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Community donations helped the Southwest DeKalb Marching Panthers raise the money they needed to get to the Rose Bowl. 7

Alumni from five South DeKalb high schools are in the cast of “Drumline Live,” a traveling adaptation of the popular movie. 8

DeKalb residents said goodbye to a number of exceptional people in 2010, including longtime arts advocate Becky Blankenship (right) and activist Ron Marshall. 9

Benefactors step up

From halftime to stage time

Copyright © 2010 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

January 1, 2011

Gone but not forgotten

Volume 16, Number 36

Clarkston’s mayor accomplished much in brief time in office May 25, 1970 – Dec. 25, 2010 By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Condolences poured in this week after the sudden death of Clarkston Mayor Howard “Trey” Tygrett. Tygrett, 40, died on Christmas Day from a stroke while visiting the parents of his wife, Amy, in Brownsville, Texas. Amy Tygrett said he had a great Christmas Eve with family and that there was no sign of anything wrong. “He had a most beautiful day,” she said. “He woke up and took the kids [Alice Elizabeth, 2 1/2, and 18-monthold Ty] to South Padre Island. Then he

took them to Chuck E. Cheese and then they had lunch. We had a beautiful dinner and my mother surprised us with a mariachi band, and he emceed our family talent show.” She said he went to bed before she did and she found him collapsed. “At 1:33 a.m. he was pronounced dead,” she said. “We watched the video of the talent show last night and he was fine. There was no sign that anything was wrong.” The city of Clarkston, where Tygrett made his home three years ago and became its mayor 11 months ago, also is reeling from the news of his death. This week, people who worked closely with Tygrett and those who knew him in passing praised him as a

visionary leader and a man of action. Eddie Carlson, a 12-year city worker, said Tygrett was real nice. “He got a lot of stuff done,” he said. “It just doesn’t seem real.” Emanuel Ransom, Clarkston’s vice mayor, said the news of his friend’s sudden death floored him. “It was like someone dropped a building on me,” he said. “He was the main part of the foundation we were building to move the city forward.” On Dec. 27, DeKalb County government flew the flag at half-staff in Tygrett’s honor, and county commissioners hailed his vision for the Southeast’s most diverse city. Please see TYGRETT, page 2

Carla Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Clarkston Mayor Howard “Trey” Tygrett, 40, who took office in January 2010, died of a stroke on Christmas Day in Texas.

2010: A Year of Scandals, Blight, High Costs Church, school scandals topped headlines

Bishop Eddie L. Long [at podium] and former DeKalb Schools Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis (clockwise from top left), school secretary Cointa Moody, former construction manager Patricia Reid and contractor Anthony Pope grabbed headlines for misconduct. Page 4

A boy bathes in the polutted waters of South River at Panola and Snapfinger roads in July before DeKalb County blocked access to the river and posted no swimming signs. The river is contaminated with fecal coliform and PCBs. Page 4.

Overgrown sidewalks and median across South DeKalb lead to the Great DeKalb Cleanup in October. Page 4

Commuters were squeezed two ways - by cuts in service and increased fares as MARTA grappled with a huge deficit.

As mounting foreclosure ravaged South DeKalb, vacant homes grew weeds and run down property values.




January 1, 2011

“For the first time in history, we have a balanced budget. He stuck with it and worked until we got it done.”

Clarkston, DeKalb reeling after mayor’s unexpected death

Photos by Jennifer Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Mayor Howard “Trey” Tygrett (above) who moved to Clarkston with his wife, Amy (above, right), three years ago, convinced the Dollar General chain to build a store in Clarkston that is scheduled to open by February. A memorial to Tygrett (left) has been set up at Clarkston City Hall.



grett, said he was a “let’s get it done” guy. “He got more done in 11 months than history can record,” Ransom said. “For the first time in history, we have a balanced budget. He stuck with it Emanuel Ransom and worked until we got it done.” On Tuesday, workers were raising the steel frame for a new Dollar General store, across from the Clarkston Community Center on Indian Creek Road. Ransom said that Tygrett got the chain to build in the city. Other projects, totaling more than $10 million, are also in the works.

books before he became mayor. At his first State of the City address on Oct. 2, Tygrett unveiled the projects – the District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes redevelopment of the 168-unit Cedar Pines Sutton, who represents Clarkston on the Apartment on Montreal Road, the new DeKalb Board of Commissioners, called Dollar General store, construction of a new Tygrett’s death “a great loss for the people of swimming pool in Milam Park, and the Clarkston and for DeKalb County.” dredging and redevelopment of Twin Lakes “He had great vision for the city,” she into a recreation spot ­– and told residents said. “I am deeply saddened by his death. My they would “create jobs and enhance propthoughts are with the community he served erty values.” and especially with his wife and family.” Amy Tygrett said they moved to ClarkDistrict 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon ston because it was affordable and close to said Tygrett “made many impactful changes” the city of Decatur, which they liked but for the citizens of Clarkston. couldn’t afford. “I am hopeful his vision for Clarkston The day they signed the papers for the will be carried on,” she said. three-bedroom home on Orchard Street, she Tygrett was elected in a runoff on Dec. 1, found out she was pregnant. 2009, and was sworn into office on Jan. 5, “He fell in love with Clarkston and that 2010. In the 11 months he was on the job, led to being mayor,” she said. he had begun laying the building blocks for Moved projects forward Ransom said Tygrett also worked hard to Ransom said he met Tygrett a year before a thriving city. Ransom, who worked closely with Ty- move forward the projects that were on the he ran for office. “When I heard of his experience in corporate America, I told some people we should Let us meet all your hair needs with this special!!!! get him to run for the City Council.” When Tygrett declared for mayor, Ransom said he abandoned his plans to run and supported Tygrett instead. Bring in a friend and we will give you a On the campaign trail, Tygrett, a guitarist, $5 discount for today’s service often performed the song “In a Town This Open and your next appointment! S u Size, There’s No Place to Hide.” ndays ! He kept two guitars in his office at City Acts of Valor Salon Hall. 7990 Rockbridge Rd. • Lithonia, GA 30058 from page

