Eleven office buildings in DeKalb County were among 176 in metro Atlanta that earned the EPA’s Energy Star rating. 8
Step teams from all grade levels will vie for awards and bragging rights at the 2012 Step Off hosted by St. Philip’s Young People Ministry. 11
Step team competition
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April 14, 2012
Volume 17, Number50
Friends of South River to show off its beauty, warts By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Richard Grove (left), Glen Smith and Jim Gawlas (not pictured) retrieved an abandoned boat from the South River in preparation for a canoe trip by officials and river advocates on April 28.
paddle down the river. Jackie Echols, president of the South River Watershed Alliance, said the mission’s goal is to educate and to allow people to experience firsthand the river’s hidden beauty, its tranquillity, its high Jackie Echols banks, cozy tree canopies, and beautiful rock outcroppings. Echols said the South River has the potential to be a destination in South DeKalb but that it has an image problem. “Degradation has led to river avoidance,
What a difference a couple of years make! In the summer of 2010, families with small children frolicking in the nasty waters of the South River were chased away by news of the river’s high fecal chloroform levels. Warning signs and a wire fence were erected on the banks of Panola Shoals and Highway 155 to bar the uninformed and the adventurous from using the river. But on April 28, eight canoes loaded with more than a dozen river advocates, county and congressional officials, and members of the South River Watershed Alliance will take off from those same shoals for a 4.5-mile Please see SOUTH RIVER, page 4
Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews
A Less Curvy Turner Hill Jennifer Napier (from left) of Kimley-Horn & Associates, Charity Belford of Georgia DOT, and resident Shawn Dowdell discuss aspects of the proposed widening of Turner Hill Road south of the Mall at Stonecrest.
proaches at McDaniel Mill and Rockland roads. Jerry Brooks of Kimley-Horn & Associates, the project’s design consultants, said the improvements will transform the curvy road into a straightaway. Jerry Brooks “They will make it safer for motorists and pedestrians,” he said. Carlton Reid, who lives in nearby Crestview Manor subdivision two miles from the Mall at Stonecrest, said he was excited about the improvements. “They are opening up the lanes and putPlease see TURNER HILL, page 5
Please see ZIMMERMAN, page 5
Project to widen road near Stonecrest gets mixed reviews Construction on a long-planned widening of Turner Hill Road between Mall Parkway and McDaniel Mill Road in Lithonia is now slated to begin in 2014. Fifty-two residents who live near the $18 million project attended an April 10 public hearing open house at the Stonecrest Library and gave it mixed reviews. Some liked that it will straighten the existing curvy two-lane road and bring sidewalks, a walking trail, and street and pedestrian lights. Others complain that a four-lane road with a median will destroy the area’s rural flavor. Shawn Dowdell, who lives just beyond the
end of 1.5-mile project in the Stoney Creek subdivision, said he liked the improvements he saw on the large maps on display during the meeting. “My only concern would be what other development is going to come behind it,” he said. “If a water park is going to follow it, I won’t be happy.” The project will begin at Mall Parkway and end just past McDaniel Mill Road. It will widen the two-lane road to four lanes in each direction with a 24-foot median. It will have a 10-foot-wide multi-use trail on its east side and a 5-foot sidewalk on the west side. There will be streetlights along the multi-use trail and pedestrian lighting along the sidewalks. It also will improve intersection ap-
By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Neig hborhood w a tch vo l u n te e r George Zimmerman was arrested April 11 for shooting 17-yearold Trayvon Martin to death in February in Sanford, Fla. Special prosecutor Angela Corey said George Zimmerman Zimmerman, 28, will face second-degree murder charges in the death of the unarmed teen, who was wearing a hoodie on a rainy Feb. 26 evening on his way home from the store with a pack of Skittles and a Trayvon Martin bottle of iced tea. The killing drew thousands of protesters to Sanford calling for the arrest of Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law and was released. Protesters also called for justice in demonstrations at Georgia’s State Capitol, in New York, and in cities around the country. Zimmerman’s arrest came 45 days after Trayvon’s death and followed weeks of mounting tension and protests across the country. On the night of the shooting, he was 80 pounds heavier than the teen. In his new arrest mug shot, he had lost weight and was visibly thinner. Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lawyer, told reporters Wednesday outside his Orlando office that his client would plead
Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews
By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Trayvon’s killer now arrested
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Decatur man held in sexual assault, burglary cases The Decatur man suspected of a number of sexual assaults against women he allegedly cased at a Decatur grocery store will face a judge on April 19. Gary Mincey, 35, will be arraigned before DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gail Flake on rape, armed robbery, burglary and false imprisonment Gary Mincey charges. DeKalb police arrested Mincey on Dec. 1, 2011, for following a woman home from the Publix grocery store on Flakes Mill Road. Officers said that while the woman was unpacking her groceries, Mincey sneaked into her home near Columbia Drive and sexually assaulted her. He also stole her cell phone and laptop before taking off in a dark SUV, police said. Investigators said they spotted the SUV the next day near the same Publix and arrested Mincey after a brief chase. He is currently in the DeKalb County Jail.
April 14, 2012
“Mr. Spellen showed utter disregard for the terms of the bond. I will revoke his bond. Take him into custody.”
Spellen jailed until trial on child rape charges By Carla Parker
Lithonia tae kwon do instructor and Olympic athlete Adrian Spellen was taken into custody April 9 after a DeKalb Superior Court judge revoked Adrian Spellen his bond. Spellen, who is charged with raping a 9-year-old female student in 2011 at his Powerkicks Martial Arts studio in Lithonia, was out on a $100,000 bond and ordered not to have contact with children under the age of 16.
A DeKalb grand jury indicted Spellen on three counts of rape and aggravated child molestation on July 26, 2011. The indictment accuses him of having “carnal knowledge of ” a 9-year-old girl between May 23 and June 3. Spellen has denied the charges. Prosecutors told Judge Clarence Seeliger that the victim’s uncle spotted Spellen at the studio where children present. “I did see one child that was in the area when he was talking to adults,” the child’s uncle told Seeliger. Spellen’s attorneys showed surveillance video from the studio that they said proves that their client didn’t come in contact with children.
Seeliger was not swayed. “Mr. Spellen showed utter disregard for the terms of the bond,” Seeliger said. “I will revoke his bond. Take him into custody.” After the order, one of Spellen’s sisters screamed out in the courtroom and was restrained by her mother and sister before deputies led her out of court. Stephanie Bryant, Spellen’s other sister, told WSB-TV Channel 2 that she disagreed with the ruling. “It’s unfair,” she said before an attorney asked her to stop speaking. Spellen will remain in jail until his trial, which has not been scheduled.
Events celebrate Earth Day
Area residents can celebrate the great outdoors with Earth Day events and cleanup activities in observance of National County Government Month. The monthlong national celebration is raising public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of county government. In commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day, DeKalb will host several events on April 21, including: n Keep DeKalb Beautiful South River Cleanup – 9 a.m.-1 p.m., meeting point is Murphey Candler Elementary School, 6775 S. Goddard Road in Lithonia. Keep DeKalb Beautiful, in partnership with Comcast Cares, will host a stream cleanup event to remove trash and debris from the banks of the South River. Supplies will be provided and registration is required. For more information, contact Amber Weaver at kdb@dekalbcountyga .gov or 404-371-2654. n Gardens in the Park – 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Exchange Intergenerational Park, 2771 Columbia Drive in Decatur. Residents will plant a community garden. n Day in the Park – 1:30-4:30 p.m., Mason Mill Park, 1340 McConnell Drive in Decatur. PATH/wetland ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. and dog park ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:45 p.m. For more information about National County Government Month events, visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov or call 404-371-2881.
