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

and Stone Mountain.




Ronald McDonald Houses keep lights on for families with critically ill children
Heavy demand means ongoing challenges
by Gale Horton Gay


ews updates online from the The Champion.

Brittney Crowell used to think that a Ronald McDonald House was a playhouse for children. However after her twins were born with a rare blood disorder, she learned how important a Ronald McDonald House can be for a family struggling with a long-term medical condition. After spending 10 months at the Gatewood House run by Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities after her daughters had bone marrow transplants, Crowell has a newfound respect for the haven she found there. Had it not been for the facility, Crowell said she would have had to commute from Macon—her home at the time—to Atlanta each day. Begun in 1974 in Philadelphia, Ronald McDonald Houses provide a place for families to stay close by their hospitalized children or with their children who need ongoing hospital care. Housing is provided at little to no cost. However, across the nation, many Ronald McDonald Houses are scrambling to serve a growing heavy demand. According to the Associated Press, the facilities are experiencing a worldwide trend “with many Ronald McDonald Houses filling each night and having waiting lists.” In a recent article, the AP reported “As children are diagnosed earlier, treatments and survival rates improve, more hospitals expand and the need grows…” The international nonprofit Ronald McDonald House Charities has 313 Ronald McDonald Houses in 31 countries, including 175 in the United States, plus 176 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in 19 countries and 44 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles in eight countries, the AP reports. Spokeswoman Clara Carrier said the organization and local chapters plan to grow 29 percent by the end of 2015 by adding 46 houses, 68 family rooms and 14 more mobile clinics in response to health care trends and demand, according to the AP article. In metro Atlanta, two Ronald McDonald houses are attempting to keep

After a 10-month stay at the Ronald McDonald House, Brittney Crowell of Macon is especially grateful at this special time of year to celebrate the long-awaited homecoming of her 22-month-old twins Khloee and Karmella.

pace with the growing demand. 323 families. is not fully accessible. The newest of the two homes According to Linda M. MorPlans are in the works now to is the Gatewood House, a 50-bedris, president and CEO of Atlanta replace the Peachtree Dunwoody room, 60,000-square-foot facility Ronald McDonald House Charities facility with a 31-bedroom resilocated near Emory University and (ARMHC), the homes have kept dence complete with suites, an Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at pace with growth fairly well and elevator, private bathrooms and Egleston. It opened in 2008 to rerarely have had to resort to waitlarger dining quarters. The project place the original Ronald McDoning lists. She noted the Gatewood is currently in the design phase and ald House on Houston Mill Road. house was full about a dozen nights a capital campaign to finance it has The other home is located on in 2011. yet to be launched. However, MorPeachtree Dunwoody Road in SanHowever the Peachtree ris said if all goes as planned, funddy Springs near Children’s Health- Dunwoody House, the older of the raising will begin later this year, care of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. two homes, has limited ability to with the house taking about two This 11-bedroomher news updates online from the The Champion. medi- sheyears news updates online from the The Champion. house has taken serve the diverse needs of its Because gets her to build. Because she gets families in its cally fragile population. The house inBecause she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. more than 7,000 “Right now it’s up to the hospi17-year history. has only 11 bedrooms, no private you can too! Follow us. And tal to find housing for those folks,” Last year, the Gatewood House bathrooms and no suites for chilsaid Morris, who has been at the served 1,569 families and the dren who need to be isolated. The See House on Page 15A Peachtree Dunwoody House served home doesn’t have an elevator and

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Petitioners want county to prioritize animal services
by Andrew Cauthen More than 1,800 people have signed an on-line petition at urging the county to restore the budget for animal services to the 2011 level, reduce animal euthanizations and build a new shelter in 2012. “The animal control employees work tirelessly to do the very best they can with the resources they’re given,” wrote Aubrey Bowen, who signed the petition. “Unfortunately, their hands are tied by the pitiful funding and support the county allots them.” The petition was started by DeKalb Initiative, a group of concerned residents in DeKalb County who want “to make county residents aware of the conditions at the shelter and force the county to do something about it,” according to Wardell Castles of Decatur, a member of the group. Robin Angel, another petitioner, said she had a bad experience recently at the shelter. “I went to the shelter this weekend to volunteer and was so disgusted by conditions that I don’t want to go back,” Angel wrote. “I care too much about dogs not to do something. Please use my tax dollars to upgrade the shelter to be a place that is humane and more pleasant for humans and animals alike.” Petitioners are complaining about the 12 percent cut for animal services in DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis’ proposed 2012 budget. For 2012, the division, which asked for $3.4 million, would get $2.76 million. In 2011, the animal services’ budget was $3.14 million. The county’s Board of Commissioners, which will adopt a budget on Feb. 28, has asked all department heads to consider the effects of even deeper cuts of 5 to 10 percent. Ashley Derrick, a DeKalb resident and a member of the county’s animal task force formed to reduce euthanizations, said she was “shocked” when the CEO’s budget was released. “It’s so unfortunate,” Derrick said. “It can barely function as it is.” Derrick said. “I don’t think they have a main goal. They simply do not have the officers to help.” The animal services website says the role of the division is to “to protect the public from diseases transmitted by animals, from damage caused by animals, and to protect animals from abuse or neglect.” “I’m not sure that’s the mission anymore,” Derrick said. “I’m not sure what they’re there for. They don’t have the staff to clean and feed the animals.” Public Safety Director William Miller said the county’s CEO “has maintained at all times that he wanted to completely staff animal services.” “There was an outcry from the community,” Miller said. “The CEO heard that outcry clearly.” Ellis asked the county’s finance director Joel Gottlieb to restore the funding for 10 animal control officers to put staffing back at the 2010 level, Miller said. Four of those positions are already in the process of having their funding restored and the other six will be in an amended proposed budget the CEO will present to the Board of Commissioners, Miller said. Previous budget cuts “hampered our ability to continue to provide the type of services that DeKalb residents” are accustomed to. “We obviously want to get back to that level,” Miller said. “We need more. We can do more with more.” A new shelter would be “ideal,” but the $7-11 million price tag is not feasible, Miller said. “Do we have that kind of money in these economic times?” Miller asked. “Certainly not.” Miller said “the next best thing” is “cleaning and improving the shelter that we have.” Miller said the county has pending requests for proposals to privatize parts or all of the services the division provides. Another idea the county is considering is the acquisition of a storefront building to use in the adoption of animals. “We’re doing the best with what we have,” Miller said.

Responding to the 61 percent euthanization rate of animals taken in by the county’s animal services division between 2008-10, more than 1,800 people have signed an online petition asking for more money for the county’s animal services division. File photo

The proposed budget cut would be “almost a death knell for the employees and for the animals,” Derrick said. “DeKalb County Animal Services would cease to exist to help animals in DeKalb County,” Derrick said. “It will literally become a euthanasia place.” Of the 25,600 animals taken in by the DeKalb County Animal Services and Enforcement Division from 2008-10, approximately 15,600, or 61 percent, were euthanized. The cuts would be a “huge detriment for animal services,” Derrick said. “The services will cease to exist.” It is a “difficult process to take care of the animals in the shelter, much less the abused and neglected animals in the county,” Derrick said. With a budget cut, “it could become a public safety issue.” Animal advocates say a new building is desperately needed for the animal shelter. “The place has not been maintained,” said Castles, who was at the shelter recently to rescue a dog. “It’s unhealthy for people and inhumane for animals. “The animals basically have to fight roaches and rats for food,” Castles said. One of the problems at the

center is the salaries of the workers, Castles said. Ellis’ proposed budget cuts salaries and overtime by $160,000 for animal control officers who make less than their counterparts in Gwinnett County, where the pay range for a senior animal control officer is approximately $30,000 to $48,000. In DeKalb, the same position has a range of approximately $26,000 to $42,000. In 2011, the average senior animal control officer was making $27,900. The county currently has 17 animal control officers, down from 22 in 2011 and 27 in 2010. In addition to the animal control officers the animal services division has three supervisors, two animal control cruelty investigators, one police officer and one police sergeant. More cuts would mean “even less care than [the animals] are getting now,” Castles said. In October 2011, a grand jury published a presentment about the animal services division that described the building as “old, unsanitary and inadequate.” The floors were wet, the odor unbearable and the cat cages too small, the grand jury stated. “And there is no separate

room for sick animals,” Derrick said. “A lot of dogs are sick right now,” Derrick said. “If people realize what the employees are working with and what the animals are living in,…they would want to do something about it.” “The people working there are doing their best, but the building is disgraceful,” according to the presentment. The grand jury stated that its members “would be hesitant to visit it again, but for the desire to save a life. It is not a place we would like to take children to view pets for possible adoption.” “It has to be a terribly depressing environment for employees,” Derrick said. The county needs a “facility large enough to handle the volume, and we need an aggressive outreach program to educate high-complaint communities about the necessity of” spaying and neutering, the grand jury stated. “DeKalb County should not be killing dogs and cats because there isn’t enough space.” Derrick said she hopes the county will eventually outsource animal services to a nonprofit with a goal of saving the lives of animals. DeKalb Animal Services’ “main goal is not lifesaving,”

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Committee changes name of proposed city from Brookhaven to Ashford
by Daniel Beauregard A House committee agreed recently the residents of Brookhaven should be allowed to vote this summer on whether to create a city, but it may not be called Brookhaven. Against protestations from Rep. Mike Jacobs, the legislator championing the cityhood vote, Rep. Edward Lindsey attached an amendment to House Bill 636 to change the name of the proposed city to Ashford. Lindsey represents residents on the Atlanta side of historic Brookhaven. He also lives there and said some of his neighbors and stakeholders expressed concerns over naming a DeKalb County city “Brookhaven.” “My amendment will hopefully further a dialogue on the name as it goes through the General Assembly,” Lindsey said. Lindsey said his amendment was not a “be all and end all” name change—he simply wanted to encourage dialogue among all of the stakeholders. “I want to get everyone to the table and get all of the people with interests in it to be heard,” Lindsey said. The bill is currently in the House rules committee and Lindsey, who is a member of the committee, said he expects the bill to move to the floor of the House within the next two weeks. “I do support the bill and I voted for it in committee, and as the House majority whip I do firmly believe that if I propose an amendment to the bill I need to support the bill,” Lindsey said. Jacobs said he anticipated a name change back to the city of Brookhaven when the bill reached the Senate. “The argument rings hollow when a single drive around the community will reveal that there is a lot of Brookhaven in DeKalb County that is not historic Brookhaven,” Jacobs said. However, Lindsey said there are a lot of good names to choose from other than Brookhaven or Ashford, and he felt confident the stakeholders would come up with one. “I’ll have to quote Shakespeare on this one and say, ‘A rose with any other name would smell just as sweet,’” Lindsey said. If HB 636 passes it would allow residents in DeKalb to vote on a referendum to create the proposed city in the July primary election.

DeKalb legislator seeks to reduce animal euthanizations
by Andrew Cauthen A DeKalb County legislator wants to reduce animal euthanizations in Georgia. Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick has introduced House Bill 782, called the Animal Euthanization Registry Bill, which would set up a registry in which animal shelters would be required to maintain a list of rescue groups that are willing to accept animals that are facing euthanization. “It saves animals and saves the shelter the cost of euthanizations,” Kendrick said. Once the registry is set up, animal shelters would be required to notify all rescue groups on the registry at least two business days before the animal is scheduled to be euthanized. A rescue group that wants to take the animal must respond to the notification within 24 hours and will then have two business days to take possession of the animal, according to the proposed legislation. The bill would help shelters save money because the cost of euthanizing an animal is more than the cost of implementation of this bill, said Kendrick, adding that the bill already had bipartisan support. In DeKalb, of the 25,600 animals taken in by the DeKalb County Animal Services and Enforcement Division from 2008-10, approximately 15,600, or 61 percent, were euthanized. “We can solve this problem for pets, many of whom we consider family,” Kendrick said.

