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  • 8/9/2019 FreePress 3-26-15

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    championnewspaper championnewspaper champnewschampionnews

    thechampionnewspaper.com

     FRIDAY, MARch 27, 2015 • VOL. 17, NO. 52 • FREE

    • A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS • Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.

    F REE P RESS 

    See Boyer on page 15ASee story on page 15A

    Madness onthe mountains 

    Business ........................17A

    Education ..............18-19A

    Sports......................21-23A

    Opinion ...........................5A

    Classified .......................20A

    QUICK FINDER

    LOcAL, 8A eDucAtION, 18ALOcAL, 9A

    MARTA DRIVER ACCUSED

    OF RAPING DISABLED

    PASSENGER

    SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER

    FACES ALLEGATION OF

    VIOLATING PROTOCOLS

    COUNTY SET

    TO DEMOLISH

    BLIGHTED HOUSES

    by Andrew [email protected]

    Former DeKalb County commissioner ElaineBoyer sobbed in ederal court March 20 as sheaccepted responsibility or derauding DeKalbCounty taxpayers.

    “I’m deeply ashamed,” said Boyer, who was sen-tenced to 14 months in prison afer pleading guiltylast year to ederal charges o mail raud con-spiracy and wire raud. “I’m very embarrassed andhumiliated. I betrayed the very [people] who wereentrusted to me. I deeply regret my actions.”

    Boyer was accused o conspiring betweenSeptember 2009 and November 2011 to deraudDeKalb County by authorizing 35 payments oralse invoices “or consulting services that werenever perormed,” according to ederal chargesagainst her. She was accused o authorizing morethan $78,000 to a financial advisor, who then “un-neled approximately 75 percent o the money…into Boyer’s personal bank account.”

    Federal prosecutors said Boyer used the money

    to pay personal expenses, including purchases athotels and high-end department stores.Sobbing as she spoke, Boyer described her “own

    Great Depression” o 2009.“I elt trapped. Not even my aith or prayers

    could save me. I couldn’t find up. I couldn’t evenhelp mysel,” said Boyer, adding that she would dowhatever was necessary “to atone” or her crime.

    o her daughters, Boyer said, “Girls, I have letyou down. I hope you will orgive me. Tis is apunishment I have to live with the rest o my lie.”

    Boyer promised DeKalb taxpayers that shewould repay every penny that she took.

    “I accept ull responsibility or my actions,” shesaid. “I’m deeply, deeply sorry.”

    Afer the sentencing, acting U. S. Attorney JohnA. Horn said Boyer received “a good sentence.”

    Boyer sentenced to14 months in prison

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

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

    Former DeKalb commissioner Elaine Boyer took responsi-bility for her crimes during a sentencing hearing. Court-room rendering by artist Richard Miller 

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

     

    LOCAL

    County’s watershed

    director retiresElmore elected as

     Avondale Estates mayor

    Discover your passion.Attend a GPC Open House.

    A BETTER WAY FORWARD

     #OpenGPC* Advance sign up and student attendance are required to receive

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    March 26 – May 2 • GPC application fee waiver – a $20 savings!* 

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

    RSVP online at openhouse.gpc.edu

    by Andrew [email protected]

    DeKalb County is look-ng for another watershed

    management director.James Chansler, who

    was appointed to the posi-ion by DeKalb County CEO

    Burrell Ellis in July 2013,etired March 20 from full-ime position. He will re-

    main in a part-time positionuntil June as the departmentransitions to a new leader.

    ‘Do you leave at 51 yearsof service to city and coun-y? Do you leave at 21? Well,’ve got 41 years. It’s time,”

    Chansler said after a countyommissioners meeting

    March 17.“You’ve got to draw a

    ine somewhere,” he said. “Itould have been last year; itould have been this year. Itust seemed like a good timeo hang ‘em up.”

    When asked what he’sgoing to do next, Chanslerirst said, “nothing.”

    He said will spend timewith his family and canoe.

    “I’m an avid canoeist,”Chansler said. “I can’t stayway from water. I’ve alwaysanoed.”

    Additionally, Chanslermay do “maybe some teach-ng on the side. I used to

    do that and I enjoyed it,” heaid.

    Chansler, an engineer,ame to DeKalb from Jack-onville, Fla., where he had

    been with the JacksonvilleElectrical Authority, theity’s not-for-profit, com-

    munity-owned utility thatprovides electric, water and

    sewer service. He workedwith Jacksonville Electricalfrom 1997 to 2013. From1997 to his departure, he

    was the utility’s chief operat-ing officer.In DeKalb, Chansler re-

    placed Joe Basista, who leftthe county in March 2013after only six months on the

     job.In a statement, interim

    DeKalb County CEO LeeMay  said, “DeKalb Countyis grateful for the experi-ence and leadership thatDr. Chansler brought to thetable. He played an integralrole in hiring an outsideconsultant to identify oppor-tunities for process improve-

    ments in the Departmentof Watershed Management,saving ratepayers millions inoperating costs.

    “Dr. Chansler has agreedto remain on board in apart-time capacity, whichensures a smooth transi-tion to new leadership,” Maystated. “We wish him well ashe fully retires from publicservice in June.”

    by Carla [email protected]

    Avondale Estates voters

    elected Jonathan Elmore tobe their next mayor.

    Elmore, an architect, wasdeclared the winner after re-ceiving 45.56 percent of the

     votes. Jim Hutchens camein second with 31.20 percentand Paul Brown finishedthird with 12.81 percent.Todd Pullen finished with7.23 percent and John Pom-berg  with 3.20 percent.

    In an email sent toresidents, Elmore said heis “humble and grateful forthe opportunity to serve” as

    mayor.“Thank you to everyonefor the confidence you’veplaced in me,” he said.“I would like to specifi-cally thank Mr. Brown, Mr.Hutchens, Mr. Pomberg, andMr. Pullen for their com-mitment to running posi-tive campaigns. I will lookto these gentlemen for theirassistance and support aswe move forward with ourimportant next steps. And Iencourage all of our citizens

    to participate in this nextphase of our history.”

    Elmore, who grew up inJeffersonville and Macon, is

    a graduate of Georgia Techand Clemson University.He is a licensed architectin Georgia, and has had hisown practice since 2000.He and his family moved toAvondale Estates in 2007.

    During a Feb. 19 candi-dates’ forum, Elmore saidhe was running for mayorbecause he wanted to be theleader for positive change.

    “I support responsiblegrowth—growth that iscommunity-based, pedestri-

    an-oriented, and mixed-usewith more public spaces forall of us,” Elmore said. “I dosupport annexation; I do

    support the decision by ourboard to annex.”

    Former mayor EdRieker resigned from hismayoral seat a day after heapologized to residents atan Oct. 1, 2014, meeting onhow he and the commissionhandled an annexation bill.Residents were not awareof the bill when it was filed,and the commission neverdiscussed it in a public fo-rum.

    Elmore said at the forumthat he will be open and

    transparent to the publicabout city business.“If elected, I will conduct

    myself in an ethical, trans-parent manner,” Elmoresaid. “I’m a collaborative,relationship-orientated per-son by nature, and I lookforward to serving with ourboard. As mayor and chiefspokesperson I will alwayspresent our community in apositive manner that reflectsthe small, diverse commu-nity that we are.”

    Chansler Elmore

    championnewspaper

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    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 Page 3ALOCAL

    by Carla [email protected]

    The Stone Mountain Communitymprovement District (CID) hopeso attract more businesses to the areahrough beautification.

    The CID partnered with DeKalbCounty Board of Commissioners,Keep DeKalb Beautiful and DeKalbCounty Office of Planning and Sus-

    ainability to plant hundreds of treesas part of a beautification effort alongMountain Industrial Boulevard andEast Ponce de Leon.

    The CID also partnered with Ry-and Homes, which invested the treesnto the DeKalb County tree bank,

    according to CID President Emory

    Morsberger.More than 130 trees, mostly crepemyrtles, have been planted so far.

    “We’re working to improve StoneMountain Industrial Park’s image,”Morsberger said. “We’re looking at at-racting more businesses into these in-

    dustrial parks, and creating beautifulcorridors to attract more businesses,create more economic development

    and jobs.”The CID also plans to continue

    its gateway interchange beautifica-tion work—landscaping upgrades atthe Highway 78-Mountain IndustrialBoulevard interchange. The installa-tion of plants that were not added lastspring is now complete at the inter-change.

    Last year, the county began im-proving landscaping at various inter-

    changes throughits OperationFresh Start Gate-way and Inter-change Beautifi-cation Program.

    The CIDwill take overthe Highway

    78-MountainIndustrial Bou-levard inter-change’s routineupkeep. Con-tracted crewswill oversee grass

    cutting, mulch-ing and debris removal, among othermaintenance.

    The CID also plans to install a me-dian and landscaping, along sectionsof the Mountain Industrial; the projectwill include installation of a raisedmedian to replace the center turn laneon Mountain Industrial Boulevard

    near the Gwinnett County line andHighway 29. The CID will provideand maintain the landscaping at thenew media space.

    The project plans are withDeKalb’s Department of Transporta-tion for permitting review, and con-struction is expected to begin in sum-mer 2015.

