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The new manager at the Fairington Road store is on a mission to address concerns raised at a meeting in early June. A6

A fashion show and characters from a popular children’s TV show are among offerings at the 2012 CrossRoadsNews Family and Back to School Expo on Aug. 4.

New looks at Walmart

Focus on families, school


July 28, 2012

Copyright © 2012 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

Volume 18, Number 13

Road-building companies stuff Untie Atlanta war chest By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

The financial backers of Untie Atlanta’s aggressive media campaign to win passage of the transportation sales tax referendum on the July 31 ballot were revealed this week. In its first campaign disclosure report filed July 23 with the state, Citizens for Transportation Mobility Inc. said it raised $6,469,382 in cash and in-kind contributions and expects to surpass $6.8 million by election day. The group has been leading the fight for the passage of a 1 percent Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. It said Monday that it had spent $4,817,544 and has nearly $1.2 million on hand to persuade voters to support the referendum that is seeking to fund 157 road and transit projects. DeKalb County is slated to get projects totaling $515 million. It also will share in the $700 million Clifton Cor-

““They are willing to gamble to make more money. Most of the funds will be going for paving and road work. That’s why they have given so generously.” John Evans

A mix of construction companies, contractors, engineers, consultants, materials suppliers and road builders accounted for more than $905,500 of the largest donations. They also contributed another $256,000 in smaller donations of $100 to $50,000. The group also reported $477,474 worth of in-kind contributions for everything from campaign buttons to business cards, billboards, professional services and food. In a statement to the media, Citizens for Transportation Mobility’s chairman, Dave Stockert, said metro Atlanta has a history of rising to the occasion. “This is yet another example of the resolve that has made this city great,” Stockert said. “This money was donated by citizens and organizations who care about the future of our region and are tired of seeing traffic congestion limit our ability to compete for new jobs and investment.”

ridor rail project. But instead of rail down I-20 to Stonecrest, DeKalb is getting $225 million to build bus stations that can be turned into train stops in the future. The 15-day-before-election report, which was filed a week late, shows that 25 donors gave $3.8 million, or 58.2 percent of the total. Of that amount, six organizations doPlease see T-SPLOST, page 10 nated $1.5 million, nearly half of those funds.

Diversity of issues luring voters

More than 13,954 voters had cast early ballots through July 25 in DeKalb County. For the July 31 races and special elections, DeKalb has 457,554 registered voters.

Carla Parker / CrossRoadsNews

By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

After months of point-counterpoint, election day is three days away and DeKalb voters will join the 10-county metro area in what has been billed as the region’s most important vote in 40 years. On the ballot for DeKalb voters are the controversial penny sales tax referendum to fund $8.5 billion in transportation projects and referendums on placing cell phone towers on school properties and creating a city of Brookhaven. There are also open races for the District 4 School Board seat and the new House 94 seat and challenges to incumbents on the bench and on the School Board, County

Commission and state House and Senate, and in the 4th Congressional District. DeKalb Elections supervisor Maxine Daniels said that with the diversity of issues, she is hoping for a 30 percent turnout. “We have enough issues that will bring voters out,” she predicted Wednesday. “Hopefully, there are enough issues for a variety of voters.” A 30 percent turnout this year would trump the 23 percent DeKalb had in 2008. Daniels points out that this year also, the county had five weeks of no excuse voting that wasn’t around in 2008. That year, voters could only vote in person the week before election day. Through July 25, more than 13,954 vot-

ers had cast early ballots. In comparison, in 2008, the total number of voters casting early ballots was 15,642. For the July 31 primary and nonpartisan races and special elections, DeKalb has 457,554 registered voters. Of that number, 401,003 are active voters because they have cast ballots in the last two elections. Fifty-four percent, or 248,697, are African-American voters. On election day, all 190 county precincts will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters who are in line before 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. If needed, runoff elections will take place Aug. 20.

Rides to the polls Seniors and disabled voters who need rides to the polls on election day can call the DeKalb NAACP. Chapter President John Evans said that the rides will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 31 for people who live in DeKalb County. He said the NAACP also needs volunteers to drive people to the polls. To book a ride to the polls or to volunteer, call 404-241-8006. Rides can be booked before Tuesday or on election day.


