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and Stone Mountain.
WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 5 • FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
Volunteers come together to support sustainability, farm to school initiatives
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com
HYIS SHE HAPPY ?
a sunny Saturday morning residents and volunteers crowded into the Wylde Center’s garden. It was Earth Day weekend and people busied themselves weeding plants, and building garden beds and picnic tables. The Wylde Center, formerly known as the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, was getting ready for its big Earth Day celebration the next day. In addition to helping the center prepare for its celebration, 40 volunteers from ICF International and the Decatur Farm to School Initiative were working on projects for local elementary schools. “We’re building garden beds for the 4/5 Academy, which doesn’t have a garden yet. We’ll be having a followup day to install them in the garden at the school, and work with some kids to put in the dirt and plant some things,” said Katherine Falen, one of the founders of the Decatur Farm to School Initiative and an employee of ICF International. The Decatur Farm to School Initiative is an organization led by parents, teachers, school administrators and community members. The initiative works to connect schools with local farms, serve healthful meals in school cafeterias and improve student nutrition. Decatur Farm to School works handin-hand with City Schools of Decatur (CSD). Falen said volunteers were also building picnic tables for the 4/5 Academy, a school serving all fourth and fifth graders in the CSD system. Every year around Earth Day, Falen said, ICF has a corporate volunteer day, and since she was one of the founders of Decatur Farm to School Initiative, associates decided to volunteer with her at the Wylde Center.
See Farm on Page 13A
WHYIS SHE WHYIS SHE SO SO HAPPY ? HAPPY ?
WHYIS SHE SO HAPPY ?
Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. Because she gets her news updates online from the The Champion. Forty volunteers ﬁlled the grounds of the Wylde Center (formerly Oakhurst Community Garden Project)
April 21 to celebrate Earth Day. The volunteers, from the Decatur Farm to School Initiative and ICF International, built picnic tables and raised garden beds to donate to City Schools of Decatur’s 4/5 Academy. Additionally, volunteers helped out around the Wylde Center weeding invasive plants and turning compost. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Emory University to focus on renewing two communities
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org Since 1975, DeKalb County has used federal funding for various neighborhood projects such as constructing swimming pools, paving streets, home renovation and constructing senior housing, and community and recreation centers. These are great uses of the funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop viable urban communities, said Chris Morris, DeKalb’s human and community development director. But the county needs to do something differently, she told community leaders April 19. “Why aren’t these neighborhoods revitalized?” Morris asked. “Why don’t we have stronger neighborhoods everywhere in DeKalb County? “When you drive through our neighborhoods, do you see strong, sustainable neighborhoods consistently all over DeKalb County?” Morris asked. “I am hoping everyone realizes we need to do something a little differently in order to have a greater impact with our neighborhoods.” Morris introduced the DeKalb Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative (DSNI), a pilot program that will foster a collaborative, communitybased approach to improving the quality of life in DeKalb neighborhoods. Morris said the initiative, once approved by the Board of Commissioners, will be part of the fiveyear plan, the county submits to HUD. The county’s department of human and community development and its partner, the Emory University Office of University-Community Partnerships, has identified seven candidate areas for the pilot program: Clarkston, Columbia, Cross Keys, share an interest in the community to develop a comprehensive approach for improving their neighborhoods. To vie for a spot in the pilot program, candidate communities must prepare a letter of intent. Michael Rich, director of the Emory University Office of University-Community Partnerships, said the letter is not a formal proposal, but a narrative document that describes the community’s commitment, its leadership team, top three pressing neighborhood issues and a proposed “early action” project that demonstrates the community’s ability to work together. The letters of intent are due May 10 and the finalists will be selected later that month. Rich said the current way that many communities address community development is with a “multiplicity of programs that are focused on a single issue.” “We see a problem, we convene a task force and we create a program,” Rich said. “You have all this particularized fragmentation that makes it very difficult to pull the resources together to holistically address a problem. “The new paradigm… of collective impact is recognition that, if we are holistically going to address our communities and make them stronger, we need to work together, we need to have a common vision, we need to draw on the strengths of the neighborhoods,” Rich said. “This is not a study,” Morris said. “We want to develop plans that we can actually work with. We want to be able to leverage all the funds that we can to make a difference. “We can always do projects and initiatives,” Morris said. “We’re trying to have a greater impact.”
Lithonia, McNair, Stone Mountain and Towers. These areas, based on county school district clusters, were identified because of their eligibility to use resources available through the county’s HUD-funded programs, Morris said. These communities will be narrowed down to two areas that will participate in the pilot program. The finalists will be selected based on their ability to leverage their community assets and collaborate with businesses, agencies and organizations that
Accused rapist pleads not guilty, awaits trial
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com A Decatur man charged with raping three women and assaulting two others late last year waived arraignment in court April 19. His attorney will file motions in the case before April 29. Gary Wendale Mincey, 35, of Decatur, was indicted Mincey by a grand jury in February on three counts of rape, two counts of aggravated assault, four counts of armed robbery, five counts of false imprisonment, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count each of burglary, robbery and aggravated sodomy. Mincey allegedly stalked his victims at a Publix grocery store and at nightclubs, according to the county district attorney’s office. “Gary Mincey pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment at today’s hearing,” said DeKalb District Attorney Robert James. “My office will diligently work to bring justice for all the victims involved in these heinous crimes.” Mincey was arrested by DeKalb County Police Department officers on Dec. 1, 2011, after detectives investigating the crimes observed a car fitting the description of the suspect’s vehicle near Flakes Mill Road. According to the indictment, Mincey allegedly assaulted or raped five women between Oct. 16 and Nov. 29, robbing them of money, jewelry, keys, cell phones and other electronics. Mincey allegedly used a knife, Taser or handgun in each of the crimes. According to a police department statement, Mincey followed a woman from the Publix grocery store on Flakes Mill Road to her home near Columbia Drive. According to the investigation, as the victim unloaded her groceries from the car, Mincey entered her home through the garage and then sexually assaulted and robbed her of personal belongings including a cellphone and laptop. Following the assault, he fled in a dark SUV and the victim contacted the police,
according to the police statement.
DeKalb County School District 2012 Certified Teacher Career Fair
Lithonia High School • 2440 Phillips Road • Lithonia, GA 30058 May 5, 2012 • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The DeKalb County School District is seeking Highly Qualified CERTIFIED Teachers. This Certified Teacher Career Fair is open to those individuals who meet the following requirements… • Individuals who hold a professional teaching certificate in specified content areas
Early Childhood Early Childhood (P-5) Gifted Endorsement
Middle Grades Math (4-8) Science (4-8)
High School Math (6-12) Science (6-12) Family & Con. Science (6-12) Tech. Ed. (6-12)
K-12 Art ESOL Music Spanish Special Ed (w/content)
• Individuals who are completing a teacher preparation program by August 1, 2012 and have passed all GACE assessment tests • Individuals who hold dual/multiple teaching content certifications (i.e. Middle Grades L/A and Social Studies) District-wide pre-screening interviews will only be offered to certified teachers who meet the above requirements. Please bring copies of your resume, official transcripts, GACE scores, and/or a copy of your professional certificate. YOU MUST HAVE A COPY OF YOUR DOCUMENTS TO INTERVIEW. If you attended a previous job fair in Spring, 2012 and received a pre-screening interview, you do not need to attend this Certified Teacher Career Fair.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
County to save money by turning trash to gas to cash
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org DeKalb County bolstered its claim of being “the greenest urban county in America” with the opening April 16 of its $9 million renewable fuels facility at the county’s landfill. “We’re a little bit greener,” said DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The facility, which took less than six months to construct, converts the gases that build up during the aging process of a landfill into renewable natural gas. Some of this gas will be turned into compressed natural gas (CNG) which will be used to fuel CNG vehicles. “For years we’ve been burning most of this gas in generators and we’ve been sending the resulting electricity over to Georgia Power,” Ellis said. Initially, the county’s sanitation department will convert 70 vehicles to run on renewable natural gas (RNG) produced by the renewable energy facility. The county’s goal is to replace or convert the entire fleet of 306 sanitation vehicles to run on natural gas. “There will be reduced emissions here at Seminole and everywhere these vehicles are on the road,” Ellis said. The yearly environmental impact to air quality will be the same as taking 30,000 passenger cars off the road, said Burke Brennan, the county’s chief communications officer. The project is funded in part by a $7.8 million U.S. Department of Energy grant made to Clean Cities Atlanta through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus program. “There are already facilities in our country that convert landfill gas to fuel and pump it into vehicles on site. There are also facilities that provide landfill gas and pump it into natural gas pipelines for consumer use. In DeKalb County, we’re the first…to do both,” according to Ellis. Ellis said that once the facility is fully operational in six to eight weeks, DeKalb County would have the capacity to process more landfill gas than any other county in Georgia and the facility will help the county to reduce the rising cost of fueling county vehicles. The county estimates that $3 million will be saved over the next eight years and the county will make money from the CNG it sells to the general public, Ellis said. Ted Photakis, a senior account executive with Energy Systems Group, the company that designed and will operate the facility, said that since the landfill is permitted through 2091, “there could be a 100year supply of methane fuel.” “As long as this plant is running—it’ll be running 24/7—it’ll either be saving the county money on fuel costs or it’ll be bringing in additional revenue,” Photakis said. “Renewable energy creates jobs and a green, sustainable infrastructure,” Ellis said. “Renewable energy reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Renewable energy is, in fact, the energy of the future. There may be a time when we might run out of oil, but we are not going to be running out of renewable energy.” Renewable energy “is safer for our environment, it is more economical and, therefore, putting money back into the pockets of ordinary, middle-class Americans and it is decreasing our dependence on foreign oil,” said Gwen Keyes Fleming, regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s southeast region. Don Francis, executive director of Clean Cities Atlanta, said, “Projects like this and attitudes like this in DeKalb County have turned the corner, and we are on our way to energy security in the United States.”
