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the DeKalb FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 VOL. 21, NO.


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

Connecting to
the authentic self
Shannon Willows artwork seeks to
better the world through self-reflection
by R. Scott Belzer to prayers and mantras to override the less-serving self-talk, according to
Willows artist statement. Clarkston artist Shannon Willows work is made to connect the viewer
to their authentic self and be reminded of natures value to society.
According to Clarkston artist Willow said the trees convey Photo by R. Scott Belzer
Shannon Willow, changing the Earth her passion for writing, nature and
for the better begins with changing pushing fine art to a new limit.
internal perspectives. Ive always been a writer and
[My work] offers energetic words interested in the typography piece,
of strength and encouragement to love Willow said. Ive included words
and care for yourself first, so you may and type in paintings even though
love those in your life more deeply, its against the fine art laws. I really
reads Willows artist statement. By want to engage the audience in that
seeking to heal ourselves, we begin to emotional piece of healing yourself.
heal our communities and ultimately When you heal yourself, you start to
our world. heal the world.
Willow, an Atlanta transplant from The worldincluding such
Indiana and Clarkston resident for inhabitants as birds, rivers, creeks
10 years, graduated from Ball State and treesis put on display in
University with a fine arts and graphic Willows artwork. She said part of her
design degree. Since graduating, inspiration for such subject matter
shes devoted herself to painting. comes from two years spent handling
It really gives me a way to share birds of prey, one of which reoccurs
my heart with people, whats really throughout her work.
inside of me, Willow said. Its really I saw the magnificent power,
important that artists understand their that rawness in nature, Willow said.
value and be able to convey clearly to Handling birds, you have to be so
their audience what their value is. Art mindful that these are wild animals
changes lives. that have thousands of pounds of
Willow said the goal of her art pressure in their talons. Its a very
primarily consisting of oil-canvas in-the-moment experience to have.
paintingsis to change one life at a When I first handled an owl, she flew
time. in from a back tree and opened her
The paintings typically feature a wings. When she landed on the perch,
tree constructed of words against a she swallowed the prey, and closed
nature-oriented background void of her eyes. The shape of the feather
humans or human construction. The pattern on her eyelids was the same
words, which usually make up the shape as the eye opened. I still get
trunk portion, are dedicated to an idea, chills telling that story; there are so
emotion or theme. Some paintings many details in nature that we are too
feature multiple trees representing busy or self-involved to notice. It was
multiple focal points. a life-changing experience for me.
While viewers take in the paintings Willows work also features non-
mix of bright colors, they are also traditional books. Her Clarkston
instructed to read each painting studio boasts a tree book interactive
and observe that water, trees and sculpture that functions as a readable
the creatures show up to express book and performance art piece.
our interconnectedness to all living You can turn the pages and be
things [the] talking trees give tongue Shannon Willows Tree Book sculpture encompasses her
See Willow on page 5 multifaceted talent and environmental awareness. Photo submitted.

Visit for local, real DeKalb County news.



On Sept. 18, the Decatur commission formally agreed that the Confederate monument located in Decatur square in downtown should be removed.

Whats next for Decatur Confederate monument?

siding with those who want to see the from displayfor the purpose of she had spoken with DeKalb County
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN monument removed. preventing the visible display, of any CEO Michael Thurmond and was told The resolution, submitted by Confederate monuments. Thurmond would seek legal counsel
commissioner Tony Powers, formally If you havent heard me say it, regarding the matter.
opposed the monument and urged Ill say it now. I am against White As of Sept. 21, DeKalb County
The fate of the Confederate changes be made to a state law supremacy and I am against any officials said the county had not taken
monument located in the square in that would allow local officials the form of oppression. Ive said from a formal stance on the monument,
behind the historic courthouse in discretion to remove Confederate day one that we will work on this as which sits on county-owned property.
downtown Decatur, is still uncertain. monuments. a community and that has been my Because the monument is owned
While some have urged local officials Currently, under state law reaction from day one, said Powers. by the county, DeKalb officials would
to leave the monument where it is and OCCG 50-3-1 (b) (1), it is unlawful The resolution passed have to seek a change in the state
preserve history, others want it moved to mutilate, deface, defile, or unanimously. law by the legislature if they want to
to a museum. abuse contemptuously or for local During the city commission remove it.
On Sept. 18, the Decatur City governments to remove or conceal meeting, Mayor Patti Garrett said
Commission passed a resolution


Protecting, defending and advancing communities

Nonprofit expands legal department for immigrants in metro Atlanta
BY R. SCOTT BELZER dedicated litigator on
staff, we can explore other ways in which our
government discriminates
According to Asian against members of our
Americans Advancing Justice community based on color
Atlanta (AAAJA) executive of our skin, languages we
director Stephanie Cho, speak, countries were from,
the current social climate religions we practice and
demands action. our immigration statuses,
Our mission is to protect, Nguyen said.
defend and advance the civil Examples provided by
rights of Asian Americans Nguyen include drivers
AMEMSA communities, which license denial, refusal of
includes Arab, Middle Eastern, language service in a medical
Muslim and South Asian situation or court of law and
immigrants and refugees, targeted law enforcement
Cho said. We do not have discrimination.
adequate legal services These are all situations
for low-income Asians and where we can determine
Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta held a press conference Sept. 21 outlining its legal goal
Pacific Islanders in AMEMSA of ending racial discrimination in Americas legal system. Photo submitted. whether rights have been
communities. As the political violated and, if so, what you
climate shifts, our civil rights There, AAJA introduced Nguyen said. Unfortunately, Asian American community can do about that legally,
are also, as Asian Americans, its new litigation director Phi sometimes our laws fail to are already being challenged. Nguyen said. Were here as a
at riskparticularly in the Nguyen. Nguyen has eight do that. When our leaders She said AAAJA was a resource. Well do everything
South. years of experience defending do not cooperate and try plaintiff in a recent lawsuit in our power to make sure
Cho and other officials doctors and said shes excited to fix that, one of the most restoring the right to vote to our laws treat our community
from Norcross-based AAAJA to bring that experience to powerful ways to hold them thousands of voters in the lawfully and fairly.
called a press conference immigrants and refugees. accountable is challenging November 2016 election and AAAJA also introduced a
Sept. 21 announcing the Our laws are supposed to discriminatory and unfair laws the 6th Congressional District new legal fellow, Amy Willis,
expansion of its legal services treat everyone justly and fairly in court. election. who will help implement
at Doraville Civic Center, regardless of where we come Nguyen said laws Now, with the expansion
located at 3770 Central from or what we look like, preventing voting in the of our legal team and SEE CONFERENCE ON PAGE 9A

AVONDALE graduation.
Christine Hamilton was promoted to
Center at the event to receive free admission.
Attendees are asked to RSVP.

ESTATES the director of campus life. Hamilton will

oversee all aspects of campus life, including
For more information, visit www.
facilities and food service. According to
Lantern parade coming soon
GPTC representatives, Hamilton has served as
coordinator of clubs and organizations at the
Avondale Estates will host a Lantern Parade college in the past.
Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www. Im pleased three seasoned administrators have joined the Georgia Piedmont team for
the fall semester, said GPTC president Jabari Trees Atlanta to host annual sale
Simama. Together, they possess many years
Wine stroll details annouced of proven leadership at several institutions of
Trees Atlanta will host its annual fundraiser
at Dunwoodys Brook Run Parklocated at
Avondale Estates will host its annual Wine Sip higher learning. Im confident each of them 4770 N. Peachtree Roadon Oct. 14 from 8
n Stroll Oct. 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets should will make valuable contributions to Georgia a.m. until 2 p.m.
be purchased as soon as possible as glasses Piedmont. The fundraiserwhich helps benefit Trees
are limited. Attendees can pick up a wine glass For more information, visit Atlantas planting and education programs
and passport program on N. Avondale Road will feature hundreds of the best native
at Oak Street and stroll through Avondale Amani Women Center to host health and exotic plants available, according to
Estates. There will be 20 stops throughout workshop organization representatives. The event will
the business district featuring regional wines include trees, shrubs, native perennials and
from United Distributors. Tickets start at $30 The Amani Women Centerlocated at tree-friendly vines.
(cash/check only) at Purple Corkscrew and $45 3550 Clarkston Industrial Blvd., Ste. Fwill Attendees will also have the opportunity to
after Oct. 1. For more information, visit www. host A New Paradigm to Healthy Living on speak with experts and certified arborists. Sept. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event will help facilitate
A New Paradigm for Healthy Living is a the planting of more than 6,000 trees and
conscious health series workshop presented the education of more than 8,000 Atlanta

BROOKHAVEN by Raj Mehta. The program will feature the

role of spices, herbs, water, food components,
For more information, visit www.
meat consumption and sugar in the average
City to host parents night out diet.