Vote 2012


July 28, 2012

“If I see someone doing a good job, it’s my duty to stand up and say so. If I keep my mouth shut, what does that say about me.”

Lopez racks up endorsements, challenger touts experience By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

In his two years as a DeKalb County State Court judge, Dax Lopez distinguished himself enough to garner the public endorsements of District Attorney Robert James, Solicitor General Sherry Boston, and the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. Lopez, 36, was an Atlanta corporate lawyer when his mentor, Judge J. Antonio DelCampo, DeKalb’s first Hispanic judge, nominated him to be a judge and Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed him to the bench in August 2010. “Until that moment I had never thought about being a judge,” he said. Dionne McGee, a former prosecutor with the DeKalb Solicitor General’s Office, is seeking to unseat Lopez. McGee, 38, says she is the more experienced attorney, with 10 years of prosecutorial experience. Before coming to DeKalb, she worked for the city of Atlanta and the State Personnel Administration negotiating contracts. “When I decided to run, he had been on the bench for a year,” she said. “I have prosecuted over 10,000 cases since 2000.” McGee says her campaign is not a personal attack on Lopez. “He is a really nice guy,” she said. “He has a lovely family, but I have more to offer. DeKalb deserves a choice.” McGee admits that running against an incumbent is an uphill battle but doesn’t think it is impossible. She said that there are people who think she is crazy to run. “They say I am wasting my time challenging an incumbent,” she said. She says she is challenging Lopez, who was born in Puerto Rico, because if an open seat came along, other African-American lawyers would run, making it more difficult to stand out. “I can differentiate between he and I,” she said. Historically, DeKalb voters do not remove incumbent judges from office unless they disgrace themselves, like State Court Judge J. Oscar Mitchell did in 1960 when he cuffed and shackled the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the DeKalb Courthouse and sentenced him to four months of hard labor in the Georgia State Prison at Reidsville for “a probation violation for driving in Georgia with an Alabama license.” Time Magazine at the time said Mitchell’s action “reeked of redneck justice.” In 1980, Clarence Seeliger defeated Mitchell, placing him in the annals of history once again. Seeliger, who is still a Superior Court judge and is running unopposed on July 31, said he took on Mitchell who had been in office for 30 years for his insensitive handling of African-Americans in his courtroom and because he refused to hire any professional African-Americans in the courts. The last straw was when Mitchell berated and called one of his clients a welfare queen in court. McGee joined the DeKalb Solicitor’s Office in January 2009 when James was the solicitor. She became a senior prosecutor under Boston and resigned on March 30 to concentrate on her campaign. Neither of her former employers endorsed her. McGee said the only endorsement she cares about is that of the voters and didn’t ask for her former bosses’ endorsements. She was surprised that they have thrust themselves into the race. “It’s very disappointing that they elected to endorse him when they should have stayed out of the race,” she said. “I think she [Boston] should have stayed neutral. Why would you use your influence as a district attorney to sway a State Court judge race?” James, who said he “enthusiastically endorsed” Lopez, calls him a good judge. “He has done a lot of great things since he

Incumbent State Court Judge Dax Lopez faces former prosecutor Dionne McGee in the July 31 race. Lopez is DeKalb’s and Georgia’s only Hispanic State Court judge.

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

has been on the bench,” James said, singling out the DUI Court that Lopez runs. “That court turns around the lives of people,” James said. He also points out that Lopez runs the state’s only Spanish-language court. James said he has only known Lopez for the two years that he has been on the DeKalb bench. “I feel what is in his head and what is in his heart,” James said. The district attorney doesn’t try cases in State Court, and James says he sees no problem with him endorsing a judge. “I am concerned about good government and having a good criminal justice system,” he said. “If I see someone doing a good job, it’s my duty to stand up and say so. If I keep my mouth shut, what does that say about me.” Dr. Tom Coleman, a retired deputy commissioner for Juvenile Justice, says McGee is a very bright and articulate lawyer. “She is a product of DeKalb County,” he said. “She understands the community from which she comes. That’s the same community she would be serving as a judge.” McGee went to law school with Coleman’s son and worked with his daughter, who is also an attorney. He said McGee has been a family friend for years. He said that it’s important to show mercy when you pass judgment. “Judges are more effective when they can do that,” he said.