DeKalb leaders open a $9 million renewable fuels facility in south DeKalb that will convert landfill gas to renewable natural gas, which will be used to power county sanitation vehicle. “We’re a little bit greener,” said DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Cuff a kindergartner?
how many are affected – relying mainly on the headline grabbing, titillating gossip of who might like to know. We have taken prayer and discipline out of our schools. Teachers can’t teach for the DT’s - disciplinary issues and tests. Our children look like cartoon caricatures, thugs or models from the pages of soft porn magazines. In short, our institutions are failing our children. What prompts the preceding rant is the incident that happened in Milledgeville last week. According to reports, a 6-year-old kindergarten girl threw a tantrum, tearing things off the walls and tossing furniture. Apparently she knocked over a shelf causing injury to the principal. No word on what caused the tirade. But when police arrived the girl was in the principal’s office crying. When the officer tried to calm her, she reportedly resisted and was cuffed. Police say they tried to contact the girl’s mother but weren’t able to reach her so they took the child to the police station where she was charged with simple assault and damage to property. Because of her age, she will not have to go to court and will not be sentenced. She is suspended from school. The huge unanswered question is what caused the girl’s tirade. Follow the girl home to her first classroom. What is taught in the home is reflected in how our children behave in public. They model what they see and hear. Could this child be neglected, albeit unintentionally? Could the mother be the breadwinner working a couple jobs to make ends meet and having to be away for long periods of time? Any sign of a father extending emotional or financial support? Another scenario is that the little girl might have been born addicted to drugs or alcohol and is suffering from a chemical imbalance. Yet another scenario is that the little girl may be physically or sexually abused. Does she feel socially ostracized? What is certain is that a little 6-year-old girl is angry, hurt, confused and acting out. No psychiatrist here. But if you’ve witnessed these children in the classroom, on the streets, and even in the church, as outrageous as it might seem, you will surmise the officer probably had no choice. Child protection laws would not allow school personnel to physically restrain the child for fear of being sued for abuse. Zero tolerance laws require police intervention. What to do? Out of control children are common place in our schools, whatever the reason. A case in point: Several years ago while retrieving my purse from the office after a visit to a DeKalb elementary school honors program, I came upon a school official trying to control an unruly first grader. The boy hit, kicked, spat on and cussed the teacher in language so vile it made this grownup blush. The teacher could only restrain the boy by locking him in her arms as if she were holding an infant. She offered that the 7-year-old had been suspended numerous times and if she called his mother, the mother would come and cuss out the boy for causing her to leave her job and then bash him upside the head, which would require the teacher to report the mother to authorities for child abuse. Oye! Don’t tell anyone, but as a concerned grandmother I thought I might be able to reason with the youngster. After being hit with several expletives including the “F” bomb, I calmly took his expensive sneakers off his feet and left the building headed to my car. Of course I only pretended to leave. I’m told that in wide-eyed amazement, the boy settled down rather quickly and peered out the window thinking that crazy lady had left with his shoes. The tactic worked, but teachers can’t do that and this visitor was certainly on thin ice. The unintended consequence of laws designed to protect our children cause more harm than good especially in a litigious society where so many of us lack common sense. What happened in Milledgeville is a reality our teachers suffer through daily. We live in a world where the complex forces of family disintegration, greed, racism (oops there’s that word) and selfishness rule. Sadly, it’s why a police officer cuffs a kindergartner. Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.
Opinion The Newslady
Our moral compass is as bereft of direction in this country as a weathervane in a tornado. We are spinning out of control and a sad symptom of our chaotic state of affairs is a police officer having to cuff a kindergartner. We live in a world where marriage and family values are dragged out as convenient campaign slogans by hypocrites on their fourth and fifth marriages or the affair du jour. We get full of ourselves and throw out husbands and wives like yesterday’s trash. Assuming responsibility for our children takes a back seat to power, prestige and position. We have taken parental authority from parents who are afraid to spank their children lest they be brought up on charges or considered barbaric at the very least. Too many of our self-absorbed politicians care more about the next election and campaign contributions than the public trust. There are too many headlines about some of our priests and preachers pimping at the sign of the cross out of ego, lust and material gain. Tabloid media has inverted the pyramid forgetting about the basic tenets of journalism– need to know,
Letter to the Editor
I am very disappointed in the lack of critical analysis in the story “Looming Brookhaven could cost DeKalb 300 jobs.” Let me be very clear. No matter what the voters in Brookhaven decide, DeKalb will not reduce its police force by 30 percent. The financial impact of the incorporation of Brookhaven is significant to both those inside and outside the proposed city boundaries. People inside the city limits will pay more in property taxes or receive fewer government services. Those drawn outside of the city limits will have to shoulder an additional $22 million financial burden without a say in the process. This is an inequitable process and should be changed by the Georgia General Assembly. While there are conflicting opinions on whether the Brookhaven referendum will pass, it is important that DeKalb County be prepared. To that end, I have requested that all managers who report to the CEO cut their budget by 3 percent this year and 5 percent next year and freeze hiring in nearly all circumstances, and I have asked all other county officials to join me in this contingency plan. It’s an even, responsible approach. Printing unchallenged political rhetoric is irresponsible and reckless. Check the math. If Brookhaven incorporates, it would represent about 9 percent of our current population and 5 percent of our budget. No one in their right mind would address those issues by cutting police by 30 percent. The Champion did their readers a disservice and should know better. Burrell Ellis DeKalb County CEO
Editor’s note: The figures presented in the referenced article are from an April 11 report of the DeKalb County Board of Commissions Finance, Audit & Budget Committee and are based on a study conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute. The article states: “Using the mid-range $21.8 million estimate of reductions, the commissioners’ report stated the county would have to cut 233 police positions.” Nowhere does the article reference cutting the police force by 30 percent. The county’s current budget proposal authorizes 1,226 full-time police positions. Thirty percent of that number would be 368 positions, not 233. Again, these figures are from a Board of Commissioners committee report; they did not originate with The Champion.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Look a t that mountain of trash...er, uh, cash
tional dumping, though the landfill was far from outliving its usefulness. Republic Services, a waste management company that owns Hickory Ridge, partnered with Carlisle Energy Services and used a $2 million grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) to construct a solar panel farm on the south-facing side of Hickory Ridge. “The nation that destroys its Ten acres of flexible solar soil destroys itself,” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882- laminates, the thickness of two nickels and manufactured domes1945), in a letter on Feb. 26, 1937 tically, were attached to a “geoto the nation’s governors, urging membrane” covering the ridge. The their support of uniform soil conmembrane covers a thick, tough servation laws. liner that is like a monster tarp over the landfill, securing the soil and You’ve seen it—a huge minttrash decaying and settling below. green mountain covered with an endless tarp, not far north of Harts- The reflection on the solar panels field Jackson International Airport, can be easily viewed from planes as approached by any landing flight thousands of feet above. These panels are specially designed not to flying south. And the green moundistract or temporarily blind pilots. tain is covered with what looks This Hickory Ridge solar like hundreds of mirrors laid out in farm has a peak capacity of one a grid, appearing somewhat like a child’s memory card game. Though megawatt of electricity, and over the course of a year can provide it also looks something like how enough “home grown” power that Speaker Newt Gingrich probably envisions powering his Moon is then sold to Georgia Power, for 400 homes. Hickory Ridge is one Colony, it is in fact a mountain of of Georgia’s largest producers of trash. solar power, and the state’s first The 48-acre Hickory Ridge landfill solar farm. DeKalb County Landfill opened in 1993. On hot already had another “green energy” summer days through the early part of the 2000 decade, you could leadership example at its Seminole Landfill, owned and managed by “smell” the growth on the south the county, with a methane gas side. In 2006, the landfill reached conversion plant that also turns capacity and was closed to additrash into cash. Georgia Power partnered with the county to construct the methane gas conversion facility that paid for itself in less than a decade. Beyond operating expenses, DeKalb County receives roughly $1.1 million per year in revenue from Georgia Power, buying the methane biomass gas to burn as a fuel source for generating green energy. This “brown” energy source was the start of Georgia Power’s green energy program. Acting as the catalyst, innovator and partial funder of the trash/ cash mountain at Hickory Ridge was GEFA, a little-known state agency. Created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1985, the agency provides grants and loans to protect air, water and land resources, develop alternative and renewable energy supplies and to ensure an improved quality of life for today and future generations of Georgians. In its 27-year history, GEFA has doled out more than $3 billion to fund more than 1,400 projects across the state ranging from reservoirs to land conservation to water and sewerage treatment plants. GEFA is a lean and diverse center of innovation and environmental stewardship. It leads with carrots instead of sticks and acts as a catalyst, enabler and economic developer for dozens of smaller and rural communities by simultaneously producing significant short-term results as well as long-term environmental renewal and conservation. Gov. Nathan Deal has tasked GEFA with leading the Governor’s Water Supply Program, to identify and mobilize the necessary resources to assist local governments in developing new sources of water. As Deal hails from Hall County, and nearby Lake Lanier, he understands and appreciates the need for expanding and maintaining accessible and affordable potable water supply. There are 2,000-plus active-use landfills across the United States, with thousands more already closed to accepting more waste, and several hundred of those active and inactive sites spread across Georgia. They may not all reach up and greet a few hundred flights a day entering our capital city, but I have to believe that GEFA can help many more Georgia communities convert their trash into mountains of cash and green energy over time. Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSBAM 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 email@example.com.
Opinion One Man’s Opinion
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
The freedom to fear
The only change the Supreme Court's majority believes in is change that takes us back to the 18th century.
of us with insurance will continue to pay higher insurance premiums and hospital bills than we should. Apparently, that's the way a nearmajority of American people want it. According to polls, nearly half of Americans oppose the mandate. Oddly enough, however, 85 percent favored requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. In other words, the American people want health care, they just don't want to pay for it. There's a lot of that going around. Let's review. According to the Supreme Court majority, we can't prevent anyone from carrying a gun into a school, church, or Fourth of July picnic. And we can't stop billionaires from buying up our system of democracy by the board foot, shoveling unlimited amounts of money into Super PACs, which then buy vicious ads aimed at their favorite candidate's opponent. And now it looks like we can't provide health care insurance to people in our society who need but can't afford it. That apparently is the New Freedom. Instead of those freedoms from want and fear that FDR articulated in 1941, we've got the freedom to want and fear. The Republican revolution is complete. There was a time when I thought that this radical conservatism we're seeing was a temporary fad. I thought it was something we'd grow out of, like a teenager with bad hair. I mean, after all, the Republican agenda is mainly about low taxes for the rich, paid for by cutting services for the not-rich. How can you win an election with a platform like that in a country where the services for the poor aren't that great in the first place and the rich are getting richer all the time? But a lot of people seem to be buying it. And even if it doesn't happen this time, even if President Barack Obama is re-elected, it won't be over. The Grover Norquists and Koch brothers of the world will still be there with their bags of money and a Supreme Court willing to let them spend it. OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. otherwords.org
Serious commentators are telling us not to assume that the Supreme Court is going to find “Obamacare” unconstitutional just because the conservative justices gave the government lawyer a hard time when the case came before the court last month. Somehow that doesn't make me sleep better at night. This is the same court that gave us the Citizens United decision, which opened the sluice gates of special-interest money that flooded a political system that was already awash in it. The ruling was the court's worst decision since Dred Scott in 1857, which ruled that no Americans of African descent, whether enslaved or free, were U.S. citizens. You think that the court is going to find mandatory health insurance constitutional? Nah. In the first place, you had four votes against the plan right out of the gate. Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito are old-fasioned conservatives. The only change they believe in is change that takes us back to the 18th century. In the second place, the high court's lone swing judge, Justice Anthony Kennedy, was one of the more hostile questioners. “You are changing the relationship of the individual to the government,” he told the government's lawyer. So forget about it, you health care fans, the vote is going to be 5-4 against the Affordable Care Act. The only real question is whether the justices will strike down the entire plan or just the compulsory mandate. That's the part that requires people to buy insurance or pay a fine. I say it doesn't make much difference. The only way you can pay for the other provisions of the bill — providing coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, extending coverage to the poor — is by making everyone pay for it. Without the mandate, the bill for uninsured people who show up at the emergency room after an auto accident or a heart attack, or with severe diabetes or cancer, will be paid — as it is now — by the rest of us. Those
HunGER kEEps up On cuRREnT EVEnTs, TOO.