Nominate a community servant, community organization or an individual in the DeKalb community who tirelessly volunteers his or her service for the betterment of DeKalb County. Announcing the presented by The Champion Newspaper and DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis
Please complete this nomination form and return it to The Champion office by March 30, 2012. A panel of civic, corporate, and government volunteers will select the winners. Recipients will receive charitable contributions to help further their efforts in the county. Winners will be honored at the CEO’s Community Heroes Award Gala at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center on Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 4 p.m. Nominations may be faxed to: Or mail nomination to: Email nomination forms to: 404-373-7721 The Champion Newspaper • P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, Ga 30030

CEO’s Community Hero Awards

Nominator’s name:___________________________________________________ Nominator’s address:_________________________________________________ City_________________________________ State __ ZIP Code_____________ Nominator’s phone number_____________________________________________ Nominator’s email ____________________________________________________ Thank you for making this nomination! Deadline to submit nominations is March 31, 2012. Any questions please contact: Erica M. Brooks 404.371.3695 or John Hewitt 404.373.7779x110 AWARD NOMINEE INFORMATION Attach additional page if needed. *All individual nominees must live in the DeKalb County. Any organization nominated must be able to demonstrate a clear presence and direct impact on DeKalb County. Please indicate below which category best describes your nomination: COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD:____ This award acknowledges an individual and non-profit organization whose work has had a positive impact in strengthening communities and improving the lives of others in DeKalb County. ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AWARD:____ This award honors a community member and/or organization that works to preserve, protect, and raise awareness about our environment. YOUTH VOLUNTEER AWARD: _____ This award recognizes a DeKalb County young adult between the ages of 5-18 that exemplifies volunteerism and community service. NEIGHBORHOOD EMPOWERMENT AWARD:____ This award recognizes an individual and organization that fosters civic engagement and promotes community involvement. THE VANGUARD AWARD:____ This award recognizes an individual and organization whose contributions most exemplify the National County Government Month theme as established by NACo each year. The 2012 theme is “Healthy Counties, Healthy Families; ONE Healthy DeKalb” Nominee’s name______________________________________________________ Nominee’s Agency, Community Organization, or Individual Volunteer Focus ____________________________________________________________________ Nominee’s address:____________________________________________________ City______________________ State__ ZIP _________________ Nominee’s contact info (required so they can be notified in the event they are selected): Name: Phone: E-mail address: Please tell us why this nominee should be honored as a CEO’s Community Hero: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ Attach additional information if needed.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Getting too big
ies within their counties. The article specifically named Fulton Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand and our own DeKalb County Tax Commissioner Claudia Lawson. The headline blared that Ferdinand is the highest paid official in the state and in addition to Ferdinand’s salary also detailed how much Lawson makes. Read in between the lines: “They’re making too much money.” They’ve gotten “too big” on a law from which they were not supposed to benefit. Mind you neither of them has done anything illegal or unethical. But as soon as African Americans begin to benefit from systems and policies put in place long before their tenure, something is now wrong with that picture. Or it prompts the questions, who is out to get them and why? There’s more to this story than meets the eye. Ferdinand’s base salary is $134,440. With the $1 fee per parcel taxes he collects from all the cities in Fulton County, including Atlanta, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs, his salary jumps to $347,000. Comparisons are made with the salary paid to the governor and the president of the United States. He is the highest paid official in the state of Georgia. He’s gotten too big! Lawson’s base salary is about $156,000 a year. Collecting the $1 per parcel fee for DeKalb’s 10 cities, including Chamblee, Dunwoody and the DeKalb portion of Atlanta, she earned more than $237,000 last year. Earned is the operative word in both Ferdinand and Lawson’s cases. If one were to check other tax commissioners throughout the state one would find that others would be earning considerably more than their base salaries as well but commensurate to the size of their jurisdictions. Fulton and DeKalb happen to be among the largest counties in the state. More responsibility justifies greater pay. It must be noted that Cobb and Gwinnett tax commissioners do not collect the per parcel personal fees. This all would not have been an issue in another era, because no self-respecting lawmaker would dare introduce a bill to reverse a long-standing practice that is legal and practical. Ferdinand and Lawson have taken on the massive responsibility of collecting property taxes for the state’s largest cities, which they are not required by law to do. Take this issue out of the realm of emotion, bigotry and envy. It is impractical and costly for these cities to begin to bill and collect their own taxes. Tax collectors have the responsibility of collecting hundreds of millions of dollars used to fund police, fire, parks, roadwork, schools and other services. It is a massive undertaking that many take for granted. Rep. Riley’s bill would allow cities to break their existing contracts with counties, end the personal payments to Georgia’s tax commissioners and have cities negotiate directly with county commissions. Only counties could collect the fees which would be “substantially approximate” to the fees previously paid to the tax commissioners. If the bill is successful and it could very likely pass the Republican controlled legislature, then county commissions should “substantially” raise per parcel fees to adjust for inflation and the cost of doing business today. Also, tax commissioners should receive increased salaries commensurate with their outside cities’ parcel loads. Rep. Riley is using a “double taxation rationale” and offers the opinion that no public official should receive personal fees. That sounds reasonable and logical at first glance. If the people occupying the Fulton and DeKalb tax commissioner seats looked like her, would this be an issue? Bigotry and discrimination are subtle and often difficult to detect and harder to prove. Expected are the hoots and howls of protest that the race card is being raised here. Well just take a good close, honest look around. Follow the money. If the money is not controlled by the majority and viewed as an “excessive” benefit to a minority, then the rules of the game have to be changed. Unfortunately, race permeates every aspect of our society. Playing the race card? When the cards are stacked against you, play your ace in the hole—truth. Rep. Riley and her cohorts don’t care how close you get, just don’t get too big. 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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This writer is a “Souyank” – born and raised in the North with roots in the South. There is a healthy understanding and appreciation for both cultures, which were considerably different several decades ago. The South has morphed in the post civil rights era to a Northern culture of 40 to 50 years ago, which was characterized in the main by subtle bigotry and discrimination as opposed to blatant racism and segregation. The former is more debilitating because it is more difficult to identify. There was an old saw heard often in days gone by that the young pay little attention to. After all, it came from the elders and what did they know? They came from another world of the depression and segregation. But often heard was this: “White Southerners don’t care how big you get, just don’t get too close. Northerners don’t care how close you get, just don’t get too big.” A recent news account was a reminder of those now sage words, “don’t get too big.” A bill has been introduced by State Rep. Lynne Riley and five other north side Republicans that would change a long-standing law that allows tax commissioners to personally collect fees for handling the tax bills of cit-

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Figures lie and liars figure
tively seeking employment, receiving unemployment benefits (which though continually being extended are not infinite) and this does not count the under-employed, part-time employed (seeking full-time) or selfemployed (due to lack of another choice). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 13.1 million unemployed Americans by that definition. This results in a national unemployment rate of 8.5 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does offer an alternative measure, known to economists as “U-6” and not to be confused with Area 51. U-6 adds an additional 2.6 million Americans “‘marginally attached” to the labor force, meaning that they are ready to work if a job became available (think laid off auto workers here) and another 8.1 million working part-time who would prefer full-time employment (under-employed). Another invisible group is made up of those who have collected all of their allowed unemployment and are currently not looking (the “discourage unemployed”). This brings the total receiving unemployment benefits while seeking another position, the under-employed, part-time employed and “discouraged” unemployed no longer looking to more than 23 million Americans. That’s an oops factor of nearly 100 percent, so while the official count is 8.5 percent, the U-6 percentage is closer to 15 percent. Among certain population groups—particularly minorities and the traditionally under-employed, and in metro areas hardest hit by this recession—that number leaps up to nearly 30 percent. Many of the jobs of yesterday are likely not coming back. On primarily the cost of labor, America has long lost its global dominance in manufacturing. That said, there is a significant and growing demand for trained labor in a healthy number of specific trades. Picking education as another arena, the nation is flooded with potential educators with degrees in “early childhood education,” but woefully short of math, science and foreign language teachers. And in the medical arena, we are woefully understaffed with nurses, nurse educators, doctors and multiple specific medical specialties. Though government can hire— and is a large employer, particularly in education, national defense and public safety—it can only create those jobs by removing funds (via taxes and fees) from individuals and the private sector. The more logical role of government in job creation and economic development is as catalyst—through policy, tax incentives and training, to steer and prepare our work force toward the industry and commerce demands of tomorrow. As an example, if we know that there continues to be a dearth of math, science and language teachers, concentrate the Pell Grant or other government scholarship dollars in education toward the programs generating jobs and skills that are needed most. This won’t stay static, and will require periodic re-evaluation and tweaking, but over time, matching supply with demand should cause a requisite surge in employment. Gov. Nathan Deal recently spoke of industrial giant Siemens currently having several hundred job openings that it cannot fill with Georgia’s current labor pool. Then Georgia’s Quick Start program, or an area technical college, should be immediately offering training, subsidized by the state, to fill those specific jobs. This really isn’t rocket science. There are thousands out there in need, let’s give them the skills to become reemployed now. Georgia just became free of many of the tethers of the No Child Left Behind Act. As we re-evaluate and re-direct curriculum at the K-12 and higher education levels, let Georgia lead in seeking students and applicants for the jobs and fields in greatest need. Perhaps if we start counting job openings and demand among the enterprises seeking to hire, we will start creating those job applicants, instead of simply laying eggs and waiting for them to hatch. 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

Opinion One Man’s Opinion

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“Statistics are like alienists (ie. psychiatrists)—they will testify for either side.” New York City Mayor Fiorella La Guardia (1882-1947), on May 13, 1933. There is something inherently dishonest, or at least purposefully confusing, in the way our state and federal governments report unemployment. Like many of you, I was heartened to hear that during January 2012, the U.S. economy added just fewer than 250,000 new jobs. Our U.S. job market has been so flat that we are encouraged by the decreasing number of new applications for unemployment benefits. That number for January 2012 was only 358,000 new applicants. I’m not a math wizard or a rocket scientist, but if we gained 250,000 new jobs and we had 358,000 new applications for unemployment the same month that would indicate to me that we had a net job loss for the month of just more than 100,000. But that is not how we count our nation’s unemployed. To be counted as “unemployed” you must be ac-

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

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We sincerely appreciate the discussion surrounding this and any issue of interest to DeKalb County. The Champion was founded in 1991 expressly to provide a forum for discourse for all community residents on all sides of an issue. We have no desire to make the news only to report news and opinions to effect a more educated citizenry that will ultimately move our community forward. We are happy to present ideas for discussion; however, we make every effort to avoid printing information submitted to us that is known to be false and/or assumptions penned as fact.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012


