here is a list of the winners. Officer of the Year: Det. Blake Yeargin. “He has been an asset to the detective division since his transfer. He has made numerous arrests which have made a significant impact in his zone, according to the citation. Employee of the year: Eileen Sears. “The police service representative has assumed numerous responsibilities outside of her job description. She has assisted in the implementation of new projects to assist with the efficiency of the department’s PSR’s,” the citation states. Marksman of the Year: Det. Ronny Gomez DeLima. He had the highest qualifying score for the department in 2011. Rising Star Award: Officer Timothy Fecht. “He has demonstrated the ability to go outside his normal duties to assist with community outreach efforts. Along with his positive attitude on the job, Fecht has been a great asset to the Dunwoody Police Department since he started. Meritorious Service Medal: Officer Dale Laskowski. “He responded to a person down early last year. Upon his arrival, the victim was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Officer Laskowski performed CPR until EMS arrived, and the individual made a full recovery.”

Cadet Cornelius Davis Lee of Clarkston Price to speak at Lincoln Day Dinner has been named to the dean’s list at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, U.S. Representative Tom Price will be the for academic achievement during the fall 2011 featured speaker at the annual Lincoln Day semester. Lee is seeking a bachelor’s degree Dinner to be held on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the in criminal justice. He and other dean’s list Druid Hills Golf Club with a social hour from 6:30 students were recognized Jan. 27 at a military - 7:30 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m. dress parade. Founded by former Sen. Jim Tysinger, the event is sponsored by the North DeKalb Breakfast Forum, which is in its 40th year of hosting non-partisan discussion of public policy, issues and events. Price’s 6th Congressional District now inBook signing announced cludes most of north DeKalb County if it is approved under legislative reapportionment by the A book signing event for author Karen Y. federal courts, as is now being requested. Hosey will be Feb. 3, 2 - 4 p.m., at the Java The golf club is located at 740 Clifton Road, DeLight Cafe, 4153 Flat Shoals Pkwy., Suite NE, Atlanta. Complimentary valet parking is 310, Decatur. Hosey, a resident of Stockbridge, available. The public is invited. Tickets are $50 will be available to sign copies of her book How per person and reservations must be made by to Not See What You’re Looking At: Walking Tuesday, Feb. 14. Order by mail at P.O. Box By Faith and Not By Sight. The author tells 941671, Atlanta, GA 31141, payable to Lincoln of her 30 years married to “a good man who Day Dinner. didn’t believe in God.” The book also chronicles Other public officials and those who may the story of a woman whose life “appeared to be seeking election or re-election in 2012 are follow the same path as Job’s” as she went from expected to attend. For more information, call happiness and prosperity to “tragedy following (770) 934-1365. tragedy.”

DECATUR

AVONDALE ESTATES

Valentine pet portraits offered at Y
A Pet Portrait Picture Drive will be held Saturday, Feb. 4, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., at the Decatur Family YMCA. Pet owners will receive a portrait with their pet taken by professional photographer Bill Reichardt and with the assistance of Debbie Mursch of Happy Bones Pet Sitting. Each portrait is $25, and all proceeds benefit Partner With Youth, a YMCA financial assistance program that gives children and families an opportunity to participate in programs regardless of their ability to pay. William David Creative Design & Photography and the Decatur Family

Rail Art District sets annual studio cruise
The Rail Art District’s (RAD) annual studio cruise is Feb. 11. The event, where the artists of the RAD open their doors for demonstrations, refreshments, performances and art exhibits, takes place along a one-mile stretch of CSX rail line that passes through downtown Avondale Estates into Decatur’s Laredo Drive industrial area, and along East Ponce De Leon Avenue into Scottdale. This section of track is flanked by mid-century industrial and warehouse buildings