1 in 6 AmERicAns sTRuGGlEs WiTH HunGER.
Hunger is closer than you think. Reach out to your local food bank for ways to do your part. Visit FeedingAmerica.org today.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
DeKalb commissioners want their own public information officer
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org DeKalb County’s chief executive officer, district attorney, solicitor general, police department and sheriff’s office all have public information officers. But not the Board of Commissioners. Commissioners want “to be able to give the transparency that we’ve talked about for a long time,” said Commissioner Elaine Boyer. “I’ve served on the board for 20 years and we’ve never had any committee meetings taped or had the ability to show the community what we’re doing and how we’re doing and how we’re spending their money.” At her request, Boyer’s chief of staff recently started recording, broadcasting and posting commissioners’ committee meetings online. In these meetings, commissioners hear reports from various county department heads and staff members and have the opportunity to vet out the proposals of the county administration before voting on the items during the board’s regular meetings. “Let’s face it; this is where all the work is done,” Boyer said. “The [county’s] communications office serves the CEO, but it’s something we need to have as a separate branch of government, to have our own public information officer,” Boyer said. On April 24, the board voted to set aside $75,000 used to fund DeKalb County TV (DCTV) to create the DeKalb County Public Information Office. But the decision is not set in stone. “We didn’t get anybody’s attention until we decided that we were going to extrapolate funds,” Boyer said of her suggestion to encumber the funds until a decision is made by July 1. “What we take out [of the budget] we can put back, but, for the moment, we would like to take it out. It would come out unless further discussions are held.” The time-limited position of commissioners’ public information officer would broadcast via the internet all the public meetings of the Board of Commissioners and its various committees, according to the resolution. The position would begin in July and be limited to one year unless the board reaffirms its permanent creation by July 1, 2013. Commissioners came up with the idea of getting their own public information officer after DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis’ administration denied repeated requests to cover the board’s February budget process on DCTV. The administration stated that to produce the two-day finance committee meeting would take 56 hours to prepare the footage for airing and DCTV’s entire fourperson staff would be tied up for two days. Commissioner Jeff Rader supported the measure, but said “creating a public information office within the Board of Commissioners is problematic.” “Since each member of the Board of Commissioners is independently elected, it is difficult for the commission to be able to articulate specifically a unified position,” Rader said. Commissioner Kathie Gannon, the lone commissioner who voted against the resolution, said $75,000 is a large sum to move from the DCTV budget. “Three out of four of our cultural arts institutions get $75,000 a year as their grant for operations from the county,” Gannon said. “I imagine they would enjoy another $25,000 each if we had this kind of money to give out.” Burke Brennan, the county administration’s chief communications officer, said a communications specialist for the commissioners is a good idea, but if DCTV takes “a $75,000 hit in funding, that would be detrimental to operations.” “We would love to help identify a different funding source that didn’t have quite an impact on our operations,” Brennan said.
Watch program in his community off Gresham Road in Decatur. Residents of the area often see Lemon walking the streets in his neighborhood picking up trash and keeping the sewer drains clear of debris. “I’m nothing but a servant of God,” Lemon said. “If you’re obedient, God will put you in a position where you can keep doing what you’re doing to help others.” Lemon, who is pursuing his master’s degree, works full-time at Harland Clarke and volunteers with the United Way through his company. He has volunteered at least once a year for the past three years with Hosea Feed the Hungry and has done several other projects with United Way. Approximately two years ago he led a group of 10 workers on a United Way cleanup of an area day care center. Armed with his chain saw, tiller and several pieces of landscape timber, Lemon helped paint the center and build a flower garden. Upon completion of the project, Lemon said he was thanked by parents of children at the center and he was recognized by his fellow employees at Harland Clarke. “I got three rounds of applause that day,” Lemon said. “I felt like crying, and it made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. “We’re not here for ourselves,” he said. “I just feel like you’ve got to help others whenever you can.”
Champion of the Week
Local country artist to perform at Community Heroes event
DeKalb County native Erica Nicole will perform at the 2012 CEO’s Community Hero awards ceremony April 29. The event, sponsored in part by The Champion Newspaper, will honor individuals and organizations that have benefitted the community through volunteerism and public service. Awards will be given in five categories— Community Champion, Youth Volunteer, Environmental Change, Neighborhood Empowerment and the Vanguard Award. An individual and a group will be honored in each category. The Community Hero performance at Callanwolde will be another homecoming for Nicole. As a teenager, she was a member of the Young Singers of Callanwolde. Nicole’s recording of Somebody Like Me, which was used for the soundtrack of the movie Too Late to Say Goodbye, was No. 1 for 19 weeks at Clear Channel New Music On Demand. She has a self-titled album out and is working on and recording material for a new CD to be released later this year.
Eddie Lemon recently spent his off day planting a vegetable garden for an ailing elderly couple from his church. Two days later he fixed the brakes on their van. That willingness to help others is something Lemon, who turns 60 on April 29, has had instilled in him for as long as he can remember. “That spirit to help gets stronger and stronger every day,” said Lemon, who is a deacon at Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church on Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur. “God gives me the strength to do what I need to do. The more I do for people, the more God blesses me.” Lemon had already planted several vegetables in the garden and added okra, sweet potatoes and watermelon, he said. In addition to the garden and car repair, Lemon has painted the couple’s house and installed rails on the bathtub so they are able to get in and out of the tub safely. Lemon also is a member of the Neighborhood
Erica Nicole. Photo provided
If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Kathy Mitchell at kathy@DeKalbchamp.com or at 404-373-7779, ext. 104.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Clarkston Ethics Committee investigates complaint against mayor
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Clarkston Mayor Emmanuel Ransom was called in front of the city’s ethics committee earlier this month after residents complained he used his influence as mayor to Ransom settle a code enforcement dispute. Residents filed the complaint after a WSB-TV report aired on Dec. 6, 2011, in which a reporter questioned Ransom about an e-mail he sent to former Clarkston code enforcement officer Shelly Sheppard. The e-mail was in regard to reported code violations at Talars International Foods, located off Montreal Road. Based on evidence presented at the hearing, the email sent to Sheppard stated that “Ransom Consultants Inc. had been retained by Talars International Food,” and requested an extension to allow the business to obtain and file the proper paperwork to bring the building up to code. At the hearing Ransom said he had been asked by a friend to speak to the owner of Talars Foods and help the business become compliant with the city’s code ordinances, which he did. Ransom also stated that Ransom Consultants Inc., cited in the email, was nothing more than a name he conducted personal business under—there was no business license filed for Ransom Consultants Inc. He said he was operating in his capacity as a private citizen, not mayor. “I was trying to be a good Samaritan to a business owner,” Ransom said. “I wasn’t twisting arms…I just sent them a letter stating that [the owner] was going to come into compliance but he wasn’t aware of what he had to do, and [asked] the city to give him the opportunity to gather all the information he needed to go through the process.” City Manager Keith Barker said Sheppard sent him an e-mail explaining the earlier e-mail sent to her by Ransom regarding code enforcement issues, and he told her to treat the code violations by Talars Foods “like any other code enforcement issue.” Since the ethics committee is made up of residents it does not have subpoena power. Neither Sheppard nor the owner of Talars Foods, Abdul Bin Khalifa, were present to be called as witnesses because Sheppard no longer works for the city and Khalifa had a prior engagement. Sonny Knox, one of the residents who filed the ethics complaint against Ransom, asked Barker during the hearing whether the mayor’s choice of words in the initial e-mail raised any red flags. “When you read that the mayor was using terms like ‘my client,’ and ‘Ransom Consultants Inc. had been retained by…’ did this not raise any kind of red flag with you?” Knox asked. Barker said, as city manager, it was his concern to ensure his staff conducted themselves professionally and appropriately, which he said was done in the matter regarding Talars Foods. Barker was also asked if Sheppard’s departure from the city’s code enforcement office had anything to do with the matter, to which he said “no.” “She was in a part-time position and that particular position I recruited people for and interviewed other candidates, as well as [Sheppard], and chose someone else,” Barker said. Clarkston has a large immigrant population and Barker said immigrants who own businesses or are trying to start one sometimes come to Ransom for help. “The problem was that he used the word ‘retained’ which is an inference he was being paid to do that,” Barker said. “The mayor said it was an unfortunate choice of words and no money exchanged hands.” Barker said the ethics committee is reviewing its findings and will decide whether Ransom violated the city’s code of ethics. Knox said he is waiting for the ethics committee’s decision but said he and the resSee Ethics on Page 9A
From left, Kemesha Hunt, Louise Dyrenforth Acker, John Hewitt and Travis Hudgons.
Champion advertising and graphics staff honored by Georgia Press Association
The Champion Newspaper was honored with 10 first-place awards and six secondplace awards at the annual Georgia Press Association Advertising Awards banquet April 13 at Sea Palms Resort and Conference Center on St. Simons Island. Recognized for excellence in sales, copywriting, layout and design were Kemesha Hunt, graphics manager; Louise Dyrenforth Acker, advertising account executive; Travis Hudgons, webmaster and designer; and John Hewitt, chief operating officer. First-place awards were given for: Advertising Campaign: The Champion Newspaper-Did you miss the game? Service/institutional: City of Avondale Estates-Discover the difference of Avondale Estates Special Section: Memories & Milestones: Celebrating 20 years of DeKalb County news Full Color: ChampionNewspaper.com promotional ad Spot Color: ArticDesigns, Inc. Apparel, Jewelry and Accessories: Rosenfeld’s Jewelry, Ltd. Online Banner Ad: ODE (Organization of DeKalb Educators) Miscellaneous: DeKalb History CenterWhere every day is Historic Non-traditional: Celebration of Community Champions Second-place awards were: Newspaper Promotion Out of Print: Community Champions exhibit at DeKalb History Center Real Estate: Decatur Law Offices Food: The Champion Newspaper recipe pages Miscellaneous: DeKalb History Center: 2011 Annual Meeting and Silent Auction Online Banner Ad: DeKalb County Community Development Department Full Color: The Champion Newspaper Memories & Milestones promotional materials
The Mayor and City Council of the City of Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the following zoning matters: 1. Appendix A, “Zoning”, Section1307.C, “Signage”. This text amendment will allow changeable copy signs at places of worship, public buildings or at public or private schools on properties zoned NR-1, NR-2, CR, VR, NC-1, NC-2 provided that such signs may be located on arterial and collector roads (2012Z-001). 2. Chapter 93, “Development Regulations”, Section 93-1(b). The subject property is located at 10 Gentry’s Walk. The applicant is requesting a variance to the requirement that buildings three or more stories be constructed with concrete and steel framing (2012V-002). 3. Appendix A, “Zoning”, Section 504, “Building additions”, Section 803.D, “Walls and Fences”; Section 902.B1 and 902.C1, “Sidewalks”; Section 907.A1 and 907.4, “Storefront streets requirements and fenestration”; Section 908.D1, “Site Design”; Section 1205, “Parking and landscaping requirements”; Section 1206, “Minimum off-street loading requirements”; and Section 1207.C, “handicapped parking requirements”. The subject property is located at 5130 Peachtree Blvd. The applicant is requesting variances to provide site improvements and a 13,200 square foot addition and 7,500 square foot renovation to the existing building (2012V-003).
