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A sour economy couldn’t keep toy-givers down as Larry Johnson’s Tree of Love program was able to provide toys to all 400 children on its list. 3

People who get a thrill from riding through neighborhoods to see beautiful Christmas light displays should be sure to visit these must-see locations. 4

Folks will be gathering at churches, libraries and museums in metro Atlanta to celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. 8

Love donors come through

Copyright © 2010 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

The lights fantastic

December 25, 2010

Celebrating Kwanzaa

Volume 16, Number 35

Fix on the way for interchange By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to install CollectorDistributor lanes to manage the logjam at the I-20 eastbound and I-285 interchange near Wesley Chapel Road.

and entering from I-285. “There conflicts cause traffic to back up on both I-20 inside the Perimeter and on I-285,” GDOT engineers say. The problem is further exacerbated by the dropping of two of the five I-20 lanes at the Wesley Chapel Road exit, which leaves three lanes to handle 8,400 vehicles per hour. The project will address the system deficiency and create safer travel conditions by adding Collector-Distributor lanes and modifying the

South DeKalb motorists terrified of the congested I-20/I-285 interchange will soon have some relief. The Georgia Department of Transportation is set to let a $67.8 million project to overhaul the interchange on Jan. 21. The project, which has been in the works for years, will redesign 4.5 miles of I-20 eastbound to eliminate the significant weaving that takes place between I-20 eastbound exiting at Wesley Chapel Please see INTERSTATE, page 2

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Unexpected Holiday Gifts Delmarkco Ingram is touched by the generosity of Malcolm and Dee Dee Cunningham. The couple adopted his family and provided gifts for him and his three sons.

Photos by Carla Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Nonprofit and sponsors bless struggling families By Carla Parker

After nine months without a job, single father Delmarkco Ingram was facing a Christmas with no tree and no presents for his three sons, ages 6 to 11 years. Ingram, 30, said life has been a struggle since he was laid off from his job in February. Two months later, the family lost their home and they now live in a homeless shelter. Ingram says it’s been difficult. “I’ve been struggling so hard just to make ends meet,” he said. Then on Dec. 18, a miracle happened. He and his boys – Jamal, 11; Darius, 9; and Michael, 6­ ­– were invited to a Christmas party at the Malcolm Cunningham Auto Gallery on Snapfinger Woods Drive in Decatur. Ingram thought they would get some refreshments and enjoy some music.

and hats, gift cards to Kroger and Piccadilly, a Bible, and a MARTA card for a month. Ingram could not hold back the tears. “They’ve been asking for a DS for two years,” Ingram said. “Seeing my kids happy makes me forget about my problems.” The Ingrams were one of 14 families from around Atlanta who got gifts from the nonprofit Blessing on Wheels Grant-a-Wish event. The organization collected unwrapped gifts, food, clothes, toys, and gift cards to fulfill the wishes of homeless and low-income families. All of the families were surprised at the Six-year-old Michael Ingram, whose family is generosity. homeless, is all smiles at his holiday gifts. Ingram, who is raising his sons on his Instead, he and his children were show- own, said they first lived with his mother in ered with Christmas gifts, including a Nin- Atlanta, but when her bills got overwhelmtendo DS, game boards, and toy trucks and cars for Michael. The family also got coats Please see WISH, page 3

Interim chief gets more for expenses By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Ramona Tyson is getting an extra $2,000 a month for expenses from the DeKalb School Board, but the interim school superintendent will have to wait until a new superintendent is hired to get a bigger paycheck. With her contract that was amended on Dec. 17, Tyson, who also gets a $500 travel allowance in lieu of Ramona Tyson an automobile, “will not be required to furnish receipts” for the combined $2,500 for expenses. Under the new contract, when the School Board hires a new superintendent, it will make Tyson a special assistant to the superintendent and transition and pay her a salary of $240,000 through June 30, 2012. In that senior Cabinet-level position, the board said Tyson will “assist with the transition occurring in the district due to the selection of a new superintendent.” The amended contract – which covers the period from Dec. 17, 2010, to June 30, 2011 ­– also: n Provides Tyson with 20 days of additional paid vacation. n Allows her to take accrued vacation when she vacates the position. n Provides for her to return to her position of deputy chief superintendent, business operations and finance, on July 1, 2012, “at the salary that is attached to the position at that time. Plus the same or similar benefits awarded to other Cabinetlevel employees.” Please see TYSON, page 2




December 25, 2010

“He was never in any trouble. He was humble and respectful. You couldn’t ask for anyone better.”

Worker died protecting co-workers New title comes with higher pay By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Gary “Bernard” Andrews was 6 feet 2 inches tall and 240 pounds, and all his life he used his size to protect women, children and old people. On Dec. 18, Andrews, 23 years old, died protecting his co-workers at the Church’s Chicken restaurant on Flakes Mill Road in Decatur. He was shot in the head by two men who Gary Andrews robbed the restaurant. He was the lone man on duty with a crew of eight women, and family and friends said it was logical that he would put them behind him and face the attackers. His mother, Marion Andrews, said he was a protector. “He always had that about him,” she said Monday, still dealing with the shock. “He lost his life doing the same thing. I am at peace with that.” Andrews said her eldest son was now in a safe place. “I know he is looking down at us smiling even though he can see the pain,” she said. “We are stuck in this wicked world with these wicked people. He was a fine person. He never sassed. ” His boss, Al Panjawani, called Andrews a hero. “He was trying to save the other employees,” he said. Co-workers said that when the men – wearing black hoodies and ski masks – entered the restaurant, Andrews shielded the female workers behind his body. They said the robbers took him at gunpoint to the safe and, after he had opened it,

