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

and Stone Mountain.




Black Lithonia cemetery has buried history

by Andrew Cauthen here’s a mystery in an old, Black cemetery on Walker Street in Lithonia. In the cemetery, which dates back to the 1800s, are approximately 50 graves, each marked with a 4-by-6foot stone. All of the graves are the same size and, over time, have all sunken several inches. When graves are dug at different times, “they are not perfectly measured like that,” said Corey Turner, a volunteer with the Friends of Lithonia African American Cemetery Organization (FLAACO). “We’re not sure if they are Indian or slaves.” The group of graves is believed to have been dug at the same time and the deaths could have resulted from a catastrophe, Turner said. “We just know a group of people died,” said Turner, whose father owned a taxicab service in Lithonia for 35 years. These are just some of the graves on the 6.7-acre cemetery that, through neglect, became a victim of time and weeds. Barbara Lester, a former Lithonia City Council member, who started working on the cemetery in 2003, said it was in “deplorable shape and needed to be cleaned.” Over the years, there have been several short-lived attempts to clean the cemetery, but when the volunteers from FLAACO started again recently, the cemetery was significantly overgrown. “It was terrible,” Turner said. “You couldn’t see anything at first. It was really bad.” At first there were approximately 100 volunteers, but that number dwindled to 40. “Sometimes it was just three people cleaning,” Turner said. “We were doing this by hand. You can’t actually put machines back there.” FLAACO solicited and received assistance from the county’s sanitation department, which helped by removing the large piles of debris collected by the volunteers. “We needed large machines to move the debris,” Turner said. “The county was proud that we were cleaning up the property, and they became a team player.” The cemetery is clearer and is in “better shape than it’s ever been,”


Volunteers have been working to clear a Black cemetery in Lithonia that succumbed to weeds and was used as an illegal trash dump. Many of the graves are marked only with a rock or have sunken because a wooden coffin was used. Photos by Andrew Cauthen



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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

DeKalb police chief concerned about vacancies
by Andrew Cauthen DeKalb County’s police chief says he can live with a proposed budget that is $1.29 million less than the department spent in 2011. “It’s really not going to hurt me too bad,” DeKalb County Police Chief William O’Brien said. “I can make it work, but it’s not the ideal situation.” The budget for the police department proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is $105 million, a 1.77 percent decrease from last year’s budget. Ellis has proposed a county budget of $547.3 million, which is 1.2 percent higher than last year’s budget. O’Brien said if the police department’s budget is not increased above the proposed budget, the department will not be able to fill current vacancies. According to the police department’s latest numbers, there are 125 vacancies. “My priority is really to have funding to fill a majority of those positions,” O’Brien said. “But I understand the big picture as well. “If I could have at least half, that would be good,” O’Brien said. The county’s Board of Commissioners, which will adopt a budget on Feb. 28, has asked all department heads to consider the effects of cuts of 5 to 10 percent. “Quite frankly, I don’t think they’re going to cut me any more,” O’Brien said. If the department is required to cut 5 percent from its budget, the eliminated $5.27 million could force the department to lay off 56 fulltime positions. A 10 percent cut would reduce the positions by 156. A report presented to the Board of Commissioner’s finance committee on Feb. 16 stated that “a budget of any funding lower than $105 million however will have major implications in 2012 and the future. “These impacts are mainly relating to staffing needs for the safety and well-being of DeKalb County citizens, and visitors, as well as being able to provide supplies required to carry out and support these duties,” the report stated. “These recommendations must be looked at in their totality rather than simply numeric reductions.” The report also stated that employee morale would have to be addressed for the remaining employees impacted by reductions in the department. In the proposed budget, there would be no job cuts, O’Brien said.
William O’Brien

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.

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Dunwoody daycare killing trial under way
by Andrew Cauthen Hemy Neuman’s motive was simple—he wanted another man’s wife so he killed the woman’s husband, an attorney for the prosecution told jurors on the opening day of Neuman’s murder trial. Neuman, 48, is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity for the November 2010 killing of Russell Sneiderman, outside Dunwoody Prep daycare center. Sneiderman, a 36-year-old entrepreneur, was shot several times. Neuman, who worked at GE Energy in Marietta, was the supervisor of Andrea Sneiderman, the victim’s wife. At the time of the killing, Neuman was an operations project manager earning $180,000 and managing 5,000 engineers and a budget of $800 million, said Don Geary, chief assistant district attorney, during his opening arguments. ivia Newton-John, Neuman was not insane, but planned the alleged murder after being in an extramarital affair with Andrea Sneiderman for several months. Neuman “attended the funeral and actually threw dirt… on Rusty Sneiderman’s” grave, Geary said. “He was hiding in plain sight.” Peters described NeuNeuman man as “a hard worker and a great father to three precious children” who came from Neuman “wanted someone else’s wife, so he killed “a good family but from a troubled family.” her husband,” Geary said. In 1944, Neuman’s fa“He got caught and all of a ther, Mark, along with sudden he’s insane.” 12 other family members, But Neuman’s attorney, was captured and taken to Doug Peters, told the jury Auschwitz during World that the “case is not about War II. Mark Neuman spent what happened. 13 months in confinement “We know what hapwhile 11 family members pened,” Peters said. “It’s about why. This man should were killed in gas chambers, Peters said. not be released. This man After that experience, is not guilty by reason of Mark Neuman “sank into insanity.” The prosecution will seek darkness,” Peters said. Hemy Neuman was born to show that despite alleged visits by demons that looked into a family where “there was violence toward the like Barry White and Olchildren,” Peters said. “It might have been hand. It might have been by belt. It might have been by picture frame.” In the months before the killing, Neuman became depressed because his home was in danger of being foreclosed on. He received a bad review at work and was experiencing “severe marital problems” with his wife of 20 years, Ariela, Peters told the jury. Neuman considered suicide in February 2010, but thought about his kids “and he couldn’t do it.” Andrea Sneiderman entered Neuman’s life in April 2010 when he hired her, and “he fell for Andrea,” Peters said. Peters described for the jury several trips, intimate dinners where the two “literally would share food off of each other’s plate, ” and their first kiss. During a trip to Lake Tahoe, Nev., in July 2010, Neuman read to Andrea Sneiderman a poem that he wrote, Peters said. “He told her he loved her,” Peters said. “She told him she would never ever divorce her husband.” Peters said the evidence will show that the two exchanged hundreds of phone calls and text messages during their relationship. “That shows the intensity of their relationship,” Peters said. Peters said that Andrea Sneiderman was questioned by the police on three occasions. During one of those interviews, Andrea Sneiderman told investigators that Neuman had not done anything to break up her family, Peters said. “Hemy Neuman shot and killed Russell Sneiderman and on that day the lives of those two families...were shattered,” Peters said. “He has admitted that he planned this for several months.” The trial is expected to last approximately one month.

Power bill dispute forces apartment residents out of homes
by Daniel Beauregard The entrance to The Presidential Boutique Apartments was marked off with yellow police tape and the parking lot was vacant on Feb. 16. Earlier in the week, utility companies shut off gas and electricity to the building and residents were forced to leave their apartments because DeKalb County fire marshals deemed it unsafe. “The dispute is that the whole building is on one meter and it includes the nightclub and banquet hall. The other owners of the building haven’t been paying their bills,” said co-owner Habib Osta. Osta is currently engaged in a civil suit with Vincent Lu, the owner of the nightclub and ballroom, and said Lu hasn’t paid his gas or electric bill since September 2011. He also said several other owners of the building haven’t paid their bills since June. “There are 12 other owners,” Osta said. In total, Osta said Lu’s company owes $24,000 for electricity and $10,000 for gas, which Osta said he can’t afford to pay on his own. He said that Lu owns 18 units on the 12th floor of the apartment building as well. According to the suit, Lu’s company doesn’t “willingly or fairly pay for electricity which is provided to the night club, ballroom and café. Nor do they pay for electricity provided to the units on the 12th floor. As a result [Osta] is forced to pay the electric bill for the entire building or risk termination of its service to tenants.” Court documents also state that on June 14, 2011, the power was cut off for two days in the entire building because Lu refused to pay the electric bill. Additionally, the suit alleges Lu owes approximately $67,982 to the homeowners association. According to reports, Lu said the electric bill was supposed to be paid by the homeowners association and only Osta had access to those funds. “We have no idea when this will be resolved because we went in front of a judge on [Feb.14] and he said we all had to move to separate meters but he couldn’t force him to pay those bills,” Osta said. For residents to be allowed back into the apartment building, the power bill has to be paid and Osta said the civil case, which was filed on Jan. 23, would be the deciding factor. As for the residents of the apartments, Osta said they are getting their deposits back and didn’t need to pay for the month of February. However, they still have to find a new place to live. “We are very sad that it had to come to this end but our hands are tied because we cannot pay on behalf of the banquet hall and nightclub,” Osta said.

