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FRIDAY, March 27, 2015 VOL. 17, NO. 52 FREE

thechampionnewspaper.com

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

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Business.........................17A
Education............... 18-19A
Sports....................... 21-23A
Opinion............................ 5A
Classified........................20A

A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS

MARTA driver accused


of raping disabled
passenger

County set
to demolish
blighted houses

School board member


faces allegation of
violating protocols

local, 8A

local, 9A

education, 18A

Madness on
the mountains

Former DeKalb commissioner Elaine Boyer took responsibility for her crimes during a sentencing hearing. Courtroom rendering by artist Richard Miller

Boyer sentenced to
14 months in prison
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
Former DeKalb County commissioner Elaine
Boyer sobbed in federal court March 20 as she
accepted responsibility for defrauding DeKalb
County taxpayers.
Im deeply ashamed, said Boyer, who was sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty
last year to federal charges of mail fraud conspiracy and wire fraud. Im very embarrassed and
humiliated. I betrayed the very [people] who were
entrusted to me. I deeply regret my actions.
Boyer was accused of conspiring between
September 2009 and November 2011 to defraud
DeKalb County by authorizing 35 payments for
false invoices for consulting services that were
never performed, according to federal charges
against her. She was accused of authorizing more
than $78,000 to a financial advisor, who then funneled approximately 75 percent of the money
into Boyers personal bank account.
Federal prosecutors said Boyer used the money
to pay personal expenses, including purchases at
hotels and high-end department stores.
Sobbing as she spoke, Boyer described her own
Great Depression of 2009.
I felt trapped. Not even my faith or prayers
could save me. I couldnt find up. I couldnt even
help myself, said Boyer, adding that she would do
whatever was necessary to atone for her crime.
To her daughters, Boyer said, Girls, I have let
you down. I hope you will forgive me. This is a
punishment I have to live with the rest of my life.
Boyer promised DeKalb taxpayers that she
would repay every penny that she took.
I accept full responsibility for my actions, she
said. Im deeply, deeply sorry.
After the sentencing, acting U. S. Attorney John
A. Horn said Boyer received a good sentence.

Ranger Robby Astrove explains the uniqueness of diamorpha in pools on Arabia Mountain.

A patch of diamorpha appears as a red carpet welcoming hikers.

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See story on page 15A

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See Boyer on page 15A

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local

Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Countys watershed
director retires
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
DeKalb County is looking for another watershed
management director.
James Chansler, who
was appointed to the position by DeKalb County CEO
Burrell Ellis in July 2013,
retired March 20 from fulltime position. He will remain in a part-time position
until June as the department
transitions to a new leader.
Do you leave at 51 years
of service to city and county? Do you leave at 21? Well,
Ive got 41 years. Its time,
Chansler said after a county
commissioners meeting
March 17.
Youve got to draw a
line somewhere, he said. It
could have been last year; it
could have been this year. It
just seemed like a good time
to hang em up.
When asked what hes
going to do next, Chansler
first said, nothing.
He said will spend time
with his family and canoe.
Im an avid canoeist,
Chansler said. I cant stay
away from water. Ive always
canoed.
Additionally, Chansler
may do maybe some teaching on the side. I used to
do that and I enjoyed it, he
said.
Chansler, an engineer,
came to DeKalb from Jacksonville, Fla., where he had
been with the Jacksonville
Electrical Authority, the
citys not-for-profit, community-owned utility that
provides electric, water and

Elmore elected as
Avondale Estates mayor
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

Chansler

sewer service. He worked


with Jacksonville Electrical
from 1997 to 2013. From
1997 to his departure, he
was the utilitys chief operating officer.
In DeKalb, Chansler replaced Joe Basista, who left
the county in March 2013
after only six months on the
job.
In a statement, interim
DeKalb County CEO Lee
May said, DeKalb County
is grateful for the experience and leadership that
Dr. Chansler brought to the
table. He played an integral
role in hiring an outside
consultant to identify opportunities for process improvements in the Department
of Watershed Management,
saving ratepayers millions in
operating costs.
Dr. Chansler has agreed
to remain on board in a
part-time capacity, which
ensures a smooth transition to new leadership, May
stated. We wish him well as
he fully retires from public
service in June.

Avondale Estates voters


elected Jonathan Elmore to
be their next mayor.
Elmore, an architect, was
declared the winner after receiving 45.56 percent of the
votes. Jim Hutchens came
in second with 31.20 percent
and Paul Brown finished
third with 12.81 percent.
Todd Pullen finished with
7.23 percent and John Pomberg with 3.20 percent.
In an email sent to
residents, Elmore said he
is humble and grateful for
the opportunity to serve as
mayor.
Thank you to everyone
for the confidence youve
placed in me, he said.
I would like to specifically thank Mr. Brown, Mr.
Hutchens, Mr. Pomberg, and
Mr. Pullen for their commitment to running positive campaigns. I will look
to these gentlemen for their
assistance and support as
we move forward with our
important next steps. And I
encourage all of our citizens

Elmore

to participate in this next


phase of our history.
Elmore, who grew up in
Jeffersonville and Macon, is
a graduate of Georgia Tech
and Clemson University.
He is a licensed architect
in Georgia, and has had his
own practice since 2000.
He and his family moved to
Avondale Estates in 2007.
During a Feb. 19 candidates forum, Elmore said
he was running for mayor
because he wanted to be the
leader for positive change.
I support responsible
growthgrowth that is
community-based, pedestri-

an-oriented, and mixed-use


with more public spaces for
all of us, Elmore said. I do
support annexation; I do
support the decision by our
board to annex.
Former mayor Ed
Rieker resigned from his
mayoral seat a day after he
apologized to residents at
an Oct. 1, 2014, meeting on
how he and the commission
handled an annexation bill.
Residents were not aware
of the bill when it was filed,
and the commission never
discussed it in a public forum.
Elmore said at the forum
that he will be open and
transparent to the public
about city business.
If elected, I will conduct
myself in an ethical, transparent manner, Elmore
said. Im a collaborative,
relationship-orientated person by nature, and I look
forward to serving with our
board. As mayor and chief
spokesperson I will always
present our community in a
positive manner that reflects
the small, diverse community that we are.

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Discover your passion.


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March 26 May 2

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Meet GPC faculty, staff and students Take a campus tour and enjoy refreshments

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fee waiver. Fee waivers must be used by July 1, 2015. Limit one
fee waiver per household.

A BETTER WAY FORWARD

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

local

Page 3A

Hundreds of trees planted


along Mountain Industrial
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
The Stone Mountain Community
Improvement District (CID) hopes
to attract more businesses to the area
through beautification.
The CID partnered with DeKalb
County Board of Commissioners,
Keep DeKalb Beautiful and DeKalb
County Office of Planning and Sus-

and jobs.
The CID also plans to continue
its gateway interchange beautification worklandscaping upgrades at
the Highway 78-Mountain Industrial
Boulevard interchange. The installation of plants that were not added last
spring is now complete at the interchange.
Last year, the county began improving landscaping at various interchanges through
its Operation
Fresh Start Gateway and Interchange Beautification Program.
The CID
will take over
the Highway
78-Mountain
Industrial Boulevard interchanges routine
upkeep. Contracted crews
will oversee grass
cutting, mulching and debris removal, among other
maintenance.
The CID also plans to install a median and landscaping, along sections
of the Mountain Industrial; the project
will include installation of a raised
median to replace the center turn lane
on Mountain Industrial Boulevard
near the Gwinnett County line and
Highway 29. The CID will provide
and maintain the landscaping at the
new media space.
The project plans are with
DeKalbs Department of Transportation for permitting review, and construction is expected to begin in summer 2015.

Members of the Stone Mountain Community Improvement District (CID), DeKalb


County officials and other partners cut the ribbon to celebrate the CIDs beautification project.

Were working to improve


Stone Mountain Industrial
Parks image.

Emory Morsberger
tainability to plant hundreds of trees
as part of a beautification effort along
Mountain Industrial Boulevard and
East Ponce de Leon.
The CID also partnered with Ryland Homes, which invested the trees
into the DeKalb County tree bank,
according to CID President Emory
Morsberger.
More than 130 trees, mostly crepe
myrtles, have been planted so far.
Were working to improve Stone
Mountain Industrial Parks image,
Morsberger said. Were looking at attracting more businesses into these industrial parks, and creating beautiful
corridors to attract more businesses,
create more economic development

CID president Emory Morsberger talks about the tree planting project.

The CID, along with DeKalb County, planted hundreds of trees along Mountain Industrial Boulevard and East Ponce de Leon. Photos by Carla Parker

Page 4A
opinion
Annexation, ethics and the DeKalb Board of Education

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

The annexation of Druid Hills


into Atlanta has been brewing for
two years. The pro-annexation
members of the Druid Hills Civic
Association Board were pleasantly
surprised by the swell of support
when the Druid Hills Charter Cluster (DHCC) petition was denied by
the DeKalb County Board of Education (BOE). During the summer
of 2014, the annexation movement
gained momentum. In August 2014,
the Emory LaVista Parent Council
(which covers all of the schools in
the Druid Hills High School and
Lakeside High School footprints)
hosted a meeting that focused on
the issues impacting Druid Hills.
Representatives from DeKalb
County School District (DCSD),
DHCC, and the DeKalb delegation
were invited to speak. When initially asked [to attend] DeKalb school
superintendent Michael Thurmond
planned to send someone from the
legal department who could address
the legalities of the annexation issue and the potential impact on the
schools. However, the person who
attended the meeting on behalf of
DCSD was Linda Frasier, who
spoke about the charter process
and said she was not sent to answer
questions or discuss annexation. All
Board of Education members were
invited to the meeting, but only two
attended: Marshall Orson and Jim
McMahan.
In September 2014, one of the
most frequently asked questions
at the State of the District address
was, How is DeKalb County
School District going to handle the

