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HOLIDAY

WELLNESS

A special engagement

Safety first

Dunaire Elementary musicians head to Washington to perform carols and other favorites at a White House concert. 5

A few timely precautions may keep your decorating and holiday traditions from causing injury or going up in flames. 8

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

December 8, 2012

Copyright © 2012 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

Volume 18, Number 32

www.crossroadsnews.com

Super Walmart bringing grocery store to Stonecrest By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Stonecrest residents who have been hankering for a grocery store are getting a Super Walmart with a grocery. Crews began moving dirt this week on 22 acres next to Sam’s Club on Mall Parkway for Walmart Supercenter No. 4472 after a Nov. 5 approval of its land disturbance permit. The Stonecrest Walmart is scheduled to open July 17, 2013. It will employ 350 to 400 people. DeKalb Commissioner Lee May, who represents the area, said Thursday that he is pleased that residents will have some grocery options but that he is not overwhelmingly happy with what they are getting. “My first option is a stand-alone grocery store,” said May, who attended an April 16 meeting at

which more than 50 residents from the Parks at Stonecrest talked of their desire for a grocery store. “I think a Whole Foods-type store would be right for that area.” A new Walmart Supercenter also is under construction at the intersection of Memorial Drive and South Hairston Road in Stone Mountain, and a “Neighborhood Market” grocery store is planned for the Covington Square shopping center in Lithonia. Greater Lithonia Chamber of Commerce President Doreen Carter, who led Stonecrest residents in a “We want a grocery store” chant at the April meeting, said they had hoped for community involvement in a new Walmart store. “We would like to see more organic foods like a Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews Whole Food,” she said. “People want more upscale, Crews have begun moving dirt on 22 acres next to Sam’s Club on Turner Hill Road in Lithonia for a Walmart Supercenter that will include a grocery store. high-quality foods and groceries.”

Santa Hugh Back for 28th Year Families seek out North DeKalb Mall’s jolly old elf

Santa Hugh at N. DeKalb Mall

n Dates: Santa appears daily through Monday, Dec. 24, at the Clock Court Atrium. n Hours: Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with breaks from 1-2 p.m. and 5-5:30 p.m.; Sundays from 1-6 p.m. with a break from 3:30-4 p.m.; Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a break from 1-2 p.m. n Also happening: WellCare presents “The Magical Singing Christmas Tree” display in the mall’s Food Court through Dec. 24. Christmas trees will twinkle in patterns timed to holiday music at intervals throughout the day. There will be a featured 15-minute show daily at 7:30 p.m. For more information: www.north dekalbmall.com.

By Donna Williams Lewis

After 28 years as Santa Claus at North DeKalb Mall, Hugh Patterson sometimes gets visits from three generations of family members who have sat on his knee and whispered their wish lists into his ears. “I’ve got adults coming back to see me that I made a picture with and they bring their children and sometimes they bring their parents,” said Patterson, now 77 years old. Santa Hugh, who arrived at the mall on Nov. 23 and will be there through Christmas, Eve is taking photos daily with fans from his big chair in the Clock Court Atrium. Every year, people from across Georgia and neighboring states return to see him. Many call the mall, or Patterson himself, to make sure beforehand that their Santa will be back at his post. “It’s nice knowing, with all the changes from year to year, Santa is still the same,” sa fan wrote in one of the many letters Patterson has received. Mary Joyce Burdge, the mall’s marketing director, says children aren’t the only ones who love North DeKalb Mall’s Santa. A letter Patterson received from a mall walker proves that point. “I have it on good authority that in early December, hordes of mamas are calling the office to ask is that same loving Santa coming this year,” the lady wrote. “But the most significant tribute of all is, Santa’s never failing to wave and grin at this one-eyed old broad in her middle ’80s.” Leafing through his collection of letters recently, Patterson and his wife, Marlene, found one from a woman who included 15 years’ worth of pictures that her children have taken with Santa Hugh.

Hugh Patterson, 77, has listened to the wish lists of countless children as Santa at North DeKalb Mall for 28 years. Santa Hugh is in his big chair in the Clock Court Atrium through Christmas Eve.

“Thank you for 15 years of Christmas magic,” she wrote. “We still believe.” Becoming Santa happened in a rather random way for Patterson. He was self-employed, running a cleaning business in Covington and Conyers, when a mall Santa and excited children caught his eye. “Santa Claus looked like he was having a good time,” Patterson recalled. “I said, ‘You

him out annually were forever altered. Patterson says he remembers most of the names of the regulars, including a beautiful girl he knew only as “Gray,” who has cerebral palsy. She began visiting him when she was about 3 years old. “They would push her up. I’d reach over and get her out of her wheelchair,” Patterson said. “She could smile real big, but she couldn’t talk.” The last time she went to see Santa Hugh, Gray was about 18 years old. She came on crutches. “She was dragging, but she was coming,” Patterson said. “Her mother brought her computer and she punched out, ‘Santa, I love you. Merry Christmas. God bless you. See you soon.’ ” He never saw her again. He believes she died the following year. And he will never forget her. Patterson’s experience in Santa’s chair proves that some things never change.

know, I wouldn’t mind doing that.’ ” Patterson had coached Little League Baseball and always liked being around children “because they tell you everything,” he said with a laugh. “I let my hair grow and let my beard grow out,” he said. “I went up and got interviewed and got hired.” And just as simply as that, Patterson’s life and the lives of the countless people who seek Please see SANTA, page 6


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CrossRoadsNews

Community

December 8, 2012

“We already had a shortage of teachers in certain areas. It’ll be painful in the short term.”