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Vice mayor to finish term Stephen Quinn, assistant city attorney, said the city’s charter calls for the vice mayor to replace the mayor and serve out his term. He said the City Council will vote to declare

the position vacant at its Jan. 4 meeting and also will pick a new vice mayor. Ransom said he will work with the council to make sure the projects Tygrett was working on are completed on time. Amy Tygrett said her family remembered her husband at a private service on South Padre on Dec. 27. “He had collected shells with the children on the Christmas Eve visit, and we wrote his name on them and they threw them back in the water,” she said. “We had a beautiful time remembering him.” Tygrett is being cremated, and his wife said that on New Year’s Day, a larger family group will have a memorial service for him in Brownsville. “I haven’t forgotten the people in Clarkston who meant so much to him,” she said. “I just want everybody to know that I will be back soon and we will have a service there for everybody.” The Tygretts met in Jackson, Tenn., and were married for seven years. Amy Tygrett said they knew each for seven and a half years before that. She said her family is coming to grips with their new reality, but that she doesn’t know how much the kids understand. Each night before they went to bed, she said her husband used to take the kids outside to look at the moon and the stars. “I told them that he is up there with the moon and the stars,” she said. “I don’t know how much she understands, but last night Alice Elizabeth said to me, ‘Mommy, I want to go see Daddy and the moon and the stars.’” Carla Parker contributed to this report.

Morehouse prof to speak at Jubilee Day Morehouse School of Medicine associate professor Dr. James P. Griffin Jr. will be the guest speaker at the DeKalb NAACP’s annual Jubilee Day Celebration on Jan. 1. The observance, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the James P. Griffin Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, freeing slaves in all territories still at war with the Union. The theme for this year’s event is “Reflecting on the Past to Transform the Future.” Griffin has been involved in behavioral health promotion, training, education and

research for more than 30 years. The Jubilee Day celebration will also include dance performances by Guy-Dance and Developing Seeds. Shay Dillard, a singer and an announcer for Shay Dillard WYZE radio, will be mistress of ceremony. Dillard, who began singing at age 5, has released the singles “It’s in the House” and “Jesus Will Fix It.” The Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross is at 2005 S. Columbia Place. For more information, contact the branch office at 404-241-8006 or the Rev. Portia T. Minter at 404-202-0234.



January 1, 2011


“I want the swearing-in ceremony to have a strong spiritual and community presence so that my term starts out in the right direction.”

Newly elected, and returning officials taking oath of office Seven men and women who were victorious in 2010 elections will be taking the oath of office this week. Five school board members, newcomers Donna Edler and Nancy Jester, and returning members Sarah Copelin-Wood, Stan Watson Jesse “Jay” Cunningham and Dr. Eugene P. “Gene” Walker; District 7 County Commissioner Stan Watson and DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson will raise their hands and swear to uphold the high ideals of their offices. Most of them will take the oath from Superior Court Judge Mark Scott. He will swear in Watson at a Jan. 2 ceremony at the Porter Sanford III Center for Performing Arts in Decatur at 4 p.m. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, Commissioner Larry Johnson, Congressman Hank Johnson, and others will bring greeting. A Praise and Worship segment will feature choirs from Watson’s church New

Donna Edler

Nancy Jester

S. Copelin-Wood

Piney Grove Baptist and from Stronghold and Hillcrest Baptist churches. Lithonia High School and a drum corp from Africa will also perform. Watson said he wants the event to be fun and meantingful. “I want the swearing-in ceremony to have a strong spiritual and community presence so that my term starts out in the right direction,” he said. The reception that follows the event will feature international cuisine from the Jamaica, Ghana, Burma, Somala and Iraq. Porter Sanford III Center for Performing Arts is at 3181 Rainbow Drive in Decatur. To

Jay Cunningham

Eugene Walker

Courtney Johnson

Zepora Roberts and Tim Redovian in the Nov. 30 runoff election. The Board Room at the DeKalb Schools Administrative & Instructional Complex,1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard in Stone Mountain.

NAACP Board DeKalb NAACP’s incoming president RSVP call 404-759-1511 or email politicalJohn Evans and the 2011 Board of directors will be sworn in during the Jan 1 Jubilee Day Celebration at the Episcopal Church of the School Board District 3 School Board member Sarah Holy Cross in Decatur. Superior Court Judge Mark Scott will Copelin-Wood and District 5 boardmember Jay Cunningham will take the oath of office administer the oath to officers during the annual event that celebrates the Emancipation from Scott on Jan. 3. District 7 board member Donna Edler Proclamation, which went into effect on Jan. and District 1 board member Nancy Jester, 1, 1863, freeing slaves in all territory still at and Dr. Eugene P. “Gene” Walker, who won war with the Union. It starts at 11:30 a.m. The church is at 2005 S. Columbia Place. a second term will also be sworn in at the 3 p.m. ceremony in the J. David Williamson For more information, call branch office at 404-241-8006 or the Rev. Portia T. Minter at Board Room . Edler and Jester defeated incumbents 404-202-0234.

DeKalb’s members rise to leadership position on new Marta Board DeKalb’s board members on the reconstituted MARTA Board include three old members and one new. Harold Buckley Sr., Fred Daniels Jr. and Jim Durrett, who all served previously on the board, and former DeKalb Planning Commissioner Wendy Butler, were approved for four-year terms on the new MARTA board by the the DeKalb Board of Commissioners on Dec. 14. DeKalb lost a seat on the new board created last year by House Bill 277, the Transportation Investment Act of 2010. The bill, which was signed into law on June 2 by Gov. Sonny Perdue, downsized the MARTA board from 18 members to 11. It required all existing members to vacate their seats on Dec. 31 and new members be appointed for the new board will have its first meeting on Jan. 10. DeKalb’s three returning members are among seven returning members. The MARTA Board sets policy and make decisions for the Authority ranging from finance to customer service. In addition to DeKalb’s four representatives, the new board is comprised of three representatives each from the City of Atlanta and Fulton County, as well as the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).  The executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) serves as the board’s sole non-voting member.  