Druid Hills/Atlanta annexation issue? Superintendent Thurmond


responded that annexation was not
going to happen. There were no
plans to meet with disgruntled Druid Hills Charter Cluster petitioners, no plans to ask Atlanta Public
Schools about their ideas regarding
DeKalbs schools, and no plans to
lobby the DeKalb Delegation on
behalf of DeKalbs public school
students.
As the months passed, citizens
organized meetings, contacted
elected officials, and scoured online
resources for information about
what annexation would mean.
Many parents, hoping to open communication between DCSD and
Druid Hills, asked DeKalb Board of
Education members and the superintendent to become engaged in the
process. The Board of Education
member who consistently attended
community meetings (even though
all BOE members were invited) was
Marshall Orson. Residents across
DeKalb began to view Mr. Orson
as a resource. Parents were desperate for information and Mr. Orson
assured parents that he would try
to find answers. He attended meetings, asked questions, and spoke
publicly. At times, his public comments referenced the DHCC petition and the BOEs handling of the
petition. In retrospect, Im guessing
Mr. Orson would agree that some
of those opinions would have been
better suited for a private audience.
However, at no time did Mr. Orson
publicly voice support for annexation. In fact, on numerous occa-

sions, he stated that he would lose


his DeKalb BOE job if annexation
occurred.
Lately, media reports have questioned Mr. Orsons suitability as
a Board of Education member. In
fact, some community members
have asked that he step down as
a Board of Education member. I
am not in Mr. Orsons district and
I am not in favor of annexation.
However, I am acutely aware of
the frantic parents who have been
losing sleep for months over the annexation issue. Im also aware that
information-seeking often includes
attending meetings and listening. Just because someone attends
a meeting doesnt mean that he/
she agrees with the premise of the
meeting. Mr. Orson attended many
meetings with Atlanta officials,
DeKalb delegation members, and
Together In Atlanta supporters, but
that doesnt mean he was pushing
the annexation effort.
I believe he was trying to address the concerns of DeKalb
County parents, both in his district
and beyond. When parents in the
Druid Hills and surrounding areas
were desperately seeking answers,
they turned to their school district.
They asked for contingency plans,
straight talk, and solution-based
collaboration. The superintendent
and most Board of Education members did not attempt to address the
concerns proactively. Instead, at
the Dec. 8, 2014, BOE meeting, the
superintendent gave an annexation
presentation which ended with a request for $2.5 million to reserve for

litigation.
We are now at the end of the
2015 legislative session and the
Druid Hills annexation is on the
table. Citizens are continuing to ask
what will happen to their neighborhoods and their schools. Im
not suggesting that Mr. Orson has
handled his position perfectly, but I
do believe that his engagement and
interest in the annexation issue were
appropriate.
I wish that all the Board of Education members had been as tunedin to the needs of the Druid Hills
residents. The BOE members are
elected to represent all of the students in DeKalb. Why werent they
all seeking information and solutions to the annexation issue? Why
didnt they all attend meetings with
Atlanta officials, APS leaders, and
DeKalb delegation members in an
effort to seek solutions to the problems that sparked the movement in
the first place?
If this annexation happens, it
will impact students throughout
DeKalbshouldnt our elected
officials address this by proactive
collaboration rather than reactive
litigation? I hope that as DeKalb
citizens wrestle with the annexation
issue, they will consider the role
of DCSD and the entire DeKalb
BOEnot just the role of one BOE
member who responded to citizens
concerns.
Allyson Gevertz
Emory LaVista Parent Council

REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

opinion

Page 5A

One Mans Opinion

Cities from Heaven?


Happiness is having a
large, loving, close-knit familyliving in another city,
comedian George Burns.
It is, of course, understandable that rats will
depart a sinking ship, and
memories are still clear of
the cads who took valuable
spots away in the lifeboats
from many women and children who did not survive
the sinking Titanic, along
with the Unsinkable Molly
Brown.
This scourge of new
cities popping up like a
never-ending game of wacka-mole is a sensible way (for
some) to build fences instead of bridges and protect
what they already have.For
instruction on how this may
all turn out, Id suggest viewing current episodes of The
Walking Dead, where an
industrious group of transplants have built a steelfenced compound around
Alexandria, Va., to keep the
rougher elements out.And
in case you also happen to
read ahead in those comic
books, this doesnt end well.
Currently residing in
Scottdale, in part of what
has long been known as unincorporated DeKalb County, I am hoping, though
doubtful, that we will be able
to stay that way. In the past
year, no less than four cities
have proposed swallowing our modest former mill

Bill Crane
bill.csicrane@gmail.com

Columnist

town to enlarge one municipality, and to anchor whats


left of unincorporated East
DeKalb, including jewels
such as Your DeKalb Farmers Market, to enrich the
tax coffers of one or more of
these shiny new municipalities.
The rush to create each,
as well as potential power
and land grabs by the cities of Atlanta, Decatur and
Avondale Estates in descending order of gall, are
also mind-numbing.Before
the ink is dry and maps have
been published or distributed to potential new residents
and business taxpayers, the
mouse on a computer moves
or blurs those lines again.
DeKalbs newest city is
Brookhaven.Though I opposed its creation at the
time, I will acknowledge
that they are getting many
things right.Their mayor

and council, more often


than not, relate and govern
in a civilized fashion, and
when they disagree, they do
so without being childlike
or disagreeable.Brookhaven
Mayor J. Max Davis recently
proudly reported that in just
over two years of existence,
Brookhaven has cash reserves of nearly $4 million.
Commendable, without
doubt, but Brookhaven
leaders also recently communicated about productive meetings with Georgias
congressional delegation,
seeking support and public
funds to assess/address the
needs of a local dam on the
potential verge of failure,
and additional federal funding to establish a park/trails
system along Peachtree
Creek.Worthwhile projects
for local government funding, but certainly not rising to the level of needing/
requiring federal taxpayer
support.Where is the fiscal
conservancy so championed
by the founders of this same
city?
Also problematic in this
rush to build new cities, in
addition to demographic
and income divisions being
further deepened, is the lack
of planning on a regional
basis, or the acknowledgment of overlap in the cost
structures created by multiple police departments,
convention and visitors bu-

reaus and numerous other


ancillary local government
entities.
Long witnessing others
wishing for the greener grass
of another home or destination, only to find that they
were likely better off standing firmly planted on that
prior terra firma, I cant help
but believe that while so
many are screaming in the
weeds now, they will be far
from blissful later standing
in a much more expensive
but better landscaped lawn.
To get back on track,
some individuals who have
sat all this out are going to
have to get involved, and our
major employers and historic community giants, such as
Emory University, DeKalb
Medical and Georgia Power
among others, should be
looked at to play leadership
roles, as opposed to claiming
neutrality or playing puppet
master from the shadows.
I like to view myself as
a realist.I can easily remember when I moved
back to Decatur in 1989,
and how many were declaring its school system
dead and its downtown irreparably damaged by the
arrival and construction of
a MARTA hub station.Just
look at downtown Decatur
now, but it didnt get there
overnight, nor without decades of sweat equity.And
it takes that kind of work to

turn troubled communities


around.
Are you in, or are you
aint?If the latter, there will
be no shortage of express
buses to the new cities, and
even places like Alexandria,
Va.; see again the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
Bill Crane also serves as a
political analyst and commentator for Channel 2s Action
News, WSB-AM News/Talk
750 and now 95.5 FM, as well
as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press
and Georgia Trend. Crane is
a DeKalb native and business
owner, living in Scottdale. You
can reach him or comment
on a column at bill.csicrane@
gmail.com.

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

Publisher:
John Hewitt
Chief Financial Officer:
Dr. Earl D. Glenn
Managing Editor:
Andrew Cauthen
Production Manager:
Kemesha Hunt
Photographer:
Travis Hudgons
Staff Reporters:
Carla Parker, Ashley Oglesby
The Champion Free Press is published
each Friday by ACE III Communications,
Inc., 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur,
GA. 30030 Phone (404) 373-7779.

www.championnewspaper.com
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Statement from the


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

local

Page 6A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Kate Marie Wiles


Kate Marie Wiles began
volunteering at Fernbank
Museum of Natural History
in August of 2013 and can
usually be found interacting with guests at one of the
museums discovery carts or
teaching visitors about fossils at the A Walk Through
Time in Georgia kioska
task she also trains new volunteers to handle.
The Michigan native
spends most of her free time
taking nature photographs
to fulfill her curiosity, by
finding things in the natural
world, taking photos of it
and studying everything she
can about the subjects.
She said she is inspired
by the work of American
biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author
Edward Osborne E.O.
Wilson.
She draws inspiration
from his curiosity about nature to guide her in her work
at Fernbank.

You have to have the


confidence to say I do not
know the answer but have
the curiosity to find the answer. When youre working
with the general public you
never know what youre going to be asked and its completely OK to say I dont
know. Its much better than
giving an incorrect answer,
Wiles said.
She added, I have young
people come back to see me
a year later and they remem-

bered every single thing that


I taught them a year ago.
Thats a really special feeling. It keeps me motivated
to come back to the museum
every single week and to
know that maybe there is a
chance that I will help someone else, adult or child to
become interested in the sciences or to just be a curious
individual.
Wiles studied animal science at Michigan State University. She credits Fernbank
with helping her find a community with which to share
her knowledge.
Wiles said she prefers
to be a part of a community
and to contribute to that
community in some way to
make it better.
I enjoy working with
people from all over the
world, which I am exposed
to a lot at Fernbank. I also
enjoy the young people because theyre so excited to
learn, she said.

Wiles added, Its really


important for young girls to
see another woman thats involved in the sciences. When
they see that, they may be
a little more open to also
working in the science field.
In July of this year Wiles
will hike 500 miles solo on
the Sierra Nevada trail, 2030 miles a day to expand her
nature photography portfolio and learn more about the
world around her.
She said when she completes the hike she will catalogue everything she finds,
look up the scientific names
and read as much as she can
about the different plants
and species she discovers.
Fernbank is a really
good outlet for my curiosity
and my background because
I work with so many people
from all over the country
and you can talk about anything when youve had those
adventures, Wiles said.
She added, I thrive to

be the absolute best person


I can be. I find that my experiences at Fernbank have
really helped me personally.
Its a good feeling to volunteer and help others even
though some days Im unsure of my impact.
Wiles admits that her
family has reservations
about her taking hikes alone
but she advises anyone to
follow their passion.
Dont be discouraged
by others. If you have an
interest in something or
there is something that you
want to do, go out and do it.
Dont let anyone stop you in
any way. If I let my family
concerns stop me, I would
really be missing out on life.
I think you should live your
life to the absolute fullest
whatever that means for
you, she said.

If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Andrew Cauthen
at andrew@dekalbchamp.com or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 117.

Doraville writer pens CDC history book


by Kathy Mitchell
The recently released Images
of America book on the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by Doraville writer Bob
Kelley is more than a history of the
Atlanta-based federal agency started
in 1946. It tells the story of federal
public health efforts through U.S.
history.
With a wealth of historical
photographs, the book tells of federal public health initiatives from
the time of second President John
Adams then takes readers through
the decades chronicling the leading health challenges of each period, starting with malaria in the
1940sthe disease that prompted
the founding of the CDC.
Kelley, the author of Images of
America: Doraville, decided after
touring the CDCs David J. Sencer
Museum to research an article
for The Champion Newspaper to
explore the idea of a book on the
CDC, using the photo history model he used in crafting the Doraville
book.
Everyone at CDC was immediately onboard and the suggestion
was made to work with the historians at the museum since they
hadallof the photos and the three
womenJudy Gantt, Louise Shaw
and Mary Hilperthauserare liter-

ally walking experts on the CDCs


history, Kelley recalled.
Arcadia Publishing, publishers
of the Doraville book, also bought
into the idea, and gave Kelley a year
to research and write the book.
At first, I thought it would be
a lot easier than the Doraville book
because I had photos and research
resources all in one place. But I
soon found that to be a false impression. Even though the sources
and photos were all in one place, the
really hard part came in selecting
and compressing so much information down into the limited size
imposed on all Images of America
books128 pages, 200 photos,
said Kelley, adding that he was impressed by the sheer magnitude
and far-reaching effects of CDC.
Most people think of [the CDC
staff] in terms of disease outbreaks
(Ebola, flu, measles, etc.) but they
are involved in so many different
day-to-day health issues that dont
always make the headlines, he said.
There was so much information to wade through and determine
what would be the most interesting
to readers.Also the CDC photo
library has something like 10,000
photos or more and so I had to find
the right photos to go with the research, he continued. In the end,
I opted to structure the history by
decade and that really helped me
organize the book.