Yellow police tape marks off the entrance of the Presidential Boutique Apartment Complex. In mid-February, the power was cut off due to a dispute between landlords, and residents were forced to move. Photo by Daniel Beauregard

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Opinion The Newslady

Page 4A


The Gold Dome is shrouded in a cloud of black smoke from a major backfire. Does anyone smell the smoke belching from that old jalopy called “unintended consequences”? You see at press time the DeKalb Legislative delegation had not been able to approve a new school board map. The delegation is divided. State Rep. Simone Bell, who chaired the House redistricting committee, thought it would be relatively easy to get consensus on a new map that would reduce the number of board members from nine to five. All in a day’s work, right? Hold on a minute. Not so fast. Senate Bill 79, which passed the legislature last year, mandated that school districts in the state

have no more than seven members—fine on the surface. Scratch beneath the surface and you find that perhaps the true intent of the bill was to rid the DeKalb Board of certain members by drawing them out. But a redistricting subcommittee approved a five-member map that would end the terms of four board members—Thomas Bowen, Paul Womack, Dr. Pam Speaks and Don McChesney—the very members I believe designers of Senate Bill 79 wanted to keep. Backfire! Someone didn’t figure that some “communities of interest”— new code word—would emerge to preserve their interests. Some DeKalb lawmakers are upset that apparently there was not much input in the maps from school board members. It appears the board did not want the reduction in the first place so why participate in it? Let the lawmakers draw the lines seemed to be the thought. The DeKalb delegation created a five-member board. The unintended consequence however is that the new district lines put too many “communities of interest” in

other communities deemed undesirable. Sacre bleu! The five-member map does not honor “communities of interest” has been the hue and cry. Stop the presses. Even though a state deadline was imposed, the law did not carry with it a process. Come now some lawmakers representing self-admitted “communities of interest” to declare to heck with the Feb. 13 deadline. The deadline is the end of the session. In the meantime, legislation is being introduced to extend the reduction deadline for a couple years and allow the voters to have a say in all this. Well, Lord have mercy. The voters didn’t have a say when the law was crafted and passed. Another major concern expressed is that it is unfair to cut short terms of some of the board members. Would not the terms of the intended casualties have been cut short if the lines were drawn differently? Now this business of “communities of interest.” Should not all the school district communities have the same interests – the best education for ALL DeKalb County children? What other interest is

there for a school board? Logical, critical thinkers might have the following interpretation of “communities of interest:” To represent me you must look like me and my children. You must talk like me. Your income level must be the same. You must reside in comparable neighborhoods. We must attend similar worship centers and your educational attainment must be a minimum of a master’s degree from like institutions of higher learning from which I and my kind obtained our bachelor’s degrees. There is a biblical lesson found in the Old Testament that is applicable to SB79 and the subsequent fallout. In the book of Esther the villain Haman built a tall, tall gallows to hang the innocent Mordecai. Haman’s plot backfired and he swung from the very gallows he built for Mordecai. Can you say backfire? Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp. com.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Bridge screwed by glue?
long one-ton span of metal broke loose and fell off the bridge onto I-75/85. Fortunately, due to the late hour, no car was smashed and no drivers were injured by the mishap, which closed both the north- and south-bound lanes overnight. An investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety “Form and function are one.” Board (NTSB) has determined that the collapse was caused by – Frank Lloyd Wright (18671959), noted architect and design- the failure of epoxy holding bolts er of 1,000 structures, more than in place, attaching the metal 500 of which were completed. decorative railing to the side of the bridge. That’s right—those As a child I always had a multi-ton slabs of metal were slight fascination with bridges glued in place. and tunnels. The former rail If this were a tiny model tunnel running through a mounrailroad bridge, that might make tainside now part of the western some sense, but we are talking PATH trail is well worth the about a span traversing metro trip. Walking the span of major Atlanta’s most traveled section of bridges like the Brooklyn Bridge, interstate—and several hundred Golden Gate and even Georgia’s yards of aluminum and steel. The Sidney Lanier and Talmadge Me- bridge was completed in 2004. In morial bridges are rare treats. 2006 another marvel of modern This hobby/side interest has engineering had a similar, but unalso caused me to be more than fortunately fatal mishap. casually curious when architects In a tunnel of the Boston “Big and engineers push the envelope Dig” running the length of much or do something unusual, often of Boston Harbor along the city simply for visual effect. The yelscape, and connecting downtown low-spanned 17th Street Bridge Boston to Logan International traversing the downtown conAirport a huge concrete slab nector is an example that comes weighing more than three tons, to mind. I originally thought the collapsed from the roof of the color selection had something tunnel onto a car resulting in a humorously to do with neighborfatality. And guess what, those ing Georgia Tech, but then, late concrete slabs were held in place the night of Aug. 13 last year a by bolts in epoxy. The same glue that screwed up the 17th Street Bridge. “The primary cause of the canopy failure relates to epoxy anchor adhesive, the disproportionate mixing of adhesive compounds, and inclusions or trapping of air voids in anchor holes,” forensic engineer Mark Moore said. The poor performance of the epoxy anchors was similar to that observed by the NTSB after the collapse of ceiling panels in the I-90 tunnel in Boston in 2006. The Big Dig collapse occurred July 10, 2006, when a 20-by-40 foot concrete panel weighing three tons broke loose and flattened a car traveling on a twolane ramp connecting northbound I-93 to eastbound I-90. The collapse killed the car passenger and seriously injured the driver. The collapse and related leaks nearby caused the tunnel to be closed for almost a full year. A total of 12 tons of concrete fell due to the epoxy failure. Then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney closed the tunnels and conducted a stem-to-stern review that identified another 242 potential bolt failures due to faulty epoxy. Repairs took more than another year. A national alert was issued to departments of transportation and private sector road builders to ban further use of the epoxy/bolt design. This again occurred in 2007—and yet no changes were called for on the 17th Street Bridge, completed in 2004. Following our turn being screwed by bad glue, all of the aluminum/steel decorative fencing was removed from the bridge. Bolt connections were checked and as necessary repaired. There are thousands of bridges across the country, many structurally deficient due to their age or lack of regular maintenance, but I would really like to know how many of them are glued together. I’m a Georgia Bulldog, and don’t have any degrees from our friends at the North Avenue Trade School. I’m going to hope their alumni weren’t heavily involved in the glue-friendly design of Atlanta’s “yellow brick” road, but as I make my list of future bridges for walking, I’ve made a note to self to double check their construction dates and potential glue content. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at billcrane@

Opinion One Man’s Opinion

Page 5A

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.
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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 24, 2012


Page 6A

The fight over reproductive rights
Liberals aren't trying to make anyone use birth control
cent of those end in abortion. Providing easy access to birth control could dramatically lower those numbers and save money besides. Sounds reasonable, right? From the reaction of the Catholic hierarchy and its friends on the reactionary right, you would have thought the White House had ordered a convent of nuns burned at the stake. “This is a direct attack on religious liberty and will not stand in a Romney presidency,” Mitt Romney said. He has also promised to end federal programs that provide family planning services to millions of women. Rick Santorum would like to see birth control made illegal altogether. How’s that for keeping government out of your life? Conservative Christian leaders and others try to make the case that religion is under siege in this country, and that liberals are attacking their rights. Actually, it’s the other way round. Liberals aren’t trying to make anyone do anything. You want to use contraception? Fine. You don’t? That’s your right. You also have a right to an abortion if that’s what you want. Same with gay rights. If you want to marry someone of the same sex, that’s OK with us. Nobody’s forcing you. Despite proclamations to the contrary by conservative Christians, a majority of Americans aren’t ready to surrender their hard-won reproductive rights. The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure found this out the hard way when it decided to stop its payments to Planned Parenthood. The foundation was responding to pressure from anti-choice groups that oppose Planned Parenthood’s abortion services. Plans to disrupt its popular Races for the Cure and boycott sponsors were in the works. When Komen’s decision to cut off support for one of the nation’s biggest providers of breast cancer screenings for uninsured low-income women produced a swift, huge outcry and a gush of financial contributions to Planned Parenthood, the foundation reversed course. Who’s besieging whom here? The Constitution doesn’t merely guarantee freedom of religion. It also guarantees freedom from religion. OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The air is still thick with outrage over President Barack Obama’s attempt to require all employers to provide insurance coverage for people who desire (or need) birth control. Catholic bishops and their fellow travelers exploded in righteous indignation over a proposal that would have required religious institutions (but not churches) to offer employees the same contraception coverage required of other, secular institutions under the Obama health plan. The administration backed off in the face of a firestorm of protest, retreating to a compromise that would provide the insurance without requiring religious organizations to pay for it. Even so, Republicans are still denouncing the original plan as a violation of the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution. I don’t see it. The original Obama mandate didn’t require Catholics or anyone else to use birth control. That’s a personal choice. What it did was keep institutions from denying their employees a right that’s guaranteed by law. That’s not a denial of freedom. It’s an expansion of it. The Constitution is there to protect the rights of individuals, not the right of institutions to deny rights they find offensive. I’ve always thought, in my cynical way, that the Catholic case against birth control was at best self-serving — a way of flooding the voting pool with Catholics — and at worst loopy. If you really and truly believe abortion is the ultimate evil, how can you be against contraception, the great enemy of abortion? Obama relied on the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine, an independent group of doctors and researchers, in crafting his proposal. Birth control, the institute stated, isn’t a mere accessory to a self-indulgent life, but a medical necessity to ensure the health and well-being of women. And it presented facts to prove this point. About half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, the institute estimated, and nearly 40 per-

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

DeKalb DA will not convene special grand jury investigation of school board
Well, Just knock me over with a feather ! If the Feds don’t investigate it in DeKalb, It Don’t Get Investigated ? And Great Point Jay ! Are you serious ? What a joke ! – No1Safe N DeKalb posted this on 2/19/12 at 11:41 a.m Hmmmm...I have a question for my fellow readers out there and our intrepid journalist Mr. Beauregard: How many times have you seen a news conference held by a district attorney in which the targets of a grand jury investigation are standing in the background? How many times have you then seen the targets of the investigation be allowed to speak and make excuses and provide cover for their behavior. – Jay posted this on 2/17/12 at 10:20 p.m.