    ‘We’re working to improveStone Mountain Industrial

    Park’s image.’–Emory Morsberger

    Hundreds of trees planted

    along Mountain Industrial

    Members of the Stone Mountain Community Improvement District (CID), DeKalbCounty ofcials and other partners cut the ribbon to celebrate the CID’s beautica-tion project.

    CID president Emory Morsberger talks about the tree planting project.

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

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    OPINIONThe Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 Page 5A

     

    L us Know Wa Yo tink!

    THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encour-ages opinions from its readers. Pleasewrite to us and express your views. Lettersshould be brief, typewritten and containthe writer’s name, address and telephonenumber for verification. All letters will beconsidered for publication.

    Send Letters To Editor, The Champion Free Press, P.

    O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Send emailto [email protected] • FAX To: (404)370-3903 Phone: (404) 373-7779 . Deadline for newsreleases and advertising: Thursday, one week priorto publication date.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions written by colum-nists and contributing editors do not necessarilyreect the opinions of the editor or publishers. ThePublisher reserves the right to reject or cancel anyadvertisement at any time. The Publisher is notresponsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

    Publisher: Jon hwi Chief Financial Ocer:Dr. earl D. GlnnManaging Editor:Andrw canProduction Manager:Kmsa hn Photographer:travis hdgonsSta Reporters:carla Parkr, Asly Oglsby

    The Champion Free Press is publishedeach Friday by ACE III Communications,Inc., • 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur,

    GA. 30030 • Phone (404) 373-7779.

    www.ampionnwspapr.om

    DISPLAY ADVERTISING (404) 373-7779 x 110

    F REE P RESS

    STATEMENT FROM THE

    PUBLISHERW sinrly appria disssion srronding is and anyiss of inrs o DKalb cony.The Champion was fondd in 1991xprssly o provid a form fordisors for all ommniy rsidnson all sids of an iss. W av nodsir o mak nws only orpor nws and opinions o ff

    a mor dad iiznry a willlimaly mov or ommniyforward. W ar appy o prsnidas for disssion; owvr,w mak vry ffor o avoidprining informaion sbmid os a is known o b fals and/orassmpions pnnd as fa. 

    ONE MAN’S OPINION

    “Happiness is having aarge, loving, close-knit fam-ly—living in another city,”

    comedian George Burns.It is, of course, under-

    standable that rats willdepart a sinking ship, andmemories are still clear ofthe cads who took valuablespots away in the lifeboatsfrom many women and chil-dren who did not survivethe sinking Titanic, alongwith the “Unsinkable MollyBrown.”

    This scourge of newcities popping up like anever-ending game of wack-a-mole is a sensible way (forsome) to build fences in-

    stead of bridges and protectwhat they already have. Fornstruction on how this may

    all turn out, I’d suggest view-ng current episodes of The

    Walking Dead , where anndustrious group of trans-

    plants have built a steel-fenced compound aroundAlexandria, Va., to keep the“rougher elements” out. Andn case you also happen to

    read ahead in those comicbooks, this doesn’t end well.

    Currently residing inScottdale, in part of whathas long been known as un-ncorporated DeKalb Coun-

    ty, I am hoping, thoughdoubtful, that we will be ableto stay that way . In the pastyear, no less than four citieshave proposed swallow-ng our modest former mill

    town to enlarge one munici-pality, and to anchor what’sleft of unincorporated EastDeKalb, including jewels

    such as Your DeKalb Farm-er’s Market, to enrich thetax coffers of one or more ofthese shiny new municipali-ties.

    The rush to create each,as well as potential powerand land grabs by the cit-ies of Atlanta, Decatur andAvondale Estates in de-scending order of gall, arealso mind-numbing. Beforethe ink is dry and maps havebeen published or distribut-ed to potential new residentsand business taxpayers, themouse on a computer movesor blurs those lines again.

    DeKalb’s newest city isBrookhaven. Though I op-posed its creation at thetime, I will acknowledgethat they are getting manythings right. Their mayor

    and council, more oftenthan not, relate and governin a civilized fashion, andwhen they disagree, they doso without being childlikeor disagreeable. BrookhavenMayor J. Max Davis recentlyproudly reported that in justover two years of existence,Brookhaven has cash re-serves of nearly $4 million.

    Commendable, withoutdoubt, but Brookhavenleaders also recently com-municated about produc-tive meetings with Georgia’scongressional delegation,seeking support and publicfunds to assess/address theneeds of a local dam on the

    potential verge of failure,and additional federal fund-ing to establish a park/trailssystem along PeachtreeCreek. Worthwhile projectsfor local government fund-ing, but certainly not ris-ing to the level of needing/requiring federal taxpayersupport. Where is the fiscalconservancy so championedby the founders of this samecity?

    Also problematic in thisrush to build new cities, inaddition to demographicand income divisions beingfurther deepened, is the lackof planning on a regionalbasis, or the acknowledg-ment of overlap in the coststructures created by mul-tiple police departments,convention and visitors’ bu-

    reaus and numerous otherancillary local governmententities.

    Long witnessing otherswishing for the greener grassof another home or destina-tion, only to find that theywere likely better off stand-ing firmly planted on thatprior terra firma, I can’t helpbut believe that while somany are screaming in theweeds now, they will be farfrom blissful later standingin a much more expensivebut better landscaped lawn.

    To get back on track,some individuals who havesat all this out are going tohave to get involved, and our

    major employers and histor-ic community giants, such asEmory University, DeKalbMedical and Georgia Poweramong others, should belooked at to play leadershiproles, as opposed to claimingneutrality or playing puppetmaster from the shadows.

    I like to view myself asa realist. I can easily re-member when I movedback to Decatur in 1989,and how many were de-claring its school systemdead and its downtown ir-reparably damaged by thearrival and construction ofa MARTA hub station. Justlook at downtown Decaturnow, but it didn’t get thereovernight, nor without de-cades of sweat equity. Andit takes that kind of work to

    Bill Crane

    [email protected]

    Columnist

    Cities from Heaven?turn troubled communitiesaround.

    Are you in, or are youain’t? If the latter, there willbe no shortage of expressbuses to the new cities, andeven places like Alexandria,Va.; see again the latest epi-sode of The Walking Dead .

    Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commen-tator for Channel 2’s ActionNews, WSB-AM News/Talk750 and now 95.5 FM, as wellas a columnist for  The Cham-pion, Champion Free Pressand Georgia Trend. Crane isa DeKalb native and businessowner, living in Scottdale. You

    can reach him or commenton a column at [email protected] gmail.com. 

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

     

    LOCAL

    Kate Marie Wiles beganvolunteering at FernbankMuseum of Natural Historyn August of 2013 and can

    usually be found interact-ng with guests at one of the

    museum’s discovery carts oreaching visitors about fos-ils at the A Walk Through

    Time in Georgia kiosk—aask she also trains new vol-

    unteers to handle.The Michigan native

    pends most of her free timeaking nature photographso “fulfill her curiosity,” by

    finding things in the naturalworld, taking photos of itand studying everything shecan about the subjects.

    She said she is inspiredby the work of Americanbiologist, researcher, theo-ist, naturalist and author

    Edward Osborne “E.O.”Wilson.

    She draws inspirationfrom his curiosity about na-ure to guide her in her work

    at Fernbank.

    “You have to have theconfidence to say ‘I do notknow the answer but havethe curiosity to find the an-swer.’ When you’re workingwith the general public younever know what you’re go-ing to be asked and it’s com-

    pletely OK to say ‘I don’t’know. It’s much better thangiving an incorrect answer,”Wiles said.

    She added, “I have youngpeople come back to see mea year later and they remem-

    bered every single thing thatI taught them a year ago.That’s a really special feel-ing. It keeps me motivatedto come back to the museumevery single week and to

    know that maybe there is achance that I will help some-one else, adult or child tobecome interested in the sci-ences or to just be a curiousindividual.”

    Wiles studied animal sci-ence at Michigan State Uni-

     versity. She credits Fernbankwith helping her find a com-munity with which to shareher knowledge.

    Wiles said she prefersto be a part of a communityand to contribute to thatcommunity in some way tomake it better.

    “I enjoy working withpeople from all over theworld, which I am exposedto a lot at Fernbank. I alsoenjoy the young people be-cause they’re so excited tolearn,” she said.

    Wiles added, “It’s reallyimportant for young girls tosee another woman that’s in-

     volved in the sciences. Whenthey see that, they may bea little more open to also

    working in the science field.”In July of this year Wileswill hike 500 miles solo onthe Sierra Nevada trail, 20-30 miles a day to expand hernature photography portfo-lio and learn more about theworld around her.

    She said when she com-pletes the hike she will cata-logue everything she finds,look up the scientific namesand read as much as she canabout the different plantsand species she discovers.

    “Fernbank is a reallygood outlet for my curiosityand my background becauseI work with so many peoplefrom all over the countryand you can talk about any-thing when you’ve had thoseadventures,” Wiles said.

    She added, “I thrive to

    be the absolute best personI can be. I find that my ex-periences at Fernbank havereally helped me personally.It’s a good feeling to volun-teer and help others even

    though some days I’m un-sure of my impact.”Wiles admits that her

    family has reservationsabout her taking hikes alonebut she advises anyone tofollow their passion.