Kelley said he ultimately found


the undertaking worth the effort.
This was the first publichistory of
the CDC done in 25 yearsand the
first government agency featured
in the Images of America series, so
I am proud to have accomplished
these two milestones.
I think anyone with an interest in history, medicine and science
would find this book fascinating,
as well as doctors, medical personnel and researchers. Plus, after [the
agencys] nearly 70years in Atlanta,
there are legions of families with ties
to CDC, he noted. Beyond that, I
think the general reading audience
will find it interesting to see how
much the CDC does to keep everyonehere and around the world
safe and how they have protected
us behind the scenes in the past 70
years.
I think readers will be surprised with the scope of CDC and
how [its] work affects our lives
every dayfrom disease outbreaks
to prevention campaigns such as
those against diabetes, breast and
other forms of cancer and violence
to children and adults. I mean,
who would think of them being
engaged to prevent space germs
from coming to earth with returning astronauts or vice versa? Who
would guess that Dr. Seuss, the Peanuts cartoon strip and [Stars Wars
characters] CP30 and R2D2 would

be used to persuade parents to get


their children vaccinated? Kelley
observed.
He said that he learned a good
deal about the agencys work as he
researched the book. There are two
dynamic aspects to CDC: disease
control and disease prevention.We
always hear more about the control
issues than we do the prevention
measures. They are also the go to
people when any disease outbreak
or natural disasteroccurs anywhere
in the world.I found it interesting
that when they are needed as first
responders anywhere outside the
United States, they have to be formally invited by that countrys government to come help; they dont
just race to the scene immediately.
Kelley said although he never
regretted taking on the project hes
unlikely to launch another of the
same magnitude. Of course I said
never again once I had finished
the Doraville book and in less than
a year I was working on the CDC
book, he recalled, but it is so
time consuming and I would much
rather return to my freelance travel
writing that I so love to do.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

local

AroundDeKalb

Avondale Estates

For more information, visit www.eastmetrocid.com.

Elementary school to host movie screening

100 Black Women of Decatur/DeKalb to host


fundraiser

Avondale Elementary School PTA will host


its Screen on the Green event, featuring the
Disney movie Frozen, March 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Admission is $1 per adult for PTA members, $2
for non-members and 50 cents per child. The
PTA will be selling concessions at the event. The
school is located at 8 Lakeshore Drive. For more
information, visit www.avondalees.dekalb.k12.
ga.us.

Brookhaven
City to host Cherry Blossom Festival
The Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival
will be held March 28, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Blackburn Park. The event will feature music, arts
and crafts, food and more. The Drifters and The
Coasters will headline the evenings events. The
Coasters begin playing at 7 p.m. followed by The
Drifters at 8 p.m. for a non-stop hit parade of
R&B classics from the 50s and 60s, including
Save the Last Dance for Me, Up on the Roof, This
Magic Moment, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown and
Under the Boardwalk. The park is located at 3493
Ashford Dunwoody Road. For more information, visit www.brookcherryfest.org.

Decatur
Community centers annual Easter Egg hunt
set
The Community Achievement Center Inc.
will have its annual Easter Egg Hunt Extravaganza Saturday, April 4, from noon to 2 p.m.
Children are encouraged to bring their
Easter baskets for the event, which will feature
games, prizes, face painting, a moonwalk and
more.
The event will be held at Flat Shoals Park,
4522 Flat Shoals Pkwy., Decatur.
For more information, call (404) 214-7400.

East Metro DeKalb CID to host public


listening sessions
A series of public meeting will allow commercial property owners, business owners, community leaders and stakeholders to help guide
the future of DeKalb Countys newest improvement district.
Board members of the East Metro DeKalb
Community Improvement District (CID) will
hosts community listening session March 31.
The event will be at Covington Library, 3500
Covington Highway Decatur, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Formed in May 2014, the East Metro DeKalb
CID currently has 205 property owners, representing 405 parcels. The projected revenue from
the 2014 taxes is approximately $175,000.

The community is invited to an evening of


food and live entertainment in support of two
causes.
The Decatur/DeKalb chapter of the National
Coalition of 100 Black Women will host its Relax, Relate, Release wine sip on Saturday, April
11, from 7 to 11 p.m. The fundraiser will be held
at the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Conference Center, 495 North Indian Creek Drive,
Clarkston.
A portion of the event proceeds will support
The American Heart Association and the chapters Legacy program, a leadership and empowerment initiative for high school girls.
General admission tickets are $45. Tables can
be reserved for $360. The deadline to purchase
tickets is March 30; no tickets will be sold at the
door. Vendors may market their businesses for a
fee of $85. All sales are final.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.
eventbrite.com/e/ncbw-decaturdekalbchapter-annual-wine-sip-fundraiser-tickets-15808906866.

Grant money available for South River basin


projects
The Upper Ocmulgee River Resource and
Conservation Development Council has grant
money available for projects that will help to improve the water quality in the South River Basin.
The type of projects that can receive grants
include: repair/replacement/maintenance of septic systems; trash and debris removal; errosion
control/stream bank stabilization; backyard projects (e.g. stream buffer planting/maintenance);
agricultural projects (e.g., eliminating stream
access for farm animals, pasture cross fencing,
etc.); animal waste control; and public education.
Applications are being accepted until Oct.
31 for the grants, which will reimburse a portion
(up to 50 percent or up to the cap for the type of
project) of the cost of the project. For additional
information contact Bob Scott at rcd.southriver@gmail.com or at (770) 596-7068.

Lithonia
Sorority to present healthy menu fundraiser
at Arizonas
On Saturday, March 28, Alpha Kappa Alpha
Sorority Inc.s Lambda Epsilon Omega Chapter
in conjunction with Arizonas Restaurant will
present a Healthy Heart Menu. This event will
take place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Arizonas Restaurant located at 2940 Stonecrest Circle, Lithonia.
The members of Lambda Epsilon Omega
Chapter will serve as hostesses and will encourage all patrons to select a healthy item from the
Healthy Heart Menu. This event is a community event to promote a healthy diet, healthy eat-

Page 7A

ing and living.


We want to encourage everyone to eat
healthier, make healthier choices and exercise
which will improve their quality of life. Our goal
is to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke
by encouraging members of the community to
make healthy choices, Racquel Jackson, chairman of the program committee, said.
The special AKA menu is a low sodium/low
calorie menu that is designed to maintain the
taste of each Healthy Heart Menu item. Ten
percent of the purchase of the Healthy Heart
Menu is donated to the American Heart and
Stroke Associations.

State of the City address scheduled

Residents of Avondale Estates are invited


to attend the 2015 State of the City at Avondale
Estates City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, on
Monday, March 30. Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager will address the community on the citys accomplishments and progress over the past year,
and whats in store for the rest of 2015.

Stone Mountain
Commissioner and state representative to
host annual Easter egg hunt
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson and state Rep. Billy Mitchell will present
the 11th annual Super District 7 Easter Eggtravaganza on Sunday, April 5, from 2 to 5 p.m.
at Wade Walker Park.
Approximately, 400 to 500 attendees are
expected.There is no cost to attend, however
children must bring their own baskets. Registration is at 2 p.m.
Caricatures by Fitzroy will be available for
$5 cash and there will be a raffle for Easter baskets for $1 cash.
There will be an Easter egg hunt at 2:30 p.m.
for ages 3 and 4 at 3 p.m., for children ages 5 to
7 and 3:30 p.m. for ages 8 to 10. There will also
be face painting, jumper play areas, snacks and
entertainment.
Event partners include DeKalb County
Public Safety, DeKalb County Sheriffs Office, South DeKalb Family and Wade Walker
YMCAs, Radio Ones Praise 102.5, the National Football League Players Association, and
State Rep. Dewey McClain.
In the event of rain, the event will be moved
inside to the YMCA Wade Walker, located at
5585 Rockbridge Rd, Stone Mountain.
For additional information, call (404) 3713681.

local

Page 8A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Judge Glenda Hatchett addresses the media about a lawsuit filed against MARTA and a bus driver for the sexual assault of a disabled passenger.

MARTA driver accused of raping disabled passenger

by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Xavier Winfrey, a bus
driver on the MARTA Mobility bus line, designated exclusively for passengers with
severe disabilities, is allegedly

ed Nashs daughter is a developmentally disabled woman


with cerebral palsy.
Court documents state
that on Sept. 23, 2011, Nashs
daughter was picked up by
MARTA Mobility at Emory
Egleston Hospital. The alleged

To say this is consensual, to say


this is outside the scope of his
employment is outrageous. There is
no question that the rape happened.

Glenda Hatchett
responsible for multiple unlawful acts, including sexual
battery, rape, sodomy, aggravated sodomy, false imprisonment, abuse and exploitation
of a disabled person, while on
duty as a MARTA bus driver.
Glenda Hatchett, former
chief judge of the Juvenile
Court of Fulton County and
host of the national television
show Judge Hatchett, formally
entered an appearance as cocounsel on March 17 with lead
attorneys Thomas Cuffie and
Harold Spence in a lawsuit
filed by Ray Nash, the injured
partys father, against the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and
Winfrey a former MARTA
employee.
The official filing indicat-

victim was suspected to be


the only passenger remaining
on the bus and her destination the last stop on Winfreys
route. Once inside the womans neighborhood, he allegedly parked the bus and turned
off the ignition which deactivated the surveillance camera.
Winfrey then allegedly forced
the woman to the floor of the
bus and force her to perform
sexual acts on him.
After the alleged assault,
Winfrey told the injured party
to get dressed and dropped
her at her home.
The driver of the bus admitted having sex with his
then 21-year-old passenger in
2011 but claimed that it was
consensual.
The transit authority

had taken the position that


it wasnt responsible for the
drivers actions, according to
Hatchett.
To say this is consensual,
to say this is outside the scope
of his employment is outrageous, Hatchett said. There
is no question that the rape
happened.
Hatchett and her cocounsels had little explanation
about why the case wasnt
prosecuted criminally other
than the parents didnt want
to put the woman through a
criminal proceedings.
District attorney Paul
Howard, who has a unit
dedicated to prosecuting sex
offenders, referred the case
to the lower state court for
misdemeanor charges where it
was dismissed, Hatchett said.
Hatchett declined to say
whether Howard gave specific
reasons for referring the case
to misdemeanor criminal proceedings;
Winfrey resigned from
MARTA.
MARTA spokesman Lyle
Harris declined to comment,
citing pending litigation.
According to court documentation, due to the victims
mental retardation and severe
cognizant disabilities, she is
incapable of legally giving
consent, as MARTAs classification assigned to the victims
disabilities less than a year
prior indicated.
The case is now filed in
DeKalb County State Court
for civil litigation.

MARTA headquarters in Lindbergh

Father of the victim, Ray Nash,


explains his initial reaction of
his daughters attack and details what he expects MARTA to
end attacks on the disabled.

