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WELLNESS

SCENE

Keeping playtime safe

Christmas with a twist

The Warcraft Doomhammer has made a watchdog’s “10 Worst Toys” list because of its potential for blunt impact injuries. 5

Exciting choreography and melodious voices abound when “A Soulful Christmas” returns to Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center. 7

Put Litter in Its Place Let’s Do Our Part to Keep DeKalb Beautiful

EAST ATLANTA • DECATUR • STONE MOUNTAIN • LITHONIA • AVONDALE ESTATES • CLARKSTON • ELLENWOOD • PINE LAKE • REDAN • SCOTTDALE • TUCKER

Copyright © 2016 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

December 3, 2016

Volume 22, Number 32

www.crossroadsnews.com

Georgia Supreme Court reverses Burrell Ellis convictions Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis served eight months in prison after his conviction on attempted extortion and perjury charges.

By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

The Supreme Court of Georgia has unanimously reversed the attempted extortion and perjury convictions against suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis for his alleged attempts to “shake down” a county contractor for campaign contributions. Writing for the court in its Nov. 30 ruling, Justice Harold Melton said that while the evidence was sufficient to convict him, due to technical errors, the criminal convictions against Ellis must be reversed. Ellis, who was sentenced to five years in prison to serve 18 months by DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson on July 1, 2015, served eight months before he

was released from Coastal State Prison near Savannah on March 1, 2016. The high court said that it will be up to the district attorney whether to retry him. Ellis, who was suspended from office, was found guilty of one count of perjury and one count of attempt to commit theft by extortion – beyond a reasonable doubt. In its 30-page opinion, the court concluded that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient “to enable a rational trier of fact to find Ellis guilty of the two charges upon which he was ultimately convicted,” but that it must nevertheless reverse Ellis’ convictions based on certain evidentiary errors that occurred at his trial. “Accordingly, we affirm in part and

reverse in part to allow for a retrial on the charges of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion and perjury,” the ruling said. The court said it agrees with the trial court that Ellis’ constitutional rights to due process and equal protection were not violated, and it upheld that part of the trial court’s ruling. On Thursday Ellis called the court’s ruling “a victory” not only for him and his family “but for all of God’s children thirst for justice and righteousness.” “I give honor and glory to God for sustaining me through an unimaginably horrific journey,” he said. Please see RULING, page 4

20 DeKalb schools with high lead in water so far More than 9,600 students exposed to unsafe levels

A parent and students enter Stone Mountain Elementary on Nov. 17. Inspectors found high lead levels in five water sources at the school in districtordered testing.

By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Some 9,618 students at 20 DeKalb elementary schools were being exposed to unsafe levels of lead in their drinking water until DeKalb Schools identified the exposure and is removing the sources. Across the district, lead levels that met or exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s action levels of 15 parts per billion were found in one to eight water sources at the schools. The lead-contaminated water was found in faucets, drinking fountains and sinks in the elementary schools built between 1935 and 1969. Lead pipes were legally used in construction before 1986, and in DeKalb County, 106 of the school district’s 150 buildings predate 1986. The DeKalb School Board approved a budget of $450,000 on Sept. 10 for the leadtesting program that got underway on Sept. 20. Through Nov. 29, the district has tested 1,365 water sources in 55 schools. Of those tested, 47 sources, or 3.5 percent, met or exceeded the EPA action level. The American Society of Pediatrics says research shows that even low levels of lead in drinking water can cause a number of health issues – from a lower IQ to behavioral problems – for children. The district is testing all 150 of its schools and centers. It still has 95 to test. DeKalb Schools Superintendent Stephen Green said that while more than 96 percent of the schools tested so far have no lead, Stephen Green any contaminated source is too much. “We have acted immediately to remove all sources that tested above the EPA action

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

level and will either remove or repair such sources,” he said. Green said that they are pleased with the progress so far on testing drinking water in the schools. “We are on schedule and within budget as we pass the 40 percent mark with 55 schools tested,” he said. Inspectors tested 17 drinking water sources at Margaret Harris Comprehensive School in Atlanta. It had eight water sources – six drinking fountains and two sinks – at or above the EPA action level. So far, the school built in 1967 has had the highest number of contaminated water sources. School district spokesman Quinn Hudson said the school’s results came back over the Thanksgiving break and on Nov. 28, when classes resumed, the district begin trucking in bottled water.

“We will continue to do that until the situation is fixed,” he said. Green has said that it is important to remember that the presence of lead at schools is not building-wide but is specific to particular water sources. Green ordered the testing of all of the district’s 150 school buildings “out of an abundance of caution” in the wake of the lead in water crisis in Flint, Mich., and concern about high lead levels found in schools nationwide. Across the country, public school systems like Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Milwaukee have tested their water this spring. In Atlanta Public Schools, 25 of its 60 schools showed levels above the EPA standards in one or more water fountains or sinks. Inspectors have been checking water

fountains; ice makers; classroom, kitchen and restroom sinks; all classroom bubbler fountains; and drinking water sources on athletic fields. Through Nov. 30, Hudson said checks and invoices for the program totaled $141,367.60. Green began notifying parents of the lead testing results on Oct. 5. The schools tested to date include seven in Decatur, six in Atlanta, three each in Lithonia and Stone Mountain, and two in Scottdale. Stone Mountain Elementary, on James B. Rivers Drive near Stone Mountain Park, had the second-highest number of water sources – four drinking fountains and a sink – exceeding the EPA standard. It was built in 1954. Please see LEAD, page 4


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CrossRoadsNews

December 3, 2016

The NRF said average consumer spending was about $290 this year, down from nearly $300 in 2015.