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Un-presidential primaries
Despite the Santorum speed bump, it seems certain now that Mitt Romney will be the eventual nominee.
and grandchildren), get government out of our businesses and into our bedrooms, starve our public schools, poison our clean water, forget global warming, make our Middle East policy hostage to Israel’s most reactionary forces, put a colony on the moon… Why not? Each of those ideas was rolled out at one time or another by at least one leading GOP candidate, and each received respectful attention. The only exception to this enthusiastic support in the debates I watched was when Ron Paul suggested that we stop trying to win the hearts and minds of people by bombing them. That infuriated audiences and drew scornful laughter from his colleagues up on the stage with him. You know you’re in dangerous political waters when the crazy guy in the boat is the only one who makes sense. It seems pretty much certain now that Mitt Romney will be the eventual nominee. He all but finished off Newt Gingrich in Florida by inundating the Newtster with an avalanche of negative ads. Sure, he hit a speed bump in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado (Rick Santorum was the bump), but that doesn’t mean much. Minnesota once elected a professional wrestler as governor, a professional comedian occupies one of its Senate seats and Rep. Michele Bachmann has won several elections there. Minnesotans like a good joke. Colorado and Missouri? Who knows. Anyway, the new Mitt Romney and his allies (especially his Restoring Our Future Super PAC) spent an estimated $15.5 million on television ads in Florida, 92 percent of them negative and aimed at Gingrich. Gingrich, on the other hand, only had $3.7 million to spend. You’d almost feel sorry for Newt, except for the fact that he pioneered the political concept that if you can’t say something nasty about someone, you shouldn’t be running for office. I find that a grotesque perversion of the democratic process. You ask why we don’t have better candidates? The Republican primaries provide an eloquent answer: Guys wearing white suits don’t play in sewers. OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Breaking news: Republicans have found their long-sought alternative to Mitt Romney. Surprisingly, it’s Mitt Romney. Remember the old Mitt Romney? That white-shoe Republican who was all for health care mandates? Who favored reproductive choice and who was no enemy to gay rights — that Mitt Romney? He’s dead, a casualty of the political wars in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. The new Romney is a tough-talking, fire-breathing “severe conservative” who makes Rush Limbaugh look like a liberal wimp. Not only is he now against all those things he used to be for (and vice versa), he celebrated his Florida victory by announcing that he’s “not concerned about the very poor.” That’s no surprise to anyone following his campaign. But it was something of a shock to hear it said right out loud. What’s the matter? Was his hypocrisy machine broken? To be fair, he also said he wasn’t concerned about the very rich either. They could take care of themselves, he said, resurrecting a philosophy once satirized by Anatole France. The Nobel-winning author wrote of French justice: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.” That statement sums up those endless Republican debates. I’ve watched politicians make fools of themselves for more than 50 years, but I’ve never seen any group of candidates engage in more vicious spats over who more lovingly embraces the muddle-headed ideas of an unthink tank like the Tea Party. Fire government workers to create more jobs? Oh sure. Repeal that recent landmark effort to expand access to health care? Coming right up. Reinvade Iraq? Not a bad idea. Deny women abortion rights, regardless of the circumstances? Check. Increase the already bloated military budget? Bulls-eye. Cut taxes on the very rich, reduce services for the poor, deport undocumented immigrants (and their children

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

As deadline approaches, reapportionment committees continue to seek input
I understand how difficult this reconfiguring can be, but as one who is probably going to be in a new district, it is very unsettling. My current district represents where I have worked, shopped and played and when you are tossed into another, not where you work, shop and play, I feel like my concerns will not be represented by the Commissioner I am now to be assigned. I feel a loss in my representation and have expressed this to my elected officials. – Roz Dewart posted this on 2/11/12 at 10:51 a.m.

Audit: Some DeKalb Schools salaries inflated
I am from Avondale Estates and paid mega bucks for my daughter to go to Decatur High. They used my $$ to build a stadium and her stupid teacher failed 99% of his class making their gpa’s go down so his ego could up! This year after I paid 6k a year students can go to Druid Hills. I wish I could get a refund – terrie ellison posted this on 2/12/12 at 12:39 a.m.

DA, solicitor warn commissioners about effect of possible budget cuts
It’s almost enough to make one think that the CEO and the BOC want to underfund the DA so he won’t be able to properly prosecute the school system case and the watershed department case. Of course the CEO and BOC aren’t going to have to reduce their own budgets; in fact, Ellis proposed higher budgets this year for both of them. What a leader that Ellis is: “I gots mine while y’all gotta give up yours.” A five percent budget reduction is just the starting point, as Ellis has once again wildly underestimated the decline in home values. Couple that with the loss of Brookhaven and Mr. James and Ms. Boston are going to have to say goodbye to all their special programs, or else hope the BOC socks it to the North DeKalb taxpayers once again. – Jay posted this on 2/9/12 At 11:43 am

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Local News

Page 7A

Champion of the Week

Ramon Tillery
supported and challenged his wrestlers both on and off the mat,” commented a community member who nominated Tillery as Champion of the Week, but asked not to be identified. “Coach Tillery realizes how much a one-on-one sport like wrestling empowers a young person, giving them confidence and self-determination. These are life skills from which any teenager can benefit but is especially useful to those in trying circumstances. In wrestling, as in life, you are taught that there are no time outs, no substitutions and no excuses. I think it is wonderful what he is doing for these young people and the pride that the community shares in his victory is a much needed shot in an otherwise overworked arm,” the nominator continued. Tillery, who works with boys and girls, said some face difficult life circumstances, but he urges them to work hard and not give up. He arranges recreational activities for the young people such as cookouts and trips to Stone Mountain Park that give him a chance to talk informally with them. “I feel good that I’m doing something positive for these young people. Nothing makes me more proud than seeing them leave McNair and go on to do well in their lives,” Tillery said.

From left, Margaret Brown, Phillipa Brown, Gregory B. Levett, Brandy Brown Rhodes, Betty Levett, Carolyn Glenn, John Evans, Melissa Forgey and William (Buck) Godfrey. Photo by John Hewitt

Five honored at Black History Month event
Five people were honored Feb. 9 at the DeKalb History Center’s fifth annual Black History Month Celebration. Sheriff-Elect Derwin Brown posthumously, Dr. William C. Brown posthumously, John Evans, William “Buck” Godfrey and Gregory B. Levett Sr. were recognized at the lunchtime event at the history center. Champion Newspaper publisher Carolyn Glenn was mistress of ceremonies. Derwin Brown, who ran for office on a promise to remove corruption in the DeKalb County Police Department, was gunned down in the driveway of his home days before he was to have sworn into office. Brown’s daughter Brandy accepted her father’s award. Educator William C. Brown was the first African American to serve on the county’s Library Board of Trustees. He was also elected to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and from 1991-93 served as the first president of 100 Black Men of DeKalb County, which he founded. Brown’s daughter Phillipa accepted his award. Evans, a former county commissioner and president of the DeKalb branch of the NAACP, continues his community involvement as president of Operation LEAD, an organization he founded. Godfrey, the first Black football coach at Southwest DeKalb High School, won 258 games in 28 seasons and was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. Levett, a business executive, community leader and philanthropist, has along with family members donated more than $1 million to charities and organizations. These individuals are among the “Community Champions” recognized in the history center’s temporary exhibit presented in conjunction with The Champion newspaper. The event was sponsored in part by the DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Ramon Tillery started wrestling when he was in third grade and sees in the sport benefits that carry over into other aspects of a wrestler’s life. Now the head wrestling coach at McNair High School, Tillery said his interest in young people goes beyond his job. “The young people in this community need adults who care and who want to help them stay on the right track. I had eight brothers and sisters, so I had family to guide me and care about me; not every young person has that, so I try to be there for the kids at McNair even when school is out,” he said. The community around McNair isn’t just where Tillery works; it’s where he grew up. He attended the high school when it was Walker High. This year, he took the school’s wrestling program to its first-ever county championship. “Most impressively, he did it the right way with no short cuts. He mentored, encouraged,

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

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Local News

Page 8A

DeKalb DA will not convene special grand jury investigation of school board
by Daniel Beauregard DeKalb District Attorney Robert James announced Feb. 10 he would not convene a special grand jury to investigate the DeKalb County School Board. The DeKalb Grand Jury released a presentment late December 2011, which outlined several concerns, including the board’s handling of SPLOST dollars, nepotism and alleged leaks that hindered the hiring of a new superintendent. However, James said, after several months of investigating the allegations, his office determined the school board did not break any laws and there was no reason to launch a special grand jury investigation. “After a thorough and extensive review of the facts I have found that no laws have been broken regarding the spending of SPLOST funds dollars by the DeKalb County School System,” James said. “A lot of the questions that were raised by the grand jury were issues dating back to one, two, three, four years and the school board had already started down the road to addressing some of these issues.” However, James expressed concern with some of the items mentioned in the presentment, including school board members improperly attempting to influence personnel decisions and leaks that hindered the hiring process of the new superintendent. “I’m confident that the new process and procedure being implemented by the school board will help to reassure taxpayers of this county that each elected board member is adhering to, and upholding, the highest ethical standards,” James said. School Board Chairman Eugene Walker said the board has taken steps to implement stricter policies and harsher sanctions for ethics violations. “There is a board ethics policy in place that aligns directly with the state’s board of ethics policy that prohibits leaking information from executive sessions and that policy provides sanctions,” Walker said. The sanctions include censure of board members, a public apology if evidence indicates a member violated particular ethics policies and the possibility of criminal charges if an internal investigation warrants it. In addition to those policies, Walker said, the board is also undergoing ethics training to address how the it should handle leaks if “even a hint of this type of thing occurs again.” The presentment also mentioned nepotism and employee conflicts of interest. Walker said the board had implemented policies to address those issues as well and James said the board would make regular reports to the grand jury. “They’re going to come back every term, which is once every two months, before the DeKalb County Grand Jury and have conversations with them about how things are going relative to the points that the previous grand jury raised,” James said. “At the point that any grand jury feels dissatisfied with the progress, we always have the option of exploring a

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James announced at a recent press conference that he would not convene a special grand jury to investigate the DeKalb County Board of Education. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

special investigation in the future.” School Board Vice Chairman Tom Bowen, who was chairman when the grand jury presented its findings, said the board

has taken the grand jury’s recommendations very seriously. “This is an ongoing process and we want DeKalb County voters to know that the board will continue to

adopt strong policies to ensure your school district it effective, accountable and transparent,” Bowen said.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Lithonians raise stink about proposed composting company
by Andrew Cauthen A Barnesville company’s plan to move its composting operation to DeKalb County is like déjà vu for a few hundred Lithonia residents who attended a community meeting on Feb. 9. “This is a repeat,” said Viola Davis, with the Unhappy Taxpayer. “This was tried before, but we ended up shutting it down so it wouldn’t come. Stop bringing this type of development into our community.” Residents are upset over a plan by Greenco Environmental to move is composting operation from Barnesville, to Lithonia. Last year, residents fought to keep a gasification plant out of their community. On its website, Greenco claims to be the first commercial food waste composting operation to receive a permit and endorsement from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of Georgia. The company collects food, yard and wood waste from food processing and landscape companies in the metro Atlanta area and hauls the raw materials to its 32-acre site in Barnesville. “By combining large quantities of food waste, yard waste and wood waste, the company creates high quality organic compost with zero landfill contribution,” the website states. The wastes are combined, tilled and through a 90-day process the waste turns into organic compost, which is sold in bulk to farmers and manufacturers of bagged garden products. Tim Lesko, co-founder and president of Greenco Environmental, said his company plans to set up its operations 150-feet below ground level in an old rock quarry on Rock Mountain Road in unincorporated Lithonia. Greenco collects food waste from schools, restaurants, hotels, manufacturers and grocery stores to “help them divert their food waste from the landfill to where it can be recycled because they have a desire to be more sustainable and more green,” Lesko said. Last year, Greenco composted four million pounds of food waste from DeKalb County customers, Lesko said. “That material would have gone into the DeKalb County landfill instead,” Lesko said. Greenco is seeking to move from its Barnesville site, which has been open for nearly four years, where there have been complaints about the smell of the compost. Lesko said the smell would not be a problem in Lithonia because the nearest homes are more than a mile from the quarry where Greenco would locate. The Barnesville site, which is still open, is located approximately 500 feet away from the closest house. “Due to that close proximity, every now and then there were odor complaints,” Lesko said. “We felt the Lithonia site was much better suited.” The longer distance to a residential area and the 150-foot depth into the quarry makes the Lithonia site “ideal,” Lesko said. The company would hire five to seven truck drivers and two compost yard workers, Lesko said. Lesko refuted claims by Lithonia residents that his operation is a landfill. “We don’t bring trash in here,” Lesko said. “Everything that comes in, goes out.” To set up shop in DeKalb County, Greenco must obtain a conditional use permit and a special land-use permit because the quarry is zoned for heavy industrial use with a condition that only mining could be done in the quarry. The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to decide on the permits in March. DeKalb Commissioner Lee May, whose district contains the proposed Greenco site, told the rally participants that he had received many e-mails from constituents about Greenco. “By law this is their right to apply for this,” May said. “It’s also your right to make your voice heard.” When asked by residents where he stood on the issue, May said he wanted to hear from residents. “I came to see where you all were,” May said. “My position right now is to listen to you all first. I’m hearing real clearly where you all are.” Madeline Powell-Avila of Stone Mountain said there is nothing Greenco representatives could say that would gain her support of their plans. “I like the concept of Greenco, but not in my backyard,” Powell-Avila said. “We’re just inundated with landfills,” Powell-Avila said. “It’s basically the same concept. It’s a little more than the backyard composting.”