shot him in the head. Marion Andrews said that her family was already in bed when the telephone and the doorbell began ringing. “I thought he was just shot and I was going to the hospital,” she said. Instead she found her son on the floor at the restaurant. “He was already gone,” she said. “They wouldn’t let me see the body. I didn’t really want to see him like that.” Rachel Roberts was in tears when she stopped by the restaurant on Monday. She said Andrews dated her daughter, Raven Faust, for four years and she had hoped the two would marry. “Even after they got the money they took his life,” she said. “The Grinch stole our Christmas.” Roberts called the crime senseless and said it claimed a great person. “He was never in any trouble,” she said. “He was humble and respectful. You couldn’t ask for anyone better.” A distraught Raven Faust said she understood why he shielded the other employees. “He is a protector,” she said. “He protected me for four years.” Roberts said the killers need to pay for what they did. “They have to catch them,” she said. “They took a good person.” Andrews, a 2005 graduate of McNair High School, is survived by his 3-year-old daughter, Trista. Funeral arrangements were not finalized at press time. The suspects were captured on the store’s surveillance camera. At press time, police were asking for help identifying the men. Anyone with information about the crime or the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-5777-TIPS (8477).


from page


n When she becomes special assistant to

the superintendent and transition, Tyson will get a team consisting of two existing non-cabinet-level staff members and one administrative assistant of her choosing to work with her. Tyson’s former contract was scheduled to end Feb. 26, 2011. When she was tapped in February to lead the school system in the wake of the sudden departure of former Superintendent Crawford Lewis, Tyson kept her old salary of $163,899.02. After 10 months on the job, she met with board members on Dec. 10 to request the salary adjustment. In a Dec. 16 statement, Tyson, a 22year DeKalb Schools employee, said there

are tough issues ahead and she is prepared to work as long and hard as possible to get the job done. “I am appreciative of the board for recognizing my efforts with a proposal for compensation that is commensurate with the hard work,” she said. As the interim superintendent, Tyson manages a school system with 98,000-plus students and 7,200 teachers. When Lewis left the system in the midst of a criminal investigation, he was making $255,000 a year. He was later indicted on charges of racketeering. Last week, school system spokesman Jeff Dickerson said Tyson, who has two small children, was working 80-hour weeks. The school system has launched a national search for a new superintendent, which it expects to hire by next June.

Collector-distributor lanes coming INTERSTATE,

from page


general purpose lanes. The project also will make ramp improvements between Columbia Drive and Panola Road. GDOT says the project is a short-term solution until a larger programmed project can be implemented in 2032 when an estimated 148,420 vehicles a day will use the interchange. Daily traffic using the interchange has been growing steadily. In 2005, 82,489 vehicles went through there daily. Last year, it was 96,000. By 2012, it is expected to reach 99,875. The area also logs a high number of

accidents. Between 2005 and 2007, 534 were injured within the project’s area and three people were killed. Among other things, the I-20 eastbound Collector-Distributor project will widen I-20 up to five lanes at certain points, add 1.2 miles of barrier-separated CollectorDistributor lanes from the I-285/I-20 interchange to Wesley Chapel Road, and realign the I-285 northbound and southbound ramps to I-20 East. The work will all be done within current rights of way, and there will be no acquisition of new land. The start and completion date of the project will not be known until after it is let.


December 25, 2010



Over 11 years, the Tree of Love campaign has provided Christmas toys and gifts to more than 5,000 children.

Stokes feted for years of public service

Lewis fights to keep counsel

There was a lot of laughter and good wishes when friends, supporters, staff, colleagues and family members celebrated and roasted DeKalb County Commissioner Connie Stokes at a Dec. 17 red-carpet event at the Echelon 3000 club in Stone Mountain. Stokes, who leaves her Super District 7 seat on Dec. 31, was feted for 16 years of service to DeKalb County. Before she was elected in a 2004 special election to succeed the late Lou Walker, Stokes served as a state senator for 10 years. She made an unsuccessful bid for Congress this summer. A parade of state and county officials presented her with proclamations and plaques, and hugs flowed freely. Stokes was hailed as a champion for small business and was

Former DeKalb Superintendent Crawford Lewis is appealing to the Georgia Court of Appeals to keep Michael L. Brown as his lawyer and is not expected back in DeKalb Superior Court until after the February 2011 ruling. Judge Cynthia J. Becker ruled on Oct. 1 it was a conflict of interest for Brown to represent Lewis. Brown’s law firm Alston & Bird LLP also represents DeKalb Schools construction manager Barbara Coleman’s employer, Parsons Construction Technology Group. Coleman is Crawford Lewis a witness for the state’s case against Lewis. Lewis disagrees with Becker and wants to keep Brown as his lawyer. In a Dec. 20 court hearing, Becker said the Court of Appeals must rule before the case can advance. Lewis and DeKalb Schools former Chief Operating Officer Patricia Reid; Reid’s former husband, Anthony “Tony” Pope; and her secretary, Cointa Moody, are facing charges of racketeering, bribery, theft, and falsifying public documents arising from their management of the school district’s multimillion-dollar construction program. The four have pleaded not guilty to the charges. If Lewis has to hire another attorney, his trial could be delayed until late 2011 or 2012.

Commissioner Connie Stokes shares a light moment with Commissioner Kathie Gannon and other well wishers at a going away party that celebrated her 16 years of public service.

Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

recognized for her work coordinating In January, she will begin teachthe county’s Code Enforcement Task- ing a course in government at force and for sponsoring the passage Georgia Perimeter College’s Decatur of the county’s foreclosure registry. campus.