Petitioners want county to prioritize animal services
THE BUCK STOPS WITH ELLIS. Maybe someone should tell him. – Common sense posted this on 2/17/12 at 8:52 p.m. This situation is deplorable. As a DeKalb homeowner, I will certainly NOT be voting for any incumbent DeKalb official until a new shelter and dramatically increased budget for animal services are approved. – Ann posted this on 2/17/12 at 2:40 p.m.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Stone Mountain CID receives $80,000 grant
by Andrew Cauthen Just seven months old, the Stone Mountain community improvement district (CID) has a goal of creating 2,000 jobs in the district by the end of 2013. “That’s a lot of jobs, but that’s our goal and I think we can do it,” said Emory Morsberger, president of the Stone Mountain CID, located in the Stone Mountain Industrial Park area. “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” An $80,000 Livable Centers Initiative grant awarded on Feb. 10 by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will help the CID reach that goal, Morsberger said. According to the ARC, the grant will fund a study intended to assist the CID in developing policies to accommodate emerging industry sectors and to redevelop a strong industrial and freight presence in the area. “The grant will allow us to put together a plan,” Morsberger. “We will study what we’ve got and create an economic development plan that we can move forward with.” Currently in the district, approximately 20 percent of the space is vacant, Morsberger said. “We believe that 20 percent will easily accommodate 2,000 new positions,” Morsberger said. “We are the premier manufacturing and distribution center in Atlanta and we want to fill it up.” To reach its goal, the district will create “jobs at every level from the guy that sweeps the floor…to the lady that runs the plant or sells the widget around the world,” Morsberger said. Approved last April by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, the Stone Mountain CID consists of 88 property owners with a total property value of approximately $241 million. In addition to the Stone Mountain CID, the ARC also awarded $100,000 to DeKalb County to study the Stonecrest area, focusing on creating strategies to improve its long-term economic viability. The study will also encourage pedestrian-oriented communities.

Local News

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Shirley Kersey
sponsorships,” Jansa said. Kersey was born in north Georgia but has spent most of her life in Decatur. She said growing up she didn’t volunteer very much. However, as a longtime police officer she said she does what she can now to help the community. Chief Booker is a member of the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center’s Board of Director’s and Kersey said she was encouraged to volunteer because of his involvement. “Chief Booker backs it 100 percent and wants the officers to get involved,” Kersey said. Kersey said she wants to help the center because she thinks it’s a good cause and it’s something the community needs. “It’s a great group to try to help and raise money for. They’re not getting very much funding from what I understand because of the economy right now,” Kersey said of the center. Kersey said she hoped her involvement would inspire others to volunteer with the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center. “Shirley also meets at-risk young girls at Decatur High School and has gotten them counseling help from the center. Now, she is helping promote our upcoming Take Back the Night 5K race planned for April 28 at Agnes Scott,” Jansa said.

Champion of the Week

City of DeKalb proposed by legislator
by Andrew Cauthen policy committee, is not unusual, Mosby said, giving as examples, Athens/Clarke, It was Dunwoody in 2008. Augusta/Richmond and CoThis year, Brookhaven/Ashlumbus/Muscogee. ford is in the works. The next The cityhood movement cityhood movement could be is “taking prime assets out for a city of DeKalb. of the county,” Mosby said. On Feb. 9, Rep. Billy “Residents of unincorporated Mitchell, (D-88), presented a areas now have to bear an proposed bill to the DeKalb increasing burden of funding County legislative delegation county services without those that would allow residents assets.” to vote on creating a city For example, the Perimeof DeKalb that would basiter Community Improvement cally incorporate “everything District was supported by the that’s not incorporated,” county, but then “Dunwoody according to Rep. Howard took it and now the county Mosby (D-90), chairman of does not have access to the the delegation. revenue,” Mosby said. The bill, which is being “For us, it’s a way of proreviewed by the delegation’s tecting assets,” Mosby said. When asked whether there is another way to protect the county’s assets other than incorporating the rest of the county, Mosby said, “Not that I’m aware of. “I am for stopping this carving the county into little pieces,” Mosby said. “This is the only thing we have in our playbook that we could play.” Mosby said the legislation could be ready for the full delegation soon or the committee could take the rest of the session to review it. But because of the proposed city of Ashford, committee members “may be motivated to do something quicker.”

Beth Jansa, special events coordinator for the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center (DRCC), said Decatur Police Officer Shirley Kersey is always going out of her way to help. “Recently, they were cleaning out confiscated stuff in a police locker and they had a ton of girl’s denim shorts— Shirley donated them to the center,” Jansa said. Jansa said she first met Kersey when DRCC was hosting its bi-annual jewelry sale last May. She said Kersey was very concerned when she explained that DRCC’s government grants had been drastically reduced. “She jumped at the opportunity to help with our silent auction in conjunction with the November wine tasting. She received permission from Decatur Police Chief Mike Booker to ask for donations as she was out on patrol and was able to secure hundreds of items and gift cards for the auction, which raised almost $10,000 and another $10,000 in

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 24, 2012

Local News

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Commissioner questions DCTV schedule
by Andrew Cauthen Use of DeKalb County’s cable television station is the latest skirmish between county commissioners and the chief executive officer’s administration. “The origin of [DeKalb County Television] was to show DeKalb County citizens the ongoings of day-to-day government in DeKalb County, the decisions that we’re making that affect their tax dollars, policy decisions, and the budget decisions as well,” said Commissioner Lee May. “It seems to have dwarfed into more of a political channel.” The commissioners’ finance, auditing and budget committee, chaired by May, had asked that the committee’s meetings about the 2012 budget be televised on, DCTV which is shown on Comcast channel 23. The committee has been meeting weekly since the beginning of the year reviewing CEO Burrell Ellis’ proposed 2012 budget. Two of the meetings, which were scheduled to last all day, would have required 13 hours of recording time, according to Burke Brennan, the county’s chief communications officer. “It wasn’t feasible for us to tape it in its entirety the way it was asked to be done,” Brennan said. “A production of that magnitude, particularly in a room where it’s not wired for live recording, is problematic.” The production would take “a lot of man hours, a lot of costs and a lot of resources in every scenario to get it on the air,” Brennan said. “And then, once you’ve got it on the air, you’ve got 13 hours of a budget committee meeting,” Brennan said. “A 13-hour block … would blow out all of the rest of the programming, including [Board of commissioners’] meetings if we were to rotate it. And it was extremely short notice, too.” Brennan provided The Champion a memo to him from Diamond Lewis, director of the CEO’s Office of Cable Operations, in which Lewis said DCTV does not have adequate staffing or programming capabilities to record and broadcast the committee meetings. Lewis stated that it would take 56 hours to prepare the footage for airing and DCTV’s entire four-person fulltime staff would be tied up for two days. “This would adversely affect the station’s ongoing operations and duties,” Lewis stated. May has introduced a resolution to “establish some uniformity” in the use of DCTV. This is the second time the resolution has come up. After it was introduced the first time, May said it was tabled after assurances from the administration that changes would be made. “Things have seemed to get worse with DCTV,” May said. “One [show] that dwarfs all the other showings is Ellis’ 2012 State of the County address [which] shows 60 times a week,” May said. In comparison, the Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting is shown six times weekly, according to the DCTV schedule. Brennan said the administration will review DCTV’s schedule. “I didn’t know [Ellis’ address] was running that frequently,” Brennan said. “The shorter a program is, the easier it is to schedule. It may be running like that as a matter of convenience because it’s such a short program. That’s one thing that we will look at.” May said he wanted input from the commissioners and Ellis’ administration. “We’re not looking to take over. We’re looking to have a balanced approach to what is aired.”

Proposed Substantial Amendment to the 2008-2012 Consolidated Plan, including the 2008 Annual Action Plan For the Neighborhood Stabilization Program
The DeKalb County Community Development Department is proposing a substantial amendment to the 2008-2012 Consolidated Plan, including the 2008 Annual Action Plan. This substantial amendment will amend the budget of Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Application submitted to HUD in 2008. In accordance with the Housing and Economic Recovery Act 2008, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $18,545,013 in emergency funding for assistance with the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed properties. The purpose of this amendment is to revise the budget to show the planned use of additional program income and any subsequent changes that may be necessary on the use of NSP funds. The budget categories include acquisition, rehabilitation and disposition of foreclosed homes; establishment of land banks; demolition of blighted structures; redevelopment of vacant properties; and, complying with all Neighborhood Stabilization Program requirements. All citizens are invited to review the Plan of Action for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program from February 23, 2011 – March 8, 2011 on the DeKalb County website,, and at the location identified below. DeKalb County Community Development Department 150 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Suite 330, Decatur, Georgia 30030 Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Comment forms may be obtained and completed at the above listed location. Comments may also be faxed or emailed to the Community Development Department.
Fax: (404) 286-3337 Email:

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Local News

Page 9A

Community council votes against proposed Lithonia composting company
by Andrew Cauthen A composting company’s plans to move to a Lithonia quarry got shot down by a group of residents that advises the county’s Board of Commissioners. The District 5 Community Council, which provides recommendations on applications for amending the county’s comprehensive plan, rezoning, special land use permits and zoning code text amendments, voted 6-0 against Greenco on Feb. 13. Greenco Environmental plans to move its composting operation from Barnesville, to unincorporated Lithonia, where it would set up its operations 150 feet below ground level in an old rock quarry on Rock Mountain Road. Greenco collects food waste from schools, restaurants, hotels, manufacturers and grocery stores to divert the food waste from the landfill. Through a 90-day process, the food waste is combined with yard waste to create organic compost which is sold in bulk to farmers and manufacturers of bagged garden products. Last year, Greenco composted four million pounds of food waste from DeKalb County customers, according to the company’s president, Tim Lesko. “Greenco is continuing with its application and will work to help local residents better understand what we do and how it’s a great thing for the environment. Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson said “more information is needed about the actual process.” “We need to have some information so that we can evaluate the environmental impact on people’s health,” Jackson said. “The concept of composting and keeping things out of the landfill is a good one.” Despite the community council’s recommendation, Greenco could still move to Lithonia if its plan is approved by the planning and zoning commission and the Board of Commissioners. Greenco is the second sustainable company that is trying to open in the Lithonia area and both have met with local resistance. The other company, Green Energy Partners, is seeking to construct a $60 million plant to convert yard waste into renewable natural gas using a process pyrolysis in which yard trimmings are placed in oxygen-free chambers. The chambers are then heated to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit with natural gas burners to produce syngas, which is turned into renewable natural gas (RNG). The Development Authority of DeKalb approved a resolution on Feb. 14 declaring its intent to issue a $25 million bond to help Green Energy Partners get started. Green Energy Partners withdrew its permit application for the proposed gasification plant after the Georgia Environmental Protection Division requested additional information on the process to be used. “I’m very concerned whether the Development Authority has done any due diligence on the Green Energy project,” Jackson said. “The issues the Georgia EPD raised…are still unanswered. “It would seem that they would want to have more information than they have,” Jackson said.