Mehta, who hosts free yoga classes at
Brookhaven will host Parents Night Out on Oct.
the center each Monday at 6 p.m., will also
13, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Lynwood Community
Center. The event allows parents to drop off their discuss simple practices to benefit health as
children on a Friday and have time to themselves. well as herbal remedies known to remedy and
The event will include dinner, games, activities prevent common illnesses. LakeFest details announced
and options to keep children entertained. Pre- My goal is to help the community by
registration is required by the preceding Wednesday improving peoples overall wellbeing, The 17th Annual LakeFest will welcome
and pickup is promptly at 9 p.m. Cost is $15 per child; Mehta said. Were committed to helping the visitors to Pine Lake on Oct. 7 and 8 for its
ages: 5-12. The community center is located at 3360 community. Let food be your medicine. annual fall celebration. According to a release,
Osborne Road. For more information, contact Mehta LakeFest curates a group of 50 artists and
by calling (404) 932-5545 or visit www. crafts people of all disciplines to display their
wares around the lake. All-day music from
local and regional performers, family games
and contests, a pet show, and a Sound of
Nature tour of the lake and park are some
Georgia Piedmont welcomes new admins
DECATUR of the weekends planned activities. Festival
hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 7, and noon
Georgia Piedmont Technical College to 6 p.m. on Oct. 8. Admission and parking are
(GPTC)located at 495 N. Indian Creek Wylde Center hosts Smores For All free.
Driverecently welcomed three new Highlights will include Floatzilla! a floating
administrators to its team. The Wylde Centers Oakhurst Garden parade of what are described as wildly
Shawn Thomas joined GPTC as the located at 435 Oakview Roadwill hold its decorated watercraft, and an appearance
colleges director of financial aid. College annual SMores For All event Oct. 29 from 4-6 by street performers, The Seed and Feed
spokesmen said 20 years of experience as a p.m. Marching Abominables. Country music artists,
director of financial aid at public, private and The event will include activities for the The Ghost Riders Car Club, will headline at
for-profit institutions qualifies her for the entire family as well as a fire to make smores the Saturday night party, and Blues legends,
position. on. Mudbone Turner and Sugar Lips, winners of
Kristin Corkhill was named GPTCs Smores For All is a fun, family event the 2016 Georgia Music Legend Award, will
new director of high school initiatives. during a beautiful time of year, said an event close the festival Sunday night
Corkhill has experience in public relations spokesman. The special event includes For a complete schedule of events, visit
at Florida Southwestern State College and is smore-making around an open fire. For more information,
currently enrolled in a doctorate program at The event will be free for members with email
University of Memphis. Corkhill will help high a suggested $10 donation for non-member
school students earn college credit before families. Non-members may join the Wylde



Take time for rezone
Rezone request Nygel Smith was arrested by
Decatur Police Department

highlights citys
following a chase through
Renfro Middle School Sept
15. Photo courtesy of Decatur

Police Department

Renfro Middle
BY R. SCOTT BELZER put on brief
According to property
owner Robert Bobby BY R. SCOTT BELZER
Buckler, Clarkston city
officials can take all the time
they need in considering a
recent rezoning request. Students and staff at
Buckler is one of three Renfro Middle School
owners of a property located located at 220 W. College
at 3449 Church Street and Ave. in Decaturwere given
801 Glendale Road. The site, a scare by way of lockdown
currently zoned for light Sept. 15, according to Decatur
industrial development, Police Department.
is being considered for Lt. Jennifer Ross at
high-density residentiala the department released
A recently annexed property on Church Street in Clarkston is stirring controversy with residents. Photo by R. Scott Belzer
consideration that some a statement Sept. 15 at
Clarkston residents feel is not approximately 10 a.m. that
in line with the citys vision. read, Renfroe Middle School
One opponent has headed by councilmen Clarkston. He referenced hopes the city considers is currently on lockdown due
been Mayor Ted Terry who Dean Moore and Mario a property on Woodland allowing more businesses in to a foot chase with a theft
posted on Facebook about Williamsmet Sept. 12 to Avenue priced at $1 million the city. suspect who ran through the
the event. In a Aug. 15 post, discuss rezoning the property. per acre. I dont want any changes rear of the school property.
Terry named planning and Councilman Jamie Carroll With whats going on to [the property] to make us The suspect did not run
zoning board members Vinh served as Williams substitute. with the DeKalb Farmers lose focus on the vision for into the school. He was last
Glover, Birendra Dhakal At the meeting, Buckler Market, Avondale Estates Clarkston, Burks said. Using seen in the area of Kings
and Chuck McFarland as said he is prepared to wait 60 and Decaturits coming that area, a pro would be a Highway and Ansley Street,
voting to move forward with days for Clarkston officials to this way, Buckler said. Its higher property tax in that Ross continued. Officers
gentrification in Clarkston. make a decision. moving through Scottdale area and attracting a more and a K9 are on the scene
Some Clarkston residents Were not trying to now. Its a plus for this city. diverse group of people. The attempting to locate the
agreed with Terrys claims railroad something and make The property on that corridor cons would be adding more suspect.
that high-value townhomes something happen too fast, has shot up in value. Its really public safety staff to that According to Ross, the
and luxury apartments are Buckler said. Were prepared more valuable if it has some area. Were trying to avoid suspect was identified as 29
not characteristic among to give you every opportunity housing aspect to it than if its spot zoningif something year-old Nygel Smith. Smith
Clarkstons diverse and you want to discuss it. Our left light industrial. is zoned, we need to look at was last seen wearing an
multi-income population. proposal is a good proposal Buckler said the potential the long term and short term orange shirt and gray pants..
Some residents also agreed for the community. development is for two or consequences. Renfro Middle remained
with Terrys claims that the According to Buckler, the three townhomes in the Burks proposed a city- on lockdown until
rezoning is a cash-grab and property in question was $200,000 to $300,000 price led annual zoning review approximately 11:15 a.m.,
not an investment in the city. purchased more than two range. He said that regardless to see how development when Smith was located
Planning and zoning years prior for the purpose of future development plans within Clarkston is affecting wedged between two privacy
board members defended of opening a building supply a developer would have to residents and businesses. fences along Adams Street.
their decision, stating Terry company. That idea was meet with city officials before Residents at the meeting Smith was taken into custody
was bullying them online. abandoned when Buckler a final decision is made. requested the city enact without further incident.
Clarkston City Council tabled noticed increasing land values Buckler said the property ordinances protecting According to police,
a final decision to rezone in the area, he said. will remain on the market affordable housing Smith was working at a
the property at its Sept. 5 Buckler said he was until sold regardless of and Clarkstons diverse nearby construction site the
meeting. approached by a developer zoning. community before rezoning morning of Sept. 15 when
Theres no sense of early in 2017 whose This property is much too large pieces of property. Decatur police approached
diplomacy, Glover said. Its representatives said they valuable to invest a building I feel that well be the first him regarding a reported
like hes mad he didnt get would like to purchase the supply store on it, Buckler people pushed under the theft at Decatur High School.
his way. To call us out on property. The representatives said. Wed be crazy, as we bus, even with the delay, said Upon seeing the approaching
social media with wrong said they would prefer to wouldnt get our money back Samia Abdullah. We knew officers, Smith fled.
information is just crazy. A lot see it zoned for high-density out of it. this was coming. Was the city Smith is being charged
of his followers dont even live residential. Former council member prepared for this? No. Nothing with obstruction as well as
in Clarkston. Buckler said he saw it as a Beverly Burks asked the is in the books to preserve the charges for pending felony
The citys housing and sign that major developments council to delay a decision social fabric of Clarkston. warrants, police said.
infrastructure committee are moving eastward toward on the property, stating she