Local News

Page 9A

Approximately 300 Lithonia residents met on Feb. 10 to voice their opposition to a Barnesville company’s plans to relocate its composting operations to a quarry in Lithonia. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

County announces summer camp registration

News Briefs
children ages 14 and older with mild to moderate disabilities. Summer camp will be held June 11 to Aug. 3 from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at $90 per week. Participants must bring their own breakfast and lunch. Upon registration, families should provide an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Registration locations and times are: Briarwood Recreation

The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs will hold Camp “Funtastic” summer camp registration on Saturday, Feb. 18, at all recreation centers. Camp “Funtastic” is a summer day camp designed and staffed especially for

Center, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Browns Mill Recreation Center, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Exchange Recreation Center, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Gresham Recreation Center, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Hamilton Recreation Center, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Lucious Sanders Recreation Center, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Lynwood Recreation Center, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. N. H. Scott Recreation Center, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Mason Mill Recreation Center, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Midway Recreation Center, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Redan Recreation Center, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tobie Grant Recreation Center, noon - 4 p.m. Tucker Recreation Center, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. For more information, contact Bernita Reese, recreation program manager, at (404) 371-6273.

Dog shot with deer hunting arrow
A black Labrador was shot with a deer hunting arrow outside its owner’s home in Tucker on Saturday, Feb. 11. The incident was reported to DeKalb County Animal Services on Sunday, Feb.12. Police have not determined whether the dog was shot accidentally or with malicious intent, according
See Briefs on Page 11A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Local News

Page 10A

Commissioners Jeff Rader, Larry Johnson and Stan Watson discussed economic development in DeKalb at a DeKalb Chamber of Commerce luncheon Feb. 13. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

Commissioners talk transportation, GM plant and economic development
by Daniel Beauregard Three DeKalb County commissioners talked during a recent DeKalb Chamber of Commerce luncheon about the importance of new transportation projects and how they could spur economic development. Commissioner Jeff Rader said the Transportation Investment Act of 2012 (TIA), if passed, would offer opportunities for construction and development that would stretch over 10 years. In 2010, the TIA was developed as a funding mechanism for regional transportation projects. Residents will vote this summer whether to impose a 1 percent sales tax to fund the proposed projects. “Nobody likes to pay additional taxes but when we’re talking about investment in our economic strength, job creation and improving our communities, I think this is a no-brainer and one we’ve got to go ahead and pass,” Rader said. County officials estimate the TIA, if passed, could bring approximately $1 billion in transportation construction jobs to the county. Commissioner Larry Johnson said he still hopes the I-20 corridor would be added to the transportation items on the list. “The line that goes from South Indian Creek to I-20 and Wesley Chapel would only enhance economic viability and create the wealth

–Jeff Rader DeKalb County Commissioner

that needs to happen in that corridor, as well as increase property values in that area,” Johnson said. Both Johnson and Commissioner Stan Watson said they hope state

former General Motors plant in Doraville would be a great place for economic development because of its size and location. “I think it’s a viable place and it’s

“ “ “ “

legislators could find a way to fund the transportation projects without creating an additional tax burden on DeKalb County residents. Additionally, Watson said the

‘Nobody likes to pay additional taxes but when we’re talking about investment in our economic strength, job creation and improving our communities, I think this is a no-brainer and one we’ve got to go ahead and pass.’

a great place that’s centrally located for rail,” Watson said. The GM plant has remained vacant since 2008, when the company closed its doors as a cost-cutting measure. Since then, several proposals have been made to use the 165-acre property—everything from building a new sports stadium to a multi-use cityscape facility much like Atlantic Station. However, the county and city have yet to finalize any deal. “The plans for the plant should be a livable community—something that resembles Atlantic Station—and something that includes the health science and bioscience sectors,” Watson said. Johnson said the only way he thought the plant could be successful would be if the city of Doraville partnered with the county every step of the way. He also said he thought the city should work closely with the DeKalb County Economic Development team. “Everything has to live and die with the leaders of the city of Doraville because that’s in their own backyard,” Johnson said. The three commissioners also spoke about the importance of working out zoning issues to encourage businesses to relocate to DeKalb.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Local News

Page 11A

Continued From Page 9A

to DeKalb County Police spokeswoman Mekka Parish. The animal has been taken for treatment at the veterinary facility at the University of Georgia in Athens. Though severely injured, it is expected to survive. Police are asking anyone with information to call Animal Services at (404) 2942645.

Decatur man arrested after SWAT standoff
A suspect charged with aggravated assault held DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies at bay for two hours on Feb. 10 as he barricaded himself in the home of a relative at 2937 Duncan Road. Monte Carter, 31, refused to come out of the Decatur home when fugitive squad members, responding to a tip, knocked on the front and rear doors at 8 a.m. The SWAT team and special negotiators were called in at 9:50 a.m. Negotiators established phone contact with Carter and he was talked out of the home without incident at 10:15 a.m. Carter will be charged with two counts of aggravated assault, reckless conduct, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and criminal damage to property. The charges stem from a Sept. 10, 2011, incident at 4145 Deacon Lane in which Carter is accused of shooting into a crowd of seven people, striking one person in the leg and shattering a car window.

School board shows support for new strategic plan
by Daniel Beauregard DeKalb County School Board members voted in support of Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s new Excellence in Education Plan, which officials said would be instrumental in moving the system forward over the next five years. Atkinson said the new plan was the result of plans already in place, including her 90-Day Entry Plan, coming together to form one coherent vision for the school system. “Victory, we believe, is in the classroom and it will take a focused, strategic, tactical plan to ensure performance management and continuous improvement for all of our students,” Atkinson said. Atkinson said the five guiding principles of the plan are “students come first; every school must believe that parents are our partners; leadership and accountability at all levels are keys to our success; we are not alone in this endeavor and victory is in the classroom.” School Board Chairman Eugene Walker amended the meeting agenda to call a special vote and all of the board members supported the plan. “The superintendent has presented us and the community at large with a solid strategic plan, a vision for moving this district forward,” Walker said. Additionally, Woods said community members, parents, teachers and students had input in the new plan’s development and it wasn’t just “created in a vacuum.” “In fact, things were prioritized and deprioritized based on their feedback,” Woods said. The plan also involves an aligned management system, which both Atkinson and school system spokesman Walter Woods said would hold the system accountable. “The accountability office will basically be ensured with collecting data and making sure that we’re moving forward. It’s a program that says, ‘Here’s what you’ve outlined to do, here’s the timeline to do it.’ That office will be in charge of not only assessing how we’re going but also checking off the goals we reach down to the very specific steps,” Woods said. Last year, the system was visited by AdvacED,

DeKalb County School Board, from left, Vice Chairman Thomas Bowen, Chairman Eugene Walker, and Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson at a recent board meeting where members showed their support for Atkinson’s new Excellence in Education Plan. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

DFCS handling case of abandoned toddler
The case of a child who was dropped off at the Stone Mountain Police Department on Feb. 9 has been turned over to the Department of Family and Children’s Services, said DeKalb Police spokeswoman Mekka Parish. According to a television report, the woman who left the toddler with police said her sister brought the boy to her house the night of Feb. 8. The woman told a television reporter that her sister, who has no children, was going to the store but never returned. Stone Mountain Police contacted the county police department, which then alerted DFCS, Parish said.

the parent company of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and placed on advisement. The company said the school system needed to address several issues before being taken off advisement. One of them was updating the strategic plan. “We’ve had strategic plans in the past and under AdvancED they wanted us to update it and we started that process in the spring/ summer of last year. Dr. Atkinson came in and sort of put her vision on it, which is the aligned management system,” Woods said. School officials said the system has addressed each of the eight points mentioned by AdvancED and is in-line to return to a cleared status when the company visits again this spring.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Local News

Page 12A

Decatur soldier helps secure Afghan borders with ‘COP in a box’
When time, resources and money for constructing a combat outpost (COP) using usual methods aren’t available, Maj. Kevin White of Decatur said, soldiers work with the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) and use “COP in a box.” “This method empowers the ANSF to construct and build its own base,” White said. White, who is an engineer, recently worked to build a combat outpost along a road near the village of Jalaleh. The “COP in a box” is a new concept that military engineers are encouraging ANSF personnel to use if they need a site quickly. “When ANSF decide they want a ‘COP in a box’ they fill out a request for materials, and it goes through that process,” said White. “When the paperwork gets approved, the materials are packaged at the forward supply depot and prepared for movement to the requested site.” The materials provided consist of all the supplies needed to build a base from scratch such as defense barriers, stoves, toilets, paint and wood. At the most recent build, U.S. soldiers supervised and offered extra security as Afghan soldiers used the materials to assemble the base. After they arrived in northern Kunar in early April 2011, the soldiers’ main effort was securing a stretch of road that ran from Naray to Asmar. This road was known to have scattered illegal insurgent checkpoints in locations where ANSF were not present. “We started building the COP on Jan. 15 and finished around the 21st,” said Capt. Ronald Hopkins. “The COP in a box was pretty simple to use and it was easy to sling into our location.” Hopkins said the soldiers’ accomplishments in helping the ANSF have added a new layer of security in an area known as the “Ghaziabad Gap,” where insurgents were previously able to move about freely.

A Decatur soldier in Afghanistan has been helping the Afghan National Security Forces build command posts. Photos provided

Don’t Just Dream of a Better Life

County commissioners, mayors, council members recognize solicitor general
In recognition of February as National Teen Dating Violence Prevention & Awareness Month, county and city officials from across DeKalb County recognized Solicitor General Sherry Boston and her office’s Special Victims Unit for their efforts to bring attention to and to serve victims of domestic violence, particularly victims of teen dating violence. Proclamations came from Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson and the Lithonia City Council, Clarkston Mayor Emanuel Ransom and the Clarkston City Council, Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and the Dunwoody City Council, Stone Mountain Mayor Patricia Wheeler and the Stone Mountain City Council, and Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd and the Decatur City Commission. dating violence to call 9-1-1 or seek assistance from any number of advocacy organizations and visit websites such as www.loveisrespect. org to create a safety plan and obtain resources.” Studies show that females ages 16-24 are most likely to be abused in a dating relationship, and one in three young people will report experiencing some form of dating abuse in their lifetime. Abusive relationships affect adolescent development. Teens who experience dating violence may suffer longterm negative behavioral and health consequences, and adolescents in controlling or violent relationships may carry these dangerous and unhealthy patterns into future relationships. Boston thanked the officials and community leaders for their support in raising awareness about this issue.