Lead attorney Harold Spence


discusses events leading up to
the lawsuit of MARTA with the
media. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

local

Page 9A

This house on Jackson Drive in unincorporated DeKalb County may soon be razed by the county after a fire destroyed it years ago. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

County set to demolish blighted houses


by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com
For a few years, neighbors near the burnt house at
3421 Jackson Drive in unincorporated Decatur have
been trying to get something
done about the blighted
property.
That is a hazard and its
bad in the neighborhood,
said a neighbor standing
in front of the remains of
the frame house gutted by
a fire years ago. Most of the
windows and doors were
destroyed by the fire, and
weeds are overtaking the
structure.
Its gotten so bad now
that [people] have started
dumping, said the neighbor
who did not want to be identified. Theyve been dumping on the inside, too.
And the rats, he said.
Ive seen some rats out here
like cats. Im serious.
The man said residents
have been fighting and
fighting and fighting and
nothing is being done.
Blighted houses like this
one are being targeted by
DeKalb County officials who
are working to rid the county
of uninhabitable homes.
So far this year the
county has demolished three
homes and more demolitions
are being scheduled.
The county is currently
utilizing the in-rem program
to move through the legal
process as it pertains to demolition of properties that
are no longer suited for habitation, said Tonza Clark, the
countys foreclosure registry
manager and vacant property
manager.
The in-rem process is
the legal proceeding during
which the county goes before the state court to request
of the court the authority
to go onto the property to
either abate the issues that
arethere because they
qualify as uninhabitable

DeKalb County is planning to demolish more than 23 uninhabitable


houses this year.

or dangerous properties,
or to demolish it, Markus
Kellum, the countys code
enforcement administrator,
said.
During the in-rem proceeding, the owner retains
ownership of the property;
the cost of the demolition is
placed as a lien on the property.
The main source of
funding for the demolition
program is the federal Community Development Block
Grant. The average cost per
demolition is $16,000. The
county has identified additional funding sources in
the sanitation department
for demolition and the fire
rescue department for controlled burns.
If a property is already
engulfed, and its not salvageable, instead of leaving the
structure halfway burned,
the [fire] department will
control that burn so that
the property will become
completely demolished with
the fire and then the only
thing that we have to do as a
county is remove the debris,
rather than go back and have
to remove a half-burned
structure, Clark said.
We wont purposefully
let properties burn, she said.
This is if property is already
so engulfed, it cannot be salvaged.
Kellum explained,

There are some times when


the battalion chief makes a
decision that the property
is beyond a point that they
can actually save it, they will
allow the property to burn
because it may leave a wall
that may be dangerous. It really is a determination by the
fire department and this is
during the time the property

is actually on fire.
The process of demolishing a house is a lengthy, legal
process, Clark said.
We have to go through
the entire court cycle at least
twice, she said. So you start
out with citations, you take
it through Recorders Court,
then liens are placed on the
property. Then you have to
repeat that process.
And then after that we
consistently monitor the
property to see if there has
been any improvements or if
the citations or the violations
have been remediated, Clark
said. If not, then we go to
Superior Courtand we
get a final judgment and the
property goes to the demolition process.
Clark said the county
currently has 77 in-rem cases39 cases that are ready
for demolition, another 28
cases that have passed the

Superior Court stage, and 10


cases that are waiting to go to
Superior Court.
Our goal is to demolish at least 23 properties in
2015, Clark said.
The in-rem program is
the process thats used by
which we can actually start
to remove some of those
blighted properties throughout the communities, Kellum said. It helps to increase
the viability of the neighborhoods and create a better
DeKalb County.

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PUBLIC NOTICE

The Housing Authority of


DeKalb County (HADC)
Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List Opening

OPENS: April 28, 2015


CLOSES: April 30, 2015
\

APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED ONLINE ONLY


www.dekalbhousing.org
Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations because of a disability,
language translation, or communication in an alternative format
may call the HADCS Waiting List Hotline at 404-270-2590
between 8am and 5pm, April 28-30, 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions and Internet Access


Sites are listed on the HADCs website.

local

Page 10A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Senate committee shifts residents


from Tucker to LaVista Hills map
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
A Georgia senate sub
committee advanced Tucker
and LaVista Hills cityhood
bills, but made changes to
the maps.
Sen. Fran Millar
introduced the altered maps
during a March 19 hearing
and what was approved
by the by the Senate State
and Local Governmental
Operations Committee. The
vote shifted 2,000 residents
from the northern part of
Tuckers map to LaVista
Hills, increasing LaVista
Hills proposed population
to 67,000 from 64,000.
Tuckers proposed
population decreased to
33,000. Areas removed
from the Tucker map
include the Livsey voting
precinct, Shadow Walk
Lane neighborhood, the
QT shopping center, the
shopping center at Britt
Road and Chamblee-Tucker,
Briarglen Court, houses

The Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee approved a map that would move 2,000
residents from the proposed Tucker map to LaVista Hills.

on Thornbriar Road in the


Midvale Elementary voting
precinct, and Scyler Way
and Scyler Place.
The Tucker cityhood
group released a statement
on its Facebook page after

Appeals court says


no to new trials
for Pope, Reid
by Andrew Cauthen
andrew@dekalbchamp.com

granting the new trials. Under the unique circumstances presented in this case, we
The Georgia Court of
agree.
Appeals said a DeKalb judge
The key witness against
should not have ordered
Reid and Pope was former
new trials in a DeKalb
school superintendent
County school corruption
Crawford Lewis, who origicase.
nally faced charges includThe new trials for foring violation of the Rackemer schools construction
teer Influenced and Corrupt
chief Pat Reid and her exOrganizations Act and three
husband Tony Pope, an
counts of theft.
architect, were ordered by
In a plea agreement with
DeKalb County Superior
prosecutors, Lewis agreed to
Court Judge Cynthia Beck- serve as a key witness for the
er in October 2014. Reid
state to avoid jail time. At
and Pope were found guilty Lewis sentencing hearing,
of defrauding the DeKalb
however, Becker rejected the
County School District of
agreement and sentenced
more than $1 million.
Lewis to serve a year behind
The trial court reversed bars.
the judgment of conviction
Lewis spent several days
and granted them new triin jail before being released
als purportedly based upon
on bond after his attorney
the courts doubts as to the
filed an emergency motion.
credibility of a state witness,
When the Georgia
stated the appeals court.
Court of Appeals reversed
The state argues on appeal Beckers decision to senthat the trial court erred in
tence Lewis, Becker ordered

See Court on page 11A

the decision.
We are disappointed that
the LaVista Hills leadership
chose not to honor the
boundary agreement. We are
heartbroken that once again
many of you find yourselves

removed from the Tucker


map, the statement reads.
In December 2014, the
DeKalb County Cityhood
Subcommittee of the House
Governmental Affairs
Committee changed the

boundaries of the proposed


maps after the two cityhood
groups could not come to
an agreement on boundary
lines.
The original proposed
maps for both cities
included the Northlake
commercial district and
residential areas on both
sides of I-285 and in the
corner of I-85, I-285 and
the Gwinnett County line.
The subcommittee split the
area along LaVista Road
LaVista Hills map has
everything north of LaVista
Road and west of I-285,
including Northlake Mall,
and the Tucker map has
everything south of LaVista
Road on the west side of
I-285.
Both bills advanced to
the Senate Rules Committee
where if approved they
will be voted on by the
state senate. If the bills
pass the senate, they will
go back to the House of
Representatives for a vote
on the alterations.

NOTICEOFPUBLICHEARING
TheMayorandCityCounciloftheCityofChamblee,GeorgiawillholdapublichearingonThursday,April16,2015,atthe
ChambleeCivicCenter,3540BroadStreet,Chamblee,GA30341at6:00p.m.toreceivepubliccommentsregardingthe
followingmatters:
1. 2015Z01:CharlesMcClain,onbehalfofCopperleafPartners,LLCrequestsazoningmapamendment,changing
thezoningofa6.31acreparcelfromNeighborhoodResidential1(NR1)toNeighborhoodResidential2(NR2)
toconstructasubdivisionof27singlefamilydetachedresidences.Thepropertyconsistsoftwoparcelsat4011
and4015ChambleeDunwoodyRoadbeingtaxparcels1832408052and1832506001inChamblee,GA.
2. 2015Z02:SamWilburn,onbehalfofMadisonBrookhavenLLCrequestsazoningmapamendment,changingthe
zoningofa0.937acreparcelfromCorridorCommercial(CC)toCorridorVillageCommercial(CVC).Theproperty
islocatedat4775PeachtreeRoad,beingtaxparcel1827702005.
3. 2015V07:JohnDiGiovanni,onbehalfofMateraGroup,LLCrequestsvariancesfromthefollowingprovisionsof
the City of Chamblee Code of Ordinances, Appendix A, Zoning Ordinance in order to redevelop a property of
0.568acreszonedCorridorCommercial(CC)andlocatedat5000PeachtreeBoulevard,beingtaxparcel18300
02001inChamblee,GA:
o Sec.1202.DthatprohibitsaccessfromPeachtreeBoulevardwhenaccesscanbeachievedviaasecondary
street.
o Sec.1005.A.1thatrequiresthatnomorethan35percentofacombinationofthesideandrearyardsmay
consistofconcrete,asphaltorgraveldrivewayorparkingareaandtheremainingpercentageshallbegrass
orlandscapedareas.
o Sec.1203.F.13thatrequiresgeneralbusiness,commercial,andpersonalserviceestablishmentswithless
than50,000sq.ft.toprovideaminimumof1offstreetparkingspaceper200sq.ft.ofgrossleasablearea.
4. 2015V08:CharlesMcClain,onbehalfofCopperleafPartners,LLCrequestsvariancesfromthefollowing
provisionsoftheCityofChambleeCodeofOrdinances,AppendixA,ZoningOrdinancetoconstructasubdivision
of27singlefamilydetachedresidenceson6.31acresat4011and4015ChambleeDunwoodyRoadbeingtax
parcels1832408052and1832506001inChamblee,GA:
o Sec.1004SpaceDimensionstoreducetheminimumrequiredrearyardsetbackofalllotsfrom30ft.to20
ft.;and
o Sec.903.Btoreducetheminimumrequiredfrontyardsetbacksofalllotsfrom30ft.to20ft.
5. TheMayorandCouncilwillconsiderapprovalofanordinanceadoptinganewUnifiedDevelopmentOrdinance
(UDO)fortheCityofChamblee,datedMarch17,2015,alongwiththreeAddendathatshallbeknownasUDO
Addendum1DesignGuidelinesForMultiFamilyDistricts,InfillDevelopmentandAdaptiveReuse,UDO
Addendum2Buffer,Landscaping,AndTreePreservationAdministrativeGuidelines,andUDOAddendum3
StreetscapeGuidelines.Theordinanceadoptingthesedocumentswillrepealconflictingordinancesincluding
Chapter34Environment;Chapter93DevelopmentRegulations;AppendixAZoningOrdinance;AppendixB
SubdivisionRegulations;AppendixC:AirportRelatedProvisions;TreePreservationOrdinanceAdministrative
Guidelines;StreetscapeGuidelinesandStreetDesignationsMap,aswellasotherconflictingprovisionsoftheCity
ofChambleeCodeofOrdinances.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

local

Page 11A

Court
Continued From Page 10A

Native Tree LLC used a tree spade to transplant an American holly to Blackburn Park. Photos by Carla Parker

From left, Brookhaven councilmembers Joe Gebbia, Rebecca Chase Williams and Bates Mattison shovel in dirt around the tree.