Local activists from elected officials to schoolchildren will roll up their sleeves for a community cleanup that includes Wesley Chapel Road on April 21 in honor of Earth Day, which falls on April 22. DeKalb’s Super District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson is partnering with Commissioner Larry Johnson; state Reps. Rahn Mayo, Howard Mosby and Pamela Stephenson; and neighboring subdivisions, local schools, businesses and churches to spruce up areas along Wesley Chapel, Rainbow Drive and Flat Shoals Parkway. The cleanup will begin at 9 a.m. Volunteers will meet at the corner of Kelley Chapel and Boring roads. Watson challenges the community to join him. “Let’s pull up your sleeves and make a difference,” he said, adding that it’s important to Keep DeKalb Beautiful each and every day. For more information, contact Kelly LaJoie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-371-3681.
for Wesley Chapel Road
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For more information, visit hankjohnson.house.gov/services/foreclosure.shtml
April 14, 2012
“It is not to speak for or against Brookhaven, but to speak for the need to plan should it happen.”
Brookhaven city and annexations to cost county lots of dough By Mary Swint
The new city of Brookhaven approved by state legislators, could reduce DeKalb County’s tax revenue by $21.8 million in 2013 and become a catalyst for property taxes increasing between 9.3 percent and 11.4 percent. The county is also trying to determine potential loss of revenue from three to four cities annexing unincorporated areas by January. The DeKalb commission’s finance committee presented estimates on the potential revenue loss at a special called meeting on April 11. It also called on DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis to present a plan soon for dealing with the loss of taxes that will occur if Brookhaven voters approve the city in a referendum that will be on their July 31 ballot. The referendum was authorized by HB 636 that passed by the General Assembly on March 29. District 5 Commissioner Lee May, who chairs the finance committee, said the purpose of the analysis is to show a mid-range scenario for changes to the county’s current operating budget. “It is not to speak for or against Brookhaven,” he said, “but to speak for the need to plan should it happen.” The committee’s analysis used revenue figures from the Carl Vinson Institute’s November 2011 Brookhaven feasibility study and from the 2012 budget adopted on Feb. 28. While the revenue loss could range from $15.1 million to $28.5 million, the committee’s analysis focused on a middle range estimate of $21.8 million, which is a 14.9 percent reduction in three tax funds directly affected by the incorporation of Brookhaven. These three tax funds totaled $146.6 million in the 2012 budget. The committee estimated the Police
The annexation shakeout n Doraville will annex 1,500 to 2,000 people and half a square mile effective Jan. 1, 2013 without a referendum. The annexed area has 53 commercial parcels and 15 industrial parcels. About half of the land has apartments and 20 percent has singlefamily homes. The new residents will dramatically increate the Doraville’s 2010 population of 8,330. n The City of Decatur and Avondale annexations will be effective July 1. Decatur’s and Avondale Estates’ boundaries on College Avenue will meet at Sams Crossing. The city of Decatur will annex 10 commercial parcels on a quarter mile stretch of College Avenue near the Avondale MARTA Station. The city also plans annex Suburban Plaza later. Avondale Estates gets three-tenths of a mile along East College Avenue from Maple Street to Sams Crossing. That annexation will add 13 acres and 23 commercial parcels to Avondale Estates. n Because of the Chamblee annexation, DeKalb County will relocate its proposed new North Precinct headquarters, which was to be built on land next to the airport to Memorial Drive.
Fund, which was $110.8 million in the 2012 budget, could lose $16.5 million or the equivalent of 233 full-time positions. The Designated Fund, which pays for parks, roads and transportation, could lose $4.1 million or the equivalent of 74 fulltime positions. The Unincorporated Fund that pays for Recorders Court, Planning, Business License and DeKalb County TV (DCTV) could be reduced by $1.2 million or the equivalent of 22 positions. To recover the lost tax revenue, the county could raise the property millage rate, which is currently at 21.21 mills, to somewhere between 23.19 and 23.63 mills. That would mean increasing the property tax by 9.3 to 11.4 percent. It would depend on the size of the tax digest, which has not been determined yet. In response to the committee’s request for a plan from the administration, Finance Director Joel Gottlieb said they have been meeting every week on the issue with the
department heads. “The CEO plans to provide details shortly,” he said. May asked Gottlieb for a timeline next week for the CEO’s presentation of his plan for reacting to the potential Brookhaven incorporation. “It is hard to believe the reaction of the CEO will be quick. Nothing happens quickly,” Commissioner Elaine Boyer said, adding that the administration has been working on outsourcing the emergency ambulance service for two years and is not finished yet. J. Max Davis, president of Brookhaven Yes organization, said he welcomes a cut in staff. “DeKalb has too many employees,” he said about the committee’s report. “The call for a tax increase is a scare tactic.” Davis said the county’s first reaction is always a tax increase but DeKalb should cut staff because they will serve 48,000 fewer people when Brookhaven becomes a city.
The Carl Vinson Institute study shows that the city of Brookhaven would have 12 square miles and 49,188 residents, making it the largest city in DeKalb and Georgia’s 16th largest. Brookhaven’s boundaries would be I-285 and Dunwoody to the north, Fulton County and Sandy Springs to the west, Claremont Road to the east, and I-85 to the south. If approved by voters, it would begin operations in December.
Four cities annexing Gottlieb said Brookhaven is only part of the plan overall because annexations approved by the General Assembly in March are under way for Chamblee, Doraville, Decatur and Avondale Estates. On March 27, the governor signed into law HB 1006 that calls for a November referendum to approve a Chamblee annexation that would add the southern half of PDK Airport to the city, which already contains the other half. The annexation would also extend the city’s border southeast along Clairmont Road to I-85. It has been estimated that DeKalb County will lose $2-3 million in tax revenue from this annexation. Chamblee, which has about 16,000 residents now, will add about 11,300 residents and about 2.5 square miles if the referendum passes in November. Some of the area to be annexed was originally included in the proposed boundaries for Brookhaven. Rep. Elena Parent, who sponsored HB 1006, said some area residents and the Chamblee City Council asked for the legislation, but residents wanted to wait to see whether Brookhaven was formed before they decide on annexation into Chamblee. “They would be in an isolated strip of DeKalb if Brookhaven is formed,” Parent said.
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April 14, 2012
“We need to move forward now. We need to work toward the improvements that we want to see.”
Neglected stream abused by residents, counties SOUTH RIVER,
and education and access are the keys to reversing this trend and securing a healthy future for South River,” she said. “Education and access will also put pressure on the DeKalb Department of Watershed Management to aggressively address the sanitary sewer overflow problem.” The South River’s image problem goes back decades. The neglected river, which runs nearly 15 miles through southern DeKalb County, has been abused by both residents and the counties through which it runs. Atlanta and DeKalb both release sewer overflows into the river, and it has long been a dumping ground for everything from plastic soda bottles to old automobile tires. Even abandoned boats have been dumped on the river. Just two weeks ago, Richard Grove, a river advocate who has canoed the South River’s 58-plus mile-run to the Gulf of Mexico, pulled an abandoned boat from it. Grove, who has retrieved hundreds of car and truck tires from the river with his bare hands, recruited a couple of friends to help retrieve the boat, which was partially submerged 1.1 miles downriver from Panola Shoals. The river trip is part of the SRWA’s Beyond the Bridge project that will include two to three canoe outings for citizens to experience the river firsthand and to increase their connection to the river and a photographic series of the river to be displayed at venues throughout south DeKalb County. The project also will create a user-friendly map of the river that will be distributed countywide. Those making April’s 28 inaugural trip include Andy Phelan, congressional aide to U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson; Phil Delestrez, a naturalist from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; photographer Bruce Morton; Jenny Hoffner from American Rivers; SRWA members Morris Sammons, Keith Parsons, Patrice Davis, Howard McDermott and Doug Denton; GreenLaw attorney David Deganian; Dave Butler from DeKalb County Public Works; Deborah Schneider from District 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader’s office; and Davis Fox from District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon’s office. Echols said they had hoped the commissioners and CEO Burrell Ellis could have joined the trip, but it conflicts with the State County
Project to widen road gets mixed reviews 1
Commissioners meeting that is taking place in Savannah on the same day. “Hopefully, their staff will take back the message,” Echols said, adding that she will invite them again for the summer and fall trips. Beyond the Bridge is part of South River 2020, an eight-and-a-half-year initiative to build community connection and sustained community involvement for the South River. The initiative unveiled in July 2011 includes building a water trail – a recreational and educational corridor of access points, boat launches, forests, parks, refuges, and other public amenities that will become economic stimulus and help protect resources important to the quality of life of local residents. “Achieving the designation of water trail for South River will require the support of all stakeholders, but the support of DeKalb’s elected officials is particularly important,” Echols said. “This is an opportunity for the CEO and BOC to show their support for the river and communities that lie along its path.”