Georgia receives waiver to No Child Left Behind
by Daniel Beauregard Georgia is among 10 states recently granted a waiver of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law by the U.S. Department of Education, and state officials have implemented a new index to rate performance. “No longer will we be bound by the narrow definitions of success found in No Child Left Behind. We will now be able to hold schools accountable and reward them for the work they do in all subjects and with all students,” State Superintendent John Barge said. Under NCLB, end of the year results were based on Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) measurements that used standardized test results to determine how every public school and school system in the country was performing academically. The results then determined how much federal and state funding a system received based on the number of schools it had making AYP. Walter Woods, a spokesman for DeKalb County Schools, said school system officials were hopeful the new index would be a positive thing for the system. “We hope that the flexibility will provide us more options to do this but we’re not really sure at this point. It may be a while before we see results,” Woods said. Woods said DeKalb County School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson had expressed that she would prefer to gauge schools by a number of different criteria, more than AYP offered. “We think overall it will be positive. What we want to do is give the schools that are performing well the autonomy to keep doing well and identify the schools that aren’t and help them any way we can,” Woods said. Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) spokesperson Matt Cardoza said now each school will be assessed based on more than just the English/Language Arts, reading and math criteria on which AYP was based. “It will change everything we know of AYP. Based on specifics, we will identify those schools that need improvement and provide services for them,” Cardoza said. The GDOE will implement the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), which focuses on student achievement across the board and “attendance, content mastery and nextlevel preparation.” The index also emphasizes college readiness and career development through a number of indicators such as Advance Placement, ACT and SAT scores, which was not provided by data collected for AYP. Additionally, the GDOE will collect data from all

core content areas and graduation rates data will be used to identify priority schools, focus schools and reward schools. “The new performance index takes into account multiple indicators and it will also give the school a grade of up to 100 percent,” Cardoza said. Cardoza said the funding mechanism would remain the same for schools under the CCRPI. “A lot of the money is still the same. The funding for the Title I Schools and the rewards for those Title I Distinguished Schools is the same,” Cardoza said. Cardoza said Superintendent Barge hoped the new index would ensure schools were no longer going to be labeled unfairly by just taking into account a few areas. “His hope is that schools have a real firm improvement plan and are also noted for those things that they’re doing well,” Cardoza said.

...WE’LL DO THE PAPERWORK! 770-482-1092

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Local News

Page 10A

Man shoots Pizza Hut employee, kills himself According to a police report, a 23-year-old man entered the Pizza Hut at 4906 Covington Highway in Decatur on Feb. 18, and got into a dispute with a male employee at 11:30 a.m. The suspect apparently shot the 32-year-old male employee and went into the rear of the restaurant and shot himself. The employee was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. Reward offered for information on dog shot The Atlanta Humane Society is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for shooting a two-year-old, black Labrador retriever with a hunting arrow. The incident occurred in a residential neighborhood in Tucker on Feb. 11. The DeKalb County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the responsible party. Siddie, the wounded lab, is recovering from a four-hour surgery required to remove the arrow and repair severe injuries. Those with any information can contact Sgt. T.C. Medlin with the DeKalb County Police Department at (404) 2942645.

At the DeKalb Police Alliance Hearts For Heroes Gala, Solicitor General Sherry Boston, left, presents DeKalb County Police Sgt. R. B. Peeler, right, with a special award recognizing him for valor when he saved Erin Ingram, center, from two pit bulls who were attacking her. When Peeler shot the dog, it was the first time he had discharged his weapon in 12 years on the force. Photo by David Fisher.

We know that a parent’s toughest job doesn’t start until after they’re home from their regular job. Time spent with your children is an investment in their futures. The resources Georgia Power spends on new plants, more power lines and cleaner energy sources is an investment in Georgia’s future. We are on the job to make sure you have the power to be also, even on those nights when your energy is running just a little low.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Local News

Page 11A

Doraville mosque struggles with numerous code violations
by Daniel Beauregard A mosque that has been cited numerous times for code/zoning violations has continued to hold services even though a court has ordered services to stop, DeKalb County officials said. The At-Taqwa Mosque, in the 2000 block of Woodwin Road in Doraville, has been cited at least six times by county code enforcement officials for failing to maintain a certificate of occupancy. DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said it was because of these citations the owners of the mosque were called in front of a probate court judge last year and ordered to stop holding services. However, attorney Khurram Baig, who is representing the mosque, said it continued holding services due to a misunderstanding. “Different people who they were working with in the county gave them different opinions and based on some misunderstandings they went back in the space,” Baig said. Baig said the mosque had been working with code enforcement officials who told mosque leaders the several buildings they owned were in compliance. “I can’t deny that they went into the space,” Baig said. “They didn’t know the probate court is the one that has the final say as to whether they can operate inside the building.” Both Brennan and Baig said that part of the confusion was because the buildings owned by the mosque are located in both unincorporated DeKalb and the city of Doraville. “When you’re dealing with municipalities and navigating two different bureaucracies, it can leave people who were born here confused, so you can imagine their confusion being immigrants. It’s just a huge misunderstanding,” Baig said. Luke Howe, spokesman for Doraville mayor Donna Pittman, said the mosque had been cited numerous times by the city of Doraville as well. Baig, who has only been representing the mosque for several weeks, said he has informed owners that if they are going to conduct services it has to be outside, to avoid any further violations. “For whatever reason the relationship between the mosque and the neighbors is fractured,” Baig said. “There is a neighbor there who is always calling code enforcement out on them and my advice to the mosque was to get into compliance so he can’t continue doing that.” Baig said he was optimistic all the mosque’s issues would be worked out but said it may take time. In the meantime, he said it would conduct prayer services outside where they would not be committing any code violations.

The At-Taqwa Mosque recently came under fire for continuing to operate after a probate court judge told it to stop, citing numerous code violations. However, attorney Khuram Baig said it was nothing more than a misunderstanding Photo by Daniel Beauregard

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
Few Showers High: 71 Low: 55

Feb. 23, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
Feb. 23, 1990 - A fast-moving storm produced near blizzard conditions in Michigan. Snowfall totals ranged up to 9.5 inches in Allegan County, wind gusts reached 74 mph at Ann Arbor, and five-foot snowdrifts were reported around Saginaw. Feb. 24, 1936 - Vermont and New Hampshire received brown snow due to dust from storms in the Great Plains Region. A muddy rain fell across parts of northern New York State. Dunwoody 69/54 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 70/55 70/55 70/55 Snellville Decatur 71/55 Atlanta 71/55 71/55 Lithonia College Park 72/55 72/55 Morrow 72/55 Union City 72/55 Hampton 73/56

In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see mostly sunny skies with a 30% chance of showers, high temperature of 71º, humidity of 49%. West wind 10 to 15 mph. The record high temperature for today is 79º set in 1980. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight with a 70% chance of showers.

Showers Likely High: 59 Low: 33

*Last Week’s Almanac
Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 47 37 57/36 0.15" Wednesday 65 32 57/36 0.00" Thursday 59 48 57/37 0.23" Friday 66 39 57/37 0.00" Saturday 61 43 58/37 0.40" Sunday 52 38 58/37 0.11" Monday 57 31 58/38 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .0.89" Average temp . .48.2 Normal rainfall . .1.18" Average normal 47.1 Departure . . . . .-0.29" Departure . . . . .+1.1
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport

Sunny High: 55 Low: 32

Sunny High: 60 Low: 39

Mostly Sunny High: 62 Low: 41

Sunny High: 65 Low: 44 First 2/29

Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Thursday Sunrise 7:13 a.m. 7:12 a.m. 7:11 a.m. 7:10 a.m. 7:08 a.m. 7:07 a.m. 7:05 a.m. Sunset 6:28 p.m. 6:29 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 6:31 p.m. 6:32 p.m. 6:33 p.m. 6:34 p.m. Moonrise 7:48 a.m. 8:18 a.m. 8:48 a.m. 9:21 a.m. 9:56 a.m. 10:35 a.m. 12:06 p.m. Moonset 8:24 p.m. 9:20 p.m. 10:15 p.m. 11:11 p.m. Next Day 12:05 a.m. 1:51 a.m. Last 3/14

Tonight's Planets
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 7:52 a.m. 7:30 p.m. 9:08 a.m. 9:54 p.m. 7:16 p.m. 8:12 a.m. 10:04 a.m.11:17 p.m. 10:37 p.m. 9:57 a.m. 8:33 a.m. 8:39 p.m.