Brookhaven celebrates Arbor Day with tree planting


by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
March 20 is Arbor Day
in Georgia, and Brookhaven
officials celebrated by transplanting a tree in Blackburn
Park.
Native Tree LLC transplanted an American holly
tree from Brookhaven Forest subdivision to the park,
and Patrick Fisher of Native Tree demonstrated how
larger existing trees are
spade and moved.
I got involved with
[Brookhaven resident] Mike
Elliot over on one of his
projects on trying to save
some tree for his new development and hes donating
one of the trees to the new
park, Fisher said. So were
transplanting it with our tree
spade.
A tree spade is a specialized machine that mechanizes the transplanting of
large plants.
City officials gave
free seedlings of bald cy-

press and saw tooth oak to


residents. An Arbor Day
Proclamation was read by
Brookhaven councilwoman
Rebecca Chase Williams to
commemorate the day.
Here in Brookhaven
we celebrate our trees, Williams said. The challenge is
trying to strike the balance
between all the booming
growth that we have and
higher density growth, but
were dedicated to preserving our beautiful canopy
of trees, and really adding
more trees along the way.
In August 2014, the city
council adopted a revised
tree ordinance designed
to preserve the citys tree
canopy, protect the wooded
character that older trees
create in the city and respect
the rights of private property owners to manage their
trees.
Weve learned from our
arborist that the best solution to have a healthy urban
forest is to have a good mix
of trees, Williams said. Its

new trials for Reid and Pope.


Without challenging
the truthfulness of Lewiss
testimony, the trial judge
admittedly incensed by what
she considered to be the
abhorrent criminal conduct
of all involvedemphasized
that Lewis was a public official, this was on his watch,
he stood by. And then he
hindered and interfered with
and tried to stop the completion of a rightful, lawful
investigation, the appeals
court stated.
Although sympathetic
to the trial courts plight
given Lewiss criminal culpability, we nonetheless held
that the court was bound
to sentence Lewis in accordance with the terms of the
plea agreement so long as
his material testimony to the
states case against Reid and
Pope was truthful, the appeals court stated.
The case was sent back
to Becker so she could
identify specifically the
testimony she considered of
questionable credibility, to
determine whether that testimony was material to the
prosecution, and to provide
Lewisan opportunity to
respond, the appeals court
stated.
We have no trouble
concluding that the trial
court erred in reversing Reid
and Popes judgment of conviction, the appeals court
stated.

often been said that the best dedicated to preserving our


time to plant a tree is yester- trees.
day. So we just keep planting
as many trees as we can.
The city planted 250
LSBE/MBE/WBE SUBCONTRACTORS REQUESTED
cherry trees throughout the
city, leading up to the citys
Cherry Blossom Festival,
which will take place March
27-28 in Blackburn Park.
ITB # 3003476
The cherry tree is the official
Bid date: March 26, 2015 at 3 p.m.
city tree.
Cole Technology, Inc.
But, we love all trees,
Please contact
Williams said. Our whole
Chelsea
Campbell:
404-460-8446
city council and mayor are

DeKalb County
Pump Repair Service

Tim Wilkie: 404-472-1276

CITY OF BROOKHAVEN
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING:
TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2015 AT 7:00 P.M.
CITY OF BROOKHAVEN COUNCIL CHAMBER
ADDRESS: 4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia 30319
The following Traffic Calming Petition involving streets located within the City of Brookhaven is scheduled for
Public Hearings as stated above.
TRAFFIC CALMING PETITION:
STREETS AFFECTED:
PROPOSED TRAFFIC CALMING

TC14-03
GREEN MEADOWS DR FROM WILFORD DR TO CHESHIRE WAY
SPEED HUMPS

local

Page 12A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Former Dunwoody
detective pleads guilty
to running fraudulent
warrant checks
Former Dunwoody Police
detective Robert Pasquale
Bentivegna has pleaded guilty
to disclosing sensitive law
enforcement information in
exchange for receiving kickbacks for him and his family.
It is a sad day when a career law enforcement officer
turns his back on decades of
public service by selling his
access to sensitive law enforcement information, said
Acting U.S. Attorney John
Horn.Bentivegnas conduct
undermines trust in law enforcement and could have exposed the public to significant
harm.
J. Britt Johnson, special
agent in charge, FBI Atlanta
Field Office, stated, The FBIs
No. 1 criminal investigative
program remains that of public corruption due to the vast
harm that it can cause.The
guilty plea of former Dunwoody Det. Bentivegna illustrates the betrayal of the
badge by a very seasoned law
enforcement officer and the
consequences that he now
faces for this betrayal.
Acts of corruption within the Department of Homeland Security represent a serious threat to our nation and
undermine the integrity of all
DHS employees, who strive to
maintain the integrity of the
Department, said James E.
Ward, special agent in charge,
department of Homeland
Security, Office of Inspector General.The Office of
Inspector General and its law
enforcement partners will
continue to pursue allegations
of corruption and hold such
shameless individuals like Mr.
Bentivegna accountable.
According to the charges
and other information presented in court, in July 2011,
Bentivegna, employed at the
time with the Dunwoody Police Department and who had
also served as a federal task
force officer, began using an
individual connected with a
variety of illegal activities as a
confidential informant.
In exchange for valuable
personal items for himself
and his family, Bentivegna
performed searches and informed the confidential informant about any active arrest
warrants listed under the informants name in the Georgia
Crime Information Center
(GCIC) database.

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Such information can be


valuable information to criminals, allowing them to flee
before authorities can arrest
them, according to a news
release by the U.S. Attorneys
Office.
In exchange for the information, over the course
of approximately 18 months,
Bentivegna received airline
tickets for himself and his
wife to travel to New York, his
daughter received a convertible car, which she used for
more than a year, and his son
received a car to drive for a
period of time.
Bentivegna, 64, of
Woodstock pleaded guilty to
computer fraud for accessing information in the GCIC
database for an improper purpose. Sentencing is scheduled
for June 1, before U.S. District
Judge Leigh Martin May.

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In

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

WEEK

local

Page 13A

Pictures

Nathan Knight, president of the south DeKalb chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,
protests the March 9 shooting death of Anthony Hill, who was unarmed and naked, by a DeKalb Police officer.
Photo by Andrew Cauthen

The 2015 ART Star awards celebrate visual arts, drama and dance students in DeKalb County.

Deanna Cauthen, center, talks to Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson, right, during the March 21 launch party for Cauthens new public relation agency, The ProWriters Studio. The event was
held at the ART Station in Stone Mountain. Photos by Travis Hudgons

23

Photos brought to you by DCTV


DCTV Channel 23
@DCTVChannel23

Get your front row seat to all things DeKalb County


through your EMMY Award-winning station

DeKalb County Gov


Ustream.tv/channle/DCTV-Channel-23
VISIT US AT WWW.DCTVChannel23.tv

E-mail us at DCTV@DeKalbCountyGA.gov

local

Page 14A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Coca-Cola ambassadors along with Cross Keys High Schools faculty assist in the rebranding of the school.

Cross Keys High aims


to rebrand school
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Cross Keys High School
students got a head start on
spring cleaning this year with
the second phase of their
beautification and clean-up
efforts on March 20-21 with
the help of family, community
leaders and partners.
The volunteers mulched
and planted in raised beds
around the entrance of the
school, trimmed the hedges,
raked leaves, picked up debris
and painted the exterior of
the building.
Cross Keys student support specialist Jason Randall
said the goal of the project is
to beautify our campus, encourage our students to take
ownership of their school,
inspire the parents to become active participants in
our school, and to create a
community where there is a
shared interest in Cross Keys
High School.
He said, It means a lot
for the school. Were trying to
restore some school pride and
one of the things we wanted
to do was to work on the out-

side area and make our way


inside.
Randall said he encountered a parent that said she
was looking to gather information about Cross Keys
High School and nobody was
able to tell her about the culture of the school.
Randall said, This means
that there is an opportunity to
rebrand ourselves the way we
see fit.
One of the ways that
were trying to restore school
pride is to have a campus
beautification day, he said.
Aston Woods, Canopy
Landscaping, Coca-Cola, the
city of Brookhaven, as well as
other organizations lent their
support to the school.
Randall added, Were
trying to make sure that the
students understand that it is
important to give back. One
of the ways were giving back
is by working with our own
school. It starts at home.
A group from Coca-Colas
ambassadors program assisted the school in the rebranding by planting flowers, painting the school and renewing
the grounds.

Market development
manager Lori Morrow said as
a part of the programs mission the team decided that
assisting Cross Keys High
School would be a great way
to dedicate a day of service
and make the school beautiful.
We want to open and
share happiness everywhere
we go no matter what were
doing. We want to refresh, we
want to uplift, we want to inspire people and so were out
hererepresenting Coca-Cola,
and were also representing an
extension of ourselves, she
said.
Morrow said things that
are important to most places
of education and communities are important to CocaCola
We try to do so many
different things with companies, nonprofits and of course
our schools and hospitals. We
believe in giving back to the
community and representing
Coca-Cola brand love everywhere that we go and thats a
big part of giving back, said
Morrow.

Cross Keys student support specialist Jason Randall assist


ambassadors with replanting flowers near the entrance of the
school.

Volunteers from Coca-Colas ambassador program team together


to beautify the school. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

A Coca-Cola volunteer digs and repots plants.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Participants in a ranger-led hike take a break at top of Arabia Mountain.

Madness on
the mountains

by John Hewitt
johnh@dekalbchamp.com

Its Monadnock Madness time


again at Arabia, Stone and Panola
mountains and nature is rolling out
the red carpet to welcome guests.
Mona-what, one may ask?
Monadnock, originally a Native
American term, is a geological
term used to describe mountains
that stand alone and were formed
by lava flowing upward from
beneath the Earths surface. Arabia,
Stone Mountain and Panola are all
monadnocks.
Throughout March, Monadnock
Madness, a month-long celebration
of the beauty and wonder of these
unique structures, is organized and
promoted by The Arabia Mountain
Heritage Area Alliance. Some of the
most popular activities held during
the celebration include guided and
self-guided hikes, photography
hikes, archery instruction,
bike rides on the 16-mile loop
trial that connects Arabia and
Panola mountains, a hiking stick
workshop, a rope and harness tree
climbing clinic and the culminating
event Monadnock Muse, which is a
music and art celebration at Arabia
Mountain.
Monadnock Muse, held
Sunday, March 29, 2-4:45 p.m.
centers around a two mile art hike
featuring poets, visual artists and
photographers stationed along the
trial who share their works that
have been inspired by experiences
at Arabia Mountain Nature
Preserve.
One of rarest features of monadnocks are diamorphas, a bright red
succulent that only grows in certain
environments, generally in pools

of water on rock surfaces. When in


bloom, which it typically is during
March, diamorpha looks like a lush
red carpet with specs of tiny white
blossoms. Executive Director of
Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance Mera Cardenas said, Every
visitor gets their own red carpet
welcome when diamorpha awakens
from its winter nap.
Cardenas said those who visit
all three mountains will notice
surprising differences among
Arabia Mountain, Stone Mountain
and Panola Mountain, and the
most of the differences are results
of the impact humans have on our
environment.
She explained that Stone
Mountain, the most commercial
and popular of the three
mountains, is worn smooth by foot
traffic and that at Arabia Mountain,
which was once intensely quarried,
visitors will see nature reclaiming
the mountain and endangered
plants returning.Panola Mountain,
which is the most protected of the
three monadnocks according to
Cardenas, has been a conservation
area since the early 1970s, was
never quarried and has rock
covered with mosses and lichens,
and unlike Stone Mountain or
Arabia Mountain, has mature trees
at the top.
The Arabia Mountain Heritage
Area Alliance is a locally-run
nonprofit dedicated to protecting
and sharing the history, culture and
landscapes of the Arabia Mountain
National Heritage Area and is
an affiliate of the National Park
Service. For additional information
visit www.MonadnockMadness.
com or www.arabiaalliance.org.

local

Elaine Boyers attorney, Jeff Brickman


said the former commissioner was a
very good public servant who made
some horrible decisions.