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
4. Appendix A, “Zoning”, Section 1004, Space Dimensions, Section 506 “Lot reduction
prohibited”. The subject property is located at 1889 Ham Drive. The applicant is requesting a variance to the 12,000 square foot minimum lot size required for NR-1 zoned districts to allow the platting of a 16,000 square foot lot into two 8,000 square foot lots (2012V-004).
5. Chapter 94, Appendix A, “Zoning”, Section 902, “Sidewalks”. The applicant is requesting a variance to the requirement of sidewalks with a landscape zone at 5558 Peachtree Blvd (2012V-001)
DeKalb CEO imposes hiring freeze, budget cuts
by Andrew Cauthen firstname.lastname@example.org A hiring freeze is now in effect for all vacant county positions except police recruits, according to an April 19 memo from DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis to county department heads. Ellis stated that the move was necesEllis sary because “the county currently faces a number of issues that can have a substantial budgetary impact on both the 2012 and 2013 tax fund budgets.” Those issues include the possible incorporation of Brookhaven, the proposed expansion of Stogner Chamblee and annexations by Avondale Estates, Decatur and Doraville, according to Ellis’ memo. “As a result of the magnitude of the issues and their potential impact on the county tax funds budgets, I believe that it is necessary to implement a number Boyer of actions at this time to place the county in a better situation to address the potential financial developments,” Ellis stated. Ellis also directed the county to “create a contingency reserve of 2 percent” by cutting each department’s current budget. The reserve funds will remain in each department’s budget, according to the memo. Department heads have been directed to develop contingency plans to cut their 2012 budgets another 3 percent and an additional 5 percent for 2013, according to Ellis’ memo. That contingency planning could lead to a 2013 budget cut of up to 10 percent, according to Richard Stogner, the county’s chief operating officer. Stogner told the Board of Commissioners’ finance committee April 17 that the budgetary belt-tightening is part of the county’s “ongoing efforts to continue to impose financial discipline in regards to our expenditure rates.” “So far through the first quarter we’ve been doing pretty well in maintaining our budgetary balances,” Stogner said. Ellis also asked the county’s elected officials that supervise county staff “to consider undertaking the same steps to conserve the county’s financial reserves and to prepare for potential adverse impacts of the issues facing county government.” “We must be in a position to respond to the potential severe financial constrains that may develop over the next six months,” Ellis stated. “It is only prudent to develop appropriate contingency plans over the next several months.” Ellis’s financial contingency plan comes before the release of the county’s tax digest of property values in late May or early June. The 2012 county budget of $559 million assumes a 5 percent drop in property values. County commissioners have asserted for months that the drop may be greater. Commissioner Elaine Boyer wants Ellis’s administration to look at the county’s service delivery. “Let’s say we lose Brookhaven, and we’ve lost Dunwoody, we’ve lost probably over 100,000 people that we do direct service for parks [and] police,” Boyer said. “Wouldn’t we change how we deliver services?”
Page 9A Local News
‘Pit bull’ may be removed from county ordinance
by Andrew Cauthen email@example.com Pit bulls may no longer be mentioned in DeKalb County’s ordinance if a proposed text amendment passes the Board of Commissioners next month. Marian Eisenberg, zoning administrator, told commissioners April 10 that the intent of the amendment is to remove “pit bulls” from the county’s definition of household pets in the county’s ordinance. “There are many different breeds of dogs that can be considered dangerous and ‘pit bull’ is just a slang term for four other breeds of dogs,” Eisenberg said. “Pit bull” is a term that has been used to describe American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and mixes that include any of these breeds, according to the web site of Shelter Angels Pit Bull Rescue, which has rescued more than 100 pit bulls from the county shelter in the past couple of years. “The text does not specifically state that you may not own a pit bull; it simply states that a pit bull by definition is not considered a household pet,” Eisenberg said. “Subsequently, any citations that have been written by code compliance or animal services under this code section have been later dismissed,” she said. Because ‘pit bull’ is not a recognized breed, “it is not a breed that has a legal definition,” said Burke Brennan, the county’s chief communications officer. “There is nothing in the cold that prohibits owning a mixed breed dog.” Gary Cornell, the county’s interim director of planning and sustainability, said, “From previous attempts to enforce the county ordinance, the courts have found that there is no [such] breed.” The purpose of the zoning ordinance is “not to regulate certain breeds of dogs,” Cornell said. “The type of dog is not something that should be in an ordinance.” The ordinance has “caused a lot of misunderstanding and disadvantages to owners of dogs,” Cornell said. “It became more of an obstruction than anything helpful. It didn’t mean anything.” “DeKalb’s ordinance says that pit bulls aren’t household pets,” said Rebecca Novak of Shelter Angels Pit Bull Rescue. “What does this mean for DeKalb pit bull owners? Nothing. Pit bulls are not illegal in DeKalb. “The only restriction in place is that animal control cannot adopt pit bulls out,” Novak said. “If a qualified person comes in and is interested in adopting a pit bull animal control refers them to a licensed rescue group, who is able to thoroughly screen them and do a home check, before allowing them to adopt.” DeKalb’s Chief Communications Officer Burke Brennan said the rescue organizations perform the home checks “as a matter of course and we can’t.” The county’s animal services division uses outside agencies to adopt pit bulls because the process is “labor intensive for a variety of dogs that are potentially dangerous,” Brennan said. Because the ordinance refers to an “undefinable” breed, it has “created the perception of something illegal that is impossible [to make] illegal.” The county’s dangerous animal ordinance will not be affected by the pit bull change, Brennan said. According to that ordinance, an animal is deemed dangerous if it “inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation,” “aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or any other animal without provocation,” or has been “trained, owned, or harbored for animal fighting.” The dangerous animal ordinance does not specify any type of animal, Brennan said. The proposed text amendment is expected to be on the May 8 agenda for the Board of Commissioners.
Ethics Continued From Page 8A
idents who filed the complaint weren’t given a fair hearing. “We called two witnesses and neither of them were there. We requested e-mails and were told there was no way they could be delivered before the hearing—I did request twice from the chair that the hearing be delayed and they were denied each time,” Knox said. Ransom, during a closing statement at the end of the nearly three-hour-long hearing, admitted he mistakenly used an unfortunate choice of words.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Decatur holds annual community garden tour in May
by Daniel Beauregard firstname.lastname@example.org Decatur Garden Tour is now in its 24th year and Sandy Rice, chairman of the tour and a board member at the Wylde Center, said it has become a yearly tradition. The Wylde Center, formerly known as the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, changed its name April 22, Earth Day. Rice said the name change is a result of the center’s expanded programming and community involvement over the past years. Rice has been living in Decatur since 2000 and involved in the garden tour for the past seven years. She said this year all of the proceeds will be donated to the Wylde Center. “The garden tour used to be associated with the Decatur Arts Festival but it separated from that four or five years ago and now it’s a fundraiser for the [Wylde Center],” Rice said. The theme for this year’s garden tour is “Coming up Roses.” and Rice said the name is due, in part, to the influence of the tour’s presenting sponsor, architectural firm Simmons, Fouts and Fichtel. Two of the firm’s partners, William Simmons and Chris Fitchel, have a private garden named Rose Hill, which Rice said has more than 400 heirloom roses. Rose Hill is one of the 13 gardens featured on the tour. “The gardens this year are mostly what I would call big, traditional Southern gardens with lots of native plants and water features like fountains, a stream, a fish pond and a swimming pool,” Rice said. Rice, whose garden has been featured on the tour twice, said there are several stops on the tour that participants may have seen last year such as the Oakhurst Woodlands Garden on Scott Boulevard. This year the tour will be finishing at the Decatur Cemetery, which Rice said isn’t necessarily a garden. “It’s more like a green space,” Rice said. “It has just completed a renovation so we’ll be inviting our visitors to stop by and see what the different improvements look like.” The Decatur Garden Tour will take place May 5-6. Rice said the tour isn’t just for garden enthusiasts but for anyone who wants to see something beautiful to look at. “In our community, people take a lot of enjoyment in creating a garden but I always like to stress that you don’t have to be a gardener to go on the garden tour—it’s pretty and it’s nice but it doesn’t mean you have to go home and do it yourself,” Rice said. Rice said many of the gardens featured on the tour are created for therapeutic reasons in addition to trying to beautify the homeowners’ yards. For more information on the Decatur Garden Tour visit www.decaturgardentour.com.
A small bird with a worm in its mouth perches upon a pvc hoop at the Wylde Center in Decatur. Photos by Daniel Beauregard
Butterﬂies abound and ﬂowers are in full bloom at the Wylde Center, one of the stops of this year’s Decatur Garden Tour.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Oxygen masks give pets second chance, hope to survivors
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com DeKalb County Fire Department spokesman Norman Augustin said rescuing a pet from a fire-damaged home can be just what a resident needs to lift his other spirit after a devastating experience. Each first responder vehicle used by the DeKalb County Fire Department is now equipped with oxygen masks not only for humans, but for pets as well. “We have one on every piece of apparatus we have, and they were donated to us by a pet safety company,” Augustin said. Although the masks aren’t yet a requirement, Augustin said they come in handy because sometimes pets are left behind during a fire. He said a pet that has stayed in a burning building requires treatment for smoke inhalation. “Before we got them sometimes we would use a human mask, but these work much better, because the mask is actually deeper so it can cover the entire nose and mouth of the pet,” Augustin said. “And, you can wash them and use them again.” On average, Augustin said the fire department uses the pet oxygen masks 10 times a year, and they are extremely effective in helping pets recover from carbon monoxide inhalation. Several years ago, Augustin said firefighters were called to the scene of a house fire, but by the time they got there the house was completely destroyed. As officials searched through the remains of the house, Augustin said they realized part of the roof had fallen and completely covered a dog kennel. Because the remnants of the roof covered the kennel, it protected the dog inside from the heat, and fire rescue members were able to safely revive the animal using one of the oxygen masks. “After all was said and done, we found the dog, and [the homeowner] didn’t care about the house. She was just happy she got her dog back safely,” Augustin said. Ines De Pablo is the founder of Wag’N Enterprises, a pet emergency management company started in 2007. The company’s mission is to help those in the service industry, first responders and pet owners to prepare and respond to emergencies involving pets. De Pablo said in 2008 her company began the O2 Fur Life Program, which provides pet oxygen masks to first responders and others throughout the country, including the metro Atlanta area. The mask kits Wag’N Enterprises sells come with three masks sizes that can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and more. “It’s an enormous boost to someone’s spirit if you’re able to save a pet,” De Pablo said. “If the only thing you have left after a fire is a cat or dog, especially for a family with children, you can see the happiness on their faces when a firefighter says, ‘all your toys were burned but your pet was saved.’”
