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Away with decay

Familiar surroundings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says dental sealants are effective in the fight against cavities. 7

Head football coach Damien Wimes is finally back home at Southwest DeKalb, where his high school playing career began. 9

Let’s Keep DeKalb Peachy Clean Please Don’t Litter Our Streets and Highways


Copyright © 2017 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

February 18, 2017

Volume 22, Number 43

Residents want more money for police, for libraries By Rosie Manins

Some DeKalb residents want more money for police and public libraries in CEO Michael Thurmond’s proposed $1.3 billion budget for 2017. At a budget hearing hosted by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners at its Feb. 14 meeting, residents argued for more money to hire and pay police officers and to restore library hours and materials that were cut during the recession. Faye Coffield, a private investigator and Lithonia community activist, said the shortage of police officers in DeKalb is a major problem and the county government needs

to immediately invest in law enforcement. “It’s critical,” she said. “It’s at a crisis mode and it needs to be addressed before anything else can be addressed.” Coffield, who ran unsuccessfully for the DeKaFaye Coffield lb Commission Super District 7 seat last year, said the county needs almost 400 extra police officers. “That’s enough sworn officers to staff two and a half precincts, all three watches,” she said. Police and firefighters got a 4 percent

raise in 2016 after going without a raise since 2008. The proposed 2017 budget includes $2.1 million for 20 additional police positions and 36 more Fire Rescue personnel and $600,000 for police body cameras. But Coffield said that is not enough and police officers should be receiving at least a 20 percent pay increase and have their former incentives and pension plan reinstated. “You can no longer allow a police department to function at the low levels that it has,” she told the board. “You are not attracting enough people to fill the vacancies.” DeKalb, with just over 700,000 residents, has about 860 sworn police officers and 230

support staff operating out of four precincts, 600 trained Fire Rescue personnel operating out of 26 fire stations, and about 860 sworn officers and civilians working in the Sheriff ’s Department. In his budget draft sent to the BOC on Jan. 17, Thurmond said it provides a framework for strengthening the government’s fiscal condition, improving public safety, annualizing the fiscal year 2016 pay and compensation increases, and funding various infrastructure and capital improvements. There are no tax increases. Sara Fountain, chair of the DeKalb Please see BUDGET, page 4

Conditions at Sugar Creek way under par Longtime golfers bemoan decline of popular course By Terry Shropshire

At one time, Sugar Creek Golf Course was considered the crown jewel of south DeKalb County, attracting golf enthusiasts and connoisseurs from many miles around. Golf aficionados, novices and older players cherished the flat course, the manicured greens, and the tree-lined, narrow fairways. Its easy-to-reach location at Bouldercrest and I-285 was a big plus, too. Today, the greens are shoddy and rundown, and weeds have taken over in the bunkers. Joe Price who plays a lot of courses all over town, and the Sugar Creek course is without comparison. “It’s easily the worst-condition course in town,” he said. Golfers like Price, who remembers better days at Sugar Creek, are fighting mad. They blame flagrant neglect and chronic mismanagement, and they want to see the storied course returned to its glory days when it hosted important foreign dignitaries, and was the site of major amateur tournaments and civic and philanthropic events. Robert Mitchell, president of Sugar Creek Men’s Golfer’s Association, says the course has been on an uninterrupted downward spiral for the past several years. “It has been on a continual path of erosion for the last eight to 10 years, particularly the last four years,” said Mitchell, who has golfed there since Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office. “They don’t do anything. They don’t care if anyone comes to the golf course or not.” Mitchell says these days, the course is off the radar of most golfers. “If you’re a serious golfer, you don’t go to Sugar Creek,” he said. Larry Anderson, who has been volunteer-

Jennifer Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Terry Shropshire / CrossRoadsNews

Sugar Creek Golf Course used to be a favorite of golfers. These days they complain about crappy greens, cart paths in disrepair, and potholes in the parking lot.

Grass has taken over this bunker at Sugar Creek.

ing at the course for three years, says “the greens are absolutely the worst greens I’ve ever seen anywhere.” Price put it bluntly. “The course is going to hell in a hand basket,” he said Feb. 14. “They don’t maintain the course. They don’t maintain the tennis courts. The parking lot has holes in it. I mean, it’s just terrible.” The course, which is owned by DeKalb County, has been through several operators in recent years. And each time, the situation has gotten worse. Regulars can’t understand why the county has allowed the course to deteriorate to this level. “I don’t expect it to be like a country club,” Price said. “Just average greens, instead of the worst greens in town. You can’t even hit a three-foot putt if you hit it perfectly.”

county-owned course. “We are not talking rocket science;” the memo said. “The solution is not complicated. This golf course needs the proper funding, personnel, and equipment so that routine maintenance, such as cutting the fairway grass, aerating the greens, and draining the bunkers, can be performed.” Johnson said that he has been out to Sugar Creek multiple times, most recently two weeks ago, to look at the condition of the course and the tennis courts. “I took photos and handed them over to Parks and Recreation which is charge of it,” Johnson said Feb. 16. “I told them that there is erosion happening out there and that the grounds are looking bad. They had one person cutting the grass.” On the other other hand, the golfers say that Mystery Valley, on Shadow Rock Drive in Lithonia, gets much better care.

mains loyal to the course even though he feels the management and county have let him down. “I’m a senior citizen and the reason I still golf over there is because it’s very flat relative to the other courses in Atlanta,” he says. “As an older person, you can still walk it and get valuable exercise on it. In terms of design of Sugar Creek and the ability to walk the course, I don’t think there is a better designed course in metro Atlanta. All I would expect would be in average condition.” Anderson and Price, in particular, say they have attempted to reach DeKalb County government many times over the past few years but little has been done to stem the decline. In a July 27, 2016, memorandum emailed to District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson and copied to the other commissioners, the Sugar Creek volunteers implored the county The good old days to fix what’s wrong with Sugar Creek and put Even Price, a Sugar Creek diehard, re- it on par with Mystery Valley, DeKalb’s other

Please see GOLF, page 4




February 18, 2017

“We can now say with confidence that MARTA will not just survive, but will thrive moving into the future.”

Brookhaven scraps $200 million transit-oriented development By Rosie Manins

A $200 million transit-oriented development at MARTA’s Brookhaven/Oglethorpe station that was more than 10 years in the making has been shelved because of major disagreements between parties. In a Feb. 2 statement, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said they are sorry that they had to stop negotiations on the financing of the project. “The developer’s ask kept growing and the John Ernst guarantees on delivery kept shrinking,” he said. In its statement, the transit authority said it is disappointed that it will not be able to advance this project to implementation. “MARTA staff will now shift focus to implementing TOD projects at stations where greater readiness exists,” the Feb. 2 statement said. The cancellation comes as cities in the