She adds that it also will enhance the greenspace purchases the county has made. “What we have in south DeKalb County is greenspace with a river running through it, which moves the barometer of possibilities to a whole new level,” Echols said. After the April 28 trip down the river, canoers will be treated to a picnic lunch at Everett Park, which is on the banks of the river at Klondike Road, before being shuttled back to their vehicles at Panola Shoals. “The only way to get people interested in the river is to get them on the river,” Echols said. “The only way to appreciate it is to get on it.” As it stands today, Echols said that the South River is not nearly as polluted as it used to be and that her group is seeking grants to begin monitoring the quality of the river’s water. “Every grant application we do, we ask for money to monitor the river,” she said. She said the SRWA would like to do regular water testing and post the information on its Web site so that members of the public who want to use the river can know the daily state of the river. She said that fencing the river in 2010 was the best way to handle the situation then. “We need to move forward now,” Echols said. “We need to work toward the improvements that we want to see.” She that fecal chloroform is an issue in every urban river but it’s not enough to say the river is already polluted and do nothing. “With that mentality, you feel that you don’t have to do anything to clean it up,” she said. Echols said that people can have contact with the river if the water quality is within the range specified by the Environmental Protection Division. Fecal chloroform is harmful to compromised immune systems and open sores, but it’s not deadly. In a canoe, there is limited contact with the water. On April 28, Echols and other canoeists will take lots of hand sanitizers with them on the trip. She said the only way to get the river cleaned up is to put pressure on DeKalb Watershed Management and to get voters who want to use the river fighting for it. “You have to start somewhere,” she said. “We have to get folks on the river.” For more information, contact Echols at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-285-3756.
Black elected officials congregating in DeKalb
Mother’s Titanic song stands the test of time 10
Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews
Richard Grove removes a tire from the South River. He has retrieved hundreds of tires from the river.
Construction on a long-planned widening Metro Atlanta residents can meet elected A century ago when the Titanic sank on of Turner Hill Road between Mall Parkway and officials from around the country at several April 14, 1912, Emily Bowden Bryant GleaMcDaniel Mill Road in Lithonia is now slated events during the 28th Annual Economic ton was a 12-year-old girl growing up on the to begin in 2014. Development NOBCO Conference on April White plantation in Ellenwood. 18-22 in Decatur.
Decatur man held in sexual assault, burglary cases 2
Energy Star buildings help Atlanta nab third place 8
Victory church hosting hoodie service for Trayvon 11
The Decatur man suspected of a number Church leaders, members and visitors will Eleven DeKalb County office and hotel be wearing hoodies to Victory for the World of sexual assaults against women he allegedly cased at a Decatur grocery store will buildings have earned the Environmental Church April 15 Sunday worship service to Protection Agency’s 2011 Energy Star cer- show solidarity for Trayvon Martin. face a judge on April 19. tification.
Brookhaven, annexations to cost county lots 3
Workshop offers info for fibroid sufferers
The new city of Brookhaven approved Women suffering from fibroids can learn by state legislators, could reduce DeKalb County’s tax revenue by $21.8 million in about a non-surgical treatment on April 26 2013 and become a catalyst for property at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale in Lithonia on April 26. taxes increasing up to 11.4 percent.
$10,000 grant for McNair Wrestling Mustangs 12 Two months after winning their first DeKalb County title, the McNair High School Wrestling Mustangs will receive another award – a $10,000 grant from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
index to advertisers
Circulation Audited By Aetna.............................................................. 3 BJH Attorneys & Counselors at Law...............14 Boss’s Bar-B-Que..........................................1,2 Chapel Hill Orthodontics................................12 Congressman Hank Johnson.......................... 2 Creative Keystrokes........................................14 DeKalb Convention & Visitor’s Bureau...........12 DeKalb County School System........................6
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April 14, 2012
“I came here to get away from the hustle and bustle and now they are going to ruin it.”
Four-lane road will change area’s rural flavor, opponents say TURNER HILL,
ting in sidewalks and taking out that curve you can’t see around,” he said. “Those are all good things.” Reid said that he currently experiences problems making the turn into his daughters’ day care center. “People are always speeding and it’s only two lanes,” he said. “This will certainly make it better.” But one of his neighbors, who didn’t want to give her name, said it’s a bad idea to turn the road into a four-lane highway. “Once you give them four lanes, people will start flying,” she said. “This is a small back road. Once you widen it, it will change everything.” The woman called the improvements, which will taper back into a two-lane road after a mile and a half, a waste of money. “It [the road] doesn’t really take you anywhere,” she said. “It still doesn’t connect you to anything.”
The woman said she and her husband moved to the Parc at Stonecrest a year ago because the area “was nice and quiet.” “I came here to get away from the hustle and bustle and now they are going to ruin it,” she said. “They could straighten the road, but we don’t need four lanes. It would be good if they just bring us the sidewalks and keep the highway.” When the project was first proposed in 2002, it drew strong opposition from residents. At a January 2002 meeting, attended by more than 300 residents, Rosemarie Pickett, who was president of the Klondike Civic Association, said the road was simply an item on the new mall’s “wish list.” At that time, the proposed project was five miles long, going past McDaniel Mill, Flat Shoals and Browns Mill roads to Union Church Road. The Georgia Department of Transportation says that widening of Turner Hill Road will address travel demands for I-20 and the mall and meet local goals of improving safety
and pedestrian access. It’s the latest development in the Stonecrest area, where growth had slowed in the wake of the economic downturn. In February, the area landed a $100,000 Livable Centers Initiative grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to study a growth strategy for a live-work-play community anchored by the 1.3 million-square-foot Mall at Stonecrest. The grant will fund a study focused on creating strategies to improve the long-term economic viability of the Stonecrest region. The Stonecrest Growth Initiative Task Force and the Stonecrest Business Alliance, which pushed for the LCI grant, want to improve the area’s treacherous rural roads, replace a rotted wooden bridge, and link and connect roads and sidewalks. They also are pushing to connect to a future Park & Ride that MARTA plans at Hayden Quarry Road and Mall Parkway and create “a sense of arrival” gateway to the area at the I-20/ Turner Hill Exit.
Brooks, design consultant for the road widening project, said rights of way purchase for the project will begin within the next 18 months. Forty-four parcels will be acquired for $6 million, which DeKalb County will pay. The county also will pay 20 percent of the project’s $12 million construction costs. Federal funds will cover the rest. Construction is slated to start in fiscal 2014, which begins July 2014. Residents who missed the open house have until April 25 to comment on the project at www.dot.ga.gov. To post a comment, click on Public Outreach from the Information Center dropdown menu at the top right side of the page. All comments will become part of the project’s record. The display and plans are also available for review through April 24 at GDOT’s District 7 Area 1 Office, 805 George Luther Drive in Decatur. For more information, call Perry Black at 404-631-1224 or Bobby Dollar at 404631-1920.
“I have been up and down as if I was on a roller coaster. But I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that justice will be served.” Sybrina Fulton
Arrest EAK follows R B G PRIN Stension, weeks of protests 0 r1 nde ith u kid e w One ts fre meals ea dult ril 8 2 a l 2-Ap i Apr
not guilty. Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, who watched Wednesday’s televised announcement of the charges against Zimmerman from Washington, D.C., said she knew that justice would come for her son. “I have been up and down as if I was on a roller coaster,” she said. “But I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that justice will be served.” Corey, Florida’s state attorney, said Zimmerman had turned himself in to police. “He is in custody,” she said. In response to questions from reporters, she said that it would be improper to discuss the evidence against him. Decatur lawyer Mawuli Mel Davis welcomed the news of Zimmerman’s arrest. “It’s a good first start, but there is still a long way to go,” said Davis, who was among thousands of protesters who went to Florida on March 22 to Mawuli Davis call for Zimmerman’s arrest. He said it will take six to nine months to get to a crucial hearing on the Stand Your Ground Law, which gives Floridians the right to protect themselves with deadly force if they feel threatened. “That hearing will determine if a jury even gets to hear the case,” he said. Davis, who is a partner in the Davis Bozeman Law on Flat Shoals Parkway, said that Trayvon’s supporters will have to stay focused, vigilant, organized and active. “As a community, we tend to claim victory before we cross the finish line,” he said. “It’s a marathon, so we have to keep up the fight.”