Shannon Willows work often features trees with words written on them to better connect the Willows interaction with an owl as a bird of prey handler inspired her to
viewer to natures function in society. Photo by R. Scott Belzer take a closer look to nature and all of its offerings. Photo by R. Scott Belzer

WILLOW Continued From Page 1

part of it, Willow said. I am a multifaceted self: whats real in you, facing that truth, a community mural with community
artist, but it always comes back to the words embracing that truth and showing up in the membersstrives to positively influence one
and using the type as an emotional uprising world in a good way. We can choose that. person at a time.
in people and raising awareness, not only Today, Willow hosts team-building mural When you make a piece of art, you
about Mother Earth and the environment, events where people come together to share almost have to get out of your own way,
but the issues and oppression in ourselves her vision. Her workcreated with the help Willow said. We have so much ego and
that we create. of hundreds of business employees and thinking involved in basic living. When
According to Willow, people have a residents in Clarkstoncan be seen in five you create art, the experience is always a
tendency to create their own suffering. She murals, the latest of which is located at 4154 spiritual experience. Im putting myself
said the key is actively choosing to create a E. Ponce de Leon Ave. at Christ Community the fear, the judgment, the criticismaside
new reality via perspective and thought. AME Church. and really plugging into the piece of me
I love to get people plugged into their Ive always had this teacher and thats childlike. Emotionally in the moment.
creative side and back in that childlike place, instructor piece to me, Willow said. Im Then you can really plug into your authentic
Willow said. I think a lot of people are enjoying the engagement and community selfout of the headspace and into the
afraid of that. I like to call it vulnera-bravery process rather than the result. When I saw heartspace.
because you have to be brave to step into the response to that, I wanted more. For more information on Shannon Willow
that authenticity within yourself. I love to Willow said all of her workwhether and her artwork, visit www.shannonwillowart.
create that connectivity with my art and the captivating through a canvas painting, com.
viewer and find that authenticity within the engaging through sculpture or constructing

Letter to the Editor

Lets fix the funding cliff for community health centers
Without immediate congressional access to primary care for both insured in funding, as are other health centers in
leadership to extend critical funding by and uninsured members of our community. nearly 10,000 communities. This funding
Sept. 30, Community Health Centers like At Oakhurst and other community health cliff, if not fixed by Congress by the end of
Oakhurst Medical Centers Inc. face a 70 centers, patients have a convenient and this month, will have a direct and immediate
percent reduction in federal funds, which the full-service alternative to costly emergency impact on the health of our communities.
Department of Health and Human Services room visits for treatment of non-emergency The program would be reduced by
has estimated would lead to the closing of medical issues. Overall, Community Health approximately 70 percent. The federal
2,800 health center sites. Centers generated $24 billion in health care Department of Health and Human Services
Community Health Centers such as cost savings in the U.S., according to the (HHS) itself has projected that the impact
Oakhurst play a unique and important role National Association of Community Health would be dramatic: closure of 2,800 health
to the national, state and local level on Centers. We are also innovators, working center locations, elimination of more than
providing quality primary health care at with community partners to respond to public 50,000 jobs, and a loss of access to care
affordable cost. health crises, such as the opioid epidemic, for more than 9 million patients. Oakhurst
At Oakhurst Medical Centers we are part the HIV epidemic and mental health issues Medical Centers serves nearly 20,000
of a nationwide network that started more right here in Georgia. patients per year. A 70 percent reduction
than 50 years ago to provide quality primary I believe that there is little doubt that in our funding would mean scaling back
care in many places where doctors and health centers have contributed significantly services, serving far fewer patients, and
services were scarce or non-existent. Our to cost savings for the American taxpayer. potential elimination of some critical services
health centers have since grown to serve as We are not just another health care such as dental care and behavioral health
the family doctor, dentist and mental health program. We continue to make a significant care.
provider to more than 27 million Americans difference because we also address those Please join Oakhurst Medical Centers
in communities all over the country. As factors that actually cause poor health, such and all of the other health centers in Georgia
one of 34 community health centers in as homelessness, lack of nutrition, stress or in calling on our federal lawmakers to extend
Georgia, Oakhurst provides affordable, unemployment and drug addiction. Health health center funding before Sept. 30.
accessible primary care to some 20,000 Centers have drawn bipartisan support from We emplore our leaders to consider the
annually among our six facilities through U.S. presidents and lawmakersincluding consequences and fix the funding cliff. Our
appointments or walk-in service. Asian and our own congressional delegationbecause health depends on it.
African refugees and African Americans of our stellar record of success. Yet, such
living near our facilities make up our multi- broad support may not be enough to ensure Jeffery Taylor is the CEO of Oakhurst
ethnic base; our diverse staff represents we can continue to serve people who need Medical Centers, Inc., in Stone Mountain
many nationalities. affordable primary care in the future. Georgia, serving individuals and families in
Community Health centers have saved Right now Community Health Centers in DeKalb, Rockdale and surrounding counties.
countless lives by providing affordable Georgia are threatened with a severe loss

Miss America...A homecoming

The strength of a nation an emphasis on events and was accompanied by beatific
derives from the integrity of One Mans fundraisers benefiting veterans images of our great state, and if
the home, from Confucius,
(551-479 B.C.), Chinese author,
Opinion and childrens causes.As the
year came to a close, and an
I was up that late, I never turned
off the song in midstream. It
philosopher, teacher and almost immediate engagement was, and is, a lifetime favorite
Bill Crane to her fianc, Spencer Maxwell, only now, the great Ray Charles
followed, Betty chose to follow has been topped by another
Obviously, the concept and her dream of a career in country hometown girl with her own
importance of having roots and pop music, and the couple styling on this songBetty
grounded in home and a sense try.Father Mike has become relocated to Nashville. Cantrell.
of place have been around for one of the nations leading But home and Georgia There have been dozens
a long time.It is still refreshing sports therapists and posture remain close to her heart, so on fortunate to wear the crown
however to witness a warm doctors. Sept. 22, a year and 11 days of Miss America and inhabit
homecoming, and its restorative As college years beckoned after her own 9/11 win; Betty the title, while a select few
and uplifting effects. at Mercer University in came home again for her debut live and represent all that
I first saw Betty Cantrell as nearby Macon, several family concert and CD launch at the the title aspires to me. Miss
a young girl bouncing around friends noted the generous Cox Capitol Theater in front of Betty Cantrell is one of
a cavernous museum hall at scholarships available through what appeared to be a warm those.Welcome home, girl.
a significant birthday party for the pageant world, and and familiar crowd of roughly
her beloved and esteemed aunt encouraged Betty, whose 400.Each attendee left with
Dodie Cantrell-Bickley at the singing talents were already their own copy of Cantrells first Bill Crane also serves
Museum of Aviation in Warner well-known, to seek formal solo CD, titled Nicotine. as a political analyst and
Robins. voice training and become a A crowd favorite during the commentator for Channel 2s
Tributes and roasts were contestant. show, and a number I had seen Action News, WSB-AM News/
being paid and made for her Betty had grown up a Tom Betty perform previously was Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM,
aunt and at a later point in girl, and was at times more Georgia on My Mind. I never as well as a columnist for The
the program, the young lady comfortable shooting and tire of hearing that song, with a Champion, DeKalb Free Press
approached the microphone dressing a deer, than putting rendition by another Georgian, and Georgia Trend. Crane is
to lead their family and the on an evening gown, but with Ray Charles, named the official a DeKalb native and business
crowd in singing a warm Happy the full support of her mother song of the state during the late owner, living in Scottdale. You
Birthday. Tassie Cantrell, and a healthy 80s.When television stations can reach him or comment on a
The surprising performance coterie of pageant consultants, still signed off for the day, column at bill.csicrane@gmail.
that emerged was more reminis- Betty decided to take the leap. Charles version of the standard com.
cent of a young Judy Garland Local pageant victories
or Andrea McArdle.The birth- came first, followed by two trips
day song was followed by a few to the Miss Georgia Pageant in
entries from the American song- Columbus. The first time came
book and a couple of country with a first runner-up win, and
tunes popular in that day. the second came the title of
It would be years before I Miss Georgia.
would see her again.Adoles- Betty, her mother and a
cence and high school came small entourage next headed
and went.Betty lived on a fam- to Atlantic City for the big
ily farm nearby in Bonaire, with showthe 90th Miss America
one brother, a younger sister Pageant, on Sept. 11, 2015.
and her parents. Betty Cantrell was crowned
Love of music was some- Miss America 2016, only the
thing Betty shared with her second Miss Georgia to win in
father, Mike Cantrell, an enthu- the history of the pageant.Many
siastic and frequent performer pageant judges and experts
with local bands, as well as say that it was Cantrells
his own business.The Cantrell incomparable opera aria during
family developed the Cantrell the talent portion of the pageant
Center for Physical Therapy and that put her over the top.
Wellness, which is known and Her year with the crown had
well-regarded across the coun- Betty all over the nation, with