New DeKalb COO coming from Fulton County Fulton County Manager Zachary L. Williams will become DeKalb County’s new chief operating officer in February. The DeKalb Board of Commissioners approved his contract 5-1, with Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon abstaining, at its Dec. 4 meeting. Commissioner Jeff Rader voted against the appointment. Williams’ contract will Zachary Williams run Feb. 4, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2016. He will make a salary of $236,000 plus automobile allowance and accrue 240 hours a year in paid vacation. He will replace Richard Stogner, who came out of retirement in 2010 to work for free for a year and stayed on for second year with a $96,000 salary. Stogner’s contract ends Dec. 31, 2012.

In Fulton, where Williams has been county manager since Jan. 2, 2008, he manages a county with a budget of $1.2 billion, more than 5,000 employees and nearly a million residents. The resolution approved by the commissioners called him “an experienced public leader with more than 20 years of progressive leadership and a demonstrated ability to achieve board goals and organizational results through effective personnel management and accountability.” Rader said he voted against the appointment because Williams was pressured by some Fulton commissioners to dismiss some auditors. He said he fears that Williams could be pressured by some DeKalb commissioners. District 5 Commissioner Lee May, who supported the appointment, said he was offended that Rader’s comment was directed at anyone on the podium.

“To say he can be pressured to do anything is unfortunate,” May said. District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson, who also supported the appointment, said he believes Williams will be independent. “He will be his own person and he will give us honest assessments,” Johnson said. The commissioners set a number of benchmarks for Williams on revenues, county budget, developing a business plan for each department, outsourcing, and the enterprise and special funds. They are requiring him to return to the board six months after his employment starts to demonstrate how he is meeting them. Before joining Fulton, Williams worked in Florida. He is a former assistant county manager for Broward County in Fort Lauderdale and assistant city manager for Coral Gables. He also has worked for the city of Santa Fe Springs in California.

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“If I had stayed, I would have hurt myself financially in the long run. Serving nearly 30 years and getting less? I sort of had a problem with that.” Gail Bowens Wimberly, who retired Dec. 1 after 29 years as a teacher.

111 educators, workers retire to get tax break By Ken Watts

The DeKalb School System’s work force got a bit smaller at the end of November with the retirement of 111 employees who took advantage of a tax benefit created by a 1990 Georgia law. The local teachers were among 1,707 teachers who retired statewide on Dec. 1 so that they could get a 3 percent tax exemption on the first $37,500 of their pensions. The employees had until Nov. 30 to opt in before the law expired. The DeKalb School District said 111 employees chose to stop working on Nov. 30 and officially retire on Dec. 1. Employees who chose to stay will get their regular pensions taxed at the usual rate when they retire. The list of new DeKalb retirees includes 43 teachers and 11 school principals. Other retirees were counselors, social workers, program coordinators, plant engineers, health care workers and security officers. Their departure leaves many schools with vacancies in the middle of the school year. DeKalb School officials say they anticipated the losses and have taken measures to help fill the gap. They include: n Hosting a Dec. 12 Student Teacher Informational Fair for December graduates. n Approved International Teacher Contracts for up to 15 teachers. n Collaborated with its partnership unive rsities to establish a qualified pool of applicants. n Actively recruited at local job fairs. n Placed job postings on the county’s Web site for critical needs fields prior to positions becoming vacant. DeKalb School Board Chair Eugene Walker said Wednesday that he worries about the impact of the midyear departures on students. “We already had a shortage of teachers in certain areas,” Walker said. “It’ll be painful in the short term.” He said that science, math and special education top the list of hard-to-fill categories, and that with the brain drain caused by the departures, it will be challenging to replace the classroom experience the School System lost with the retirements. Still he believes the vacancies might offer a chance to bring in personnel with new approaches. Gail Bowens Wimberly, one of the teachers who retired after 29 years, believes report card grade cycles and testing schedules could be disrupted at some schools. “I was really concerned about leaving the students in the middle of the school year,” said Wimberly, who was a teacher at Flat Shoals Elementary School in Decatur. She said the expiration date for the tax break put veteran teachers in a difficult spot. “If I had stayed, I would have hurt myself financially in the long run,” she said. “Serving nearly 30 years and getting less? I sort of had a problem with that.” Walker says that even though there might be short-term pain, he thinks kids can adjust. “Youngsters are often a little more resilient than we think,” he said.


December 8, 2012

Community

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CrossRoadsNews

“We will not betray you. We will represent you to the fullest.”

DeKalb School Board to host hearings into controversial plan By Ken Watts

DeKalb Schools officials backtracked Thursday from a controversial redistricting plan that would have sent sixth- through 12th-graders to high school together at three South DeKalb schools and delayed a final decision until January. The board also announced plans for five public meetings to discuss the plan with the community before its final decision. Southwest DeKalb High School parents were among those protesting the redistricting plan at school district headquarters before a work session to discuss the plan. Board members were bombarded with so many angry e-mails and telephone calls that School Board Chairman Eugene Walker said he didn’t understand why parents won’t believe and trust them. “We will not betray you,” he said. “We will represent you to the fullest.” The parents were furious about part of the realignment that would have put sixth-, seventhand eighth-graders in the Eugene Walker same building with high schoolers at Southwest DeKalb, Cedar Grove and McNair. “There is no telling what would happen,” said Penny Long, a Southwest DeKalb High parent. “I don’t even want to think about what could happen to our children.” After a closed-door executive session, the board quickly announced that it dropped the middle school-high school idea. Walker told the crowd that the board has not voted on going to a system of sixth grade to 12th grade and will not vote on any realignment until after the process has run