‘Our professional ranks are new’ When DelCampo resigned from the bench seven months after his arrival, Lopez became DeKalb’s and Georgia’s only Hispanic State Court judge. Serving with him on the seven-member DeKalb State Court bench are two white males, two white females, an African-American female and an Asian judge. Lopez came to the mainland at age 6. His family settled first in Augusta and relocated to Atlanta in the late 1980s when his father, a civil engineer, was working on the General Motors plant in Doraville. He says that Hispanics in Georgia today are where African-Americans were 35 years ago, with few people on the bench, in elected office and in professional jobs. “Our professional ranks are new,” he said, adding that this is a banner year for Hispanics running for office statewide. “We have 12 Hispanics running statewide for state representatives and judges.”

On the campaign trail, McGee stresses that she grew up DeKalb County and is a graduate of Redan High School. Why run against the county’s and the state’s only Hispanic judge? “I don’t think people should settle for a judge that was appointed,” she said. McGee also applied for the appointment that Lopez got but didn’t make the short list that the Judicial Nominating Committee sent to Perdue. “I didn’t have the political connection to get the appointment,” she said. McGee lives in Lithonia with her husband, Kevin, and two daughters. She is a member of the board of governors of the Georgia Bar Association and is the new president of the DeKalb Law Association, made up primarily of DeKalb’s African-American lawyers. If she wins, McGee says she would lobby for a court calendar dedicated to child abandonment cases and would open up the courts to the community, especially to 17- to 25-year-olds, in the hope that it could be a deterrent. She said she would host community symposiums with judges. “A lot of people don’t understand what goes on in the court,” she said. “I want to allow people to come to the court to observe the court in action.”

An efficient courtroom Lopez says his two years on the bench have turned out to be one of the most rewarding jobs he has had and that his opponent cannot point to one bad thing he has done. He says he has been saving lives with the DUI Court and is graduating hard-core alcoholics who are finding the structure and support to embrace sobriety. “We deal with serious alcoholics,” he said. “We can put them in jail but jail doesn’t treat alcoholism. They get right out and go get a drink.” Statistics show that 80 percent of people who get their first DUIs won’t get another. But the remaining 20 percent keep returning to court. Lopez runs one of two DUI courts in DeKalb. Judge Alvin Wong, who started the court in 2004, runs the other. Both courts serve 85 to 90 people at a time. Lopez says there are too many people in prison who need treatment. “This way we get them out of the system,” he said. Supporters say that Lopez runs one of the most efficient courtrooms in DeKalb

State Court. He has tried 30 criminal cases with juries and eight civil cases including medical malpractice. His prosecutor Hemath Digumarthi won an award for prosecuting 21 cases, the most criminal jury cases in DeKalb. “My dockets are up-to-date,” he says. Boston, who tries cases in State Court, calls him a fair and impartial judge, “He is the kind of judge I want to keep,” she said. “He has tried more cases than any other judge. He moves his calendar. He works hard. I have nothing but praise for him.”

Bipartisan support The impact that Lopez has made also is mirrored in the financial support he has garnered for his campaign. His June 30 campaign disclosure report shows that he out-raised his opponent by $70,269. He raised $152,427 to her $82,158. Even defense lawyers who don’t fare well in his courtroom gave him money. “It just means that I am fair and that I follow the rule law,” he said. Lopez is endorsed by Republicans and Democrats and he said he is especially proud of the endorsements of Boston and James, both Democrats. “I am a nonpartisan judge with bipartisan support,” he said. “They have seen my work.” Boston, State Court Judges Eleanor Ross and Stacey Hydrick, and Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson were appointed by GOP governors. Lopez points out that since 2002, every judicial appointment in DeKalb has been by a Republican governor. “Does that mean that they are Republicans?” he asked. Lopez was a board member of the Latino Elected Officials Association that sued Gov. Nathan Deal over Voter ID issues. “And he still appointed me,” he said. Lopez, a 10-year county resident, lives in Decatur with wife Zulma and three kids. He said that all of his decisions have been affirmed by the Court of Appeals. “It has not reversed me,” he said. “I have had 11 go up and all were affirmed.” Lopez said he has fallen in love with State Court because he still has the opportunity to reach people before they commit a felony. “In Superior Court, you don’t have a lot of options,” he said. “Bring the right evidence according to the law. I believe in treatment, diversion, and a chance to redeem themselves.”