the DeKalb
Publisher: Photographer: STATEMENT FROM THE
John Hewitt Travis Hudgons
Chief Financial Officer: Staff Reporters: We sincerely appreciate the
discussion surrounding this and any
Let Us Know What You Think! Dr. Earl D. Glenn Carla Parker issue of interest to DeKalb County.
SEND LETTERS TO EDITOR, R. Scott Belzer The Champion was founded in 1991
THE DEKALB FREE PRESS encourages opinions from Production Manager: Horace Holloman expressly to provide a forum for
The DeKalb Free Press, discourse for all community residents
its readers. Please write to us and express your views. P. O. Box 1347, Decatur, GA 30031-1347; Kemesha Wadley on all sides of an issue. We have no
Letters should be brief, typewritten and contain the Send email to desire to make the news only to
FAX To: (404) 370-3903; Phone: (404) 373-7779. The DeKalb Free Press is published each Friday report news and opinions to effect
writers name, address and telephone number for verifi- Deadline for news releases and advertising: by ACE III Communications, Inc., a more educated citizenry that will
cation. All letters will be considered for publication. Thursday, one week prior to publication date. 114 New Street, Suite E, Decatur, GA. 30030 ultimately move our community
forward. We are happy to present
Phone (404) 373-7779. ideas for discussion; however,
EDITORS NOTE: The opinions written by columnists and contributing editors do not necessarily reflect the opinions we make every effort to avoid
of the editor or publishers. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertisement at any time. The printing information submitted to
us that is known to be false and/or
Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. DISPLAY ADVERTISING (404) 373-7779 x 110 assumptions penned as fact.



Decatur commission candidate touts budget management experience


According to District
1 Decatur commission
candidate Tim Martin, the
city balances an annual
budget of approximately $25
million. However, Martin said
he manages nearly twice that
amount on a daily basis.
Martins experience with
budgets and an attitude
of togetherness is what
separates him from the other Decatur city commission candidate Tim Martin
candidates, he said.
Martin, who will compete spend their tax dollars wisely. Department of Transportation
The Stone Mountain Downtown Development Authority is trying to attract
businesses to the new Westgate Plaza. Photos by Carla Parker against Betty Blondeau, Martin said he also wants to make improvements to the
Kelly Walsh and Melissa to focus on downtown living corridor.

Westgate Plaza reopens Manrow in the Nov. 7

election, joined the Decatur
Business Association in
affordability and taming
Scott Boulevard. Martin
said he plans to use his
Its a dangerous corridor
and we want to work together
to find creative ways to make
acceptable to the people who 2007 and owns a wealth connections with the Georgia it safer, Martin said.
BY CARLA PARKER have been calling, he said. management and financial Newark said he informs planning practice, that he said
potential business owners manages approximately $50
Two years after a fire about the traffic flow in million in client assets.
ravaged the Westgate Plaza in the city, specifically at that With a background in
Stone Mountain, the plaza has intersection. money management, Martin
been rebuilt and is waiting for The traffic [numbers] we said hes confident on the
businesses to call it home. have available right now [are] campaign trail.
The new Westgate Plaza two or three years old and Im I feel like my chances
opened in February. So trying to update that, he said. are very high. I have a lot of
far, Metro PCS is the only He said he hasnt received support in the neighborhoods
tenant in the plaza, but calls from previous tenants of and the business community.
Stone Mountain Downtown the plaza. One of the citys greatest
Development Authority (DDA) Were looking for entirely assets, according to Martin, is
Executive Director Errol new clients for this current the downtown Decatur area
Newark said two additional location or clients who are and the citys newly acquired
businesses are expected to wishing to expand their property from the United
move in soon. business, he said. Im fielding Methodist Childrens Home.
These new businesses calls on a weekly basis for What I do for a living is
include a laundromat and a people who are interested in manage peoples money,
Wings and Burger Factory, renting space. sometimes everything they
Newark said. Newark said the DDA have in this world, Martin
The fire destroyed the old is working on creating said. Being on the city
plaza in October 2014 after additional incentives to attract commission, I can bring that
it started at a restaurant in more businesses to the entire level of trust. People pay
the plaza. Firefighters were downtown business district. a lot of taxes and thats an
able to contain the flames to Were developing an investment for a lot of people
the restaurant, but several advertising campaign for the and we want to make sure we
businesses in the center entire downtown district,
sustained smoke and water he said. Were revising our
damage. current website and were
Firefighters initially ruled
the fire as arson after finding
trying to get the businesses
Coming to Decatur and
a gas can, according to
that are closed and not
functioning in downtown that Atlanta in October!
witnesses. DeKalb County Fire need to be repairedwere (more locations and dates available)
Rescue later declared the fire trying to get those businesses Register now to check the health of your arteries
investigation a suspended repaired.
case. Newark said the DDA
Construction crews began is also trying to attract
5 important screenings for only $149
tearing down the old plaza in tenants to a new mixed-use Carotid artery screening (plaque)
July 2016. The new plaza is the development located at 970 Heart Rhythm Screening (A Fib)
same size as the previous one. Main Street. The development Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Newark said he has includes lower level retail Peripheral Arterial Disease Screening
received calls weekly from space available for rent. Osteoporosis risk assessment
business owners who are We are excited about Oct 9 - Decatur: First Christian Church
interested in renting space in these new developments in Oct. 16 - Atlanta: China Grove Missionary Baptist
the plaza. the city of Stone Mountain More dates and locations available
Unfortunately, the size downtown development Pre-registration is required call 1-888-653-6441 to receive a $10 discount
and the location are not district, he said.