Southwest DeKalb High parents were among those protesting the redistricting plan at School District headquarters on Dec. 6 before a work session.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

its course. He said the planned vote at the Dec. 10 meeting will be to simply move the redistricting and school closure process forward. The opportunities for public input are: n Jan. 8 at McNair High n Jan. 10 at Miller Grove High n Jan. 15 at Tucker High n Jan. 16 at Dunwoody High n Jan. 17 at the district’s Tucker headquarters Before the board votes on the final plan for closing schools on Jan. 23, it also will take public comment. Parents are relieved to hear there’s no final

vote yet but are still upset about the section of the draft plan that raises questions about the future of the highly regarded Southwest DeKalb high achievers magnet program. “We normally receive the magnet students from Chapel Hill Middle School,” said Southwest DeKalb mother Pyper Green. Plans call for turning that feeder school into a theme school, disrupting the flow of talented students to Southwest DeKalb. Others are worried about the possible impact of redistricting on elementary schools. Jennifer Hatfield’s children attend Evansdale Elementary near Northlake Mall. She says new boundaries would mean her kids

would go to Tucker Middle and Tucker High instead of Henderson Middle and Lakeside High near their home. “I think the board is hearing from a lot of people with a lot of different opinions right now,” Hatfield said. “But I have a little bit of difficulty believing the Dec. 10 vote is just to move the process forward when they presented such a specific plan and they’ve made so few changes to it. In my mind that translates into this is what they want to do.” School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said final plans must be in place by late January to secure $40 million in state funding.

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“He would just get in there and get it done. He was a selfstarter – you never had to tell him what to do.”

Talented MLK student packed a lot in short life Joseph Charles “Lil’ Joe” Wyatt Jr., 18, who died in his sleep on Nov. 24, was a scholar, artist and activist.

By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

When the family and friends of 18-year-old Joseph Charles Wyatt Jr. said goodbye to him on Dec. 4, there were lots of tears and lots of laughter. The tears flowed because “Lil’ Joe,” as his family and friends called him, died so young. The laughter came easily with the fond stories told by his brothers and sisters, his friends, and his ROTC captain and DeKalb Fire Explorers commander. Joseph, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Sept. 14, died unexpectedly in his sleep on Nov. 24. He was the youngest of six children and a talented artist, AP student, math tutor, volunteer, poet and jokester. His family and teachers say that he was looking forward to graduating, enrolling at SCAD, and joining the National Guard. His friends said that he helped them with their math homework. His sudden death left both his biological and his Martin Luther King Jr. High School families reeling. Katrina, his older sister by a year, said Sunday is “sleep-in” day at their Decatur home. So when Joseph didn’t get up for breakfast or lunch, no one thought anything of it. Around 6 p.m., she went into his room to wake him for dinner. When he didn’t respond to her call, she tried to shake him awake. His body was stiff. The family said he wasn’t sick and hadn’t complained about anything before turning in. Trenton Wyatt, his brother, said their mother, Kathryn, looked in on him at 11 that night. He went to bed and just never woke up. News of Joseph’s sudden death shocked everyone who knew him.

Mark Jones, who taught him art for three years at ML King Jr. High School, said he didn’t believe the news at first. “The last time I saw him was the Friday before Thanksgiving,” Jones said. “He was the last student to leave the room because he was taking all his artwork home to work on over the break.” Jones said Joseph was a good and well-rounded child who excelled at math and art and was very involved in school life. He was in the ROTC; the Art, Anime, and Poetry clubs; the DeKalb Fire Explorers; and the Family Career Community Leaders of America. “He wanted to be part of everything to experience everything,” Jones said. “He was one of those kids who did it right from the getgo. In the three years I had him, never once did I have to tell him to pull up his pants.” Febra Clark, the FCCLA’s faculty adviser, said Joseph loved to help and also was the first to volunteer. “He would go to Traditions Nursing home to play bingo with seniors every second Saturday of

EPD hosting hearing on gasification plant The Georgia Environmental Protection Division will host a public hearing Dec. 18 regarding an air permit application for a biomass gasification plant in Lithonia. Green Energy Partners is seeking the permit to build the controversial $60 million facility, which has county zoning approval and bond funding from the DeKalb Development Authority. The public hearing takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the Lou Walker Senior Center, 2538 Panola Road in Lithonia. Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment, which opposes the plant, is encouraging residents to show up in large numbers to demonstrate their opposition and concern. Athens-based Green Energy says it will only use “yard waste” for the fuel source, but CHASE says there are compelling health and environmental reasons to oppose the plant. In its flier about the meeting e-mailed to residents this week, CHASE said biomass gasification facilities emit dangerous toxins, gases and pollutants that poison the water, air and lungs, causing asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, pulmonary lung disease and other illnesses. Green Energy Partners, which has been trying for two years to build the facility, says the proposed 79,710-square-foot plant will bring jobs, generate revenue for the county government, and produce green energy it will sell to Georgia Power.

the month,” she said. “He collected canned foods. He would just get in there and get it done. He was a self-starter – you never had to tell him what to do.” Joseph also volunteered with Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. Elisabeth Omilami, who runs the organization started 43 years ago by her late father, civil rights leader Hosea Williams, said Lil’ Joe threw himself into the work he did for her organization. “He swept the floors,” she said. “He folded the clothes for the homeless. He was a boy who not only saw the vision, but did the vision.” Omilami said that Joseph’s presence would live in the food he fed the hungry and in the clothes he packed for them, and the shampoos he bagged for them. “The question is who will take his place,” she said to the young people who packed the chapel at Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home on Flat Shoals Parkway. “Who will step up and say, ‘Miss Omilami, I will take his place.’ ” She announced that they will

name the organization’s food bank the “Lil’ Joe’s Outreach Department” in honor of Joseph. “We will have his picture up and we will always remember him,” she said. After telling funny stories about Joseph that had mourners smiling, retired Battalion Chief Seth Garcia, who runs the DeKalb Fire Explorers program, said they would create two scholarships in 2013 – a book scholarship for MLK students and one for an Explorer member who is going to college – in honor of Joseph. “Lil’ Joe came to us when he was in seventh grade,” he said. “We start our program in the ninth grade. He snuck into the program.” ROTC Cmdr. Edward Johnson said Joseph was always focused. “Joseph didn’t get distracted by the riffraff,” he said. “Be like Joe. Know what you know and hold on to it.” Joseph also is survived by his father, Joseph Charles Wyatt Sr.; brothers Rickey and Corey; and sister Kiara. He is buried at Hillandale Memorial Gardens in Lithonia.