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Page 21A

Lakeside sweeps county swim titles
by Robert Naddra
robert@dekalbchamp.com

Erin Collins stood on the starting block and watched her team’s chances in the DeKalb County Swimming and Diving Championships slip away. Collins, the third leg of Lakeside’s 400-yard freestyle relay team, dove into the water in second place behind Dunwoody. Lakeside and Dunwoody entered the final event tied for first, and Collins didn’t want to end her career with a second straight runner-up finish to Dunwoody in the county meet. At the end of her 100 yards, Collins was ahead of the pack and Lakeside went on to win the event and the county title on Jan. 28, its 14th girls’ championship in the past 15 years. The Lakeside boys also were tied with Dunwoody heading into the final event and won the meet by placing second in the 400 free relay while the Wildcats finished third. It was the 12th time Lakeside has swept the county meet since its inception in 1971. “I saw the girl next to me and knew I really needed to get caught up,” Collins said. “That’s what made me go. I wanted to do it for my team.” Other members of the Lakeside girls’ 400 free relay team were Lizzy White, Alexis Letourneau and Anna Ewing. Lakeside finished six points ahead of Dunwoody in the girls meet and two points ahead in the boys meet. The Lakeside boys won their ninth consecutive title. Lakeside’s Cesar Acosta, who was one of four swimmers to win two individual races, swam first on the Vikings 400 free relay team with a personal best of 49.5 seconds for his 100 yards. Acosta was joined on the boys’ relay team by William Pfleger, Matthew Williams and Jason Arne. “This is the greatest feeling ever,” Acosta said after the race. “We were in the same situation my freshman year, but I didn’t swim in the relay. I really don’t do well under pressure, but [Saturday] I wasn’t nervous. It was something I set my mind on. I just focused and the nerves went away.” Acosta won the 200 and 500 freestyle events. Other double winners were Cash DeLoache of Tucker (200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke), Mary Kate Leary, Druid Hills (200 freestyle and 100 backstroke) and Dunwoody’s Shawn Pyne (100 and 50 freestyle). Dunwoody’s boys’ and girls’ teams, the Lakeside girls and the Druid Hills girls each swept the top two places in an individual event. Leary and Maddie Riggs finished first and second in the 200 freestyle for the Druid Hills girls, which placed third in the team standings. Lakeside’s White and Collins were 1-2 in the 200 intermediate medley. For the Dunwoody boys, John Hicks and J.B. Young placed 1-2 in the 50 freestyle while Pyne and Bekah Passow were first and second in the girls’ 50 freestyle race. When it came to the final event of the day, both Lakeside teams had the fastest times leading up to the race. The Lakeside girls had swam nine seconds faster than Dunwoody’s best time, and the Vikings boys’ were more than 17 seconds faster than Dunwoody. Still, there was plenty of drama in the 400 freestyle relay. In the boys’ race, winner Chamblee, Lakeside and Dunwoody were separated by less than four seconds while the Lakeside girls were four seconds faster than Dunwoody. “We knew if we didn’t win the race, we wouldn’t win the meet,” said Letourneau, who swam first in the event for the Vikings. “It was really exciting.”

Lakeside's winning 400-yard freestyle relay team of Alexis Letourneau, from left, Anna Ewing, Lizzy White and Erin Collins helped the Vikings win the girls' county team title. Photos by Robert Naddra

Cash DeLoache of Tucker won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly.

Dunwoody's Shawn Pyne, left, and Rebekah Passow congratulate each other after finishing first and second, respectively, in the 50 freestyle.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Sports