Boston said, “My office is seeing more and more teens who are victims of simple assault when the abusive partner is sober and intoxicated, or who say they have been harassed in social media. It is so important for parents, faith and community leaders, and school officials to work together to teach our young people lessons of respect and equality in relationships. I urge anyone who thinks they may be in danger from teen

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Formerly DeKalb Technical College

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Local News

Page 13A

County agency supports Lithonia gasification plant
by Andrew Cauthen The proposed gasification plant in Lithonia is back. The Development Authority of DeKalb approved a resolution on Feb. 14 declaring its intent to issue a $25 million bond to help Green Energy Partners construct a $60 million plant to convert yard waste into renewable natural gas. The project is interesting,” said Charles Whatley, the county’s economic development director. “It’s a green project. This is really what is meant by urban mining.” The move by the Development Authority, which helps companies find financing alternatives when establishing a presence in DeKalb, puts Green Energy one step closer to opening shop in Lithonia. According to Green Energy officials, the plant will use a method called pyrolysis in which yard trimmings are placed in oxygen-free chambers. The chambers are then heated to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit with natural gas burners to produce syngas, which is turned into renewable natural gas (RNG). “To be able to take a waste product generated by a municipality and generate local jobs in the surrounding community, DeKalb takes a waste product that’s been an expense and turns it into a revenue source, generates new property taxes, new employment taxes and this becomes a win-win for the community, for the county and for all involved,” said Neville Anderson, Green Energy’s president. The company will provide 650 jobs during construction and 25 permanent jobs, Anderson said. After the Georgia Environmental Protection Division requested additional information on the planned gasification process to be used in the plant, Green Energy Partners withdrew its permit application for the proposed wood gasification plant. The EPD said it did not have enough information about the proposed facility to grant a permit and gave Green Energy a list of 15 items needed to complete the application by July 26, including a description of the proposed gasification process. Whatley said Green Energy has a significant amount of federal grant money and already has a power purchase agreement with Georgia Power. The permit with the EPD, however, is still pending. “Our model is a new standard for the nation,” Anderson said. “This whole project is a new standard for the nation…in cleanliness, as far as low emission. “The project will be the cleanest biomass facility ever built in the United States,” Anderson said. Anderson said the emissions will be lower than emissions at DeKalb Medical Center and lower than the emissions from two 747 jets. “Recently in the press some folks have said, ‘We’re going to die by woodchips,’” Anderson said. “That’s a fallacy.” The plant, which received approval from the county’s Board of Commissioners in last June, has been heavily opposed by Lithonia residents. A lawsuit was filed in July by two Lithonia residents living beside the plant’s proposed site and by Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE). When asked, Anderson said the community’s opposition “is not a concern.” Vaughn Irons, vice chairman of the Development Authority and a resident of unincorporated Lithonia, said, “There was a group segment in the community that really didn’t understand” Green Energy’s proposal. “Lithonia is politically charged all the time,” Irons said. “Depending on who decides to stand up for a project, there’s going to be an automatic group who’s in opposition of it. “They missed an opportunity in Lithonia,” Irons said. “Hopefully, we don’t miss an opportunity to create more jobs in south DeKalb.”

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

The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast THURSDAY
Showers Likely High: 65 Low: 44

Feb. 16, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Feb. 16, 1989 - A surge of arctic air produced all-time record high barometric pressure readings of 31.08 inches at Duluth, Minn., 30.97 inches at Chicago and 30.94 inches at South Bend, Indiana. Unseasonably warm weather prevailed across the southeastern United States. Feb. 17, 1990 - The biggest winter storm of the season hit the Pacific Coast Region. In northern California, snow fell along the coast, and two day totals in the mountains ranged up to 67 inches at Echo Summit. Snowfall totals in the mountains of southern California ranged up to 48 inches at Green Valley. Dunwoody 63/43 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 64/44 64/44 64/44 Snellville Decatur 65/44 Atlanta 65/44 65/44 Lithonia College Park 66/44 66/44 Morrow 66/44 Union City 66/44 Hampton 67/45

In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see mostly cloudy skies with a 60% chance of showers, high temperature of 65º, humidity of 77%. North wind 5 to 10 mph. The record high temperature for today is 78º set in 1995. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 44º.

Mostly Sunny High: 62 Low: 40

*Last Week’s Almanac
Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 60 37 55/35 0.00" Wednesday 57 39 55/35 0.00" Thursday 53 35 55/35 0.00" Friday 50 33 56/35 0.00" Saturday 45 23 56/36 0.00" Sunday 39 19 56/36 0.00" Monday 54 21 56/36 0.01" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.01" Average temp . .40.4 Normal rainfall . .1.12" Average normal 45.5 Departure . . . . .-1.11" Departure . . . . .-5.1
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport

Partly Cloudy High: 60 Low: 42

Few Showers High: 54 Low: 36

Mostly Cloudy High: 59 Low: 38

Partly Cloudy High: 57 Low: 35 New 2/21

Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 7:21 a.m. 7:20 a.m. 7:19 a.m. 7:18 a.m. 7:16 a.m. 7:15 a.m. 7:14 a.m. Sunset 6:22 p.m. 6:23 p.m. 6:24 p.m. 6:25 p.m. 6:26 p.m. 6:27 p.m. 6:28 p.m. Moonrise 3:07 a.m. 4:02 a.m. 4:51 a.m. 5:33 a.m. 6:11 a.m. 6:46 a.m. 7:17 a.m. Moonset 1:23 p.m. 2:24 p.m. 3:26 p.m. 4:29 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 7:28 p.m. Full 3/8

Tonight's Planets
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 7:49 a.m. 6:56 p.m. 9:16 a.m. 9:43 p.m. 7:55 p.m. 8:46 a.m. 10:28 a.m.11:39 p.m. 11:05 p.m.10:25 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 9:05 p.m.

Mostly Sunny High: 60 Low: 36 First 2/29

Last 3/14

Local UV Index

National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see scattered rain and snow today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated snow Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 56º in Georgetown, Del. The Southeast will see scattered showers and thunderstorms today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 85º in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Northwest will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with a few showers today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 62º in Medford, Ore. The Southwest will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with a few showers today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 75º in Fullerton, Calif.

Weather Trivia
Does cold air hold more or less moisture than warm air?
Answer: Less.

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


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

StarWatch By Gary Becker - Promise Her the Stars and Deliver
This is my favorite time of the winter. Yesterday (Monday, Feb. 6) was one of the clearest days that I can remember in recent history. The afternoon temperature popped into the mid-fifties, and I almost thought that I heard the tulip bulbs pushing through the warm, moist soil of my garden. Yes, spring was truly in the air, and I can say that it brought great joy to my heart. Yet at sundown, as I was assembling my astronomical gear at the edge of a local farmer’s field to photograph Venus bathed in a moonlit landscape, the sky darkened to reveal the winter constellations. The fact that these familiar star patterns, such as Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull, Canis Major/Minor the Big Dog/Little Dog, Gemini the Twins, and Auriga the Charioteer were still to the east of south, the rising side of their journey across the sky, told me that at least astronomically, winter was far from over. This week, the moon rises later in the evening so it does not disrupt the splendor of these great wintertime figures. If you and your sweetheart are outside at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Alnilam, the center star in the belt of Orion, will literally be due south. That for me is the focal point of the astronomical winter. Use the belt to slide downward to the coolest dog in the sky, Canis Major, which boasts the brightest star of the night, Sirius. Above and to the left of Sirius is Procyon, the alpha star of Canis Minor, and above it are the twin stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux. Pollux is the brighter of the pair. Near the zenith, and well above Orion, will be Auriga’s Capella, the fourth brightest star of the night. Down and right from Capella is Aldebaran, the brightest star of the small V-shaped head of the shaggy bull, Taurus. Following Orion’s belt upwards leads you back to Aldebaran as a check. A kiss from your sweetheart is in order. After all, you’ve just given her the stars. The moon and sun come along later.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012


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Latest illnesses point to raw milk’s popularity
by Mary Clare Jalonick WASHINGTON (AP) An outbreak of bacterial infections on the East Coast illustrates the popularity of raw, unpasteurized milk despite strong warnings from public health officials about the potential danger. Even presidential candidate Ron Paul has joined the cause of consumers looking to buy unprocessed “real foods” straight from the farm, saying government shouldn’t deny them that choice. An outbreak of a campylobacter bacterial infection on the East Coast is a reminder of the potential hazards, however. Raw milk from a dairy in Pennsylvania is now linked to 38 illnesses in four states, and the farm has temporarily suspended sales. Consumers who want unpasteurized milk have to work to find it. It’s against federal law to transport it across state lines and most states don’t allow it to be sold in stores off the farm. Twenty states prohibit raw milk sales altogether. The government says the milk is unsafe because of the pathogens cows may encounter on the farm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that raw milk killed many people—especially young children—before the onset of pasteurization, which heats milk to high temperatures to kill disease-causing germs. The CDC says pasteurized milk is rich in proteins, carbohydrates and other nutrients, and that heat only slightly decreases thiamine, vitamin B12, and vitamin C. While the government contends that milk is only a minor source of those nutrients anyway, raw milk advocates say that’s proof that pasteurization makes milk less wholesome and pure. The government doesn’t keep records of raw milk consumption or sales but it’s clear that the product is riding the coattails of a larger food movement that encourages less processing and more “real food.” Raw milk goes a step further than organic milk free of growth hormones. Organic milk, too, has enjoyed a sales boost in recent years. “We are pushing for consumer choice and freedom and a variety of dairy options for people,” said Kimberly Hartke of the Weston A. Price Foundation, an activist group that advocates “restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet.” Price was a dentist who studied global nutrition around the turn of the 20th century. Advocates say far more illnesses are caused each year by leafy greens, deli meats and other products produced in much larger quantities than raw milk. “To outlaw or ban any natural food because it could possibly make you sick is an extreme position, because there is no safe food,” Hartke said. That’s a position that presidential contender Paul, a doctor, understands. He appears to have acknowledged the potential risks of raw milk when he said last summer that “what I’m doing in politics is not exactly the medical opinion.” Still, he said, “as long as you don’t force other people, and as long as you don’t defraud people, you ought to have a choice.” Supporters of raw milk are passionate, and the issue has become one of the most animated food debates. Raw milk consumers and Price foundation representatives have held protests in Washington to fight Food and Drug Administration crackdowns on some farms that sell raw milk. The fact that there’s even a debate infuriates many in the public health community. “The intensity with which raw milk supporters believe in this product is almost unheard of, certainly for a food,” said Sarah Klein, an attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “It’s like snake oil.” Klein said advocates often mislead consumers by describing bucolic settings and happy cows. “These are still animals, they defecate inches from where the milk is produced,” she said. “They stand in it; they swat their tails through it. That’s all very natural. It’s just a matter of course that raw milk is contaminated.” The owner of the Pennsylvania dairy, Family Cow farm in Chambersburg, posted a message on the farm’s website last week saying that several customers had called them to say they had been experiencing “acute diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.” Owner Edwin Shank said in the posting that the farm’s testing had shown samples to be negative for campylobacter and speculated that the illnesses may be from another cause. But the Pennsylvania health department has linked the outbreak to the farm, and a spokeswoman for the Maryland’s health department said an unopened bottle from the farm tested positive for campylobacter. Raw milk sales are illegal in Maryland, but the state has four illnesses from the outbreak. Those sickened presumably drove to Pennsylvania and brought the milk back for their own consumption, said Maria Said of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. One person is also sick in New Jersey and two in West Virginia, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Thirty-one people are sick in Pennsylvania, many of them in Franklin County, where the farm is located. Pennsylvania has had at least seven disease outbreaks linked to raw milk consumption since 2006, involving almost 200 people, according to the health department. Pennsylvania is one of 17 states where some type of raw milk sales are allowed, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Local News