    “Don’t be discouragedby others. If you have aninterest in something orthere is something that youwant to do, go out and do it.Don’t let anyone stop you inany way. If I let my familyconcerns stop me, I wouldreally be missing out on life.I think you should live yourlife to the absolute fullest–whatever that means foryou,” she said.

    If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a future Champion of the Week, please contact Andrew Cauthenat [email protected] or at (404) 373-7779, ext. 117.

     KATE MARIE WILES

    Doraville writer pens CDC history bookby Kathy Mitchell

    The recently released Imagesof America book on the Centersfor Disease Control and Preven-ion (CDC) by Doraville writer Bob

    Kelley  is more than a history of theAtlanta-based federal agency startedn 1946. It tells the story of federal

    public health efforts through U.S.history.

    With a wealth of historicalphotographs, the book tells of fed-eral public health initiatives fromhe time of second President John

    Adams then takes readers throughhe decades chronicling the lead-ng health challenges of each pe-iod, starting with malaria in the940s—the disease that promptedhe founding of the CDC.

    Kelley, the author of Images ofAmerica: Doraville, decided afterouring the CDC’s David J. Sencer

    Museum to research an articlefor The Champion Newspaper  toexplore the idea of a book on theCDC, using the photo history mod-el he used in crafting the Doravillebook.

    “Everyone at CDC was imme-diately onboard and the suggestion

    was made to work with the his-orians at the museum since theyhad all of the photos and the threewomen—Judy Gantt , Louise Shaw  and Mary Hilperthauser—are liter-

    ally walking experts on the CDC’shistory,” Kelley recalled.

    Arcadia Publishing, publishersof the Doraville book, also boughtinto the idea, and gave Kelley a yearto research and write the book.

    “ At first, I thought it would bea lot easier than the Doraville bookbecause I had photos and researchresources all in one place. But Isoon found that to be a false im-pression. Even though the sourcesand photos were all in one place, thereally hard part came in selectingand compressing so much infor-mation down into the limited size

    imposed on all Images of Americabooks—128 pages, 200 photos,”said Kelley, adding that he was im-pressed by “the sheer magnitudeand far-reaching effects of CDC.”

    “Most people think of [the CDCstaff] in terms of disease outbreaks(Ebola, flu, measles, etc.) but theyare involved in so many differentday-to-day health issues that don’talways make the headlines,” he said.

    “There was so much informa-tion to wade through and determinewhat would be the most interestingto readers. Also the CDC photolibrary has something like 10,000

    photos or more and so I had to findthe right photos to go with the re-search,” he continued. “In the end,I opted to structure the history bydecade and that really helped meorganize the book.”

    Kelley said he ultimately foundthe undertaking worth the effort.“This was the first public history ofthe CDC done in 25 years and thefirst government agency featuredin the Images of America series, soI am proud to have accomplishedthese two milestones.

    “I think anyone with an inter-est in history, medicine and sciencewould find this book fascinating,as well as doctors, medical person-nel and researchers. Plus, after [theagency’s] nearly 70 years in Atlanta,there are legions of families with tiesto CDC,” he noted. “Beyond that, I

    think the general reading audiencewill find it interesting to see howmuch the CDC does to keep every-one—here and around the world—safe and how they have protectedus behind the scenes in the past 70years.

    “I think readers will be sur-prised with the scope of CDC andhow [its] work affects our livesevery day—from disease outbreaksto prevention campaigns such asthose against diabetes, breast andother forms of cancer and violenceto children and adults. I mean,who would think of them being

    engaged to prevent space germsfrom coming to earth with return-ing astronauts or vice versa? Whowould guess that Dr. Seuss, the Pea-nuts cartoon strip and [Stars Wars characters] CP30 and R2D2 would

    be used to persuade parents to gettheir children vaccinated?” Kelleyobserved.

    He said that he learned a gooddeal about the agency’s work as heresearched the book. “There are twodynamic aspects to CDC: diseasecontrol and disease prevention. Wealways hear more about the controlissues than we do the preventionmeasures. They are also the ‘go to’people when any disease outbreakor natural disaster occurs anywherein the world. I found it interestingthat when they are needed as firstresponders anywhere outside the

    United States, they have to be for-mally invited by that country’s gov-ernment to come help; they don’t

     just race to the scene immediately.”Kelley said although he never

    regretted taking on the project he’sunlikely to launch another of thesame magnitude. “Of course I said‘never again’ once I had finishedthe Doraville book and in less thana year I was working on the CDCbook,” he recalled, “but it is sotime consuming and I would muchrather return to my freelance travelwriting that I so love to do.”

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    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 Page 7ALOCAL

    Avondale Estates

    lementary school to host movie screening

    Avondale Elementary School PTA will hostts “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, $2or non-members and 50 cents per child. The

    PTA will be selling concessions at the event. Thechool is located at 8 Lakeshore Drive. For morenformation, visit www.avondalees.dekalb.k12.a.us.

    Brookhaven

    ity to host Cherry Blossom Festival

    The Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festivalwill be held March 28, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Black-

    urn Park. The event will feature music, artsnd crafts, food and more. The Drifters and The

    Coasters” will headline the evening’s events. TheCoasters begin playing at 7 p.m. followed by TheDrifters at 8 p.m. for a non-stop hit parade ofR&B classics from the ‘50s and ‘60s, includingave the Last Dance for Me, Up on the Roof , This

    Magic Moment , Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown andUnder the Boardwalk. The park is located at 3493Ashford Dunwoody Road. For more informa-ion, visit www.brookcherryfest.org.

    Decaturommunity center’s annual Easter Egg huntet

    The Community Achievement Center Inc.will have its annual Easter Egg Hunt Extravagan-a Saturday, April 4, from noon to 2 p.m.

    Children are encouraged to bring theirEaster baskets for the event, which will feature

    ames, prizes, face painting, a moonwalk andmore.

    The event will be held at Flat Shoals Park,522 Flat Shoals Pkwy., Decatur.

    For more information, call (404) 214-7400.

    ast Metro DeKalb CID to host publicistening sessions

    A series of public meeting will allow com-mercial property owners, business owners, com-munity leaders and stakeholders to help guidehe future of DeKalb County’s newest improve-

    ment district.Board members of the East Metro DeKalb

    Community Improvement District (CID) willhosts community listening session March 31.The event will be at Covington Library, 3500Covington Highway Decatur, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

    Formed in May 2014, the East Metro DeKalbCID currently has 205 property owners, repre-enting 405 parcels. The projected revenue fromhe 2014 taxes is approximately $175,000.

    For more information, visit www.eastmetro-cid.com.

    100 Black Women of Decatur/DeKalb to hostfundraiser

    The community is invited to an evening offood and live entertainment in support of twocauses.

    The Decatur/DeKalb chapter of the NationalCoalition of 100 Black Women will host its “ Re-lax, Relate, Release” wine sip on Saturday, April11, from 7 to 11 p.m. The fundraiser will be heldat the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Con-ference Center, 495 North Indian Creek Drive,Clarkston.

    A portion of the event proceeds will supportThe American Heart Association and the chap-ter’s Legacy program, a leadership and empow-erment initiative for high school girls.

    General admission tickets are $45. Tables canbe reserved for $360. The deadline to purchasetickets is March 30; no tickets will be sold at thedoor. Vendors may market their businesses for afee of $85. All sales are final.

    Tickets can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/e/ncbw-decaturdekalb-chapter-annual-wine-sip-fundraiser-tick-ets-15808906866.

    Grant money available for South River basinprojects

    The Upper Ocmulgee River Resource andConservation Development Council has grantmoney available for projects that will help to im-prove the water quality in the South River Basin.

    The type of projects that can receive grantsinclude: repair/replacement/maintenance of sep-tic systems; trash and debris removal; errosioncontrol/stream bank stabilization; backyard proj-ects (e.g. stream buffer planting/maintenance);agricultural projects (e.g., eliminating streamaccess 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 ofproject) of the cost of the project. For additional

    information contact Bob Scott at [email protected] or at (770) 596-7068.

    Lithonia

    Sorority to present healthy menu fundraiserat Arizona’s

    On Saturday, March 28, Alpha Kappa AlphaSorority Inc.’s Lambda Epsilon Omega Chapterin conjunction with Arizona’s Restaurant willpresent a “Healthy Heart Menu.” This event willtake place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Arizona’s Res-taurant located at 2940 Stonecrest Circle, Litho-nia.

    The members of Lambda Epsilon OmegaChapter will serve as hostesses and will encour-age all patrons to select a healthy item from the“Healthy Heart Menu.” This event is a commu-nity event to promote a healthy diet, healthy eat-

    ing and living.“We want to encourage everyone to eat

    healthier, make healthier choices and exercisewhich will improve their quality of life. Our goalis to raise awareness of heart disease and strokeby encouraging members of the community tomake healthy choices,” Racquel Jackson, chair-man of the program committee, said.

    The special AKA menu is a low sodium/lowcalorie menu that is designed to maintain thetaste of each “Healthy Heart Menu” item. Tenpercent of the purchase of the “Healthy HeartMenu” is donated to the American Heart andStroke Associations.

    State of the City address scheduled Residents of Avondale Estates are invited

    to attend the 2015 State of the City at AvondaleEstates City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza, onMonday, March 30. Mayor Pro Tem Terry  Giag-er will address the community on the city’s ac-complishments and progress over the past year,and what’s in store for the rest of 2015.