Page 22A

DeKalb High School Sports Highlights
BOYS BASKETBALL
Miller Grove: The Wolverines have won three in a row since losing to Chamblee on Jan. 20. The Wolverines beat Carver Atlanta 76-56 on Jan. 24 and defeated Redan 73-38 on Jan. 27. Tony Parker led with 18 points, Brandon Morris had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Tony Evans added 10 points against Redan. Against Carver, Justin Colvin had 20 points and Parker added 18. Southwest DeKalb: The Panthers defeated Chamblee 62-46 on Jan. 24 and Douglass 68-42 on Jan. 27. William Goodwin had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Jordan Price and Justin Hollimon each added 12 points against Chamblee. Goodwin had 28 points and 12 rebounds against Douglass, with Price adding 27 points. The Panthers play at Miller Grove on Feb. 3. Tucker: The Tigers (15-6, 9-3 in Region 6-AAAA) defeated Mays 60-46 and Carver Atlanta 68-52. Devante Fitzgerald scored 18 points, Joey Courseault had 11 and Joseph Ledbetter grabbed 11 rebounds against Mays. In the win over Carver, Ledbetter led with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Daniel Woodard added 11 points. Druid Hills: The Red Devils had their sixgame winning streak snapped Jan. 27 in a 7862 loss to Grady in a Region 5-AAA game. They also lost Jan. 28 to Lakeside 44-42. Prior to the losses, the Red Devils beat Lithonia 38-37 on Jan. 21 and North Atlanta 61-38 on Jan. 24. Willie Zachery scored 14 points and Kyle Simmons added 11, while Jacob King grabbed 10 rebounds in the loss to Grady. Alonzo Brantley scored 11 against Lithonia and 12 against North Atlanta. Zachery scored 13 points, and Williams had 11 points and 13 rebounds against Lakeside. Dunwoody: DeChard Hamilton scored 20 points and Malcom Bew added 11 in a 63-53 win in overtime against Redan on Jan. 24 in a Region 6-AAAA game. The Wildcats lost to Marist 71-62 on Jan. 27 as Richard Carrington scored 17 points, Hamilton added 14 and Bradley McKnight 12. Towers: The Titans (13-6, 6-3 in Region 5-AAA) split a pair of games last week. In a 39-32 win over Stone Mountain on Jan. 24, Quincy Tiller had 12 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Quishon McCoy added 10 points with three 3-pointers. Tiller had 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in a 60-58 overtime loss to McNair on Jan. 27. Tiller made a layup in the final seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime. Arabia Mountain: The Rams rebounded from a 79-55 loss to Columbia on Jan. 24 with a 59-53 win over Woodward Academy on Jan. 27. Bakari Copeland scored 24 points against the War Eagles, and Matt Citron and Nathan Schultz each added 11. Brian Woods had a team-high 14 rebounds for the Rams (7-10, 4-4 Region 5-AAA). Paideia: Keenan Palmore had a tripledouble with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 steals on Jan. 27 in a 59-56 loss to Landmark Christian, ranked No. 6 in Class A. The Pythons rebounded with a 54-52 win over Pace Academy on Jan. 28. St. Pius: Will Maguire scored 15 points and Daniel Crochet added 10 in a 59-47 win over Chestatee on Jan. 28. The Golden Lions also lost to North Atlanta and Woodward Academy.

Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Saadia Doyle, Howard (basketball): The junior from Columbia had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Bison defeated Savannah State 64-51 on Jan. 28. She also had 17 points, making 9 of 10 free throw attempts, in a 52-39 loss to Hampton on Jan. 23. Nigel Plummer, Georgia Tech (swimming): The senior from Chamblee finished second in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 20.76 seconds in a trimeet against Virginia Tech and Miami on Jan. 21. He holds the Georgia Tech record in the event at 19.54 seconds. Jemimah Ashby, Augusta State (basketball): The sophomore guard from Columbia had 14 points and four steals in the Jaguars’ 64-59 win over Montevallo on Jan. 28 and led the team with 10 points in a 5141 loss to Columbus State on Jan. 23.

GIRLS BASKETBALL
Decatur: Queen Alford scored 54 points in two games as the Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 in Class AA, defeated Therrell 80-31 on Jan. 24 and Cross Keys 70-8 on Jan. 27. Alford scored 37 against Therrell, with Jordan Dillard adding 11 points. Against Cross Keys, Alford had 17 points, Jahmee Reeves chipped in with 16 and Damali Thomas added 13. Chamblee: The Bulldogs won three games Jan. 24-28 to improve to 20-1 overall. The Bulldogs defeated Southwest DeKalb 57-54, Lakeside 5525 and Alcovy 59-47. Lucy Mason is averaging 22.7 points per game to lead the county in scoring, and she is second in assists, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. Southwest DeKalb: The Panthers lost to Chamblee and Norcross, and defeated Douglass in games Jan. 24-28. Nicole Martin had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Nekia Sockwell scored 12 points in the 57-54 loss to Chamblee. Sockwell had 15 points and Martin 13 in a 6627 win over Douglass. Also, Sockwell led with 20 points and Martin added 12 in a 71-54 loss to Class AAAAA defending champion Norcross. St. Pius: The Golden Lions won three games Jan. 24-28 and carried a five-game winning streak into a Jan. 30 game against Riverwood. Asia Durr and Sydni Payne each scored 11 points in a 46-33 win over Woodward Academy. Durr and Payne scored 14 points each in a 6332 win over North Springs, while Durr led with 11 points in a 50-30 win over Chestatee. Anna O’Donnell had 10 blocks in that game. Miller Grove: Tashi Thompson scored 27 points and Tabitha Fudge had 18 rebounds as the Wolverines won their third straight game, 57-33 over Redan on Jan. 27. The Wolverines also beat Carver Atlanta 61-36 on Jan. 24.