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House Continued From Page 1A
helm of ARMHC for the past 17 years. “There is need there.” Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities relies on the social work staffs at the pediatric hospitals to determine who needs housing. At the Atlanta Ronald McDonald facilities, guests are asked to pay $20 per night for regular rooms and $30 per night for suites. However, Morris added that no one is turned away for financial reasons. “It’s just been an incredible experience for me personally to see what a difference it can make,” said Morris. “What makes it really work for the families is the camaraderie with the other families going through the same situation…being together in a place where they feel comfortable and protected.” Crowell described her stay as ideal, noting that she and her daughters were housed in the transplant wing and had plenty of privacy, which made the experience feel more like home. Crowell, who was living in Macon when her twins were born, has since moved to Stone Mountain to be closer to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston where her daughters, now 2, still receive treatment. She speaks highly of Gatewood and said she and family members seek ways to financially support Ronald McDonald houses, such as contributing to the change drop boxes in McDonald’s restaurants. Crowell said she now gathers her recyclable aluminum cans and plastic bottles to deliver to the Gatewood House, which has a recycling program that generates cash for the house.

From left, Alexandra Henrikson, Diany Rodriguez, Sarah Elizabeth Wallis and Bree Dawn Shannon. Photo by Greg Mooney

Fairytale Lives takes audience to a world between modern reality and centuries old folk stories
by Kathy Mitchell Russian men was 57 years, so there were many more women. I saw these iconic images—teenDo the fairy tales that little age girls standing in the snow and girls read have an effect on their old women with headscarves at adult lives? Do they look for the market—and I was interested Prince Charming to show up at in colliding this world of women any moment? Do they expect step- with both the present and past. I parent relationships to be fraught hit upon the idea of trapping them with hostility? Are they wary of in the predicaments of old Russian eccentric old women, fearing that folk tales,” she says. they might be witches? The play is filled with classic The Fairytale Lives of Rusfairy tale images—the oven big sian Girls, now on the Hertz stage enough to shove someone into it, of the Alliance Theatre, explores the animal that can swallow a huthis theme in ways that the author man whole, the poison apple—and Meg Miroshnik said she hopes even periodically interjects the audiences will find “funny, exRussian equivalent of “once upon citing, scary and provocative.” a time, “ zhili byli (pronounced There’s no question that it makes zilly billy), which means “they for compelling and amusing thelived, they were.” A modern-day ater as audience members try to American college student visiting sort out what’s real, what’s imagher native Russia is trying to naviined and what’s perhaps a dream. gate her way through this bizarre In an interview published in world. She, we are told, symbolthe theater program Miroshnik izes a generation of people who explains what inspired the odd, left the Soviet Union but returned but alluring story. “I got the opto Russia after economic opportuportunity to go to Moscow, study nities started to open there. Russian and work as a freelance Miroshnik, who wrote the writer. I was struck by how play while working on a master’s quickly everything was changdegree in fine arts at the Yale ing there. The life expectancy for School of Drama, is the eighth winner of the Alliance’s Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, an annual competition designed the help student playwrights become professionals. Each year the Alliance rewards the winner by professionally producing his or her play. Like other Kendeda winners produced at the Alliance, this play doesn’t disappoint. The Alliance fully supports this newcomer’s play with a professional cast, staff and costumes and a cleverly designed set that allows the action to move effortlessly from a modern apartment to the old woman’s cottage to an always scary fairytale place—the edge of the woods. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., through Feb. 26. Tickets are available at The Woodruff Arts Center Box Office or by calling (404) 7335000 or visiting online at www. The Alliance Theatre is located at The Woodruff Arts Center, at 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012


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Eight Oglethorpe University students and several teachers visited Cuba over the Christmas holiday. The trip was part of a class about Cuban culture offered at the university. Photo provided

Oglethorpe students explore Cuba

by Daniel Beauregard Before going to Cuba, Kim McGinty said her head was filled with preconceived notions of what the country would look like and how her trip would be. “I was thinking it was a third world country and people would be living in little mud huts and they wouldn’t have any roads. When I got there it was totally different than anything I ever expected,” McGinty said. McGinty said the beauty of Havana impressed her, as well as the cleanliness and walkability of each city they visited. Over Christmas break, McGinty and seven of her Oglethorpe University classmates visited Cuba for 12 days. The students were accompanied by several teachers and faculty, including Associate Spanish Professor Dr. Mario Chandler. “It just so happened that around the time we really decided to put our feet forward to make the trip happen there just seemed to be a more relaxed policy,” Chandler said of President

Obama’s recent decision to relax the regulations for travel between the United States and Cuba. Chandler has been teaching at the university for 10 years and Cuba isn’t the only trip to Spanish-speaking countries he has taken students on. He said when students have an interest in a particular country, the faculty at Oglethorpe draws from that interest to structure a class around it, which culminates in a trip abroad. “When we do a course to a Spanish-speaking country we design the course and travel to the location. So now, that course is part of our academic arsenal,”

Chandler said. Although the course won’t be offered each semester, Chandler said that if the student interest is there the school could draw on the foundation from its trip to Cuba and develop another course. Associate Spanish Professor Dr. Viviana Plotnik also accompanied students. “However, there was not much to complain about to be honest,” Plotnik said. “We spent 12 days in Cuba– about five days in Havana and the rest in the western part of the island.” Plotnik said throughout the class last fall semester, the students learned about

Cuban culture and history by watching films, and attending lectures and readings in preparation for the trip. “We discussed every possible topic from music and sports to religion and ethnic heritage with an emphasis on the relations between Cuba and the United States,” Plotnik said. “After taking the class and traveling to Cuba, the students began to develop a topic of interest for a research paper that is due in March.” Will Jones, a major in international studies, is writing his research paper on propaganda imagery in Cuba. Jones said before he went to Cuba, he also had

some preconceived notions. He said he had been taught throughout most of his life about the evils of communism. However, when he went to Cuba he said his perspective totally changed. “The government is just different. I’m not going to say its better or worse because it’s just different. It’s a different perspective and I think once you’re able to understand that perspective your mindset and the way you view Cuba and socialism changes because of it,” Jones said. Corey Ray, who is focusing his paper on the foreign policy of the United States as it relates to Cuba, said that within the first few hours he and most of the other students agreed the embargo should be lifted. “This is something you think would be relatively clear since the Cold War is over, but if you look at the recent Republican debates, all but one Republican presidential candidate advocated harsher policies toward Cuba economically,” Ray said. “The Cuba of the Cold War is not the Cuba of today,” he said.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

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Georgia receives waiver from No Child Left Behind
State School Superintendent John Barge announced the U.S. Department of Education has granted Georgia’s waiver of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Georgia is among a group of only 10 states to receive a waiver from NCLB. As part of the waiver, the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) will begin identifying priority schools, focus schools and reward schools. Achievement data from all core content areas and graduation rate data will be used to identify these schools. At the end of the current school year, the priority schools and focus schools will replace current needs improvement schools. Reward Schools will replace the current Distinguished schools designation and will be announced in September 2012. Georgia will also identify alert schools in three categories: subgroup alert schools, subject alert schools and graduation alert schools. According to a press release, these schools will be identified based on a more detailed evaluation of performance. For more information visit the GDOE website at

Eighth grade Henderson Middle School student Simola Nayak sits with Principal Terese Allen and Media Specialist Ann Evett. Nayak recently won the DeKalb County Spelling Bee for the second year in a row. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

Middle school student wins county spelling bee second year in a row
by Daniel Beauregard Simola Nayak has a very meticulous approach for spelling a word during a spelling bee: first she asks for the definition of the word then the language of origin, part of speech, and silently spells the word on her hand. Nayak is an eighth grade student at Henderson Middle School and Principal Terese Allen said it was because of her methodical approach Nayak has won the DeKalb County Spelling Bee two years in a row. “She’s not just going to take something for granted and spell it, she wants to know everything,” Allen said. The first time Allen met Nayak was the student’s first day in sixth grade. Allen said the two had a conversation and she was stunned at Nayak’s high level of vocabulary. “It was like I was speaking to an adult,” Allen said. Nayak said during spelling bee season, she practices with word lists from previous bees her mom has prepared for her. During the off season she reads books such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. “My mom quizzes me every night when I get home from school during spelling bee season,” Nayak said. Last year, Nayak made it to the state spelling bee and finished in second place. The word she struck out on was “glaciarium,” a word for a skating rink with a floor of mechanically frozen ice. “That experience was a really teachable moment because initially I was thinking I was going to do a lot better than I [did],” Nayak said. Nayak is also on the reading bowl team that won the DeKalb County Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl competition this year and came in third at district competition. She also plays clarinet in the honor band. However, she said, she prefers the spelling bee because of the adrenaline rush it gives her. “You never know what word you’re going to get. Here’s the poetic way to put it: A spelling bee is like an adrenaline rush where you know for a fact your face doesn’t flush…for the most part,” Nayak said with a chuckle. The words Nayak focuses on when she studies are longer words. She said in most cases, spellers don’t necessarily strike out because they don’t know how to spell the word but because they have a hard time keeping pace with the length of the word. She also studies words that sound the same but have numerous spellings. “Like ‘cat’ is sometimes spelled C-A-T, but there’s also something else spelled K-H-A-T, and there’s also X-A-T,” Nayak said. Although she still has to make it through regional competition, Nayak said she’s hopeful she’ll make it to state this year but wants to take things one day, or spelling bee, at a time. For children interested in participating in the spelling bee, Nayak said the most important thing to do is read to pick up on new words. “Not only will reading increase spelling bee participation, it will also increase the literacy rate,” Nayak said. When she grows up, Nayak said she has no idea what she wants to do. “I’m kind of fickleminded on that matter,” Nayak said. “But I have a thirst for knowledge. My parents even say that I was born with a thirst for knowledge.”

Four DeKalb high schools named AP Honor Schools
The DeKalb County School System recently announced that Chamblee Charter, DeKalb School of the Arts, Dunwoody and Lakeside high schools were named AP Honor Schools by State School Superintendent John Barge. AP classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT, and offer college-level learning options for students in high school. Students who receive a high score on AP exams may receive college credit.