Atlanta is at a tipping point when it comes to increasing it transportation options. “MARTA’s value to the region is becoming better understood by those responsible for crafting a new, larger regional transit framework, and we are committed to being not only partners, but also the most effective and efficient transit agency we can possibly be,” he said.  Harold Buckley Sr. Wendy Butler Fred Daniels Jr. Jim Durrett The officers will serve one-year term. New Durrett, the executive director of the After his election, Durrett said metro officers will by Dec. 31, annually. Buckhead Community Improvement District, and Daniels, executive vice president and chief credit officer of Citizens Trust Bank served on the old MARTA board for a year. Buckley, a real estate broker, has 25 years of service on the MARTA board. Butler, a land-use attorney, is the DeKalb County District One Planning Commissioner. She is also a board member on the State Road and Tollway Authority. Butler says she will keep her Planning Commission seat but will resign from the Tollway Authority. At a special board meeting on Dec. 28, the new MARTA Board of Directors elected officers for the 2011 calendar year. It picked DeKalb’s Durrett for chairman, and Daniels, for treasurer. Fulton County’s Barbara Babbit Kaufman was voted vice chair, and Juanita Jones Abnernathy of Atlanta was elected secretary. The other board members are the city of Atlanta’s Robbie Ashe and Rod Edmond,Fulton County’s Adam Orkin and Noni Ellison

Retired judge going to Emory he said. “In most difficult cases, Judge Robert J. Castellani, who recognition of core values will asretired from the DeKalb County sist in resolving the dispute. I wish Superior Court bench in December, to consider more deeply how that will join Emory University’s Center recognition can occur in today’s for the Study of Law and Religion legal system.” on Jan. 1 as Spruill Family Senior The center’s director, John Fellow in Law and Religion. Witte Jr., said the center is honored Castellani, a 1966 honors graduate of Emory Law, served more than Robert Castellani to have Castellani focused on some of the most critical issues of law 26 years on the DeKalb bench. He plans to research how the U.S. legal and religion facing our court system today. system can better handle the increasingly “Judge Castellani brings to our center a quarprevalent and complex issues of religious ter-century of judicial wisdom plus another and spiritual values influence on criminal two decades of exceptional trial experience as a law firm partner, assistant attorney general and civil law decisions. Castellani also will teach legal ethics to of Georgia, first assistant U.S. attorney, and U.S. magistrate,” Witte said. second- and third-year law students. Castellani will also continue to serve Castellani said he has admired the cenDeKalb as a senior judge and assist in the ter’s work for many years. “The prevailing notion in our country county’s drug court, a program he started in that religion has no place in law can be, in 2002 that has helped more than 300 people my opinion, an impediment to real justice,” reclaim their lives from drug addiction.

Southall, GDOT Commissioner Vance Smith, Jr., and GRTA Executive Director Jannine Miller, the board’s only nonvoting member.



Year In Review

January 1, 2011

The South River entrance at Panola and Snapfinger Road became a community hangout.

Long and his accusers headed for mediation, then court 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

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Circulation Audited By

Some prominent South DeKalb residents made the news in 2010 misdeeds and will be defending themselves in courts this year against allegations of misconduct. Bishop Eddie Long of New Eddie Long Birth Missionary Baptist Church, who hosted four U.S. presidents at his Lithonia

Anthony Flagg

Spencer LeGrande

Jamal Parris

Maurice Robinson

church in 2006 for the funeral of them into sexual acts in exchange Coretta Scott King, made national for lavish trips, cars and cash. The four men in their early news in September when four of his protégés accused him of coercing 20s – Maurice Robinson, Anthony

School employees facing myriad charges Former DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis, and the school system’s chief operating officer, Patricia Reid, her former husband Anthony Pope, and her secretary Cointa Moody were indicted on racketeering charges on April 28. They will be in court this year defending themselves against charges that they ran a criminal enterprise that sent millions of dollars to Pope, when he was married to Reid, and to vendors in exchange for cash, sports tickets or other perks totaling more than $33,332.25. The indictment said Lewis and Reid’s actions cost the school system more than $3.3 million. It said that $2.3 million of that amount were fraudulent payments to Pope. The other $1 million was lost when the Georgia Department of Education denied the school system reimbursements because of the illegal handling of a construction project at Columbia High School.

DeKalb Schools former chief operating officer Particia Reid and her former husband Anthony Pope in court facing racketeering charges.

Lewis is facing six counts; Reid, seven counts; Moody, five counts; and Pope, four counts. Lewis has appealed Superior Court Judge Cynthia J. Becker’s

ruling that he can’t keep his lawyer Michael Brown because of a conflict of interest. The case is on hold until the Georgia Court of Appeals rules.

Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande – said Long seduced them when they were 16 years or older, the legal age of consent in Georgia. They sued him, his church and the Longfellows Youth Academy, a program based at New Birth that caters to young males ages 13 to 18. Long denied the allegations, but is scheduled to meet his accusers for mediation in February, before going to court in the summer.

Derwin Brown gone 10 years How time flies. Dec. 15, 2010, was the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown. Brown was gunned down in the driveway of his Decatur home five days before he was to take the oath of office as Derwin Brown DeKalb’s new sheriff. Then Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, the man he defeated for the position, was later convicted of the murder for ordering Brown’s death. Dorsey is serving a life sentence for the crime. Brown’s family and friends held a candlelight vigil near the graves of Brown and his wife Phyllis, who died on Christmas Eve in 2006 from ill-health that developed after her husband’s death.