Partly Cloudy High: 61 Low: 42 Full 3/8

New 3/22

Local UV Index

National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see scattered rain and snow today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 68º in Georgetown, Del. The Southeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with a few showers and thunderstorms today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 84º in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Northwest will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated rain and snow today and Friday, scattered rain and snow Saturday, with the highest temperature of 60º in Medford, Ore. The Southwest will see mostly clear skies today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 83º in Yuma, Ariz.

Weather Trivia
What is the “green sky” effect?

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


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

Answer: A greenish tint to the sky is often a precursor to hail.

StarWatch By Gary Becker - Easter will Always Occur in the Spring
The Lenten season begins on February 22, starting with Ash Wednesday, commemorating the 40 days that Christ spent fasting in the desert prior to the beginning of his ministry on Earth. Those 40 days do not include Easter Sunday nor the intervening Sundays before Easter, so Lent in 2012 contains 46 days prior to Christ’s resurrection. The tradition of restricting the consumption of certain foods or giving up certain luxuries during Lent is in acknowledgment of the hardships that Christ endured during this period. Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, is considered the time when penitents “shrove” or “shrived,” acknowledged their sins to ensure God’s forgiveness and free themselves from guilt. Shrove Tuesday is also called Fat Tuesday from the French (Mardi-Tuesday and gras-fat) when oils and fats, considered luxuries, were consumed prior to the beginning of Lenten fasting. For the English, fatty pancake recipes were favored thus leading to their consumption on that day and Shrove Tuesday to be also known as Pancake Tuesday. Pennsylvania Germans cooked greasy donuts instead, a tradition that I remember so fondly in my grandmother Becker’s yummy square-shaped Fastnacht treats which she continued to make through age 100. In order to keep Easter and other seasonal holidays reoccurring at their respective times of the year, it is essential to maintain a calendar that is in step with the seasons. Although the actual formula for calculating Easter is more complex, a generic variant is to say that Easter occurs on the first Sunday (April 8) after the first full moon (April 6) after the Vernal Equinox (March 20). The period of time between the sun’s two successive crossings of the Vernal Equinox, the position in the sky where the sun’s location is directly over the equator, marks “the beat” of a Tropical year. That beat, however, is actually 20 minutes shorter than the Earth’s revolution period around the sun with respect to a fixed reference, the manner in which orbital periods of other celestial bodies are normally measured. This means that the location of the Vernal Equinox in the sky changes from year to year, sliding westward among the stars, a direct result of the Earth’s axis wobbling (precessing) like a huge top over nearly a 26,000 year cycle. Using the sun’s crossing of the vernal equinox to regulate the yearly beat ensures that holidays like Easter and Christmas, July 4th, and Labor Day take place during their respective seasons. Six thousand years from now, in 8012 AD, Easter will happen with the winter constellations fully dominating the evening sky, but springtime will still be in the air. Considering global warming, it may even feel like summer. Happy Easter to all!

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012


Page 12A

Emory research providing hope during American Heart Month
by Jennifer Johnson Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, claiming the lives of more than 600,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers at the Emory Heart and Vascular Center are conducting groundbreaking research to discover the underlying sources of heart disease and develop therapies to treat or prevent them. These studies could play an important role in the way doctors all over the world predict, prevent and treat heart disease. related studies involving up to 650 male and female patients between the ages of 30 and 82 with stable coronary heart disease. They are focusing on the vascular angle of mental stress ischemia, the brain’s role and genetics. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a promising new non-surgical treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis. The common, life-threatening heart condition affects tens of thousands of Americans each year when the aortic valve tightens or narrows, preventing normal blood flow. The FDA-approved valve, under study at Emory since 2007, offers a non-invasive treatment option for patients too old or frail to endure traditional open-heart surgery. Emory University Hospital was one of 23 sites nationwide, and the only one in Georgia, to study the valve. During the procedure, doctors create a small incision in the groin or chest wall and then feed the new valve, mounted on a wire mesh on a catheter, and place it where the new valve is needed. The Emory Heart & Vascular Center is one of approximately 60

Severe aortic stenosis

Mental stress and heart disease

Researchers are examining the relationship between stress and cardiovascular disease as part of an $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Led by David Sheps, M.D., the five-year study is investigating mental stress-induced ischemia, a lack of blood flow to the heart triggered by psychological stress. Sheps and his colleagues Emory School of Medicine researcher/ physician Arshed Quyyumi, M.D., and Viola Vaccarino, M.D., Ph.D. of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health–are conducting three

institutions nationwide, and the first in Georgia, to study an innovative approach to lower blood pressure without the use of medication. The study, led at Emory by Chandan Devireddy, M.D., focuses on patients with treatmentresistant high blood pressure, which occurs when a person’s blood pressure remains high despite taking at least three different medications to lower it. The minimally invasive technique, called renal denervation, uses a tiny catheter device to silence nerves that can make high blood pressure uncontrollable. During the procedure, the catheter is advanced through a minimal puncture in the groin and threaded into the arteries of the kidney. Once there, the catheter delivers low-power radiofrequency energy that generates a tiny electric current to heat the nerves in the walls of the artery and deactivate the nerves to the kidneys. Emory University’s Center for Heart Failure Therapy and Transplantation was one of nine centers in the United States recently invited to join the Heart Failure Clinical Research Network (HFCRN). Principal investigator Javed

Butler, M.D., is leading Emory’s HFCRN efforts, including the use of a seven-year, $2.5 million grant to develop clinical trials in heart failure and additional funding over time to carry out these trials.

Bone marrow cells and heart attack

Heart failure

High blood pressure

Emory doctors are testing whether bone marrow cells can help heal the heart after a heart attack. A multi-site trial, led by Arshed Quyyumi, M.D., and expected to enroll 160 patients, is the next phase of a clinical study whose first phase began in 2006. The goal of the experimental treatment is to help heal the injury by improving blood flow within the heart. This study is distinctive because investigators are using a preparation of bone marrow cells enriched for endothelial progenitor cells, which are thought to promote healing and recovery of blood vessels. The cells come from the same person they are used to treat, eliminating the need to control the immune system after re-infusion. For more information, contact Emory Health Connections at (404) 778-7777.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Local News
church. “Black history and Black culture would be poorer without critical reasoning and questioning of religious authorities,” he added. Critical reasoning is not a threat to the Black church, Tribble insisted. “Without critical reasoning and critique, no religious leader and no religious institution can grow and be transformed,” he explained. “Jesus said to love God not only with your heart but with your mind as well.” One of the highlights of the atheist campaign occurs on Feb. 26: The Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers. Black atheists will gather in homes, coffee shops and other places to “build genuine communal relationships.” The goal is to launch a movement in the Black community that will enable nonbelievers to embrace their inner atheist openly.

Page 13A

Atheist ad campaign targets Blacks
in AAH’s analysis. According to Tribble, “the Christian n atheist group faith is a social as well as wants to make it a spiritual religion. We are easier for Black baptized into a fellowship of nonbelievers to believers, all of whom are free themselves of religion. imperfect people—saints and To coax them out of the clos- sinners.” Christianity has a et, African Americans for social element that could be Humanism (AAH) recently misconstrued as mere cuslaunched a national multitom and socialization. media ad campaign targeting Tribble is an ordained the Black community. minister of the African MethCoinciding with Black odist Episcopal Zion Church History Month, the ads and an assistant professor of feature historic Black atheministry at Columbia Theoists alongside contemporary logical Seminary in Decatur. Black atheist organizers. The “No doubt, there are those message informs isolated who attend the Black church skeptics that a community of primarily because of social nonbelievers exists. needs and traditions,” he “African Americans who conceded. “However, there question religion often feel are deeper spiritual conrejected by religious famnections nurtured through ily and friends and by the spiritual disciplines of worgreater Black community,” ship, prayer, meditation on said Debbie Goddard, AAH scripture, the Lord’s Supper, director. “But there is a rich etcetera, that provide the heritage of religious skeptispiritual underpinnings for cism and humanism in Black many devoted members and history. By featuring the leaders.” historical faces as well as the He witnessed his parmodern in our ad campaign, ents, grandparents and we show people that quesgreat-grandparents’ faith tioning religion is not new and devotion, which Tribble and that there are many of us said impacted him deeply. here.” “Attending church for them Atlanta is one of the tarwas not just a tradition or get cities in which ads first social custom,” he asserted. appeared on Jan. 30, other “I witnessed their efforts to cities include New York, Los live the scriptures at home, Angeles, Chicago, Washat work, in our family busiington, D.C., Dallas and nesses, as well as in the Durham, N.C. The Atlanta church.” billboard ad features poet Tribble rejects the claim Langston Hughes alongside that the Black community Mandisa L. Thomas, found- puts any more pressure on its er and current president of members to declare belief in Atlanta Black Nonbelievers. God’s existence than other Other historic figures include communities do. “I would Frederick Douglass, Zora hope that the Black church Neale Hurston and W. E. would be invitational and not B. Dubois. Above the headcoercive in its religious funcshots, the message states, tion of evangelizing people,” “Doubts about religion? he said. “The gospel of Jesus You’re not alone.” Christ is a gospel of peace. Numerous studies reAs such, I believe that the veal that Blacks are among invitation to Christian disthe most religious groups cipleship is just that—an in America. And the Black invitation, not a coercive church has historically been social pressure.” a pillar in the community, AAH claims that “the providing spiritual guidance, church and religious leadsocial services and a collecers do not speak for many of tive voice for justice. But us.” Furthermore, a growaccording to AAH, numering number of Black people ous Black nonbelievers sit in “stand for reason over faith, the pews of churches every free thought over authority Sunday. They attend because and critical thinking in place of tradition and to socialize. of superstition.” And pressure to conform But African Americans prevents them from revealquestioning religion and reliing their real doubts about gious institutions is nothing God. new, Tribble said. He apBut the Rev. Dr. Jeffery plauded his seminary mentor L. Tribble finds a misunder- for challenging him to think standing of the Black church critically about the Black by Nigel Roberts


Pro-atheism campaign targets African-Americans for Black History Month.