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The meetings are an outgrowth of Boston’s Community Prosecution Program to combat quality-of-life crimes.
Black elected officials congregating in DeKalb Metro Atlanta residents can meet elected officials p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott in Decatur. from around the country at several events during n After Party – Grown Folks. April 21 beginning at 8 the 28th Annual Economic Development NOBCO p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott in Decatur; $25. Conference on April 18-22 in Decatur. To R.S.V.P., e-mail ConfirmationNOBCO2012@ Commissioner Larry Johnson, presiding officer gmail.com. of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, is In addition to the events and workshops, part of host for the National Organization of Black Elected the conference is devoted to young people. April 19 Officials conference, which will feature a number of is Youth Day, and students from local high schools workshops focused on issues facing elected officials are invited to participate in the workshops, panel Larry Johnson and impacting decisions that they make on behalf of discussions and luncheon on that day. their respective constituents. It is a prime opportunity for youth interested in careers Technology will be a feature – information about technol- in government/public service to meet and network with ogy available for governments and the use of social media are elected officials from around the country and to gain insight just some of the topics to be covered. on how they can become involved in their community as The following events are open to the public: young people. n Future Leaders Luncheon. April 19 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at NOBCO serves as a clearinghouse for information that the Courtyard by Marriott, 130 Clairemont Ave. in Decatur; provides a program and project structure to educate, train $30. and assist government officials and community members. n Opening Reception – “A Taste of DeKalb.” April 19 from The key focus is on economic and community development 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and and environmental issues. Community Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive in Decatur. For more information on the conference, visit www n Business Roundtable Reception. April 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 .nobcoinc.org.
Walmart starts hunger fight on Facebook Metro Atlanta residents and activists can help fight hunger by participating in Walmart’s Facebook campaign that will bring $2 million in grants to communities hardest hit by unemployment. Walmart’s “Fighting Hunger Together” spring initiative will provide millions of Americans with the opportunity to fight hunger by shopping at Walmart or through visiting www. facebook.com/walmart. The campaign, which kicked off April 9 and runs through April 30, highlights 200 communities where jobless rates are the highest, according to the Department of Labor. The winning community will receive $1 million in grants and the next 20 communities with the most support will receive $50,000. Local hunger relief nonprofits will receive the funding.
Metro Atlanta is urging citizens to get involved to help bring the funding here and to vote daily. It’s estimated that over the course of a year, nearly 49 million Americans won’t know where their next meal is coming from, Walmart says. While the need to combat food insecurity is ever present, spring is a particularly difficult time as the season traditionally brings a decrease in food donations, leaving hunger relief organizations with limited resources and their clientele vulnerable. The anti-hunger movement is supported by the Walmart Foundation, The Band Perry, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and four of the nation’s largest food companies — General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods and Kellogg Company. For more information, visit www.walmartstores.com/ fightinghunger.
Our Panola Industrial branch is available for your convenience. 5381 Panola Industrial Boulevard Decatur, Georgia 30035 Branch & Drive-Thru Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturday 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 678.889.GFCU (4328) | www.gwinnettfcu.org
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April 14, 2012
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Business Watch on the breakfast menu South DeKalb business owners can attend a series of community breakfasts to discuss public safety concerns beginning April 18. DeKalb County Solicitor General Sherry Boston, Commissioner Larry Johnson, and the DeKalb Police Department, South Precinct, are holding the meetings, which will address public safety concerns, how to form a Business Watch program, and the role businesses can play in keeping communities safe. The first meeting will be held for the Candler Road Corridor on April 18 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Piccadilly Restaurant in the Gallery at South DeKalb mall. Space is limited – R.S.V.P. to Community Prosecutor Sonja Brown at email@example.com or 404-3712234. Wesley Chapel Corridor businesses will meet on Aug. 15 and the Moreland Corridor businesses on Dec. 19. Locations will be announced later. The meetings are an outgrowth of Boston’s Community Prosecution Program, which is based on a nationally proven method of using a proactive, integrated, solutions-based, and grass-roots approach to combat quality-of-life crimes in targeted areas through partnerships among the community, police and prosecutors. Boston said partnerships are important and can help them identify key areas of concern to business owners so that law enforcement can do its part to help protect and encourage vibrant business districts for a stronger, healthier DeKalb. “These meetings are fundamental to true community prosecution – law enforcement, elected officials and business owners working together to improve public safety and quality of life,” she said. Johnson said he is pleased to work with Boston on the initiative. “It dovetails perfectly with the initiatives I have worked on in this corridor, and with Ms. Boston’s support we can continue to see forward progress toward making DeKalb a great place to live, work and play,” he said.
April 14, 2012
“We have solid evidence that deep connections exist between pollution levels and demographic characteristics such as race and income.”
Vulnerable communities more likely in shadow of pollution Minority, low-income, and languageisolated communities in metro Atlanta are more likely to be living in close proximity to pollution than others, an analysis released by GreenLaw shows. The environmental advocacy group says policies and laws are needed to curb pollutants in vulnerable communities. Residents can find out what pollution sources are in their areas by visiting www. greenlaw.com/patternsofpollution and typing in a metro Atlanta address. Among the top five environmental justice hot spots is the border of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. GreenLaw released the detailed geographic information system analysis of pollution in the 14-county Atlanta region and presented “The Patterns of Pollution: A Report on Demographics and Pollution in Metro Atlanta” in a Web conference call. The report analyzes the relationship between pollution locations such as toxic releases, blighted lands, and polluting factories and the race, income, language, and other characteristics of metro residents. The results show that minority, low-income, and linguistically isolated communities are more likely to be living in the shadow of pollution than others. Along with the report, GreenLaw unveiled the interactive Web site that also will generate a report that provides more detailed information on pollution points and demographics for each community. David Deganian, lead author of the report and an attorney at GreenLaw, said “Patterns of Pollution” provides substantial proof of the link between pollution levels and the overall makeup of a community. David Deganian “While this report may confirm what many have already suspected, this level of analysis simply cannot be ignored,” Deganian said in a March 26 statement. “We now have solid evidence that deep connections exist between pollution levels and demographic characteristics such as race and income. Our hope is that this report will allow decision-makers to implement sciencebased laws and policies that will protect all of Atlanta’s residents equally.” The GIS system combines data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and the Census Bureau. Nick DiLuzio, a staff scientist with NewFields, the global environmental engineering firm working with GreenLaw, said maps were used to identify hot spots. “In creating the maps, our approach was to sys- Nick DiLuzio tematically assemble the environmental data to establish a pollution score and combine it with a demographic score to determine the characteristics of people living near pollution in the region,” DiLuzio said. The top five environmental justice hot spots are at the intersection of Cobb, Douglas and Fulton counties; in Canton and Cherokee County; at the border of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties; in the city of Atlanta; and in central Douglas County. The EPA defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” Justine Thompson, executive director of GreenLaw, said Georgia has fallen behind. “As states across the country strive to protect all of its citizens –regardless of race
“The Patterns of Pollution: A Report on Demographics and Pollution in Metro Atlanta” Key findings: n Minority rates rise with the number of nearby pollution points. Areas with a minority population 50 percent or higher have more than double the number of pollution points than areas where minorities make up less than 10 percent of the population. n Households in which English is not the primary language, designated as “linguistic isolation” by the U.S. Census Bureau, are more than twice as likely to live in a high pollution area. n Areas with linguistic isolation rates over
or economic status – from the health impacts of pollution, Georgia remains one of the only states in the nation with no mechanism to ensure equality in environmental decision-making,” Thompson said. “For Atlanta to remain Justine Thompson a player in the global economy, we need to show the world that Atlanta takes care of the health and well-being of all of its residents.” Recommendations include: n Environmental advocates should
20 percent have more than three times as many pollution points in close proximity on average as blocks where less than 5 percent of households are linguistically isolated. n Areas with poverty levels above 20 percent contain on average almost six pollution points, compared to areas with poverty rates under 5 percent that have only two. n Areas with vacant housing rates above 15 percent have three times as many pollution points as areas with rates below 5 percent.