Candler Road Wendy’s reopening after $500,000 makeover By Ken Watts

The Wendy’s restaurant on Candler Road is expected to reopen Dec. 12 after a $500,000 makeover. The renovation, which has been underway since Nov. 5, is updating the look of the restaurant with its urban design that includes a red silo marquee. The restaurant, which has been closed since the construction began, will have a coated bronze corrugated metal accent trim along the roof line, new lighting and new marquee signpost that will sport the name Wendy’s written in a script style. Inside, the restaurant will have new tables, chairs, televisions, and a modern self-serve freestanding Coca-Cola machine offering 101 flavors so customers can design their own drinks. It will have free Wi-Fi. Antoine Tucker, area director of Clemson, S.C.-based Calhoun Management Corp., which owns 57 Wendy’s restaurants stretching from the Atlanta area to Savannah, said the renovation is part of a systemwide makeover ordered by Wendy’s in 2012. Tucker said the Candler Road restaurant is its fourth South DeKalb location to be updated. The company already remodeled

damage from the accident, but he said the renovation start date was set six months before and was not impacted by the accident. Along the Candler Road corridor, Wendy’s is the third fast-food restaurant to be updated recently within a half-mile radius. The Burger King at 2682 Candler Road was extensively renovated this year and reopened for business in June. The Popeyes restaurant, next door to the Wendy’s at 2578 Candler Road, was renovated in the past two years. Other construction underway on the corridor includes a new 3,300-square-foot Citgo gas station, convenience store and takeout restaurant that will replace a 588-square-foot Citgo convenience store demolished at Candler Road and Kelly Lake Road on June 10. The 48-year-old Gallery at South DeKalb also is sprucing up. It erected a new 30-foot marquee signpost on June 27 at a cost of Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews $200,000 and has repaved, sealed and reThe Wendy’s restaurant on Candler Road is expected to reopen Dec. 12. It is the third fast-food striped its parking lots. restaurant to be updated recently within a half-mile radius. It also is renovating its public restrooms, replacing the roof and skylight, and pressure its locations at 3015 Panola Road and 6156 the heels of an Oct. 27 accident that occurred washing and painting the mall’s exterior Covington Highway in Lithonia and at 1380 when a stolen U-Haul truck slammed into the walls. front of restaurant, damaging a window. Cedar Grove Road in Conley. Plans also call for the mall’s interior lightTucker declined to say the cost of the ing to be changed to LED. The Candler Road renovation comes on

Bargain-hunting shoppers snag Black Friday deals in stores, online By Ken Watts

Holiday shoppers found bargains and deep discounts as they crowded South DeKalb stores and malls on Black Friday, Nov. 25, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Jamy English of Stone Mountain smiled as she wheeled a full shopping cart to her car in the parking lot of the Walmart on Fairington Road in Lithonia. Her haul included a kick scooter for her 10-year-old daughter and a chair-table set for her 1-year-old son’s room and clothing. “I’m pretty much finished, actually,” she said. “And I saved about $100.” Chris and Shawn Smith from Decatur’s Longview Run subdivision found a new Huffy bicycle for their 9-year-old daughter during a lull in the crowds at Walmart. “This bike was originally about $79,” $143. Chris Smith said. “We got it for $38.” “We paid $88,” she said. A few steps away, Jasper and Mary Like many retailers, Walmart started its Thomas were loading a bargain-priced Bissell Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgivcarpet steam cleaner into their car. ing. Mary Thomas said the regular price was No sales figures for the Lithonia Walmart

Jamy English of Stone Mountain loads bargainprice toys and other gifts into her trunk on Nov. 25, Black Friday, at the Walmart on Fairington Road in Lithonia.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

were immediately available. But Betty Green, a greeter at the store on Fairington Road, said plenty of shoppers were willing to cut Thanksgiving short to save money. “We were packed,” she said. “We had 12 police officers here to make sure the crowds were orderly and everything went smoothly. People lined up in electronics and the other departments to purchase the products they wanted. TVs went fast.” Across the country, consumers seemed willing to open their wallets for the right

price. Retailer Target said it sold more than 3,200 TVs per minute in the first hour of store opening on Thanksgiving Day. Nationwide, more than 154 million bargain hunters shopped in stores and online on Black Friday, up 3 million more than in 2015, but the National Retail Federation said they spent about $10 less on average. The NRF, which tracks consumer visits and spending data, said average consumer spending was about $290 this year, down from nearly $300 in 2015. Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren told CNBC that some 16,000 people piled into the company’s Herald Square flagship store in New York City when it opened at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day – roughly 1,000 more people than 2015, when the store opened an hour later. At the Macy’s in the Gallery at South DeKalb, store manager Terry Young said that while numbers were not as large as 2015, the store met its goal and exceeded last year’s Thanksgiving night sales. Amazon said that customers ordered more than 100,000 toys within the first few hours of Black Friday. Online shopping surged Thanksgiving weekend with more than 108 million people, about 5 million more than last year, turning to the internet to spend $5.27 billion, up 17.7 percent over 2015.