Volunteers chipped in to help county crew in clean up The great clean up came to South DeKalb in 2010 after the glare of public spotlight was shone on the area’s overgrown medians and other public rights of way. After a Sept. 25 “Ugly Ugly South DeKalb” CrossRoadsNews story highlighted waist-high weed and other signs of rampant blight, county crews and volunteers moved in to cut kudzu, mow weeds and picked up trash on several weekends in October. The Great Clean up started on Flat Shoals Parkway and Wesley Chapel Road and went countywide. The ugly curb gutters remain by Bettye Davis, director of the county’s One DeKalb office said portions of the South River, South Fork Peachtree Creek, and Snapthey will return to get those too. finger Creek. South River cleanup The South River entrance at PaThe polluted South River, nola and Snapfinger Road became which became a brief recreation a community hangout after the spot for unsuspecting residents last PATH Foundation completed the summer, is in for a little facelift as South River Walk and Bike Trail part of a DeKalb County Consent that runs alongside the river. The Decree with state and federal envi- attractive improvements and the ronmental agencies. lack of signs prohibiting people As part of the penalty for hun- from using the river, made the river dreds of sanitary spills, the county attractive to families seeking a place must spend $600,000 to clean up to cool off amids temperatures that

As part of the Great DeKalb Clean Up, South DeKalb Striders Running Club members Edward Driver and Andrew Walker helped pick up trash along Flat Shoals Parkway on Oct. 9.

soared to the high 90s. CrossRoadsNews highlighted the river’s contamination in a July 24 story. In August, DeKalb officials announced the award of a $25,260 Five Star Restoration Program clean-up grant from the National Association of Counties for Shoal Creek. The funds were to be used to remove trash and debris at the headwaters of Shoal Creek, which is one of the seven creeks that empty

into the polluted South River. The grant was used to help clean up 1,200 feet of channel and stream banks that were degraded by trash and overgrown with invasive plants including Chinese privet and kudzu. In Septemeber, a planned visit to the South River by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) director Lisa Jackson was postponed because of the death of her brother. EPA officials said the trip will be rescheduled.

index to advertisers Acts of Valor Salon......................................... 2 Agape Christian Counseling Center............... 11 Agilest Collections / The ............................... 11 Browns Mill Civic Athletic Assoc.................... 10 DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office..... 3 Ella’s Caring Hands Adult Day Care.............. 10

Exotic Vision Hair Salon - Phase 2................ 10 Georgia Preventive Health............................. 11 Gibbs Garage................................................ 10 Gutbusters..................................................... 11 Henry Mitchell, CPA, PC................................ 10

Kameron Dunmore.........................................9 Kiddy Kompany............................................. 11 Law Office of Trichelle Griggs Simmons....... 10 Macy’s (2)..................................................5, 12 Mechanixx Corporation................................. 10

Mini Mall........................................................ 11 Ministry with Excellence School of Ministry..... 8 Mystery Valley Golf Club................................. 2 The Law Office of B.A. Thomas.................... 10 The Law Offices of Diann Moseley................ 10

January 1, 2011


Joyous Kwanzaa! M


acy’s wishes you a joyous celebration of

creativity, family togetherness and prosperity .

Umoja Kujichagulia Ujima Ujamaa Nia Kuumba Imani

6110299A.indd 1

12/22/10 5:38:33 PM




January 1, 2011

“This is a hard time because it’s not just about shopping. It is also about jobs.”

TJ Maxx on Memorial Drive is closing By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

The lone TJ Maxx store in south DeKalb County is closing on Jan. 15. Customers shopping in the store last week found out from sales associates that the store in the Memorial Bend Shopping Center on Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain will go the way of three AJ Wright stores that their parent company TJX Cos. is shuttering in the area. In addition to narrowing shopping choices for customers, the store closings will put nearly 400 people in merchandising, sales, processing, receiving and loss prevention out of work. Wendy Carriere, a spokeswoman for the TJ Maxx Atlanta District Office, said the Memorial Drive TJ Maxx is the only Atlanta store that is closing. There are 11 stores in the district. “It’s a difficult decision,” she said. “We don’t close many TJ Maxx stores. It’s really sad.” Carriere would not elaborate beyond saying it was a corporate business decision to close the store, but a local manager told a customer that the store had been plagued by theft and revenue was stagnant. TJX Cos., which is based in Framingham, Mass., announced on Dec. 10 that it is closing all 162 AJ Wright discount stores by mid-February. It did not mention the closing of any TJ Maxx stores. The local TJ Maxx store has been on Memorial Drive for 25 years. Vivian Moore, who has shopped there over the years, said she was shocked at the news. “I always like shopping at TJ Maxx and that’s the only one close to our area,” she said. “I read about AJ Wright’s closing but didn’t realize TJ Maxx was closing too.” Moore said she is concerned about what is happening to businesses in our area. “I wonder what the Chamber of Commerce is doing to stabilize our economic business downfall,” she said. “This is a hard time because it’s not just about shopping. It is also about jobs.” Three AJ Wright stores – in the

Photos by Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

In addition to shuttering three AJ Wright stores in the area, parent company TJX Cos. is closing the TJ Maxx in Stone Mountain on Jan. 15.

Legislative breakfast to update businesses National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford will be the keynote speaker at the Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce Annual Legislative Breakfast on Jan. 8 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The event, which starts at 8:30 a.m., is in its 13th year. It takes place each year on the Saturday before the General Assembly convenes and offers elected officials the opportunity to update small-business owners from across Harry Alford the state about their agenda for the new legislative session. The 2011 theme is “Connecting With a Purpose.” DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, Clayton County Commission Chair Eldrin Bell, and Rockdale County Commission Chair Richard Oden have confirmed their attendance and will speak and lead workshops. Tickets are $50 each. A table of 10 is $500. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta is at 265 Peachtree St. in downtown Atlanta. For more information, tickets and sponsorship, visit or call 404-329-4504.