DeKalb schools commit $5.4 million to outsourced maintenance

BY R. SCOTT BELZER vendors? asked board
member Joyce Morley. These people are licensed.
My concern is were going to
The DeKalb County School constantly lose them because
Districts (DCSD) board of we dont seem to recognize
education committed $5.4 their abilities. Is there a
million to an outsourced problem in looking at the
labor vendor Sept. 19 during inside and seeing what we
its monthly meeting. can do on the inside instead
SSC Service Solutions, of brining in all these vendors
a company based in and making use of the people
Knoxville, Tenn., will provide we have here?
maintenance services to Morley said she would
DeKalb schools for another prefer to spend the money on
year following the boards new DCSD employees.
decision. We took our maintenance
According to DCSD chief staff from 385 down to 85,
operations officer Joshua Morley said. Theres no
Williams, SSC Service way youre going to have
Solutions has teamed with the type of service where
in-house labor staff to someone is indebted to you
launch the disticts web- and they have to keep their
based maintenance system; job. Contractors and vendors School maintenance and facility conditions have been a topic at DeKalb County School District for the past few years.
developed and implemented go on and get contracts Photo submitted.
a standards manual; somewhere else.
Morley said certain Turner referred to the tearing down some old ones deserve better.
inventoried 19,300 facility
schools have unpainted walls, maintenance as Band-Aids that have been around for The contracts were made
assets; deployed mobile
ceiling tiles missing, trash on a wound. far too long and wont take an action item for the board
technology; provided 1,100
cans catching water and Were going to have another Band-Aid. Will it and were ultimately approved
hours of training; developed
deplorable bathrooms weeks to make some real tough inconvenience some people? 5-1, with Morley the sole
a preventative maintenance
into the 2017-2018 school decisions, Turner said. Maybe Yes. Will it move some opponent and board member
program; and completed
year. its consolidating some [money]? Yes. But it needs to Michael Erwin absent.
approximately 18,000 work
Paying people $5.4 school buildings. Maybe its be moved and our children
orders since January 2017.
This year, Williams said million and schools look
workers will deploy an In like this? Morley said. Would
Case of Crisis emergency
management system and
you send your children there?
I wouldnt send mine, and I
CONFERENCE Continued From Page 2A
continue to implement wouldnt put that on parents
to send their children into a a Know Your Rights and extending such services alternative to fraudulent and
technology-based solutions campaign and deportation to overseas or undocumented notorious legal practitioners,
as it relates to maintenance. building that looks that way.
Theres no way in the world I defense fund. As part of the family members. Levine said. Applying
As part of the districts deportation defense fund, All servicesset at through us is much safer
three-pronged approach can support this.
DCSD superintendent R. AAAJA will provide one-time affordable pricesare than doing it on your own.
(i.e., use of local school grants to low-income families available in English, Korean, Citizenship is the only way
staff, central operations, Stephen Green said there
is a plan to retain DCSD to help cover the costs of Mandarin, Vietnamese, Urdu to protect yourself and your
and specialized vendors/ legal fees in criminal cases or and Hind, she said. family from deportation.
contractors) these and other workers and increase their
pay, but that it wont happen immigration proceedings. Many in our community Levine said AAAJA has
support service vendors Willis said she will focus are low-income and not helped more than 550
have been hired to enhance overnight.
We are seeking to not on training in voting rights, English proficient, Jamil Georgians from more than
our ability to provide traveling under the Muslim said. There are also many 30 countries between 18
timely and efficient facility only pay more but also
increase our capacity in areas ban and interacting with the individuals who want to to 34 years of age become
maintenance support services police. take advantage of our citizens. She said this has
to our students, faculty and of specialized services
electricians, plumbers, etc., Its very vital that communities vulnerabilities saved the community more
staff, said DCSD director of everyone knows their legal and scam them of their hard- than $125,000. Levine also
planning Dan Drake, who Green said. We are planning
to wean ourselves off of rightseveryone in the earned money. said costs for citizenship often
substituted for Williams at the United States, Willis said. Jamil introduced Nathalie hold immigrants back from
Sept. 19 meeting. outside vendors but we will
never be totally. We will According to Willis, Levine, a Department of applying.
DCSD also approved Georgia has one of the Justice representative for AAAJA also held a free
one-year extensions of always have a blend.
Green said Williams will be highest rates of immigration AAAJA, who shared the legal clinic for those affected
four outsourced electrician growth in the southeast. organizations citizenship by the rescinding of Deferred
contracts with companies prepared to discuss the plan
to bring more staff into the She said it also has one clinics. According to Levine, Action for Childhood Arrivals
in Loganville, Marietta, of the highest rates of the nonprofit hosts clinics (DACA) on Sept. 23.
Tucker and Snellville for an district in October.
Drake said the use of discrimination. each month at locations For more information,
undisclosed amount. AAAJAs staff attorney, throughout metro Atlanta, visit advancingjustice-
We have all these vendors allows DCSD in-
house staff to work on Javeria Jamil, outlined other where attorneys and To contribute
contractors in addition to services currently offered at volunteers walk attendees to AAAJAs deportation
plumbers, HVAC employees, preventative maintenance
rather than reactive the metro Atlanta nonprofit. through applications for defense fund, visit
etc., and were not willing to This includes green card citizenship at no cost. donatedeportationdefense.
pay them, but [were willing] maintenance.
Board member Vicki renewal, United States We see the clinics as
to bring in these outside citizenship application advice a trustworthy, no-cost


Construction begins for

Ashford Park tricycle track
We are thrilled to see it come to
BY CARLA PARKER fruition, Borden said. This addition to our popular park will provide another outlet
for our communitys youth to creatively
Brookhaven children will soon be able recreate.
to ride on a new tricycle track at Ashford The project was awarded to Pro
Park. Building Systems in the amount of
Construction began Sept. 18 on the $9,840, which is in the citys established
new Ashford Park tricycle track and is project budget. Construction workers will
expected to be completed in two weeks. transform the concrete pathway into a
The track is part of Brookhavens mission tricycle track for children using colored
to improve city parks in what city officials stain and traffic marking paint on top of
have dubbed the Year of Progress. the existing concrete.
Brookhaven Parks and Recreation The entire park, including the
Director Brian Borden said the idea for playground and the sandbox, will remain
building a tricycle track in Ashford Park open during construction, although access
was conceived during the public master to some areas may be limited.
plan process. Construction workers will transform the concrete pathway at Ashford Park into a
tricycle track for children.

MONUMENT Continued From Page 2A

However, Sara Patenaude, co-founder of Hate Free Decatur,
said DeKalb County can take action under the current law.
It is never too late to correct a wrong, Patenaude said. It is
never too late to say we dont stand for that anymore.
Under Georgia law 50-3-1 (b) (2) monuments can be
removed and replaced for their preservation protection.
In the past month, the monument in downtown Decatur
has been covered with yarn and feces, according to city
I think theyre just misreading the law, Patenaude said.
Thats all were asking for. Were not asking for it to be
destroyed, just to be removed from the square and interpreted
in its Jim Crow context.
Commissioner Fred Boykin said he hopes the resolution
will bring the Decatur community closer together.
I think this might be a case where a unanimous vote
would be good on our behalf. I think we may be getting into
something if we get to the Legislature and it comes down to
individual communities, but in light of whats been going on in
the country, this is just something we need to do, Boykin said.
We need to go ahead and put it behind us.

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Parents at Oak Cliff Elementary were treated to an Ethiopian breakfast courtesy of parents on Sept. 20. Photo submitted.

DeKalb County School District chief communications and community DeKalb County Police held its 109th annual academy graduation
relations officer Eileen Houston-Stewart makes an appearance at the ceremony at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center on Sept. 21.
DeKalb Realtors Expo on Sept. 21. Photo submitted. Photos submitted.

Have you created programming youd like to air on TV?

Do you have an interest in Public Access TV in DeKalb County?
Submit your show to DeKalb Countys Public Access channel, DeKalb 25.
Drop off DVD or USB copies to the Manuel J. Maloof Center at
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030, or upload your content via the internet.
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Woman thanks
police officers
for help while


A woman went out of her

way to thank two DeKalb
County police officers after
she and her husband locked
their keys in the car.
The officers kindness
brought the woman to tears,
she said, and she personally
delivered a handwritten Cadillac. While one officer
thank you note to the Tucker attempted to call OnStar and
Precinct where the officers get the door opened, the
work. other called roadside service.
The Champion did not The officers paid $85 from
obtain the name of the their personal credit card to
woman, but the letter was help the couple. The gesture
signed Mr. and Mrs. Ray and brought the woman to tears,
read, in part, they were two the note read.
young white officers and they My buddy Adams and I,
showed me kindness and we got to talking about what
helpfulness I have never seen. we could do to get them back
I have to say that all white in the car and thats when
cops are not racist. we decided to call roadside
Officers C. Ingram and C. service, Ingram said. They
Adams said they were just were very appreciative and
doing their job when they thankful that we were trying
responded to a call of two to help them. The female
people attempting to break couldnt believe what we
into a car. were trying to do to help.
When the officers arrived In the note, Mrs. Ray said
on the scene, they said they the officers went beyond the
realized that the couple had call of duty to help her and
locked their keys in their car. her husband. Adams, who
We could obviously see worked in corporate sales
that it wasnt someone trying before becoming a police
to steal a car, but they didnt officer said he tries to fight
know we were there. I tried the stigma that officers are
to see if I could get a laugh there just to arrest people.
out of them so I got on my We realize that some
loud speaker and said hey people dont want us there in
we caught you apparently the first place, or they tolerate
the gentleman didnt think us as long as they have to. I Officers C. Ingram and C. Adams were commended by a woman with a handwritten thank you note.
that was funny, Adams said, try to make it a point to joke
laughing. Apparently he had with them sometimes or at
been trying to get into the car Ingram said sometimes so much for helping out and man, its really not like that.
least shake their hand and
for about an hour. people will have a certain thank you for coming, Ingram In the note, Mrs. Ray said
get a smile out of them if
Ingram said he noticed perception of police officers said. You really get the she would make it a point
the situation allows, Adams
several sticks, hangers and when they arrive, but may feel feeling that these people are to tell the news about her
said. We want to fight that
other materials hanging out better by the time they leave. getting their perception of positive interaction with
perception, because thats not
the window of the couples They tell us thanks so us from [television] but when DeKalb officers.
the way it is.
much for coming, or thanks they show up they think oh