    Stone MountainCommissioner and state representative tohost annual Easter egg hunt

    DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Wat-son and state Rep. Billy Mitchell will presentthe 11th annual Super District 7 Easter Egg-

    travaganza on Sunday, April 5, from 2 to 5 p.m.at Wade Walker Park.

    Approximately, 400 to 500 attendees areexpected. There is no cost to attend, howeverchildren must bring their own baskets. Registra-tion is at 2 p.m.

    Caricatures by Fitzroy will be available for$5 cash and there will be a raffle for Easter bas-kets 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 to7 and 3:30 p.m. for ages 8 to 10. There will also be face painting, jumper play areas, snacks andentertainment.

    Event partners include DeKalb CountyPublic Safety, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Of-

    fice, South DeKalb Family and Wade WalkerYMCA’s, Radio One’s Praise 102.5, the Na-tional Football League Players Association, andState Rep. Dewey McClain.

    In the event of rain, the event will be movedinside to the YMCA Wade Walker, located at5585 Rockbridge Rd, Stone Mountain.

    For additional information, call (404) 371-3681.

    AROUNDDEKALB

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    LOCAL

    MARTA driver accused of raping disabled passengerby Ashley Oglesby [email protected]

    Xavier Winfrey , a busdriver on the MARTA Mobil-ty bus line, designated ex-lusively for passengers withevere disabilities, is allegedly

    esponsible for multiple un-

    awful acts, including sexualbattery, rape, sodomy, aggra-vated sodomy, false imprison-ment, abuse and exploitationof a disabled person, while onduty as a MARTA bus driver.

    Glenda Hatchett, formerhief judge of the Juvenile

    Court of Fulton County andhost of the national televisionhow Judge Hatchett , formallyntered an appearance as co-ounsel on March 17 with lead

    attorneys Thomas Cuffie andHarold Spence in a lawsuitiled by Ray Nash, the injured

    party’s father, against the Met-opolitan Atlanta Rapid Tran-it Authority (MARTA) and

    Winfrey a former MARTAmployee.

    The official filing indicat-

    ed Nash’s daughter is a devel-opmentally disabled womanwith cerebral palsy.

    Court documents statethat on Sept. 23, 2011, Nash’sdaughter was picked up byMARTA Mobility at EmoryEgleston Hospital. The alleged

     victim was suspected to be

    the only passenger remainingon the bus and her destina-tion the last stop on Winfrey’sroute. Once inside the wom-an’s neighborhood, he alleged-ly parked the bus and turnedoff the ignition which deacti- vated the surveillance camera.Winfrey then allegedly forcedthe woman to the floor of thebus and force her to performsexual acts on him.

    After the alleged assault,Winfrey told the injured partyto get dressed and droppedher at her home.

    The driver of the bus ad-mitted having sex with histhen 21-year-old passenger in2011 but claimed that it wasconsensual.

    The transit authority

    had taken the position thatit wasn’t responsible for thedriver’s actions, according toHatchett.

    “To say this is consensual,to say this is outside the scopeof his employment is outra-geous,” Hatchett said. “Thereis no question that the rapehappened.”

    Hatchett and her co-counsels had little explanationabout why the case wasn’tprosecuted criminally otherthan the parents didn’t wantto put the woman through acriminal proceedings.

    District attorney PaulHoward, who has a unitdedicated to prosecuting sexoffenders, referred the caseto the lower state court formisdemeanor charges where itwas dismissed, Hatchett said.

    Hatchett declined to saywhether Howard gave specificreasons for referring the caseto misdemeanor criminal pro-ceedings;

    Winfrey resigned fromMARTA.

    MARTA spokesman LyleHarris declined to comment,citing pending litigation.

    According to court docu-mentation, due to the victim’smental retardation and severecognizant disabilities, she isincapable of legally givingconsent, as MARTA’s classifi-cation assigned to the victim’sdisabilities less than a yearprior indicated.

    The case is now filed inDeKalb County State Courtfor civil litigation.

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

    MARTA headquarters in Lindbergh

    Father of the victim, Ray Nash,explains his initial reaction ofhis daughter’s attack and de-tails what he expects MARTA toend attacks on the disabled.

    Lead attorney Harold Spencediscusses events leading up tothe lawsuit of MARTA with themedia. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

    ‘To say this is consensual, to saythis is outside the scope of hisemployment is outrageous. There isno question that the rape happened. 

    – Glenda Hatchett

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    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 Page 9ALOCAL

    by Andrew [email protected]

    For a few years, neigh-bors near the burnt house at3421 Jackson Drive in un-ncorporated Decatur have

    been trying to get somethingdone about the blightedproperty.

    “That is a hazard and it’sbad in the neighborhood,”aid a neighbor standingn front of the remains ofhe frame house gutted by

    a fire years ago. Most of thewindows and doors weredestroyed by the fire, andweeds are overtaking thetructure.

    “It’s gotten so bad nowhat [people] have started

    dumping,” said the neighbor

    who did not want to be iden-ified. “They’ve been dump-ng on the inside, too.

    “And the rats,” he said.I’ve seen some rats out hereike cats. I’m serious.”

    The man said residentshave been “fighting andighting and fighting and

    nothing is being done.”Blighted houses like this

    one are being targeted byDeKalb County officials whoare working to rid the countyof uninhabitable homes.

    So far this year theounty has demolished three

    homes and more demolitionsare being scheduled.

    “The county is currentlyutilizing the in-rem programo move through the legal

    process as it pertains to de-molition of properties thatare no longer suited for habi-ation,” said Tonza Clark , theounty’s foreclosure registry

    manager and vacant propertymanager.

    The in-rem process ishe legal proceeding during

    which “the county goes be-ore the state court to request

    of the court the authorityo go onto the property toither abate the issues that

    are…there because theyqualify as uninhabitable

    or dangerous properties,or to demolish it,” MarkusKellum, the county’s codeenforcement administrator,said.

    During the in-rem pro-ceeding, the owner retainsownership of the property;the cost of the demolition isplaced as a lien on the prop-erty.

    The main source offunding for the demolitionprogram is the federal Com-munity Development BlockGrant. The average cost perdemolition is $16,000. Thecounty has identified ad-ditional funding sources inthe sanitation departmentfor demolition and the firerescue department for con-

    trolled burns.“If a property is already

    engulfed, and it’s not salvage-able, instead of leaving thestructure halfway burned,the [fire] department willcontrol that burn so thatthe property will becomecompletely demolished withthe fire and then the onlything that we have to do as acounty is remove the debris,rather than go back and haveto remove a half-burnedstructure,” Clark said.

    “We won’t purposefully

    let properties burn,” she said.“This is if property is alreadyso engulfed, it cannot be sal- vaged.”

    Kellum explained,

    “There are some times whenthe battalion chief makes adecision that the propertyis beyond a point that theycan actually save it, they will

    allow the property to burnbecause it may leave a wallthat may be dangerous. It re-ally is a determination by thefire department and this isduring the time the property

    is actually on fire.”The process of demolish-

    ing a house is a lengthy, legalprocess, Clark said.

    “We have to go throughthe entire court cycle at leasttwice,” she said. “So you startout with citations, you takeit through Recorders Court,then liens are placed on theproperty. Then you have torepeat that process.

    “And then after that weconsistently monitor theproperty to see if there hasbeen any improvements or ifthe citations or the violationshave been remediated,” Clarksaid. “If not, then we go toSuperior Court…and weget a final judgment and theproperty goes to the demoli-tion process.”

    Clark said the countycurrently has 77 in-rem cas-es—39 cases that are readyfor demolition, another 28cases that have passed the

    Superior Court stage, and 10cases that are waiting to go toSuperior Court.

    “Our goal is to demol-ish at least 23 properties” in2015, Clark said.

    The in-rem program “isthe process that’s used bywhich we can actually startto remove some of thoseblighted properties through-out the communities,” Kel-lum said. “It helps to increasethe viability of the neighbor-hoods and create a betterDeKalb County.”

    County set to demolish blighted houses

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    PUBLIC NOTICE

    The Housing Authority of

    DeKalb County (HADC)

    Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List OpeningOPENS: 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 HADC’S Waiting List Hotline at 404-270-2590between 8am and 5pm, April 28-30, 2015.

    Frequently Asked Questions and Internet AccessSites are listed on the HADC’ s website.

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

    DeKalb County is planning to demolish more than 23 uninhabitablehouses this year.

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    LOCAL

    Senate committee shifts residentsfrom Tucker to LaVista Hills’ map

    Appeals court says

    ‘no’ to new trialsfor Pope, Reid

    See Court on page 11A

    NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING 

    The Mayor and City Council of  the City of  Chamblee, Georgia will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 16, 2015, at the 

    Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street, Chamblee, GA 30341 at 6:00 p.m. to receive public comments regarding the 

    following matters: 

    1. 2015Z‐01: Charles McClain, on behalf  of  Copperleaf  Partners, LLC requests a zoning map amendment, changing 

    the zoning of  a 6.31 acre parcel from Neighborhood  Residential‐1 (NR‐1) to Neighborhood Residential‐2 (NR‐2) 

    to construct  a subdivision of  27 single‐family detached residences. The property consists of  two parcels at 4011 

    and 4015 Chamblee‐Dunwoody Road being tax parcels 18‐324‐08‐052 and 18‐325‐06‐001 in Chamblee, GA. 