Trash pickup days reduced to 3 DeKalb homeowners will now have their yard trimmings and curbside recyclables picked up on the same day . The change from Friday pickup for yard trimmings is effective Dec. 12. County sanitation workers left bright gold-colored “service change” notices on homeowners’ mailboxes this week alerting them that they will have a new pickup day for both types of waste. Yard trimmings include leaves, vines, tree limbs and branches. The new trash pickup schedule reduces trash pickups from four times a week to three and is expected to save money and time and boost employee morale. It will affect 40,000 homeowners who subscribe to the county’s free recycling program and a handful of those who will have yard waste  pickup moved from Friday. County spokesman Burke Brennan said there will be two sanitation crews – one for regular garbage and one

for yard waste and recycling. The yard waste and recycling crew will work four 10-hour shifts instead of five eight-hour days, giving them a longer weekend to spend with families. The garbage pickup crew will continue to work five days a week. Brennan said the crew will drive its whole route to pick up yard waste. On that trip, they will make a note of where recycling bins  are set out and return later to get them. Areas with no bins will be skipped. Sanitation workers have not had raises for a while and the county says this is one thing it can do to improve their work environment. Because it did not involve a change in fees, the schedule change was not subject to approval from the Board of Commissioners. Since curbside recycling became free in September, 40 percent of home­ owners have subscribed, up from 21 percent when it was paid.

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December 8, 2012

Holiday

5

CrossRoadsNews

“It’s something that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives – that they went to the White House.”

Dunaire musicians performing at White House Music and drama at the monastery

By Ken Watts

Sixteen students from Dunaire Elementary School in Stone Mountain got the thrill of a lifetime on Dec. 7 when they performed at a holiday concert at the White House. The fourth- to sixth-grade percussionists put in weeks of rehearsals on xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels to perfect 10 selections ranging from Christmas carols and Hanukkah music to African tunes and an old-school R&B medley. At press time Thursday, it was not known if President Barack Obama or first lady Michelle Obama would hear them perform, but the throngs of tourists visiting the holidaydecorated White House would. Chelsea Cook, the kids’ music teacher, says the unlikely chain of events leading to the White House visit started a year ago when she was teaching some students how to play the Christmas carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on the xylophone. “The piece was really tricky,“ she recalled Tuesday before they headed to the nation’s capital. “So I invited them to my room to practice the next morning. I didn’t think any of the kids would take me up on it, but they did.” The practice group quickly grew from two students to 12 and steadily improved their skill on the instruments. The students’ confidence grew along with their talent, and they recorded a popular YouTube video called “The Dynamic Dolphins,” Dunaire’s mascot. That attracted local media attention and the kids’ proud teacher got a bold idea: Why not the White House? “An inspiration just came to me – that’s how it happened,” says Cook, stifling a laugh.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Fourth- to sixth-grade percussionists from Dunaire Elementary were invited to the White House after a popular YouTube video and a bold idea by their music teacher, Chelsea Cook.

“So I spoke with the [White House] visitors office.” Cook told them about the YouTube video, and the next day a representative called back with an invitation. That’s not how it happens most times. Normally, the White House tells a performer to go online, submit an application and wait to be selected from a pool of other hopefuls. But getting selected was only the first hurdle. The Dunaire ensemble grew to 16 for the D.C. trip and a travel price tag of nearly $10,000, far more than the cash-strapped DeKalb School System could afford. So a long list of community donors

stepped up to make it happen. They include 4th District U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home, Saint Philip AME Church, Kelly Lake COGIC, state Rep. Billy Mitchell, the Organization of DeKalb Educators, and dozens of ordinary citizens. “It just makes us feel so overwhelmed that people are willing to donate their money and their time to see that these kids make it and have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Cook said. But she’s most excited for the students. “It’s something that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives,” she said, “that they went to the White House and performed in elementary school.”

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers will be filled with seasonal music this weekend and next. On Dec. 9, Atlanta Camerata Theatre is presenting “The Play of Herod,” a 12th century music-drama, at the monastery. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Abbey Church. Doors open at 6:30. “The Play of Herod” is sung in Latin with English translations projected above the action. It is accompanied by a Consort of period-appropriate instruments. On Dec. 15, the Atlanta Boy Choir with maestro Fletcher Wolfe will present “A Christmas Concert at the Monastery.” The concert, which starts at 7 p.m., will feature 50 boys and the alumni choir of 40 men singing best-loved holiday songs. A small chamber orchestra will perform. The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is at 2625 Highway 212 S.W. For tickets and more information, visit www.trappist.net or call 678-964-2237.

Lou Walker Senior Center play “Frank’s 75th Christmas” will be onstage Dec. 12 at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Lithonia. The free event includes the choir and begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Victory Room. Charleen Knox, who co-directs the Drama Club, said the 45-minute play features a 14-member cast and centers around Frank (Lloyd Alaman); his wife, Martha (Romona Dyer); and an angel (Elizabeth O’Neil). The play harks back to Scrooge in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The Lou Walker Senior Center is at 2538 Panola Road. For more information, call 770-322-2900.

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Holiday

CrossRoadsNews

December 8, 2012

“You never rush them. You give them a little time to get over their fear, maybe tie a loose shoestring for them.”

