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the DeKalb

FRIDaY, JUNE 10, 2016 Vol. 19, No. 9 FREE

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


Conjuring bayou ghosts with Barry Sons

See Story on Page 5

Barry Sons work captures the beauty and degradation of marshes, swamps and the Louisiana gulf delta. Photos by Travis Hudgons






Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 2

Political action coalition

early success


by Horace Holloman III


Jazmind Roberts, a Towers High School graduate, is the rst Black female to graduate from Pilot
school in the past 10 years. Photo provided

Towers grad takes ight,

makes history
by R. Scott Belzer

raduation from Towers High School,

acceptance to and graduation
from the United States Air Force
Academy, acceptance to and graduation
from the United States Air Force Pilot
School these are a few of many
accomplishments made by Jazmind
Jazzy Roberts, who embarked from
DeKalb County in 2006 to take to the skies
and beyond.
Now 27, Roberts has been described
by loved ones as diligent, methodical and
aspirational attributes that have taken

her from the hallways of Bethune Middle

School and Towers High School to airfields
in Colorado and Oklahoma.
Today, Roberts spends her time
learning to fly refueling planes. Her
graduation from the USAFs Pilot School
makes her the first Black female to do so
in 10 years.
According to her father, Atlanta Police
Sgt. Kelton Hill, it all started with an urge
to go to space camp.
Jazmind, as a small child, was very
interested in aerospace; she wanted to be
an astronaut, Hill said. She started to go

DeKalb County will

have a new face, or faces,
in the fight against political
dishonesty and unethical
political practices after a
group of DeKalb County
residents came together to
form Honest Government
DeKalb Political Action
Committee (HGD PAC).
The mission of HGD
PAC, officially formed
May 17, is to promote a
transparent and ethical
DeKalb County government
that will provide value and
equitable treatment to all
of its citizens, according to
a press release from HGD
Each founding

member of the group is a

member of other political
watchdog organizations.
The founding members of
HGD PAC include Viola
Davis (Unhappy Taxpayer
& Voter), Joel Edwards
(Restore DeKalb), Jeff
Long (Reform DeKalb)
William Perry, (Georgia
Ethics Watchdogs), Marjorie
Hall Snook (DeKalb Strong)
and Curtis Thrasher Jr.
of New Life, New Hope
Community Development
This was something
I really wanted to put
together, said Williams.
All of these groups started
to hold candidate forums
and they were all interested
in joining. We wanted to

See PAC on Page 9A


for only


per year

See Grad on Page 8A

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you are defined
by more than
your disabilities.
The DeKalb Services Center has been serving
the community since 1978. We empower adults
living with development disabilities with the skills
Where others see disabilities, we see the possibilities.
Training center with work activities and instruction
Onsite nursing and physical therapy

Get great recipes each week

in our award-winning
LifeStyle section.

Multiple payment options available

To learn more or schedule a tour,

call 404.231.9363 or visit dekcsb.org

2660 Osborne Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30319

Call 404.373.7779 X 100 or visit

TheChampionNewspaper.com to subscribe
If youre not reading The Champion, youre missing
a lot!



Bike rides to take over Atlanta

Saturday, June 11, may appear more like a bicycle holiday in the
metro area as six separate rides are scheduled.
As early as 8:30 a.m., riders can begin enjoying the first day of
the 2016 Atlanta Cycling Festival through the first-ever Phoenix Tour.
The guided tour will bring riders through southwest, northwest and
southeast Atlanta, complete with historical, cultural and potential
The 17-mile ride will include several hills, humps and intermediate
aspects. Event organizers state the ride is not a beginner ride, and
no easy journey. The ride, which begins at Adair Park, will include
mini-sandwiches at Elliott Street Pub halfway through the ride as well
as suja juice and paqui at the rides conclusion.
At 9 a.m., the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club will host a casual ride
around the streets of Atlanta. Since the club will be riding on city
streets, participation requires some riding experience. Requirements
also include helmets, hydration, snacks and bike repair kits.
According to event organizers, the average pace will be 15 miles
per hour with short (18 miles) and long (28 miles) options. The ride will
begin at 300 Peters Street SW.
At 1:30 p.m., a group of bike-friendly parents will offer kids training
at Coan Park in Kirkwood. The event is aimed toward kids new to riding
and in need of encouragement. Riders are required to bring their own
bicycles as a short bike ride will follow.
At 2 p.m., The Intercontinental Cocktail Ride will take place. This
self-described fancy ride encourages riders to dress formally for
specialty cocktails, light eats and pedaling throughout eastern Atlanta.
The ride will roll through The Lawrence, Kimball House and Octane
in Grant Park. It begins at The Spindle, located at 480 Jogn Wesley
Dobbs Ave NE.
An informative ride hosted by the Atlanta Regional Commission
as well as Alta Planning and Design will begin at 3 p.m. along the
Freedom Park Trail. The ride will feature information on how the city
could potentially transform into an interconnected network of trails
along the BeltLine and expand to udner-served areas in the city.
For more information, visit www.atlantacyclingfestival.com.

aVonDale esTaTes
City to host farmers market

Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 3


Registration open for Taste of Chamblee 2016

Registration is now open for the Taste of Chamblee, which invites
local chefs, vendors and craftsmen to line the streets of downtown
Chamblee for a day filled with music, fun and community involvement.
The event will be held Oct. 1 from 3 - 9 p.m.
The Taste is a one-day community festival that celebrates
Chamblees unique history and diversity with local vendors offering
food, art, and entertainment, reads the events official description. Past
events have also included an area for kids as well as an antique car
The festival is held to benefit the Georgia Lions Lighthouse
Foundation, which provides hearing and vision services to underserved
Georgia residents. Fifty percent of profits from food vendors go toward
the foundation.
In addition to food vendor registration, options also include
sponsorship, art vendor, non-profit and community partnership
options. A 10-foot-by-10-foot tent space is $100 for sellers and free for
registered non-profits that provide their own tents. Sponsorship options
range from $250 to $10,000 and include a wide variety of benefits.


VBS to feature deep sea theme

Deep Sea Discovery will be the theme for vacation Bible school
at Gresham Park Christian Church, Monday, June 13, through
Friday, June 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m. each day. There will be music, crafts,
refreshments and Bible-based classes for all ages, including adults.
The church is located at 2819 Flat Shoals Road in Decatur. The
pastor is Lamar Bud Cochran. For more information, call (404) 2414511.


Local talent showcased at nature center

Visitors can take in the sights and sounds of nature as well as
musical talent at the Dunwoody Nature Center.
Since mid-May, the nature center has held a summer concert series
showcasing local singers, songwriters and bands every other Saturday.
Talent has include modern country, Americana, blues, rock and soul.
The series, set to run until July 23, begins each event day at 7 p.m.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a chair, blanket and picnic dinner.
Local brewers Moondog Growlers offers concert goers a rotating
selection of craft beers during the evening entertainment.
On, June 11, rock band Stonerider is set to take the stage.
On June 25, blues band Heather Luttrell and the Possumden will
present a blend of rock, country, soul and tinge of Gospel.
On July 9, Americana band Rust will play old school roots-rock,
and modern country singer Thomas Fountain will conclude the
Dunwoody event on July 23.
Event officials state seating is first come, first served. The concerts
are free to Dunwoody Nature Center members, $5 for non-members,
$3 for students and free for children younger than 3 years old.

Avondale Estates will host its farmers market June 12, from
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of My Parents Basement. The
market will have local produce and goods. My Parents Basement is
located at 22 North Avondale Road. For more information, visit www.

sTone MounTian


Andrew Black will perform June 17 at Stone Mountains Tunes

By The Tracks event in the Municipal Parking Lot, next to the Gazebo.
Attendees can bring their lawn chairs. The two-hour concert begins at
7 p.m. Tunes By The Tracks will be held every Friday until June 24. For
more information, visit www.stonemountaincity.org.

City to host drive-in movie night

Brookhaven will host a drive-in movie night June 17 at Murphey
Candler Pool at 8 p.m. The pool is located at 1551 West Nancy Creek
Drive NE. For more information, visit www.brookhavenga.gov.