Perimeter area are working on a collective future transportation plan to address multimodal connections between transit hubs, commercial centers, and housing. The city of Brookhaven has partnered with the cities of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody and the Perimeter Community Improvement District to conduct the Last Mile Connectivity Study in and around the Perimeter area, addressing transportation connections between transit stops and stations or hubs and final destinations such as homes, offices and retail areas. It covers multimodal connections within and between activity centers, including Perimeter Center. The study aims to provide a clear vision for future transportation needs in the Perimeter market that will include investments in bicycle, pedestrian, trail, and roadway facilities and an exploration of existing and future transit. Community feedback is being sought online. The 15-acre Brookhaven MARTA mixeduse project – with 547 residential units, 100 affordable housing apartments for seniors, 200,000 square feet of office space, 55,768

square feet of retail space, a 125-room hotel, and community green space – was envisioned as Brookhaven’s new city center. But MARTA pulled out of the project on Feb. 2 after Brookhaven indicated it wanted to further delay rezoning the site and suspend all work on the developer’s request for millions of dollars in tax incentives. MARTA board members approved a resolution to terminate their relationship with Brookhaven City Center Partners, citing the developer’s inability to “reach a mutually beneficial term sheet” after 15 months of negotiation. Other TODs are currently underway at the Chamblee, Avondale, and Edgewood/ Candler Park MARTA stations. Ernst said Brookhaven looks forward to partnering on a more innovative and unique development at the site in the future. “This MARTA TOD is not just another development project,” he said. “It is Brookhaven’s future; it is MARTA’s future.” Both Ernst and MARTA thanked the community for its large input in the project’s planning stages. MARTA said its public engagement in

the Brookhaven TOD was unprecedented, exceeding that of the Avondale, Edgewood/ Candler Park, and Chamblee TODs. There were dozens of community meetings, several citywide forums, and a website set up with information about the project. MARTA also conducted an online survey, which more than 500 people responded to. Residents who objected to the Brookhaven TOD said it would generate too much traffic and density while relying on millions of dollars of public investment. At least $22 million in property tax breaks was reportedly needed to pay for infrastructure, including a park, sidewalks, parking spaces, and sewer improvements. Plans included intersection upgrades for traffic to flow more smoothly onto Peachtree Road. MARTA said it has been working to implement the Brookhaven TOD for over 10 years. A public open house on the Last Mile Connectivity Study was held in Sandy Springs on Jan. 26, and details can be found here: public-works/last-mile-connectivity-study.

MARTA sets bold agenda for 2017 By Terry Shropshire

At the annual State of MARTA address, general manager and CEO Keith T. Parker boasted about MARTA’s accomplishments in 2016 and laid a bold foundation for 2017 endeavors. He said the transit authority has much more to offer the city of Atlanta and the entire region. “Our investment in Atlanta and willingness MARTA is on firm footing, its board chair says, as the general to provide more transit manager/CEO outlines its accomplishments and future endeavors. amenities and increase connections, security and billion over the next 40 years; ground breaktrust helps to drive longings on two transit-oriented developments at term economic growth the Edgewood/Candler Park and Avondale in this global market,” rapid rail stations; launch of the world’s first he said. on-site soccer field at its Five Points station; Parker said MARTA achieving a bond ratings upgrade from Wall has come a long way, yet Street; and creating a $250 million rainy day it recognizes that there fund. is much more to accomRobbie Ashe, MARTA board chairman, Keith Parker plish. said the transit authority is on firm footing. “The MARTA staff – from front-line em“We can now say with confidence that ployees to senior management – has a com- MARTA will not just survive, but will thrive mitment to routine excellence, and I believe moving into the future,” he said. that is profoundly evident in the work we do “Our finances are strong, business and every day,” he said. residents are moving to be near MARTA, In the Jan. 6 speech themed “Today’s and every day we work under Keith’s leaderMARTA Means More,” Parker announced ship to create an organization that embodies plans for LINK Southwest, a proposed transit routine excellence in everything we do.” project that will provide enhanced conAshe’s sentiments were echoed by Atnectivity for residents in southwest Atlanta lanta’s two-term Mayor Kasim Reed, long a to Five Points station, MARTA’s hub for its staunch advocate of public transportation. rail lines. “What Keith Parker and the MARTA He also referenced significant partner- board have done is change the face of this ships that have helped propel the authority organization and made people believe in it forward. again,” Reed said. “With MARTA, we will They include nationally renowned artist build the spine of our infrastructure and Fahamu Pecou creating “Rise Above” at the ignite our future.” King Memorial station; ride-sharing collaboIn December, Ashe and the MARTA rations with Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and the city of board of directors approved the extension Atlanta’s bike-sharing program implemented of Parker’s existing contract through 2021 in to help with first- and last-mile connectivity; recognition of authority’s turnaround under and the expansion of Fresh MARTA Markets, his tenure. pop-up farmers markets that allowed cusDuring the state of transit address, MARtomers to shop for locally sourced produce TA employee Noble F. Phillips received the at the College Park, Five Points, H.E. Holmes, inaugural Harold S. Buckley Service Award and West End stations. named for the late MARTA board member Parker also took time to outline a very from DeKalb County. successful 2016, which he said laid the founThe award recognizes the exceptional dation for a prosperous future. contributions made by a MARTA employee He highlighted “significant achieve- who inspires and channels a positive and ments” for the country’s ninth largest transit uplifting human spirit for MARTA. agency, which he said included passage of the For more information about MARTA and half-cent sales tax referendum in the city of to view the State of MARTA address, visit Atlanta that will generate approximately $2.5

February 18, 2017




“Unfortunately people who oftentimes are trying to bring the truth are ostracized, criticized and made to sit down.”

Fireworks in first city of Stonecrest forum By Jennifer Ffrench-Parker

Sparks flew at the first community forum for the 20 candidates seeking offices in the new city of Stonecrest, and it wasn’t between candidates. Instead, forum host state Rep. Vernon Jones engaged in a confrontation with mayoral candidate Charles Hill Jr., with whom he has a history dating back to when both competed for the House District 91 seat last year. Hill, who is in the race for mayor with Jason Lary and Douglas Favors, was answering the question at the Feb. 11 forum – “Why do you want to be mayor of Stonecrest?” “I want to be mayor of Stonecrest because the foxes are already in the chicken coop,” Hill said. “What am I talking about? This is Vaughn Irons, he’s sitting right over here. He has a record of unscrupulous….” Jones, who was sitting off to the side, raced to the front of the stage. “No, no, no,” he said. “We said in our opening that we are not here to demonize anyone.” “How am I demonizing?” Hill asked. Addressing the audience, he said, “Do you all want to hear the truth? Or do you want me silenced?” When Jones held onto the microphone and told Hill to “have a seat,” the audience started chanting: “Let him speak. Let him speak. Let him finish his statement.” Jones retorted, “I am going to have order in this house. I called this meeting. I’m hosting this debate and we are going do it orderly.” As the chants got louder, Jones said that he did not want to muzzle anybody. “It’s your time and we are going to start back over with your time,” he said to Hill.

Forum host Vernon Jones (left) confronts Stonecrest mayoral candidate Charles Hill Jr. after Hill attempted to connect his opponent Jason Lary to developer Vaughn Irons.

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

“But I just hope that you be respectful because I want to conduct an orderly place.… Timekeeper, we are going to give him his time.” Back with the microphone, Hill told the packed auditorium that he was just trying to bring them the truth. “If you all don’t have the right information in front of you, ya’ll can’t make an educated decision,” he said. “There’s a lot of back-room wheeling and dealing already occurring… so I’m just trying to bring the truth, that’s all. Unfortunately people who oftentimes are trying to bring the truth are ostracized, criticized and made to sit down.” Favors did not attend the Feb. 11 forum. Lary sat quietly during the uproar. In his closing statement, he told the audience they need a person who has the temperament and maturity deal with that sort of thing. “That person will have to have the experience as I do to work in the General Assembly and continue to get things done the way

we see it,” he said. “That person’s going to have to have the fire and the vision and the tenacity to get things done that we need in this area.” Lary, who led the city’s formation committee, said that there were many naysayers along the way. “Then last year we were voted in by each of you and now we’re a city. So this is what I’m asking each of you, let me finish the game plan,” he said. “Let me finish your vision and mine so we can be the greatest place on the planet.” Hill, who grew up in Stonecrest, said he has the education and the business exposure to lead the city as its mayor. “I’m a younger person just trying to do right and do good for my community,” he said. “If I seem fired up about wanting to do that, that’s because I care so passionately about this city. You will have someone in me who is ready to work diligently on your behalf.