Unique gifts in showcase at Hillandale Boots, shoes, hand-painted one-ofa-kind bags, and jewelry are just a few of the goodies that will be available at the annual Holiday Showcase at DeKalb Medical on Dec. 14. The event, which is in its fourth year, also will feature Christmas tree toppers, cosmetics, fragrances, candles and gourmet coffee. Delphyne Lomax, a member of the DeKalb Medical at Hillandale Advisory Board, said the event offers many gift-buying opportunities for lastminute Christmas Delphyne Lomax shoppers in search for that perfect gift for a loved one. The showcase takes place 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the hospital’s Community Room. More than a dozen vendors will offer items starting at $1. Lomax said the hand-painted bags are new this year. In the past, more than 200 people have shopped the showcase. Part of the proceeds will benefit the hospital’s Breast Care Center. Vendor space is available for $50. To reserve a space or for more information, contact dlomax@thelomax group.com or call 404-218-8413. DeKalb Medical is at 2801 DeKalb Medical Parkway in Lithonia.

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is decked out in holiday finery for its 12-day “Christmas at Callanwolde,” which features activities for children, adults and families.

Callanwolde sparkles with Christmas festivities Atlanta’s top interior and floral designers have decked out the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center for the holiday, and now through Dec. 18, the historic mansion is hosting its 12-day “Christmas at Callanwolde” event. The festive family activities include cabaret nights, holiday shopping, and majestic music on the Aeolian pipe organ. Kids can have breakfast with Santa on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. The kid-friendly meal

is provided by Chick-fil-A, and there will be sing-alongs with Santa. Tickets are $20 per person and include general admission. Advance registration is required. The center’s popular Teddy Bear Tea takes place Dec. 9 and Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. There will be tea and hot chocolate, sandwiches and pastries on charming tabletops as well as sing-alongs and a visit from Santa. Tickets are $25 per person and include general admission – advance

registration only. Atlanta vocalist Libby Whittemore will perform Dec. 14 in the Callanwolde Cabaret from 6 to 9 p.m. Adults can enjoy holiday happy hour with light refreshments and wine. It’s included in the general admission ticket. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is at 980 Briarcliff Road in Atlanta. For tickets, visit www.christmasatcallan wolde.org.

Business reception to aid two nonprofits DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams and Clerk of Court Debra DeBerry are the featured speakers at the Joy of Giving business reception on Dec. 15 at the Fairfield Inn in Lithonia. The Stonecrest Business Alliance is hosting the 6-to-8 p.m. event put on by state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick. Tickets are $35 and proceeds benefit the

Beverly Cunningham Outreach Program, which supports survivors of domestic violence, and IXGEN, which promotes micro entrepreneurship. Tax-deductible tickets are available at www.bcop.org/donate. The Fairfield Inn is at 7850 Stonecrest Square. For more information, visit http:// kendrickforgeorgia.smartintuitionsmp.com or call 678-323-7887.

Patterson shares ‘magic’ of season SANTA,

from page

1

“Little girls still love Barbie, and most small boys still want Batman and choo-choo trains and cars and trucks,” he said. Kids also ask the same questions their parents asked Santa decades ago, he said. “Most of the questions are where is Rudolph and how is he doing, and how is Mrs. Santa. And they want to know how did I get there,” Patterson said. “I tell them it’s magic.” Over the years, Patterson has learned the art of getting kids over their fear of sitting on his knee for a picture. “You never rush them,” he said. “You give them a little time to get over their fear, maybe tie a loose shoestring for them.” All of this knowledge came in particularly handy when a lady called him to say she was bringing 10 children who had been victims of abuse to see Santa Claus. She told Patterson she wasn’t sure they would sit on his knee. Patterson happily reports that each one of them sat on his knee to tell him what gift they would like for Christmas. “The last little blue-eyed boy said, ‘Santa, I want a daddy for Christmas,’ ” Patterson said. “I had to reach over to get me a Kleenex.” Patterson retired from his real-world work in 2000.

North DeKalb Mall’s Santa Hugh often gets visits from three generations of fans.

His cleaning business is now operated by his son, Hugh Jr. “I told my wife I would play Santa until I couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.


December 8, 2012

Holiday

7

CrossRoadsNews

Visitors will hear the church’s mass choir singing holiday music and the story of the birth of Jesus narrated by Clifton Davis.

Iconic scenes for Solid Rock AME Zion Live Nativity By Ken Watts

Families can pile into the car and drive through the live Nativity at Solid Rock AME Zion Church on Dec. 14 and 15 in Lithonia. The holiday tradition, which is in its 13th year, will feature iconic scenes from the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It starts at 7 p.m. both days. Longtime church member and live Nativity organizer Montina Jackson said they are expecting hundreds of cars over the twonight event. “We call it a come-as-you-are, stay-inyour-car event,” said Jackson, an Atlanta dentist who has co-directed the event since its inception in 1999. Church members will put on period garb and portray Mary, Joseph and the Three Wise Men as cars, vans and buses meander through the church’s campus on Snapfinger Road. The animals and the manger also will be there. Jackson said dozens more church members are busy behind the scenes building the sets, making the costumes, feeding the crews and planning traffic control.

Solid Rock AME Zion in Lithonia has presented its live Nativity for 13 years. This year’s event takes place Dec. 14-15.

To create an authentic scene, Jackson said the production also rents sheep, goats and donkeys from Wildlife Wonders in Cleveland, Ga. Each year, Solid Rock’s live Nativity attracts 200 to 250 vehicles with 750 to 1,000 people. The drive through the campus takes about 20 minutes.