CrossRoadsNews

December 3, 2016

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“Mr. Mangham paid off his outstanding debt of $3,500 this morning via a cashier’s check. So his case is now closed.”

Mangham pays off balance on $5,000 ethics fine he first denied By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Randal Mangham, who is a candidate in the Dec. 6 runoff election for the DeKalb Commission Super District 7 seat, has paid off a 7-year-old fine for ethics violations that he denied ever having. Mangham, a former state representative, owed the State Ethics Commission $3,500, which was the balance on $5,000 levied against him in 2009. The fines were to resolve a dozen violations for failure to “timely file” Personal Financial Disclosure Statements and Campaign Disclosure Reports while he was representing House District 94 from 2001 to 2010. The violations took place in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Mangham made the payments after

“Clearly there was a consent order. That was in error when I said there were no fines.” Randal Mangham

CrossRoadsNews obtained a copy of the Consent Order he signed on Oct. 15, 2009, and copies of three $500 checks he paid to the Ethics Commission. Before the newspaper obtained the documents in an Open Records Request, Mangham denied that he had ever been fined for ethics violations. “There was no $5,000 fine,” Mangham said at an Oct. 10 candidate forum co-hosted

by the newspaper and First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in the Lithonia church’s sanctuary. “I don’t know where you got that information but that is incorrect.” When presented with the documents, he said: “Clearly there was a consent order. That was in error when I said there were no fines.” The Consent Order said Mangham had failed to disclose “direct ownership interests in two tracts of real property and his spouse’s direct ownership in an additional tract of real property” on his Personal Disclosures. It also said that he had “failed to timely disclose his occupation, employer and principal activity, as well as his spouse’s name, occupation, employer and principal activity, and his spouse’s known business or investment interest.”

The Consent Order, signed by Mangham on Oct. 15, 2009, shows that he was to have made 10 payments of $500 each. He made payments on Nov. 5, 2009; Dec. 28, 2009; and Feb. 12, 2010, and stopped. Mangham, an attorney, left the House of Representatives in 2010 to make an unsuccessful run for governor of Georgia. He is competing for the DeKalb District 7 Commission seat with Emory University police officer and pastor Gregory Adams. Robert Lane, deputy executive secretary of the state Ethics and Transparency Commission, said on Nov. 22 that the outstanding balance was paid that morning. “Mr. Mangham paid off his outstanding debt of $3,500 this morning via a cashier’s check. So his case is now closed and will be sent to the archives,” Lane said.

Mangham’s outstanding liens, bills amount to more than $100K By Jim Walls Atlanta Unfiltered

Randal Mangham now says he misspoke when he recently disputed a question about more than $16,000 in ethics penalties and unpaid property taxes. But those sums, courthouse and tax records show, are just a smidgen of the debts he’s run up since his election 16 years ago to the Georgia Legislature. Mangham, who is vying for the DeKalb Commission Super District 7 seat in a Dec. 6 runoff, is still working to pay off more than $800,000 in personal and business liabilities, records show. Here’s the rundown: n The IRS imposed a $103,692 lien on Mang-

ham in 2013 on taxes owed for 2004 through 2006. In a telephone interview, he indicated he’s paying off the debt. “I am current with my taxes,” he said when asked whether he had a payment plan. “I do have an arrangement with the IRS.” n A second IRS lien for $50,958 remains on the books for Metropolitan Management Corp. of Tennessee, which owned a Knoxville, Tenn., radio station until its broadcast license expired in 2012. Mangham, who was the company’s president and owned a piece of it, would not directly answer when Atlanta Unfiltered asked whether the taxes had been paid. “That corporation no longer exists,” he said. n Some $4,383 in past-due property taxes are

due on a southwest Atlanta home in which Mangham holds an interest. Thousands of dollars of unpaid taxes from earlier years were resolved when a tax-collection company bought up the liens, records show. n Another $19,559 bill on a nearby home has accumulated for eight years of back taxes and garbage collection fees. Mangham disclosed owning an interest in the home in 2008 and 2009, when about $8,400 of the unpaid charges date from. He said his “security interest” in the home “extinguished” but could not recall when that occurred. n A DeKalb County jury in 2009 awarded $625,000 to a former client of Mangham’s who sued him for malpractice. Court records show he paid the award in 2012 after filing

an unsuccessful appeal. n In 2006, he paid more than $87,000 in past-due Georgia income taxes after the state Department of Revenue filed a lien for money owed for two previous tax years. Concerns about Mangham’s finances surfaced at an Oct. 10 candidate forum in a question posed by Jennifer Parker, editor of CrossRoadsNews. Mangham denied the fines even though he had signed a Consent Order with the Georgia Ethics Commission. He later backtracked on his answer and paid an outstanding $3,500 to settle those fines. Jim Walls is the editor and publisher of Atlanta Unfiltered, an online news source that investigates elected officials who break the law.