Donors meet the need with Tree of Love gifts Despite being in the throes of an economic recession, DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson managed to garner enough gifts for all the kids on his Tree of Love list. Johnson, who has been playing Santa to disadvantaged kids for more than a decade, said it was down to the wire, but that on the morning of the Dec. 18 event at the Gallery at South DeKalb, all 400 kids were adopted. “It was close but we did it,” Johnson said. Supporters of the gift-giving campaign pick the names of children in foster care from the Tree of Love and purchase Christmas gifts for them. Over the past 11 years, the Tree of Love campaign has provided Christmas toys and gifts to more than 5,000 children.

Commissioner Larry Johnson helps sort gifts donated to children in foster care.

Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Water fixes to cost $1.3 billion The price tag to fix DeKalb’s ailing sewer and water system is $1.341 billion. The amount was incorrect in our Dec. 18 issue. The total package includes the $1.34 billion Capital Improvement Plan approved by the Board of Commissioners on Dec. 14 and $1.05 million in civil penalty and cleanup costs. The Capital Improvement Plan includes $700 million in sewer upgrades mandated in a Consent Decree signed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for fouling the state’s waters in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act and the Georgia Water Quality Control Act. The county also has to pay the EPA and EPD a civil penalty of $453,000 and $600,000 to clean up segments of the South River, South Fork Peachtree Creek, and Snapfinger Creek.

Father struggles to hold family together WISH,

from page


ing, they ended up at the Jars of Clay Outreach Shelter in Atlanta. With no job, he has been picking up cans and doing odd jobs. “I am doing positive things to be a good example for my kids,” he said. Malcolm and Dee Dee Cunningham, who sponsored the Ingram family, said they were happy to give back and bless others. “[The Ingrams] lost their home and car, and we just wanted to do something to bring joy to the family,” Dee Dee Cunningham said. The Cunninghams found the Ingram family through Denithea Ward, who teaches Darius in the third grade at Atlanta’s Gideons Elementary.

Ward said that when Cunningham came looking for a family to sponsor, she couldn’t think of a family more deserving of a wonderful Christmas than the Ingrams. “He is a faithful father who is doing a great job raising his sons,” Ward said. “The kids are excellent students. They’ve never missed a day of school and never get in trouble.” Six-year-old Michael agrees with Ward’s assessment of his father. “He’s a good dad,” he said. “He takes good care of us. I love him very much.” Blessing on Wheels founder Stephanie Rockmore said it’s just a blessing to be able to bless others. “These families are going through a lot, and we wanted to do something to lift some of the load for them,” she said.

Tara Garden Chapel in Jonesboro, Parkway Garden Chapel in Forest Park and Horis A. Ward Stone Mountain Chapel in Stone Mountain are pleased to move forward under the recent appointment of Mr. Dwayne Green as General Manager. Green has over 20 years of experience in funeral service and is driven by a passion for helping people. It is this passion that guides him through every aspect of his profession. Green is eager to bring a sense of community leadership to his position, as he and his staff plan to reach out and develop partnerships with local businesses and organizations to improve the lives of area families. The Dignity Memorial® network welcomes Dwayne Green to our service family. We believe he will be as much of an asset to our business as he has been to our community. Away From Home Protection® | 24-Hour Compassion Helpline® | National Transferability Bereavement Travel | Personal Planning Services | Grief Support Veterans Benefits | Child & Grandchild Protection




December 25, 2010

“People make U-turns on the dead-end street across from my house to come back and look at it.” Jesus is the reason for the season – that’s the message that Bessye Goggans makes with her yard full of lights.

2346 Candler Rd. Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007

Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker General Manager Curtis Parker Staff Writer Carla Parker Advertising Sales Patricia Walthour

CrossRoadsNews is published every Thursday 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 CrossRoads­N ews 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 advertisments, including claims of suits for libel, violation of privacy, plagiarism and copyright infringement. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement.



Traffic-stopping displays light night When it’s Christmas time, the lights go on at Bessye Goggans’ Decatur home. And she makes sure that passers-by know that Jesus is the reason for the season. “Happy Birthday Jesus” says the most prominent sign in her yard on River Road. Goggans also has a lighted cross hanging over a Nativity scene and a star atop her chimney to represent the star that guided the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem. Goggans said she wants people to remember the true meaning of Christmas. “I put up all the lights to let everyone know that Jesus lives and Christmas is the day to celebrate his birth.” Goggans has been celebrating the birth of Jesus with thousands of lights for more than 10 years. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, her yard is populated with more than 50 lighted angels. More than two dozen lighted reindeer also graze in her yard, which is a favorite among people who drive through neighborhoods to see the pretty Christmas lights. “It’s usually bumper-to-bumper traffic on Dec. 23 and 24,” she said. “People make U-turns on the deadend street across from my house to come back and look at it.” It takes Goggans and her husband, David, five and a half days each year to put up all the decorations. “It takes me two days to get all

the lights out and to set them up, and it takes my husband two to three days to hook them up and make sure all the wiring is right,” she said. Goggans said she has been a fan of Christmas lights for years. While growing up in Cincinnati, she was used to seeing all the houses in her neighborhood lit up for the holidays. “Up North, the people always have a lot of lights up for Christmas,” she said. “They’re real serious about it too. It’s like a competition. If your house didn’t have a lot of lights, people thought something was wrong with you.” As a child, she and her family would ride around the city every Christmas Eve to look at the Christmas decorations. Goggans, who was born in Georgia, said she was surprised when she moved back to Georgia and saw that people weren’t as festive with their Christmas lights. “It’s definitely disappointing,” she said. Although her electric bill is $30 higher in December, she doesn’t mind paying it. “It’s for Jesus, and that’s all that matters,” she said. The Goggans live at 3389 River Road. From I-20, go south on Wesley Chapel Road, which turns into Flakes Mill Road. Make a right on River Road. You will know the house when you see it. Other richly decorated homes include:

Quick Read

Fontaine Circle Mary Graves and her family have been decorating their yard at 2464 Fontaine Circle for 35 years. Neighbors have dubbed their house “The Christmas House.” From I-20, go north on Candler Road to Whites Mill Road and turn left. Turn right on Tyler Way and right on Fontaine Circle. Kelley Chapel Road Sarah Bailey, who lives at 3261 Kelley Chapel Road in Decatur, has been decorating her yard for 34 years. Heading south on Wesley Chapel Road, turn left on Kelley Chapel. Bailey’s home is on the right, about half a mile. Downtown Decatur Ride through Decatur’s four square miles and enjoy the holiday lights. The lights stay up all season. Visit Stone Mountain Park The magic of a small town Christmas continues through Jan. 2 at Stone Mountain Park. The 1870s town of Crossroads is decorated with 2 million lights, and there are more than a dozen performances and activities. Highlights include live entertainment, the snow angel palace, the Holly Jolly Cabaret show and nightly Christmas parade with Santa, gift shopping, and plenty of home-cooked Southern fare and holiday treats. Visit www.stone

Holster the guns for the holidays New Year’s Eve revelers are being urged to stay away from guns in honor of a small boy who was killed by a stray bullet last Jan. 1. Four-year-old Marquel Peters was sitting next to his mother, Nathalee Peters, inside the Church of G o d of Prophecy at the end of a Marquel Peters Watch Night service when a stray 44-caliber bullet came through the church’s roof and pierced his skull. The shooter, believed to be a New Year’s reveler, was never identified. On the night Marquel was killed, the DeKalb Police Department received 212 calls about celebratory gunfire. This summer, the county launched “Marquel’s Pledge: Stop Celebratory Gunfire” to discourage the practice of shooting into the air in celebration. Nathalee Peters joined De­ Kalb CEO Burrell Ellis, Public Safety Director William Miller and other county officials to launch Marquel’s Pledge to discourage Fourth of July revelers from celebrating with gunfire. Several businesses have pledged to limit or not sell ammunition during the holidays. The county also is working with citizens, neighborhood groups, organizations, churches and businesses to educate residents about the dangers of celebratory gunfire and to discourage the practice. Pledges can be submitted online at www.dekalbcountyga. gov. Contact Tisa Washington at or 404-687-3719.

Worker died in ‘protector’ mode 2

CEO’s proposed 2011 budget rife with cuts, tax increase 6

First Afrikan focusing on family during celebration

Gary “Bernard” Andrews was 6 feet, 2 inches and 240 pounds, and all his life he used his size to protect women, children and old people.

The 2011 county budget proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is loaded with cuts and has a 2.32 millage rate increase.

Family and community will be the dominant theme of First Afrikan Presbyterian Church’s 16th annual Kwanzaa celebration that kicks off on Dec. 26.

Stokes feted for years of public service


There was a lot of laughter and good wishes at a celebration of DeKalb County Commissioner Connie Stokes.

Donors meet the need with Tree of Love gifts 3 Despite being in the throes of an economic recession, DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson managed to garner enough gifts for all the kids on his Tree of Love list. Circulation Audited By

Extended unemployment notices being sent by mail 6 Unemployed Georgians who are eligible for newly extended benefits are being notified by mail, the Georgia Department of Labor says.


Storyteller to lead Kwanzaa poetry event 8 Storyteller and puppeteer Akbar Imhotep will facilitate an evening of storytelling and poetry reading at the Kwanzaa celebration at the Mechanicsville Library in Atlanta.

Maintenance, preparation keys to trouble-free winter trips 7 Churches zero in on tradition during Watch Night 9 Winter weather and freezing temperatures can take a toll on your vehicle, but proper maintenance may help you prevent trouble on the road, AAA Auto Club South says.

Congregations across South DeKalb will usher in the New Year with music, testimonies and sermons at Watch Night services.

index to advertisers Acts of Valor Salon.........................................6 Agape Christian Counseling Center............... 11 Agilest Collections / The Likerish Boutique.... 11 Christian Homeschool................................... 10 Cornerstone of Faith Church & Ministries....... 8 Dignity Memorial Gardens.............................. 3 Ella’s Caring Hands Adult Day Care............... 11

Georgia Preventive Health............................ 10 Gibbs Garage................................................. 11 Gutbusters..................................................... 11 Heard & Heard Dental Associates................... 7 Kiddy Kompany............................................ 10 Law Office of Trichelle Griggs Simmons....... 10 Macy’s............................................................. 5

Malcolm Cunningham Auto Gallery..............12 MARTA............................................................ 8 Mini Mall........................................................ 11 Mystery Valley Golf Club................................. 3 Rainbow Park Baptist Church..........................9 Sarah Fabrics Inc............................................ 11

STAND Inc....................................................... 7 The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church........9 The Law Office of B.A. Thomas.................... 10 The Law Offices of Diann Moseley................ 10 The Spa at Stonecrest................................... 10 Wright Vision Care..........................................6


December 25, 2010











VALID 12/26 OR 12/27/10 ‘TIL 1PM. LIMIT ONE PER CUSTOMER. CANNOT BE USED ON SPECIALS OR SUPER BUYS Excludes: specials, super buys, furniture, mattresses, floor coverings, rugs, electrics/electronics, cosmetics/fragrances, gift cards, jewelry trunk shows, previous purchases, special orders, selected licensed depts., special purchases, services, Cannot be combined with any savings pass/coupon, extra discount or credit offer, except opening a new Macy’s account. Dollar savings are allocated as discounts off each eligible item, as shown on receipt. When you return an item, you forfeit the savings allocated to that item. This coupon has no cash value and may not be redeemed for cash, used to purchase gift cards or applied as payment or credit to your account. EXTRA SAVINGS $ APPLIED TO REDUCED PRICES. Purchase must be $25 or more, exclusive of tax and delivery fees.