    2. 2015Z‐02: Sam Wilburn, on behalf  of  Madison‐Brookhaven LLC requests a zoning map amendment, changing the 

    zoning of  a 0.937‐acre parcel from Corridor Commercial (CC) to Corridor Village Commercial (CVC). The property 

    is located at 4775 Peachtree Road, being tax parcel 18‐277‐02‐005. 

    3. 2015V‐07: John DiGiovanni, on behalf  of  Matera Group, LLC requests variances from the following provisions of  

    the  City  of  Chamblee Code  of   Ordinances,  Appendix A,  Zoning  Ordinance   in  order  to  redevelop  a  property  of  

    0.568 acres zoned Corridor Commercial (CC) and located at 5000 Peachtree Boulevard, being tax parcel 18‐300‐

    02‐001 in Chamblee, GA: 

    o   Sec. 1202.D that prohibits access from Peachtree Boulevard when access can be achieved via a secondary 

    street. 

    o   Sec. 1005.A.1

     that

     requires

     that

     no

     more

     than

     35

     percent

     of 

     a combination

     of 

     the

     side

     and

     rear

     yards

     may

     

    consist of  concrete, asphalt or gravel driveway or parking area and the remaining percentage shall be grass 

    or landscaped  areas. 

    o   Sec. 1203.F.13 that requires general business, commercial, and personal service establishments with less 

    than 50,000 sq. ft. to provide a minimum of  1 off ‐street parking space per 200 sq. ft. of  gross leasable area. 

    4. 2015V‐08: Charles McClain, on behalf  of  Copperleaf  Partners, LLC requests variances from the following 

    provisions of  the City of  Chamblee Code of  Ordinances, Appendix A, Zoning Ordinance to construct a subdivision 

    of  27 single‐family detached residences  on 6.31 acres at 4011 and 4015 Chamblee‐Dunwoody Road being tax 

    parcels 18‐324‐08‐052 and 18‐325‐06‐001 in Chamblee, GA: 

    o   Sec. 1004 Space Dimensions  – to reduce the minimum required rear yard setback of  all lots from 30 ft. to 20 

    ft.; and 

    o   Sec. 903.B  – to reduce the minimum required front yard setbacks of  all lots from 30 ft. to 20 ft. 

    5. The Mayor and Council will consider approval of  an ordinance adopting a new “Unified  Development  Ordinance”  

    (UDO) for the City of  Chamblee, dated March 17, 2015, along with three Addenda that shall be known as “UDO 

     Addendum 1 ‐ Design Guidelines For  Multi ‐Family  Districts, Infill  Development  and   Adaptive Reuse”, “UDO 

     Addendum 2 ‐ Buffer, Landscaping,  And  Tree Preservation  Administrative Guidelines“, and “UDO  Addendum 3 ‐

    Streetscape Guidelines.” The ordinance adopting these documents will repeal conflicting ordinances  including 

    Chapter 34

      –

     Environment ;

     Chapter

     93

      –

     Development 

     Regulations;

     Appendix

     A

     ‐ Zoning

     Ordinance;

     Appendix

     B

      –

     

    Subdivision Regulations; Appendix C:  Airport  Related  Provisions; Tree Preservation Ordinance  Administrative 

    Guidelines; Streetscape Guidelines and  Street  Designations Map, as well as other conflicting provisions of  the City 

    of  Chamblee Code of  Ordinances. 

    y Carla Parker [email protected]

    A Georgia senate subommittee advanced Tuckernd LaVista Hills cityhoodills, but made changes tohe maps.

    Sen. Fran Millarntroduced the altered maps

    during a March 19 hearingnd what was approvedy the by the Senate Statend Local Governmental

    Operations Committee. Theote shifted 2,000 residentsrom the northern part of

    Tucker’s map to LaVistaHills, increasing LaVistaHills’ proposed population

    o 67,000 from 64,000.Tucker’s proposed

    opulation decreased to3,000. Areas removedrom the Tucker mapnclude the Livsey votingrecinct, Shadow Walk

    Lane neighborhood, theQT shopping center, thehopping center at Britt

    Road and Chamblee-Tucker,Briarglen Court, houses

    on Thornbriar Road in theMidvale Elementary voting precinct, and Scyler Wayand Scyler Place.

    The Tucker cityhoodgroup released a statementon its Facebook page after

    the decision.“We are disappointed that

    the LaVista Hills leadershipchose not to honor the boundary agreement. We areheartbroken that once againmany of you nd yourselves

    removed from the Tuckermap,” the statement reads.

    In December 2014, theDeKalb County CityhoodSubcommittee of the HouseGovernmental AffairsCommittee changed the

     boundaries of the proposedmaps after the two cityhoodgroups could not come to

    an agreement on boundarylines.The original proposed

    maps for both citiesincluded the Northlakecommercial district andresidential areas on bothsides of I-285 and in thecorner of I-85, I-285 andthe Gwinnett County line.The subcommittee split thearea along LaVista Road— LaVista Hills map haseverything north of LaVistaRoad and west of I-285,including Northlake Mall,and the Tucker map has

    everything south of LaVistaRoad on the west side ofI-285.

    Both bills advanced tothe Senate Rules Committeewhere if approved theywill be voted on by thestate senate. If the bills pass the senate, they willgo back to the House ofRepresentatives for a voteon the alterations.

    by Andrew [email protected]

    The Georgia Court ofAppeals said a DeKalb judgehould not have ordered

    new trials in a DeKalbCounty school corruptioncase.

    The new trials for for-

    mer schools constructionchief Pat Reid and her ex-husband Tony Pope, anarchitect, were ordered byDeKalb County SuperiorCourt Judge Cynthia Beck-er in October 2014. Reidand Pope were found guiltyof defrauding the DeKalbCounty School District ofmore than $1 million.

    “The trial court reversedhe judgment of conviction

    and granted them new tri-als purportedly based uponhe court’s doubts as to the

    credibility of a state witness,”tated the appeals court.The state argues on appealhat the trial court erred in

    granting the new trials. Un-der the unique circumstanc-es presented in this case, weagree.”

    The key witness againstReid and Pope was formerschool superintendentCrawford Lewis, who origi-nally  faced charges includ-ing violation of the Racke-

    teer Influenced and CorruptOrganizations Act and threecounts of theft.

    In a plea agreement withprosecutors, Lewis agreed toserve as a key witness for thestate to avoid jail time. AtLewis’ sentencing hearing,however, Becker rejected theagreement and sentencedLewis to serve a year behindbars.

    Lewis spent several daysin jail before being releasedon bond after his attorneyfiled an emergency motion.

    When the GeorgiaCourt of Appeals reversedBecker’s decision to sen-tence Lewis, Becker ordered

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

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    Court Continued From Page 10A

    Brookhaven celebrates Arbor Day with tree planting

    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: TC14-03

    STREETS AFFECTED: GREEN MEADOWS DR FROM WILFORD DR TO CHESHIRE WAY

    PROPOSED TRAFFIC CALMING SPEED HUMPS

    DeKalb CountyPump Repair Service

    ITB # 3003476

    Bid date: March 26, 2015 at 3 p.m.Cole Technology, Inc.

    Please contactChelsea Campbell: 404-460-8446

    Tim Wilkie: 404-472-1276

    LSBE/MBE/WBE SUBCONTRACTORS REQUESTED

    by Carla [email protected]

    March 20 is Arbor Dayn Georgia, and Brookhaven

    officials celebrated by trans-planting a tree in BlackburnPark.

    Native Tree LLC trans-planted an American holly

    ree from Brookhaven For-est subdivision to the park,and Patrick Fisher of Na-ive Tree demonstrated howarger existing trees arepade and moved.

    “I got involved withBrookhaven resident] Mike

    Elliot over on one of hisprojects on trying to saveome tree for his new devel-

    opment and he’s donatingone of the trees to the newpark,” Fisher said. “So we’reransplanting it with our treepade.”

    A tree spade is a special-zed machine that mecha-

    nizes the transplanting ofarge plants.

    City officials gaveree seedlings of bald cy-

    press and saw tooth oak toresidents. An Arbor DayProclamation was read byBrookhaven councilwomanRebecca Chase Williams tocommemorate the day.

     “Here in Brookhavenwe celebrate our trees,” Wil-liams said. “The challenge istrying to strike the balance

    between all the boominggrowth that we have andhigher density growth, butwe’re dedicated to preserv-ing our beautiful canopyof trees, and really addingmore trees along the way.”

    In August 2014, the citycouncil adopted a revisedtree ordinance designedto preserve the city’s treecanopy, protect the woodedcharacter that older treescreate in the city and respectthe rights of private prop-erty owners to manage theirtrees.

    “We’ve learned from ourarborist that the best solu-tion to have a healthy urbanforest is to have a good mixof trees,” Williams said. “It’s

    new trials for Reid and Pope.“Without challenging

    the truthfulness of Lewis’stestimony, the trial judge—admittedly incensed by whatshe considered to be the

    ‘abhorrent’ criminal conductof all involved—emphasizedthat Lewis was ‘a public of-ficial, this was on his watch,he stood by. And then hehindered and interfered withand tried to stop the com-pletion of a rightful, lawfulinvestigation,’” the appealscourt stated.