Bugaboo Creek left Stonecrest quietly Stonecrest Marketplace in Lithonia, in the Belvedere Shopping Center on Memorial Drive in Decatur, and in the Hairston Village Shopping Center in Stone Mountain – opened 18 months to two years ago. In its December announcement, the company said all AJ Wright stores will close by mid-February and 91 will reopen under a different name after eight weeks. With the division’s closings, it will cut 4,400 jobs nationally. Carriere said one of the DeKalb County stores will reopen under another brand but that she doesn’t know which one or when. TJX launched AJ Wright in 1998 as a discount store brand similar to TJ Maxx and Marshalls, selling clothing, home decor, shoes and other items. It offered lower-priced products

but never performed quite as well as its sibling stores. TJ Maxx and Marshalls have benefited as shoppers hunt for bargains due to high unemployment and the uncertain economy. Nationwide, 91 AJ Wright stores will be converted into TJ Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores, and 71 will close entirely, along with two distribution centers. About 3,400 staffers will remain employed at the converted stores. The DeKalb locations are on the list of stores that are permanently closing. Last week, the AJ Wright stores began their “going out of business” sales with 25 percent markdowns on everything in the store. Store associates said they did not have a date for the closures other than they will take place in February.

Birthday celebrants will no longer get to kiss the moose at Bugaboo Creek on Turner Hill Road. The popular Canadian-themed steakhouse was one of 20 closed in November by its parent company, CB Holding Corp., along the Eastern Seaboard. The rustic Lithonia restaurant opened at Stonecrest in 2002. It was a popular place for families to celebrate birthdays and get the birthday boy or girl to kiss the restaurant mascot, a huge black moose head. The company quietly closed all five metro Atlanta Bugaboo Creek restaurants at Stonecrest, Duluth, Fayetteville, Kennesaw and Newnan in November. It also closed five Bugaboo restaurants in Massachusetts. New Jersey-based CB Holding began 40 years ago operating Charlie Brown’s restaurants. In addition to the Bugaboo Creek Steak House restaurants, the company operates the Office Beer Bar and Grill. CB Holding also shuttered 20 Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse restaurants and seven Office Beer Bar and Grill locations.

Year in Review Transit and water rates increased; group launching CID DeKalb County residents will be paying more for water this year and for the next four years. The rate hike approved on Dec. 14 by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners will fund the county’s $1.34 billion Capital Improvement Plan approved by county commissioners. The plan included $700 million of mandatory improvements that the county is required to make to its aging sewer system as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. In addition to the mandatory fixes, the

county is paying $1.05 million – $453,000 in fines and $600,000 – to clean up the South River and other creeks. The penalty is punishment for fouling the state’s waters in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act and the Georgia Water Quality Control Act. In 2006, DeKalb reported 256 sanitary spills. The county will issue bonds to fund the overhaul and expansion, which will increase water rates by 11 percent annually between 2012 and 2014. DeKalb County operates more than 2,600 miles of sewer pipes, and more than 50 percent of them are 25 to 50 years old.

Fewer buses and more money to ride MARTA Riding public transit got harder and more expensive for commuters last year. Faced with a $69.3 million budget deficit, MARTA consolidated routes and cut eight buses serving south DeKalb County and modified 15 routes. The changes were part of 440 miles slashed from its service.

A one-way ride is still $2 and a one-day pass $8, but it increased the two-day, fourday and seven-day passes by $2. A 30-day pass increased $8 to $68. Mobility Passes for disabled commuters rose by $7 to $115. It also started charging for long-term parking.

Business group on its way to forming CID The Wesley Chapel Community Overlay Coalition made strides in 2010 toward establishing a Community Improvement District on the business corridor that has been battered by store closings in the past five or so years. Ashton Carter, the WCCOC treasurer, said the group raised $9,000 in cash and pledges at its Nov. 18 fund-raiser at Golden Glide Rink. “We are a third of the way to the $30,000 we need,” he said. It costs $100,000 to incorporate the CID, and the WCCOC needs to raise $30,000 to obtain a $70,000 matching grant from the DeKalb Development Authority. Carter, who is the branch manager of the RBC Bank on Wesley Chapel Road, said they will have another fund-raiser in March or April. Once incorporated, commercial property owners within the CID will tax themselves an extra 2 to 5 mills annually to finance roads, bridges, sidewalks, beautification projects,

and other improvements and security for the corridor. They also can use their funds to leverage up to 10 times more funding from the federal government. The group got a big boost on Dec. 14 when the DeKalb Development Authority voted to fund a planner to complete the final phase of the work needed to implement the CID. Bobbi Sanford, who is president of the WCCOC, said the authority agreed to fund the planner to map the area of the Wesley Chapel CID and contact the landowners in the designated area to get them to agree to the self-tax. “We need 250 property owners to agree,” she said. The boundaries of the Wesley Chapel CID will extend from I-285 to Panola Road and from Covington Highway to Flat Shoals Parkway. It is one of three CIDs under consideration for south DeKalb County.