A first responder gives a rescued pet oxygen through a special mask made for animals.
DeKalb County Wants to Hear From You Regarding the Proposed Franchise Agreement Renewal with Comcast Cable Communications
Send your comments and/or concerns regarding Comcast’s current performance under the current franchise agreement and/or the future cable-related needs and interests of your community to www.dekalbcountyga.gov.
The Champion Weather
Seven Day Forecast THURSDAY
Partly Cloudy High: 80 Low: 61
April 26, 2012
Today's Regional Map Weather History
April 26, 1987 - Twenty two cities in the central and western U.S. reported new record high temperatures for the date. The afternoon high of 83 degrees at Astoria, Ore. smashed their previous record by 13 degrees. Dunwoody 78/60 Lilburn Smyrna Doraville 79/61 79/61 79/61 Snellville Decatur 80/61 Atlanta 80/61 80/61 Lithonia College Park 81/61 81/61 Morrow 81/61 Union City 81/61 Hampton 82/62
In-Depth Local Forecast
Today we will see partly cloudy skies with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms, high of 80º, humidity of 42%. West wind 10 to 15 mph. The record high for today is 92º set in 1986. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms, overnight low of 61º.
Partly Cloudy High: 84 Low: 60
*Last Week’s Almanac
Date Hi Lo Normals Precip Tuesday 81 58 73/51 0.56" Wednesday 67 58 74/51 0.99" Thursday 69 55 74/51 0.00" Friday 69 59 74/51 0.00" Saturday 76 59 74/52 0.03" Sunday 71 50 74/52 0.00" Monday 59 42 75/52 0.00" Rainfall . . . . . . .1.58" Average temp . .62.4 Normal rainfall . .0.77" Average normal 62.7 Departure . . . . .+0.81" Departure . . . . .-0.3
*Data as reported from De Kalb-Peachtree Airport
Mostly Sunny High: 82 Low: 62
Isolated T-storms High: 84 Low: 61
April 27, 1988 - Mount Washington, N.H. reported seven feet of snow in 10 days, pushing their snowfall total for the month past the previous record of 89.3 inches, which was set in 1975.
Partly Cloudy High: 80 Low: 59
Partly Cloudy High: 75 Low: 54 First 4/29
Local Sun/Moon Chart This Week
Day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Sunrise 6:53 a.m. 6:52 a.m. 6:51 a.m. 6:50 a.m. 6:49 a.m. 6:48 a.m. 6:47 a.m. Sunset 8:17 p.m. 8:18 p.m. 8:19 p.m. 8:20 p.m. 8:21 p.m. 8:21 p.m. 8:22 p.m. Moonrise 10:38 a.m. 11:33 a.m. 12:31 p.m. 1:31 p.m. 2:32 p.m. 3:36 p.m. 4:42 p.m. Moonset 12:16 a.m. 1:00 a.m. 1:41 a.m. 2:19 a.m. 2:55 a.m. 3:30 a.m. 4:05 a.m. Last 5/12
Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Rise Set 5:54 a.m. 6:09 p.m. 8:58 a.m. 11:47 p.m. 3:10 p.m. 4:23 a.m. 7:36 a.m. 9:13 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 6:39 a.m. 5:35 a.m. 5:48 p.m.
Mostly Sunny High: 79 Low: 55 Full 5/5
Local UV Index
National Weather Summary This Week
The Northeast will see scattered showers and thunderstorms today, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with a few showers Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 75º in Belleville, Ill. The Southeast will see mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms today through Saturday, with the highest temperature of 89º in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Northwest will see scattered showers today and Friday, mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with a few showers Saturday, with the highest temperature of 82º in South Big Horn, Wyo. The Southwest will see scattered showers today, mostly clear skies Friday and Saturday, with the highest temperature of 98º in Artesia, N.M.
How hot is lightning?
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: Estimates place the temperature at around 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
StarWatch By Gary Becker - Round Three for the Moon
During the past two months the moon has played among the planets—Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, strung across the evening sky like glistening pearls. Round three for the moon is now upon us. On April 22, look just north of west for the thinnest of crescent moons positioned just three scant degrees above Jupiter. Your sunset horizon will have to be free from obstructions, and binoculars will always prove handy to find the pair as early as possible. Locate the brightest spot on the horizon and scan to the left of that position. If you’re watching about 40 minutes after sundown, the pair should look stunning through binoculars with plenty of earthshine to illuminate the vast portion of the moon not in direct sunlight. Earthshine is light from a nearly full Earth reflected back to us from the moon. It gives Luna a dusky appearance to the unaided eye, but through binoculars, the darker seas and brighter highlands, including craters, are revealed from just the spotlight of a bright Earth shining onto the moon’s surface. If you miss the final embrace of Jupiter and the moon on Sunday, do not fret. The moon is on the prowl, and its next target, Venus, the third brightest celestial object, is in plain sight. On April 23, Luna is 14 degrees below the Goddess of Beauty, but the following two evenings as the waxing crescent moon brightens, the separation is only six degrees and 11 degrees respectively. The next planet on the moon’s journey, Mars, will take five days to reach, and by that time, April 30, the bright gibbous moon will be passing below the Red Planet. Finally, Luna’s trek across the heaven ends with a fat waxing gibbous moon approaching Saturn on May 3. It will be nearly 15 degrees from the Ringed World. By the next day the moon has just passed Saturn and is on its way to its full phase on May 5, having completed its third cycle of passing all four planets in the evening sky. www.astronomy.org
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
After $1 billion, experts see progress on discovering autism’s causes
by Mike Stobbe ATLANTA (AP) More than $1 billion has been spent over the past decade searching for the causes of autism. Research has focused on everything from genetics to the age of the father, the weight of the mother and how close a child lives to a highway. Now some in the field say they are seeing the beginning of a wave of scientific reports that should strengthen some theories, jettison others and perhaps even bring new drugs for autism—an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that delay children socially or intellectually. “I do think over the next three to five years we’ll be able to paint a much clearer picture of how genes and environmental factors combine” to cause autism, said Geraldine Dawson, a psychologist who is chief science officer for the advocacy group Autism Speaks. The effort has been infused with new urgency by a recent U.S. government report that found autism disorders are far more common than was previously understood, affecting one in 88 U.S. children. Better diagnosis is largely responsible for the new estimate, but health officials said there may be more cases of autism, too. If autism’s causes remain a mystery, “you’re not going to be able to stop this increase,” said Irva HertzPicciotto, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who is leading a closely watched study into what causes autism disorders. A series of studies released recently during National Autism Awareness Month has offered tantalizing new information about potential causes. Research published in the journal Nature widened the understanding of the genetic roots of some cases and confirmed the elevated risks for children with older fathers. Another study, released online April 9 in Pediatrics, suggested maternal obesity may play a role. The causes of autism are believed to be complicated, and not necessarily the same for each child. Some liken autism to cancer—a small word for a wide range of illnesses. In many cases, autism can be blamed on both genetic problems that load the gun and other factors that pull the trigger. The U.S. government dramatically increased funding for research of it in the last decade, and now budgets about $170 million a year through the National Institutes of Health. More than a half-dozen foundations and autism advocacy groups have been adding to the pot, putting annual research spending in recent years at more than $300 million. About a third of that has been devoted to finding autism’s causes. Most of the money for finding a cause has been spent on genetics, which so far experts believe can account for roughly 20 percent of cases. The focus on genetics has been bolstered by dramatic improvements in gene mapping as well as the bioengineering of mice with autism symptoms. Dozens of risk genes have been identified, and a half-dozen drug companies are said to be working on developing new treatments. Among the most promising is an experimental drug developed by a Massachusetts company called Seaside Therapeutics Inc., aimed at a problem area in the brains of autistic children where neurons connect and conduct signals through the nervous system. Now it is being tried in a preliminary study of about 150 children with a range of other autism disorders, including Asperger’s. The results are expected to be presented at a scientific conference in the next year. But even genetics enthusiasts acknowledge that genes are only part of the answer. Studies of identical twins have shown that autism can occur in one and not the other, meaning something outside a child’s DNA is triggering the disorder. Some cases may be entirely due to other causes, Dawson said. That broad “other” category means “environmental” influences—not necessarily chemicals, but a variety of outside factors that include things like the age of the father at conception and illnesses and medications the mother had while pregnant. For years, the best-known environmental theory involved childhood vaccines, prompted by a flawed 1998 British study that has been thoroughly discredited. Dozens of later studies have found no link between vaccines and autism. But there are other possible candidates. In all cases, these are “association” studies—they don’t prove cause and effect. They merely find connections between certain factors and autism. Some study results expected within a year: • Hertz-Picciotto’s study of 1,600 children in California is comparing autistic children, youngsters with other developmental disabilities, and those who have no such diagnoses. Some results have been released already, including the recent finding that suggests a link between autism and a mother’s obesity. • A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study involves 2,700 families nationwide. The researchers are interviewing parents and poring over medical records to look for common threads among autistic families, as well as doing genetics tests and checking hair samples for mercury. Much of the focus is on illnesses, medications, nutritional deficiencies or other problems during pregnancy. • A study by Pennsylvania researchers involves 1,700 families in various regions of the country. Scientists are doing brain imaging to look for changes over time in the brains of infants who have an older autistic sibling. • A large Scandinavian study is examining patient registries in six countries for prenatal risk factors. Said Coleen Boyle, a CDC official overseeing research into children’s developmental disabilities: “We’re at the infancy of just understanding how these factors relate to autism.”