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2346 Candler Rd. Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007 www.crossroadsnews.com editor@crossroadsnews.com

Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker General Manager Curtis Parker Assistant Editor Brenda Yarbrough Staff Writers Jennifer Ffrench Parker Ken Watts Front Office Manager Catherine Guy Multimedia Editor Sharif Williams CrossRoadsNews is published every Saturday by CrossRoads­News, Inc. We welcome articles on neighborhood issues and news of local happenings. The opinions expressed by writers and contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor those of any advertisers. The concept, design and content of CrossRoads­News are copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the written permission of the publisher. Advertisements are published upon the representation that the advertiser is authorized to publish the submitted material. The advertiser agrees to indemnify and hold harmless from and against any loss or expenses resulting from any disputes or legal claims based upon the contents or subject matter of such advertisements, including claims of suits for libel, violation of privacy, plagiarism and copyright infringement. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement.

December 3, 2016

“The trial judge made a harmful error in allowing a Special Purpose Grand Juror to testify at Ellis’ trial.”

High court cites technical errors in Ellis trial RULING,

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DeKalb District Attorney Robert James said Wednesday that while he respects the court’s ruling, he was “obviously disappointed.” “We appreciate that the court noted that there was sufficient evidence to support convictions for perjury and criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion,” he said. James said his office is assessing whether or not to file a motion for reconsideration but that the decision to try the case again will rest with incoming District Attorney Sherry Boston. Boston, the county’s current solicitor general, said Wednesday that the Supreme Court’s decision has “understandably” raised questions regarding the next steps. “I am certainly sensitive to those concerns,” Boston said. “However, as this is a pending matter, it would be inappropriate for me to comment regarding my intentions prior to Jan. 1, 2017, when I officially assume the position of DeKalb County district attorney.” Ellis, a real estate attorney, was disbarred when he was convicted in 2015. With his successful appeal, he is expected to regain his law license.

Ellis’ term of office as CEO ends on Dec. 31. He lost his $153,000 annual salary upon his conviction and remained suspended from office without pay while he was appealing it. The corruption charges against Ellis stemmed from his alleged attempts to “shake down” county contractor Power and Energy Services of Austell for a $2,500 campaign contribution to his 2012 re-election campaign. He also was found guilty of making false statements to a special purpose grand jury. Ellis said he did nothing wrong. In its opinion, the Supreme Court found that “the trial judge made a harmful error in allowing a Special Purpose Grand Juror to testify at Ellis’ trial.” It said the state introduced the grand juror’s testimony in an effort to prove that Ellis’ false statements to the special grand jury were “material” – or essential and key – to the grand jury’s investigation. However, whether a false statement was material “is normally an issue for the jury,” the opinion said. “Such testimony went directly to the issues being investigated by the Special Purpose Grand Jury, and served as a direct invitation for

the jurors at Ellis’ trial to resolve the issue of materiality consistent with the ‘opinion’ of the individual Special Grand Juror. This was inappropriate. “We must therefore reverse Ellis’ conviction for perjury to allow for a new trial on the perjury counts against him,” the opinion says. The court said the trial court also “committed reversible error” by prohibiting Ellis from presenting any evidence of his interactions with several other vendors who were not named in the indictment. At trial, the defense wanted to call several other vendors to testify that there was no retribution from the county or Ellis for not contributing to his campaign. The court concluded that the evidence should have been admitted because “the state opened the door to the admission of this evidence.” It said that during questioning of state witness Kelvin Walton, the prosecutor asked him about a recorded conversation he had with Ellis, in which Ellis had said, “You know me. I’m not pressuring anybody …. I’ve never once said, ‘don’t do business with somebody because they won’t contribute to my [campaign].”

Asked by the prosecutor whether “that general comment” that Ellis “doesn’t pressure people” was consistent with his experience, Walton responded, “No it was not.” Because the defense had been limited to speaking only about the vendors who were the subject of the indictment against Ellis, the court said, “we conclude that the state went beyond the boundaries that had been imposed on the defense.” “By doing so, the state created an implication that Ellis had a general policy of pressuring vendors to contribute to his campaign and that Ellis was being dishonest when he stated in one of the recordings that he did not have a problem with, or seek retaliation against, vendors who did not contribute to his campaign,” the high court said. “As a result, the state opened the door for Ellis to defend himself against that implication by presenting evidence of his own about his interactions with other vendors besides those listed in the indictment. “We must therefore reverse Ellis’ conviction for attempt to commit theft by extortion to allow for a new trial on this charge as well.” Ken Watts contributed to this report.