Four more Stonecrest candidate forums Residents of the new city of Stonecrest can hear from candidates vying for offices in the March 21 election at four upcoming election forums on Feb. 19, 23, 25 and 27. n The Hunters Communities Homeowners Association is hosting candidates for mayor and the council District 4 seat on Feb. 19. The forum takes place 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Big Miller Grove Baptist Church, 3800 Big Miller Grove Way. For more information, call Patricia Smith at 770987-8173. n On Feb. 23, Tau Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the DeKalb Pan Hellenic Council are co-hosting a forum for all 20 candidates at the Browns Mill Recreation Center beginning at 7 p.m. Candidates will take questions from the audience. The rec center is at 5101 Browns Mill Road. For more information, call Gwen Russell Green at 770-713-0711. n The Parks of Stonecrest Community Civic Association is hosting a candidate forum for mayor and council Districts 1 and 5 on Feb. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. The forum takes place in the clubhouse, 3484 Dogwood Pass in Lithonia. Email parksof­ n All 20 candidates for Stonecrest mayor and five City Council seats are expected at a Feb. 27 forum co-hosted by CrossRoadsNews and First Afrikan Presbyterian Community Action Team. It takes place 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the church, 5197 Salem Road in Lithonia. For more information, call 404-2841888.




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

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

“We’re here to tell you about this major health issue that needs to be addressed in a major critical way.”

HIV clock sculpture to track metro infection rate By Terry Shropshire

Atlanta artist Matthew Terrell delivered the most poignant message about the high body count in metro Atlanta’s full-scale war against HIV and AIDS. “If there is one idea that I want you to take home with you today, it is this: We all live with HIV,” he told the media on Feb. 14 at the unveiling of the AIDS clock art project at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. “Even if you think you are not at risk for HIV and you don’t know and will never know someone who has HIV, you still live with HIV.” It is the reason Terrell and other AIDS activists, including AID Atlanta and AIDS Healthcare Foundation, built and unveiled his 8-foot black-and-white pyramid art sculpture, “Atlanta’s HIV + Population Now,” on the grounds of the center. The “clock” is tracking the growing number of HIV cases in metro Atlanta’s five largest counties – Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb and Gwinnett. The pyramid sculpture, which

Terry Shropshire / CrossRoadsNews

Numbers on the HIV clock, unveiled Feb. 14 at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, will be updated each Friday through June 27 for new cases.

is visible to motorists and passersby on Ivan Allen Boulevard, reads 30,162 people living with HIV in those counties. In DeKalb in 2014, the latest figures available from the Georgia Department of Public Health, 9,039 people were living with HIV, and 4,873 living with AIDS. That year, DeKalb had 422 new HIV diagnoses. Among them, 82 percent were male and 71 percent were black.

The sculpture’s unveiling was in recognition of National Black HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the lifetime treatment for an HIV-positive person is $379,000. Terrell said the costs also impact the taxes and the cost of health insurance that every citizen pays. Each Friday through National

HIV Testing Day on June 27, Terrell will update the numbers to reflect the actual number of new HIV cases. Georgia ranks fifth in the nation for new HIV infections, and last year, metro Atlanta’s HIV infection rate was ranked higher than some sub-Saharan African nations by AID Atlanta and the CDC and overtook Washington as the country’s AIDS capital. Imara Canady, AHF’s communications director, who also spoke at the unveiling, said Georgia also ranks in the top 10 states nationwide for highest STD rates. “We’re here to tell you about this major health issue that needs to be addressed in a major critical way,” he said. Nicole Roebuck, AID Atlanta director, said the HIV-AIDS statistics – one in 51 Georgians will become HIV positive; one in two African Americans will become HIV positive; one in 11 Latino will become HIV positive; and African American women, who make up 28 percent of U.S. women, account for 18 percent of all HIV cases – have become “pretty ugly.”

County ‘working with’ management company over conditions GOLF,

from page


Price said it is in 10 times better condition than Sugar Creek. “You can actually hit golf shots into the fairway without the ball landing in a hole all the time,” he said, Both courses are managed by Cornerstone Golf Partners, based on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The company’s contract with the county extended from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2016. This week Alan Cale, Cornerstone’s CEO, declined to discuss the condition of the course. “We are in communication with DeKalb County about that at this time,” he said Feb. 15. “I’m not really in a position to make comments. I can say that we are in negotiations now and we are communicating with DeKalb County.” Responding to the volunteer in July 2016, Paige Singer, Parks and Recreation’s division manager, thanked them for sharing their concerns about the condition of Sugar Creek Golf Course. “We are aware of the situation and have been working with Cornerstone, the contractor, to try and support their actions at the golf course so that the condition of the course is brought within our standards as a county and as a department,” she said. “I appreciate that you recognize certain resources are necessary in order to maintain the course.” Singer also told them that they were working on a plan to help Cornerstone obtain the resources needed. “We also have a meeting set with Purchasing and Contracting this week to see what other options there are regarding their contract in order to get the course conditions back up to our standards,” she said. Reached by telephone on Feb. 15, Singer told CrossRoadsNews that Terry Shropshire / CrossRoadsNews she was “going into a meeting now about Sugar Creek.” Broken pavement on the cart path, bare spots and uneven grass are frequent “We’re working on it and we’re trying to come up with a game plan,” sights at Sugar Creek, once considered one of the most beloved golf courses she said. in South DeKalb.

BOC urged to reinstate $1.1 million library allocation BUDGET,

Circulation Audited By

February 18, 2017

from page


Public Library’s board of trustees, implored commissioners to reverse budget cuts for library materials. She said the annual amount allocated for library materials, from the county’s general fund, is down from $1.1 million to $440,000 in this year’s proposed budget. She urged commissioners to reinstate the $1.1 million allocation.

“Our library materials are crucial to our services that we offer to our communities,” Fountain said. Her plea was echoed by Sara Fountain Mike Cooper, president of Friends of the Stone Mountain-Sue Kellogg Library. He

said the library system’s operating hours and materials budget should be increased for the good of the county and its residents. “The library system suffered multiple years where the materials acquisition budget was only $100,000, but by comparison in 2008 the books and materials budget for the library system was $2.4 million,” Cooper said. “We are still not where we ought to be if we wish

to serve adults, young people, and students in DeKalb County.” Cooper and Fountain said libraries have become multipurpose community centers, helping people find work, learn to read, understand digital technology, and improve literacy. At Tuesday’s meeting, no one spoke in support of the proposed budget. The BOC must approve a balanced budget by Feb. 28.

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February 18, 2017




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February 18, 2017

“Water conservation is a big deal because DeKalb is one of 52 counties that remain under a Level 2 drought in Georgia.”