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27 , 2012
er, said the area will be better served by narrowing the seven-lane road to five lanes. “Yes, it needs to be narrowed unless someone can show us the need for cars to travel fast is more important than safety issues,” Rader said. “It’s cheaper to put in sidewalks in the [existing lanes] and it would make the sidewalks more usable because you’re not cutting them into hillsides.” The speed limit on Buford Highway is 45 mph, which is much too fast for the area, advocates say. The protest was held along the road at the intersection of Briarwood Road, which Flocks said is one of the more dangerous intersections along the road. “There are a lot more people who do walk in this area,” Flocks said. “The people here are from a culture where they are not car addicted. Most of the people who live in this area don’t have the luxury of making the choice [to drive.].” The GDOT’s plan, which will begin this summer, is to improve a 2.5-mile section of road in a project that should take approximately twoand-a-half years, Flocks said. Phase II will include another 2.5-mile section reaching Lenox Road with the same time frame. “That’s five years; a lot of people
Advocacy group draws attention to Buford Highway project
by Robert Naddra firstname.lastname@example.org More than 200 people stood along Buford Highway with signs letting passing motorists know how unsafe pedestrians feel in the area. Participants in the Buford Highway safety protest on April 12 held signs that read “No More Deaths on Buford Hwy” and “Complete the Street by Saving Lives.” The protest, organized by Buford Highway residents, was aimed at drawing attention to how dangerous the road is to pedestrians. In the past three months, two pedestrians were killed and another seriously injured in accidents on Buford Highway between Druid Hills Road and Clairmont Road. From 2000 to 2009, according Transportation for America, 20 pedestrians were hit and killed inside I-285 on Buford Highway. In 2009, 73 pedestrians were hit and killed on roadways in the 18-county metro Atlanta region, according to a 2011 report the Atlanta Regional Commission. “It was a great turnout, and people were doing what they ought to do, which was draw attention to a very unsafe situation.” said DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader, who also attended the rally. Members of the non-profit advocacy group PEDS also attended the rally. PEDS and their supporters want the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to amend its plan to address the Buford Highway safety issue. The GDOT’s Buford Highway Pedestrian Improvement Project includes buying right of way for a fivemile stretch of Buford Highway and building sidewalks and raised medians. The project also includes installing pedestrian beacons and lighting, and will extend from Lenox Road to Afton Lane. According to PEDS CEO Sally Flocks, the cost of the right of way to build the sidewalks is $180 million. “As you know, all of these treatments are proven effective at reducing pedestrian crashes,” said GDOT spokeswoman Jill Goldberg in a statement. “We hope that the citizens will understand that we are anxious to get these improvements in place. We know that they will enhance safety but even improvements such as these are not effective if pedestrians do not comply. We often see pedestrians crossing less than 50 feet from a signalized crossing. This type of noncompliance can result in tragedy.” Rader and PEDS officials, howevcould be killed in that time frame,” Flocks said. “The final product will still enable drivers to go much faster than is safe.” Flocks said PEDS is worried that not enough will be done to protect pedestrians until the project starts, and that the project won’t do enough to make the road safer in the first place. “We have received requests from several citizens asking that we do something for pedestrian movements in the interim until the project is completed,” Goldberg said. “We have reviewed the area in question, but the options for treatments are limited. “Unfortunately to enhance or add mid-block crossings will require a very complicated treatment due to the width of the road and with the volume and speed of traffic,” she said. “These types of improvements are also very expensive and, even though we know that safety is much more important than money, funds are required to complete them – money that we just don’t have at this time. One pedestrian hybrid beacon can cost as much as $200,000.” Said Flocks, “This comes across as the DOT is sacrificing the Latino community, that their needs are less important than the hypothetical needs of the drivers.”
Farm Continued From Page 1A
“As other general support to the [Wylde Center] we’ve been helping move herbs and getting ready for the plant sale that’s going to continue this weekend. We’re also helping them turn compost and rip out invasive trees,” Falen said. David Cotton, senior vice president of ICF, said he thought a lot of people would be at the garden volunteering that weekend regardless of whether they worked for ICF, because Earth Day was important. “A lot of people here live in the community but there are a lot of people all over who are committed to sustainable agriculture and supporting local, organic gardening and local food and promoting education for kids,” Cotton said. ICF is a contracting firm that does a wide range of work in such fields as health, education and energy. “This work today is really hands-on and lets us do something locally that’s just at a different level of detail than we usually do,” Cotton said. Misty Guard, an ICF employee who helped organize the volunteer effort, said farm to school initiatives are particularly important because they teach communities about where the foods people eat originate. “It’s getting to the idea of trying to have more local agriculture and supporting more farmer’s markets so that we don’t have as many resources used in this country for the production of crops, which are transported large distances,” Guard said. Kimberly Baker, a junior at Arabia Mountain High School in the DeKalb County School District, sat at a table with Decatur Farm to School T-shirts and pamphlets. Baker said she was volunteering at The Wylde Center for a school project. Above the sound of a buzz saw which was cutting wood to make picnic tables, Baker said she didn’t know much about the Decatur Farm to School Initiative but thought putting healthier food in children’s lunches was a good idea. “It’s important because the food that they give at schools is bad and sometimes people get sick off it. I also think schools should start replacing the milk that comes with school lunches with juice,” Baker said. Falen said part of the Decatur Farm to School Initiative is getting future generations to eat healthfully by educating children at an early age. She said recently students at each one of CSD’s schools had a taste test day where students ate the lettuce that was grown in each school’s individual garden. “Previous harvests have been things like kale—I’d
Photos by Daniel Beauregard
never had kale, it’s not one of those common things you think about—but we’ve got all kinds of kids running around now demanding kale,” Falen said. As the volunteers from ICF completed the last garden bed and put the finishing touches on a picnic table, Cotton said people need to start getting more involved in where their food comes from. “We’ve got to get the community to broadly promote the idea that industrial agriculture is ultimately going to kill us and we have to eat healthier, think healthier, and protect the earth and make it more sustainable,” Cotton said.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
DCSD to propose calendar change for 2013-14 school year, not next year
Chamblee students Kevin Fan, from left, Corey Roberts and Mary Lou Ferguson practice in the stairwell before performing at DCSD’s music scholarship ceremony. Photo by Daniel Beauregard
The DeKalb County School District Calendar Committee has recommended to Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson that the district adopt a new balanced calendar for the 2013-14 school year. However, the district will not change the calendar for next year, as was proposed earlier this month. The committee recommended the district not make changes to the 201213 school year calendar, which the DeKalb County Board of Education approved in 2010. An online survey seeking community and employee input on the district calendar recorded more than 36,000 responses, which were incorporated into the committee’s recommendations.
DCSD recognizes students for obtaining music, academic scholarships
by Daniel Beauregard email@example.com Don Roberts, instrumental music coordinator for the DeKalb County School District (DCSD), said each year students enrolled in the district’s band programs receive just as many college scholarships as do athletes. Roberts said DeKalb music students graduating in 2012 have acquired an estimated $17 million in scholarships, and he hopes by the end of the year those numbers will reach last year’s $25 million in music scholarships from schools throughout the country. For the second consecutive year DCSD has held a celebration to recognize students awarded music scholarships, and on April 19 recognized 150 DeKalb County students from schools around the district. “We in DeKalb take a lot of pride in our music program and we have a great tradition of success,” Roberts said. “The band directors were talking and said, ‘We get as many scholarships as football and basketball,’ and we wanted to do the same thing they do with national signing day and bring the attention to the students in our programs.” Roberts said he first began to realize the scale on which the district was receiving music scholarships when he was speaking with the head of a recent scholarship fair who told him that DeKalb was the highest– grossing county in Georgia for music scholarships. “Once we put the numbers together collectively, we were amazed,” Roberts said. Many students who received scholarships were offered multiple scholarships, in some cases worth more than $100,000, he said. Scholarship totals for Chamblee Charter High School are approximately $1.2 million. Southwest DeKalb High School also comes in at approximately $1.2 million, with students receiving offers from colleges such as Tennessee State University, University of Alabama and Jackson State University. Roberts said he hasn’t heard of any other district in the state, or nationwide, holding scholarship “signing” days to recognize students’ achievements outside of the sports arenas. “It educates the parents and the students that there are other options beyond athletics—even students who aren’t able to get academic scholarships but are hard workers—it shows them that band and music is an option,” Roberts said. Stephenson High School held a celebration to recognize its students’ academic scholarship achievements April 18. Lolita Baker, a guidance counselor at Stephenson High School, said last year the school had 27 students sign athletic scholarships. However, this year Baker said 64 students received academic scholarships, nearly double the number received by students involved in athletics last year. “We have students who don’t participate in sports and feel like they haven’t gotten the same recognition for their accomplishments that students who play sports have,” Baker said. The idea for the academic signing day was developed by Principal Brian Bowden and student Jamari Jordan. Baker said at first students were a little shy about being recognized for their academic achievements. “Their personalities are different, which is why a lot of them came up in groups to be recognized,” Baker said. At the ceremony students came up to the microphone in groups and told attendees which colleges they would be attending in the fall, on scholarships. Baker said the school plans to continue recognizing students for academic scholarships and Bowden said it will become a yearly event. “We attract a lot of students and parents because we’ve been recognized as having athletes who are going to go to the next level— students who have attended Stephenson are now in NBA and NFL, but we wanted people in the community to know that isn’t all that’s happening at Stephenson,” Baker said. Additionally, Baker said many students came up to her after the ceremony and said they didn’t realize how many students at Stephenson obtained academic scholarships. “Some of the students in the audience said they would bring their grades up to be a part of it as well,” Baker said.
Claire Anglin, kindergarten, left, and sister Abigail Anglin.