form an alliance of experts, academics, environmentalists and neighborhood leaders to bring these issues to the front burner of government agenda; n Regional government and business leaders should collaboratively address how to reduce the environmental impacts on minority, low-income, and linguistically isolated populations through a Metro Atlanta Environmental Justice Working Group; n EPA should provide direct guidance to EPD to consider disproportionate environmental impacts in permitting; insert meaningful environmental justice goals in federal grant funding; and support local
governments implementing environmental justice measures; and n EPD should enact a policy that promotes healthy citizens and require equity in its practices; enhance the involvement of minority, language-isolated and low-income Georgians in decision-making; and identify and acquire technical tools to incorporate environmental justice in its activities. Helen Kim Ho, executive director of the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center Inc. of Georgia said that environmental justice benefits everyone. “No one wants to live near pollution. It’s bad Helen Kim Ho for everyone. We’re in it together, though some of us feel the impact more.” Longtime advocate Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, chair of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, said residents depend on government agencies and laws to protect them from Na’Taki Jelks pollution. “We want business growth,” Jelks said. “But the bottom line for our officials should be to ensure that business doesn’t pollute to the detriment of people’s health and wellbeing. That is the job of government.”
Our specialty is treating people suffering from the status quo. How it is in healthcare, is not how it has to be. That’s why we challenged what a state-of-the-art healthcare facility should look like, how it should operate and even where it should be. DeKalb Medical at Hillandale became the first all-digital master planned hospital in Georgia and brought advanced medicine outside of the perimeter, where people actually live. We recruited nationally-acclaimed physicians and a dedicated support staff who are passionate about providing world-class service. We made sure that the hospital didn’t look or smell like one and that the food was actually delicious, all of which make close to home, feel more like home. We even make a point to care for the community outside of our doors. Every day, we continue to ask ourselves, “What can we do differently? What can we do better than them?” because the last thing we want to be is like everybody else.
To learn more, visit www.dekalbmedicalhillandale.org
Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools, and retail stores.
Tobacco-free campuses for 3 DeKalb colleges, a big coup Emory, Oglethorpe and Mercer are the first four-year universities in DeKalb County that will create tobacco-free campuses. The DeKalb Board of Health recently announced a partnership with the three schools. The initiative will help reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure among students, faculty and staff on the campuses, the board said in an April 3 statement. It is being supported by the board’s DeKalb Putting Prevention to Work program. The Board of Health is providing resources and support to initiate 100 percent tobacco-free campus policies, including producing posters to help prepare the campuses for the upcoming changes. The specially designed “Picture DeKalb Healthy” posters encourage campus residents to imagine a healthier, tobacco-free environment. The partnership with the colleges is one component of a multi-pronged approach to reduce secondhand smoke exposure and help residents live tobacco-free. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, the board says. Smoking and smokeless tobacco can cause numerous health problems, including cancer, heart disease, asthma attacks, respiratory and ear infections, and tooth and gum diseases. Registered nurse Linda Johns, assistant manager of Student Health and a Tobacco Task Force member at Mercer University, said Mercer is excited to be among the first universities in DeKalb to take this important step.
“This initiative not only creates a healthier environment for all who visit our campuses, but it also further aligns Mercer with its commitment to health and wellbeing,” Johns said. Emory, Oglethorpe and Mercer aim to be tobacco-free by fall 2012, joining more than 252 other colleges and universities nationwide in implementing 100 percent tobacco-free campus policies. The selected universities will conduct a variety of activities to become tobaccofree, including creating a tobacco task force, developing a campus-wide tobacco action plan, and creating an implementation guide documenting the tobacco-free campus policy process. The schools also will offer smoking cessation classes and other resources to help students and staff kick the habit. Oglethorpe has been conducting awareness activities to help educate workers and students about the dangers of tobacco use and cessation resources, said registered nurse Cathy Grote, director of the Health Service Department and a Tobacco Task Force member. “We realize that this change cannot happen overnight and we will need to provide people with the tools to make this transition successful,” Grote said. Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford, DeKalb’s district health director, said the initiative will impact society on many levels. “Partnerships that reach college students with innovative health interventions help them to adopt healthy behaviors that last a lifetime,” she said. “These behaviors contribute significantly to the nation’s goal of building a healthier work force.”
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DeKalb’s Energy Star buildings help Atlanta land third place on national list Eleven DeKalb County office and hotel buildings have earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 Energy Star certification. The buildings, which are in Dunwoody, are among 176 metro Atlanta buildings placed it on the list of 25 cities with the greatest number of energyefficient buildings. Atlanta has moved up to No. 3, Three Atlanta and the Atlanta Marrioott Perimeter Center in according to the list Dunwoody are among DeKalb’s Energy Star Buildings released April 11. The Dunwoody area buildings include more than any other state. 3 Ravinia, 1040 Crown Pointe, Perimeter Energy use in commercial buildings acCenter South, and Atlanta Marriott Perim- counts for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greeneter Center. house gas emissions at a cost of more than Atlanta’s Energy Star-labeled buildings $100 billion per year. Commercial buildings achieved significant reductions in their that earn EPA’s Energy Star must perform energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. in the top 25 percent of similar buildings They represent more than 78 million square nationwide and must be independently feet and will save $55 million annually in verified by a licensed professional engineer energy costs while preventing greenhouse or a registered architect. Energy Star certified gas emissions equal to the emissions of 9,700 buildings use an average of 35 percent less homes a year. energy and are responsible for 35 percent By the end of 2011, the nearly 16,500 less carbon dioxide emissions than typical Energy Star certified buildings across the buildings. United States have helped save nearly $2.3 Fifteen types of commercial buildings can billion in annual utility bills and prevent earn the Energy Star, including office buildgreenhouse gas emissions equal to emissions ings, K-12 schools, and retail stores. from the annual energy use of more than 1.5 Launched in 1992 by EPA, Energy Star million homes. is a market-based partnership to reduce First released in 2008, the list of cities greenhouse gas emissions through energy with the most Energy Star certified buildings efficiency. continues to show how cities are embracing This year marks Energy Star’s 20th anenergy efficiency as a simple and effective niversary. Over the past 20 years, American way to save money and prevent pollution. families and businesses have saved about Los Angeles has remained the top city $230 billion on utility bills and prevented since 2008, while Washington, D.C., contin- more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon ues to hold onto second place for the third pollution. year in a row. The Energy Star label can be found on Atlanta moved up from the No. 6 spot in more than 60 different kinds of products and 2010 to third place this year, and Boston and more than 1.3 million new homes. Riverside broke into the top 10. Tampa, Fla.; For more information, visit www.enColorado Springs, Colo.; and Salt Lake City ergystar.gov/TopCities, http://energystar. all are new to the list in 2011. gov/buildinglist, and http://energystar.gov/ California has six cities on the 2011 list – labeledbuildings.
April 14, 2012
“The essentials are space, some basic kitchen tools, simple food items, and community interest.”