Parent Career Customers can cut sewer costs with credit program and commercial customExpo for Region ers Residential can save money on their sewer service Rebates for low-flow toilet retrofits through a new initiative adopted by DeKalb 5 households County government. DeKalb homeowners who replaced save $100 or so every year on its water and Columbia, Towers, McNair and Cedar Grove parents and caregivers who are unemployed or underemployed can attend the free Region 5 Parent Career Expo on Feb. 24 at Snapfinger Elementary in Decatur. It takes place 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the school gymnasium. To register, visit The expo is designed to support job seekers where they are and provide employers to help them jump-start their career. Featured employers include Amerigroup, Best Bank, Bell Copy Print, COIN, DeVry University, Goodwill of North Georgia, Herzing University, Hotelpro Inc., Lincoln Family Group, GC Hospitality Staffing, RCA Community Health Center, Recovery Consultants of Atlanta, Georgia State Patrol, Woodruff Medical and Testing & Testing. Participants are required to bring a government ID and resume and wear appropriate attire. The Goodwill South DeKalb Career Center is holding Job Readiness Skills Workshops on Feb. 20-23 in advance of the expo. They take place 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the center, 1295 Columbia Drive in Decatur. The schedule: Resume Workshop on Feb. 20, Making a First Impression on Feb. 21, Mock Interview on Feb. 22, and Resume Review on Feb. 23. Snapfinger Elementary is at 1365 Snapfinger Road. For more information, call 678-874-1856.

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said the Wastewater Retainage Credit Program can cut costs for consumers. “This innovative program ensures our commercial customers can keep their costs down in Michael Thurmond a competitive global economy, while also providing equity for residential customers who are using water but not allowing it to flow into the drainage system,” Thurmond said in a Feb. 10 statement. The program allows for an adjustment in the wastewater-related charges for industrial, commercial and residential users who routinely discharge significantly less wastewater into the sewer system compared to the water consumed. Currently, sewer consumption charges are applied at the same volume as water consumption charges. For customers who use more than 40,000 gallons per bimonthly billing cycle, the standard rate for water service is $4.63 per 1,000 gallons and sewer service is $11.34 per 1,000 gallons, or $15.99 per 1,000 gallons combined. The applicable irrigation rate is $8.08, or nearly a 50 percent savings. To qualify, industrial and commercial customers must choose one of two approaches. One method is to install a meter on any water lines feeding any consumptive use, such as water for a boiler or for the manufacturing of a product. The other option is to use a wastewater meter to measure all combined wastewater discharged to DeKalb’s sanitary

older toilets with new efficient WaterSenseapproved models last year received rebate checks totaling $183,563 from the Department of Watershed Management Rebate Program. In 2016, more than 1,200 homeowners took advantage of the program, which has paid a total of $2.6 million in rebates since it began in 2008. DW M D i re c tor Scott Towler said the program works on many levels. “Water conservation is a big deal because DeKalb is one of 52 counties that remain Scott Towler under a Level 2 drought in Georgia,” Towler said in a Feb. 7 statement. “Not only do low-flow toilets save water, which is a high priority for all of us in Georgia, but a family of four would also

sewer system. Both methods allow the Department of Watershed Management to accurately record the volume of consumed water and exempt that amount from standard sewer charges. Residential customers who use water to fill private, residential swimming pools or to hand-water a private garden also are eligible if they are located more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant and have a smart meter connected to the county’s advanced metering infrastructure, which records water

sewer bills.” Homes built before 1993 may have toilets that use 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. The DeKalb toilet rebate program offers homeowners a rebate of up to $100 for replacing their current toilets with 1.28 GPF WaterSense-approved devices. To qualify for the rebate program: n The house must have been constructed before 1993 and served by an individual water meter. n The homeowner must complete and sign the rebate application. n The homeowner must submit the original purchase receipt of the toilet, or low-flow certification form if installed by a licensed plumber, within 60 days of purchase. For applications and more information about the rebate program as well as updated outdoor water conservation tips, visit

use on an ongoing basis rather than once per 60-day cycle. In the case of a pool, one adjustment can be made per year based upon the documented volume of water required to fill the pool. For hand-watering a garden, such an adjustment will be based on the documented volume of water required to hand-water the garden and shall be capped at 100 gallons per adjustment. For more information, visit or call 770-621-7258.

February 18, 2017




“This is a perfect example of how teamwork benefits patients and advances research.”

DeKalb Medical patients take part in cutting-edge cancer trial Patients at the DeKalb Medical Cancer Center are participating in a cutting-edge clinical trial that uses targeted drugs to treat cancers based on each tumor’s specific mutations. The innovative research study is for adults with solid tumors, lymphoma, or myeloma that is resistant to standard treatments. The NCI-Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice clinical trial is funded by the National Cancer Institute. Catherine Comer, clinical trials research nurse at the Cancer Center, called it “a game-changing trial that is revolutionizing” how the center treats cancer. Patients referred to the trial undergo a biopsy of their tumor to map the tumor’s genetic signature. A “match” occurs when the tumor expresses a specific genetic mutation

for which there is a targeted therapy. The patient continues this experimental treatment as long as the tumor does not progress. The collaboration of the DeKalb Medical Cancer Center, physicians and other departments, including pathology, radiology, EKG, laboratory, and patient access, is integral to the success of the trial, said George Miranda, DeKalb Medical Cancer Center director. “The commitment of everyone involved is the only reason we are able to participate in the com- George Miranda plicated research study,” Miranda said in a Feb. 14 statement. “This is a perfect example

of how teamwork benefits patients and advances research.” Dr. Jayanthi Srinivasiah said the trial has helped a patient who had a genetic mutation that was not part of the trial. “This is an exciting time for us because even if we are not able to match patients to a drug offered Jayanthi Srinivasiah in the MATCH trial, their biopsies are kept in a repository and can be tested against new drugs for future treatments,” Srinivasiah said. “For example, one of our patients had a genetic mutation that was not part of the MATCH trial, but the mutation made her eligible for another drug not

typically used to treat her type of cancer.” To date, 42 patients have been referred to the Cancer Center’s clinical trials team for screening, 19 patients have been biopsied, and a match was found for three patients. The center has been accredited by the Commission on Cancer since 1990. Participation in the commission’s accrediting program helps ensure its patients receive the highest standard of cancer care, including access to important clinical trials such as MATCH. The center is a member of the Augusta University-based Georgia Cares minority-based NCORP – NCI Community Oncology Research Program, providing access to clinical trials for patients from diverse and underserved populations. Visit

Dental sealants, fluoridation can help prevent cavities in kids’ teeth Children ages 6-11 are at high risk of tooth decay, and a CDC study finds 21 percent of them had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. Throughout February, observed as National Children’s Dental Health Month, parents, caregivers and kids can learn how most cavities can be prevented. In the fight against cavities, the Atlantabased Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says dental sealants are an effective tool. Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases in children and teens. The DeKalb Board of Health is urging parents to encourage their children to brush for at least two minutes two times a day and follow up their brushing routine with regular dentist visits. To schedule a visit at one of its five dental clinics, visit https://dekalbhealth. net/hs/dental-health. Cavities are caused by a breakdown of the tooth enamel by acids produced by bacteria located in a film that collects on teeth. Left untreated, cavities can cause pain, infection and problems eating, speaking and learning. Dental sealants are a quick, easy, and painless way to prevent most of the cavities children get in the permanent back teeth,

The DeKalb Board of Health, which has five dental clinics, is urging parents to encourage their children to brush two times a day and to schedule regular dentist visits.

where nine in 10 cavities occur. Sealants are thin coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of molars that can protect against 80 percent of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. Although the number of children in the United States with sealants has increased over time, children from low-income families are 20 percent less likely to get sealants and twice more likely to have untreated cavities. School-based sealant programs are effective but are often underused in reaching children at highest risk for decay. The CDC