From left, Corey Turner, Jerome Woods and Roger Woods Jr. reminisce about the people buried in a Black cemetery in Lithonia. The men are part of a volunteer group seeking to clear and restore the cemetery. Photo by Andrew Cauthen


Continued From Page 1A
said Johnny Fred Daugherty, 74, a lifelong resident of Lithonia. “They really got it looking good,” Daughterty said. “This is the best it’s been since I’ve been a grown man.” Now that the cemetery is clearer, Lester said, FLAACO will be aided by ROTC cadets from Arabia Mountain High School who will survey the cemetery, recording information from tombstones. Lester said she is pleased that a younger generation is taking interest in the value of the cemetery. “It is unbelievably rich with history,” Lester said. Many of the graves are of military personnel who “never got the honor they were due,” Lester said. “These men, and one woman, even though they might not have given their lives in combat, came home, lived honorable lives, died and were buried and nobody even knows where their bodies are,” Lester said. When the first granite quarry opened in Lithonia in 1879, many Blacks left farms for quarry jobs and settled in the Bruce Street community in Lithonia, adjacent to the site of the cemetery which has been called the Lithonia Colored Cemetery or Lithonia Cemetery One. On Feb. 25, FLAACO is hosting a community cookout and is inviting residents to visit the cemetery and identify the gravesites of their families. Lester said her desire for the cemetery is for it to be listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. “I ain’t got a whole lot of time left,” Lester said. “I want to see it done before I go.”

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012


Page 14A

Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston recently unveiled the new Southeastern Institute for Sustainability. GPC President Anthony Tricoli signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming. Photos by Daniel Beauregard

GPC opens Southeastern Institute for Sustainability
by Daniel Beauregard Georgia Board of Regents Chancellor Hank Huckaby said Georgia Perimeter College’s (GPC) new academic program is the only one of its kind and something for colleges around the country to emulate. Huckaby said GPC’s new Southeastern Institute for Sustainability is the first program in Georgia’s 35-college system to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the only one at the community college level. “This is an opportunity to plow some ground that will not only be a benefit for this college but the whole state. All the environmental issues—particularly that of sustainability—are increasing in prominence and importance and the folks here at Georgia Perimeter have the right to be excited and proud of the curriculum established here,” Huckaby said. GPC President Anthony Tricoli said the institute’s curriculum would not be self-contained but integrated across all disciplines and offered at all of the college’s five locations. Joanne Chu, director of the institute, said another important aspect of the program is community partnerships. “We have English professors right now who are working on a community food project where they’re going to be putting in community food gardens on all the five campuses. The art professors will be having their students creating pieces of art surrounding the garden,” Chu said. At a recent unveiling of the new program, Regional Administrator for the EPA’s Southeastern Region Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming and Tricoli signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the college and the EPA. “If you think about it our goals are not too different. We all want a global society that thrives environmentally, economically and educationally,” Keyes Fleming said. Keyes Fleming said the EPA has established similar partnerships with other colleges and universities throughout the Southeast. “In the last three years we have developed a consortium of schools involved in sustainability and presently have 21 MOUs—this is our 22nd,” Keyes Fleming said. Additionally, Keyes Fleming said the MOU will allow the college and EPA to partner together and convene forums on issues of environmental sustainability and justice, develop research involving sustainability and work with the community. “There are some great things happening today that will position this institu-

GPC President Tricoli and Georgia Board of Regents Chancellor Hank Huckaby speak at the opening of the institute.

tion to be the incubator for well-qualified graduates that are interested in environmental careers,” Keyes Fleming said. “Right here in

our home-town we will be setting the standard and creating a model for all institutions across the country to learn from.”

Education Briefs

DeKalb Retired Educators Association sets meeting The DeKalb Retired Educators Association (DREA) will meet March 15 at 2 p.m. at the Decatur First Christian Church Fellowship Hall, located at 601 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. The meeting will focus on good financial health and features David Smith, a DDREA member and financial advisor with Mass Mutual/Piedmont Financial Group. DREA is a unit of the Georgia Retired Educators Association and is actively recruiting retired educators. It meets on the third Thursday of each month. For additional information call (770) 498-9493. DeKalb Schools’ superintendent to give state of the system address DeKalb County School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson will give a state of the system address on Feb. 23 at the Courtyard Marriott in Decatur, located at 130 Clairemont Ave. The event will be hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and Atkinson will share her assessment of the system from her first 90 days and her vision for moving it forward. Registration begins at 8 a.m. in the hotel ballroom and includes breakfast. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $20 per person and the event is open to the public.

IMH students named National Junior Honors Society Members Seven Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School (IMH) students were named members of the National Junior Honors Society (NJHS) recently. National Junior Honor Society members must be in seventh or eighth grade and possess an average of 93 percent or better in all core subjects. The students must also demonstrate outstanding character, leadership and service to the community. The new IMH members of the honors society are Jacob Hedenquist, Rachel Scott, Lakin Wright, Megan Anandappa, Hannah Postma, Caroline Cross and Hannah Kerry.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012


Page 15A

Old and new come together to make Tucker’s business district a model
by Kathy Mitchell More than 90 years ago brothers Kelley and Reid Cofer opened a business in what was then considered the village of Tucker. Cofer Brothers Building Supply, the current version of that business—still run by the Cofer family—is one of many venerable businesses that sit alongside a growing assortment of newcomers in Tucker’s Main Street business district. A revitalization effort that started more than 10 years ago is proving successful despite a nationwide dip in the economy. The first phase of a streetscape project that narrowed Main Street from four lanes to two and gave the street a fresh, updated, more attractive look was completed in fall of 2011. “We had businesses coming here even while construction was going on. That’s a sure sign that people could see that we had something really good started,” said Honey Van der Kreke, an original member of the Main Street Tucker Alliance, the organization spearheading the effort. Van der Kreke said reducing the number of lanes on Main Street has done the opposite of what one might first imagine. The area has become busier. “Before, people would just whiz through here. Now they slow down and have a chance to see what we have here.” Businesses such as Matthews Cafeteria, a Tucker institution since the mid-1950s, and Carr’s Drug Store remain cherished landmarks in downtown Tucker, Van der Kreke said, as new businesses from retail shops to health clinics come to Main Street. Two new restaurants, including the first in downtown Tucker with a bar, have opened. Another, a Mexican restaurant, is scheduled to open in a few weeks. “Although Tucker isn’t really a city—even though a lot of people mistakenly think that it is—it has very much the feel of a small town and people take the kind of pride in it that people take in their hometowns. Right along here in the Main Street area we have shops, a church, the high school and a soda shop where kids hang out after school—just what you’d expect to find in a small town,” said Van der Kreke, who grew up in Tucker. “People who grow up here want to stay or to come back here. We want to make it the kind of place where they want to raise a family and spend their whole lives,” she said. Although the revitalization effort, started in 2000, slowed with America’s economic woes, Van der Kreke said the economic slump was “a bump in the road,” but proved a plus in some ways. “Prices go down in a slow economy, so we were able to get more done with the money we had,” she said. “Also, the construction provided some jobs when people really needed them. Who knows where we’d be if we hadn’t decided to do this when we did.” The money had come from government grants and from Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) money from the county. The county is allowed to use up to 20 percent of money collected through sales taxes for such improvements as sidewalks and roads. The rest must be applied to offset property taxes. Tucker recently received another $1.6 million grant, but has not yet determined how it is to be spent. “Grants almost always have restrictions as to how they can be used,” explained attorney Charlton Allen, who works with the Main Street Alliance as it guides new developments. “We have to be sure we’re in compliance with those restrictions.” The revitalization being done with grant money has inspired many existing businesses to remodel and become part of the new ambiance, Van der Kreke said. “The government can’t do all of it, nor should it,” she said. “We believe in a partnership between government and private business.” Allen said that “the coolest part” of what’s being done in Tucker is that it comes from a group of local people who just got together and started talking about what they wanted to do with their community. “Every time we’ve held a meeting, people have turned out in large numbers. The smallest turnout we ever had was 103 people—and that was right before Christmas,” he recalled. “We’ve created a template here,” he said. “This is a model for other communities that want to do something similar.”

Charlton Allen, left, and Honey Van der Kreke are key members of the team behind the revitalization of the Tucker business district. Photos by Kathy Mitchell

Tucker Commons, home to a number of small businesses, has been around since the 1980s.

Local Number 7 is the first restaurant on Main Street licensed to serve alcohol.

A banner announces that a Mexican restaurant is to open soon.

Cofer Brothers has been a fixture in Tucker for more than 90 years.

Bakery Sweet Dee’s is just weeks away from opening.

Main Street is undergoing renewal with support from local organizations.

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

Side streets such as Railroad Avenue are developing along with Main Street.