City to host music event


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 4

Chamblee considers $11 million tax abatement

by R. Scott Belzer

It will house 275 luxury

apartments, it will feature 16
floor plans, be five stories,
feature three courtyards,
house 20,000 square feet
of retail space and provide
access to a bike and
pedestrian trail.
It could cost Chamblee
tax payers $11 million.
The Chamblee
Downtown Development
Authority (CDDA) is
considering an $11
million tax abatement on
a $64 million mixed-use
development project known
as Chamblee Atlanta. The
property, located at 5211
Peachtree Boulevard is
currently the site of Nalley
Nissan of Atlanta.
Under the Georgia
Code, governing bodies
are exempt from paying
property taxes. Entities such
as the CDDA use this as
an incentive to developers
to grant tax abatements, or
transfer a property into the
CDDAs name to lease it tax-

In the case of Chamblee
Atlanta, the developer would
be relieved of $11 million in
property taxes.
Under the proposed
deal, Chamblee Atlanta
would lock in the current
property tax value of
$140,000. The rate amount
will be split between the
city of Chamblee ($20,000),
DeKalb County ($45,000)
and the DeKalb County
School District ($74,000) for
18 years.
By the end of the
proposed abatement

(2035), CDDA projects the

propertys tax value will
grow to $1.1 million per
year. Chamblee will receive
$167,040, DeKalb County
will receive $380,277 and
DeKalb Schools will receive
In addition, the CDDA
will receive an administrative
fee of 20 percent ($233,595)
of abated taxes per year if
the project is approved.
According to the projects
application, Chamblee
Atlanta is expected to take
two years to build. Should
the amount of abated taxes
exceed $11 million before
the end of the 18 year deal,
the abatement will end.
The $11 million
abatement comes by
request of the Hickman
family and Del American
Real Estate Group, the
respective owners and
investors of Chamblee
Atlanta, in February 2016.
The groups originally asked
CDDA for $16 million
for help [to] stave off
the repercussions of the
additional cost which will

be incurred while producing

the $64 million project,
according to the projects
While the process of
turning the existing car
dealership, which has
existed for 40 years, into a
mixed use development of
this magnitude is an exciting
and promising project,
it is also an endeavor
requiring substantial capital
and improvements to the
surrounding area, reads the
projects application.
The application lists
such expenses as a parking
garage for 120 additional
retail spaces, tenant
improvements as well as the
buildings faade.
In addition to promising
275 apartments, Chamblee
Atlanta developers say the
project will bring in 120130 new jobs. Including
construction, the number of
jobs created increases to
The CDDA has
considered Chamblee
Atlanta at its last
two meetings and is

currently working on a
final memorandum of
understanding to complete
the deal.
The CDDA meets
publicly the fourth
Tuesday of every month
in Chamblees City Hall
Conference Room but
handles the ultimate
approval of abatements
in executive session.
Chamblee Atlanta has
been on the public meeting
agenda outside of executive
session since April 26.
Chamblee Atlanta is the
third major development
in Chamblee with tax
abatement deals. A
107,000-square-foot project
known as Peachtree
Crossing will abate taxes
for 15 years or until the
total reaches $7.5 million.
Another 304,000-squarefoot mixed-use project
known as The Olmsted
exempts developers from
property taxes for 20 years,
representing an estimated
$11 million value in tax
savings to the developers.

The City of Brookhaven City Council does hereby announce that the millage rate will be set at a meeting to be
held at the Brookhaven City Hall on on June 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and pursuant to the requirements of O.C.G.A. Section
48-5-32 does hereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest and levy, along with the history of the tax
digest and levy for the past five years.


Brookhaven City




Real & Personal



















Motor Vehicles
Mobile Homes
Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest

Less M& O Exemptions

Net M & O Digest
State Forest Land Assistance
Grant Value





Adjusted Net M&O Digest












Gross M&O Millage

Less Rollbacks
Net M&O Millage







Net Taxes Levied













Net Taxes $ Increase

Net Taxes % Increase





Friday, June 10, 2016

Page 5

Conjuring bayou ghosts with Barry Sons

by R. Scott Belzer
To limit local artist Barry
Sons to one label would be a
While its true Sons is a painter, a writer, a poet and environmental activist, a more appropriate term exists in the abstract:
Sons is a conjuror of ghosts.
The ghosts in Sons case
are not the spooky soothsayers found in A Christmas Carol
or the vengeful spirits found
in modern Hollywood cinema.
Through strokes of the paintbrush and words on paper, Sons
is able to summon something we
all possess: memories.
Sons body of work, without
context, appears to be nothing
more than expressionist landscapes specific to marshes,
swamps, and the Louisiana gulf
delta that once served as Sons
I was raised in the marshes
of south Louisiana as a fur trapper, Sons said. I started painting 45 years ago, mostly for
myself because I could draw well
as a kid.
Sons is the 13th of 14 children
raised in the marshlands near
the Atchafalaya River, which
flows into the Gulf of Mexico in
southern Louisiana. The artists
childhood home, what he refers
to as his Eden, also serves as
his main subject matter.
Sons paintings are beautiful
in the way distant memories are
beautiful. A brushstroke of red,
orange or green perfectly captures a sunset from childhood.
A mixture of cobalt or baby blue
may remind the viewer of his or
her first view of the ocean. The
attention to detail regarding a
trees branches or a subjects
pant fabric is comparable to how
one might remember playing
outside or his or her first encounter with a grandfather.
This specific type of beauty,
given context, is also what
makes Sons artwork so haunting.
I read Bayou Farewell by
Mike Tidwell, Sons said. All of
a sudden, it kind of made sense
to me why some little creative
person could be born to a family
of butch rat killers.
Sons said after reading
Tidwells booka travelogue
and expos highlighting the degradation of the Louisiana coastlinehe had a crazy dream

Photos by Travis Hudgons

followed by a flash of inspiration.

Sons immediately put pen to
paper and wrote a poem called
Poets Cry, which detailed Sons
feelings about his homeland.
Communities in the bayous
are washing out to sea, Sons
wrote. Canals cut like open
wounds, tell me, cant you see?
How important Mississippi silt is
to you and me?
Sons soon had the realization
that his paintings must also capture the degradation of the Louisiana marshes. No matter how
small, Sons said, any attention
was better than no attention.
While Sons paintings are
beautiful, the artist said they
often capture scenes of degradation. In some cases, the
scenes captured no longer ex-

ist ghosts that only inhabit a

canvas or Sons memory. Every
six months, Sons would revisit
the Atchafalaya and become
more and more heartbroken by
its demise. Soon, poems began
accompanying the paintings to
inform the viewer on an emotional level.
In this context, a harsh red
stroke or deep brown chasm
among the blue takes new
meaning. The harshness to the
eye becomes a harshness to the
These were places ancestors would talk to me they were
magical, Sons said. The last
time I went back with my nephew, we came around a bend and
there were dredges digging it up.
For what?

Sons concluded the lack of

environmentalism in that region of Louisiana is due to the
amount of property owned by oil
companies dedicated to financial
interests rather than conservation.
If you Google how many oil
wells, it looks like a Christmas
tree, Sons said. I use oil-based
paints, but there are ways to
have oil and be respectful of the
land. Theres no reason to cut up
a bayou. Where Im from, I can
go places, put my foot on land,
and Im the first person to ever
step foot there. And were just
killing it.
Sons, who has been working
out of Little Tree Arts Studio in
Avondale Estates, said he returned Louisiana in April to deal
with matters both personal and
environmental. This, too, shows
in Sons work.
I go back because I have to,
Sons said. Im number 13 of 14
kids. My siblings are older than
me and theyre dying. My best
brother died three years ago and
I couldnt get there fast enough.
Sons brother is one the artist
cites never turned his back on
Sons lifestyle and career choice
and fought until the day he died
for Barrys sake. To honor his
memory, Sons did what he does
best paint a haunting, vague
and beautiful memory. Another
ghost, easily conjured when
You heard my cry for all
these years, I must go home, I
must go home, Sons wrote in
the accompanying poem. My
river, dear Atchafalaya, I thrive
in your power, my basin love. I
must go home, I must go home.
God gave in to the tears of my
angel, oh Horace, you still cry for
me, he must go home, he must
go home.
For more information about
Barry Sons, including information on purchasing artwork, visit


Friday, June 10, 2016

With the primary elections now behind us, the

voters of DeKalb have let
their voices be heard and
have begun the process
of choosing those who will
lead for the next several
Michael Thurmond
was overwhelmingly chosen as the Democratic
nominee for the chief
executive officer position.
Even though Thurmond
will face Republican Jack
Lovelace in the November general election, it is
a safe assumption that
Thurmond will be the
countys next CEO.
Thurmond has had
stellar career as a state
legislator, Georgia Labor
commissioner and most
recently as superintendent of DeKalb County
Schools. To my knowledge there have never

Page 6

Hope and encouragement

John Hewitt

Chief Operating Officer

been any negative accusations against Thurmond.