January 1, 2011




This is the second time in five years that the band will perform at the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Benefactors step up to help band step out in Rose Bowl Parade More than 200 band members, teachers and chaperones from Southwest DeKalb High School left on Dec. 29 for the Rose Bowl Parade with the help of benefactors that include DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, DeKalb District 7 Commissioner-elect Stan Watson, actor and comedian Steve Harvey, and others. It took $260,000 to fly the group – 170 members of the Marching Panthers and 38 adults – to Pasadena, Calif., for the 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1. The band got about $15,000 in donations from the public officials and area business owners. Watson donated $12,000 that was raised at his Dec. 18 Christmas Party from an auction of one-of-a-kind wood sculptures and quilts. Harvey gave $5,000 and his morning radio show co-host Nephew Tommy

donated $1,000. Ellis gave $2,800 to the band. The band also received donations from State Sen. Emanuel Jones and John Mullin, owner of Century Music Center in Decatur. This is the second time in five years that the band will perform at the parade that precedes the Rose bowl at which the University of Wisconsin and Texas Christian University wuill face off. The Marching Panthers are one of only two Georgia high school bands that will represent the state in the parade. The other is Central Carroll High School from Carrollton. The Marching Panthers will return on Jan. 3. The Rose Parade will be broadcast on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV, Travel Channel and Univision at 11 a.m. The parade also is seen in more than 200 The Southwest DeKalb High School Marching Panthers received community donations that helped the band international territories and countries. reach the $260,000 it needed to make the trip to Pasadena for the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Chipper eats up Christmas trees What to do with an old natural Christmas tree? Don’t trash it. Recycle it, says Keep DeKalb Beautiful. To give new life to old trees, DeKalb Sanitation Division will be sponsoring the county’s 21st annual “Bring One for the Chipper” throughout January. It will pick up trees at curbside and they will be chipped into mulch or used as wildlife habitat. The county uses the mulch for public beautification projects and residents offers free mulch for residents for use in their gardens. Natural trees will be picked up on regular yard waste collection days.

Trees can also be dropped off at the Seminole Road Landfill, 4203 Clevemont Road, in Ellenwood. All ornaments and decorations must be removed. Trees over seven feet tall must be cut in half prior to curbside placement. Keep DeKalb Beautiful has also partnered with Davey Tree & Lawn Care to offer free Christmas tree mulch for delivery to interested DeKalb residents. The county recycled more than 10,000 trees last year. For more information, e-mail kdb@

Peace Day seeks moratorium on violence Kenneth Glasgow, a minister and executive director of The Ordinary People’s Society in Dothan, Ala., will be the keynote speaker at Peace Day 2011 on Jan. 8 in Decatur. Glasgow will speak at 1 p.m. at the event which takes place from noon to midnight. The Peace Day event, takes place at 2942 Ember Drive. It is hosted by Moorish Science Temple of America, Temple #21 and other local organizations and human service professionals. Edward Gates Bey, the Grand Sheik and Chairman of the Decatur-based Temple 21, said peace is not just the absence of violence, it is the presence of harmony. “The excitement of this day is to teach people

that they have the capacity to create a peaceful society.,” he said. Peace Day includes an afternoon of breakout sessions on topics such as domestic violence, crime prevention, conflict resolution, and family unity. A party featuring hip-hop music, food and poetry and birthday celebration for the temple’s founder, Noble Drew Ali kicks off at 9 p.m. Vendor space is available. Bey says they expect to attract 200 to 300 people but that the real success is not numbers but in getting people to embrace peace. For more information, contact E. Gates Bey at 404-805-8852 or




January 1, 2011

“They are busy now thinking about setting goals and the community service projects we should perform with the money from our sales.”

South DeKalb band alums high-stepping in ‘DrumLine Live’ Nearly a dozen alumni from South DeKalb high schools will be strutting their stuff in the hit stage play “DrumLine Live” on Jan. 12 on the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre stage. The 11 musicians, all former band members, hail from five high schools – Southwest DeKalb, Martin Luther King Jr., Stephenson, Stone Mountain and Clarkston. They are part of a cast of 39 percussionists, musicians and dancers in the play that is based on 20th Century Fox’s hit movie “Drumline.” The traveling production pays homage to the show-style marching popularized at historically black colleges and universities. It features musical highlights from hiphop, American soul, gospel, jazz and other genres. Don P. Roberts, creator and director of “DrumLine Live,” describe the production as high-energy. “We’ve taken the excitement of an HBCU football game halftime show, increased the intensity by a thousand watts, and created a musical journey that will touch every emotion,” he said. Performing in the cast are Clarkston High graduate Jaques Bell; Martin Luther King Jr. High graduate Isaiah Ellis; Stephenson High graduates Edwin Blakely and Cormesha Johnson; and Stone Mountain High graduate Shimri Israel-McBee. Southwest DeKalb High School has six graduates ­– Christina Anderson, Charles Madison, LeJaun McKee, Anthony Pasquini, Jason Price and Slater Thorpe – in the cast. Roberts, a former Southwest DeKalb High band director, is now the DeKalb School System’s instrumental music coordinator. He said he was inspired to create “DrumLine Live” after serving as executive

“DrumLine Live,” which pays homage to the black college marching band experience, comes to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Jan. 12.

band consultant for the 2002 movie “Drumline” that starred Nick Cannon. The movie, which was filmed in Atlanta, drew heavily on the Southwest DeKalb High band and used the gold and blue uniform of its Panthers. It was one of the first major motion pictures to capture the electricity of the

black college marching band experience. “DrumLine Live,” based in Atlanta, kicked off its second U.S. tour in October 2010 in San Rafael, Calif. So far, it has visited 38 cities. In 2008-2009, the show had a 70-performance international tour with sold-out

performances throughout Asia. Tickets for the Atlanta performance are now on sale at or at Prices range from $13 to $63 each plus fees. The Cobb Energy Centre box office is at 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway in Atlanta.

South DeKalb Girl Scouts prepare for banner cookie sales By Kathy Nixon

Girl Scouts in the Greater Atlanta area will be taking orders for cookies from Jan. 7 to Jan. 21. The sales fund programs for 41,000 girls and maintain eight camp properties. Last year, the 40 southeast DeKalb troops sold 72,936 boxes of cookies.

One thing we can all be sure of – after the New Year’s resolution, here come the cookies, Girl Scout Cookies, of course. Starting Jan. 7, hundreds of Girl Scouts in South DeKalb will be plying the delicious treats – Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos and Lemon Chalet Crémes Crunch. How can we resist? Last year, the 40 southeast DeKalb troops and their 650 girls from Decatur, Lithonia and Stone Mountain sold 72,936 boxes of cookies that are still $3.50 per box.