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ALL SALE & CLEARANCE APPAREL FOR HIM, HER & KIDS, PLUS FINE & FASHION JEWELRY EXTRA 1O% OFF ALL SALE & CLEARANCE WATCHES, SHOES, COATS, SUITS, DRESSES, INTIMATES; SUIT SEPARATES & SPORTCOATS FOR HIM & SELECT HOME ITEMS Excludes: specials, super buys, furniture, mattresses, floor coverings, rugs, electrics/electronics, cosmetics/ fragrances, gift cards, jewelry trunk shows, previous purchases, special orders, selected licensed depts., special purchases, services, Cannot be combined with any savings pass/coupon, extra discount or credit offer except opening a new Macy’s account. EXTRA SAVINGS % APPLIED TO REDUCED PRICES. VALID 12/26-12/29/2010

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December 25, 2010

Ellis told commissioners that the largely residential county has been “especially impacted by the collapse of the housing real estate market.”

CEO’s proposed 2011 budget rife with cuts, tax increase The 2011 county budget proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is leaner than this year’s, loaded with cuts and a 2.32 millage rate increase. Ellis presented the $563.3 million budget to the Board of Commissioners on Dec. 12. It proposes a property tax increase of about $22 per month on an averagepriced home. Ellis said this has been Burrell Ellis one of the most difficult budget years and that he is “keenly aware that this is a difficult time to ask citizens to pay more.” However, the county has seen its available revenue decrease by more than $86 million over the past two years while operating costs

continue to climb, he said. The proposed budget is down $19.4 million from this year’s $582.7 million budget. It is down $38.1 million from the 2009 budget, which was $601.4 million Ellis told commissioners that the largely residential county has been “especially impacted by the collapse of the housing real estate market and the corresponding erosion of our tax digest.” His budget projects a $12.8 million loss of property tax revenue in the coming year as well as increased costs in excess of $39 million to meet rising pension fund and group health insurance obligations, redeploy police officers, fund employee holiday pay, and make necessary technology improvements. Other highlights of the proposed budget include: n $10 million for 10 paid holidays for county


new Exchange Park Recreation Center; four

lice Officers who have been at the top of their pay range for one year or more. n A 10 percent, or $1.5 million, cut in funding for Grady Hospital operations from $14.4 to $12.9 million. n $5 million to retain the approximately 73 officers who served the Dunwoody area. n A $500 supplement for employees making $35,000 or less, to help offset the increase in pension and group insurance costs. n A $600 incentive for top performing employees in every department as a means of recognizing innovation, outstanding customer service and implementation of best practices. n $627,000 to fund staffing at new facilities. That number includes three full-time positions and 19 temporary workers for the

for the new Northeast Plaza Library; and an unnamed number of staff for the new Stonecrest Library. n Adjustments in business registration fees and alcohol permits. n Funds for a comprehensive review of the organization and staffing of the county’s Watershed Management Department, from which the county’s early retirement program and reorganization cut 102 positions. While noting that some county programs do not cover their operational costs, particularly some programs in the Human Services area that provide direct services to senior citizens and in the Parks and Recreation area that operate at a loss, Ellis vowed not to reduce services to senior citizens or furlough county employees.

n A one-time bonus of $250 for Master Po- full-time and three part-time employees

Extended unemployment notices being sent by mail bill does not provide additional Unemployed Georgians who benefits beyond 99 weeks. are eligible for newly extended “These additional resources will benefits are being notified by mail, help qualified job seekers provide the Georgia Department of Labor food, clothing and shelter while says. they seek employment, and I’m State Labor Commissioner especially pleased that the approval Michael Thurmond said Dec. 20 came in time for Christmas,” Thurthat the department is processing extended benefit claims for unem- Michael Thurmond mond said. “More than 53 percent of jobless Georgians have been out ployed residents who will qualify under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insur- of work 27 weeks or longer in a very difficult ance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act economic situation.” In November, the state’s seasonally adjustof 2010 enacted on Dec. 17. The new legislation expands the extended ed unemployment rate stood at 10.1 percent. benefits claim filing period for jobless Ameri- For 38 consecutive months, Georgia’s unemcans through Dec. 31, 2011. However, the ployment rate has exceeded the national rate,

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which was 9.8 percent in November. The Department of Labor is identifying individuals who potentially meet the eligibility requirements, as outlined in the legislation. Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements are being notified by mail. Individuals who may be eligible will be those who had remaining weeks of eligibility when the previous benefit extension law expired on Nov. 30. Claimants who have exhausted all weeks of eligibility will not benefit from the new legislation. Thurmond urges those who may be eligible to monitor for up-to-date information.

Ellis to give State of County outlook DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis will review his second year in office and offer his outlook for 2011 in two State of the County addresses on Jan. 6. He begins at 7:30 a.m. at a $25-per-plate breakfast hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce at the Thalia N. Carlos Hellenic Community Center, 2500 Clairmont Road in Atlanta. At 6 p.m., he will speak at a free event at the Maloof Auditorium,1300 Commerce Drive in Decatur. To register for the breakfast, visit www. or call 404378-8000.