It is my hope and
belief that Thurmond will
restore confidence in
our county government
and become a stabilizing
force on our often-divided
board of commissioners.
Another candidate
who to my knowledge has
never been the subject
of negative accusations

or of ethical questions is
current Solicitor General
Sherry Boston, who was
chosen to be the next
district attorney of DeKalb
Boston defeated current DA Robert James by
a more than 20 percent
margin of votes. As with
Thurmond, it is my hope
and belief that Boston
will restore confidence in
the district attorneys office. James lost a great
deal of public support in
his prosecution of former
county CEO Burrell Ellis
after forcing a second trial
when the first ended in a
James also created a
lot of chatter in the news
when investigating elected officials and county
employees spending on
county-issued purchasing
cards and then later be-

ing faced with admitting

that he too had questionable expenditures on his
county purchasing card.
James did eventually
pay the county for the
amounts that were questioned but those whom he
investigated were not always given that option.
In the race for the
highest paid county positionthat of tax commissionerincumbent Irvin
Johnson, who raised
legitimate concerns that
his status of incumbent
did not appear on ballots, will face Susannah
Scott in a runoff July 26.
Former county Commissioner Stan Watson also
ran for the tax commissioners seat but did not
get enough votes to be a
Current county commissioner for District 4,

Sharon Barnes-Sutton,
did not garner enough
support to be re-elected
outright and will face opponent Steve Bradshaw
in a runoff. This runoff
may again see a current
official ousted by a relative political newcomer.
It seems that the
populace has collectively
shown their lack of confidence in officials in several key positions in county
Perhaps with these
changes in leadership,
our county can begin to
overcome the at-times
well-deserved perceptions
of corruption and cronyism.
We can hold on to
our hope and should be
encouraged that new
leadership may be just
what the doctor ordered
for DeKalb politics.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Page 7


A new Day in DeKalb

This job might be too
big for one man...but nothing is too big for all of us,
DeKalb County CEO-said,
Democratic Party nominee
Michael Thurmond, speaking to his supporters after
winning the Democratic
general primary election on
Tuesday, May 26.
Though the job is not yet
done, the clouds appear to
be parting...and a new day
may well be ahead for our
DeKalb County. It was a
light turnout of less than 20
percent in the Democratic
general primary on May
26, but DeKalb voters were
discerning and appeared
less inclined to just accept
what has become viewed
externally as a corrupted
and declining business as
usual climate for our county
At the top of the ticket,
some exciting opportunities
and recognition that leadership, track-record and prior
performance do matter.
Thurmond rode a commanding wave of voter
support to win the CEO
Democratic Party nomination despite a strong and
credible challenge from former state senator and county commissioner Connie
Stokes. Thurmonds recent
achievements as immediate past superintendent of
the DeKalb County School
District stood out. Turning
a major budget deficit back
into a surplus, as well as restoring the systems morale
and footing to allow a return
to full accreditation under
current Superintendent Stephen Green set the tone for
that race.
District Attorney Robert
James is to be commended
for his work against gangs,
violent criminals and the
successful prosecution of

Bill Crane

several for public corruption across the judicial circuit, but his demeanor on
the trail and at numerous
public events, was at times
dismissive of his opponent,
and overly boastful of his
track record. There is a fine
line between bragging and
chest thumping and noting your accomplishments
and demonstrated trackrecord. Having moderated a
candidate forum or two, and
witnessing several more,
James crossed the line. Our
next DA and current Solicitor Sherry Boston regularly
appealed to voters best
interests and high-mindedness, simply and repeating
stately, We can do better. We have to do better.
DeKalb County deserves
And, fortunately for Boston, her choices and actions
as a public servant back
up those words. As solicitor, she has reformed and
reconstructed the countys
long-struggling and often
suggested as corrupt, traffic
court. Her office has broadened efforts in victim support as well as alternative
sentencing and accountability courts, while also being
responsive and receptive
to residents and citizen input. The current DAs office

had developed a reputation

for being selective in who
was welcome and what input might be well received.
In the run-off race for
tax commissioner and the
District 4 commission seat,
which will in effect decide
the majority of votes on the
bulk of issues facing a currently divided commission,
the choices and contrasts
are rather significant.
In the tax commissioners race, the de-facto
incumbent, with 15 years
of solid management experience within the agency
faces a strong family name
and a candidate whose father was tax commissioner
and whose mother was a
longtime county commissioner. Voters would do well
to carefully study the respective accomplishments
and background of both
candidates be for making
such an important choice on
July 26.
In the District 4 race, the

the DeKalb

let Us Know What You Think!

The DeKalb Free Press,
P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347;
Send email to Johnh@dekalbchamp.com
FAX To: (404) 370-3903; Phone: (404) 373-7779.
Deadline for news releases and advertising:
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THE CHAMPION FREE PRESS encourages opinions

from its readers. Please write to us and express your
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EDIToRS NoTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reect the opinions
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Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

choice seems quite clear. If

a voter wants status quo
and a largely unchanged
county commission, then
vote to return the incumbent. However, a healthy
plurality in the primary selected a new candidate and
path, outlined by businessman Steve Bradshaw of
Clarkston. The two choices
could not be more different,
and one notes that if Thurmond is to be successful
as CEO in bringing us together, he will need to start
by building a less combative
relationship than his last
several predecessors have
had with the commission.
So on Tuesday, July
26 in the runoff, as well as
weeks prior during early
voting, expect an extremely
low, perhaps high singledigit turnout. The impact
of each and every ballot
cast will be tremendously
magnified. And, as Georgia
is an open primary state,
without party registration, it

John Hewitt

Travis Hudgons

Chief Financial Ofcer:

Dr. Earl D. Glenn

Staff Reporters:
carla Parker
R. Scott Belzer

Production Manager:
Kemesha Hunt

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.
DISPLAY ADVERTISING (404) 373-7779 x 110

is as easy as selecting your

runoff ballot and being part
of turning around DeKalbs
ebb tide. You cannot crossover from one party to another if you did vote in the
primary, but as the bulk of
our residents did not vote,
you only have to nudge
a handful of like-minded
friends and neighbors to the
polls with you to make a significant and rippling impact.
As a concerned citizen
and voter, your job is not yet
done, lets finish it.
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


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.


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 8

KMS Recycling Cougars members Sooriya Senthilkumar,

Aaditya Saha, Alexander Jovanovic, Sanjeev Anand and
Ashvij Hosdurg have used STEM projects to increase
recycling efforts in their community.

The Hightower Highbots, made up of Bryce

Marshall, Brenda Sanchez, Nasir Sheikh,
Katherine Portillo, Andy Quintanilla, Orlando
Gama and Sebastian Ramirez, have greatly
beneted from STEM programs.

Elite eight
by R. Scott Belzer

uality, rigor, availability

and substance are
not words typically
associated with an
education program, but when

conversation involves the science,

technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) program
concentration, these words seem
relevantespecially in reference to
DeKalb County.
The DeKalb County School
Distrcit (DCSD) recently

McNair Discovery Learning Academy is one of eight

DeKalb County School District schools that have received
AdvancED STEM certication.