Boyer Continued From Page 1A


Its an appropriate sentence given the amount of the loss and the
violation of the trust that [Commissioner] Boyer did, Horn said.
The sentence sends the message
that, especially in DeKalb County,
the citizens in DeKalb County are
entitled to honest public servants
servants who are going to serve
with integrity, Horn said. Even
with a 22-year career in public service that does not entitle somebody
to help themselves to thepublic
finances.
I think it pretty egregious,
Horn said. For somebody who
is entrusted with the need to
serve with integrityand I understand that there were financial
problemsbut there are so many
other opportunities, so many other
choices that can be made other
than simply helping yourself to
public money, especially when you
are talking about $87,000.
Boyers sentence also includes
restitution of $87,000 to DeKalb
County. Boyer brought the court
a certified check for $4,000 during
her sentencing hearing.
Jeff Brickman, Boyers attorney,
said Boyer was a very good public
servant who made some horrible
decisions and I hope the people
who really know her well are going
to believe that.
She is completely remorseful for what she did andshe has
accepted full responsibility for
her actions, Brickman said. She
apologized to the people of DeKalb
County that she served so proudly
for 22 years. She is very sorry to
her family.
Boyer will report to a federal
prison sometime after May 10,
when her daughter graduates.
Before announcing the sentence,
Judge Orinda D. Evans, said, I
believe Mrs. Boyer is very remorsefuland I dont think she will ever
be in a courtroom again for a sentence.
Evans said, [For] any case involving the public trust and involving a public official, the sentence

Page 15A

Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said


DeKalb residents are entitled to honest public servants. Photos by Andrew
Cauthen

[should] reflect the crime.


The sentence should make sure
the community understands how
severe the breech is and should
have some element of punishment
and a large dose of deterrent, Evans said. A prison sentence that is
not insubstantial is what this case
calls for.
Tom Owens, who filed an ethics
complaint against Boyer, said the
sentence was fair.
Im glad to see her get at least
14 months, Owens said. I think
anything over 12 is a good [sentence]. Justice was performed. You
do the crime, you need to do the
time.
Boyers sentence was reduced by
four months because of the assistance she has given investigators in
an ongoing case.
What is reflected in the substantial assistance motion is that
[Boyer] did cooperate in the case
against her husband John and also
that she cooperated in other matters both federal and state, Horn
said. I cant say right now what
those matters are, but her cooperation is continuing. We felt like the
four-month reduction reflected the
amount of cooperation that she
provided.
Boyers husband, John Boyer,
has also pleaded guilty to one
count of conspiring to commit mail
fraud, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6.
Our investigation in DeKalb
County is continuing, Horn said.
We will continue our work in
DeKalb County until we have a
sense that our investigation is over.
[Boyers] assistance has been helpful. I think you can expect to see
further action from us in DeKalb
County.
AssistantU.S. AttorneyJeffrey
W.Davis, who prosecuted the case,
said, DeKalb is underwater in with
corruption. Public corruption
undermines public confidence. All
public officials need to know there
will be consequences.

local

Page 16A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

News briefs

tants, bus drivers and lifeguards.


Those applying for positions in
aquatics are required to submit proof
of current certification in CPR, first
aid, lifeguarding and water safety instruction, provided by the Red Cross,
YMCA or other nationally recognized aquatic training programs.All
applicants selected will be required
to successfully complete a drug/
alcohol screening and criminal background check prior to employment.
To complete an online application, visit www.co.dekalb.ga.us.

with the local representatives, Henson said. This is only the start of
the conversation, and we anticipate
working closely with the members
of the community and the city as we
pursue this option.

Washington

Most wanted man arrested near


Georgia Perimeter College
A man listed on CrimeStoppers
most wanted in metro Atlanta was
captured on Memorial Drive March
19.
Randall Washington, 27, of Decatur, was arrested without incident
on a felony bench warrant for failure
to appear on charges of possession
of cocaine to distribute, possession of a controlled substance with
intent to distribute, possession of
marijuana with intent to distribute,
possession of a firearm during commission of a felony and obstruction
of an officer; felony aggravated assault and felony criminal damage/
first degree; along with two misdemeanors counts of family violence
battery, criminal trespass damage,
and simple battery harm.
Traffic in and around several
blocks of Memorial Drive in Decatur came to a brief halt around 2:30
p.m. as the DeKalb County Sheriff s
Office fugitive unit and other law
enforcement agencies searched the
neighborhood and subsequently arrested Washington.
As a security precaution, a temporary lockdown was imposed at
nearby Georgia Perimeter College.
For now be aware and be prepared to shelter in a classroom and
or office until an all clear is given,
N.T. Marinelli, the colleges public
safety director, stated.
Participating in the arrest with
the DeKalb County Sheriff s Office
were Georgia Perimeter College Police Department, the U.S. Marshals
Southeastern Regional Task Force
and the DeKalb County Police Department.

Countys parks and recreation


department to hire for summer
positions
The DeKalb County Department
of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs is accepting applications until
May 1 for summer employment opportunities, including food monitors,
camp counselors, recreation assis-

Ball

Henson

Shumake

Drenner

State representatives introduce


bill for proposed city of Winship

State Reps. Michele Henson (DStone Mountain) and Karla Drenner


(D-Avondale Estates) introduced
legislation March 18 to create the city
of Winship in DeKalb County. This
legislation would provide for a referendum to establish Winship as a new
municipality in DeKalb County.
This legislation is the beginning
of a dialogue, Drenner said. Rep.
Henson and I are concerned about
how the Atlanta annexation would
affect our schools that are excluded
from this plan. The children in the
community are our main priority,
and we hope this presents an alternative to ensuring that valuable
resources in DeKalb County are not
affected.
Drenner and Henson want to
ensure that any changes made to the
community in DeKalb County put
the needs of the students and their
education first, according to a news
release.
The purpose of this bill is to
show that there are additional opportunities for DeKalb County. By
creating the city of Winship, there is
more local control and interaction

Police shooters face 63-count


indictment
A DeKalb County grand jury has
indicted Eddie Ball and Ivy Shumake for their role in initiating a local home invasion and shooting two
police officers.
According to the indictment,
Ball, 39, and Shumake, 37, entered a
home at Colony Ridge Apartments
and proceeded to rob and assault
the apartments occupants on Dec.
12, 2014. A 911 call was placed and
police responded to the location.
Upon the police officers arrival, the
defendants opened fire. Officers took
cover and returned fire.
DeKalb County Police officers
Devon Perry and Tony Luong were
shot during the gunfire exchange
with the defendants. Officers Perry
and Luong were hospitalized for
their injuries. Ball and Shumake were
also injured during the shootout.
What started as a home invasion
quickly erupted into a full-blown
shootout with the defendants and
local police officers, said DeKalb
County District Attorney Robert
James. This 63-count indictment
reflects the number of lives affected
by these reckless acts of violence that
left two officers injured and a community shaken.
Ball and Shumake face felony
charges including aggravated assault
on a peace officer, aggravated battery,

armed robbery and home invasion.


The arraignment date for Ball
and Shumake has not been scheduled.

Lithonia awarded service


positions through VISTA program
Lithonia has been selected by the
state office of the Corporation for
National and Community Service
(CNCS) to receive three AmeriCorps
Volunteers in Service to America
(VISTA) workers to help with community capacity-building projects.
We are very excited about this
opportunity for our community and
look forward to having the VISTAs
begin their work, said Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson. The VISTAs
will help identify and bring resources
to the in the areas of job training,
small business development, assetbuilding, and access to healthy food
resources.
One of the project goals is to
work with community residents to
help them identify their strengths
and help them become active participants. According to Jackson, The
strongest and most vibrant communities are the ones that have active, informed and engaged citizens.
Sometimes lower-income residents
do not realize that regardless of income, everyone has some skill, gift
or talent that can be used to benefit
themselves and their community.
Lithonias VISTA project is called
Lithonia Action to Build Community
and will focus on the CNCS goals of
economic opportunity and healthy
futures. The city is seeking applicants
to serve as VISTA community liaisons in the following areas: economic
opportunityfinancial literacy and
home ownership; economic opportunityemployment and small business
development; and healthy futures
improve quality of life for community residents.
The positions are temporary, fulltime and funded through the state
AmeriCorp office for a one-year period. A monthly stipend of $1,200 is
provided along with health and other
benefits. An educational award is
available upon successful completion
of the program.
Interested applicants can obtain
additional information at the Corporation for National and Community
Service website at www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps, under the link for Find Opportunities
Now. Applications must be submitted online at the CNCS website by
March 27. For more information or
to learn how to apply, call city hall at
(770) 482-8136.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

business

Page 17A

Owner/operator Tony Royal, who opened a freestanding Chick-fil-A in Stonecrest two months after the nearby mall opened, says the area has the potential for more growth.

Business owner says Stonecrest


area offers unique opportunities
by Kathy Mitchell
A month after The Mall
at Stonecrest opened in
October 2001, Tony Royal
opened a Chick-fil-A in
the same area, making
him owner/operator of the
chains 1,000th restaurant.
Royal said that becoming one of what he terms
the Stonecrest 100 turned
out to be a good business
decision. The term, he said,
refers to retail businesses
that surround the Mall at
Stonecrest. Actually, he
added, I think there are
now more than 100.We enjoy a wonderful relationship
with many of the merchants
and managers in the area.
Although he has seen
the once semi-rural area
grow tremendously during the past 14 years, Royal
said, I absolutely think
there is room for more
growth.There is still a great
deal of undeveloped land
in the area.I would like to

seefine dining restaurants,


entertainment venues such
as a Dave & Busters, an exercise facility such as L.A.
Fitness and a dedicated grocery store such as Kroger or
Publix.
Key factors in having
a successful business in an
area such as Stonecrest,
Royal said, are offeringan
exceptional product, providing outstanding customer
serviceand maintaining
perpetual community involvement.These are particularly important when
there are numerous businesses or restaurants in the
same area,he said.
The decision to open
a freestanding Chick-fil-A
near the regional mall came
from the restaurants corporate office. Calling it an offer
rarely afforded new operators, Royal said he believes
he was chosen for what he
calls this wonderful opportunity at Turner Hill Road
because of his success at another Chick-fil-A location.