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Page 16A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

and Russell Edwards of People for a Better Athens, who is fighting a Walmart/Selig development proposed for downtown Athens will lead the discussion. Speaker to discuss U.S.-Iran relations Ed Martin, director of the Center for Interfaith Engagement at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, will speak on Monday, Feb. 27, on “Iran – Confrontation or Diplomacy?” Martin has traveled to Iran more than 25 times since 1991 and has built relationships with Iranian government officials, professors and religious leaders. Martin will discuss the policies, issues and misinformation affecting U.S.-Iranian relations and point the way to more fruitful and peaceful approaches to break the current impasse. Martin will speak at the Atlanta Friends Meetinghouse, 701 West Howard Ave. in Decatur. A reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and Martin is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Credit education series continues Duane White, president of Need to Know Information Inc., will teach strategies for financial success Saturday, Feb. 25, as part of a five-part credit education series that started in January. All classes meet the fourth Saturday of the month 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Covington Library. The February program is Fair Credit Reporting and Credit Report Analysis, the March 24 program is The Fair Debt Collections Practice Act and Letter Writing, the April 28 program is The Credit Card Act of 2009, and the May 26 program is Credit Scoring and Identifying Where You Are. Covington Library is located at 3500 Covington Highway, Decatur. For more information, call (404) 508-7180. Get Body Beautiful event planned Commissioner Larry Johnson and Andrea Riggs will host a Get Body Beautiful event at the Porter Sanford Center, Saturday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. Get Body Beautiful, an approach designed to transform the mind and body, was founded by Riggs, a local TV personality, motivator and trainer. The mission of Get Body Beautiful is to help individuals and communities achieve better health through lifestyle, nutrition and fitness changes. Physical activities as well as nutrition information and healthy snacks will be a part of the event. The event will be at the Porter Sanford Center, located at 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. For more information, call Johnson’s office at (404) 371-2425. Church, 5365 Memorial Dr., Stone Mountain. Atkinson will present the district’s plan, titled Victory in Every Classroom: Excellence in Education. This meeting is free and open to the public.

Lithonia cemetery group holds cookout, volunteer drive The Friends of the Lithonia African American Cemetery Organization will host a community cookout at the old Bruce Street School, located across from the East DeKalb Precinct office, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25. Participants will be taught about Lithonia’s historic Black cemetery and will be encouraged to volunteer to preserve the history of the community. For more information, contact Corey Turner at (770) 895-4305. M.L. King Jr. High School to hold scholarship gala M.L. King Jr. High School PTSA will be hosting a Black Tie Gala at the school on Saturday, March 10, at 7 p.m. Proceeds will be used to provide scholarships for seniors facing financial hardships who desire to further their education at accredited institutions. Tickets, $50 per person and $85 per couple, can be purchased at the school or ordered by mail at MLK Jr. High School PTSA/ 3991 Snapfinger Road/ Lithonia, GA 30038. For information on sponsorships and advertising, visit www.mlkhighgala. Students provide goody bags for homeless Students from Good Better Best Fountain of Youth Academy Inc., a non-profit organization in Stone Mountain, passed out goody bags to the homeless on Feb. 12. The students were able to provide coats, sweaters, socks and shirts to 40 individuals near Woodruff Park in Atlanta. Dr. LaShunda Hawkins, founder of the program, explained that the students were able to give on one of the coldest and windiest weekends of the year. “The students were excited to give knowing that the only reward was the feeling of gratitude,” she said.


Touch-a-Truck event set The annual Touch-a-Truck event, hosted by Decatur Active Living, is set for March 3, 10 a.m.1 p.m. The event, at the Callaway Building parking lot at 120 West Trinity Place, gives children an opportunity to touch, explore and see their favorite trucks or equipment on wheels. City of Decatur and DeKalb County dump trucks, fire trucks, tractors, police cars and motorcycles, and many other types of vehicles will be on display. Visitors are encouraged to ride bicycles to the event. Decatur Police will be on hand to register bicycles to help them be returned if they are lost or stolen. In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled for Saturday, April 21. For more information, contact Cheryl Burnette at (678) 553-6541 or cheryl.burnette@ Proposed Walmart subject of forum The proposed Walmart in Suburban Plaza by developer Selig Enterprises is the subject of a community forum Feb. 23, 7 p.m., hosted by Good Growth DeKalb. The forum will be held at North Decatur Presbyterian Church, 611 Medlock Road, at the corner of Medlock and North Decatur roads. The purpose of the forum is for residents to discuss the proposal and share their vision for better community development. A threeperson panel—Louise Runyon, Medlock neighborhood resident and Good Growth DeKalb community leader; Donald Stack of Stack & Associates, a member of Good Growth DeKalb’s legal team;

Golf event to benefit Georgia youth The Georgia Community Action Association (GCAA) on May 7 will host its first charity golf tournament to benefit Georgia’s youth. The tournament will be held at the Heritage Golf Links at 4445 Britt Road, Tucker, and will kick off with registration at 9 a.m. and a shotgun start at 10 a.m. Teams may register online before March 1 and pay $300 per team. The fee includes entry into all events, 18 holes of golf, golf cart, silent auction, special awards and a recognition luncheon. Proceeds from this event will in part provide scholarships to students from low-income families throughout Georgia, said GCAA President Jimmie Samuel. For more information, visit www.

PRISM to host school plan presentation Pride Rings in Stone Mountain (PRISM) will host Dr. Cheryl Atkinson, DeKalb County School System superintendent, on Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m. at St. Timothy’s United Methodist


The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Page 17A


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The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012


Page 18A

Defense a factor as 19 county teams prepare for state basketball playoffs
by Robert Naddra Many of the 19 teams from schools in DeKalb County that have qualified for the upcoming state basketball tournaments are linked by a common strength—defense. The Columbia boys, who have won two straight Class AAA state championships and four in the past six years, lead the county in blocked shots and in points allowed. The Eagles had blocked 209 shots and allowed an average of 43.5 points through Feb. 10. They have held 11 opponents to less fewer 40 points. “We pride ourselves in leading the county in points allowed,” said Eagles’ coach Phil McCrary. “To win a championship you’ve got to be able to make stops.” Chris Horton, who has signed a scholarship with Austin Peay University, leads the county in blocks and had 10 twice in the recent Region 5-AAA tournament. Horton has help close to the basket from Jarmal Reid and Jhaustin Thomas. Stephenson, Miller Grove, Chamblee, Southwest DeKalb, Columbia and Greenforest Academy each have qualified its boys’ and girls’ teams. The other boys’ teams that have qualified for state tournament play from DeKalb are Marist, Towers and M.L. King. The remaining girls’ teams in the field are Redan, St. Pius, Decatur and Paideia. Miller Grove and Southwest DeKalb also have strong inside players and rely on solid defense. Southwest is led by all-American William Goodwin, who has signed with Memphis, while the Wolverines have the tandem of all-American Tony Parker and Georgia signee Brandon Morris. “We’re playing the most consistent defense as we have all year,” Wolverines’ coach Sharman White said. “We’ve held a lot of opponents to 40 points and we’ve really been getting quality defensive efforts.” Columbia’s girls are equally focused on defense and it showed in their run to a region championship. The Lady Eagles allowed fewer than 30 points in three tournament games, including a 3128 win over St. Pius in the championship game. “Defense is what we hang our hats on,” Columbia girls’ coach Chantay Frost said. “The intensity level is good and we’re hitting our stride now.” St. Pius also has found success on the strength of its defense. The Golden Lions (24-4) have held opponents to fewer than 30 points in eight of their past 13 games. Chamblee (33.7 points against per game) and Miller Grove (34.4) have allowed the fewest points of any girls’ teams in the county. The Stephenson boys, at 8-20, are the surprise of DeKalb’s playoff contingent. The Jaguars have endured disciplinary suspensions and scored upsets in the Region 2-AAAAA tournament to qualify for state after a Sweet 16 appearance in the state tournament last year. As was the case with many other teams, defense was a catalyst for the Jaguars. “What saved us was our defense,” Jaguars’ coach Curtis Gilleylen said. “We held Newnan and Newton to 38 points and M.L. King to 49. We seemed to come together on defense. “We’re not near our potential because of all the fragmentation,” Gilleylen said. “But there has been a lot more commitment over the past two weeks. We’re to a point now where everybody knows there are no more chances. There’s been a lot more hard work.” The Jaguars have been led by guard Derek Harper, who is among the top scorers in the county at 19.3 points per game. “He takes on a lot of undue pressure but more kids contributed in the region and that helped him,” Gilleylen said. Visit for the complete tournament schedule for participating teams in DeKalb County.

Withstanding the heat
Miller Grove comes together in search of fourth straight state title
by Robert Naddra iller Grove coach Sharman White and his basketball team know a little something about dealing with pressure. The Wolverines earlier this season were ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation among high school boys’ basketball teams by ESPN and other news outlets. They are trying to become the first DeKalb County school to win four straight state basketball championships— the Southwest DeKalb girls won three straight Class AAAA titles from 2009-11. Another championship will make Miller Grove the first team in the state to win four in a row since Westover did it 1990-93. The Wolverines have endured a brutal schedule that featured several of the top 50 teams in the county and national exposure with three televised games on ESPN. And last week in the Region 6-AAAA tournament, White saw how his team responded with its leader, AllAmerican Tony Parker, rendered useless with foul trouble. Parker, who averages 17.7 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, was held scoreless in the Wolverines’ 5847 win over Marist in the semifinals. “This team has had to deal with more adversity from a winning and losing standpoint than the other three teams, and that could play to our favor in the state tournament,” White said. “They’ve had more to contend with and more pressure than any other team.” The Wolverines enter the AAAA state tournament at 19-9, having endured a five-game losing streak against national competition in December and January. Miller Grove takes an 11-game winning streak into its first-round game Feb. 23 against New Manchester.