Racial innuendos flare at

county school board meeting
BY R. SCOTT BELZER frustration from board understands the intent members stems from of Orsons and Jesters
school facilities throughout comments, but said there
Discussion on school the county that require a are issues on the south side Joyce Morley, board of education member at DeKalb County School District,
facilities and maintenance lot of work. He said that, that need observance. She said there are problems unique to the south side of the district that arent being
addressed. Photo by R. Scott Belzer
in DeKalb County School while there is an elaborate suggested the board go on a
District (DCSD) led to process to determine which bus tour of the entire county.
heated differences in Morley said it bothers
opinions between board her that there are people on
members Stan Jester, Vicki the school board who dont
Turner, Joyce Morley and bother going to the south
Marshall Orson on Sept. 19,
suggesting the north and
Come out side of the district.
Because of things we
south DeKalb County divide
still runs strong. of the north, dont have on the south,
I have to go to the north,
During discussion of
an agenda item involving come out Morley said. Privilege means
[you] can be wherever you
want and you dont have to
school maintenance, Morley
highlighted deficiencies at of your safe go anywhere.
Morley requested board
Panola Way and Stoneview
elementary schools. After
outlining a list of problems,
haven, and members be more cognizant
of how they are thinking
DeKalb County School District board of education member Stan Jester said data
indicates more facilities in the north side of the district are in need of repair than

come to the
those in the south side. Photo by R. Scott Belzer
Morley said, If [school facility and what is said in public
deficiencies] arent happening meetings.
in the north, [they] should not
happen in the south.
south. We can talk as much
as we want, but the Facility hypocrite? Jester interrupted. conversation and moved on
Jester commented, - Joyce Morley Condition Assessments say Board chairman Melvin to the next agenda item.
I wasnt aware all these the exact opposite of what Johnson quickly ended the
problems are strictly in the [Morley] is saying, Jester said.
south. I thought these issues Morley said she was
were happening in the north schools are maintained by finished discussing the topic CITY OF STONE MOUNTAIN
as well. special local option sales and invited Jester to visit
south DeKalb County schools.
Morley challenged tax (E-SPLOST) revenue, its
Jester to show her schools unclear which schools are Come out of the north, The City of Stone Mountain hereby gives notice
in the north with the same properly maintained. come out of your safe haven, that a Public Hearing will be held to receive public
problems. He said he would I think it is distributed and come to the south, comment on a Council- initiated Amendment to
be happy to do so. throughout the county, Morley said. Appendix A, Zoning for the regulations regarding
I dont think the north, Orson said. I can point to Last time I did, you Accessory Dwelling Units, Tiny Houses, of the City of
south divide is constructive, schools in the northCary chastised me, Jester Stone Mountain Code of Ordinances.
Jester said. While these Reynolds, Briar Vistathat responded. The Mayor and City Council will hold a Public
schools may or may not be have very low Facility I didnt chastise, I made a Hearing on this matter on Tuesday, October 3,
deplorable, I havent seen Condition Assessment scores. statement, Morley said. You 2017 at City Hall located at 875 Main Street, Stone
them. Ill take your word for Its not a contest to see who either take it or leave it. Mountain, GA at 6:30 P.M. Anyone wishing to attend
it, but I dont think you have has more or less We can Yeah, whos the the public hearing may do so and be heard relative
the monopoly on bad issues all go to schools and identify thereto.
here. schools that need help.
Orson said most of the Turner said she CITY OF BROOKHAVEN NOTICE FOR ELECTION
Notice is hereby given that an Election for the City of Brookhaven will be held on Tuesday, November 7,
CITY OF BROOKHAVEN FY 2018 BUDGET 2017 for the offices of Council Member Districts two (2) and Four (4).
REVIEW, PUBLIC HEARINGS, The last day a person may register and be eligible to vote in the Municipal Election and Runoff is Tuesday,
AND ADOPTION October 10, 2017 (Georgia Election Code 21-2-224(a)). The polls will be open on Election Day, Tuesday,
The proposed FY 2018 City of Brookhaven November 7, 2017 from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. The date of the Run-off, if necessary, is Tuesday,
Budget will be presented to Mayor and Council December 5, 2017.
by the City Manager on October 10, 2017 at the
regularly scheduled Council Meeting beginning at Early Voting will be October 16, 2017 November 3, 2017.
7:00p.m. Sites and Times:
The City of Brookhaven will hold a public hearing
on the proposed FY 2018 Budget at the regularly Main Location Voter Registration & Elections Office Monday-Friday
scheduled Council Meeting on Tuesday, October 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300 8 AM 5 PM
24, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Another public hearing will be Decatur, GA 30032 Saturday 10/28, 9 AM 4 PM
held during the City Council meeting on Tuesday,
November, 14, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. Following the Atlanta Coan Recreation Center Monday Friday
public hearing on November 14, 2017, the City 1530 Woodbine Avenue, SE 8 AM 5 PM
Council will vote to adopt the FY 2018 Budget. Atlanta, GA 30317 Saturday 10/28, 9 AM 4 PM
The FY 2018 Budget will be available for public There will be no voting on Saturday, October 21 or November 4. There will be no voting on
inspection at City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, and Monday, November 6.
on the website October 10,
2017. You must go to your assigned precinct on Election Day November 7.

to discuss topic in
October following
September comments
City Schools of Decaturs board of education and administration doubled down on their policy relating to transgender students, stating all
students should feel safe at school. Photo by R. Scott Belzer
this transgender student to use this brings to our school community.
At 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 18, restroom? While history shows we have not
City Schools of Decatur (CSD) Dude further clarified that always treated students equitably,
superintendent David Dude released CSD teachers should identify, like most (if not all) school systems,
a statement across social media accommodate and address students we are confronting that past,
concerning transgender students. by pronouns they identify with. For learning from it, and moving
The [CSD] board of education example, a student who identifies as forward. Our conversations about
is committed to ensuring that all female should be allowed access to disproportionality this year are
students feel safe, supported and the female restroom, locker room, one example of our willingness to
valued, it reads. We support the female sport teams and female tackle these issues head on, for the
superintendents efforts to interpret lodging on field trips. betterment of all.
board policy regarding equal This student should be treated According to Owens report,
educational opportunities for all the same as any other female student, the three parents urged the board
students. The board has not yet had Dude wrote. She should not be to consider the rights of parents
an opportunity to specifically discuss identified as anything other than and scientific studies relating to
the topic of transgender students female. transgender students. One parent
and we look forward to having that Site Coordinator Federica Teodori of In evaluating a particular Vernadette Broyles, cited a Swedish
discussion at our October board Communities In Schools helps Cross Keys High circumstance, I encourage you to study of transgender individuals and
meeting. We recognize that this is School students stay on track by providing
mental, social and community-based services. consider questions and statements children that demonstrated a high
a sensitive and complex issue and Photo by R. Scott Belzer regarding transgender students from suicide rate for those that complete
we welcome diverse viewpoints and the perspective of other groups for the transgender process.
respectful community conversation as which our country has struggled The other two parents, Mark
we deliberate on this policy and our the right to use bathrooms, showers with civil rights (and still does), Dude Major and Gena Major, said CSDs
directions to the superintendent. and other facilities by identification wrote. current policy does not consider
The statement was reelased less rather than biology. According to the February the rights of all district parents and
than one week after CSDs board The parents referenced a February blog post, Dude wished to enact students.
of education meeting Sept. 14. At blog post by Dude, wherein he a local policy in the wake of CSD has a history of addressing
the meeting, Decaturish contributor clarified a July 2016 email making President Donald Trump rescinding parent complaints head-on. Last year,
Gabriel Owens reported three CSDs policy clear: the district does Department of Justice guidelines the board discussed dyslexia and
parents spoke out against the districts not discriminate on the basis of enacted by President Barack Obama. disproportionality based on income
policies concerning transgender gender identity. The board policy has included and race and both topics remain
students Among other examples, the email protections for transgender students frequent agenda items.
According to Owens, the parents encouraged teachers to substitute for at least 10 years, Dude wrote. The CSD Board of Education will
criticized CSDs application of Title the word transgender with Black, CSD strives to be a school district meet Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m., according to
IX rights to transgender students. disabled, low income when asking that embraces our differences district representatives. A discussion is
Specifically, the parents mentioned such questions as, Should I allow and recognizes the value diversity expected to take place at that time.