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Pam Johnson, the service unit’s cookie manager, said those numbers made them champion sellers. “Even though the economy was down, we received the support of this community for our Pam Johnson girls,” she said. To ready for the annual sale, the girls got tips and sampled this year’s cookies at a Dec. 19 Cookie Rally at Lithonia High School. Johnson said more than 300 Girl Scouts from 20 troops attended the all-day training session that also got them hyped for the

task ahead. She is hoping that they can better their 2009 sales. Niketa Mason says the 20 girls in Troop 863 based at Columbia Middle School are eager for cookie sales to begin. “We are a new troop this year and many of the girls are new to Scouting,” she said. “So this will be their first time selling cookies. They are busy now thinking about setting goals and the community service projects we should perform with the money from our sales.” Mason also heads Brownie Troop 9004 at Toney Elementary School. She said the 10 Brownies, six Daisies and four Junior Scouts

in that troop will be on their third year of selling cookies. The annual cookie sales provide the bulk of funds for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Inc., which includes DeKalb and 35 other counties. The sales fund programs for 41,000 girls and maintain eight camp properties. Officials say the program also teaches girls financial and entrepreneurial skills. Girls will be taking orders from Jan. 7 to Jan. 21. Cookies will be delivered in March. Cookie aficionados also can visit www to find a listing of the Girl Scout Cookie booths in their neighborhood or e-mail to locate a nearby troop.


January 1, 2011



For more than 50 years, Dr. William P. Foster reigned over Florida A&M University’s world-famous band program.

They touched us deeply and left us with fond memories In 2010, South DeKalb residents bid goodbye to a number of notable people:

Arts advocate, Red Hat Society matron Avid arts champion and supporter Becky Blankenship (right) died Jan. 6. Blankenship’s passions also included Arabia Mountain, the Red Hatters, and south DeKalb County, where she lived and raised her family. She took ill during her annual Red Hat Society trip to London and died shortly after returning home. Blankenship was 70.

Historic mayor Chuck Burris, the Village of Stone Mountain’s first black mayor, died Feb. 12 at the age of 57. His election to mayor in 1997, after six years on the City Council, earned him an invitation from President Bill Clinton and in 1998 he sat next to Hillary Rodham Clinton Chuck Burris during the State of the Union speech. His last public service in DeKalb was in September 2006, when he was picked by the DeKalb County School Board to finish three months on the term of former School Board member Simone Manning-Moon. Burris had relocated to Washington, D.C., with his wife, Marcia Baird Burris. He died there from amyloidosis, a group of diseases in which proteins accumulate in the body’s organs and tissue and damage the structure

and function of the tissues.

Georgia House in 1970 and served for 30 years, some of that time alongside his famous daughter, the former 4th District congresswoman. A stretch of Interstate 285, from I-20 to the Cobb County line, is named in his honor.

Longtime educator DeKalb Schools business education teacher Louise Blount died May 8 after battling ovarian cancer for more than a year. Blount, 60, taught at Billy McKinney Lithonia High School for 26 years and was voted Teacher of the Year twice, Community activist in 1992 and 1998. Community activist Ron Marshall made Louise Blount his transition on July 9 after battling an Legislator, famous dad inoperable brain tumor for more than two James Edward “Billy” McKinney, 83, for- years. mer Georgia legislator and father of former Marshall, 54, championed Grady HospiU.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, died July 15 tal and the environment and fought against after years of battling cancer. landfills and other community ills. McKinney, one of Atlanta’s first black He was a frequent speaker before the police officers in 1947, was elected to the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, where he

always had pointed words for the elected officials about their duty to their constituents. He made an unsuccessful run for DeKalb CEO in 2000. Marshall co-owned RGM Management and Development Co., a home Ron Marshall inspection, construction and project management company, with Gwen Marshall, his wife of 36 years.

Kameron Michael Dunmore ( 5/31/01 – 2/2/09) Gone too soon. What does the New Year mean to me? It’s another year to be bereaved. 365 days that I cannot see my child Who meant so much to me. Sometimes while riding in our car I try to see into distances afar. I shut my eyes and shake my head and then I realize he’s really dead. This child whom I have loved so much is nowhere close where I can touch. That in itself is a terrible feeling; It keeps my emotions rocking and reeling. I look at his picture and it’s hard to believe that this is all the older he will ever be. No daughter-in-law will ever be mine, no grandchildren from him to take up my time. Happy New Year I just can’t say It means different things from day to day.

FAMU’s ‘Maestro’ had impact in DeKalb, across nation DeKalb’s high school band fraternity mourned the passing of Dr. William P. Foster, the 91-year-old “Maestro” of Florida A&M University, on Aug. 28. For more than 50 years, Foster reigned over FAMU’s worldfamous band program and spawned a cadre of musicians who went

on to model his emphasis on character-building and musicianship in the programs that they now lead at schools and colleges across the country. His influence can be seen in DeKalb Schools, where at his death, alumni of his programs were band and orchestra directors at eight of the system’s high, middle and elementary schools.

It should mean I’m glad my son is here to celebrate this brand new “year” But since I’m one of the parents bereaved, This is a fact that will never be.

Another year has come upon us, I’ll get thru it – I simply must.