Eight DeKalb schools gain

AdvancED STEM certification

announced eight schools have

received AdvancED STEM
certification. These schools are
Austin, Chapel Hill, Chesnut
Charter, Huntley Hills, Sagamore
Hills and Vanderlyn elementary
schools as well as Stone Mountain
Middle and McNair Discovery

Learning Academy.
The eight schools join 50
other schools in 70 nations that
have qualified for the program.
This certification also means
DCSD represents 16 percent of

See STEM on Page 12A

GRAD Continued From Page 2A

to camps. The interest to
fly has always been there.
She still wants to get into
the space program and still
has a strong desire to be an
Hill said her interest
never wavered. In addition
to being an exceptional
student with a grade point
average above a 4.0,
Roberts continued attending
engineering camps at
Georgia Tech in addition to
extracurricular activities.
Before graduating
from Towers High School,
Roberts considered many
potential destinations
before deciding on the
United States Air Force
Academy. Georgia Tech
and Embry Riddle seemed
like ideal candidates for an
engineering degree, but
she applied to the USAF
Academy as well as the US
Naval Academy.
She got accepted into
all of them, Hill said.
Roberts decided on the
Air Force. The academy
is located just outside
of Colorado Springs,
Co., offers picturesque
landscapes mountains
surrounded by expansive
green fields as well as

a modern, technologically
advanced campus. She was
immediately drawn in.
Of course, the thought
of flying in the most
advanced Air Force in
the world also played a
major role in earning her
When she graduated, I
dont know who was sadder,
me or her, Hill said. I had
become so accustomed
to visiting her out there,
enjoying the Colorado
weather and the Air Force
Academys campus. Its
Hill said Roberts never
had any complaints other
than the usual college
homesickness while
attending the academy. The
military tradition of complete
separation for more than
a month while completing
basic training also came as
a shock. However, Hill said
his daughters temperament
allowed for a smooth
Jazmind has the spirit
where she doesnt know
a stranger, she can talk
and relate to anybody, Hill
said. The Air Force is also
heavily dominated by men.
Having your daughter go

Jazmind Roberts, formerly

Jazmind Hill, with husband Justin
Roberts. The pair graduated from
the US Air Force Academy and
US Naval Academy, respectively,
before attending and graduating
from pilot school.

into an environment like that

is concerning, but she never
had any issues. She loved it
and loves it now.
Roberts was one
of 10 accepted into the
Academys Pilot School.
She was the only Black
person in her class
and isolation did hit on
occasion. Meeting other
pilot candidates from the
Peach State, in addition to
traveling to different cities to
learn different planes, kept
her focused.
Roberts married her

Sgt. Kelton Hill, father, with Rosalind Morris, mother, and US Air
Force Pilot School graduate Jazmind Roberts.

husband, Justin, a United

States Naval Academy
graduate, in Sept. 2015.
The couple met in pilot
school while Justin was
pursuing his own passions.
Currently, he is also as a
pilot for the US Navy.
They certainly joke
and try to determine who
has the better pilots, Hill
said. Her husband argues
the Navy has better pilots
because they have to land
on a moving target. Jazmind
argues Air Force pilots
patrol the skies, so they

have to know everything

about it and know how to
operate every plane.
Roberts received the
Robbie Risner award for her
intelligence, leadership and
perseverance. The award is
named after an airman who
was a prisoner of war for
seven years.
Now, Hill says
Roberts is considering the
commercial side of aviation
but is enjoying the act of
refueling planes midair in
the KC-135.


PAC Continued From Page 2A

have as many groups as
Williams, a lifelong
DeKalb County resident,
said the HGD PAC wants to
ensure honest politicians
are elected for the people.
In the race for DeKalb
County tax commissioner
in late May, Williams
said former DeKalb
Commissioner Stan
Watsons background gave
the group cause for concern.
In May of 2015, Watson
was accused by the
DeKalb County Board of
Ethics of voting to award
a $1.5 million contract to a
company he worked for.
HGD PAC did not back
Watson in the race.
We want to assist

in the election of honest,

ethical candidates while
working against those
who are not. The fact that
(Stan Watson) had ethics
complaints filed against
him and questionable
practices was a reason to
not support him, Williams
said. Thats the reason
we wanted to get involved.
The remaining candidates
(Tax Commissioner Irvin
Johnson and attorney
Susannah Scott) we ended
up endorsing both. Were left
with two candidates that you
cant question their integrity.
Now we want to leave it up
to the people.
Watson finished third in
the tax commissioner race
behind Johnson and Scott.



Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 9

With the amount of
clout HGD PAC has among
potential voters in DeKalb
County, Davis said, its
important to keep the
checks and balances among
group members.
We want to focus on
the content of the candidate.
If all of (the candidates)
are of good character and
have the experience to take
on the challenge, then we

acknowledge and support

those people, Davis said.
Davis, who has
represented the Unhappy
Taxpayer and Voter
organization for the last 20
years, said this is one of the
first times north and south
DeKalb County have come
together for a common
political goal.
In the short term, Davis
said HGD PAC was a

success, but she hopes to

see the coalition grow in the
Our shortterm
goal has already been
accomplished, Davis said.
We are able to set aside
our differences to do whats
best for the citizens of
DeKalb County. We hope
our actions will expand and
we hope to continue to work



The City of Doraville has tentatively adopted a millage rate of 8.5 which will require an increase in property
taxes by 3.14 percent. The proposed millage rate is the same as the prior year millage rate of 8.5 mills.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax increase to be held at the Doraville City
Hall located at 3725 Park Avenue, Doraville, GA 30340 on June 13, 2016 at 6:30pm.
Times and places of additional public hearings on this tax increase are at the Doraville City Hall on June 20,
2016 at 6:30pm and on June 21, 2016 at 6:30pm.
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 8.50 mills, an increase of 3.14 percent over the rollback
rate. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 8.241 mills. The proposed tax
increase for a home with a fair market value of $150,000 is approximately $9.65 and the tax increase for a
non-homestead property with a fair market value of $600,000 is approximately $62.16.
Pursuant to the requirements of O.C.G.A. Section 48-5-32 does hereby publish the following presentation of
the current years tax digest and levy, along with the history of the tax digest and levy for the past five years.
All citizens of Doraville are invited to attend.


The City of Brookhaven has tentatively

adopted a millage rate for the General
Fund which will require an increase in
property taxes by 13.64 percent over
the Rollback Millage rate. This increase
is due solely to the revaluation of
real property tax assessments. All
concerned citizens are invited to the
public hearings on this tax increase
to be held at Brookhaven City Hall at
4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven,
GA 30319. The first public hearing
will be held at 7:00 p.m. on June 7,
2016. The second public hearing will
be at special called meeting on June
21, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. and 6:01 p.m.
After the final public hearing, the
millage rate will be formally adopted.
The tentative increase will result in a
millage rate of 2.74 mills, a millage
rate equivalent increase of .329 mills.
Without this tentative tax increase,
the millage rate will be no more than
2.411 mills. The proposed tax increase
for a home with a fair market value of
$410,915 is approximately $44.20 and
the proposed tax increase for nonhomestead property with a fair market
value of $1,097,088 is approximately

Real & Personal











Motor Vehicle






Mobile Homes

Timber 100%



















Heavy Duty Equipment

Gross Tax Digest
Net Tax Digest
Net Millage
Net Tax Levy 100%
Net Increase/(Decrease)
Net Levy %





















Notice of Property Tax Increase

The Governing Authority of the City of Avondale
Estates has tentatively adopted a millage rate which
will require an increase in property taxes by 16.26
percent. All concerned citizens are invited to the public
hearings on this tax increase to be held at City Hall, 21
North Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates, GA 30002
on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at 5:30 P.M., Monday,
June 20, 2016, at 7:30 P.M., and Wednesday, June 29,
2016, at 6:00 P.M. This tentative increase will result
in a millage rate of 10.957 mills, an increase of 1.572
mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage
rate will be no more than 9.385 mills. This proposed
tax increase for a home with a fair market value of
$275,000 is approximately $173. The proposed tax
increase for a non-homestead property with a fair
market value of $225,000 is approximately $141.