Emory displays letters of literary and local lovers
The exhibition “With Love,” running through March 8 at Emory University, displays the love letters of famous literary couples and former Emory students. The exhibition contains letters, telegrams, poems, book inscriptions and photographs. Curator Sarah Peterson, the outreach coordinator for Emory’s chemistry department who earned her Ph.D. in English at Emory, said the materials show a range of emotion. The materials are drawn from 13 collections, including the Ted Hughes papers, letters to Assia Wevill, William Levi Dawson papers, Ted Berrigan and Alice Notley collection, the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library and more. The exhibition is located in the Concourse Gallery on Level 2 of Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Library.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012


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Decatur home show only one in Southeast focused on older homes
by Kathy Mitchell The charm and character of an older house can sometimes be offset by the frustration of finding the right company or information when it’s time to maintain or update such homes. That was the thought behind Decatur’s annual Old House Fair—now in its fourth year. It comes to the Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta/Decatur Conference Center in downtown Decatur on Saturday, Feb. 18. Hosted by the city of Decatur in partnership with the Georgia Historic Preservation Division and the DeKalb History Center, the fair had been a dream for the city for many years, according to Regina Brewer, Decatur’s preservation planner and the fair’s organizer. “When I came on board here it became one of my first projects,” she said. “There are so many homes in DeKalb County that are 50 years old or older. Not all home maintenance companies know how to work on such houses. At this fair, we have many vendors who understand old houses—the plumbing, the paint, the windows. They’re not going to do anything to damage the character of house.” While “historic” house is usually defined as one that’s 50 years old or older, Brewer said there will to put a second bathroom can be a challenge.” Because the event is the only home show in the Southeast focused entirely on older homes, visitors to the fair aren’t necessarily from DeKalb County or even from the metro Atlanta area, Brewer said. “I remember someone last year who had driven from Waycross,” she added. This year, featured speakers will include television personality Jodi Marks, co-host of Today’s Homeowner, who will present “Fun Projects to Enhance Your Home” and, Roger Moss, nationally known exterior paint color expert, whose topic will be “Exterior Paint Colors from the 19th Century to MidCentury Modern.” There also will be 30-minute “short bite” lectures on such topics as electrical 101, plumbing 101, selecting exterior colors, aging-in-place and chimneys 101. Traditional seminars include such topics as researching your old house, landscapes for historic homes, energy efficiency and storm windows. “The wood window workshop is so popular we’re offering it twice,” Brewer said. For the complete seminar schedule, exhibitor details and ticket information, visit www.

Previous Old House Fairs have attracted an average of 300 visitors, but organizers say they can accommodate many more.

Television personality Jodi Marks, left, co-host of Today’s Homeowner, and, Roger Moss, a nationally known exterior paint color expert, will be featured speakers at this year’s home show. Photos provided

be lots of information for owners of houses 40, even 30 years old. DeKalb County has many ranchstyle houses, she said, referring to a narrow rectangular style of house that was popular in the middle of the 20th century. “If that’s what you’ve got, come on. We’ve got lots here for you.” Experts and exhibitors are the main draw for the daylong event that usually attracts approximately 300 visitors, though Brewer said there would be no problem accommodating more people. With a large exhibit hall

of professionals, retailers and suppliers specializing in home improvement, historic preservation, and interior furnishings, the fair offers homeowners the opportunity to either learn to restore, renovate, preserve and maintain their old houses or find a reliable contractor they can hire to do it for them. Installing an additional bathroom is a common project for owners of older homes, Brewer said. “Builders used to put only one bathroom even in relatively large houses,” she said. “That just doesn’t work for today’s families, but figuring out where

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Dine & Dance returns to Northlake Northlake Mall’s monthly big band event returns Tuesday, Feb. 28, with an invitation to swing, sway and savor the sounds of the Atlanta-New York Connection in the mall’s Food Garden. Held the last Tuesday night of every month 6-8 p.m., this social affair is free and open to the public. Those attending are urged to come early to have dinner before dancing the night away. Northlake Mall is located at 4800 Briarcliff Road, N.E, Atlanta. For more information, call (770) 938-3564. dren’s book Ajani and the Giant Ant Hill at 4298C Memorial Drive, Decatur, Saturday, Feb. 18, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information, call (770) 317-4849 or visit Good Growth DeKalb presents forum Good Growth DeKalb, a neighborhood watch group recently formed to oppose the proposed construction of a Walmart in Suburban Plaza, will hold a community forum on Feb. 23. The program, titled “How Would a Walmart at Suburban Plaza in Decatur Affect You?”, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at North Decatur Presbyterian Church. According to organizers, the free event will allow residents to express their concerns regarding the proposed Walmart. The church is at 611 Medlock Road in Decatur. For more information call (678) 9486696. Author presents new book at library Deborah Scroggins, the bestselling author of Emma’s War, returns to the Decatur Library Tuesday, Feb. 21, with a new book, Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui. The book is an account of the link between Muslim women’s rights, Islamist opposition to the West and the global War on Terror. It is seen through the eyes of two women who come from opposites sides—Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui—and “lays bare the cultural and sexual stereotypes embraced by both sides of a conflict that threatens to engulf the world,” according to an announcement from the library. Journalist Scroggins, formerly with the AJC, won awards for her first book, Emma’s War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, Radical Islam and the Politics of Oil. The event is at 7:15 p.m. Decatur Library is located at, 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070. Programs focus on growing vegetables, herbs Stephanie Van Parys, executive director of the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, will teach about spring and summer vegetables and herbs that can be grown locally during programs in the Your First Edible Garden series Wednesday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 25. These programs at the Decatur Library are designed to assist first-time gardeners or those who are transitioning to organic methods of vegetable gardening. These are the first programs in a year-long series, “Living the Green Life,” to promote and educate the community about a green, sustainable lifestyle. Sponsors are the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, the City of Decatur and DeKalb County Public Library. Each event will be 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Decatur Library is located at 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. For more information, call (404) 370-3070. Tuskegee airmen to come to local church The community will have the opportunity to view documentary clips of historical Tuskegee airmen moments and to meet some of the Tuskegee airmen whose exploits were chronicled in the George Lucas movie Red Tails. The event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Hillcrest Church of Christ Youth Ministry, the program will be Friday, Feb. 24, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Church of Christ, 1939 Snapfinger Road, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 289-4573.

Final two ‘listening sessions’ upcoming New Pine Lake Mayor Kathie deNobriga will wrap up her series of four “Listening Sessions” with the final two Feb. 20 and Feb. 27. DeNobriga was recently sworn in and replaces Greg Zarus. The sessions give residents a chance to express their opinions about a variety of issues in the city. The topic for Feb. 20 is “Police and public safety: what kind of policing do we need?” and the topic for Feb. 27 is “Occupy Pine Lake: Whatever else is on your mind.” The sessions run from 7 8:30 p.m. at the clubhouse.

Pianist to perform with DSO Pianist Margery McDuffie Whatley will perform with the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 21, 8 p.m., at the Marvin Cole Auditorium on the campus of Georgia Perimeter College. Whatley will perform the SaintSaens Piano Concerto with the DSO under the direction of Fyodor Cherniavsky. Also on the program is Debussy: Petite Suite, Beethoven: King Stephen Overture and Copland: Quiet City. The auditorium is at 555 North Indian Creek Drive in Clarkston. Fo r tickets or more information, call (678) 891-3565.

Jazz and blues come to Stone Mountain Village Beginning on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., professional live jazz and blues bands will entertain the folks in Stone Mountain Village every Monday night. Each live band is composed of from four to seven members. The events will be held in Wells Cargo Restaurant on Main Street in the Village, where Hilda and Lynn Wells, owners and managers, “offer warm Southern hospitality, food and drink from their menu and lots of ambiance for the events,” according to the announcement. There will be a small cover charge for the Monday night jazz and blues events. The inaugural event features the CA Project band, which plays a variety of styles of musical entertainment. The band has been organized for eight years and is composed of some of the area’s finest musicians. Charles “Buzz” Alford is the leader of the band.

Knitting group to meet Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library will host Knitting Adventures Tuesday, Feb. 21, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Open to all adult knitters, the group meets on the third Tuesday evening of the month. Beginners are invited to bring supplies and learn how to cast on. Toco HillAvis G. Williams Library is located at 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 679-4404. Book signing announced Author Dr. Genevieve Spence will be signing copies of her chil-

Quilters to come to library The public is invited to come to the Stonecrest Library Saturday, Feb. 18, 1 – 3 p.m., and experience firsthand the beautifully hand-crafted quilts of the Ebony Stitchers Quilt Guild Members of the guild will facilitate a discussion on the art of quilting and display a variety of pieces from their collection. The Stonecrest Library is located at 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia. For more information, call (770) 482-3828.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012


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by Robert Naddra

Sister act: Siblings help Miller Grove evolve into postseason threat
and wanting us to be successful in all parts of our lives. ” But it’s the intangibles that can’t be taught that the sisters use to bring the Wolverines together. “Both are good leaders,” Breedlove said. “They lead by example. They come in on time and work hard. They’re good motivators and they’re always trying to pick people up.” With Weaver and Fudge leading the way from the post, and junior Tashi Thompson scoring from the outside, the Wolverines have become more of a complete team this season. Miller Grove is second only to Chamblee in the county in points allowed, giving up 34.4 per game. The Wolverines also lead the county in blocked shots. “We’re more close-knit as a team,” Fudge said. “We are working with each other better; communication and team bonding helps with that.” The siblings are hoping those factors will help them go even farther in the state playoffs this year than last, when the Wolverines lost in the third round.


isters Klarissa Weaver and Tabitha Fudge have a unique bond on the basketball court. Growing up with hearing-impaired parents, the siblings have learned sign language and use it to their advantage on the court. But it is more than signing that sets the duo apart from their peers. Weaver, a 6-foot-1 junior, and Fudge, a 5-11 senior, form one of the most intimidating frontcourts in the area and have helped Miller Grove develop into a postseason threat. The Wolverines won 20 games for the first time and earned their first state tournament win last year. This season the Wolverines won their division in Region 6-AAAA and enter the region tournament at 17-4 after a 10-loss season a year ago. Fudge, who has signed a scholarship to NCAA Division I High Point University in North Carolina, leads the team in rebounding. Weaver, who had 17 blocks in the final three regular season games, leads the county with 64 rejections. “I use them as leaders and as examples for the others,” said Miller Grove coach Renee Breedlove. “They come in and get the work done. Their communication and level of commitment is unreal. It’s been some years since I’ve coached sisters who come in and work so well together.” Fudge and Weaver are both quick to point out that Breedlove deserves the credit for their development. Both have played basketball since elementary school but had other interests before focusing on hoops in high school. “I always have room to learn,” Fudge said. “She was giving us things to build on every year. She relies on our leadership because she knows we’re going do what she tells us.” Said Weaver: “Coach Breedlove taught me how to rebound and how to post up. Whatever is important to me, she taught me. Coach is really serious about us going to college

Sisters Klarissa Weaver, left, and Tabitha Fudge have helped Miller Grove have one of the area's top defenses and lead the county in blocked shots. Photo by Robert Naddra

Basketball players surpass 1,000-point milestone
by Robert Naddra Six DeKalb County basketball players have surpassed 1,000 points in their career this season, with Columbia’s Tahj Shamsid-Deen and Stone Mountain’s Chara Reeves the most recent to accomplish the feat. Shamsid-Deen, a junior point guard for the Eagles, is the only underclassmen to reach the milestone this season. He scored nine points Feb. 3 against McNair to reach 1,000 points. Shamsid-Deen also accomplished a rare feat in the two previous games. He had back-to-back triple doubles, with 11 points 10, rebounds and 12 assists in a 79-55 win over Arabia Mountain on Jan. 24, then followed up the next game with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Towers on Jan. 31. Reeves also broke the 1,000-point barrier against McNair in a 60-31 win on Jan. 30. The senior guard is averaging nearly 16 points per game this season and is the third in career points for the Pirates. Stephenson senior guard Derek Harper reached the milestone in November. Harper was at 999 points and has made 74 percent (316 of 429) of his free throw attempts. Harper scored 515 points while averaging 19.1 per game as a junior and is almost one point per game ahead of that mark this season. Two girls’ players from Columbia and one from Chamblee also have surpassed 1,000 points this season. Chamblee guard Lucy Mason needed 158 points heading into this season to reach 1,000 and she got it with 20 points against Dunwoody on Dec. 9. She is currently averaging 22.6 points per game and has scored more than 300 points for three consecutive seasons. Teammate Breana McDonald entered the season needing only 70 points to top 1,000 points. She passed the mark with 20 points in a 55-33 win over Marist on Dec. 2. Columbia guard Zuri Frost, whose mother Chantay Frost is the Eagles’ coach, entered the 2011-12 season needing 115 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Her 1,000th point came during a 15-point game in a 6814 win over Baron Collier of Florida in the Naples (Fla.) Daily News Shootout on Dec. 29.