Visit us Online at WWW. TheChampionNewspaper.COM


Southwest DeKalb alumni win
scholarships, travel abroad
BY R. SCOTT BELZER Upon returning home, she said she felt motivated.
I learned what it means to be an Georgia State University student and Southwest DeKalb graduate Naomi Ruffin said her trip to
When Georgia State University entrepreneur and create change, Novia Scotia, Canada, gave her a new perspective on the world. Photo submitted
students Nekhena Campbell and Campbell said. I dont feel like Im
Naomi Ruffin graduated from doing enoughI need to do more in
Southwest DeKalb High School, little my own community to have a great
did they know their diplomas would impact. I learned what it means to start
take them to the beaches of South from the ground up and how hard
Africa and the wide open landscapes of these small businesses work.
Canada. Both Ruffin and Campbell agree
Campbell, a marketing major, and that studying abroad provides a much-
Ruffin, a psychology major, were two needed perspective in the modern
recipients of Georgia State Universitys world.
Honors College Study Abroad Its very important to have a
Scholarship, which awards $1,000 to different perspective on cultures
students for the purpose of travel. around the world, Ruffin said. We
According to Ruffin, a two-week should have a worldly view. Were
trip to Nova Scotia, Canada in May indoctrinated with American values
provided many first experiences. She and taught thats how the world should
said the people she encountered were be. It changes when youre exposed
welcoming, environmentally conscious to different languages, people and
and relaxed about social conventions cultures. We have a global connection
such as alcohol use. through technology and its important
This was my first time in another to have global experience.
country, my first time on a plane, Campbell said she will use the trip
and my first time being immersed to have an international perspective
in another culture, Ruffin said. The on business when she enters the
culture shock was definitely there. workforce. She said the experience
There are a lot of small differences. It taught her about taking risks, being in
opened my eyes to differences as well uncomfortable settings, dealing with
as opportunities. different cultures, presenting herself in
Ruffin made the trip to compare an international setting and garnering
American and indigenous populations a sense of empathy.
to those in Canada. Georgia is very small. Even our
The trip showed me that their country is small, Campbell said.
experiences are very similar, Ruffin Theres a need to expose yourself to
said. We have misperceptions that different cultures, people and places.
Canada is somehow better in that Being in the environment is the
way, but its very much the same. They best way to learnit resonates with
may have a nicer culture, but theres you much more than learning in a
a cultural presence of domination and classroom or lecture hall.
prejudice [against Black people and Campbell and Ruffin advise current
indigenous people.] DeKalb County students to keep their
For Campbell, a two-week trip to grades up and be involved in any
South Africa in August provided more possible extracurricular activities.
preparation for her upcoming career in They said opportunities exist for those
the business world. willing to seek them out.
I wanted to know more about Studying abroad is possible,
an economy in a foreign country, Ruffin said. Expenses dont matter
Campbell said. I wanted to see a there are people who can help you. I
country with a split dynamic, and never thought it would be part of my
South Africa has high poverty rates academic career, and now I have the
as well as very few people with travel bug. Im definitely going to do it
high income. I wanted to see that again before I graduate.
socioeconomic gap, what businesses Let go of all fear, Campbell said.
do and what theyre doing to improve Put yourself in different, difficult
it. situations. Be willing to take the steps
Campbells study focused on street necessary. It can be difficult and scary,
vending. She said she learned that but you cant let that hold you back
the South African government does you have to let that motivate you to do
little to help street vendors because better.
Georgia State University student and Southwest DeKalb graduate Nekhena Campbell said her trip to
they are considered undesirables. South Africa helped prepare her for the international business world. Photo submitted.

Local company introduces new generation of latex


At this years International

Latex Conference, DeKalb
County-based Vystar
introduced others in the
industry to recent advances
in formulations of Vytex, a
product the company says
will allow for affordable,
broader range end-use
applications with reduced risk
of causing or triggering latex
Removal of proteins makes
Vytex virtually odor-free
and allergy-free, allowing it
to replace traditional latex,
synthetic latex, vinyl and
other materials in body
contact applications where
latex allergies are a concern
but characteristics such as
tactile sensitivity are critical,
the company reports.
I am proud that we are
producing a sustainable,
eco-friendly material that
provides superior product potential for use in a much latex allergies. When used in by organic cotton covers and
characteristics, said William larger market segment than making industrial adhesives, pure Joma Wool quilting.
Doyle, Vystars board latex. deproteinized Vytex The Natura Latex collection
chairman, president and chief tightly bonded, resilient As a sustainable, adhesives create a stronger with Vytex creates an all-
executive officer. We are and durable latex that far eco-friendly material, we bond, he said. natural sleep environment
continually improving upon outperforms other latices believe Vytex can replace all Another application is and high end aesthetic
our product and tailoring and petrochemical-based traditional latex as well as athletic equipment and that results in a healthier,
formulations to reduce the materials while saving be used in place of memory padding. Vytex foam offers deeper, refreshing sleep
use of chemicals and water time and money in the foam and some plastics for greater comfort, is naturally experience while being more
in manufacturing to make manufacturing process. He many applications, Doyle anti-microbial and odor-free environmentally friendly than
a safer, more ecofriendly said Vytex products to be said, adding that Vystar is while retaining its resilience other mattresses, Doyle said.
manufacturing environment made thinner, yet stronger working with manufacturers to protect the wearer against While Vystars business
as well as create products that and still provide puncture to produce products with impact with reduced risk headquarters, originally in
have a longer lifespan and are resistance and greater tactile specific advantages. of allergies in skin contact Gwinnett County, moved
completely biodegradable sensitivity. Vytex, he said, has lower applications. It also is used in to its current Briarcliff
at the end of the lifecycle. The conference conductivity than other apparel threads. Road location, actual
We are working hard to help presentation was delivered latex making it ideal for The same characteristics manufacturing is done
maintain our environment for by Ranjit Matthan, Vystars electricians safety gloves. that make Vytex great for elsewhere. The raw liquid
future generations. research and development Vytex disposable medical mattresses make it ultra- [from which the product
Doyle describes Vytex director, whom Doyle gloves and condoms can be comfortable for pillows is made] is harvested from
as deproteinized natural describes as a renowned made thinner, yet stronger and cushions, Doyle said. rubber trees that only grow
rubber latex, made using latex industry leader. His with greater tactile sensitivity Breathable Vytex foam overseas, Doyle explained.
Vystars patented technology. team, according to Doyle, and greater resistance to is naturally antimicrobial, It is processed into liquid
Totally biodegradable is continually developing permeability of liquids gently molds to support your latex at facilities near where
Vytex improves upon all new formulations that and microbes and greater body, yet offers long lasting it is harvested and then
the desirable features of enhance Vytex for various puncture resistance. resilience. shipped directly to the foam
traditional latex by cost applications, reduces cost and In the manufacture of This fall, in partnership production companies or
effectively removing the improves the manufacturing balloons, Doyle said, Vytex with Bluebell Mattress other manufacturers around
proteins and reducing environment. The team is offers greater color clarity and Companys Natura brand, the world who turn it into
the non-rubber particles now exploring additional no odor, while retaining air Vystar is launching a line of the final product before it is
in raw liquid latex. This new product lines in the dry or gas to stay inflated longer mattresses that feature a shipped directly to the end
yields a cleaner, stronger, rubber area that have the with reduced risk of triggering Vytex latex core surrounded users.
more consistent, more