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 10

Photos by Horace Holloman

A dierent look for

Dekalb History Center

eKalb History Center Executive

Director Melissa Forgey said
she wanted to bring new, creative
ideas to the exhibits on display
at DeKalb History Center. Decorative
Arts from the Permanent Collection fits
Forgeys vision by offering a fresh look at
antique art pieces.
Items belonging to DeKalb County
residents such as Caroline McKinney
Clarke, Judge Charles Whitefoord Smith
and Bishop Warren Akin Candler can be
found at the museums newest exhibit.
Im thrilled. I think it looks really great.
We did a great job, Forgey said. Its a
different way of looking at history and
looking at the individual objects by singling
them out just for their simple or really
ornate beauty.
Forgey, who has been working with the
DeKalb History Center for the past eight
years, said the exhibit is a great way to
highlight objects that havent been seen
The decorative arts collection includes
a foot stool from Smiths home, an oak
chair that was owned and used by Candler
and an arrow-back rocker donated from
lifelong Decatur resident Clarke.
However, the focal point that spurred
the exhibit is a walnut and yellow pine
bureau built by DeKalb resident Alexander
Chestnut, circa 1830 to 1850. Forgey said
the museum received the piece, donated
by Beverly Boland, just a year ago.
Its a handmade piece from about
1830 and its absolutely gorgeous. We just
wanted to make sure that we highlighted
that donation from Beverly Boland, Forgey
said. Im definitely drawn to the chest
of drawers because its very typical of

Georgia furniture before the Civil War. Its

certainly my favorite.
Some of the items in the exhibit have
not been in view for years, according
to DeKalb History Center Exhibits
Coordinator Karen Chance. Most of the
exhibit pieces come from the museums
Finding which items would work best
in the exhibit wasnt exactly easy, Chance
I was a little bit worried when we first
started out. Our collection has a great
variety of objects, but not always a lot of
any one thing. I was worried we wouldnt
have enough to do a survey of objects,
Chance said. What we ended up doing
was a sampling of what we have and we
picked out items people havent seen in
some time.
There was a lot of digging through
boxes and looking through what we had.
Some of the items on display in
the decorative arts exhibit come from
Decaturs historic Swanton House,
commonly referred to as the oldest house
in Decatur.
Taking a few items from the Swanton
House gives the pieces an opportunity
to shine in the Decorative Arts exhibit,
Chance said.
Its funny because something like
this little childs bed I never noticed in the
Swanton House, said Chance, pointing to
a wooden bed with a childs portrait above,
circa 1850. But here, it really does stand
out. Its a special piece. This is a chance
for us to show some of these items off and
I dont know when we would get another
chance to do so.
DeKalb History Center, located in the
historic DeKalb County Courthouse in
Decatur, is open Monday through Friday
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Call (844) 557-7362

His generation put a

man on the moon.
You know he has
ideas worth hearing.

At Brookdale, were looking for interesting

seniors people whove lived life to the
fullest and are hungry for more. Call us,
and find out how were
Bringing New Life to Senior Living .

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1745 Parke Plaza Circle
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30087


by Horace Holloman

Take advantage of our May Move-In offer!

2016 Brookdale Senior Living Inc. All rights reserved.

BROOKDALE SENIOR LIVING and BRINGING NEW LIFE TO SENIOR LIVING are the registered trademarks of Brookdale Senior Living Inc.



Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 11

The annual Decatur Youth Baseball Opening Day Parade was held June 4. The annual event marks the beginning of its season with a neighborhood parade. Teams make their
way from McKoy Park to Oakhurst Park for the opening day ceremony. Photos by Cheryl Burnette and Gregory White.

From left, Ann Fowlkes, Gwen Fowlkes, Mike Glenn, Decatur Commissioner Tony
Powers, Decatur Commissioner Brian Smith and Lee Williams.


DeKalb County implements changes to garbage and recycling container requirements and collection
procedures April 18, 2016.
Only county-provided garbage and recycling containers are approved for sanitation collection service.
For more info, call or visit:

(404) 294-2900


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 12

STEM Continued From Page 8A

AdvancED STEM programs
available, the largest in the
By being certified,
the schools will receive
research-based framework
and criteria for awareness,
continuous improvement
and assessment of the
quality, rigor and substance
of their STEM education
program, according to the
programs website.
AdvancED offers the first
internationally recognized
STEM certification. It
allows reviewers to
examine schools facilities
and teachers through
classroom observation,
student engagement and
DCSD received a letter
granting full AdvancED
STEM accreditation on
Jan. and has announced it
is currently preparing for a
five-year renewal.
STEM programs within
the district steer students
toward the four subjects
to harvest problem-solving
skills, technical prowess,
communication skills
and competition. District
spokespersons say using
the curriculum prepares
students for an outside

world based on technology

and modernization.
A STEM education
prepares DeKalb students
for future educational and
career opportunities, and
gives them the necessary
skills to be productive
citizens in the 21st-century
economy, said DCSD
superintendent Stephen
Through the program,
such DCSD schools as
Hightower Elementary are
able to offer a Robotics
Club to third-, fourth- and
fifth-graders to garner
creativity and teamwork.
This year, club members
Bryce Marshall, Brenda
Sanchez, Nasir Sheikh,
Katherine Portillo, Andy
Quintanilla, Orlando Gama
and Sebastian Ramirez
won in such categories as
Strategy & Innovation
at state competitions at
Georgia Tech.
STEM clubs have
transformed from an
extracurricular activity to an
agent for change in some
instances. The Hightower
Robotics Club also earned
accolades for developing
a tumbler compost bin.
Kittredge Magnet Schools

Robotics Club, which also

placed well, went on to
become the KMS Recycling
Earlier this year,
the Recycling Cougars,
made up of Sooriya
Senthilkumar, Aaditya
Saha, Alexander
Jovanovic, Sanjeev Anand

and Ashvij Hosdurg,

recycled 700 plastic bottles
and participated in the
Lexus Ecochallenge, where
more than 600 signatures
pledging to better the
environment were collected.
Green said AdvancED
STEM certification will
move the district forward

in its established STEM

For more information
on DCSDs involvement
with AdvancED STEM
certification, visit http://


The Decatur City Commission has tentatively adopted a
combined millage rate of 10.68 mills for maintenance and
operations which will require an increase in property taxes
of 1.61% for fiscal year 2016-2017. This is a reduction
from the millage rate of 11.08 mills that was adopted for
the current fiscal year 2015-2016 which generates revenue
necessary to fund the City of Decaturs general operations,
downtown development authority and capital improvements.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing
on this tax increase to be held at the City Commission
Meeting Room, Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough
Street, Decatur, on Monday, June 20, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 10.68
mills, an increase of 0.169 mills over the rollback millage
rate. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate
will be no more than 10.511 mills. The proposed tax
increase for a home with a fair market value of $400,000
is approximately $30.42 and the proposed tax increase
for a nonhomestead property with a fair market value of
$475,000 is approximately $40.14.

The Mayor and Council of the City of Pine Lake does hereby announce that the millage rate will be set at a meeting to be
held in the Courtroom/Council Chambers, 459 Pine Drive, Pine Lake GA 30072 on June 28, 2016 at 7:30 PM and pursuant
to O.C.G.A. Section 48-5-32 does hereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest and levy along
with the history of the tax digest and levy for the past five years.
A public hearing will be held at 7:00 PM immediately prior to the 7:30 PM meeting on June 28, 2016 at the above location.
The public is invited to attend and be heard.


Real & Personal
Motor Vehicles

























Mobile Homes
Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest
Less M& O Exemptions
























Net M&O Millage







Net Taxes Levied

Net M & O Digest

State Forest Land Assistance
Grant Value
Adjusted Net M&O Digest
Gross M&O Millage


Less Rollbacks







Net Taxes $ Increase/Decrease







Net Taxes % Increase/Decrease








Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 13

Front row from left: Carla Parker, Donna Seay, Carolyn Glenn, Bill Crane; second row from left: Gale
Horton Gay, John Hewitt, Travis Hudgons; third row from left: Kathy Mitchell, Scott Belzer and Dr.
Earl Glenn. Photo by Rick Hammell

The Champion again recognized for journalistic excellence

The Champion again received the

designation of first-place in General
Excellence during Georgia Press
Associations annual convention and Better
Newspaper Contest held June 3 at Jekyll
Island Club in Jekyll Island. The 2016
recognition is the eighth consecutive year the
newspaper has been recognized as the best
overall newspaper in its weekly division.
In addition to the General Excellence
award, The Champion was awarded the
First Place: Lifestyle coverage,feature
photo, newspaper website and special issue.
Second-place: Business coverage, feature
photo, hard news writing, photo essay,

editorial writing and best web photo. Thirdplace: Editorial cartoonist, hard news writing,
religion coverage, community service and
layout and design.
Attending the two-day conference
representing The Champion were publisher
Carolyn Glenn, co-publisher Dr. Earl
Glenn, chief operating officer John
Hewitt, sports editor and beat reporter
Carla Parker, education editor and beat
reporter Scott Belzer, photographer Travis
Hudgons, social media coordinator Donna
Seay, lifestyle editor Gale Horton Gay
and business editor Kathy Mitchell. Also
attending the convention was contributing
writer Bill Crane.