Visitors will hear the church’s mass choir singing carols and other holiday music and the story of the birth of Jesus narrated by actor-turned-pastor Clifton Davis. Organizers say the event costs nearly $10,000 to produce each year but is offered free of cost to the community. “It’s a true labor of love,” said Jackson.

“Our free gift to the community.” The church is hoping the live Nativity will refocus attention on the true meaning of Christmas during this joyous but stressful season. Solid Rock AME Zion Church is at 4065 Snapfinger Road. For more information, call 770-981-3303.

Trumpeter, vocalist headline Touch of Red & White

Joey Sommerville

Jazz musician and producer Joey Sommerville Poet Hank Stewart will be master of ceremowill be blowing his trumpet on Dec. 15 at DeKalb nies. Commissioner Stan Watson’s annual Touch of Admission is $20 and a new unwrapped toy. Red & White Christmas Celebration at the Porter Proceeds benefit the DeKalb Court Appointed Sanford Center in Decatur. Special Advocates program, which advocates for Sommerville, who brought the house down abused and neglected children under the protecat the Sanford Center in August for the 100 Black tion of the Juvenile Court. Men Smooth Jazz Concert, has performed and The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is corecorded with a wide range of artists, including hosted by state Reps. Howard Mosby and Pam mega-rock group Phish. Stephenson. He produced bassist/vocalist Rhonda Smith’s Watson is urging the community to join him “RS2,” which features Prince, Sheila E. and gospel in support of CASA and the many children it great Fred Hammond. In 2007, he started the serves. Smooth Jazz After Dark Series at Sambuca Jazz “This occasion commemorates community Café in Atlanta. His latest album, “The Get Down engagement as well as the spirit of giving,” WatClub,” features funk, gospel and bop influences son said. delivered with pop sensibilities. The Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Christon Ingram WMG singer/songwriter Christon Ingram, Community Center is at 3181 Rainbow Drive. For whose debut album “Celebrate” is now available on iTunes, Amazon tickets, e-mail politicalstan@yahoo.com or contact Kelly LaJoie at and CDBaby, also will perform. klajoie@dekalbcountyga.gov or 404-371-3681.


8

CrossRoadsNews

Wellness

December 8, 2012

There are more than 14,000 candle-related fires each year that result in about 170 deaths and $350 million in property damage.

Take these precautions to survive early arrival of flu season The flu season has arrived early in Georgia with significant increases in cases statewide, and public health officials are urging everyone over 6 months of age to get a flu shot. While the level is still considered moderate, the Georgia Department of Public Health says the H3N2 flu is hitting the state earlier and harder this year than in previous years, indicating a potentially severe flu season. Peak flu season is usually the end of January through early March, but already some school systems are reporting high absenteeism due to flu-like illnesses. Symptoms include cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever. One of the most pronounced symptoms is an overall feeling of achiness and malaise that comes on quickly. Public health officials said single most effective way to prevent the virus is the flu vaccine. This year’s flu vaccine closely matches the strains of flu circulating in Georgia, making it effective in preventing the flu or minimizing its symptoms. Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal, the Georgia Depart-

Frequent hand washing and coughing and sneezing in the crook of an elbow or arm can help lower the risk of getting or spreading the flu, health officials say.

ment of Public Health’s director of health, says it just makes good common sense to get the vaccine. “The holidays bring gatherings with family and friends and increase the likelihood of spreading the flu,” he

said in a Dec. 4 statement. “Now is the time to get vaccinated.” Adults and children can lower their risk of getting the flu by taking these preventive measures: n Frequent and thorough hand washing helps guard J. Patrick O’Neal against the flu.  Alcoholbased gels are the next best thing if there is no access to soap and water. n Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing or cough and sneeze into the crook of an elbow or arm. n Avoid touching your face because flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes. n If you are sick, stay home from school or work. Flu sufferers should be free of a fever without the use of a fever reducer like Tylenol for at least 24 hours before returning to work or school. For more information, visit www.health .state.ga.us.

Think safety when decorating Christmas tree, home and grounds As families deck the halls, house and yard for the holiday season, safety issues might be far from their minds. That would be a mistake. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that each year, about 10,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms as a result of injuries related to decorating for the holidays. There are more than 14,000 candle-related fires each year that result in about 170 deaths and $350 million in property damage. Christmas trees also are involved in about 200 fires each year, resulting in 10 deaths and $10 million in property loss. A few standard precautions can reduce the risk of injuries and fires related to holiday decorating and traditions. Beverly Losman of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Safe Kids Georgia offers parents and caregivers the following tips for safeguarding their families from preventable holiday injuries: n Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches of a tree where small children can reach them.  Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level, and keep lights out of reach. n Never leave a decorative light display unattended. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.  n Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires and broken sockets. minimize the risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all Don’t leave a decorative light display unattended.

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times. Do not put the tree near heat sources, such as candles, fireplaces or heat vents.  n Keep decorations and other items with sharp edges out of reach.  n Turn off decorative light displays and extinguish candles when you leave the room.  n Make sure all smoke alarms have batteries and are working. Develop a home fire escape plan for your family with two ways out of each room.  n Never allow infants and toddlers to use toys with small parts that could be choking hazards. If a toy part fits in a standard cardboard toilet paper tube, it is small enough to pose a choking risk to a child.  n Keep alcohol, including baking extracts, out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.  n Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.  n Holly berries, mistletoe berries, poinsettias, amaryllis, boxwood, Christmas rose, Crown of Thorns, English ivy and Jerusalem cherry are all potentially harmful if eaten. Keep the Georgia Poison Center number, 1-800-222-1222, with other emergency numbers.  n During holiday travel, make sure everyone in the vehicle uses his or her safety belt or child safety seat. Make sure child safety seats are appropriate for the child’s height and weight and are used properly. The not-for-profit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is one of the leading pediatric health care systems in the country. For more information, visit www.choa.org or call 404250-KIDS (5437).