DPH Eat. Move. Talk! in Clarkston Children newborn to 5 years old in Clarkston will benefit from the Eat. Move. Talk! program of the Georgia Department of Public Health and its partners. DPH and HealthMPowers Inc. are training and supporting early childhood education teachers and centers in Clarkston, Dalton and Valdosta to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, the quantity and quality of physical activity, and the quantity and quality of words spoken to children 5 years and under. The department has created a Health Disparities Profiles report to understand the state of specific health disparities and healthy eating, physical activity, and school performance in the target communities and to demonstrate the impact and progress of the program. DPH is initially focusing on communities that have a high percentage of the population that speaks a language other than English in the home and/or a high percentage of racial and ethnic minorities who have high rates of chronic disease and poor educational outcomes. It will train early childhood educators as coaches, who will model healthy eating, physical activity, and Language Nutrition practices, and teach families to adopt these healthy behaviors at home. Healthy eating, moving and talking support the development of a healthy body and brain and also promote school readiness, DPH says. Research has shown that inadequate nutrition can set the stage for a predisposition to chronic conditions, includ-

ing obesity. About 35 percent of Georgia adolescents are overweight or obese, and more than 10 percent of children 2 to 5 years old are obese. Childhood obesity increases the risk of being obese as an adult. Childhood overweight and obesity is preventable through breast feeding, increased fruit and vegetable consumption, and avoiding juices and sugar-sweetened beverages, the department says. Providing physical activity in early childhood also sets the stage for future health: constructing the foundation for lifelong movement and healthy habits. Benefits include building strength, self-confidence, concentration, and coordination from an early age; developing healthier social, cognitive, and emotional skills; and increasing school readiness. Exposing babies and children to language in utero and throughout early childhood builds their brains and promotes school readiness. Language Nutrition is the use of language rich in engagement, quality, quantity and context that nourishes the child’s brain, social skills and language development and includes reading books, telling stories and singing. In Georgia, 66 percent of all children fail to read proficiently at third grade. In the three priority communities, this ranges from 76 percent to 85 percent. For more information, visit https://dph.

It says school-based sealant programs can lead to cost-saving within two years to state Medicaid programs and making the program available to schools with about 7 million children from low-income families could save up to $300 million in dental treatment costs.

What else can be done? In addition to dental sealants, community water fluoridation is one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable and safe measures communities can take to prevent cavities and improve their oral health. Fluoride helps to rebuild and strengthen the tooth’s surface, which in turn prevents targets high-risk children through sealant cavities from forming. By preventing cavities, programs in schools where at least 50 percent community water fluoridation saves money of students participate in free and reduced- for families and the health care system. For more information, visit cost meal programs.




February 18, 2017

“The YMCA provides a place for everyone to be creative and to have the ability to lead and be heard.”

Judge Seeliger completes $60K to lawyer groups

Rosie Manins / CrossRoadsNews

The Howey Hudson Lowe Foundation recognized CrossRoadsNews owners Jennifer and Curtis Parker with Drum Major Service awards.

Drum Major awards for CrossRoadsNews owners By Rosie Manins

CrossRoadsNews and its owners Jennifer and Curtis Parker are 2017 MLK Drum Major for Service Award recipients. The Parkers and their community newspaper, which has been covering south DeKalb County since 1995, were recognized by the Howey Hudson Lowe Foundation. Brenda Jackson, a co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit, said they recognized the Parkers for being “unsung heroes” within the community. “They needed to be honored for their volunteer service that they have provided to the South DeKalb community for all these years,” Jackson said. The foundation also recognized 41 other

volunteers who support its mission of serving the homeless community and other disadvantaged people. Jackson said the foundation, launched in 2004, could not exist or achieve its mission without its volunteers. The awards were presented on Jan. 28 at the foundation’s annual recognition luncheon. Jackson presented the awards to the Parkers during the CrossRoadsNews 12th Annual Health & Wellness Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest, which took place on the same day. The Parkers each received Gold Awards and CrossRoadsNews got an MLK Drum Major for Service President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama

that recognizes local leaders who perform extraordinary acts of service. The letter from the White House said that the newspaper’s volunteer service demonstrates the kind of commitment that moves America a step closer to its great promise. “Thank you for your devotion to service and for doing all you can to shape a better tomorrow for our great nation,” the president wrote. Jennifer Parker said they were touched by the foundation’s generosity. “It’s always nice to be recognized,” she said. “We will treasure the awards and on the days that we have to dig deep to keep going, we will look to them for inspiration.”

DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger has completed his donation of more than $60,000 to three attorney groups for scholarships and for making legal help available to indigent clients. Seeliger gave the final donations of $5,000 each to the DeKalb Lawyers Association, the DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and Atlanta Legal Aid in January. He began Clarence Seeliger donating the money to the groups in 2014 instead of buying himself a new car. “I still have my 2002 Honda Accord,” he said Feb. 16. Seeliger, who was elected to the DeKalb State Court bench in 1980 and to the Superior Court bench in 1985, said he chose to help these group because lawyers don’t get a lot of recognition for what they do. “I have been blessed to do this work for 36 years. I see these organizations doing great work and I want to support them.” The majority black DeKalb Lawyers Association Foundation established the Clarence Seeliger Judicial Award, a $1,000 annual scholarship, in 2014 when Seeliger gave it $11,000, its single largest donation ever. Genet Hopewell, a DLA co-founder, said he gave a total of $25,000 to the DLA Scholarship fund and helped leverage another $5,000 in matching donations. She said his gift will go a long way in fostering new attorneys who will go out and serve the community. “We are grateful for all that he has done. He is doing things to make a positive impact on the legal profession.”

YMCA volunteers sing praises of nonprofit’s service to community By Rosie Manins

Eight teens and adults who give their time to the YMCAs in DeKalb County to the serve the community were recognized for their service recently. The volunteers were among 44 men, women and youth honored Beverly Banister Isaac Blythers as Volunteers of the Year and Teen Jerome Adkins Leaders of the Year for their service to the them stay active and healthy,” she said. “The YMCA of Metro Atlanta in 2016. Y has definitely been a big part of my life and The DeKalb honorees are Jerome Ad- has helped me learn how to give back to the kins and Sha’Nawled Robins of the South community, which is important.” DeKalb Y; Isaac Blythers and Jada Buckles of the Wade Walker Y; Beverly Banister and East Lake Family YMCA Christopher McCrary of the East Lake Y; Beverly Banister of Stone Mountain, a diand Douglas Wood and Malik Moore of the rector of the U.S. Environmental Protection Decatur Y. Agency, is Volunteer of the Year at East Lake Family YMCA, and Christopher McCrary, a South DeKalb Family YMCA Charles R. Drew Charter School 10th-grader, Jerome Adkins, a Stockbridge father of is Teen Leader of the Year. 15, is Volunteer of the Year at the South Banister, who has been on the board of DeKalb Family YMCA, and Sha’Nawled Rob- the East Lake branch for more than 20 years, ins, a Southwest DeKalb High 12th-grader, said volunteering has allowed her to have a is Teen Leader of the Year. direct impact on the lives of many children, Adkins attended the YMCA as a child teens and families. in Fort Wayne, Ind., and joined the South “I do not have any children, but volunDeKalb branch in 2013. He currently serves teering with the Y gives me the opportunity on the Finance Committee. He said the Y is a to touch the lives of children from all walks different kind of organization because giving of life,” said Banister, who currently chairs back and helping people get a second chance the East Lake Y’s board. are top priorities. Christopher, who first got involved with “I think volunteering is important be- the East Lake Y three years ago through its cause the children in our communities need teen development center, also received the a place like the Y where they can feel safe, same honor at the 2016 Y-CEO Golf Invitalearn, and participate in various activities in tional charity tournament. one central neighborhood location,” Adkins Since then, he has participated in the teen said. advisory board, a global service initiative Sha’Nawled learned to swim at the YMCA trip to Costa Rica, a young men’s leadership as a 7-year-old. She eventually became a cer- academy, the teen center volunteer club, tified lifeguard and swim instructor for the and a summer camp leadership training organization. program. “The Y is the kind of place that makes “The YMCA provides a place for everypeople feel like it’s a second home and helps one to be creative and to have the ability to

Jada Buckles

C. McCrary

Malik Moore

lead and be heard,” he said.