Community Kitchen Garden manual ready A community kitchen program manual is now available for experienced and aspiring gardeners. The manual, which is offered by the DeKalb Board of Health, provides start-up information for neighborhood group, community or faith-based institution, worksite, school, or individual who want help increase access to healthy foods and build community relationships. It can be downloaded at www.dekalbhealth.net. In 2005, the Board of Health received a Steps to a HealthierUS grant to focus on reducing the burden of diabetes, obesity and asthma. It addressed three related risk behaviors—physical inactivity, poor nutrition and tobacco use. Through the Steps program, the Board of Health piloted a community kitchen to address a lack of fresh, healthy foods. A community kitchen allows individuals to gather, prepare meals, learn about cooking and nutrition, and bring home low-cost, healthy meals for their family. At the kitchen, participants are guided through preparing several meals that are packaged “to go” with cooking directions. Once home, meals can be refrigerated and cooked within a few days or frozen for future use. The manual includes easy to prepare recipes with nutrition information. DeKalb District Health Director Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford said anyone can start a community kitchen. “The essentials are space, some basic kitchen tools, simple food items, and community interest,” she said.
The DeKalb Board of Health is offering the manual free of cost to help communities grow and prepare healthy foods.
The manual provides its readers a step-by-step guide for planning and operating their own community kitchen. The manual may be copied by community groups. The partners of the Board of Health’s community kitchen garden pilot program included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; DeKalb Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs; and Christ the Lord Church of Decatur. For more information call 404-508-7847.
Saint Philip’s recycling day DeKalb residents in the throes of spring-cleaning can bring documents to be shredded and other household discards to be recycled at the second annual Green & Clean Day on April 21 at Saint Philip AME Church. The 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m., event, sponsored by Saint Philip Community Development Corp., will take place rain or shine. Vendors will shred sensitive documents on-site. Residents can also recycle newspapers and magazines, and disposal of outdated prescription, over-the-counter drugs, plastics, metals, electronics and household hazardous waste like fats, oils and greases(FOG), and household batteries. Keeping FOG out of kitchen drains and out of sewer systems directly impacts water and sewer bills. Saint Philip AME Church is at the corner of Candler Road and Memorial Drive at 240 Candler Road S.E. in Atlanta. For more information, call 404-3710749.
Workshop for fibroid sufferers Women suffering from fibroids can learn about a non-surgical treatment on April 26 at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale in Lithonia on April 26. Dr. Melissa SeelyMorgan, an interventional radiologist, will discuss uterine fibroid M. Seely-Morgan embolization from 6-to-7 p.m. in the Community Room. Uterine fibroid embolization, a non-surgical procedure in which fibroids are plugged to cut off the blood supply to them, requires only one night in the hospital and less recovery time than a traditional hysterectomy. African-American women are disproportionately affected by fibroids, benign tumors that form on the wall of the uterus. DeKalb Medical at Hillandale is at 2801 DeKalb Medical Parkway. For more information, visit www.dekalbmedical.org or call 404-501-WELL (9355).
progam for kids Low-income children and youth can receive nutritious meals through the Summer Food Service Program when school is out. The DeKalb County Recreation, Parks & Cultural Affairs Department is host for the program, which runs June 4 through Aug. 3, as part of an ongoing effort to enhance the quality of life of DeKalb youth. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agencies with summer camps should contact Rose Myrick at 678-698-1114. To qualify as a site, 50 percent of the children served must meet the income guidelines for free and reduced price meals in the National School Lunch Program. Children who are members of households that receive food stamps or Aid for Dependent Children assistance automatically qualify. The deadline to apply for the program is May 25; applications are available at www. dekalbcountyga.gov/parks or at the the Parks and Recreation Department on the third floor of the Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive in Decatur suring business hours. For more information, call 678-6981114.
Picture DeKalb Healthy: Seniors Live Well in 2012 Friday, April 20, 2012 • 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 7:30 a.m. Registration • 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Program and Health Screenings
Lou Walker Senior Center 2538 Panola Road • Lithonia, Ga. 30058 The event will feature: • DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis • DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May • Discussion panel with health experts • Healthy “soul food” cooking demonstration • Health screenings • Breakfast and lunch • Raffle This event is co-sponsored by Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis, DeKalb County Government, and District Health Director S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., DeKalb County Board of Health. Burrell Ellis Chief Executive Officer
S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A. District Health Director
To register, call 404-294-3700.
April 14, 2012
“Mama used to sing it all the time. … It’s a good time to have this song printed on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.”
Mother’s Titanic song stands the test of time
The rich people decided to take a trip On the finest ship that ever was built. The Captain persuaded the people to think That the great Titanic was too safe to sink.
By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
A century ago when the Titanic sank on April 14, 1912, Emily Bowden Bryant Gleaton was a 12-year-old girl growing up on the White plantation in Ellenwood. The tragedy, which still ranks as the largest peacetime maritime disaster, made such an impression on the little girl that she penned a song titled “The Great Titanic SinkEmily Gleaton ing Down.” Gleaton, who was born Jan. 28, 1900 – a mere 35 years after the United States had freed its slaves – died on Jan. 9, 1996, less than three weeks from her 96th birthday. Her family was so proud of the song, written by a girl who didn’t have the opportunity to go to school past the sixth grade, that they copyrighted it. Her daughter Jennette Moore, who lives in Decatur, said she grew up hearing her mother sing the song. “She wasn’t educated but the Lord gave her the wisdom to write this song,” said Moore, who celebrated her 77th birthday on April 11. As the world marks the 100th anniversary with memorial services and the re-release of the movie “Titanic” in 3-D, Moore is reminded of the song and what she considers a remarkable accomplishment for a girl with limited schooling. She treasures the sheet of paper, yellowed with age, on which Gleaton’s girlish print has survived the decades. “The Great Titanic Sinking Down” tells the story of the 882.9-foot-long and 92-footwide White Star ocean liner that was built in Belfast at a cost of $7.5 million. Equipped with the finest luxuries and the latest technology of the time, the ship was deemed virtually unsinkable. In the first verse, young Emily wrote: “The rich people decided to take a trip On the finest ship that ever was built. The Captain persuaded the people to think That the great Titanic was too safe to sink.” The liner set sail on its maiden voyage on April 10, 1912, from Southhampton, England, for New York with 2,240 passengers, among them some of the world’s wealthiest people, including John Jacob Astor IV, the richest man, who did not survive. There were
The Great Titanic Sinking Down
[Chorus] Out on the ocean – the great wide ocean The great Titanic, out on the ocean sinking down. They left the harbor with a rapid speed Carrying everything that the people would need. People had a jubilee as the ship went out into the sea. They left the harbor running fast. It was her first trip and it was her last. About six hundred miles away She met that iceberg in her way.
Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews
Jennette Moore copyrighted the lyrics of the nine-verse “The Great Titanic Sinking Down” in 1998 after the wreckage of the Titanic was found. Her mother wrote the song in 1912.
more than 885 crew members on board. Four days into the voyage, the ship, which weighed more than 46,328 tons, hit an iceberg near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada, on the night of April 14, 1912, and broke in two and sank. Emily wrote: “They left the harbor running fast It was her first trip and it was her last About six hundred miles away She met that iceberg in her way.” More than 1,517 adults and children perished. The last of the 866 survivors, Millvina Dean of England, who was 9 weeks old when the ship sank, died May 31, 2009, at age 97. The last American survivor, Lillian Gertrud Asplund, died May 6, 2006, at age 99. Moore, one of nine children, said she wanted to share her mother’s song, which she has treasured over the years. “That song, Mama used to sing it all the time,” she said. “Seems like they could work better when they were singing. It’s a good time to have this song printed on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.” Moore takes pride in collecting photos and documents about her mother. She said Gleaton struggled to raise nine children. “We were poor but she gave us so much,”
Moore said. “I just admired my mother.” Moore is one of Gleaton’s three girls, all of whom are still living in Decatur. Ruby Ruffin, 90, is the oldest. Mildred Freeman is 69. Their six brothers are all deceased. Moore said that as a young woman, her mother was a champion cotton picker. “She could pick 400 pounds of cotton in a day. She saw her first airplane while she was picking cotton, and it frightened her. She had never seen anything like that before.” Moore was a nurse before retiring in 2010. For many years, she was the personal nurse for Stephen Mitchell, brother of “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell. She said she finished the 11th grade and her youngest sister completed high school. Ruffin’s grandchildren include three doctors – Monya Ruffin, a Ph.D. who lives in Virginia; April Ruffin, a Marietta ob-gyn; and Shomari Ruffin, an orthopedic physician in Jacksonville, Fla. “Our family has come a long way in a short time,” Moore said. Moore copyrighted the lyrics of the nineverse “The Great Titanic Sinking Down” on March 22, 1998, after the sunken Titanic was found. The lyrics are sung in A-flat. “I would love for someone to record it,” she said, humming the verses as she remembered her mother doing it.