Grant to help reduce traffic injuries A $67,800 Safe Communities grant will be used to help reduce injuries and deaths from motor vehicle and pedestrian crashes in DeKalb County. The grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety was awarded to the DeKalb Board of Health to implement traffic and safety programs that use outreach and education, policy, systems and environmental recommendations. It will focus on teens and young adult drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the leading cause of death nationwide for people ages 15 to 20 is motor vehicle crashes. Between 2002 and 2006, the 2010 Status of Health in DeKalb report shows that motor vehicle crashes were responsible for 37,038 emergency room visits, 2,577 hospitalizations and 418 deaths. These crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 34. Denika Lomax, DeKalb Board of Health injury prevention coordinator, says education plays an important role. “Helping teens and young people to adopt safe driving behaviors and habits early, through prevention education, helps to save lives,” Lomax said.

Safe Communities conducted seat belt surveys at five DeKalb high schools and found that only 13 percent of teen drivers were not buckled up. The county’s 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that nine percent of the teens rarely use a seat belt when riding in a car driven by someone else. With the grant, Safe Communities will: n Educate teen drivers, parents and pedestrians about the importance of always using a seat belt and not texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. n Offer the Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error program, which addresses driver attitude, knowledge and behavior, rather than technical, hands-on skills, to youth and parents. n Engage community stakeholders along the Buford Highway corridor to promote pedestrian safety education and strategies on how to implement traffic calming activities. n Conduct booster seat education programs to teach parents about the changes in Georgia’s seat belt laws and on how to properly install booster seats. The program also provides free booster seats to eligible parents. For more information, contact Lomax at drlomax@dhr.state.ga.us or 404-508-7884.


CrossRoadsNews

December 8, 2012

Holiday

9

The musicians have won superior ratings at the Georgia Music Educators Solo and Ensemble Festival.

Greenforest musicians at mansion The 12-member Greenforest Academy Christmas Ensemble will perform at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion Holiday Celebration on Dec. 10.

Photos by Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Lithonia’s lavishly decorated Kelly Park attracted crowds to its Dec. 2 tree lighting. Mayor Deborah Jackson and City Council members hosted the lighting and served hot chocolate. The Lou Walker Senior Center choir sang at the lighting of Porter Sanford Center Christmas Tree on Dec. 1 before Commissioner Larry Johnson flipped the switch to light the tree.

The Greenforest Academy Christmas Ensemble will perform Christmas music Dec. 10 at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion Holiday Celebration 2012. The 12-member ensemble from the academy’s middle and high schools will perform from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the mansion at 391 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W.

Card contest for kids and tweens Artistic kids can enter a DeKalb Parks & Recreation holiday card contest and vie for a chance to win a seasonal pass to the Browns Mill Aquatic Center in Lithonia. The contest is open to kids ages 5 to 12. The deadline to enter is Dec. 21. Entries must be original designs that depict themes of the holiday season.

Cities aglow with twinkling trees Caroling, hot chocolate and cider helped invoke the holiday spirit at tree lightings in Lithonia and at the Porter Sanford Center in Decatur last week. The Lou Walker Senior Center choir sang holiday favorites before District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson flipped the switch to light the tree at the Sanford Center Dec. 1. Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson and City Council members hosted the city’s tree lighting in Kelly Park on Dec. 2 and served hot chocolate to those in attendance. The lavishly decorated park attracted one of the largest crowds in years and is now on the list of places to see the lights of

the season. Former City Council member Barbara Lester who came out for the festivities pronounced it a success. “This is beautiful,” she said. Clarkston’s Mayor Emanuel Ransom and City Council are hosting their annual tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 8 at the Clarkston Woman’s Club. The event begins at 6 p.m., and fireworks will light the way for Santa’s arrival. There will be holiday music and light refreshments as well as gifts for children. The Woman’s Club is at 3913 Church St. For more information, call 404-296-6480.

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in Atlanta. The musicians, who are members of the Academy Band directed by Rawn Hairston, have won superior ratings at the Georgia Music Educators Solo and Ensemble Festival. For more information, contact Rawn Hairston at bqprod@aol.com or rawn.hair ston@greenforestacademy.org.

Competition rules are available at www .dekalbcountyga.gov/parks. Entries can be dropped off at any of the county’s nine recreational centers between 1-5 p.m. The main office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call LaShanda Davis at 404-371-3643.


10

CrossRoadsNews

December 8, 2012

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CrossRoadsNews

December 8, 2012

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2346 Candler Road • Decatur, GA 30034 • 404-284-1888 • www.crossroadsnews.com • www.facebook.com/crossroadsnews


12

CrossRoadsNews

December 8, 2012

This s aTurd ay & Mond ay only!

Malcolm Cunningham Auto Gallery manager’s serViCe sPeCial

imProVe your Fuel mileage

oil CHange

sPeCial! You Spend $100 And We Take .. $20 OFF! You Spend $200 And We Take .. $40 OFF! You Spend $300 And We Take .. $60 OFF! You Spend $400 And We Take .. $80 OFF! You Spend $500 Or More And We Take .. $100 OFF!

14

$

95

Expires 12/10/2012�

$

16995

40

$

Cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or coupons� Must present this offer to Advisor at time of write up� Expires 12/31/2012�

2007 infiniti

2009 mercedes-Benz

Navigation, Sporty, Mid Size Luxury, STK#A3061

Great Look, Luxury, Low Price, STK#A3081

m35

17,995

89

95

SERVICE SPECIAL

6995

$

Save $20

Cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or coupons� Must present this offer to Advisor at time of write up� Expires 12/31/2012�

Free

need Credit?

tire

rotation!

WE CAN HELP!

no Purchase necessary!