January 1, 2011





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Nov. Get time. ready South DeKalb. After It’s cleanu spaces, years of litter p Board DeKalb CEO and neglect of Comm of Burrel Great DeKalb l Ellis public issione and the Cleanu rs have launch The ed the DeKalb effort kicks offp. Comm Flat Shoals unity Oct. 9 at 7a.m. at the Parkway Achievement The county Center in , on every weeken says the Decatur. cleanu ps will “As part d through be held Oct. of proper ty valuesa committed 31. Great DeKalb effort throug 2010 Cleanu hout the to stabilize 30,uninco county rporat ber p will addres , the ed not Octo DeKalb been in a statemmaintained,” County s areas of that have g have the ent. “The the CEO’s the existin cleanu of office said maxim worst affecte p is designshe said. care um m,” ed sitd areas level ofproble volvem to impact are still by ent we on the nds in policin and investm encour “Here aging withthethousa the future.g and maintaent of the in- that ting comm sures that ining these ” unity done of foreclo The ion, said from g can be areas sociat kept heels of Great DeKalb nothin in .” Cleanu a Sept. fact was page article about Turman, pres25 CrossR p comes nts. reside on the the South was not that docum neglec oadsN Gil uals “That presented t of ews front borented south of sidewa ident longsta s and individ lb Neigh ht entation how it was Pace, who cial DeKalb Countlks and media nding DeKa thoug unity group said er implem Registry corrido he too with the numb to us,” across Comm rs and y, including ns said ng the ed a apgs In its Aug. most travelle its ion, commhelp deal y awaitinew Foreclosure attend hearin Coalit does not eagerl d arterie b’s was to erthat it properties of public ordinance spotlighted an 28 issue, hoods nce the DeKal week s. of newsp ve overgr the ordina the lyHill Road to help out this than 15,500 own media aper also effecti tionleading about eager Stonec found 27 – its was impleatmenta to the entran more than on Turner portions the more and withrest. of the ply to sed before Oct. ng its s of The d deal . It was cut days ce to the Mall Road. median county orhoobeganhomes take es owner27 to awaiti foreclo on Wesley to later. ’s sed neighb Sanita the requir South her cleanu tion Depar foreclo this only Chape was going date. after Oct. p on Crews preside DeKalb Neighb l ugly 50 vacantthought The lawforeclosed county. tment nt Gil situatio walk on cleared the Oct. 2. orhood footba “We of the the rties n. I saw on these kudzu-covere s Coaliti ll game Turman was prope them with presid ent od Asnewsp Flat Shoals Parkw people was streets on on Saturd r aper’s picking .” ay picture d side- out pleasantly surpris ay morni his way to He Sept. 25 registe up trash a Pace,e Neighborho up trash ng when a hold. said it was Brend Terrac ed to Wesley along portiofront page, andd on the ton along Wesley a beautif On Oct. he Highw Chape see people fanned Chape ul thing picked Turma 9, East Lake l Road ay pickin l Road. ns of Flat Shoals to be- munity service county emplo n said “I and Coving organi Crews g that he remov yees and worker also mulchand some saw trucks,” up trash. - plan zation of e residen is working of-way illegally posteds will docum comto ed fines, looked like he said. “I prison saw is betterensure that going ts to put with an shrubs s, cut back trying signs on ent and to do somethers workin people, mainta forwar in place a overgr the , pick up g off their CEO spokesined. d, the county the roadw ing to beautif litter and own weedsrightay for man lowing y this that cleanup sanitat place debris and day. Department’ effor was Burke Brenn ion pickup near The Quality s schedu part of the an said Great the folled cleanu Sanitation DeKalb of Life Improv p. Cleanu ement (QOL) p (GDC) / Team will

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Health & Fitness A Multidisciplinary Approach to Healthy Weight Loss January 15, 2011 • 10am - 2pm Holiday Inn Select • 3833 Princeton Lakes Court Atlanta, GA 30331

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The chain-li fence around nk the former Wacho via Bank on Chapel Wesley , which violates overlay district ordinan es, is tempor cthe building ary, owner says. ’s 3

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bile h T-Mo al ot-hig a 154-fo Lincoln Funer to erect is facing the A plan tower on er Roadwho say it Candl nts in rty on cell phone prope from reside their homes Home opposition close to major be located too county codes. owns the g would existin LLC, whichproperty at on of y ngs violati J HoldiFuneral Home b Count Three DeKal n mmure Lincol Road, wants the teleco zoned 5.1-ac er ce for ed 2321 Candlthe distan a residentially requir from from the 10-foot to reduce the ns towerand 85 feet nicatio to 70 to waive rty wants prope It also allow 200 feet. buffer to ape landsc the tower. will build n, who her it to Judy Jackso from tower back, see the window and n y Court kitche Ousle why on yard is a reasonbuffer said there y set the the count t resifeet. of the at 200 is to protec health ved, both will ger the “It vely they she said. ce is appro en, negati nts, endan bile say ors. childr and encourdents,” reside varian operat apand T-Mo If the challenged en and grandvalues, es from the g the of cell phone rty rty owner e famili the Zon- our childr prope prope to more accompanyin e Green to and to day, 73 impact our of younger 1 letter ce, Lanni lease space tment plans Depar Through Thurs ing the age the flight In a Sept. the varian T-Mobile for pment ls. oppos its tower rty on for LLC said Develo of Appea a petition plicati South providers on the prope Board ng the adthe reduci their ing nts had signed T-Mobile t will tower. and that outside two other in of the this projec physically reside say that locate of three users ground y to other uction isions put the tower lease constr believe that of alread subdiv ly to them. a total intends to fenced-in area “We the health se Valley ce will literala detriment construction sed owner affect purpo propo be said e the the e, distan rds and they versely T-Mobileproviders. county that reliabl ly opposbackyard,” ing/ ss e safe, cover- backya the wirele “We strong in our county’s Plann e told e, Green is to providand in-car a tower to the facility in-building Second Avenu of such 5 letter d by of this an Oct. rrupte bounded and I-20.Toney in uninte e Road r and the area Mano age in Road, McAfe Ousley er Candl residents of But

This workshop consists of several healthcare professionals discussing healthy ways to consistently lose weight and keep it off. To register or for more information contact: Georgia Preventive Health (404) 989-8231 •

Advance Registration Required. Deadline Dec. 31, 2010


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January 1, 2011

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CrossRoadsNews, January 1, 2011  

CrossRoadsNews, January 1, 2011

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