Wade Walker Family YMCA Isaac Blythers of Stone Mountain, a retired president of Atlanta Gas Light, is Volunteer of the Year at Wade Walker Family YMCA, and Jada Buckles of Stone Mountain, an 11th-grader at DeKalb School of the Arts, is Teen Leader of the Year. Blythers serves on the committee helping to raise funds for youth sports and is a charter member of the Wade Walker branch, having served on the board since its inception. “I can see up front the difference I am making in others’ lives,” he said. Jada first experienced the YMCA as a 6-year-old summer camp participant and now helps young children attending camps and swimming lessons. “The Y serves the entire community,” she said. “I appreciate the fact that the Y is an organization I can always be a part of no matter my age.” Decatur Family YMCA Douglas Wood of Decatur, a principal at Market Access International, is Volunteer of the Year at the Decatur Family YMCA. Malik Moore of Stone Mountain, an 11thgrader at Stephenson High, is Teen Leader of the Year. Wood became involved in the Decatur branch to support his sons in the soccer program and is now the team manager, giving special assistance to scholarship and

Sha’Nawled Robins Douglas Wood

refugee players. He said the Y offers scholarships to players based on need, not ability. “Competitive youth soccer is expensive and many children are left behind due to financial hardship,” he said. Malik has been involved in YMCA youth basketball, swim lessons, summer camp, a spring break service project in New Orleans, Operation Christmas, and various leadership programs. He is currently on the teen board at the Decatur branch and has helped with “Why It Matters” fundraising and volunteering projects. “The Y teaches great life lessons and things you need to know to be successful in life,” he said. “It builds character and great relationships and I will always volunteer and give back to my community.” The honors were presented at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s Jan. 26 Community Champions Dinner at the Cobb Galleria Center. During the event, the Metro YMCA also launched its 2017 Why It Matters fundraising campaign that supports Y programs. Each year, teams and individuals set fundraising targets for their branch and supporters get to donate to specific YMCA branches and programs. During the launch, the YMCA gave its 2016 Fundraiser of the Year award to John Long, who raised more than $10,000 for the Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA in Buckhead.


February 18, 2017


“We wish them both the best, and we know these two outstanding individuals will represent us well.” Damien Wimes, who graduated Southwest DeKalb High in 1991, and began his coaching career there, became head football coach on Feb. 9.

Terry Shropshire / CrossRoadsNews

New SWD coach on familiar turf By Terry Shropshire

It is not even football season, but Damien Wimes, Southwest DeKalb High’s newly appointed head football coach, is sweating. Intensity is etched into his face – and on those of his fellow coaches. The same intensity permeates the weight room where Panther football members grind it out on dumbbells. Despite the blizzard of noises and activities swirling around him, Wimes seems comfortable. He is finally back home where his high school playing career began and where he learned to become a man and to be a molder of men. As the latest caretaker to this fiercely proud football powerhouse, Wimes aspires to replicate some of the gridiron feats of his legendary mentor and winningest DeKalb coach, Buck Godfrey, for whom he played in high school and later coached under. That means producing championship-level men – on the field, in the classroom and in the community. In fact, Wimes (pronounced “Wims”) equated his time with Godfrey, which began in 1983, as an advanced-level college preparatory course. “He really taught me everything as far from A to Z, in terms of raising young black men, how to love young black men, to be able to coach young black men,” said Wimes. “I kind of drew from that and from Coach Cobb [SWD’s Hall of Fame track coach Napoleon Cobb]. I drew from both of them and to really come up with my own philosophy in terms of coaching. To be able to coach with two Hall of Famers – and learn from them –

was just a blessing.” Wimes was named head coach on Feb. 9. He replaces the Panthers’ late beloved head coach Michael Tanks, who died suddenly on Aug. 3 of a massive stroke at age 48. Wimes, now in his seventh overall year of head coaching, graduated from Southwest DeKalb in 1991. He returns to his alma mater after coaching at Miller Grove for six years, amassing a 30-30 record before he was terminated in 2015 for mediocre results. Despite four winning seasons at Miller Grove, the squad never made the playoffs. But it boasts a victory over Stephenson as well as two wins against his alma mater, SWD. He spent the 2016 season as an assistant head coach at Starr’s Mill High before the Southwest DeKalb job opened up. Wimes says he sees at his new assignment as more than coaching. “I look at it is as a ministry,” he said. He uses he word “ministry” literally. While at Miller Grove, he started the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a nonprofit sports ministry. “I’m really getting the whole community involved, from high school to middle school and getting those interested involved.” Wimes says his experience has taught him that building up students’ inner strength, on multiple platforms, will translate into the coveted success he and the school seek. “We feel we can teach them how to be good young men, teaching them academically and also teaching them from a spiritual standpoint and from a moral standpoint. And the wins will come and everything will take care of itself.”

GPTC student, instructor win gold award By Rosie Manins

GPTC accounting student Sonya Bingham and business management instructor Ramona Pollard have received top honors at their college and will represent it in upcoming regional and state competitions. Bingham won Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s 2017 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership for excellence in academics and leadership, and Pollard, its program director for ac- Sonya Bingham counting, banking and finance disciplines, nabbed the 2017 Instructor of the Year title and the Rick Perkins Award for excellence in technical education on Feb. 2. Pollard and Bingham are headed to the Georgia technical college system’s north region judging competition on Feb. 28. If they win there, they will vie in the state competition on April 13. Bingham, who is nearing completion of her associate’s degree, said a college education has changed her life. “For 13 years I was stuck in an endless repetition of menial, dead-end jobs with mediocre pay,” she said. “I was broke, undereducated, unhappy, and my mother was almost $30,000 in debt, and thus began that


cycle of dead-end jobs.” Pollard said she aims to create a learning culture among students that extends beyond classroom walls. “I endeavor to encourage active involvement, build optimism toward end goals, and encourage Ramona Pollard the discovery of personal meaning within the students’ college experience,” she said. The awards were presented on Feb. 2 during a special luncheon in the college’s DeKalb Conference Center. GOAL is a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia. Award winners are selected at each of the state’s 22 technical colleges as well as one Board of Regents college with a technical education division. The Rick Perkins Award recognizes teaching experience, innovative learning techniques, leadership, community involvement, and a strong commitment to the TCSG technical education mission. Jabari Simama, GPTC president, said both winners represent excellence in learning, teaching and leadership. “We wish them both the best, and we know these two outstanding individuals will represent us well in our regional and state competitions,” he said.