Lead-contaminated water found in 20 schools and centers to date   Year   Sources No. at or above   School Location Built Enrollment Tested EPA action level* Contaminated Source1 Margaret Harris Comprehensive Atlanta 1967 63 17 8 6 drinking fountains and 2 sinks Stone Mountain ES Stn Mtn 1954 562 26 5 4 drinking fountains and 1 sink The Museum School Decatur 1954 540 32 4 2 drinking fountains and 2 sinks Pleasantdale ES Atlanta 1968 775 25 3 2 drinking fountains and 1 sink Kittredge Magnet Atlanta 1970 482 22 3 1 drinking fountain and 2 sinks Murphey Candler ES Lithonia 1969 557 34 3 3 sinks Wadsworth ES Decatur 1955 191 26 3 1 drinking fountain and 2 sinks Briar Vista ES Atlanta 1955 446 27 2 2 drinking fountains Canby Lane ES Decatur 1967 602 19 2 1 drinking fountain and 1 sink International Community School Decatur 1951 420 18 2 1 drinking fountain and 1 sink John Lewis ES Atlanta 1958 377 18 2 2 drinking fountains Redan ES Lithonia 1935 575 27 2 1 drinking fountain and 1 sink Rowland ES Stn Mtn 1967 579 21 1 Drinking fountain Allgood ES Stn Mtn 1955 609 24 1 Sink 2 Barack H. Obama ES Atlanta 1958 715 29 1 Drinking fountain International Student Center Decatur 1958 247 38 1 Sink Kelley Lake ES Decatur 1963 391 21 1 Sink faucet Laurel Ridge ES Decatur 1958 474 20 1 Food prep sink in cafeteria Robert Shaw Theme ES Scottdale 1955 484 30 1 Drinking fountain Rock Chapel ES Lithonia 1969 529 31 1 Sink faucet Totals:     9,618 505 47   1 Contaminated sources are immediately removed from service and remediation begun. Following remediation, the source will be retested before returning to service. 2 Former Terry Mill Elementary School * EPA Action Level = 15 parts per billion (ppb)

District to complete testing program by summer 2017 LEAD,

Circulation Audited By

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Keisha Watts, whose sons Malachi and Messiah are in fourth and second grades at the school, said word of lead in the water came as a surprise but she is happy the district is on top of it. “That’s very dangerous but it depends on how fast they can make the repairs,” she said on Nov. 17.

sworth Elementary, built The Museum School in 1955, each had three of Avondale Estates in Dewater sources at or above catur, also built in 1954, EPA action levels. had the third-highest lead Briar Vista, Canby content with four sources Lane, John Lewis and having lead at or above 15 Redan elementary schools parts per billion. and the International Pleasantdale, built in Community School each 1968; Kittredge Magnet, Keisha Watts had two water sources. built in 1954; Murphey Eight schools with one contamiCandler, built in 1969; and Wad-

nated water source are Allgood, former Terry Mill, Kelley Lake, Laurel Ridge, Robert Shaw, Rock Chapel and Rowland elementary schools and the International Student Center. The district expects to complete the testing program by summer 2017. Ken Watts contributed to this report.

index to advertisers Committee to Elect Randal Mangham............ 2 Decatur Business Association.......................... 2 DeKalb Clerk of Superior Court......................6 DeKalb County Watershed Management........ 3 DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office........................6

DeKalb District Attorney’s Office..................... 5 Fabric Joint, LLC.............................................. 7 Johnson Hopewell Coleman LLC.................... 7 Law Office of Trichelle Griggs Simmons......... 7 LFG/Lonuique Financial Group....................... 7

Macy’s............................................................. 8 Marten Transport............................................ 7 Michael Griggs................................................ 7 Best Buy Co. Inc......................................Inserts Holistic Health Management Inc.............Inserts

Rite Aid (2).............................................Inserts Walgreens...............................................Inserts Walmart..................................................Inserts Adams for DeKalb.................................. Online


CrossRoadsNews

December 3, 2016

Wellness

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In 2014, there were over 251,000 toy-related injuries, and 61 children died in toy-related incidents between 2010 and 2014.

‘10 Worst Toys’ list raises awareness of injury potentials Parents and caregivers are urged to take precautions when buying toys as consumer watchdog W.A.T.C.H. issues its “10 Worst Toys” nominees for the 2016 holiday season. World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. says there have been at least 19 toys with recognized safety defects recalled in the United States since January 2015 involving more than 800,000 units of toys – 500,000 this year alone. Due to poor design, manufacturing and marketing practices, there are toys available today with the potential to lead to serious injury and even death, W.A.T.C.H. says. Whether buying toys online or at a retail store, parents should thoroughly inspect a toy and its packaging prior to putting it into the hands of a child. In a toy industry generating about $22 billion in sales a year in the United States

Worst toy nominees: n Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family by Jazwares

n Peppy Pups by TPF Toys Ltd. Potential for strangulation injuries. n Flying Heroes Superman Launcher by LLC. Potential for choking injuries. n Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow by Kids I-Star Entertainment LLC and the Bridge Time US and Appease Toys. Potential for suffocation. Direct Inc. Potential for eye and facial injuries. n Slimeball Slinger by Diggin Active Inc. Potential n Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby by for eye injuries. New Adventures LLC Ltd. Potential for n Banzai Bump n’ Bounce Body Bumpers by ingestion injuries. ToyQuest. Potential for impact injuries. n Warcraft Doomhammer by Jakks Pacific n Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster by Hasbro. Inc. Potential for blunt impact injuries. Potential for eye injuries. For more information, visit n The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch by Tomy. Potential for puncture wound injuries. www.toysafety.org.

alone, safety concerns must be a priority, not an afterthought, W.A.T.C.H. says. One child is treated in a U.S. emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury. From 1990 to 2011, there was a 40 percent increase in toy-related injuries.