“To win three straight state championships and have what some consider to be the toughest schedule in America is a lot to be on 17- and 18-year-old kids,” White said. “They had a lot of media attention with three nationally televised games. I’m very proud of the way they handled themselves. We’re locked in on one goal and that’s to win another state championship.” White saw his team come together in the region tournament, a place where it stumbled last season, losing in the championship game. Christian Houston put together back-to-back 23-point games in the semifinals and finals, and the Wolverines also got strong showings from Brandon Morris, Tony Evans and Justin Colvin. Parker also had an impact, grabbing 18 rebounds in two quarters in the quarterfinals, then getting 14 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Southwest DeKalb in the region championship game. Morris and Parker, with 127 blocked shots between them, are a force close to the basket. Morris is averaging 10 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Houston has become one of the top guards in the county, averaging three steals and 5.2 assists per game. “I like where we are now,” White said. “This team had to find its own identity. Once we started jelling, things started falling into place. “In addition to Tony [Parker], we’ve still got some really great players who have bought into our program,” White said. “They’ve been able to rise up and step into the gap. That’s what we ask everybody to do.” If the Wolverines can do that five times in a row over the next two weeks, they will earn a place in history with their fourth straight state championship.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Page 19A

DeKalb High School Sports Highlights
BOYS BASKETBALL Miller Grove: Christian Houston scored 23 points in a 58-47 win over Marist in the 6-AAAA semifinals, then 23 again in a 67-63 win over Southwest DeKalb in the championship game. Against Southwest, Tony Parker added 14 points and 13 rebounds, Brandon Morris had 12 points and Tony Evans 10. In the win over Marist, Morris added 16 points, including eight straight in the third quarter that pulled the Wolverines out of a five-point deficit. The Wolverines also defeated Dunwoody 70-29 with Justin Colvin leading with 11 points and Morris adding 10. Parker had 18 rebounds. Columbia: Chris Horton had two tripledoubles as the Eagles defeated Cedar Grove, Washington and Towers to win the Region 5-AAA tournament. Horton had 10 rebounds, 10 points and 10 blocks against Cedar Grove, and 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks against Washington. He also added 12 points and 10 rebounds in the 6829 win over Towers in the championship game. Tahj Shamsid-Deen led with 13 points and 10 assists against Towers, while Jarmal Reid had 12 points and eight rebounds. Against Washington in the semifinals, Jhaustin Thomas led with 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Southwest DeKalb: Jordan Price scored 77 points in three games in the Region 6-AAAA tournament, including 43 in an 82-62 win over Chamblee in the semifinals. William Goodwin had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Price scored 13 points and Justin Hollimon 11 in a 6349 win over Redan in the quarterfinals. In a 67-63 loss to Miller Grove in the championship game, Price had 21 points and Goodwin had 20 points and 16 rebounds. Stephenson: The Jaguars lost to M.L. King 49-42 in the Region 2-AAAAA championship on Feb. 17. Derek Harper led with 17 points and Delmont Walton had 12 rebounds. Montez Sweat had 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 45-38 win over Newton in the first round and Harper added 13 points and five assists. In the semifinals, a 46-38 win over Newnan, Harper scored 11 points while Sweat added 10 points and 12 rebounds. GIRLS BASKETBALL Miller Grove: Klarissa Weaver made the game-winning layup with 7 seconds remaining in overtime in the Wolverines’ 53-52 win over Chamblee in the Region 6-AAAA championship game. The Bulldogs turned the ball over on a traveling violation with 1.7 seconds to go. Tashi Thompson led with 19 points, Katie Hunt added 15 points and seven assists, and Tabitha Fudge had 14 points. In a 52-42 win over Redan in the semifinals, Thompson had 17 points and Hunt added 12. The Wolverines beat Douglass 62-22 in the first round, with Shaquanda Durden leading with 21 points and Fudge adding 16. Columbia: Mya Spencer scored 11 points and Victoria Gonzalez added 10 in the Eagles’ 31-28 win over St. Pius for the Region 5-AAA tournament title. The Eagles defeated Riverwood 41-25 in the semifinals as Zuri Frost led the way with 16 points. Stephenson: Kaliyah Mitchell scored 42 points in three games as the Jaguars won the Region 2-AAAAA tournament championship. Mitchell had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Jordan Stroud had 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Kerry Watson had nine assists in a 60-52 win over Westlake in the title game. Mitchell had 17 points, Stroud added 12 and Kyana Johnson had 10 in a 54-35 win over Luella in the semifinals. Southwest DeKalb: The Panthers beat Redan 44-42 to finish third in the Region 6-AAAA tournament. Nicole Razor and Jasmine Coleman each had nine points, and Coleman grabbed nine rebounds against Redan. The Panthers also beat Marist 45-29 in the quarterfinals, with Razor scoring 11 points and Coleman getting 11 rebounds. Southwest lost to Chamblee 61-43 in the semifinals, with Razor leading the way with 13 points. Decatur: The Bulldogs qualified for the state AA tournament as the No. 4 seed from 6-AA. Queen Alford scored 27 points and Jordan Dillard added 18 in a 74-53 win over Blessed Trinity in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs then lost to Lovett 41-33 in the semifinals and lost to Greater Atlanta Christian 46-39 in the third-place game. WRESTLING State championships at Gwinnett Arena, Duluth Gabriel Echols was the lone individual state champion from DeKalb County, as the senior won the 285-pound class for Southwest DeKalb in Class AAAA. Here is a list of other top individual finishers at the state meet. Class AAAAA: Stephen Wiley, Stephenson (6th, 152); Mike Gales, Stephenson (6th, 195). Class AAAA: Sunny Sharma, Dunwoody (6th, 106); Matt Andres, Marist (6th, 138); Anthony Smith, Lithonia (2nd, 152); Keith Palmer, Dunwoody (5th, 160); James Philpot, Redan (3rd, 182); Kenneth Brinson, Marist (2nd, 195); Jacob Mitchell, Miller Grove (4th, 220); Barron Wallace, Marist (5th, 285). Class AAA: Aleema Favors, Arabia Mountain (4th, 113); Quinn Peragine, St. Pius (5th, 113); Khalil Williams, McNair (4th, 130); Damian Schofield, Stone Mountain (2nd, 152); D.J. Jackson, McNair (3rd, 220).
Columbia’s Zuri Frost, left, guards Asia Durr of St. Pius in the Region 5-AAA championship game. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Columbia's Ebony Johnson (24) and Miah Spencer (14).

Brett Oakman of Towers,left, goes up for a layup that gets blocked by a Columbia player and Columbia’s Jarmal Reid, right, drives to the basket.

Jhaustin Thomas of Columbia (45) goes up for a shot, left photo, while Towers’ Brandon Goshay(10) guards Mials Woodberry in the boys’ Region 5-AAA title game.

Page 20A

The Champion Free Press, Friday, February 24, 2012

Henry County football coach hired at Lakeside
by Robert Naddra Lakeside and Chamblee recently hired two new head football coaches. Former Henry County head coach Mike Rozier replaces interim coach Marcus Mitchell at Lakeside. Rozier spent 11 seasons at Henry County where he compiled a 51-67 record. However, he led the Warhawks to the playoffs in each of the past five seasons and compiled a 40-18 record during that span. Before Rozier’s arrival, Henry County had never made back-to-back playoff appearances in the 50-plusyear history of the football program. Rozier is Lakeside’s fifth head football coach since 2006. Only one coach (Bill Harris from 2001-05) has stayed at Lakeside more than three years since Phil Lindsay retired in 1997. Lindsay led the Vikings to their last state football title, a co-championship with Kendrick in 1991 after a 14-14 tie. The Vikings’ last appearance in a state title game was 1996, when they lost to Thomas County Central. Lakeside’s last winning season came in 2003 under Harris, at 6-4. However, the Vikings are 14-66 in the eight seasons since. Allen Johnson has been hired to replace James Soza at Chamblee. Johnson was an assistant with the Bulldogs last season and this will be his first head coaching job. Soza was 6-14 in two seasons with the Bulldogs and was released in December. The Bulldogs had only one losing season in eight years before Soza’s arrival. There are two other head football coach vacancies in DeKalb County. Columbia is searching to replace Mario Allen, who recently took the head football coaching job at Rockdale County and Redan is searching to replace Clinton Lawrence.


Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level. Antonio Scott, Savannah State (baseball): The junior outfielder from Avondale went 4 for 6 with three RBIs and two stolen bases as the Tigers beat MidEastern Athletic Conference rival Coppin State 4-3 and 10-0 in a double-header on Feb. 18 to open the season. Nicole Antoine, Kalamazoo College, Mich. (basketball): The sophomore from Lithonia had 20 rebounds and 13 points in losses to Albion and St. Mary’s on Feb. 15 and 18. She has started all 25 games and leads the team in scoring and rebounding, and is second in steals. Chris Kingsberry, Lawson State Community College, Ala. (basketball): The freshman forward from Tucker had 11 points and nine rebounds in a 102-87 win over Gadsden State on Feb. 16 and 12 points in a 74-61 loss to Snead State on Feb. 13.

The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please e-mail nominations to robert@ by Monday at noon. MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Gabriel Echols, Southwest DeKalb (wrestling): The heavyweight won his first Class AAAA state wrestling championship, defeating James Ellison of Harris County 2-1 in the 285-pound championship match. Echols ends his senior season with a 42-0 record. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Kaliyah Mitchell, Stephenson (basketball): The junior scored 42 points in three games to help the Jaguars win the Region 2-AAAAA basketball tournament. Mitchell had 15 points and 13 rebounds in a 60-52 win over Westlake in the championship game.

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Island Shrimp over Tostones
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