Teens can vie for prom package in contest targeting dating violence By Rosie Manins

DeKalb teens can vie to win a luxury prom package in a contest to create a catchy public service message targeting teen dating violence. The inaugural contest, sponsored by DeKalb Solicitor-General Donna ColemanStribling in observance of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, kicked off Coleman-Stribling Feb. 13. The February observance is a time when educators, law enforcement and other community groups focus attention on teen dating violence that affects nearly 1.5 million U.S. high school students in a single year. Coleman-Stribling said young people are more likely to listen to their peers rather than adults. “We’ve got lots of bright, talented kids in DeKalb who are all about doing the right thing,” she said. “This is an opportunity for them to make a difference using their smarts and creativity.” The winner, who will be announced on March 10, will get a prom prize package that includes dinner for two, a limo service for the evening, free prom dress and accessories or tuxedo rental and accessories, and an outfit for their date. The deadline to enter is March 4. The contest, which is open to all DeKalb 11th- and 12th-graders, is supported by the Day League, formerly DeKalb Rape Crisis Center, Cinderella’s Gowns, and

Men’s Wearhouse. Students are invited to create a oneminute video promoting healthy teen dating practices that prevent dating violence and highlight positive characteristics such as honesty, compromise, good communication, individuality, understanding, and problemsolving. The winning entry will be broadcast by CW Atlanta and distributed to DeKalb schools to play at each prom. Entries can be submitted at or delivered on a flash drive to the Solicitor-General’s Office at 556 N. McDonough St., Suite 500, in Decatur. Full contest rules and instructions are listed on the website. There are also links to teen dating violence resources. Coleman-Stribling, who declared February 2017 Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in DeKalb during the Board of Commissioners’ Feb. 14 meeting, highlighted some startling youth relationship abuse statistics. She said one in three teens will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults. Of all female victims of intimate violence, Coleman-Stribling said 94 percent of those 16 to 19 years old are victimized by a current or former boyfriend and only 33 percent of teens involved in a violent relationship report the abuse. “Eighty-one percent of parents either believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit that they don’t know if it is an issue,” she said. For more information, email, visit www., call the hotline at 1-866331-9474, or text “LOVEIS” to 22522.



Black History

February 18, 2017

“Through their bravery, the Freedom Riders paved the way to full integration of public transportation.”

DeKalb recognizes ‘living legacies’ for Black History Month By Rosie Manins

A Freedom Rider, a pioneering mayor, a disability advocate, and a retired military officer were among seven DeKalb residents honored with proclamations at the DeKalb Board of Commissioners’ annual Black History Month recognition program on Feb. 14. Hank Thomas, one of only three of the original 13 Freedom Riders still living; Elizabeth Wilson, the city of Decatur’s first African American mayor; Lois Curtis, an artist and disability advocate; and retired military officer Thomas Coleman were recognized for their contributions to Black History. Proclamations also were awarded to Johnny Waits, co-founder and president of Flat Rock Archives; former DeKalb School Board member and retired educator Pamela Speaks; community activist Priscilla Davenport; and the historic Mount Zion community. More than 100 residents and county employees cheered the recipients, “whose community engagement inspires the ongoing collective vision for people of all colors, religion, gender, and capabilities,” during the BOC’s monthly meeting at the Maloof Auditorium in downtown Decatur. Each recipient was selected by DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond and Commissioners Nancy Jester, Jeff Rader, Larry Johnson, Steve Bradshaw, Mereda Davis Johnson, Kathie Gannon, and Gregory Adams, who all declared Feb. 14, 2017, in honor of the “living legacies” of DeKalb County. Thomas, who was among the Freedom Riders – men and women, black and white – who rode buses and trains together through the segregated South at great personal peril between May and November 1961, was recognized by District 3 Commissioner Johnson. The buses with Freedom Riders were set on fire and many were brutally beaten and imprisoned. Thomas was 19 when he rode with the Congress of Racial Equality Freedom Ride on May 4, 1961, and the May 24 Mississippi Freedom Ride from Montgomery, Ala., to Jackson, Miss. He was jailed at Parchman State Prison Farm in Mississippi. After he was released on bail, Thomas went on to participate in the July 14, 1961, New Jerseyto-Arkansas CORE Freedom Ride. Thomas, now 75, said that old Freedom Riders never die. “They just get on the bus and ride away,” he said with his wife of 40-plus years, Yvonne Thomas, at his side. Thomas, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, and Charles Person are the only surviving original Freedom Riders. Wilson was honored by Gannon for her “pioneering efforts to social justice and public service during a time where equality, for many, was only a dream.” Wilson played a key role in the desegregation of Decatur public schools and libraries during the 1960s, was a Decatur commis-

Rosie Manins / CrossRoadsNews

Proclamations were presented to seven DeKalb residents and the historic Mount Zion community at the Board of Commissioners’ annual Black History Month recognition program on Feb. 14.

sioner from the 1980s, and became the city’s first African American mayor from 1993 to 1998. Bradshaw honored Curtis for her fight in the case of Olmstead v. LC, considered one of the most important civil rights cases for people with disabilities in the nation’s history. The proclamation was accepted on Curtis’ behalf by Derona King, director of Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta and DeKalb. Curtis, who was institutionalized and medicated against her will as a young person, sought a legal ruling that people with a mental or physical disability could not be forced to remain in an institutional environment if they could be served in a more integrated, community-based setting.

She won the case against the state of Georgia, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Former President Barack Obama has a piece of her artwork and more is in the Smithsonian’s national collection. District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson honored Coleman for his more than 45 years of “exceptional commitment and dedication to public service.” Coleman, a Vietnam veteran, served in local and state governments for more than two decades. He is vice chair of the board of directors at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, a member of the Board of Juvenile Justice for Georgia, and a commissioner for the DeKalb Housing Authority. Thurmond honored Waits, a Flat Rock

Resolution honoring Freedom Riders to be reconsidered By Rosie Manins

New life is being breathed into a congressional resolution honoring the Freedom Riders, who braved firebombs and brutal beatings in their nonviolent protest against racial segregation in the South almost 56 years ago. Today, only three of the original 13 Freedom Riders are alive, but more than 400 men and women – black and white – participated in the interstate rides between May and November of 1961. A bipartisan resolution, first introduced by U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson and Doug Collins in February 2015, is set to be reintroduced for this Congress, Johnson’s office said. The resolution, which has more than 140 bipartisan co-sponsors, calls on Congress to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Freedom Riders. If approved, the Freedom Riders will receive the medal as a group and it will be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum. When introducing the resolution in February 2015, Johnson, representing Georgia’s 4th District, said the Freedom

Only three of the original 13 Freedom Riders are alive. More than 400 activists participated.

Riders challenged bitter racism and mob violence with nonviolent activism. “Through their bravery, the Freedom Riders paved the way to full integration of public transportation,” he said. “Their quiet bravery and unshakable resolve gave us the strength to fight for what was right, for justice, for equality, and for moral righteousness.” The last action on the resolution, H.R.