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to O.C.G.A.
36-35-4(a)(3), that the Board of Mayor and
Commissioners of the City of Avondale Estates is
considering an ordinance to provide compensation to
the members of said municipal governing authority.
The ordinance under consideration would provide a
stipend of $600 per month for the Mayor and $400
per month for Commissioners. Such ordinance may
be adopted by the BOMC at its regular meeting to be
held Monday, June 20th, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at City
Hall, 21 N. Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates, GA

Current 2016 Tax Digest and 5-Year History of Levy

The Governing Authority of the City of Avondale Estates does hereby announce that the milage rate will be set at a meeting to be held at City Hall, 21 North Avondale
Plaza, Avondale Estates, GA 30002 on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at 6:00 P.M. There will be public hearings on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at 5:30 P.M., Monday, June
20, 2016, at 7:30 P.M., and Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at 6:00 P.M.

City of Avondale Estates

Real & Personal
Motor Vehicles







































































Mobile Homes
Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest
Less M&O Exemptions
Net M&O Digest
State Forest Land Assistance Grant Value
Adjusted Net M&O Digest
Gross M&O Millage
Less Rollbacks
Net M&O Millage
Total City Taxes Levied
Net Taxes $ Increase
Net Taxes % Increase


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 14

Avondale Estates seeks

to protect tree canopy
by Carla Parker

A property tax increase has been proposed by Lithonia mayor and city council to provide more
services. Photo by Carla Parker

Lithonia residents speak out

against proposed tax increase
by Carla Parker
Some Lithonia residents are not happy
about a proposed tax increase.
The mayor and city council tentatively
adopted a millage rate which will represent
a 4.64 percent increase in property taxes.
The proposed tax increase will allow
the city to improve the level of services
provided to residents, according to the city.
The tentative increase of 0.732 mills
brings the millage rate to 16.500. Without
the proposed tax increase, the millage
rate will be no more than 15.768 mills,
according to the city.
If approved, this will be the fifth
consecutive year the city increases
property taxes.
The city held a public hearing June
6 on the proposed tax increase where
residents expressed their disapproval of
the tax hike.
Im against it because my taxes went
up last year and this means it goes up
again, along with my insurance, Lewis
Rainey said.
Reba Smith, who said she lives on
a fixed income, suggested the city make
some cuts instead of raising taxes.
Were hoping that the city, the
mayor and the council look at their own
individual corporate budget to see where
theres maybe some room for reductions
in salaries, miscellaneous expenses,

whatever you all can do to represent the

city without having to increase the millage
rate, Smith said.
Mayor Deborah Jackson said the
council understands that many residents
live on a fixed income.
The overall goal is to look at a way to
be able to increase the services provided
to the citizens and it usually takes more
money and staff to do that, Jackson said.
The proposed tax increase for a home
with a fair market value of $44,202 is
approximately $13, according to the city.
The proposed increase on non-homestead
property with a fair market value of $76,926
is approximately $23.
Former Lithonia city council member
and state representative Doreen Carter
(D-92) said there is no justification or
benefit to pay taxes in the city due to the
lack of services.
There is absolutely nothing as a
homeowner that I can say that I have
benefited with the continued increase of
the property taxes, Carter said. There
are some things the council should really
look into as it comes to being fiduciarily
responsible of peoples money and I would
encourage you to not increase our property
taxes again, and that you guys work really
hard to figure out how you need to cut,
eliminate or figure out another way.
The city will hold its final public hearing
on the proposed increase on June 20 at
6:30 at city hall.

A committee has drafted a residential tree ordinance

to protect and promote a healthy tree canopy in Avondale
The Avondale Estates Ad-Hoc Committee for
Greenspace was formed in 2015 with the task to develop
a draft tree ordinance for residential properties, according
to the committee. Before drafting the ordinance, the
committee looked at other municipal tree ordinances,
issues relating to tree protection, removal and
replacement, and the findings of the citys previous tree
ordinance committee.
According to the committee, the ordinance is intended
to minimize burdens of inconvenience or cost on
residents who want to remove certain trees from their
properties as a matter of routine maintenance or personal
preference, not associated with any other construction
The ordinance does not forbid all tree removals. Trees
that may be removed include:
trees below a minimum size threshold, such as pines
with a trunk diameter less than 12 inches and any
other trees with a trunk diameter less than eight
non-native, invasive species trees of any size;
dead trees;
diseased, severely damaged or declining trees of any
size with approval in writing by a certified arborist;
and trees that are an immediate hazard or create a
threat to the safety of the property owners, provided
that a notice is given to the city at the time of removal.
The ordinance allows for routine removal of trees
that are not exempt for routine maintenance or personal
preference. Removal of non-exempt treesassociated
with any sort of constructionrequires a permit. The
ordinance also provides for tree removal within a
construction zone, but encourages the retention of existing
trees, according to the committee.
City staff will review the drafted ordinance for
compliance and in reference to other city ordinances,
according to the committee.
It is meant to be a stand-alone section within the citys
current tree ordinance for the other property designations,
the committee stated. Once the city has reviewed the
document, the [committee] anticipates that this draft will be
presented for public comment and further consideration by
the [board of mayor and commissioners].


Fiscal Year 2017 Budget
Notice is hereby given that the proposed budget for the City of Doraville shall be available for public inspection beginning June 3, 2016, in the City Clerks office from 8:30 to
4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at City Hall, 3725 Park Avenue, Doraville, GA.

2nd and 3rd PUBLIC

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


11:30 a.m.

A Public Hearing shall be held on the 13th day of June at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3725
Park Avenue, Doraville, GA before the Mayor and Council of the City of Doraville at
which time public comment pertaining to the Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 through
June 30, 2017) budget shall be sounded. All citizens of Doraville are invited to attend.
A Public Hearing shall be held on the 20th day of June at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3725
Park Avenue, Doraville, GA before the Mayor and Council of the City of Doraville at
which time public comment pertaining to the Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 through
June 30, 2017) budget shall be sounded. All citizens of Doraville are invited to attend.
A Regular Meeting shall be held on the 20th day of June at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3725
Park Avenue, Doraville, GA before the Mayor and Council of the City of Doraville at
which time the Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017) budget shall be
approved and the budget ordinance adopted in accordance with O.C.G.A. 36-81-5. All
citizens of Doraville are invited to attend.


J. David Williamson Board Room

Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


6:15 p.m.


J. David Williamson Board Room

Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Citizens interested in reviewing a detailed copy of the program

based budget may do so by visiting the DeKalb County School
District website at www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 15

Teacher hiring, retention a problem in DeKalb schools

by R. Scott Belzer
According to DeKalb
County School District
(DCSD) parents, teachers,
administrators and public
officials, there are not
enough teachers coming
to and staying in DeKalb
For two months in a row,
DCSD has shown more than
300 teacher-specific job
openings in both regular and
special education. As of May
9, the district reported 334
vacancies in the classroom,
a number that increased to
391 as of June 6.
In May, Leo McAuley
Brown, the countys chief
human capital management
officer, said DCSD reported
more than Clayton, Fulton
and Henry counties as
well as the Atlanta Public
Schools district in teacher
vacancies. As of the May
report, Gwinnett County had
the most vacancies with
345. A similar report was not
published for the public in
DCSDs problems seem
to lie with not only bringing
teachers into the district, but
keeping them there. Brown
said the average stay for a
teacher in DeKalb County
was three to five years.
In May, Brown reported
hiring eight teachers and
58 non-contract employees
throughout April. Of these
58 non-contract employees,
11 were substitute teachers.
In the same month, the
district lost three teachers
to retirement and 10 to
Brown reported hiring
six teachers and 50
non-contract employees
throughout May on June 6.
Of those 50 non-contract
employees, 37 were
classified as substitute
teachers. The district
reported 80 employees
left the district in the same
month, 30 of whom were
Tucker resident Kirk
Lunde addressed the
DCSD school board during
its public input session
regarding the importance of
having teachers on hand.
[There were]
approximately 25,000
times where there was no
substitute in the classroom,
Lunde said. That cannot be
allowed to continue.
Lunde said 24,522
instances occurred in the