18,995

$ 2004 Toyota Sequoia SR5

2011 Chevy Camaro

P/W, P/L, Custom Wheels, CD

8995

$

STK#A3041

STK#A3110

$

LIMITED TIME OFFER

C300w

$

STK#A3020

Regularly

Save

12995

Regularly

$

SATURDAY & MoNDAY oNLY�

Cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or coupons� Must present this offer to Advisor at time of write up� Expires 12/31/2012�

Valvoline Fuel System Service cleans injectors to improve fuel delivery efficiency, removes carbon deposits from intake valves and combustion chambers and cleans the Throttle Body and Air Intake System. This Process reduces tip in hesitation and improves throttle response. LIMITED TIME OFFER

2 wHeel alignments

2008 Lexus ES 350 Smooth, Luxury Ride, Low Price

A/M, F/F, CD, Custom Wheels STK#A3087

$

19,995

2009 Toyota Venza

STK#A3026

20,995

$

Family Fun, Smooth Ride, Looks Great STK#A3076

$

21,995

2009 BMW 328 Xi

2010 Acura TL

2009 Volvo XC70

2008 Toyota 4Runner Limited

Like New, Only 25K Miles, Sporty!

Tech Package & More

Cross Country Rider All Terrain

Leather, TV In Headrest

22,995

$

STK#A3118

22,995

$

STK#A3131

23,995

$

STK#A3110

$

24,995

2008 Toyota 4Runner LTD

2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450

2009 Mercedes-Benz E-350

2011 Ford Explorer XLT

Navigation, Rear Entertainment & More!

Family Luxury, Navigation, Reverse Camera

Sporty, This Is A Must See!

Leather, Navigation, Sunroof And More!

24,995

$

STK#A3147

25,995

$

STK#A3077

25,995

$

STK#A3156

$

28,995

$ 2004 Volkswagen Passat 2.0t Leather, Sunroof, Nicely Loaded, STK#A3111A ���������������������������� $6995 2007 VolVo C70 ConVertiBle Hot, Hot, Hot, STK#A3137������������������������������������������������������������� 16,995 $ 2003 nissan Frontier se Extended Cab, STK#A3154A ������������������������������������������������������������������� $8995 2009 Honda aCCord eX sedan Leather, Sunroof, Nice, STK#A3094 �������������������������������������������� 17,995

2010 kia oPtima Auto, CD, P/W, P/L, STK#A3153 �������������������������������������������������������������������������� $11,995 2009 Honda aCCord eX sedan Leather, Sunroof, Nice, STK#A3094 ������������������������������������������� $18,995 2010 kia Forte Gas Saver & Pocket Saver, STK#A3140����������������������������������������������������������������� $11,995 2011 Ford esCaPe Limited Certified 100k Warranty, STK#A3128 �������������������������������������������������� $18,995 2011 nissan sentra Gas Saver, STK#A3115 �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� $12,995 2011 CHeVrolet Camaro Ready For Your Garage, STK#A3087 ���������������������������������������������������� $19,995 2009 Honda CiViC Automatic, Gas Saver, STK#A3145 ����������������������������������������������������������������� $13,995 2004 merCedes-Benz Cl500 Leather, Navigation, Sunroof, STK#A3032A ������������������������������������ $19,995 2010 Ford Fusion Auto, Sport Wheels, Nice, STK#A3133 ������������������������������������������������������������� $13,995 2007 audi Q7 Family Ready, DVD, Leather, Sunroof, STK#A3083��������������������������������������������������� $21,995 2012 Ford FoCus Certified Up To 100K Warranty Included, STK#A3132���������������������������������������� $14,995 2009 toyota Venza Family Fun, STK#A3076������������������������������������������������������������������������������� $21,995 2007 Hyundai santa Fe Gas Saver & Pocket Saver, STK#A3150�������������������������������������������������� $14,995 2009 CadillaC Cts Leather, Sport Wheels, Sunroof, Must See, STK#A3148 �������������������������������� $22,995 2009 nissan altima Leather, Sunroof, Navigation, STK#A3146 ��������������������������������������������������� $14,995 $ 2005 Bmw X5 Sporty SUV Come Take A Look, STK#A3142 ���������������������������������������������������������� $14,995 2011 Ford taurus limited Certified Up To 100K Warranty, STK#A3126�������������������������������������� 22,995 $ 2008 Volkswagen Jetta gli Leather, Sunroof & More! STK#A3105 ������������������������������������������� $14,995 2008 merCedes-Benz r-350 V4, Leather, DVD, Ready, STK#A3125 �������������������������������������������� 22,995 $ 2010 toyota Camry le Gas Saver, STK#A3120 ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� $15,995 2010 aCura tl Luxury At It’s Best, Stk#A3112 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 23,995

2006 Bmw X3 Sunroof, Leather, All The Features, STK#A3136 ����������������������������������������������������� $15,995

Plus many, many more!

Prices plus tax, tag, and title. All offers with approved credit. Offers expire 12/10/2012.

A Division of Malcolm Cunningham Ford

YOUR FiRst, Last and OnLY stOP!

We NoW ReNt

678.502.2005

(7 70) 987-9000

I-20, Exit Wesley Chapel • To Snapfinger Woods Drive Sales Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-8pm • Closed Sunday

w w w. M a l c o l m C u n n i n g h a m A u t o G a l l e r y . c o m

4C (10.5”) × 16” 36669-MCAQ (12-8) Crossroads FC (lm)

$ 2010 toyota yaris Gas Saver, STK#A3112 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� $11,995 2006 Bmw X3 Sunroof, Leather, All The Features, STK#A3136 ����������������������������������������������������� 18,995

CrossRoadsNews, December 8, 2012  

CrossRoadsNews, December 8, 2012

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