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Cedar Grove wins

15th consecutive game
BY CARLA PARKER were the last team to beat us and it was a region game, which made it
even more special.
The Cedar Grove Saints are on a Quarterback Xavier Dennis
hot winning streak. completed 10 of his 12 pass
The Class AAA No. 1-ranked attempts for 162 yards. He threw
Saints won their 15th consecutive two touchdowns, both to wide
game after beating region rival No. receiver Jadon Haselwood, who
9-ranked Westminster 41-10 on had four catches for 60 yards. The
Sept. 22 at Godfrey Stadium. Cedar Saints running backs had a big
Groves last loss came against night, led by Darrell Neal, who
Westminster, a 42-21 loss, on Sept. rushed for 149 yards on 14 carriers.
23, 2016. Since then, the Saints Deante Maxwell, Devyn Smith
have not lost a game. and Demetrius Tharpe all had a
This was also the first win rushing touchdown.
against Westminster in the Rashad Chaney had a one-
programs history, bringing the yard interception return for
Saints record against Westminster a touchdown along with 14
to 1-2. Coach Jermaine Smith said tackles. Isaiah Ratliff also had an
the players and coaches are doing interception.
a good job and are improving Cedar Grove improved to 5-0
every day. on the season and 2-0 in region
It felt good to get the win 5-AAA. The Saints will try to extend
against such a good program like their winning streak to 16 on Oct. 6
Westminster, Smith said. They against Towers at Godfrey Stadium. Photo by Travis Hudgons

Stephenson (3-2) 38, Mundys Mill (0-5) 14 Sept. 23
Sept. 22 Chattahoochee (4-1) 30, Dunwoody (2-2) 14 East Coweta (4-1) 48, Arabia Mountain (3-2) 14
Columbia (3-2) 65, Clarkston (0-6) 0 Meadowcreek (5-0) 42, Lakeside (1-4) 28 Westlake (2-4) 38, Lithonia (1-4) 12
Decatur (2-3) 48, Grady (0-4) 21 North Clayton (2-3) 12, Druid Hills (1-4) 0 SW DeKalb (3-2) 42, Rockdale Co. (1-3) 25
Marist (5-0) 58, Chamblee (1-4) 0 Lanier (3-2) 36, St. Pius X (0-5) 33
McNair (3-2) 31, Stone Mountain (1-4) 6 Lovett (2-3) 42, Towers (2-3) 8 Open: Cross Keys (0-1), Miller Grove (3-2)
Tucker (4-1) 44, M.L. King (2-3) 0 Pace Academy (2-2) 35, Redan (1-4) 12


Basketball, wrestling state finals return to Macon

at the Centreplex.
BY CARLA PARKER The 2017 games were played at the University of
Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Hashtag Road to Macon is The change was made after
back. basketball goals at Macon
The Georgia High School Centreplex were not at the
Association (GHSA) announced regulation length for all
Sept. 21 that the state championship games in
basketball championship 2016. The stanchions that
games will return to the support the baskets were
renovated Macon Centreplex placed roughly one foot
and will be the site for farther back from the baseline
traditional state wrestling than regulations require.
tournament for the 2017-18 The baskets are supposed
school year. to measure 15 feet from the
The basketball foul line; however, they were
championship games return The GHSA announced that the basketball state championship games will return to the Macon
Centreplex after the building was renovated. Photo by Travis Hudgons placed 16 feet from the foul
to Macon after a one-year line.
absence. Four classifications Several coaches from
games will take place March in an effort to minimize travel and other improvements. level that Macon-Bibb County DeKalb County said the
7 and 8, 2018. The other four for participating teams and We are very excited about officials have shown in placement of the backboards
classifications games will be fans. the ongoing improvements bringing back GHSA events has affected their team and the
held at Georgia Tech on March The Macon Centreplex, that are being made to the been phenomenal. We expect quality of play.
9-10. The GHSA said it will now under new management, Macon Centreplex, GHSA our fans to be very pleased The traditional state
announce at a later date which has a new basketball floor, Executive Director Robin with the renovations and to wrestling tournament will be
venue will host which classes basketball standards, lights Hines said. The enthusiasm again enjoy their experiences held Feb. 8-10, 2018.


Xander Schauffele,
Justin Thomas crowned
champions at East Lake
BY CARLA PARKER to a total of 3,000 points to
surpass Jordan Spieth in the standings by 660 points.
Thomas won three previous
The East Lake Golf Course tournaments this season
was the center stage for the the CIMB Classic, the Sentry
golf world Sept. 21-24. Tournament of Champions
The PGA Tour held its and the Sony Open.
championship tournament Thomas became the Justin Thomas shot a 66 in the second round Justin Thomas the 2017 PGA Tour Season FedExCup after
at Atlanta golf course of the tournament. Photos by Carla Parker finishing second at the PGA Tour Championship tournament at
fourth FedExCup winner East Lake.
and saw its first rookie, who entered the Tour
Xander Schauffele, win the Championship as the No. 2
tournament. Schauffele, a seed and then went on to
native of San Diego, Calif., win the FedExCup. He also
shot a final-round of 2-under became the fifth FedExCup
par (68) to claim his second winner under the age of 30
PGA Tour victory. The 23-year- and the second-youngest
old finished the tournament behind Spieth.
12-under par (268). Schauffeles win earned
Justin Thomas finished him 2,000 FedExCup points
second in the tournament for 2,151 total points to move
with 203 points (11-under from 26th to third in the final
par), but it was enough to FedExCup standings.
win the PGA Tour Season The Tour Championship is
FedExCup. Thomas enter the last of four events of the
the Tour Championship FedExCup Playoffs and the
tournament ranked No. 2 in finale to the PGA Tour season
the FedExCup standings. for the 11th consecutive
Thomas, 24, earned season since the FedExCup
1,200 points after his Playoffs were introduced in
second-place finish in the 2007.
tournament, bringing him
Rookie Xander Schauffele shot a final-round of 2-under par (68) to win the Tour Championship at East Lake.



DeKalb Commissioners approve SPLOST
BY HORACE HOLLOMAN project list. The county and Center, costing an estimated
its 12 cities are in agreement $35 million. According to on a plan to work together Senate Bill 156, SPLOST
for all of DeKalb citizens. With money must be spent on
Around this time in 2016, the support of the DeKalb transportation purposes
a poorly worded piece of legislative delegation that such as roads, bridges public
legislation halted DeKalb passed enabling SPLOST transit, airports, buses and
County from approving a legislation earlier this year, we seaports. Money can be used
resolution that would have will be able to improve the on capital outlay projects,
generated more than $500 quality of life for all residents. with the requirement that
million over five years based Last year if SPLOST went the repair of capital outlay
on a 1-percent sales tax. to a referendum, it would project expenditures do not
This time, DeKalb County have increased property taxes exceed 15 percent of the total
A SPLOST referendum would generate nearly $240 million in
officials believe theyve got it throughout the county due SPLOST proceeds. transportation improvements including road resurfacing and
right. to language in House Bill 596. The final project list bridge repair.
On Sept. 26, DeKalb This year DeKalb legislators was developed with full
County commissioners corrected the language. participation of the board of The benefits of the construct fire stations.
voted to approve putting The final project list from commissioners, Thurmond SPLOST are mutually We are asking you to
a 1-percent sales tax on a 2016 to 2017 varies, with the said. beneficial for the county support our men and women
November referendum. If main difference being an Commissioners approved leaders, the citizens and the in DeKalb County Fire Rescue
approved by voters, the emphasis on road repaving. the project list by a 5-2 vote firefighters of DeKalb County by investing in stations that
Special Purpose Local Option This year nearly 60 percent, or on Sept. 19. Fire Rescue, the statement are both functional for the
Sales Tax (SPLOST) would $240 million, of the proceeds The DeKalb Professional said. firefighters but also for the
generate approximately $338 from SPLOST will go toward Firefighters Local 1492 According to reports, communities they serve,
million over the next six years. transportation projects as executive board issued Public Safety would receive said the DeKalb Professional
This is a transformational opposed to 42 percent of the a statement before the the second most funding of Firefighters in a statement.
moment for DeKalb County, projected project list last year. Sept. 19 vote requesting the SPLOST pie with more DeKalb voters will decide
said DeKalb County CEO In 2016, some DeKalb commissioners pass a SPLOST than $84 million. More than whether to approve SPLOST
Michael Thurmond after officials wanted to build a referendum to help with fire half of the $84 million will be on Nov. 7.
commissioners approved a DeKalb County Government station repairs. used to repair, replace and/or

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