Jobs, not allowance, best for kids Dear Dave, How do you feel about giving an allowance to kids who are younger than 10 years old? – Anonymous Dear Anonymous, I don’t do allowances for anyone. The word “allowance” sounds way too much like welfare to me. We put our kids on commission at an early age. If they worked, they got paid. If they didn’t work, they didn’t get paid. We put a little dry-erase board on the refrigerator and listed all the jobs they had to do during the week, with a dollar amount next to each one. When you did a certain job, you were paid that amount. Keep in mind, though, kids shouldn’t get paid for every little thing they do around the house. There are some jobs they should have to do just because they’re part of the family, or because Mom or Dad tells them to do that job. Some of these jobs should have a higher purpose, too. As a parent, you want to find as many teachable moments for your kids as possible. Once they’ve earned their money, sit

Keep in mind, though, kids shouldn’t get paid for every little thing they do around the house. There are some jobs they should have to do just because they’re part of the family. down with them and divide it into three separate envelopes: one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving. This way, they get to learn about these three important things while they’re learning how to work. Teaching kids that there’s an emotional connection between work and money is one of the best things you’ll ever do as a parent. If they learn this when they’re 5, chances are they won’t be clueless and financially irresponsible when they’re 55! – Dave


December 25, 2010



“A battery that started easily in the summer may not have enough oomph to start the vehicle in cold weather.”

Maintenance, preparation keys to trouble-free holiday trips Winter weather and freezing temperatures can take a toll on your vehicle, but proper maintenance may help you prevent trouble on the road, AAA Auto Club South says. Last year, AAA South responded to more than 96,000 roadside service calls during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday (Dec. 23-Jan. 5). More than 20,894 of them had battery-related problems, an 87 percent increase from 2008. Battery-related calls in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee more than doubled in 2009 with 2,983 in Georgia, 14,823 calls in Florida and 1,117 in Tennessee. Pete Candela, AAA Automotive Repair director, said colder than normal weather can really put a strain on a vehicle’s battery and other operating systems, especially a vehicle that is not properly maintained. “A battery that started easily in the summer may not have enough oomph to start the vehicle in cold weather,” he said. “In winter, the engine is harder to start because the oil isn’t as ‘fluid’ as it is in July.” AAA recommends having the following items checked before taking a holiday road trip: n If your car needs regular service, get it done now. Bad hoses, belts, water pumps and poorly maintained cooling systems can leave you stranded on the side of the road. It’s best to bite the bullet and get everything fixed now to be fully prepared for winter driving. n Check tire pressure. Tire pressure drops about 1 pound per 10 degrees of temperature. Having low tire pressure

used will protect your vehicle at the winter temperatures you’ll encounter. For most areas, a 50-50 mix of coolant to water is needed since the 50-50 mix has a lower freezing point. It also prevents the cooling system from rusting. n Fix any leaks in the cooling system as soon as possible. Cars can overheat in winter too, and if they run low on or run out of coolant the car can overheat and cause expensive engine damage. Plus, if you have no coolant – or low coolant – you have no heat. n Keep your gas tank close to full at all times. If you get stuck or stranded in winter, the engine will be your only source of heat and without gas you can’t run the heat. You can run the engine for hours at idle to stay warm – or as long as you have gas. No harm will be done to the engine.

AAA South recommends that motorists make sure their vehicle is properly maintained to avoid being stranded on holiday road trips.

can dangerously impact the way a vehicle is handled and maneuvers. n Make sure your battery and charging system are up to par. Batteries lose power as the temperature drops. So not only do you need more power to start the engine in winter, you also get less power from the same battery. n Check the car’s cooling system. Make sure the antifreeze

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The theme recognizes the ability of African-descended people to solve their own problems.

First Afrikan focusing on family during Kwanzaa celebration Family and community will be the dominant theme of First Afrikan Presbyterian Church’s 16th annual Kwanzaa celebration that kicks off on Dec. 26. The celebration, which begins at 7 p.m. daily, will include drumming, libation and the nightly lighting of the Kwanzaa candles. Dr. Itihari Toure, director of the church’s Center for Afrikan Biblical Studies, says the theme recognizes the ability of Africandescended people to solve their own problems. All Kwanzaa events, except on Thursday, Dec. 29, will be held at First Afrikan Church, 5197 Salem Road in Lithonia. The program on Thursday night will be held at the Lou Walker Senior Center on Panola Road in Lithonia. A poster print of the art of Synthia St. James will be offered as the prize in a free raffle each night. Kwanzaa, which began in 1966, was the brainchild of Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He conceived the multi-night observance as a way of honoring family, community and culture. The cultural observance is organized around seven principles, or Nguzo Saba – Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). A Kwanzaa candle will be lit for the principle being observed, and church elders will share wisdom about the principle. “Momma Wit and Baba Wisdom” kicks Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews off the 2010 celebration on Dec. 26. Home The lighting of the Kwanzaa candles is part of the Kwanzaa ceremony at First Afrikan Church. A remedies, healing proverbs and teaching candle is lit each evening of the seven-day celebration.