Dunwoody Elementary holds arts event Parents, teachers and students celebrated the artistic achievements of Dunwoody Elementary School students at its Evening of the Arts event April 19. The event featured visual, musical and literary arts created by the kindergarten through fifth grade students at Dunwoody Elementary. American academy elects Emory’s English professor Ronald Schuchard, the Goodrich C. White Professor of English at Emory University, has been named a 2012 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and a center for independent policy research. A 42-year veteran professor at Emory, Schuchard is a faculty adviser to Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, and has devoted much time to developing its archive of 20th century Irish and English manuscript collections. Agnes Scott ranks in top five for composting in recycling competition Agnes Scott College ranked fifth nationally for composting—averaging almost 21 pounds per person composted on campus—in Recyclemania, a national college and university recycling competition. Approximately 605 colleges and universities signed up for the eight-week competition, which compared institutions throughout the country to determine which school recycles the largest portion of its waste. For the Per Capita Classic, determined by total pounds of recyclables collected per person, Agnes Scott ranked second in Georgia and 73rd in the country. Recycling and composting are part of the college’s goal to move closer to achieving zero waste. In 2010, the college completed a long-term climate action plan, part of a commitment made with about 650 other colleges and universities across the country that signed onto the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to reduce their impact on the environment.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Perimeter Mall Macy’s to have Brazilian store within a store
Macy’s department store recently announced the launch of “O Mercado, the Market at Macy’s” – a curated shop of Brazilian products and the next installation of the retailer’s “Brasil: A Magical Journey” campaign, which will officially kick off May 16 at selected retail stores, including the Macy’s in Dunwoody’s Perimeter Mall. Featuring exclusive, limitededition items, both inspired by and made in Brazil, “the store-withina-store marketplace will recreate the fun and festive atmosphere of the captivating country,” according to an announcement from Macy’s. Ten percent of the sale price of every product sold within O Mercado, the Market at Macy’s, both in-store and online, through July 15 benefits The Nature Conservancy and its efforts to protect the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. “Brazil’s burgeoning international appeal and enchanting culture inspired us to create a unique shopping environment that will bring even more newness, color and excitement to our stores,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer. Products created by Brazilian designers as well as Macy’s own designers include limited-edition women’s and men’s apparel, home and accessory pieces emblematic of the designers’ signature styles, made in or inspired by Brazilian color, prints and silhouettes. “Additionally, through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s leading global conservation organizations, Macy’s will also help raise funds to protect the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. For more than 60 years, The Nature Conservancy has worked to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends, and since 2001, has worked in the Amazon rainforest to protect important, fragile habitats while ensuring sustainable livelihoods of local people. With this partnership, Macy’s goal is to generate awareness of the topic and raise funds,” the Macy’s announcement states. Brazilian items available during this event include products from: Art da Terra – Through the use of indigenous fiber materials like buri and organic golden grass (capim dourado), found only in Brazil, Art da Terra creates handcrafted costume and fashion jewelry and handbags. Brazilets – Wish ribbon bracelets are a 200-year-old tradition from Bahia, Brazil. Worn throughout Latin America, they have spiritual significance for all who wear them. Ecoarts – An arts and crafts initiative that brings together governmental and non-governmental organizations in Brazil to promote the richness and complexity of Brazilian culture through decorative arts, gifts and artworks, all Ecoarts offerings share the philosophy of recycle, reuse or reduce, the key pillars of sustainability. Garoto – Garoto has grown to become one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the southern hemisphere offering more than 100 different premium quality products. Isabela Capeto – Isabela Capeto’s creations are handmade, often recycled, dyed or plisse, with embellishments of vintage fabric trims. Lanno – The design of every piece of this handmade jewelry infuses rhythm and color, bringing lightness and volume through the use of natural raw materials. Marcelo Rosenbaum – The architect and designer from São Paulo creates whimsical and graphic tabletop objects. Maria Oiticica – From Brazilian raw materials to handcrafted jewelry, Maria Oiticica’s pieces are made of natural components, such as seeds and pods gathered from the floor of the Amazon. Natura Ekos – Committed to biodiversity, social responsibility and sustainable ingredients from Brazil, Natura Ekos practices the essence of sustainability in the creation of its beauty products. Parceria Carioca – A mix of craftwork from Brazilian co-ops, Parceria curates contemporary designs combined to create light and fun pieces expressed in strong colors and exclusive prints. Phebo – Phebo, Brazil’s first fragrance and luxury perfume house, was born in the Amazon region during the early 1930s. All Phebo products are 100 percent vegetablebased, paraben-free, not tested on animals and produced in the Amazon. The brand’s portfolio includes soaps, moisturizers, perfumes, eau de colognes, diffusers, candles, etc. Pilão – Pilão is the leader in sales of coffee in Brazil offering a full line of products that provide a variety of flavors and aromas. Sol de Janeiro – Sol de Janeiro develops sun protection and beauty care products.
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Annual Run & Rotary Roll upcoming Chamblee Parks & Recreation recently announced the 14th annual Chamblee Run & Rotary Roll, 5K run and 1K walk and roll, on Saturday, May 5, at 8 a.m. The race starts and ﬁnishes at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport (PDK) in Chamblee. All participants will receive a race T-shirt, goody bag, snacks and drinks. Participants have a choice of a 5K route through Chamblee’s downtown and mid-city district or a 1K walk/roll route around one of PDK’s runways. Following the race, participants will get an up close view of the airport runways and an airport hangar in the Family Finish Area sponsored by Epps Aviation. The post-race event features music, door prizes, expo booths and family activities. Special awards will be given to wheelchair racers, including fastest manual chair, fastest power chair, and chair spirit award. Award categories for runners are overall male and female winners, and the top three ﬁnishers in the following age groups: 10 and younger, 11-19, 20-29, 3039, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and older. Early registration fee is $20. Race day registration and entries postmarked after April 30 are $25. Participants can register online at www. chambleega.com or at Active.com (Active.com registrations will have an additional fee.) Checks can be made payable to the City of Chamblee Parks & Recreation, and mailed to 3540 Broad St., Chamblee, GA 30341. For more information, call the Chamblee Parks & Recreation Department at (770) 986-5016. Financial mini series announced As part of the national effort to educate the public about ﬁnancial matters, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women has launched the “My Sister’s Keeper” ﬁnancial series. “The national ofﬁces of NCBW have research that shows that the average net worth of African-American Women in 2010 was $5. This must be changed,” said Norma Johnson, chapter president. On Saturday, April 28, 1 - 4 p.m., at the Wesley Chapel Public Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel, Decatur, the Decatur/DeKalb Chapter will launch a series of events to educate the public (especially African American women) about how to overcome the challenges to building wealth. The ﬁrst event on April 28, will examine: • Family Law: Getting child support, establishing paternity, divorce and separation issues • Personal Injury (on and off the job) • Disaster Preparation: What you need to know to preserve your assets • Will and Trusts: Which one is best for you and your loved ones? • Health Insurance Options for people who are about to turn or who have just turned age 65 Topics will be addressed by licensed professionals and attorneys. Other events in the series will address housing, real estate, retirement planning and insurance, Social Security, grandparents raising grandchildren, special hardships and entrepreneurship. Conﬁrmed speakers include housing, real estate professionals, retirement professionals, insurance agents and legal professionals. The event is free and open to the public, however seating is limited. Those planning to attend can reserve a space by calling (770) 981-8775 and leaving a voice mail or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information call, (770) 981-8775 Paulette Smith or email@example.com. newest capacity as president of the MJCCA,” said Governance Board Chairman David Levy. “Having been active with the Atlanta JCC since he was a young boy, he brings to his role as president his business savvy of improving operations and reducing debt, as well as a history with the MJCCA and all of the wonderful programs and services that it offers the community.”
Lithonia to get help from ARC’s Community Choices Program Lithonia is one of five cities in the region selected by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to receive planning and technical assistance. Through the Community Choices program, ARC provides cities and counties with tools, resources and strategies to implement plans for their communities. The Community Choices program will provide Lithonia with an in-depth review of its Main Street overlay district to check for implementation of the adopted Livable Centers Initiative study and recent Blueprints process. “This is a great list of projects from across the region, and this assistance represents ARC’s commitment to help local governments implement their plans in efficient ways,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “And it doesn’t stop here. The lessons we learn through the Community Choices program will also be passed on to other communities in the future.” Lithonia Mayor Deborah A. Jackson, said she is thrilled the city’s application was selected this year. “This will be a great complement to the work we have done with the Georgia Conservancy’s Blueprint Project.” Pine Lake, another DeKalb city chosen for the program, will receive a quality growth audit, comparing the city’s comprehensive plan and other planning documents to its adopted ordinances and policies. Program to help fight foreclosures Congressman Hank Johnson, in conjunction with the with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ HomeSafe Georgia program, the D&E Group and DeKalb County, is holding a HomeSafe event on Saturday, April 28, at Salem Bible Church in Lithonia. The program, which runs 9 a.m.-3 p.m., is designed to help homeowners avoid foreclosures. The free event offers homeowners a chance to meet with counselors to determine whether they qualify for HomeSafe Georgia and/or a loan modification. To prequalify and to register, visit D&E’s website at http://www.depower.org,
or call (770) 961-6900 or toll-free at 1(877) 790-1831. Participants are eligible for the program if they are currently employed; substantially underemployed; able to make payments but became delinquent while unemployed or underemployed; able to work or seeking employment; delinquent for six months or less; and have mortgage payments greater than or equal to 31 percent of household gross income. For more information or to register, visit hankjohnson.house.gov. Salem Bible Church is at 5460 Hillandale Drive in Lithonia.
ART Station lunch series to feature Southern Voices During the May 21 Lunchtime at ART Station session master storyteller David Hirt will perform excerpts from his one-man show Southern Voices. This show will be produced on the ART Station stage June 7 – 17. In this performance, Hirt delves into the many facets of the South with his unique humor, insights and characters. The event is noon -1 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the presentation and boxed lunch and $5 for the presentation only. Water, iced tea and lemonade will be provided at no additional charge. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more two days in advance. ART Station is located at 5384 Manor Drive in historic Stone Mountain Village. For additional information, call (770) 469-1105 or visit www.artstation.org. Be Someone to hold open house Be Someone Inc. Creative Director Orrin ”Checkmate” Hudson announced that the 10th annual Be Someone Day, Saturday, May 5, will be dedicated to teenager Trayvon Martin who was killed earlier this year by a self-proclaimed community watch volunteer in Florida. Hudson said he wants to focus attention to issues affecting young African-American males. Be Someone is opening its doors to the community in a free event, 1 - 4 p.m. There will be entertainment and opportunities for visitors to learn firsthand how Hudson, a former Alabama state trooper, has used the game of chess to change young lives. Be Someone is located at 949 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain. For more information, visit www.besomeone.org.
Author to speak on history of Ponce de Leon Avenue The DeKalb History Center has announced a book signing and lecture with Sharon Foster Jones, author of Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Avenue. The author is scheduled to give a brief presentation on the history of Ponce de Leon Avenue and highlights of the DeKalb County section. She will be on hand to sign books and answer questions about Ponce. The book, along with the author’s other publications, Inman Park and The Atlanta Exposition, will be available for purchase from Eagle Eye Book Shop. The event is free and open to the public. It will be Tuesday, May 1, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the Historic DeKalb Courthouse, second ﬂoor, 101 E. Court Square, Decatur.
Cadranel installed as new MJCCA president Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s new president Steven Cadranel was recently installed at the organization’s 66th annual meeting. He succeeds Garrett Van de Grift. Cadranel will serve a two-year term. Cadranel “We are thrilled to welcome Steven Cadranel in his
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
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The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Southwest DeKalb’s Charlotte Williams won the 400 meters in the Region 6-AAAA championship.
Tamaric Johnson of Stone Mountain placed first in the 100 and 200 meters at the Region 5-AAA meet.