    “Although sympatheticto the trial court’s plightgiven Lewis’s criminal cul-pability, we nonetheless heldthat the court was boundto sentence Lewis in accor-dance with the terms of theplea agreement so long ashis material testimony to thestate’s case against Reid andPope was truthful,” the ap-peals court stated.

    The case was sent backto Becker so she could“identify specifically thetestimony she considered ofquestionable credibility, todetermine whether that tes-timony was material to theprosecution, and to provideLewis…an opportunity torespond,” the appeals courtstated.

    “We have no troubleconcluding that the trialcourt erred in reversing Reidand Pope’s judgment of con-

     viction,” the appeals courtstated.

    often been said that the besttime to plant a tree is yester-day. So we just keep plantingas many trees as we can.”

    The city planted 250cherry trees throughout thecity, leading up to the city’sCherry Blossom Festival,which will take place March27-28 in Blackburn Park.

    The cherry tree is the officialcity tree.“But, we love all trees,”

    Williams said. “Our wholecity council and mayor are

    dedicated to preserving ourtrees.”

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

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

  • 8/9/2019 FreePress 3-26-15

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

     

    LOCAL

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    1957 Lakeside Pkwy, Suite 510, Tucker, Georgia 30084

    Former Dunwoody Policedetective Robert PasqualeBentivegna has pleaded guiltyo disclosing sensitive law

    enforcement information inexchange for receiving kick-backs for him and his family.

    “It is a sad day when a ca-eer law enforcement officerurns his back on decades of

    public service by selling hisaccess to sensitive law en-orcement information,” said

    Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Bentivegna’s conductundermines trust in law en-orcement and could have ex-

    posed the public to significantharm.”

    J. Britt Johnson, specialagent in charge, FBI AtlantaField Office, stated, “The FBI’sNo. 1 criminal investigativeprogram remains that of pub-ic corruption due to the vast

    harm that it can cause. Theguilty plea of former Dun-woody Det. Bentivegna il-ustrates the betrayal of the

    badge by a very seasoned lawenforcement officer and theconsequences that he nowaces for this betrayal.”

    “Acts of corruption with-n the Department of Home-and Security represent a seri-

    ous threat to our nation andundermine the integrity of allDHS employees, who strive tomaintain the integrity of theDepartment,” said James E.Ward, special agent in charge,department of HomelandSecurity, Office of Inspec-or General. “The Office ofnspector General and its law

    enforcement partners willcontinue to pursue allegationsof corruption and hold suchhameless individuals like Mr.

    Bentivegna accountable.”According to the charges

    and other information pre-ented in court, in July 2011,

    Bentivegna, employed at theime with the Dunwoody Po-ice Department and who had

    also served as a federal taskorce officer, began using anndividual connected with a

    variety of illegal activities as aconfidential informant.

    In exchange for valuablepersonal items for himselfand his family, Bentivegnaperformed searches and in-

    ormed the confidential infor-mant about any active arrestwarrants listed under the in-ormant’s name in the Georgia

    Crime Information CenterGCIC) database.

    Former Dunwoodydetective pleads guiltyto running fraudulentwarrant checks

    “Such information can be valuable information to crim-inals, allowing them to fleebefore authorities can arrestthem,” according to a newsrelease by the U.S. Attorney’sOffice.

    In exchange for the in-formation, over the courseof approximately 18 months,Bentivegna received airlinetickets for himself and hiswife to travel to New York, hisdaughter received a convert-ible car, which she used formore than a year, and his sonreceived a car to drive for aperiod of time.

    Bentivegna, 64, ofWoodstock pleaded guilty tocomputer fraud for access-ing information in the GCICdatabase for an improper pur-pose. Sentencing is scheduledfor June 1, before U.S. DistrictJudge Leigh Martin May .

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    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 Page 13ALOCAL

    WEEKPICTURESIn 

    Photos brought to you by DCTV

    23

    DCTV Channel 23

    @DCTVChannel23

    DeKalb County GovUstream.tv/channle/DCTV-Channel-23

      VISIT US AT WWW.DCTVChannel23.tv E-mail us at [email protected]

    Get your front row seat to all things DeKalb County

    through your EMMY Award-winning station

    2323

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

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

    Photo by Andrew Cauthen

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

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

     

    LOCAL

    y Ashley Oglesby [email protected]

    Cross Keys High Schooltudents got a head start onpring cleaning this year withhe second phase of theireautification and clean-upfforts on March 20-21 withhe help of family, communityeaders and partners.

    The volunteers mulchednd planted in raised beds

    round the entrance of thechool, trimmed the hedges,aked leaves, picked up debrisnd painted the exterior ofhe building.

    Cross Keys’ student sup-ort specialist Jason Randallaid the goal of the project isto beautify our campus, en-ourage our students to takewnership of their school,

    nspire the parents to be-ome active participants inur school, and to create aommunity where there is ahared interest in Cross Keys

    High School.”He said, “It means a lot

    or the school. We’re trying toestore some school pride andne of the things we wantedo do was to work on the out-

    side area and make our wayinside.”

    Randall said he encoun-tered a parent that said shewas looking to gather infor-mation about Cross KeysHigh School and nobody wasable to tell her about the cul-ture of the school.

    Randall said, This meansthat there is an opportunity torebrand ourselves the way wesee fit.

    “One of the ways thatwe’re trying to restore schoolpride is to have a campusbeautification day,” he said.

    Aston Woods, CanopyLandscaping, Coca-Cola, thecity of Brookhaven, as well asother organizations lent theirsupport to the school.

    Randall added, “We’retrying to make sure that thestudents understand that it isimportant to give back. Oneof the ways we’re giving backis by working with our ownschool. It starts at home.”

    A group from Coca-Cola’sambassador’s program assist-ed the school in the rebrand-ing by planting flowers, paint-ing the school and renewingthe grounds.

    Market developmentmanager Lori Morrow  said asa part of the program’s mis-sion the team decided thatassisting Cross Keys HighSchool would be a great wayto dedicate a day of serviceand make the school beauti-ful.

    “We want to open andshare happiness everywherewe go no matter what we’redoing. We want to refresh, we

    want to uplift, we want to in-spire people and so we’re outhere–representing Coca-Cola,and we’re also representing anextension of ourselves,” shesaid.

    Morrow said things thatare important to most placesof education and communi-ties are important to Coca-Cola

    “We try to do so manydifferent things with compa-nies, nonprofits and of courseour schools and hospitals. Webelieve in giving back to thecommunity and representingCoca-Cola brand love every-where that we go and that’s abig part of giving back,” saidMorrow.

    Cross Keys High aims

    to rebrand school

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

    Cross Keys’ student support specialist Jason Randall assistambassadors with replanting owers near the entrance of theschool.

    Volunteers from Coca-Cola’s ambassador program team togetherto beautify the school. Photos by Ashley Oglesby

    A Coca-Cola volunteer digs and repots plants.

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    Boyer Continued From Page 1A

    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 Page 15ALOCAL

    by John [email protected]

    It’s Monadnock Madness timeagain at Arabia, Stone and Panolamountains and nature is rolling outhe red carpet to welcome guests.

    Mona-what, one may ask?

    Monadnock, originally a NativeAmerican term, is a geologicalerm used to describe mountainshat stand alone and were ormed

    by lava lowing upward rombeneath the Earth’s surace. Arabia,Stone Mountain and Panola are allmonadnocks.

    hroughout March, MonadnockMadness, a month-long celebrationo the beauty and wonder o theseunique structures, is organized andpromoted by he Arabia MountainHeritage Area Alliance. Some o themost popular activities held duringhe celebration include guided andel-guided hikes, photography

    hikes, archery instruction,bike rides on the 16-mile looprial that connects Arabia and

    Panola mountains, a hiking stickworkshop, a rope and harness treeclimbing clinic and the culminatingevent Monadnock Muse, which is amusic and art celebration at ArabiaMountain.

    Monadnock Muse, heldSunday, March 29, 2-4:45 p.m.centers around a two mile art hikeeaturing poets, visual artists and

    photographers stationed along therial who share their works that

    have been inspired by experiences

    at Arabia Mountain NaturePreserve.One o rarest eatures o monad-

    nocks are diamorphas, a bright reducculent that only grows in certain

    environments, generally in pools

    o water on rock suraces. When inbloom, which it typically is duringMarch, diamorpha looks like a lushred carpet with specs o t iny whiteblossoms. Executive Director oArabia Mountain Heritage Area Al-liance Mera Cardenas said, “Every

     visitor gets their own red carpet

    welcome when diamorpha awakensrom its winter nap.”Cardenas said those who visit

    all three mountains will noticesurprising dierences amongArabia Mountain, Stone Mountainand Panola Mountain, and themost o the dierences are resultso the impact humans have on ourenvironment.