Legal Notices 02/11, 02/18, 02/25, 03/04

Notice of Petition to CHANGE Name of ADULT in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++17FM1526-2++ By ORDER of the Court for service by

native who developed the vision for the Flat Rock Archives in 1981. The facility, at 3956 Crossvale Road in Lithonia, which opened to the public in December 2006, works to preserve, record, and make available records of the historic Flat Rock community, the oldest African American community in DeKalb. Flat Rock was formed by former African American slaves and their descendants, who have inhabited the area since the early 19th century. Jester honored Speaks, who spent more than 25 years as a specialist teacher and served on the DeKalb Board of Education. She is currently serving on the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Davenport was honored by Adams as the first employee for Citizens Trust Bank, the first African American-owned bank in DeKalb, and for advocating for equal access to education and sustainable neighborhood initiatives. Mount Zion, a small African American enclave settled in the 1800s in District 2 on the northeast side of LaVista Road, was honored by Rader for “perseverance in the face of tremendous development pressure.” The Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, established in 1870 by freed slaves at 2977 LaVista Road in Decatur, is a pillar of the community and the oldest AME church in DeKalb. The Stokes, Rowe and Nelms families were the community’s founding families, and several members still living in Mount Zion attended the presentation, including 94-yearold Mattie L. Finley (nee Stokes), who has lived in the community her whole life.

publication dated Jan. 31, 2017, you are hereby notified that on Jan. 13, 2017, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Name Change. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: 2895 Alameda Trl., Decatur, GA 30084. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days Jan. 31, 2017. Witness the Honorable Asha F. Jackson,

Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 2nd day of Feb., 2017 01/28, 02/04, 02/11, 02/18

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

Civil Action Case Number: ++17FM1087-2++

Shakita Moore Plaintiff Vs. Karriem Shabazz Defendant To: 2929 Panthersville Rd. 2821 Zane Gray Dr. Decatur, GA 30034 By ORDER of the Court for service by publication dated Jan. 09, 2017, you are hereby notified that on Jan. 05, 2017, the

671, was its referral to House Administration on Feb. 3, 2015 – the day it was introduced. In response to questions about the resolution’s status this week, Joshua Smith, a representative from Johnson’s Georgia office, said it was likely to be brought back for consideration. “The D.C. staff informed me last night that they plan to reintroduce the resolution for this Congress,” Smith said Feb. 15. On Feb. 14, one of the three surviving original Freedom Riders, Hank Thomas of Atlanta, received a Black History Month proclamation from DeKalb County for his contribution to the civil rights movement. Thomas, 75, was just 19 when the rides began. In accepting his proclamation at the DeKalb Board of Commissioners annual Black History Month recognition program, Thomas said the Freedom Riders did a lot to start change toward racial equality. “I am proud of the role that we played in helping to change this country,” he said. “This is indeed a different country, and a different county, than what it was in 1961.”

above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court and to service upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Shakita Moore; 2929Pantersville Rd., #D-21, Decatur, GA 30034. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days Jan. 09, 2017. Witness the Honorable Asha F. Jackson, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 19th day of Jan., 2017 02/11, 02/18, 02/25, 03/04

Notice of Petition to CHANGE Name of MINOR CHILD(REN) in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++17FM1763-3++ Antoinette Porter filed a petition in the DeKalb County Superior Court on Jan. 30, 2017 to change name(s) following

minor child(ren) from: Kerriah Tuiana Denson to Kierra Tuiana Denson. Any interested party has the right to appear In this case and file objections within the time prescribed in OCGA 19-12-1(f) (2) and (3). Dated: Jan. 10, 2017 02/11, 02/18, 02/25, 03/04

Notice of Petition to CHANGE Name of ADULT in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++17FM1788-10++ Tanka Maya Dartee filed a petition in the DeKalb County Superior Court on Jan. 30, 2017 to change name from: Tanka Maya Dartee to Chunku Siwa. Any interested party has the right to appear In this case and file objections within 30 days after the Petition was filed. Dated: Jan. 13, 2017


February 18, 2017

Black History


The Benjamin E. Mays Lecture Series seeks to encourage discussion of issues facing urban educational leaders.

Series explores Black Panther revolutionary images they regard African Americans. Multiculturalism, diversity and “Black Panther: A Nation Under social justice in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Our Feet Book 1” was published graphic novel “Black Panther: A in September 2016. Nation Under Our Feet Book 1” will Coates is also author of “Bebe explored Feb. 23 at Georgia State tween the World and Me” released University. in July 2015. It won the 2015 NaThe discussion, from 12:15 to tional Book Award for nonfiction. 1 p.m. in the Multicultural Center The comic book character Lounge, is part of the series “Revo- Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Panther was inspired by the lutionary Images: Graphic Novel 1960s Black Power revolutionary group the Discussion of Black Panther.” Coates, a MacArthur Genius and Nation- Black Panther Party for Self Defense, which al Book Award-winning writer, journalist, was founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby and educator, is a national correspondent for Seale in Oakland, Calif., in October 1966. Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as An Invisible Art” also will be used as an aid

throughout the multiculturalism series, which takes place Thursdays in February. McCloud’s 1993 nonfiction work explores formal aspects of comics, the historical development of the medium, its fundamental vocabulary, and various ways in which these elements have been used. It also expounds theoretical ideas about comics as an art form and medium of communication. The GSU Multicultural Center Lounge is in Suite 206 in Student Center East, 55 Gilmer St. S.E. in Atlanta. For more information, visit blackstudentachievement. and click on Black History Month events or call 404-413-1530.

All-female African dance troupe to lecture, perform The award-winning all-female Giwayen Mata African Dancers will lecture about Africa and the Diaspora and perform on Feb. 25 at the Scott Candler Library in Decatur. The program begins at 3 p.m. and is suitable for all ages. The lecture-demonstration includes a compilation of songs, rhythms, dances, and storytelling along with detailed live narration and audience participation. Funding is provided by DeKalb Library Foundation. The dance, percussion and vocal ensemble performs traditional, contemporary and original pieces that address issues pertaining to people of color, women, and the environment. The library is at 1917 Candler Road. Call 404-2866986. Giwayen Mata will perform on Feb. 25 at the Scott Candler Library in Decatur.

Scholar to deliver annual Mays lecture Dr. Noma LeMoine, a nationally recognized language and literacy acquisition researcher, will deliver the 28th annual Benjamin E. Mays Lecture on Feb. 21 at Georgia State University. LeMoine, chief educational officer of LeMoine and Associates Educational Consulting, writes curriculum and designs and conducts professional Noma LeMoine development for teachers, administrators, para-educators, and parents. She consults with higher learning institutions and k-12 schools to advance learning among Standard English learner populations. Her career in education spans 35 years. The lecture series, which honors the memory of Mays, a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a Baptist minister, humanitarian, and civil rights leader, began in 1989. The series, which brings nationally prominent educators to Atlanta to lecture, seeks to encourage discussion of issues facing urban educational leaders. It also promotes Mays’ philosophy of educational excellence for underserved populations. The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center East Ballroom, 55 Gilmer St. S.E. in Atlanta. It is preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. and followed by a book signing. For more information, visit or call 404-413-1530.

Genealogy class for family historians Scavenger hunt for notable figures Family history researchers and those aspiring to discover their roots can attend “Getting Started in Genealogy” on Feb. 22 at the Stone Mountain-Sue Kellogg Library. During the two-hour program for adults, librarians will introduce participants to free genealogy resources, provide free ancestral

charts, and have laptops set up so they can begin their research right after a discussion of experiences and techniques. The workshop begins at 1 p.m. The library is at 952 Leon St. in Stone Mountain. For more information, call 770-413-2020.

Kids 5 to 12 can learn about notable African Americans and milestones at the Black History Month Scavenger Hunt taking place Feb. 21-25 at the Hairston Crossing Library in Stone Mountain. Each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., patrons can find the historical figures hidden around

the library and match them to their accomplishments to win a prize. Groups of five or more should call the branch for an appointment. No registration is required. Funding is provided by the Friends of Hairston Crossing Library. The library is at 4911 Redan Road. Call 404-508-7170.

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CrossRoadsNews, February 18, 2017