In 2014, there were over 251,000 toyrelated injuries, and 61 children died in toyrelated incidents between 2010 and 2014. The worst toys list, a hands-on tool for consumers, raises awareness of the different types of potential hazards to avoid while toy

Deck the halls, adorn tree with safety in mind Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they occur, they are more likely to be serious. The National Fire Protection Association says onequarter of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, and a heat source too close to the tree causes about one in every four of the fires. One-fifth – 20 percent – of the decoration fires start in the kitchen, and one out of six – 17 percent – start in the living room, family room or den. The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly. The association offers these safety tips: n Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. n Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk. Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet

away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights and is not blocking an exit. Add water to the tree stand and add water daily. n Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of strands to connect. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree, and turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. n Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the home. Check for a local recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org.

shopping. The toys on the list are illustrative of some hazards in toys being sold to consumers and should not be considered as the only potentially hazardous toys on the market. For more information, visit www. toysafety.org.

Senior Connections needs volunteers for busy season

Volunteers are always needed at the nonprofit Senior Connections, particularly during the holiday season. Not only are there special meals to prepare, but this time of year extra meals are prepared for use in bad weather. “Shelf-stable meals” are placed in the pantry and saved should weather keep a volunteer from being able to deliver the regular meal. Volunteers are needed to pack meals – children 12 to 15 can volunteer with a parent or guardian, and youth 16 and older can volunteer on their own. Volunteers also are needed to deliver meals. Senior Connections helps thousands of metro Atlanta seniors annually, including preparing and delivering 3,000 meals daily and operating DeKalb County senior centers. To volunteer, visit http://seniorconnectionsatl.org and submit an application. For questions, email nbilic@seniorconnectionsatl.org.


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December 3, 2016

The popular book club conference includes authors Kenn Bivins, Tamika Newhouse, Krystal Grant and Shunda Brown.

Wells Heritage Festival, Embrace Our World highlight diversity New York Times bestselling authors ReShonda Tate Billingsley and J.D. Mason will keynote the Jubilee of Reading Book Club Conference on Dec. 3 at the Stonecrest Library as part of the Doris K. Wells Heritage Festival. The DeKalb Public R. Tate Billingsley Library’s Heritage Festival and Embrace Our World series help raise awareness about DeKalb’s diverse cultural heritage. The Kwanzaa Awareness Festival was renamed to honor the late Doris K. Wells, the system’s first African-American librarian who created the festival in 1983 at Scott Candler.

The popular book club conference, which is celebrating its 16th anniversary, begins at 9:30 a.m. It includes authors Kenn Bivins, Tamika Newhouse, Krystal Grant and Shunda Brown. Registration for the program has closed. J.D. Mason Sponsors and supporters include the Friends of Scott Candler, Stonecrest and Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown libraries; the Doris Wells Memorial Fund; Scott Candler P.A.C.T. Book Club; and Imani Literary Group. The library is at 3123 Klondike Road in Lithonia. Call 770-482-3828.

Trolley returns for Avondale tour The trolley returns for the 24th annual Tour of Homes and Holiday Market on Dec. 11 in Avondale Estates. The market/cafe takes place noon to 6 p.m., and the tour is 3 to 8 p.m. Board the trolley at Avondale First Baptist at Covington and Stratford roads. For seat reservations and tour tickets, visit www.avondaletourofhomes.com.

Lithonia toy drive begins Dec. 5 The city of Lithonia kicks off its Toys for Tots drive on Dec. 5. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at City Hall, 6920 Main St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The drive ends Dec. 19. Priority will be given to children within the city. Toy distribution for preregistered families will be 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 22. For more information, call 770-482-8136.

Celebration of Indian culture Library patrons can take a break from their busy schedules to refocus at a yoga program on Dec. 5 at the Decatur Library. Yoga With Aditi Chandrasekhar, an Embrace Your World class, starts at 6 p.m. for patrons 18 and older. Participants should bring their own yoga mat. Chandrasekhar started her practice in 2005 at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in India and received her postgraduate diploma in yoga training from the Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University in India. Funding is provided by a Decatur Craft Beer Festival Grant and the DeKalb Library Foundation. The library is at 215 Sycamore