    She explained that StoneMountain, the most commercialand popular o the threemountains, is worn smooth by oottraic and that at Arabia Mountain,which was once intensely quarried,

     visitors will see nature reclaiming

    the mountain and endangeredplants returning. Panola Mountain,which is the most protected o thethree monadnocks according toCardenas, has been a conservationarea since the early 1970s, wasnever quarried and has rockcovered with mosses and lichens,and unlike Stone Mountain orArabia Mountain, has mature treesat the top.

    he Arabia Mountain HeritageArea Alliance is a locally-runnonproit dedicated to protectingand sharing the history, culture andlandscapes o the Arabia Mountain

    National Heritage Area and isan ailiate o the National ParkService. For additional inormation

     visit www.MonadnockMadness.com or www.arabiaalliance.org.

    Madness onthe mountains 

    “It’s an appropriate sentence giv-en the amount o the loss and the

     violation o the trust that [Com-missioner] Boyer did,” Horn said.

    Te sentence sends the messagethat, “especially in DeKalb County,the citizens in DeKalb County areentitled to honest public servants—servants who are going to servewith integrity,” Horn said. “Evenwith a 22-year career in public ser-

     vice that does not entitle somebodyto help themselves to the…publicfinances.

    “I think it pretty egregious,”Horn said. “For somebody whois entrusted with the need toserve with integrity—and I un-derstand that there were financial

    problems—but there are so manyother opportunities, so many otherchoices that can be made otherthan simply helping yoursel topublic money, especially when youare talking about $87,000.”

    Boyer’s sentence also includesrestitution o $87,000 to DeKalbCounty. Boyer brought the courta certified check or $4,000 duringher sentencing hearing.

    Jeff Brickman, Boyer’s attorney,said Boyer “was a very good publicservant who made some horribledecisions and I hope the peoplewho really know her well are goingto believe that.

    “She is completely remorse-ul or what she did and…she hasaccepted ull responsibility orher actions,” Brickman said. “Sheapologized to the people o DeKalbCounty that she served so proudlyor 22 years. She is very sorry toher amily.”

    Boyer will report to a ederalprison sometime afer May 10,when her daughter graduates.

    Beore announcing the sentence,Judge Orinda D. Evans, said, “Ibelieve Mrs. Boyer is very remorse-ul…and I don’t think she will everbe in a courtroom again or a sen-

    tence.”Evans said, “[For] any case in- volving the public trust and involv-ing a public official, the sentence

    [should] reflect the crime.Te sentence should “make sure

    the community understands howsevere the breech is” and shouldhave “some element o punishmentand a large dose o deterrent,” Ev-ans said. “A prison sentence that isnot insubstantial is what this casecalls or.”

    Tom Owens, who filed an ethicscomplaint against Boyer, said thesentence was air.

    “I’m glad to see her get at least14 months,” Owens said. “I thinkanything over 12 is a good [sen-tence]. Justice was perormed. Youdo the crime, you need to do thetime.”

    Boyer’s sentence was reduced by

    our months because o the assis-tance she has given investigators inan ongoing case.

    “What is reflected in the ‘sub-stantial assistance’ motion is that[Boyer] did cooperate in the caseagainst her husband John and alsothat she cooperated in other mat-ters both ederal and state,” Hornsaid. “I can’t say right now whatthose matters are, but her coopera-tion is continuing. We elt like theour-month reduction reflected theamount o cooperation that sheprovided.”

    Boyer’s husband, John Boyer,has also pleaded guilty to onecount o conspiring to commit mailraud, and is scheduled to be sen-tenced on May 6.

    “Our investigation in DeKalbCounty is continuing,” Horn said.“We will continue our work inDeKalb County until we have asense that our investigation is over.[Boyer’s] assistance has been help-ul. I think you can expect to seeurther action rom us in DeKalbCounty.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey  W. Davis, who prosecuted the case,said, “DeKalb is underwater in withcorruption. Public corruption…

    undermines public confidence. Allpublic officials need to know therewill be consequences.”

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

    Elaine Boyer’s attorney, Jeff Brickmansaid the former commissioner was a“very good public servant who madesome horrible decisions.”

    Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn saidDeKalb residents are “entitled to hon-est public servants. Photos by AndrewCauthen

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

     

    LOCAL

    Most wanted’ man arrested nearGeorgia Perimeter College

    A man listed on CrimeStoppers

    most wanted in metro Atlanta wasaptured on Memorial Drive March9.

    Randall Washington, 27, of De-atur, was arrested without incident

    on a felony bench warrant for failureo appear on charges of possession

    of cocaine to distribute, posses-ion of a controlled substance withntent to distribute, possession of

    marijuana with intent to distribute,possession of a firearm during com-mission of a felony and obstructionof an officer; felony aggravated as-ault and felony criminal damage/irst degree; along with two misde-

    meanors counts of family violence

    battery, criminal trespass damage,nd simple battery harm.

    Traffic in and around severalblocks of Memorial Drive in Deca-ur came to a brief halt around 2:30

    p.m. as the DeKalb County Sheriff ’sOffice fugitive unit and other lawnforcement agencies searched the

    neighborhood and subsequently ar-ested Washington.

    As a security precaution, a tem-porary lockdown was imposed atnearby Georgia Perimeter College.

    “For now be aware and be pre-pared to shelter in a classroom andor office until an all clear is given,”

    N.T. Marinelli, the colleges publicafety director, stated.Participating in the arrest with

    he DeKalb County Sheriff’s Officewere Georgia Perimeter College Po-ice Department, the U.S. Marshalsoutheastern Regional Task Forcend the DeKalb County Police De-

    partment.

    County’s parks and recreationdepartment to hire for summerpositions

    The DeKalb County Department

    of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Af-airs is accepting applications until

    May 1 for summer employment op-portunities, including food monitors,amp counselors, recreation assis-

    tants, bus drivers and lifeguards.Those applying for positions in

    aquatics are required to submit proofof current certification in CPR, firstaid, lifeguarding and water safety in-struction, provided by the Red Cross,YMCA or other nationally recog-

    nized aquatic training programs. Allapplicants selected will be requiredto successfully complete a drug/alcohol screening and criminal back-ground check prior to employment.

    To complete an online applica-tion, visit www.co.dekalb.ga.us.

    State representatives introducebill for proposed city of Winship

     State Reps. Michele Henson (D-Stone Mountain) and Karla Drenner(D-Avondale Estates) introducedlegislation March 18 to create the cityof Winship in DeKalb County. Thislegislation would provide for a refer-endum to establish Winship as a newmunicipality in DeKalb County.

    “This legislation is the beginningof a dialogue,” Drenner said. “Rep.Henson and I are concerned abouthow the Atlanta annexation wouldaffect our schools that are excludedfrom this plan. The children in thecommunity are our main priority,and we hope this presents an al-ternative to ensuring that valuableresources in DeKalb County are notaffected.”

    Drenner and Henson want toensure that any changes made to thecommunity in DeKalb County putthe needs of the students and theireducation first, according to a newsrelease.

    “The purpose of this bill is toshow that there are additional op-portunities for DeKalb County. Bycreating the city of Winship, there ismore local control and interaction

    with the local representatives,” Hen-son said. “This is only the start ofthe conversation, and we anticipateworking closely with the membersof the community and the city as wepursue this option.”

    Police shooters face 63-countindictment

    A DeKalb County grand jury hasindicted Eddie Ball and Ivy Shu-make for their role in initiating a lo-cal home invasion and shooting twopolice officers.

    According to the indictment,Ball, 39, and Shumake, 37, entered ahome at Colony Ridge Apartmentsand proceeded to rob and assaultthe apartment’s occupants on Dec.12, 2014. A 911 call was placed andpolice responded to the location.Upon the police officers’ arrival, the

    defendants opened fire. Officers tookcover and returned fire.DeKalb County Police officers

    Devon Perry and Tony Luong  wereshot during the gunfire exchangewith the defendants. Officers Perryand Luong were hospitalized fortheir injuries. Ball and Shumake werealso injured during the shootout.

    “What started as a home invasionquickly erupted into a full-blownshootout with the defendants andlocal police officers,” said DeKalbCounty District Attorney RobertJames. “This 63-count indictmentreflects the number of lives affectedby these reckless acts of violence thatleft two officers injured and a com-munity shaken.”

    Ball and Shumake face felonycharges including aggravated assaulton a peace officer, aggravated battery,

    armed robbery and home invasion.The arraignment date for Ball

    and Shumake has not been sched-uled.

    Lithonia awarded service

    positions through VISTA program

    Lithonia has been selected by thestate office of the Corporation forNational and Community Service(CNCS) to receive three AmeriCorpsVolunteers in Service to America(VISTA) workers to help with com-munity capacity-building projects.

    “We are very excited about thisopportunity for our community andlook forward to having the VISTAsbegin their work,” said Lithonia May-or Deborah Jackson. “The VISTAswill help identify and bring resourcesto the in the areas of job training,

    small business development, asset-building, and access to healthy foodresources.”

    One of the project goals is towork with community residents tohelp them identify their strengthsand help them become active partici-pants. According to Jackson, “Thestrongest and most vibrant com-munities are the ones that have ac-tive, informed and engaged citizens.Sometimes lower-income residentsdo not realize that regardless of in-come, everyone has some skill, giftor talent that can be used to benefitthemselves and their community.”