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APEX marking its 30th Kwanzaa Drumming, dancing, poetry, libation and the screening of a movie are just some of the events on tap for the APEX Museum’s 30th annual Kwanzaa celebration on Jan. 1. The daylong event, which starts at noon, will feature a group of Liberian drummers and dancers, quilter Lynn Campbell, and range of special activities for children. Michelle Mitchell, the museum’s Kwanzaa coordinator, said the celebration caters to everyone, including newcomers to Kwanzaa. “We design the event to be a learning experience that is fun for everybody from people who always celebrate Kwanzaa to those who are doing it for the first time,” she said. Children will find plenty to do. Mitchell said that Campbell, who used to run a popular quilting museum in Underground Atlanta, will engage children. “She will tie quilting with the principles of Kwanzaa in craft projects for the children,”

she said. Kids can tap into their creative side with age-appropriate crafts ranging from coloring for small children to jewelry making for the teens. All materials will be given to the children free of charge. At 4 p.m., filmmaker M.K. Asante’s 2010 documentary, “The Black Candle,” will be screened. The film, which is narrated by famed poet Maya Angelou, uses Kwanzaa as the vehicle to discuss the African-American experience. The crowd will sing the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” at 6 p.m. The evening program, which ends at 8, includes an affirmation of the seven Kwanzaa principles, or the Nguzo Saba; the pouring of the ancestral libation; and lighting of all seven Kwanzaa candles. The APEX Museum is at 135 Auburn Ave. in downtown Atlanta. For more information, call 404-523-2739.

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phrases passed down from one generation to the next will be highlighted. The Uhuru Dancers and Ngoma Lungundu will perform during the celebration. Kujichagulia is the theme of the Dec. 27 program, which will be hosted by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. On Dec. 28, the theme is “Re-Membering the Family.” It will focus on Ujima (collective work and responsibility). The night begins at 6 p.m. with a screening of “The Black Candle,” a documentary highlighting the African-American experience through the principles of Kwanzaa. The film is narrated by Maya Angelou and directed by Molefi Asante. After the film, members of the National Association of Black Social Workers-Greater Atlanta Chapter will host a ritual of family healing. Ujamaa or cooperative economics will be celebrated on Dec. 29. The evening’s program, “A Dime for a Dollar,” will focus on the resourcefulness of black people. The Common Ground Collective band will perform and there will be a ritual celebrating all the ways that African-Americans have made something from nothing. The Dec. 30 program at the Lou Walker Senior Center will focus on Nia or purpose. “Is Your Name on the Role” features neighborhood watch organizing, church movements, sororities and fraternities, and all organizations that strengthened AfricanAmerican neighborhoods. The program returns to the church on Dec. 31 for the church’s annual Umoja Karamu Watch Night service at 10 p.m. For more information, call the church office at 770-981-2601.

6001 Pattillo Way, Lithonia, GA For directions or more information, call 678-521-5151.

His 17-year-old daughter, Storyteller and puppeteer Sara, will recite poetry she comAkbar Imhotep will facilitate an posed. Other performers include evening of storytelling and poetry a storyteller and teen poet. reading at the Dec. 27 Kwanzaa Imhotep said he is passionate celebration at the Mechanicsville about self-determination. Library in Atlanta. “It is important to let young The free event, which starts at people know that they have the 6 p.m., takes place on the second power of self-determination and night of the annual seven-day Akbar Imhotep do not have to be defined by what African-American holiday. It will celebrate the principle of Kujichagulia, or the various corporate and media outlets say they are,” he said. “If they accept that chalself-determination. Imhotep will tell his story, “Making It lenge of self-determination, they will have a Real, Making It Yours,” and if the spirit moves more active voice in shaping their lives and him, he may discuss things to do to make in shaping the world.” Last year, about 50 people attended the self-determination real. “Whenever I facilitate a Kwanzaa event, I event. Imhotep said he expects about the want to involve the audience,” Imhotep said. same number this year. The Mechanicsville Library is located “I am not there to make a speech or just have my say. It is important that everybody has a at 400 Formwalt S.E. in Atlanta. For more information, call 404-730-4779. chance to participate.”

December 25, 2010




African-American congregations use the worship service to express gratitude for making it through the old year.

Churches zero in on tradition during Watch Night services On Dec. 31, congregations across South DeKalb will usher in the new year with music, testimonies and stirring sermons at Watch Night services. African-American congregations use the worship service to express gratitude for making it through the old year and hope for the year to come. Here are some of the services around the area: n A sought-after preacher, teacher and evangelist, the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Ann Knight, will deliver the sermon at Saint Philip AME Church Watch Night worship service on Dec. 31 at 9:45 p.m. Knight is a former as- Carolyn Knight sistant professor of homiletics at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. In 1996, she was inducted into the prestigious College of Preachers by Morehouse College and in 1997, Ebony magazine named her one of America’s 15 Greatest African-American Women Preachers. Saint Philip AME is at 240 Candler Road in Atlanta. For more information, visit www. or call 404-371-0749. n Berean Christian Church will have two New Year’s Eve worship services, at 7 and 10 p.m., at its campus at 2201 Young Road in Stone Mountain. For more information, call 770-593-4421. n First Afrikan Presbyterian Church will host its annual Umoja Karamu Watch Night Service beginning at 10 p.m. During the narrated service that includes dance and spoken word, ministers will preach sermonettes and worshippers will eat samples of gold, white, black, green and red foods to symbolize stages in the struggle

The Rev. Dr. Mark Lomax will deliver the Watch NIght message just before midnight at First Afrikan Presbyterian Church.

Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

for freedom – enslavement, emancipation, freedom movement and the future. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Mark Lomax, will deliver the message just before midnight. The church is at 5197 Salem Road in Lithonia. For more information, call 770981-2601. n Kingdom Builders Covenant Church is hosting separate New Year’s Eve celebrations for adults and young people, both starting at 10 p.m. The adult service, under the theme “The Year of the Makeover,” will take place at the church’s Decatur campus at 3355 Columbia Drive. Musician Sha Simpson will perform and Pastor K. Francis Smith will deliver the sermon. There will be a drawing for a 42-inch flat-screen television. While adults are at the church, children and youth, 5 to 19 years old, will meet at the DeKalb Community Achievement Center at 4522 Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur for a

free concert. St. Clair and the Sanctified Souljahs, Luke G., and Aptthr 33 will perform along with the young dancers and rappers from the church. There will be a drawing for an Xbox Kinect. For more information, call youth minister Danielle Kilgore at 678-973-6008. n Members of Rainbow Park Baptist Church in Decatur will roast hot dogs and marshmallows and burn their burdens in a bonfire before heading into their Watch Night Service, which will be held in a heated tent on the church campus. The fellowship starts at 10 p.m. Pastor Steven N. Dial Sr. will preach the sermon just before midnight. After the sermon, youth and young adult minister Octavia Samuels will host a Midnight 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament in the Empowerment Center gym. There will be music, food and fun for the event, which is free and open to the public. The church is located at 2941 Columbia

Drive in Decatur. For more information, call Sandra Ferguson at 678- 665-9109. n Greenforest Community Baptist Church will host two Watch Night services – at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel and at 9:45 in the main sanctuary. At the late service, youth will be invited to gather for “Youth I Praise” in the Genesis Room of the Early Learning Center. A New Year’s breakfast will be served at 12:30 a.m. The cost is $5 per person. The church is at 3250 Rainbow Drive in Decatur. For more information, visit www. or call 404-486-1120. n Big Miller Grove Missionary Baptist Church’s Watch Night Service will start at 9:30 p.m. Bishop Miles E. Fowler will deliver a sermon. The service will include testimonials and music by the choir. Teens and children will gather in another part of the church to discuss the events of 2010 and think of ways to make 2011 a better year. The church is at 3800 Big Miller Grove Way in Lithonia. For more information, call Iris Fowler at 770-981-3800, Ext. 0. n Dynamic praise and worship, music and prayer will usher in the new year at Ray of Hope Christian Church, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011. The doors open at 9 p.m. for Watch Night 2010. The service starts at 10. The church is at 2778 Snapfinger Road in Decatur. For more information, visit www. or call 770-696-5100. n Beulah Missionary Baptist Church is holding its service at 10 p.m. Worshippers wanting to park in the church lot should arrive early. The church is at 2340 Clifton Springs Road in Decatur. For more information, visit or call 404-241-3307.



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2005 honda accord ............................. 7888 2006 dodge MagnuM ..................... 13,995 2011 hyundai Sonata glS .............. 17,995 $

great deal, all power, alloy Wheels, Stk#a1262a



all power, cd, tilt Wheel, Stk#a1385

new Style, all power, cd, Much More, Stk#a1374

2005 Ford ranger SXt eXtended cab 9588 2007 cheVy trailblazer ................ 14,951 2010 Ford e-350 ............................. 21,325 $

V6, all power, cd, great deal, Stk#a1369



all power, cd, tilt Wheel, Stk#a1367

15 passenger Van, carry everyone to See Santa, Stk#a1368

2006 Kia Sorento ........................... 10,888 2007 dodge charger SXt ............... 14,987 2007 cheVy tahoe ........................... 23,987 $

all power, cd, alloys, great Money Saver SuV, Stk#a1360



cd, all power, Spoiler, 22 inch chrome Wheels, Stk#a1345

great deal, Fully loaded, all the bells and Whistles, Stk#a1387

2008 cheVy iMpala .......................... 11,889 2007 audi a4 ................................... 17,858 2008 Ford F-150 lariat .................. 25,554 $

auto, all power, Stk#a1299



Fast, leather, Sunroof, looks great, Stk#a1377

leather, Factory chrome Wheels w/chrome pkg, Wood grain, Simply the best, Stk#a1312

2008 toyota caMry ....................... 12,995 2007 Ford F-150 Super creW ......... 17,986 2007 Ford eXpedition el ................ 26,550 $

all power, cd, 3 to choose From, Stk#a1376



Work and play, all power, cd, Much More, Stk#a1332

leather, tV, chrome Wheels, Stk#a1375a

Prices Plus Tax, Tag, And Title

truckS! 770-987-8189

service specials! Oil Change & Car Wash




2 Or 4 Wheel alignment


95 $

Valid only at MalcolM cunninghaM auto group

Must Present Coupon When Order Is Written. Not Valid With Any Other Offer. One Coupon Per Visit. Up To 5 Quarts, Diesels And Some Models Slightly Higher. Expires 12/31/2010.


With Purchase of 4 Tires

Valid only at MalcolM cunninghaM auto group Must Present Coupon When Order Is Written. Not Valid With Any Other Offer. One Coupon Per Visit. Some Models Slightly Higher. Expires 12/31/2010

Qualified Servic e Technicians Need ed! We Are Growing Again Apply Within

Buy 3 tires get One...


We Carry Most Major Brand naMes! Valid only at MalcolM cunninghaM auto group Must Present Coupon When Order Is Written. Not Valid With Any Other Offer. One Coupon Per Visit. Some Models Slightly Higher. Expires 12/31/2010

Got A Dent? Got A Ding? Get A Free estimate! All Insurance Claims Welcome. Open 6 Days a Week.

wesley chapel I-20, Exit Wesley Chapel To Snapfinger Woods Drive


Sales Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 8:00pm • Sat 9:00am - 8:00pm • Sun Closed

5C (10.5”) X 16” 23941-MCAQ (12-25) Crossroads FC (lm)

we now rent & Sell

CrossRoadsNews, December 25, 2010  

CrossRoadsNews, December 25, 2010