Notice OF PUBLICATION in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++16FM10799-6++ Rena S. Laney Plaintiff Vs. Ashley D. Laney Defendant To: 354 Marigna Ave. Scottdale, GA 30038 By ORDER of the Court for service by publication dated Oct. 20, 2016, you are hereby notified that on Oct. 03, 2016, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Divorce with minor children. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose address is: Rena Shauntreia Laney, 4965 Thompson Mill Rd., Lithonia, GA 30038. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days Nov. 04, 2016. Witness the Honorable J.P. Boulee, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 4th day of Nov., 2016 11/19, 11/26, 12/03, 12/10

Notice OF PUBLICATION in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++16FM11083-10++ Latoya Jones Plaintiff Vs. Anthony Scott, Jr. Defendant To: Anthony Scott, Jr. 2942 Ember Dr. Decatur, GA 30032 By ORDER of the Court for service by publication dated Nov. 08, 2016, you are hereby notified that on Oct. 19, 2016, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Latoya Jones, 6108 Hillvale Rd., Lithonia, GA 30058. Answer in writing within sixty

(60) days Nov. 08, 2016. Witness the Honorable Tangela M. Barrie, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 09th day of Nov., 2016 11/26, 12/03, 12/10, 12/17

Notice OF PUBLICATION in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++16FM11806-6++ Edward Williams Plaintiff Vs. Cheryl Williams Defendant To: By ORDER of the Court for service by publication dated Nov. 07, 2016, you are hereby notified that on Nov. 07, 2016, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Edward Williams, 1956 Pagett Dr., Austell, GA 30166. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days Nov. 10, 2016. Witness the Honorable J.P. Boulee, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 10th day of Nov., 2016 12/03, 12/10, 12/17, 12/24

Sinfo-Nia Orchestra in concert The Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia Orchestra of Metropolitan Atlanta will perform on at 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Decatur Library. The concert is part of the Heritage Festival. The orchestra is named in honor of William Grant Still, considered dean of AfricanAmerican composers, and is celebrating more than 25 years of instructing thousands of students in instrumental music and dance. Under the artistic direction of David E. Robinson III, Sinfo-Nia performs music ranging from classical to rock ’n’ roll. Funding is provided by the library’s Friends. Visit www.dekalblibrary.org.

Pet Night celebrated at Gallery, Stonecrest malls Furry family members can get in on the holiday fun on Pet Night With Santa at the Gallery at South DeKalb and the Mall at Stonecrest. On Dec. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m., photographs with Santa will be taken at Center Court inside the South DeKalb mall, 2801 Candler Road in Decatur. On Dec. 8, leashed cats and dogs can pose with Santa from 5 to 8 p.m. at Stonecrest. The event repeats on Dec. 15 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the mall, I-20 at Turner Hill Road in Lithonia. For more information, visit www.galleryatsouthdekalb.com or www.mallatstonecrest.com.

Legal Notices 11/12, 11/19, 11/26, 12/03

St. Call 404-370-3070.

to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Deontry Smith, 1577 Linksview Chase, Stone Mountain, GA 30088. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days Nov. 17, 2016. Witness the Honorable Clarence Seeliger, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 17th day of Nov., 2016 12/03, 12/10, 12/17, 12/24

Notice OF PUBLICATION in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++16FM10018-3++ Sheryl E. Paige Plaintiff Vs. Bobby L. Billings

Defendant To: Bobby L. Billings 473 Sherwood Circle Stone Mountain, GA 30087 By ORDER of the Court for service by publication dated Nov. 17, 2016, you are hereby notified that on Sept. 20, 2016, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Sheryl E. Paige, 1189 Eastview Rd., Conyers, GA 30017. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days Nov. 17, 2016. Witness the Honorable Clarence F. Seeliger, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 17th day of Nov., 2016 12/03, 12/10, 12/17, 12/24

Notice OF PUBLICATION in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++16FM11985-1++ Juan Deante Robinson Plaintiff Vs. Trekina Nicole Dixon Defendant To: By ORDER of the Court for service by publication dated Nov. 18, 2016, you are hereby notified that on Nov. 15, 2016, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Juan Deante Robinson, 11806 Hastings Bridge Rd., P.O. Box 730, Lovejoy, GA 30230. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days Nov. 18, 2016. Witness the Honorable Courtney L. Johnson, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 22nd day of Nov., 2016

DeKalb County Sheriff Office

Jeffrey L. Mann, Sheriff 4415 Memorial Drive • Decatur, GA 30032

Sex Offender

Frederick Brown 3394 Columbia Trace Decatur, GA 30032 Charge of Child Molestation Convicted on 2/4/2010

Notice OF PUBLICATION

Sex Offender

David Crossman 2050 Peachtree Industrial Court Room 122 Chamblee, GA 30341 Charge of Federal/Military Sex Crime Conviction Convicted on 10/22/2013

Sex Offender

Kenneth Johnson 7068 Brecken Place Lithonia, GA 30058 Charge of Sexual Assault Convicted on 10/25/2001

Sex Offender

Gilbert McQueen 899 Gatehouse Dr., Apt C Decatur, GA 30032 Charge of Sexual Intercourse 3rd Degree Child Under 16 Convicted on 6/09/1997

Sex Offender

Miguel Rodiquez Roura 2160 Scarbrough Trail E Stone Mountain, GA 30088 Charge of Aggravated Child Molestation Convicted on 5/2/2007