About nine o’clock at evening tide The iceberg ripped her in her side. And all at once she looked around and saw the great Titanic was sinking down. The captain ordered let the life boats down In a hurry before we drown. The men like heroes stood there brave But only the women and children were saved. The captain had written on his roll About three thousand living souls. The news on land and sea were waved But only the women and children were saved. When the ship was almost sunk The men on the ship begin to jump Some caught on the ice and there they lie Until the next day when a ship passed by John Jacob Astor was a millionaire Drawn like a soldier but he will be there When the trumpet of God shall sound, The greatest ship shall leave the ground Men and women and children will say To each other how are you today. Women and children was wiping their eyes Bidding their husbands and friends goodbye They thought of Jesus of Nazareth And the band played “Nearer my God to Thee.” – Emily Bowden Bryant Gleaton, circa 1912
April 14, 2012
For more than eight years, the publication was the “voice of the voiceless.”
Victory church hosting hoodie service
Step competition coming up
commemorate the teen’s tragic Church leaders, members and death and call attention to racial visitors will be wearing hoodies profiling. to Victory for the World Church The 17-year-old teen was wearApril 15 Sunday worship service ing a hoodie when he was shot to to show solidarity for Trayvon death in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26. Martin, the unarmed Florida It took protests nationwide teen shot to death by a neighand an investigation by a special borhood watch captain George prosecutor for Zimmerman to be Zimmerman in February. Trayvon Martin charged. He was arrested April 11 Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel, senior pastor of Stone Mountain church, on second-degree murder charges. Victory for the World Church is at 1170 asked his congregation this week to don hoodies at the 10 a.m. service, which will North Hairston Road.
Step teams from churchs and elementary, middle and high schools can compete.
Last chance to see the Speckled Bird
Plan Your Next Family Reunion in Atlanta’s DeKalb County! DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Reunion Specialists will teach you everything you need to know to plan the perfect Family Reunion!
Free Planning Workshop Saturday, May 5, 2012 (9:00 a.m. to Noon) Courtyard Marriott Atlanta/Decatur/Emory 130 Clairemont Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030
Call (770) 492-5050 ext. 1048 to Pre-Register
fighting Jim Crow in the “The Great SpeckSouth and institutionalled Bird” exhibit at ized racism in the North; the historic DeKalb striking garbage and farm Courthouse in downworkers; Vietnamese peastown Decatur is nearants being slaughtered ing its end, but history by American bombs and buffs can still catch it napalm; women taking through April 20. control of their bodThe exhibit showies; students demanding cases the South’s stanmeaningful educations; dard underground and young people seeking newspaper, which new ways to live. chronicled turbulent At its height, with a cirtimes in Atlanta from culation of about 22,000, 1968-1976. the Bird was the most “The Bird” burst widely-read weekly paper upon the Atlanta in Georgia. scene in the midst The exhibit is open of the Vietnam War Monday through Friday and struggles against from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. discrimination in the The historic DeKalb city. Courthouse at 101 E. For more than eight years, the publication was the “voice Court Square. For more information, call Meof the voiceless” – African-Americans lissa Forgey at 404-373-1088.
Steps teams can strut their stuff on April 21 in Saint Philip 2012 Step Off. The competition, hosted by the Saint Philip Young People Ministry, features Greek Alumni. It is open to teams from elementary, middle, high schools, and churches. Competitiors step off at 3:30 p.m. in the Marcia Moss Fellowship Hall in the
church’s Family Life Center. Team registration is $35. Awards will be given for the best team in each category. Admission is $6 in advance and $8 at the door. Saint Philip is located at the intersection of Candler and Memorial Drive, at 240 Candler Road S.E. in Atlanta. For registration, tickets and other information, call Keethe Moore at 404-371-0749.
“Come on and be a part of the vision” First Afrikan Church is an Afrocentric Christian Ministry that empowers women, men, youth and children to move from membership to leadership in the church, community and the world. Praise & Devotion Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m.
5197 Salem Road Lithonia, GA 30038
Join us for Bible Study Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
“We are building far beyond our years.”
Rev. Dr. Mark A. Lomax
SE AF OOD & SU NS ET S
3025 Turner Hill Road · Lithonia, GA 30038 (678) 323-8223
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April 14, 2012
“We have researchers and I asked the researchers to search for a school or program that had excelled in their program.”
$10,000 grant for McNair Wrestling Mustangs By Carla Parker
Two months after winning it’s first DeKalb County Wrestling title, the McNair High School wrestling Mustangs will receive another award – a $10,000 grant from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The grant is apart of the UFC’s “Octagon of Excellence” award, which was created this year, and is given to a school or program that has “risen to the challenge” and excelled at their sport. The check will be presented to the team on April 20 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. Reed Harris, Vice President of Community Relations of the Las Vegas-based UFC, said they chose McNair’s wrestling program to be the recipient of the award after reading an article about the program in the Jan. 21 issue of the CrossRoadsNews. “We have researchers and I asked the researchers to search for a school or program that had excelled in their program,” Harris said. “One of the researchers brought the article to my attention and we did some research on the school.” During that research, Harris said he discovered that the graduation rate at McNair had risen from 30 percent in 2002 to 70 percent in 2009. “That’s amazing,” he said. “It shows the type of leadership they have at the school.” After seeing that statistic, Harris said the UFC wanted to do something for the school and for the wrestling program. “We all know that wrestling programs need money because it’s not a popular sport,” he said. “We really wanted to do this and bring good things to this program.” McNair wrestling coach Ramon Tillery said receiving the grant is a blessing. “I’m really happy for the kids,” he said. “They worked hard and it will do a lot for the program.”
McNair High School Wrestling team won its first championship ever this year. That success and improving graduation rates at the South DeKalb school attracted the attention of the UFC.
Tillery said they plan to use the money to buy new equipment, new uniforms, refurbish the practice mat, and travel to tournaments out of state. “We will try to do a lot of things that we couldn’t do before because of lack of funds,” he said. Along with the grant, the team will also get free tickets to the UFC world light heavyweight championship fight between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans on April 21 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. They will also get to view the weigh-in of Evans and Jones on April 20 before they receive their grant. Tillery said going to the UFC weigh-in
and fight will be a first time experience for the whole team. “They are very excited about going,” he said. “They were almost in tears when I told them the news. They were really overwhelmed.” The four-hour event also include 12 other fights. Harris said seeing this fight between Jones and Evans is a great opportunity for the McNair wrestlers. “Not only will they see a real live UFC match but they will also see two fighters who are college graduates and went to college on wrestling scholarships,” he said. The fight will air live on pay-per-view at 7 p.m.
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offers K12 Alerts DeKalb parents, teachers and citizens can now get school news via email, text message and voicemail through K12 Alerts, a new automated notification service. The free service is available to anyone who wants to know more about DeKalb Schools. K12 Alerts will keep parents, DeKalb Schools staff members and residents informed of everything from weather related school closings and early dismissals to other important news impacting the district. Messages can also to translated into multiple languages. School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said the K12 Alerts are essential to provide important information to the community. “The system also leverages technology to reach a wider group of stakeholders, including multilingual audiences and families that do not have access to traditional media or the Internet,” she said. To register for K12 Alert’s, visit www. k12alerts.com/portal/dekalbcountysd or www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/.
Needed: a few good volunteers Volunteers are needed on April 23 to help refugee parents register their four and five year olds into the Refugee Family Service Program. They will work from 9 a.m.-to-12:30 p.m. to assist the parents. Registration will be held at 5561-H Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain. For more information, call 404299-6217 Ext. 239 or email rfsvolunteers@ refugeefamilyservices.org.