    Lithonia’s VISTA project is calledLithonia Action to Build Communityand will focus on the CNCS goals ofeconomic opportunity and healthyfutures. The city is seeking applicantsto serve as VISTA community liai-sons in the following areas: economicopportunity–financial literacy andhome ownership; economic opportu-nity–employment and small businessdevelopment; and healthy futures–improve quality of life for commu-nity residents.

    The positions are temporary, full-time and funded through the stateAmeriCorp office for a one-year pe-riod. A monthly stipend of $1,200 is

    provided along with health and otherbenefits. An educational award isavailable upon successful completionof the program.

    Interested applicants can obtainadditional information at the Corpo-ration for National and CommunityService website at www.nationalser- vice.gov/programs/americorps, un-der the link for Find OpportunitiesNow. Applications must be submit-ted online at the CNCS website byMarch 27. For more information orto learn how to apply, call city hall at(770) 482-8136.

    NEWS BRIEFS

    Washington

    Henson

    Drenner

    Ball

    Shumake

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    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 Page 17ABUSINESS

    The Voice of Business in DeKalb CountyDeKalb Chamber of Commerce

    404.378.8000 www.DeKalbChamber.org

    Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Ave., Suite 235, Decatur, GA 30030

    Business owner says Stonecrestarea offers ‘unique opportunities’by Kathy Mitchell

    A month after The Mallat Stonecrest opened inOctober 2001, Tony Royal opened a Chick-fil-A inhe same area, making

    him owner/operator of thechain’s 1,000th restaurant.

    Royal said that becom-ng one of what he termsthe Stonecrest 100” turned

    out to be a good businessdecision. The term, he said,efers to retail businesseshat surround the Mall at

    Stonecrest. “Actually,” he

    added, “I think there arenow more than 100. We en-oy a wonderful relationship

    with many of the merchantsand managers in the area.”

    Although he has seenhe once semi-rural area

    grow tremendously dur-ng the past 14 years, Royalaid, “I absolutely thinkhere is room for more

    growth. There is still a greatdeal of undeveloped landn the area. I would like to

    see fine dining restaurants,

    entertainment venues suchas a Dave & Buster’s, an ex-ercise facility such as L.A.Fitness and a dedicated gro-cery store such as Kroger orPublix.”

    Key factors in havinga successful business in anarea such as Stonecrest,Royal said, are offering anexceptional product, provid-ing outstanding customerservice and maintainingperpetual community in-

     volvement. “These are par-ticularly important whenthere are numerous busi-nesses or restaurants in thesame area,” he said.

    The decision to opena freestanding Chick-fil-Anear the regional mall camefrom the restaurant’s corpo-rate office. Calling it an offerrarely afforded new opera-tors, Royal said he believeshe was chosen for what hecalls “this wonderful oppor-tunity at Turner Hill Road”because of his success at an-other Chick-fil-A location.

    The Greenbriar Mall

    restaurant—the first Chick-fil-A—opened in 1967.Royal became its owner/operator in 2000. He posteddouble-digit profits and waschosen by the corporate of-fice as Chick-fil-A’s “Rookieof the Year.” After acceptingthe Stonecrest offer, he soldthe Greenbriar Mall locationback to the company.

    His restaurant hasthrived in spite of the largenumber of dining choicesin the Stonecrest area be-cause of “the best chickensandwich in the world” andan excellent reputation inthe community, said Royal,quoting a scripture thatstates, “A good name is rath-er to be chosen than greatriches.”

    “Chick-fil-A chooses thebest locations,” Royal said.“Founder S. Truett Cathy  had a keen business sensethat served his companywell for over 60 years. Hiswonderful family makesgreat business decisions and

    great locations are para-

    mount to generating greatrevenues. I jumped at thisopportunity because I knewit would be a very profit-able location. It has certainlyproven to be that. Further, itis in my community inwhich I live, attend churchand where the children wentto school.”

    Royal said that owning abusiness in his communityprovides him with a uniqueopportunity to earn a liv-ing on his own terms whilehelping to build his com-munity “I wanted to ownmy own business since I was20 years old,” he recalled. “Istarted working in the quickservice restaurant businesswhen I was 18 years old. Atabout the age of 30, I knew Iwanted to own my own res-taurant.”

    He was working foranother company at thetime, he said, but wantedto join Chick-fil-A becausehe admires its products, itsbusiness model and its cor-

    porate philosophy, noting

    that Cathy “laid a wonder-ful foundation. He createdan exceptional blueprint forsuccess. One of his mottos is‘Why not your very best?’”

    As a business owner,Royal said, in addition tobeing able to set his ownschedule and create incomewithout hitting a manage-ment salary ceiling set byan employer, he is able tomake a positive impact onthe lives of others—makingpersonal decisions that helpto empower people.

    “It is great to be ableto invest my resources inevents and initiatives thathelp my community and nothave to answer to or get per-mission from my manager,”he added. “I have set up TheChick-fil-A at Turner HillRoad Partners in ServiceScholarships, which allowsme to give $500 scholarshipsto five to 10 partner schoolsannually.”

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

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    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 PAGE 18AEDUCATION

    DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

    PUBLIC BUDGET INPUT MEETING

    FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2016 

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    TIME LOCATION5:45 p.m. 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 system’s budget.

    FOR INFORMATION, CALL THE OFFICE OF THE

    CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AT 678-676-0069.

    by Ashley Oglesby [email protected]

    The DeKalb CountyBoard of Education willconsider at its next meet-ng whether board member

    Marshall Orson violatedboard policy, according toa statement by Board ChairDr. Melvin Johnson.

    “Recent news reportsand communications fromtakeholders of the DeKalb

    County School District haveaised important and serious

    allegations that Marshall Or-on...has violated the prin-

    ciples and protocols in theboard member handbook aswell as board policy,” John-on said.

    According to the boardhandbook, possible repri-mands for violating policycould include a written no-ice, an order to complete

    professional developmentcourses and a public cen-ure.

    Orson is responding to aeport by CBS 46  news that

    said he has been secretlysupporting Atlanta annexa-tion.

    The CBS 46 report saidOrson had met multipletimes with annexation ad-

     vocates, and now Rep. KarlaDrenner of Avondale Es-tates wants him investigated.

    Drenner told the Atlanta

    CBS affiliate that a constitu-ent filed an open records re-quest and obtained Orson’semails, passing them alongto her.

    In the report, Drennersaid, “When I read theseemails, I was surprised bythe fact that a member ofthe DeKalb County school

    board appears to be in sup-port of decimating DeKalbCounty schools.”

    DeKalb Strong, an or-ganization that is againstAtlanta annexation efforts,released the emails on itswebsite. They show emailconversations between Or-son, Together in Atlanta

    representatives, and AtlantaCity Councilmember Alex

    Wan.A CBS 46  reporter askedOrson about statementsthat could be interpreted aspro-annexation in his emailssuch as, “This is a complexissue which, if not handledproperly, runs the risk of pit-ting the school communityagainst annexation.”

    In another email, Orsonappears to write to Wan andRep. Mary Margaret Oliver D-Decatur, “As we all havediscussed at various times, akey to a successful annexa-tion push will be to keepschool attendance zonesintact, particularly Fernbankand Briar Vista.”

    Orson said in the CBSreport his emails are beingmisinterpreted and it’s hisresponsibility as a public of-ficial to gather informationfrom as many people as pos-sible.

     

    School board member facesallegations of violating protocols

    In the next step in con-olidating Georgia State

    University and Georgia Pe-imeter College, the Board

    of Regents of the UniversitySystem of Georgia on March18 approved a new missiontatement to reflect the mis-ion of the consolidated in-titution.

    The mission statementfor Georgia State Universitywas developed through anprocess involving stakehold-

    ers from Georgia State and

    Georgia Perimeter.“Georgia State Univer-

    sity, an enterprising publicresearch university, trans-forms the lives of students,advances the frontiers ofknowledge and strengthensthe workforce of the future,”the statement. “The univer-sity provides an outstandingeducation and exceptionalsupport for students from allbackgrounds. Georgia Statereadies students for profes-

    sional pursuits, educates

    future leaders, and preparescitizens for lifelong learning.Enrolling one of the mostdiverse student bodies in thenation at its urban researchcampus, at its vibrant branchcampuses, and online, theuniversity provides educa-tional opportunities for tensof thousands of students atthe graduate, baccalaure-ate, associate, and certificatelevels.

    “Georgia State’s scholar-

    ship and research focus on

    solving complex issuesranging from the mostfundamental questions ofthe universe to the mostchallenging issues of ourday. The scholarly workand artistic expression ofthe university’s faculty cre-ate new knowledge, extendthe boundaries of imagina-

    tion, and enhance studentlearning. The university’spresence in the Atlantametropolitan area providesextraordinary experientiallearning opportunities andsupports the work of facultytackling the challenges ofan urbanizing nation andworld.”

    Board of Regents approves mission statement for consolidation

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

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    The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 27, 2015 PAGE 19AEDUCATION

    Deal’s school rescue planreceives mixed reviewsby Ashley Oglesby [email protected]

    Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal tocreate an opportunity school dis-

    rict in Georgia received a mediocreeception when introduced at theMarch 18 Georgia House of Rep-esentatives education committee

    hearing.If approved, the bill would al-

    ow the state to take over up to 100chools that failed to meet perfor-

    mance targets three years in a row.R

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