The Greenbriar Mall


restaurantthe first Chickfil-Aopened in 1967.
Royal became its owner/
operator in 2000. He posted
double-digit profits and was
chosen by the corporate office as Chick-fil-As Rookie
of the Year. After accepting
the Stonecrest offer, he sold
the Greenbriar Mall location
back to the company.
His restaurant has
thrived in spite of the large
number of dining choices
in the Stonecrest area because of the best chicken
sandwich in the world and
an excellent reputation in
the community, said Royal,
quoting a scripture that
states, A good name is rather to be chosen than great
riches.
Chick-fil-A chooses the
best locations, Royal said.
Founder S. Truett Cathy
had a keen business sense
thatserved his company
well for over 60 years.His
wonderful family makes
great business decisions and

great locations are paramount togenerating great


revenues.I jumped at this
opportunity because I knew
it would be a very profitable location.It has certainly
proven to be that. Further,it
is in my community in
which I live,attend church
and wherethe children went
to school.
Royal said that owning a
business in his community
provides him with a unique
opportunity to earn a living on his own terms while
helping to build his community I wanted to own
my own business since I was
20 years old, he recalled. I
started working in the quick
service restaurant business
when I was 18 years old.At
about the age of 30, I knew I
wanted to own my own restaurant.
He was working for
another company at the
time, he said, but wanted
to join Chick-fil-A because
he admires its products, its
business model and its cor-

The Voice of Business in DeKalb County

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030
404.378.8000
www.DeKalbChamber.org

porate philosophy, noting


that Cathy laid a wonderful foundation.He created
an exceptional blueprint for
success. One of his mottos is
Why not your very best?
As a business owner,
Royal said, in addition to
being able to set his own
schedule and createincome
without hitting a management salary ceiling set by
an employer, he is able to
make a positive impact on
the lives of othersmaking
personal decisionsthathelp
to empower people.
It is great to be able
to invest my resources in
events and initiatives that
help my communityand not
have to answer to or get permission frommy manager,
he added.I have set up The
Chick-fil-A at Turner Hill
Road Partners in Service
Scholarships, which allows
me to give $500 scholarships
to five to 10 partner schools
annually.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Education

Page 18A

School board member faces


allegations of violating protocols
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
The DeKalb County
Board of Education will
consider at its next meeting whether board member
Marshall Orson violated
board policy, according to
a statement by Board Chair
Dr. Melvin Johnson.
Recent news reports
and communications from
stakeholders of the DeKalb
County School District have
raised important and serious
allegations that Marshall Orson...has violated the principles and protocols in the
board member handbook as
well as board policy, Johnson said.
According to the board
handbook, possible reprimands for violating policy
could include a written notice, an order to complete
professional development
courses and a public censure.
Orson is responding to a
report by CBS 46 news that

Board of Education council member Marshall Orson responds to alleged violation.

said he has been secretly


supporting Atlanta annexation.
The CBS 46 report said
Orson had met multiple
times with annexation advocates, and now Rep. Karla
Drenner of Avondale Estates wants him investigated.
Drenner told the Atlanta

CBS affiliate that a constituent filed an open records request and obtained Orsons
emails, passing them along
to her.
In the report, Drenner
said, When I read these
emails, I was surprised by
the fact that a member of
the DeKalb County school

board appears to be in support of decimating DeKalb


County schools.
DeKalb Strong, an organization that is against
Atlanta annexation efforts,
released the emails on its
website. They show email
conversations between Orson, Together in Atlanta

representatives, and Atlanta


City Councilmember Alex
Wan.
A CBS 46 reporter asked
Orson about statements
that could be interpreted as
pro-annexation in his emails
such as, This is a complex
issue which, if not handled
properly, runs the risk of pitting the school community
against annexation.
In another email, Orson
appears to write to Wan and
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver
D-Decatur, As we all have
discussed at various times, a
key to a successful annexation push will be to keep
school attendance zones
intact, particularly Fernbank
and Briar Vista.
Orson said in the CBS
report his emails are being
misinterpreted and its his
responsibility as a public official to gather information
from as many people as possible.

Board of Regents approves mission statement for consolidation


In the next step in consolidating Georgia State
University and Georgia Perimeter College, the Board
of Regents of the University
System of Georgia on March
18 approved a new mission
statement to reflect the mission of the consolidated institution.
The mission statement
for Georgia State University
was developed through an
process involving stakeholders from Georgia State and

Georgia Perimeter.
Georgia State University, an enterprising public
research university, transforms the lives of students,
advances the frontiers of
knowledge and strengthens
the workforce of the future,
the statement. The university provides an outstanding
education and exceptional
support for students from all
backgrounds. Georgia State
readies students for professional pursuits, educates

future leaders, and prepares


citizens for lifelong learning.
Enrolling one of the most
diverse student bodies in the
nation at its urban research
campus, at its vibrant branch
campuses, and online, the
university provides educational opportunities for tens
of thousands of students at
the graduate, baccalaureate, associate, and certificate
levels.
Georgia States scholarship and research focus on

solving complex issues


ranging from the most
fundamental questions of
the universe to the most
challenging issues of our
day. The scholarly work
and artistic expression of
the universitys faculty create new knowledge, extend
the boundaries of imagina-

tion, and enhance student


learning. The universitys
presence in the Atlanta
metropolitan area provides
extraordinary experiential
learning opportunities and
supports the work of faculty
tackling the challenges of
an urbanizing nation and
world.

DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION


PUBLIC BUDGET INPUT MEETING
FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2016
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
TIME
5:45 p.m.

LOCATION
J. David Williamson Board Room
Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

The DeKalb County Board of Education will hold a public budget


input meeting to solicit feedback from the public regarding the
2015-2016 school systems budget.
FOR INFORMATION, CALL THE OFFICE OF THE
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AT 678-676-0069.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Education

Louisiana state Sen. Ann Duplessis addresses board members about the success of New
Orleans recovery school district.

Page 19A

School superintendent Michael Thurmond defends DeKalb Countys growth in academic


achievement.

Rep. Christian Coomer addresses the board regarding Gov. Nathan Deals Opportunity School District. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

Deals school rescue plan


receives mixed reviews
by Ashley Oglesby
ashley@dekalbchamp.com
Gov. Nathan Deals proposal to
create an opportunity school district in Georgia received a mediocre
reception when introduced at the
March 18 Georgia House of Representatives education committee
hearing.
If approved, the bill would allow the state to take over up to 100
schools that failed to meet performance targets three years in a row.
Rep. Christian Coomer of Cartersville presented the plan, and then
took questions from legislators.
In the governors proposal, persistently failing schools are defined
as those scoring below 60 on the
Georgia Department of Educations
accountability measure, the College and Career Performance Index
(CCRPI), for three consecutive
years.
More than 30 witnesses spoke
for and against the measure follow-

ing Coomers presentation. Former Louisiana state senator Ann


Duplessis, who was in office when
the Louisiana started its recovery
school district program following
Hurricane Katrina, led the debate.
Deal bases his Opportunity
School District plan on Louisianas
program, along with a similar effort
in Tennessee, and recently led a trip
to Louisiana so lawmakers could see
the program in action.
Duplessis told the committee that Georgia would be taking a
bold step by implementing the plan,
claiming that children are lost to the
streets when schools fail, and that a
sense of urgency is needed to prevent that. She said the model provided an opportunity to give power
to parents, who in turn would help
determine what is better for their
children.
DeKalb County School Superintendent Michael Thurmond spoke
after Duplessis and questioned
whether Georgia needs another lay-

er of bureaucracy in its educational


system.
Thurmond said, In 2011 there
were 44 schools that earned less
than 60 points on their CCRPI. The
next year in DeKalb County we reduced that number by 12 schools,
which was a 27 percent decline.
Between 2013 and 2014 we reduced
it by seven additional schools which
meant that in just two years the
number of schools earning less than
60 points was reduced by 43 percent.
He said, That is growth and
that is improvement and we didnt
have to pass a constitutional amendment. We hired dedicated teachers
and principals that are out there
working.
Thurmond said he met with
each of the principals spearheading
schools that would potentially be on
the governors failing school list and
reported that they are insulted.
He added, They are growing
kids every day. The CCRPI was de-

signed to track growth and the data


says that our teachers are already
getting the job done. It would be
insulting to those men and women
that go to work in tough neighborhoods and do great things for our
children.
Assuming the measure receives
the endorsement of the education
committee, passage in the House is
not guaranteed. The constitutional
amendment requires a two-thirds
vote in favor to pass. Not many
Democrats are expected to be supportive of the measure, and there
is a bloc of between 15 and 25 Republican House members who have
consistently voted against any bill
that appears to expand the scope
of government. For his part, Deal
has indicated he is willing to spend
political capital to get the measure
passed and before the voters in
2016.
The education committee is
scheduled to vote on the proposal at
the March 23 meeting.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

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The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Sports

Page 21A

Lithonia tops Stone Mountain to claim first win


by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

to roll to a 10-5 win. Lithonia coach


Samuel Marion said the win was a
breath of fresh air.
Im just happy that these guys
won, he said. It was 5-5 and all of
a sudden these guys stuck with it
and we ended with 10-5. I told these
guys to never give up and I [saw] it.
Mohammad Long got things
going with a RBI single down left

It took the last inning for the


Lithonia Bulldogs to break a tie and
win their first game of the season.
Lithonia was tied with Stone
Mountain 5-5 heading into the
seventh inning, when the Bulldogs
scored five runs in the final inning

field to break the tie and give the


Bulldogs a 6-5 lead. Jequone Webb
led the team on offense with four
RBIs, three hits and two runs with
five at bats. Long had three runs,
two hits and one RBI with four at
bats.
The star of the game was sophomore pitcher Malcolm McGee.

McGee took the mound in the fifth


inning and pitched 10 strikeouts.
He did not allow a hit or walk on his
way to earn the win.
Malcolm did a great job,
Marion said. He came in throwing
strikes and everything and hitting
his location. Thats the main thing.
Hes my prospect, hes my horse and

See Baseball on page 24A

GPC basketball players


named to All-Region 17 team
Georgia Perimeter College
basketball players Danielle Clark
and Casey Wells were named to
the womens and mens Georgia
Collegiate Athletic Association
All-Region teams respectively.
Clark, a Stone Mountain
graduate, was selected to the third
team All-Region. The sophomore
guard played 27 games this season and was a starting player in
21 games. Her season high was
32 points against Pensacola State
College on Nov. 28.
Clark finished the season averaging 14 points per game and
totaled 377 points this season. She
shot 30.9 percent from the field,
25.9 percent from 3-point range,
and 68 percent from the free
throw line.