Ezekiel Lee of Miller Grove won the 100 and 200 meters in the Region 6-AAAA meet. Photos by Mark Brock
Three county teams win region track championships
by Robert Naddra firstname.lastname@example.org Two defending state champions were among three DeKalb County schools to win region track titles recently. Class AAAA defending girls’ state champion Southwest DeKalb won the Region 6-AAAA championship April 16-18 at Panthersville Stadium, and defending Class AA girls’ state champ Decatur won the Region 6-AA title April 19-21 in Atlanta. The Dunwoody boys, along with the Southwest girls, repeated as Region 6-AAAA champions. In the 6-AAAA girls’ meet, Southwest won seven events. Shunika Jarrells and Demetria Dickens each won two events. Jarrells, who ran at Avondale last year, won the 100 and 200 meters, while Dickens finished first in the shot put and discus. Kenya Wheeler of Southwest finished second to Wheeler in the shot put and discus. Southwest finished with 138 points followed by second-place Dunwoody with 93. Redan’s India Hammond also won two events, placing first in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Other first-place finishes for county athletes were Charlotte Williams, Southwest DeKalb, 400; Tatiyana Caffey, Miller Grove, 800; Alex Cameron, Dunwoody, 1,600; Morgan Ilse, Marist, 3,200; Peyton Cambas, Marist, pole vault; Alyssa Felton, Chamblee, long jump; and Ariel Walker, Southwest DeKalb, triple jump. The Panthers also won the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. In the 6-AAAA boys event, Dunwoody scored 90.5 points to 88 for second-place Lakeside. Dazel Claytor won the triple jump for Dunwoody’s only first-place finish, but the Wildcats had top three finishes in six other events. Lakeside had two individual champions. Brent Reynolds won the 800 and Jason Louis placed first in the triple jump. Ezekiel Lee of Miller Grove won both the 100 and 200, and was the only double-winner among county participants. Other event winners from schools in DeKalb were Daniel Navarro, Marist, 1,600; Michael Thurston, Marist, 3,200; Troy Howard, Redan, 110 hurdles; Christopher Morris, Southwest DeKalb, 300 hurdles; Darious Massey, Tucker, high jump; and Nathan Daniel, Marist, pole vault. Dunwoody won the 4x100 relay and Southwest won the 4x400 relay. In Region 6-AA, Ashleigh Rasheed won three events to help Decatur claim the girls’ championship 121-115 over second-place Blessed Trinity. Rasheed won the triple jump, long jump and the 300 hurdles for the Bulldogs. Also, Decatur’s Alaina Cook won the 100 hurdles. There were two individual champions from schools in DeKalb in the boys’ meet. Clarkston’s Antonio Kohn won the shot put and Djiby Sy of Decatur won the 800. Cedar Grove’s boys and girls placed second in the Region 5-AAA meet April 17-19 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta while defending Class AAAAA girls’ state champion M.L. King was runner up in the Region 2-AAAAA meet in Fairburn. In 5-AAA, Kayla Pryor won both the 300 hurdles and the 800 for Cedar Grove, while Elizabeth Petit of St. Pius placed first in the 1,600 and 3,200. Other county winners in the girls’ meet were Nesha Defor, Towers, triple jump; and Charisma Green, Arabia Mountain, 100. Arabia Mountain, which tied for third with St. Pius, also won the 4x100 relay. The Cedar Grove boys won three individual events—Chance Baines, high jump; and Kareem Nicholas won the triple jump and long jump. Tamaric Johnson, who was the only other double winner in the boys’ meet, finished first in the 200 and 400. Other first-place finishers among schools in the county were Daniel Haugh, St. Pius, discus; Austin Sprague, St. Pius, 3,200; and Bryan Earl, Towers, 110 hurdles. Stone Mountain won both relay events. In the 2-AAAAA girls’ meet, M.L. King had seven first-place finishes—Dominique Goss, high jump; Zakia Jackson, pole vault; Jada Martin, 100; and Felicia Brown, 200 and 400. The Lions also on the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. In the boys’ meet, Amos Harper of Stephenson won the discus and Jordan Moore of M.L. King won the 110 hurdles. The top six finishers in each event advance to sectionals in each class on April 28.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
DeKalb High School Sports Highlights
BASEBALL Redan: The Raiders (19-5) finished their most successful regular season since 2006 on April 24 against Marist. A win would clinch the No. 1 seed from Region 6-AAAA for the Raiders heading into the AAAA state playoffs. Redan defeated Chamblee 5-2 on April 23. Brandon Baker was the winning pitcher and improved his season record to 8-1. Wesley Jones and Angelo Horton each had two hits. The Raiders also defeated Carver Atlanta 15-0 on April 16 and Miller Grove 2-0 on April 18. Jones allowed five hits and was the winning pitcher against the Wolverines. Corderius Dorsey, who got the final five outs against Chamblee, struck out six against Carver and earned the win. Chamblee: Patrick Gaulden was the winning pitcher and had two hits and three RBIs in a 7-5 win over Dunwoody on April 19. He allowed three hits over five innings. The Bulldogs also beat Lithonia 14-0 on April 20. Darrell Fambro had two hits and five RBIs, Somto Egbuna had two hits and three RBIs, and Brent Burgess had two hits and two RBIs for the Bulldogs. 13-2 win over Miller Grove on April 23. The defending Class AAAA state champions ended the region schedule against Southwest DeKalb on April 24 and Redan on April 25. Against Mays, all nine starters had at least one hit. Thomas Seitz, Michael Toner and Jackson Armstrong each had two hits. Steven Taylor hit a solo home run. Jordan Baker earned the win, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out five in five innings.
three hits while Chris Jones, Jacobi Meyers, Brendan Thompkins and Khalil McGuire each had two hits. Jones and McGuire also had three stolen bases. Lakeside: Andrew Doetsch struck out nine and allowed four runs in six innings in the Vikings’ 14-7 win over Southwest DeKalb on April 20.
McNair wrestling program gets $10,000 grant
The McNair High School wrestling program, which won the county championship this year, received the Octagon of Excellence Award, which includes a $10,000 grant from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The grant will assist McNair with the purchase of uniforms, mats and travel to tournaments for the upcoming season. The Octagon of Excellence award was created by the UFC to recognize individuals or groups that have excelled in their chosen sport, profession or school. In addition to winning its first county championship, the McNair wrestling team also had six area champions and sent several wrestlers to the state tournament. McNair principal Dr. James Jones also was recognized for increasing the graduation rate at the high school from 30 percent in 2003 to higher than 70 percent in 2009.
Dunwoody: The Wildcats dropped out of first place in Region 6-AAAA with a 7-5 loss to Chamblee. Dunwoody fell behind 5-0 after the first inning. The Wildcats defeated Carver-Atlanta on April 23 and ended the regular season against Mays on April 25. Against Chamblee, Jerric Johnson and James Cunningham each had two hits, with Johnson driving in two runs. Cunningham took the loss and allowed four earned runs and four hits while striking out four. Marist: The War Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive with a 12-2 win over Mays on April 17 and a
Columbia: Trenton Nash and Travis Taylor each had three hits in a 16-1 win over Meadowcreek on April 20. Harold Peterson was the winning pitcher and drove in Arabia Mountain: The Rams faced North Springs on three runs. April 25 in a doubleheader in GIRLS SOCCER a best-of-three series to determine the No. 4 seed from St. Pius: The Golden Lions Region 5-AAA. The third game, if necessary, would be defeated Woodward Academy 3-2 on penalty kicks played April 26. The winner April 20 to win the Region of the series advances to the Class AAA state tournament. 5-AAA championship. St. The Rams closed out the reg- Pius (16-1-1), which has won three consecutive Class ular season with wins over AAA state titles, begins the Towers (14-3) and Stockstate playoffs May 4. bridge (6-4). Against Towers, Jonathan Slaton had
Brandon Liebrandt, Florida State (baseball): The freshman from Marist is 3-1 with a 2.68 earned run average and a teamhigh 36 strikeouts in 47 innings this season. Most recently he pitched 5 2/3 innings in a 6-5 win over Boston College but did not get a decision. Imani Cabell, West Georgia (softball): The sophomore from Southwest DeKalb is batting .310 with five home runs and 20 RBIs this season. She has started 46 games for the Wolves. Most recently, she had a hit and an RBI in a 3-2 loss to West Alabama on April 15. Bradley Dennis, Augusta State (baseball): The freshman outfielder from Lakeside went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two walks during a weekend series against Georgia College April 14 - 15. Dennis is batting .265 with one RBI and four runs scored in eight starts through April 18.
Each week The Champion spotlights former high school players from the county who are succeeding in athletics on the college level.
Southwest’s Nash signs softball scholarship
Southwest DeKalb senior Trenece Nash has signed a softball scholarship to attend the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Nash batted .642 with three home runs during her senior season and became the first player to hit a home run in the county all-star softball game. Nash is the 11th Southwest player since 2009 to sign a softball scholarship.
The Champion chooses a male and female high school Athlete of the Week each week throughout the school year. The choices are based on performance and nominations by coaches. Please e-mail nominations to robert@ dekalbchamp.com by Monday at noon.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Kareem Nicholas, Cedar Grove (track): The senior won the long jump and the triple jump to help the Saints place second in the Region 5-AAA meet. Nicholas won the long jump with an effort of 21-11 and leaped 45-01.25 to win the triple jump. FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Ashleigh Rasheed, Decatur (track): Rasheed won three events to help the Bulldogs win the Region 6-AA championship. She won the long jump and triple jump with leaps of 16-8 and 37-10.75, respectively, and placed first in the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.36 seconds.
County all-star baseball games set
Dates and times for the DeKalb County junior and senior all-star baseball games have been announced. The 10th annual Senior All-Star Baseball Classic will be May 30, 5:30 p.m. The top 36 seniors in the county will be divided into North and South rosters. The fourth annual Junior All-Star Baseball Classic is set for May 31. The top 30 juniors in the county will be divided into North and South rosters. Both games will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Sequoyah Middle School and admission is $5 for each game.
The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 27, 2012
Stephens helps Lakeside end Dunwoody’s gymnastics streak
by Mark Brock
Lakeside’s Meg Stephens, shown competing in the floor exercise, won four gold medals including the all-around competition to help Lakeside win the county gymnastics championship. Photo by Mark Brock
Sophomore Meg Stephens won four gold medals, including the allaround title, to lead Lakeside to a 4.275 point victory over three-time defending champion Dunwoody in the 2012 DeKalb County gymnastics championships at Dunwoody on April 16. Stephens and Lakeside teammate Linsey Bergstrom were in the top three in the all-around to help the Vikings earn 98.225 points and end two years of runner-up finishes to Dunwoody. Tucker was third with 84.750 points followed by Southwest DeKalb with 74.175 and Arabia Mountain with 72.6. The title was Lakeside’s 17th overall since the girls’ championships began in 1966 and the first since 2008. Tucker has nine county titles while Dunwoody and Redan are tied with seven each. Stephens had a combined total of 34.175 points to take the gold in the all-around, just .875 points ahead of
second place Oksana Casey of Dunwoody who finished with 33.3 points. Bergstrom was third with a total of 31.85 followed by 2011 county champion sophomore Camille Cassar of Arabia Mountain at 31.45 in fourth, Dunwoody sophomore Lizzie Marra in fifth (31.1) and senior Asha Bashir of Tucker was sixth (29.9). Stephens won the balance beam (8.65) and the floor exercise (9.025), and tied Casey for first place in the uneven parallel bars with a score of 8.7. The 9.025 in the floor exercise was the highest score of the meet. Lakeside freshman Jennifer Honein took bronze in the bars with a score of 8.2. Cassar scored a 9.0 to take the silver in the floor exercise while Casey took bronze with 8.6. Bergstrom was second in the beam at 8.2 with Casey taking her second bronze with an 8.0. Tucker’s Bashir grabbed the gold medal in the vault with an 8.3, followed by freshman Kelsey Williamson and Bergstrom of Lakeside in a tie for the silver with a score of 8.25.
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