2015-2016 school year in

which no teachers and no
substitutes were available in
DCSD classrooms.
His concerns did not fall
on deaf ears.
Quite frankly and very
pointedly, if we as a school
district are going to shift the
paradigm for recruitment,
we are going to have do
things differently, said
Brown during the board of
educations work session.
Brown outlined
three main strategies
in combating DCSDs
teacher vacancy numbers:
substitutes, a summer
job fair and developing a
qualified applicant list.
In addition, Brown
and the board approved a
$1,000 to $3,000 signing
bonus based on experience
and a $500 retention bonus
for all employees, not just
Brown said,
[Substitutes] who worked
alongside us tirelessly
and diligently warranted
opportunities for certification
and similar incentives. He
said hosting a certified
teacher job fair would assist
in keeping employment
engagement going on a
smaller scale.
We do a poor job of
engaging stakeholders in
my position, Brown said.
What we do is engage
them on the day of the job
fair and drop them the exact
same day; thats a poor
practice and that is going to
To implement this
change, Brown proposed
maintaining a list of qualified
teacher candidates. A
qualified applicant list,
made up of teachers who
have completed a DCSD
application, were considered
but not hired, will remain on
hand for principals in the
If you have 200
applicants for a job and
you happen to select your
chosen candidate in the
first 20 you look at, you still
have 180 people who are
qualified and probably need
a job somewhere, Brown
Brown went on to say
DCSDs exit interview
process was ineffective
in ascertaining specific
reasons for teachers not
staying in DeKalb County.
District board members
Joyce Morley and Vickie
Turner attributed some of

DeKalb County School District board chairman Melvin Johnson and superintendent Stephen Green
discussed teacher shortages with staff and the public. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

these problems to fear of

Is it a new day, or not?
Turner said. We have some

historical [problems] that

have weighed us down,
but either we acknowledge
were in a new day, under

new administration, with a

new superintendent who
has a new way of doing
things or were perpetrating.

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who use marijuana often start by age 14. Start an on-going
conversation about drugs by 4th or 5th grade.
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Let your child know that it is fine to walk away from someone, including a
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ride home. Be Safe DeKalb!

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At their regular meeting on June 14, 2016, The Board of Education
of the City of Decatur will tentatively adopt a millage which will
remain the same as the Fiscal Year 2016 millage rate of 18.66
mills; however due to property reassessments, this will represent an
average increase of 5.21% in property taxes.
All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on this tax
increase to be held at the Board Room of the Central Office, 125
Electric Avenue, Decatur, Georgia on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at
8:00 a.m.
Times and places of additional public hearings on this tax increase
are at the Board Room of the Central Office, 125 Electric Avenue,
Decatur, Georgia on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00
This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 18.66 mills,
an increase of 0.924 mills over the rollback millage. The rollback
millage rate is calculated to produce the same total revenue on
the current years digest that last years millage rate would have
produced had no reassessments occurred. Without this tentative
tax increase, the rollback millage rate will be no more than 17.736
mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value
of $400,000 is approximately $185 and the proposed tax increase
for nonhomestead property with a fair market value of $475,000 is
approximately $220.


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 16




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DISCLAIMER: We do not knowingly accept advertisements that discriminate, or intend to discriminate, on any illegal basis. Nor do we knowingly accept employment advertisements that are not
bona-fide job offers. All real estate advertisements are subject to the fair housing act and we do not accept advertising that is in violation of the law. The law prohibits discrimination based on color,
religion, sex, national origin, handicap or familial status.


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 17

New Decatur store to benefit from crafting trends

by Kathy Mitchell

odays young adults may not

be making their own clothing,
but theyre still picking up
needle and thread for a variety
of craft projects, and thats good
news for the Jo-Ann Fabric and
Craft Store that opened recently at
the revitalized Suburban Plaza in
While the store has products
and inspiration for people of all
ages, according to Shauntina
Lilly, public relations associate
planner at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft
Stores, young adults especially
are taking an interest in crafting.
Weve noticed an upswing in
millennials shopping at our stores,
she said, noting that the typical
customer is female. The millennial
generation, as defined by Pew
Research, is made up of those now
in young adulthood through mid30s,
We have noticed that making
is more popular than its been
in yearssignificantly among
millennials who are inspired by selfexpression. People are also sewing
in nontraditional ways for crafting
projects. Pinterest is a platform
that many of our customers use
for sewing inspiration, and Jo-Ann
keeps a mix of innovative project

ideas on our page to help spark the

creativity that lives in us all, Lilly
Jo-Ann stores offer items for
sewing, needlework, home and
floral design, baking and other arts
and crafts projects.
She noted that the store keeps
track of emerging craft trends.
Right now, pom-poms are a
major trend across the country,
and as Jo-Ann is a local source
for craft and fabric enthusiasts,
they are able to shop our
expanded selection of these furry
embellishments, Lilly said. What
catapulted the craze was notable
designers using pom-poms in many
of their designs during the 2015 fall
fashion week.
Another big trend right now,

according to Lilly, is fairy gardens,

which she describes as charming,
miniature landscapes with figurines
and various themes, adding that
they are very popular right now
with our customers for the spring
and summer seasons. Jo-Ann has
all of the products to make a fairy
garden from start to finish including
pottery, moss, figurines and more.
Lilly said while there is a
steady flow of crafters year-round,
Halloween and the holiday season
are especially busy times for JoAnn. She observed that increasing
numbers of customers show an
interest in make-it-yourself projects
around the fall and winter holidays.
That is in part due to exclusivity.
Hand making items for yourself
or someone else is a gratifying
feeling as they are personalized
and tailored to that persons taste,
and this holds true for Halloween
costumes and Christmas gifts,
as well as outfitting the home for
these holidays. Also during the
holiday season, many people look
to Jo-Ann to gather supplies and
products for charitable giving to
brighten up the season for those in
As a city whose average
resident age is 38.3 that is home to
many artists, Decatur may prove to
be a good location for the national

chain. The Decatur community has

been anticipating a Jo-Ann store
for quite some time now, Lilly said.
Weve had great success thus far,
and our neighboring businesses
have been very accommodating;
someeven participated with
our grand opening event. Our
customers consistently share
feedback that theyre glad we are
here. Decatur is a great market for
us and were happy to be here.
The store in Decatur will offer
the community a large assortment
of the crafting, sewing, seasonal
and home-decor items, Lilly said.
Plus, this brand new store has a
classroom to support our education
and party hosting programs. We
want to provide our customers in
every community with all of the
products and inspiration they need
whether they are beginners or
experts, and new stores like this
one in Decatur help us accomplish
that goal.
The Decatur Jo-Ann, she said,
will host of education courses for
children and adults, taught by
expert instructors. The hands-on
classes include those in sewing,
cake decorating, quilting, knit and
crochet and kids crafts.
Founded in 1943, Jo-Ann has
more than 800 locations in 49

The City of Brookhaven City Council does hereby announce that the millage rate will be set at a meeting to be
held at the Brookhaven City Hall on on June 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and pursuant to the requirements of O.C.G.A. Section
48-5-32 does hereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest and levy, along with the history of the tax
digest and levy for the past five years.