Wells, a sophomore guard


from Jonesboro, was selected to
first team All-Region. He played
in 28 games this season and was
a starting player in 26 games. His
season high was 24 points against
Atlanta Metropolitan College on
Feb. 4. Wells also achieved his
best three-point shooting against
Atlanta Metro. He was 75 percent
beyond the arc making six of eight
shots.
Wells finished the season averaging 13.3 points per game and
totaled 372 points this season. He
shot 43.8 percent from the field,
78.3 percent from the free throw
line and 40.7 percent from 3-point
range. Wells ranked fifth overall
in free throw percentage and eigth
overall in three-pointers.
Casey Wells

Danielle Clark

C a r l a s C o r n e r

Student athletes should have a plan B


Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com

Sports Reporter
There is an ending for everything in life.
The same applies to sports.
Professional sporting careers end,
sometimes earlier than planned
due to injuries, Father-Time or
other circumstances. Sometimes
careers end for players by their
own doing or choice.
Because athletic careers do not
last forever, it is imperative that
athletes have a plan B.
Case in point: San Francisco
49ers linebacker Chris Borland
decided that continuing his football career was not worth risking his health. Borland, 24, told
ESPNs Outside the Lines March
17 that he is retiring because of
concerns about the long-term effects of head trauma.
I just honestly want to do
whats best for my health, Borland
said. From what Ive researched

and what Ive experienced, I dont


think its worth the risk.
Borland, a University of Wisconsin graduate, said he has had
two diagnosed concussions: one
while playing soccer in the eighth
grade, the other while playing
football as a sophomore in high
school.
He made his decision to retire after consulting with family
members, friends, current and
former teammates, and concussion researchers. In one season in
the NFL, Borland had 107 tackles
and a sack in 14 games. According
to reports, Borland began having
thoughts of retirement early in the
season.
He said he plans to return to
school and possibly pursue a career in sports management.
Borlands retiring because of
potential health concerns is not
a surprise to many. More than 70
former NFL players were diagnosed with progressive neurological disease after their deaths, and
studies have shown connections
between the repetitive head trauma and football.

The surprising part of Borlands retirement is the timing.


Borland is only 24 years old and
coming off a productive rookie
season. He was scheduled to make
$540,000 this season from his fouryear contract with the 49ers that
was worth nearly $3 million.
Most young athletes have
aspirations of becoming a professional athletes because they want
the money and fame. They want
to take care of their families and
do all they can to get to that level.
They solely focus on sports and
sometimes place important things,
such as education, second.
Because college sports, specifically football and basketball, are
such moneymaking machines,
schools make sure the athletes also
keep their focus on athletics. Most
coaches and academic advisors
encourage them to enroll in bogus
classes so they can have more time
to practice, work out and study
film.
However, with all the uncertainties for athletes: actually making it to the league and becoming
successfulit should be impera-

tive that a college athletes get a


quality education that will be useful in the workforce.
Deciding to retire from the
game he loves at an early age probably was not an easy decision for
Borland, but having a degree and
the option to go back to school
to earn another degree probably
made it easier for him to reach that
decision.
Everyone should have a plan
B, especially athletes. A long athletic career is not guaranteed, and
some who had long careers often
have no clue what to do with their
lives after sports because that sport
was their life.
If there is one lesson that
young athletes should take from
Borlands decision: have a backup
plan. Football, basketball, baseball
and other sports do not last forever
for players. Injuries and other circumstances can occur that could
end a career, and it is important to
have something to fall back on.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Sports

Page 22A

The Emory University Womens Swimming and Diving team celebrates its sixth consecutive NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship.

Emory wins sixth consecutive NCAA D-III


Womens swimming and diving title
Emory University womens
swimming and diving team extended its dynasty March 21, claiming the team title at the 2015 NCAA
Division III Swimming and Diving
Championships in Shenandoah,
Texas.
The championship is the sixth
consecutive for the Eagles and the
eighth overall in the programs history. It marked the 18th Division
III Championship in the history of
the Emory athletics program, with
womens swimming and diving
claiming titles in 2005, 2006, 2010,
2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The Eagles finished the meet
with 603 points to complete a dominant four-day stretch at the NCAA

Championships. Denison University finished second with 457 points,


while Williams College placed third
with 434 points.
Emory claimed six more individual All-America finishes on the
final day of the meet. Three Eagles
finished in the top-eight in the 200yard breaststroke, led by junior Elizabeth Aronoffs second-place finish
in a time of 2:15.71. Sophomore
Annelise Kowalsky added a fourthplace finish with a time of 2:16.30,
while senior Megan Beach placed
fifth with a mark of 2:17.16.
In the 200-yard freestyle, senior
Nancy Larson and sophomore Marissa Bergh earned All-America
honors, with Larson finishing fifth

with a time of 50.64 seconds, and


Bergh tying for sixth with a mark of
50.83 seconds. Junior Ellie Thompson added an All-America finish in
the 200-yard backstroke, claiming
fifth-place with a time of 2:00.27.
The Emory women also finished
fourth in the 400-yard freestyle
relay, with freshman Julia Wawer,
sophomore Marcela SanchezAizcorbe, Larson and Bergh swimming a time of 3:23.06 in the finals.
Adding All-America honorable
mentions for the Emory women
on the final day were senior McKenna Newsum-Schoenberg (ninth,
16:58.27) and junior Carolyn Bonfield (13th, 17:11.66) in the 1,650yard freestyle. Freshman Julia Waw-

Stop Cyber
bullying now

er received honorable mention in


the 100-yard freestyle (10th, 51.01
seconds), freshman Cindy Cheng
in the 200-yard backstroke (10th,
2:00.84 in the preliminaries), and
freshman Megan Campbell in the
200-yard breaststroke (13th, 2:13.45
in the preliminaries).
The Eagles finished the 2015
NCAA Championships with titles
in both the 200-yard butterfly from
Newsum-Schoenberg and in the
400-yard medley relay from Thompson, Aronoff, senior Nina Zook and
Larson. Emory accumulated 26 individual and five relay All-America
finishes, while totaling 14 individual
All-America honorable mention
certificates.

stand up speak out

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Tucker sweeps
middle school track
championships
by Carla Parker
carla@dekalbchamp.com
Tucker Middle School will
have bragging rights for the
next 12 months after winning
both the girls and boys DeKalb
County Middle School Track
and Field Championships on
March 23.
Tucker boys are back-toback champions after scoring
77 points, outscoring runner
up Champion Middle, which
scored 59 points. Cedar Grove
came in third with 50 points.
Head coach Shango Rivers said
that with the hard work the
team put in along with the talent, he expected to win.
Were just blessed to have a
lot of talent, he said. Its really
nothing that I coached; we just
had a lot of speed.
Speed helped Tucker pick
up three relay medals, including
two gold medals. Tuckers 4x100
meter relay A and B teams won
gold and silver respectively. The
A team finished with a time of
46.23 seconds and the B team
came in at 47.28.
Tucker also won gold in
the 800-sprint medley with the
B team finishing with a time
of 1:44.90. Jaiden McFadden
led Tucker in winning indivual medals with a gold in the
100-meter dash and a bronze
medal in the 200-meter dash.
Justin Shelley also won an individual medal with a bronze in
the 100-meter dash.
Champion was led by
Demetreus Mcdonald, who
captured three medals. He won
gold in the long jump with a
20-00.00 jump. His teammate
Jordan Barrow came in second with a jump of 19-00.00.
Mcdonald also picked up silver
medals in the 100-meter dash
(11.63) and 200-meter dash
(23.84). Demetreus Carson
placed second in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:14.35.
Cedar Grove picked up
three gold medals. Cedar
Groves 4x400 meter relay A
team edged out Henderson to
win gold. Cedar Grove finished
at 3:45.96, and Henderson was
right behind at 3:46.02.
Cedar Grove also picked up
gold and silver in the distance
medley. The A team won gold
with a 4:04.55 time, and the B
team won silver (4:05.49). Terrence Lewin won silver in the
400-meter dash (54.94), and
Joshua Lay won bronze in the
800-meter run (2:15.28).
Hendersons Brian Her-

ron won gold medals in the


200-meter dash (22.43) and the
400-meter dash (49.99).
It took nine years for the
Tucker girls track and field
team to win another county
title, but it could not have come
at a better moment, according to head coach Jermaine
Walker.
It feels great to be able to
get one with them, Walker said.
It feels great to bring both
home to Tucker, Rivers said.
Tucker won the county
title after outscoring defending
champions Miller Grove 86-57.
Champion came in third with
56 points. Walker said it felt
awesome to finally win another title.
The girls worked hard all
year, he said. I knew we had
talent coming back. We have a
bunch of seventh-graders, and
we were a little nervous about
that, but they came out and performed. They said they wanted
a championship on day one, and
they got it.
Tuckers girls were led by
Jessica Shelley, who won gold
in the 100-meter dash (12.91)
and the 200-meter dash (26.50).
Tucker also won gold in the
800-sprint medley with the A
team finishing at 1:58.69. The B
team finished third at 2:03.81.
Tuckers Ariyan Rollins
and Alla Alkatim won silver
and bronze respectively in the
400-meter dash. Miller Groves
Corta Washington won gold
with a time of 1:00.78. Washington picked up a silver medal in
the 200-meter, and Kai Ngozi
won bronze in the 100 meterdash. Champions Geryeon
Peay won silver in the 100-meter dash.
Miller Grove edged out
Tucker for gold in the 4x100meter relay and 4x400 meter
relay. Champion placed second
in the 4x100, while Tucker finished third. Tucker placed second in the 4x400.
Miller Grove picked up a
bronze medal in the distance
medley (4:40.49). Champions
only gold medal came in the
long jump, with Kennedi Manning placing first with a 1404.00 jump. Champions KeAndrea Middlebrooks won bronze
in the 800-meter run.
Renfroes Maggie Carlton
won two gold medalsthe
800-meter run (2:29.54) and
1600-meter run (5:42.63). Carltons teammate, Adeline Carlton, placed second in the 1600
(6:06.12).

Sports

Page 23A

Tucker girls won their first title since 2006. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Tucker boys won their second consecutive title. Photo by Carla Parker

Hendersons Brian Herron won


Renfroes Maggie Carlton won Tucker girls coach Jermaine
two individual gold medals. Pho- two individual gold medals.
Walker holds up the champion
tos by Travis Hudgons
plaque.

Hendersons Brian Herron tries to close the


gap on the third leg of the boys 4x400 relay.

Miller Grove edged out Tucker and Chapel Hill in the


girls 4x400 relay.

The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015

Lithonia Malcolm McGee threw 10 strikeouts in three innings.

Sports

Stone Mountain pitcher Morris Fulton had a


6.176 ERA against Lithonia.

A Stone Mountain player waits for the pitch.

Page 24A

Malcolm McGee watches the pitcher at second base.

Baseball

Continued From Page 21A

Lithonia won its first game after beating Stone Mountain 10-5. Photos by Carla Parker

I need him to play better, but


hes going to be good.
McGee said it felt good to
a win this season.
I just want to keep it going, he said.
Not winning a game is
what motivated McGee to put
on a dominate performance
on the mound.
We got tired of losing,
McGee said. We wanted to
get our first win and hopefully go to state.
Lithonia is 1-6 after a 5-0
loss Redan March 21.