Columbia point guard Tahj ShamsidDeen. Photo by Mark Brock

heading into a Nov. 17 game against Newnan and broke the barrier with 33 points to bring his total to 1,032. Through Jan. 27 he has knocked down 90 three-pointers in his career

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012


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Four schools searching for football coaches
by Robert Naddra our schools in DeKalb County are in the process of filling football coaching vacancies. Columbia’s Mario Allen was named head football coach at Rockdale County on Feb. 10 and Clinton Lawrence at Redan resigned a few weeks ago, according to Mark Brock, a spokesman with the DeKalb County Schools’ athletic department. Also, Chamblee coach James Soza will not return and Lakeside is searching to replace Marcus Mitchell, who served as an interim coach last season. Recommendations for head coaches have been made at Lakeside and Chamblee, but nothing is final yet, Brock said. Allen was 15-16 in three seasons at Columbia, but in 2011 led the Eagles to their first state playoff appearance since 2005. The Eagles were 6-5 in 2011 and 6-4 in 2010, giving the school its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-97. Also, the number of football scholarships awarded at Columbia increased during Allen’s tenure. Columbia set a school record with 15 signees in 2011 and followed that with 17 players from the Class of 2012 signing scholarships earlier this month. Lawrence posted an 8-12 record in two seasons at Redan, including going 5-5 last season. Soza was 6-14 in two seasons at Chamblee and Lakeside was winless in McNeil’s interim season. Lakeside has won more than three games only twice since 1997.


Marist coach Mike Strickland, from left, and seniors Griffin Davis, Conor Lange, Will Curran and David Phelts. Photo by Robert Naddra

Baseball: New faces, same expectations for Marist
by Robert Naddra Griffin Davis, Conor Lange, Will Curran and Daniel Phelts have been in the Marist baseball program for four years. After watching a group of 15 seniors lead the War Eagles to their second straight Class AAAA state baseball championship last season, the senior foursome is ready take the reins. “The chemistry on this team is very good, especially with so many juniors and seniors,” Davis said. “We’ve all played on the same team for the past few years.” Despite losing so much experience, Marist again will be the team to beat in Region 6-AAAA. The War Eagles’ 12 state baseball titles are more than any other school in the state. In the past 34 years, Marist has played in 18 state finals and has won 11 championships. The team has won back-to-back titles three times since 200203. All that adds up to a tradition that every Marist player is aware of the first time he pulls on a War Eagles’ jersey. “It’s exciting,” Lange said. “It takes a whole team to be successful, and coming up through the program we know what we need to do.” Marist coach Mike Strickland is asking of this year’s team the same thing he asks of every other team. “Every year is a new year whether we graduated five players or 15,” he said. “We better be able to take care of the baseball, play hard and be aggressive. If not, you don’t know what might happen. We’ve got to be able to manufacture runs.” Strickland will find out soon enough how well his team responds. Marist opens the season Feb. 20 at perennial Class AAA

“Every year is a new year whether we graduated five players or 15.”

– Mike Strickland

power Cartersville. Marist is one of five county teams that made the state playoffs last year. Dunwoody, Redan and Chamblee also made the AAAA state tournament from Region 6 and St. Pius advanced to the AAA state tournament. Redan has qualified for the state playoffs 10 of the past 11 seasons. Dunwoody and Marist were the only two teams to make it past the first round last year. Dunwoody, which won the Class AAA state title in 2007, last year went 24-9 and advanced to the third round of the AAA state tournament. The Wildcats return several pitchers, including Logan Elliot, James Cunningham and James Farnell. Stelen Stulberger, last year’s leading hitter with a .414 batting average, also returns. “We’ve been working hard and we’re focused,” Wildcats’ coach Chan English said. “We’re ready to go.”

Two St. Pius swimmers win state titles
Two St. Pius swimmers won individual state championships at the Class A-AAAA state swimming and diving championships held Feb. 10-11 at Georgia Tech. Haley Durmer won the 200 meter individual medley with a time of 2:01.29 and teammate Mary Elizabeth King won the 100 butterfly in 54.60 seconds. Durmer also placed second in the 500 freestyle. Several other girls’ swimmers placed among the top six. Julia Durmer of St. Pius was fourth in the 200 individual medley, Mary Kathryn Terry of Paideia was fourth in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle, Marist’s Andrea Demick and Taylor Gould were second and third in 1 meter diving, and Mary Kate Leary of Druid Hills was sixth in the 100 backstroke. St. Pius placed third and Marist was fourth in the girls’ team standings. In the boys Class A-AAAA meet, D.J. Boutte placed second in the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly, Cash Deloache of Tucker was fifth in the 100 backstroke and Basil Orr of St. Pius finished third in the 100 breaststroke. Marist placed fourth and St. Pius seventh in the boys team standings.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012


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DeKalb High School Sports Highlights
BOYS BASKETBALL Miller Grove: The Wolverines defeated Marist 44-35 and Douglass 78-29 to end the regular season and earn a first round bye in the 6-AAAA tournament. Tony Parker had 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Brandon Morris added 10 points. Against Douglass, Morris scored 13 points, Tony Evans had 12 and Parker 10. Southwest DeKalb: The Panthers defeated Redan 86-64 on Feb. 7 and Mays 63-56 on Feb. 10 to finish the regular season as the No. 2 seed in Region 6-AAAA, Division B and earned a first-round bye in the region tournament. William Goodwin had 60 points and 21 rebounds in the two games while Jordan Price added 35 points and 14 assists. Also, Kaderius Turner had 10 points and six assists against Redan. The Panthers faced Redan on Feb. 15 in the second round of the 6-AAAA tournament, with the winner advancing to the state tournament. Columbia: The Eagles (23-1) finished the regular season undefeated in 5-AAA, Division B after a 50-22 win over Cedar Grove on Feb. 10. Jarmal Reid led the Eagles with 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, while Tahj-Shamsid Deen added 10 points and six assists. The Eagles open the 5-AAA tournament on Feb. 16 against Cedar Grove. Chamblee: The Bulldogs defeated Tucker 60-49 on Feb. 10 to win the Region 6-AAAA, Division A regular season title and earn a bye for the first round of the region tournament. The Bulldogs (18-7) also beat Dunwoody 6041 on Feb. 7. Druid Hills: The Red Devils lost to Stone Mountain in the first round Feb. 13 after finishing the regular season with four wins in a row. Deshon Burgess scored 11 points and Kaleb Faison added 10 as the Red Devils beat St. Pius 55-42 on Feb. 10 in the final regular season game. Kyle Simmons scored 16 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Red Devils to a 53-50 win over McNair on Feb. 8. Clarence Williams added 12 points and five blocks, and Burgess had 10 points. GIRLS BASKETBALL Southwest DeKalb: The Panthers finished No. 2 in Region 6-AAAA, Division B after losing to Redan 51-45 and defeating Mays 43-30 to end the regular season. Deja Clay led with 12 points and Jasmine Coleman had 10 against Redan. Coleman scored 14 points in the win over Mays. The Panthers, who received a first round bye in the region tournament, will play Marist in the second round on Feb. 16. Chamblee: The Bulldogs (24-1) need two wins in the region tournament to set a school record for victories. The Bulldogs are the top seed from Region 6-AAAA, Division A and will face Mays on Feb. 16 in the second round. Chamblee beat Dunwoody 81-21 and Tucker 43-34 to end the regular season.
Tucker was held to less than 50 points in each of its final three games, including 49 against Chamblee on Feb. 10, and 42 in a loss to Redan in the first round of the Region 6-AAAA tournament. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Raymond Robinson (4) of Chamblee swats away a shot by Tucker’s Josh Dawson in Chamblee’s 60-49 win on Feb. 10.

meets Feb. 10-11 and qualified for the upcoming state traditional wrestling meet. All classifications of the state championships will be held Feb. 16-17 at Gwinnett Arena in Duluth. McNair leads the way with six wrestlers competing in the Class AAA meet and Stephenson qualified five for the AAAAA meet. Here is the list of the county’s state qualifiers. Class AAAAA Stephenson: Tori Torsha-Bazz (106), Stephen Wiley (152), Darian Perry (160), Mike Gales (195), Brandon Addison (285). Class AAAA Dunwoody: Sunny Sharma (106), Michael Kass (152), Keith Palmer (160), Elias Fleishman (170). Tucker: Romello Swain (106). Southwest DeKalb: Donnell Smith (113), Gabriel Echols (285). Marist: Patrick Jackson (113), Mark Andres (138), Kenneth Brinson (195), Barron Wallace (285). Lithonia: Anthony Smith (152), Jaquille Fitzpatrick (160). Redan: James Philpot (172). Miller Grove: Jacob Mitchell (220). CLASS AAA McNair: Darius Harris (106), Khalil Williams (120), Deniko West (126), Michael Corley (160), D.J. Jackson (220), Kevin Barner (285). Arabia Mountain: Aleema Favors (113), Mario Dumas (120), Drexal Alexander (145). St. Pius: Quinn Peragine (113), Harris Woodward (132), Robbin Martin (138). Columbia: Justin Ellison (120), Paul Smith (170). Stone Mountain: Damian Schofield (152), Deunte Mosley (160). Class AA Clarkston: Leqwan Petty (145).

Miller Grove: The Wolverines won three games Feb. 7-11 to finish the regular season with an eight-game winning streak. Tashi Thompson was the leading scorer in all three games and totaled 40 points in wins over Lithonia, Marist and Douglas. Klarissa Weaver had 22 rebounds and 17 blocks for the week. St. Pius: The Golden Lions won their final two regular season games to go undefeated at 12-0 in Region 5-AAA, Division A two straight seasons for the first time in at least 20 years. Emma Ucinski led St. Pius (22-3) with 16 points in a 60-18 win over Grady on Feb. 7. Asia Durr scored 10 points in a win over

Druid Hills on Feb. 10. The Golden Lions have not lost a regular season game to an AAA school since Jan. 22, 2010, a span of 34 games. The Golden Lions begin Region 5-AAA tournament play Feb. 16. Decatur: Queen Alford and Jordan Dillard each scored 14 points as the Bulldogs ended the regular season with a 58-18 win over Clarkston on Feb. 10. The Bulldogs opened the Region 6-AA tournament on Feb. 15. WRESTLING Thirty-six wrestlers from schools in DeKalb County advanced from sectional

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 17, 2012

Filled with favorite foods and full of unforgettable stories, the serving dishes that have graced dinner tables for generations are more than just plates. They’re treasured pieces of family history that remind us that the past isn’t just facts. And it’s those wonderful traditions that have nourished families and kept them strong for centuries. So, enjoy a big plate of history this month. It’s delicious.

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