VOX media cafe seeks applicants Teens interested in new multimedia techniques for visual storytelling, journalism, literary non-fiction, poetry, photography, and more have until April 30 to sign up for the VOX Media Café 2012 summer program. The six-week program includes handson instruction, interactive workshops and field trips. It offers four weeks of baseline courses in visual storytelling, interactive media, reporting, and literary nonfiction, followed by two weeks of advanced lessons in visual storytelling and literary nonfiction. Teens either register for the full sixweek program or one section of the program, depending on interest and space availability. Each weeklong course caters exclusively to 12 participants. To view the VOX Media Café’s 2012 curriculum, application process, staff, and costs, visit www.voxteencommunications. org/mediacafe. Completed applications are due to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30. For more information regarding the application process, contact Katie Vesser Strangis at 404-614-0040 or editor@ voxrox.org.
Chief onboard Michael Perrone has joined DeKalb School System as its new Chief Financial Officer. His appointment was approved unanimously by the DeKalb School Board on March 29 following a national search by the school district. Perrone, who was most recently Chief Financial Officer for the Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Fla., replaces Marcus Turk, who was reassigned in January. Perrone who served in multiple financial positions with Duval County Public Schools for nine years told the Florida Times Union that he accepted the DeKalb job because it “provides me an excellent opportunity and challenge.” He was also Director of Finance for the Barnstable Public Schools in Barnstable, Mass., and Business Manager/Assistant Treasurer for the Silver Lake Regional School District in Kingston, Mass. Perrone holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn., and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston College. As Chief Financial Officer, Perrone will be in charge of all district finances and budgeting.
Registration is now open for the 2012 Battle of Stone Mountain Open Karate Tournament on April 28. The tournament will be held at Beulah Missionary Baptist Church Family Life Center at 10 a.m. Grand Champions will receive 6-foot trophy and cash prize. Trophies will awarded to first, second and third place winners. Beulah Missionary Baptist Church is at 2340 Clifton Springs Road in Decatur. To register, go to www.battleofstonemountain.com. For more information contact Master Holmes at 678-777-4641.
April 14, 2012
“Taking children out of the classroom will not improve student achievement.”
Reduced day proposal draws huge response to online survey By Carla Parker
Three proposed 2013-2014 school calendars seeking to slice 38 hours of instruction time from the school year netted more than 15,000 responses from parents within two days. The online survey posted by DeKalb School System on Tuesday sought votes from parents on one of three options. All three calendars cut an hour from the school day weekly and was a big sticking point for parents. Carl Nicpon, who has two sons at Austin Elementary School in Dunwoody, said the Wednesday early release day, which is common to all three calendar options, would reduce school instruction by 38 hours over the school year. “That’s approximately six days worth of school that kids wouldn’t have,” he said. Nicpon said superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson is doing a lot of great things but that taking kids out of school early isn’t one of them. “I cannot find any research to indicate
on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The second semester begins on Thursday, Jan. 3, and includes week-long breaks in February and April. School ends May 29, two days after Memorial day. In the second option, school begins on Aug. 6 with extended weekend breaks in October and February. There is a week-long break for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 12-day Christmas break that begins on Friday, Dec. 21, and spring break in April that begins on the 1st. School ends on May 24. The last option has school beginning on Aug. 13 with a week off for Thanksgiving and two weeks at Christmas. Spring break also begins April 1, and classes end May 29, two days after Memorial day. Atkinson told parents at an April 11 town hall meeting at Miller Grove High School that the 2012-2013 school calendar was already adopted, so her proposed calendar change will be for the 2013-14 school year to Cheryl Atkinson “give time for parents to plan.” Atkinson also told the group of 30 parent Midddle and that she wanted the hour early Wednesday high schoolers dismissal to give teachers enough time for can participate planning and student development. in discussions, “During my 90-day period I met with workshops and teachers and listened to all teachers by conlisten to speakers tent area and grade level,” she said. “One on April 21 thing that was apparently clear to me was at Southwest they do not have time to figure out who is DeKalb High learning and who is not and by the time they School. get finish with the school day they’re tired.” Atkinson said the planning time teachers do have is a “short window.” “Most of the time is not used for planning because they have just enough time to run
that reducing instructional time to provide teachers with one additional hour of weekly planning time improves student achievement,” he said. Nicpon points out that US Department of Education ststatistics show that DeKalb’s elementary school day is already 22 minutes shorter than the national average. “If this proposal is adopted, our children will get 34 minutes less instruction per day than the average,” he said. “Taking children out of the classroom will not improve student achievement.” The three-day survey was scheduled to end Thursday at midnight. School system spokesman Walter Woods was happy with the response to the survey. “We have definitely been getting a lot of feedback from the community,” he said. The calendar proposals shift the number of days in each semester, but maintain the same total of 180 days. In the first calendar option, school begins Aug. 1 and includes week-long breaks in October and during the Thanksgiving holiday, and the winter break, which begins
Manhood program to show the way Middle and high school male students and their parents can hear from male community leaders at the second “Manhood Uplift Program/Project” on April 21 at Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur. The theme for this year’s project is “Rites of Passage/Tools for a Successful Future.” Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., participants can attend workshops, listen to speakers, and access community resources that can motivate young men to reach their potential. There will be a panel discussion, an open
mic discussion and entertainment. The “Manhood Uplift Program/Project” is co-hosted by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s Kappa Alpha Alpha Decatur Chapter, DeKalb PTA Council Men’s Initiative, Project Uplift and the of Psi Chapter of Morehouse College. Southwest DeKalb is at 2863 Kelley Chapel Road. To register, visit www.omega-kaa. com or email email@example.com. For more information, call Tommy Hill at 404-259-9232.
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to the restroom and do a couple of things,” she said. “When they can get together and really talk about why this group of children is struggling with fractions, its not happening.” After the meeting, parents still didn’t agree with the early dismissal. Melba Gross from Lithonia, who has a kindergartner and a ninth grader, said she doesn’t like the early dismissal because it would be hard for parents to find child care for their children. “Especially with the elementary schools already getting out at 2 p.m.,” Gross said. “Then that means they are now going to get out at 1 p.m. and unfortunately, parents’ schedules don’t change and they still have to get off at the same time, which means now these students have an extra hour of idle time.” Trai Watson of Stone Mountain, who has two children at Redan High School, didn’t like the early Wednesday dismissal either. “Parents are not able to go to work and say ‘I got to leave half a day because I have to go pick up my child from school,’” she said. “I just think that we’re not conscious those of parents.” Atkinson said that she understands that every parent can’t come and pick up their child at an earlier time and that she would like to see more after schools programs for children. District 7 school board member Donna Edler, who is on the calendar committee, said the committee did not see the options before they were posted on the website, but that once the feedback is gathered, members will meet April 16 to review the responses. For more information about the calendar options, visit www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/calendar/proposed.html.
April 14, 2012
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April 14, 2012
Meet & Celebrate the Winners of the 2012 “Best of East Metro” Readers Choice Awards Join Us For Informative Panel Discussions
Why Entrepreneurship Now? Panelists will cut through the uncertainties around starting a business and point the way to funding and other resources.
Charles Blackmon Executive Director DeKalb Enterprise Business Corp. (DEBCO)
Rosemarie Drake Vice President Small Business Leading Cornerstone Bank
Anthony Christopher President, Georgia Certified Development Corp. (GCDC)
Moderator Bob Thiele Business Consultant University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
One DeKalb Works Is Ready for Business Join the discussions about why now is a good time o start and grow businesses in DeKalb County.
Also, a panel of graduates will discuss the training and mentoring they received from the DeKalb Microenterprise Institute
Exhibitors include: A Kid's Affair AAA Auto Club Dee’s Delicious Soul Food DeKalb County Community Development Gwinnett Federal Credit Union In Home Connections Jenice Brinkley, Brinkley Realty Group New Jerusalem Christian School Reliant Income Managers Tamisha Crosby/Samson's Health & Fitness Center The Praise House Urban Temple Studio Spa Wells Fargo