Spec Tax Dist #1






Real & Personal




Motor Vehicles
Mobile Homes
Timber - 100%
Heavy Duty Equipment
Gross Digest



Net M & O Digest

State Forest Land Assistance
Grant Value



Adjusted Net M&O Digest





Less M& O Exemptions

Gross M&O Millage

Less Rollbacks
Net M&O Millage
Total County Taxes Levied
Net Taxes $ Increase
Net Taxes % Increase
























Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 18

West takes down

east in senior
all-star classic
by Mark Brock
Despite a lightning
delay and rain showers,
the West Senior All-Stars
jumped out to a 7-0 lead on
the way to an 8-2 victory
over the East squad in the
14th Annual DeKalb County
School District Senior AllStar Baseball Classic at
the Georgia State Baseball
Complex on May 31.
The win gave the West
a sweep of Junior and
Senior All-Star games, and
the West Seniors evened
the series with the East at
two games apiece since
the format changed to the
East vs. West matchup in
Back-to-back RBI
singles by Chamblees
Justin Johnson and Cedar
Groves Travon Hardnett
in the second inning jump
started the West offense.
St. Pius Garrett
Gooden meanwhile struck
out five and allowed two

hits and one walk in 2 2/3

innings before the lightning
delayed the game for over
an hour. Lakesides Jaret
Barr made a pinpoint throw
to the plate to cut down
Stephensons Corey Forde
at home as catcher Drew
Hinton of Lakeside made
the tag to keep the game
tied at 0-0.
After the delay,
Columbias Charlie
Johnson entered the game
to pitch and struck out the
first batter to end the top of
the third with the West still
holding a 2-0 lead.
Columbias Jamari
Johnson started the
bottom of the third with
a walk and stole second
and third before Decaturs
Jalen Sprull doubled to
increase the lead West to
Sprull would steal
third and score on a wild
pitch and Lakesides Drew
Hinton would hit a two-out
single to plate Barr to make

Redans Walter Jordan was named the East MVP and St. Pius Garrett Gooden was named the West
MVP. Photo by Mark Brock

it a 5-0 lead after three

innings of play.
Johnsons ground out
to the shortstop scored a
run in the top of the fourth
and pinch-hitter Shaquille
Hickson of McNair drove
in Johnson as the lead
ballooned to 7-0.
The East got on the
scoreboard in the top of
the fifth on a RBI single by
Redans Walter Jordan

and an error on the West

that allowed Clarkstons
Jayson Harrell to score as
he stole third.
Decaturs Boyd
Brim gave the West an
insurance run with a RBI
single in the bottom of the
fifth to plate Druid Hills
Curtis Jamerson to make
the final of 8-2.
Gooden was named
the West MVP with his 2

2/3 innings of scoreless

time on the mound while
Jordan took the East
MVP honors with his 2-2
performance as the only
batter to pick up more than
one hit in the game.
Jamari Johnson set
a new record for steals in
the All-Star Classic with
three on the night to break
the record of two held by
numerous participants.

West defeats east in county junior all-star baseball classic

by Mark Brock
St. Pius X outfielder Kennet
Sorenson drove in five runs to
lead the West Junior All-Stars to a
13-6 victory over the East Junior
All-Stars in the eighth Annual
DeKalb County School District
Junior All-Star Baseball Classic
at the Georgia State Baseball
Complex on May 31.
The win propelled the West to
a 3-1 series lead since the format
changed to an East-West matchup
in 2013.
The East jumped in front 1-0
in the bottom of the first inning
as Miller Grove shortstop Daniel
Harris singled with two out to
score Stephensons Latrell Wyatt.
West right fielder Shota Barbeau
of Dunwoody ended the inning
without further damage as he
nailed Harris with a throw third
on a single by Arabia Mountains
Aaron Douglas.
The score was still 1-0
heading to the top of the third
when the West took advantage of
three walks and an East error to
plate four runs to take the lead for
good at 4-1.

Stephensons Chrestian Adams was named the East MVP and St. Pius Kennet
Sorenson was named the West MVP. Photo by Mark Brock

Druid Hills Harrison Aiken

tied the game at 1-1 with a
fielders choice after the West had
loaded the bases with nobody
out. Decaturs Alex Glier drew
a bases-loaded walk to drive in

the go-ahead run and Druid Hills

Naftali Robbins added an RBI
single. Sorenson picked up the
first of his five RBI, with a sacrifice
fly to make it 4-1.
The West pushed the lead

out to 6-1 on a fifth-inning RBI

double from Glier and sixth-inning
RBI single by Columbias Marvin
The East showed life in the
bottom half of the sixth, picking up
a RBI single by Stone Mountains
Michael Williams and a West
error to cut the lead to 6-3.
A four-run inning in the
seventh helped the West pretty
much seal the victory as Sorenson
stroked a three-run triple with
the bases loaded and then came
home to score on a wild pitch as
the lead expanded to 10-3.
The East picked up single
runs in the seventh on a Morris
RBI double and in the eighth on
a West error to make it a 10-5
Sorenson picked up his
fifth RBI of the game with a
single in the top of the ninth to
start a three-run rally for a 13-5
advantage for the West. Cedar
Groves Jenard Morris had a
RBI triple and Barbeau singled in
Morris to account for the final two
runs of the inning.

See Baseball on Page 19A


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 19

No more
road to Macon

Photo by Travis Hudgons

GHSA moves
basketball finals
to UGA, GA Tech
by Carla Parker
Basketball goals will be in the
proper place in next years high
school basketball championship
gamesand in new locations.
The Georgia High School
Association, the University
of Georgia and Georgia
Tech announced May 26 that

agreements have been reached

to hold the 2017 GHSA state
basketball tournament at the
two colleges. The tournament is
returning to Georgia Tech for the
first time since 2003 and will be
the first ever for the University of
The University of Georgia
and Georgia Tech have two of
the premier basketball complexes
in the state, GHSA Executive
Director Gary Phillips said. Both
schools worked tirelessly with
the GHSA to devise a schedule
that eliminates any conflict
between the state championship
games and the Bulldogs and
Yellow Jackets own use of these
marvelous facilities. The primary

BASEBALL Continued From Page 19A

The East scored one final run in the bottom
of the ninth on Chrestian Adams RBI ground out
to plate Redans Javeon Cody.
Aiken pitched the middle four innings to pick
up the win for the West while Tuckers Makai
Holloway took the loss for the East with a tough
one inning outing in the third.
The West offense was led by West MVP
Sorenson (2-4, five RBI) along with Glier (2-3,
two RBI), Khalil Manuel (2-4) and Morris (2-5, 1
The East was led by MVP Adams (3-5, one
run scored, one RBI), Cody (3-5), Harris (2-5, two
RBI) and Douglas (2-5, one run scored).

goal of the GHSA is to promote

the best interests of Georgias
high school student-athletes, and
we are thrilled at the experience
these venues will offer to the
teams, their schools, and their
After the 2016 state
basketball tournament in
March, GHSA confirmed that
the basketball goals were not
at the regulation length for all
championship games at the
Centreplex in Macon. The
stanchions that support the
baskets were placed roughly
one foot farther back from the
baseline than regulations require.
The baskets are supposed to
measure 15 feet from the foul

line; however, they were placed

16 feet from the foul line.
Several coaches from DeKalb
County said they believed the
placement of the backboards
affected their team and the
quality of play.
UGAs Stegeman Coliseum
will host eight championship
games March 8-9, 2017. Georgia
Techs McCamish Pavilion
will host the eight remaining
championship games March 1011, 2017. The tournament will
tip-off at 2 p.m. on each day. The
order and facility assignment
for the 16 championship games
have not yet been determined,
according to GHSA.


Friday, June 10, 2016 Page 20

Tips given to avoid

mosquitoes, Zika virus
by Carla Parker

There have been 17

confirmed cases of the Zika
virus in Georgia and the
Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention has released
tips to the public on how to
keep yards mosquito-free.
The Zika virus spreads
to people primarily through
the bite of an infected Aedes
species mosquito, according
to the CDC. Symptoms of
Zika virus include fever,
rash, joint pain, and red
eyes. Symptoms can last for
several days to a week after
being bitten by an infected
mosquito, according to the
Brookhaven gave
residents tips for fighting
mosquitoes this summer,
as well as steps the citys
stormwater department is
taking to help control the
mosquito population. The 10
tips the city provided to keep

yards mosquito-free are:

Empty and throw away or

recycle old bottles, cans
and plastic containers.
Clean gutters to allow
proper drainage.
Turn buckets, baby pools,
and boats upside down
when not in use. Check
rims and indentations
Change water in birdbaths,
ornamental ponds and
fountains at least once a
week. Aeration also helps.
Tightly cover rain barrels
and open ends of drainage
pipes with fine meshed
Wash and take old tires to
a tire drop off location for
Fill tree holes or place
Bacillus thuringiensis

israelensis (Bti) inside

where water collects.
Empty water from outside
containers such as flower
pots, vases and dishes.
Repair leaky water
faucets, hoses and air
conditioners to avoid
stagnant puddles.

Clean excess vegetation

from ponds and stock
them with fish.
The CDC also
recommends that while
outdoors, individuals should
wear protective clothing and
use EPA-registered insect

Brookhaven stormwater
management crews monitor
public land for mosquito
outbreaks, according to
the city. They also sweep
the streets regularly and
maintain storm drains in
public right-of-ways on a
routine basis to remove
debris where mosquitoes
may lay eggs.