The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please e-mail nominations to robert@dekalbchamp.com by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Cesar Acosta, Lakeside (swimming): The senior won both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle, and was part of the Vikings’ 400 freestyle relay team that finished second and clinched the team championship at the DeKalb County swimming championship on Jan. 28. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Mary Kate Leary Druid Hills (swimming): The junior won two events at the DeKalb County swimming championship on Jan. 28, winning the 100yard backstroke by four seconds and the 200 freestyle by nearly three seconds.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3, 2012

Sports

Page 23A

Khalil Williams, left, won the 120-pound weight class at the county championships and helped McNair take home its first county wrestling team title. Photos by Mark Brock

Great expectations

McNair changes outlook after winning county wrestling title

by Robert Naddra robert@dekalbchamp.com

R

amon Tillery found out just how good his McNair wrestling team is Jan. 28 at the DeKalb County wrestling championships. The Mustangs won their first county wrestling title over traditional powers Marist and Southwest DeKalb, which combined to win five county titles over the previous eight years. McNair won two weight classes— Khalil Williams at 120 and D.J. Jackson at 220—and had seven wrestlers place among the top four. Williams and Jackson each improved their season records to 43-1. “We were hoping to win it, but we had a lot of kids come through that weren’t expected to do so well,” Tillery said. “That helped the team out. We were down by 15 points going into the last round and the kids really stepped it up.” McNair outpointed runner-up Marist 200.5-193, while Southwest placed third with 181 points. Williams defeated Marist’s Jack Lange in the 120-pound finals. Marist’s Kenneth Brinson won the 195-pound class and the War Eagles had three runners-up and seven in the top four. Southwest had three individual champions—Anthony Kaigler, 126; Corey Strickland, 145; and Gabriel Echols, 285. St. Pius and Lithonia also had two indi-

vidual titlists. Brian Peragine (113) and Robert Martin (138) won for the Golden Lions while Anthony Smith (152) and Jaquille Fitzpatrick (171) won for the Bulldogs. The other weight class champions were Romello Swain, Tucker, 106; Gashaw Belete, Clarkston, 132; Darion Perry, Stephenson, 160; and James Philpot, Redan, 182. McNair’s team victory has changed Tillery’s outlook on the rest of the season. “We knew we had a good team, but we didn’t know how good,” Tillery said. “Now we have high expectation and I feel like it’s almost a must to win the region. Now I feel like it’s something we have to do.” McNair wrestles in the 5-AAA tournament Feb. 4 at Woodward Academy. The War Eagles beat the Mustangs by three points earlier in the season. “We’re looking to get revenge in the region tournament,” Tillery said. But there’s more to the meet than just beating Woodward. Tillery, in his first season as head coach at McNair, said he hopes to qualify as many as 10 wrestlers for state after taking seven last year. We’re trying to turn the program around,” Tillery said. “[At state] it’s a different story; it gets real tough up there. Maybe we can get two state champions, but if we can get nine or 10 wrestlers qualified maybe we can make a run for it.”

Photos by Travis Hudgons

Page 24A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 3,

GET A $10 PUBLIX GIFT CARD, FREE

We’re always thinking of new ways for you to save at Publix. This week, we make it easier than ever. Simply spend $100 on groceries. Bring this coupon to checkout for your free $10 Publix gift card.

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