Sex Offender

Raymond Williams 4693 Cedar Ridge Trail Stone Mountain, GA 30083 Charge of Sexual Abuse 1st Convicted on 12/9/2005

in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++16FM11575-3++ Deontray Smith Plaintiff Vs. Oneida Smith Defendant To: Oneida Smith 2235 Mt. Zion Parkway Morrow, GA 30260 By ORDER of the Court for service by publication dated Nov. 17, 2016, you are hereby notified that on Nov. 02, 2016, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and

Sex Offender

Dominic Clark Homeless Decatur, GA 30032 Charge of Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude Convicted on 6/25/2015

Sex Offender

Juisone Hightower 1975 Poplar Falls Avenue Lithonia, GA 30058 Charge of Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor Convicted on 5/6/2005

Sex Offender

Jordan Lux 4335 Winters Chapel Rd Atlanta, GA 30360 Charge of Encourage Child Sex Abuse 1st Degree Convicted on 6/ 1/2010

Sex Offender

Michael Robinson 1607 Summerview Drive Stone Mountain, GA 30083 Charge of Statutory Rape Convicted on 1/11/200

Sex Offender

George Stemage 2699 Sterling Acres Drive Tucker, GA 30084 Charge of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation Victim 12 to 15 yrs old Convicted on 2/5/2010

The DeKalb Sex Offenders List is published by the DeKalb County Sheriff Office. For more information call the Sex Offender Unit at 404-298-8130.


CrossRoadsNews

December 3, 2016

Scene

7

Kids will make their own kinara (candleholder) and learn the meaning of Kwanzaa.

‘A Soulful Christmas’ evokes holiday magic Kwanzaa craft-making Stepp Stewart’s “A Soulful Christmas” is underway through Dec. 5 for its fourth annual run at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center in Decatur. The Broadway-style production presented by Emmy-nominated producer, director and choreographer Stewart seeks to transport audiences back to a kinder and gentler time. “I wanted to create a story that takes you back to your childhood to revisit the magic of Christmas,” said Stewart, who is also a songwriter and playwright. The production Stepp Stewart features music, dance and performing arts with holiday classics from the Jackson Five, Mariah Carey, the Temptations, and Nat King Cole. Audiences will hear classics like “Joy to the World,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “This Christmas,” “Silent Night,” “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “Santa Baby,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and see the nationally acclaimed dancers the Chocolettes. V-103’s midday host Ramona De-

lessons for school kids

School-age kids can get a lesson on Kwanzaa and create a keepsake on Dec. 10 at the Flat Shoals Library in Decatur. Kwanzaa Craft takes place 1 to 2 p.m. for children 5 to 12. Kids will make their own kinara (candleholder) and learn the meaning of Kwanzaa, the seven-day celebration based on African festivals that begins Dec. 26. It is open to the first 10 participants – call or visit the branch to register. Funding is provided by the Friends. The library is at 4022 Flat Shoals Parkway. For more information, call 404-244-4370.

Arts, gift workshops focus on the holidays ‘A Soulful Christmas’ features classic holiday music, dance and performing arts as it carries audiences back to a kinder and gentler time.

breaux also will sing a Whitney Houston 5 at 10 a.m. is sold out. The Porter Sanford Center is at 3181 tune. Remaining shows with available seats Rainbow Drive in Decatur. For tickets and more information, take place 2 and 8 p.m. on Dec. 3 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 4. The final show on Dec. visit www.asoulfulchristmas.com.

Seasonal stories, crafts and songs for preschoolers Preschoolers can hear holiday stories and make crafts at story times on Dec. 7 at the Stonecrest and Salem-Panola library branches in Lithonia. Stories, finger plays, rhymes, songs and a craft for youngsters ages 3 to 5 years will be presented from 10:30 to

11:30 a.m. at Stonecrest. It is open to the first 20 participants, and groups of five or more should call the branch for an appointment. Funding is provided by the Friends. The Stonecrest Library is at 3123 Klondike Road. For more information,

call 770-482-3828. Reindeer Tales at Salem-Panola is open to the first 18 participants. It takes place from 11:15 a.m. to noon. The library is at 5137 Salem Road. For more information, call 770-9876900.

Kids can create unique holiday gifts at arts and crafts programs at the DeKalb Public Library. On Dec. 6, Gifts for the Holidays takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Salem-Panola branch. Children 4 to 12 will create a gift box commonly known as an Explosion Box, and all supplies will be provided. It is open to the first 18 participants. Groups of five or more should call the branch for an appointment. Funding is provided by the Friends. The library is at 5137 Salem Road in Lithonia. For more information, call 770-987-6900. On Dec. 7, Gift Workshop takes place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Decatur Library for kids ages 5 to 12. The workshop is open to the first 20 participants, who will create handcrafted gifts. Funding is provided by the Friends. The main library is at 215 Sycamore St. in downtown Decatur. For more information, call 404-370-3070.

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December 3, 2016

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CrossRoadsNews, December 3, 2016  
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