July 28, 2012


“I was not arrested. I didn’t kill anybody. I didn’t shoot anybody. I haven’t been charged with anything.”

Watson apologizes for actions following incident at bar By Donna Williams Lewis and Jennifer Ffrench Parker

DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson is issuing apologies like campaign flyers after a recent night of suspected public intoxication in which he allegedly accused several women of stealing his wallet. On Thursday, Watson addressed a group of ministers gathered for a T-SPLOST meeting at This Is It restaurant on Panola Road. Watson took a break from pushing the TStan Watson SPLOST referendum on the July 31 ballot to briefly discuss the July 12 incident. “I’ll address that because most of the ministers here are my friends,” he said. As he spoke, Watson didn’t specify what he was apologizing for. But he was pretty clear about what he was not apologizing for. “I’m one of those frustrated deacons,” he said. “Every now and then, I’ll take a drink. And I had some things that happened on Tuesday, the 12th that was a result of my sister passing on the 10th and I had went out and had a couple of drinks. I’m not ashamed of that. Peter drank and he cussed. So don’t, don’t beat me with a Bible, OK?” Some members of the audience chuckled. For many years, Watson was a deacon at his former church, New Piney Grove Baptist. He said he is a deacon in training at his new church, which he did not want identified. Later he said his “frustrated deacon” comment was made as a joke among friends. Watson also told the group of about 30

ministers and community leaders that he had apologized to the voters and his family. “And I apologize to you, and I’m through with it,” he told the ministers. “If they want to investigate, do whatever, then that’s on them.” DeKalb police said in a statement that the department’s internal affairs unit is investigating how officers handled the incident at the Tanqueray Lounge on Glenwood Road. Watson was seated at the bar when police Officer O.B. Parker, who was working security, heard him accuse a female bartender of stealing his wallet, according to Parker’s police report. When she said she didn’t have it, he accused a second woman of stealing his wallet and passing it to another woman, the report said. When Watson exited the club, he reportedly yelled, “I’m gonna act a f-----g fool in the morning” and “One of those two b-----s stole my wallet.” One of the women was briefly arrested for ignoring Parker’s warnings to calm down. Parker reported that Watson had slurred speech, an unsteady walk and glossy red eyes. He said he told Watson he had seen him drink several alcoholic beverages and told him not to drive the white Mercedes he entered. Watson said he wouldn’t drive, according to Parker, who called a supervisor to the scene. After the supervisor, Sgt. M.B. Porter, arrived, Parker said he saw Watson pull out of the parking lot and travel eastbound on Glenwood Road. Porter and two other officers attempted to catch up with him but could not locate him, Parker reported. About a minute later, Watson pulled back into the parking lot, exited his vehicle and said, “I am going to let someone take me

home,” the report said. Watson was allowed to leave the bar “due to circumstances beyond my control,” Parker wrote, without elaboration. Watson responded angrily to questions about the incident in an interview Thursday night. He said he did not do anything wrong, that he’s apologizing as a public official in case he appears to anyone to have done something wrong.

NOW YOU CAN CHOOSE! Remember to Vote July 31st, 2012

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EXPERIENCE • SERVICE • INTEGRITY Learn More. Visit My Website: electfrankswindle2012 Paid for by Committee to Elect Frank Swindle Clerk, Superior Court of DeKalb County P.O. Box 3304, Decatur, GA 30030


LEE MAY DeKalb County Commissioner, District 5

VOTE JULY 31 Lee May is Putting DeKalb 1st Putting your Pockets 1st Putting your Safety 1st Putting Jobs 1st Putting our Transit 1st


“I was not drunk driving or anything like that,” he said. “ I got a little disoriented because I lost my wallet. I was not arrested. I didn’t kill anybody. I didn’t shoot anybody. I haven’t been charged with anything.” Watson admits that he left the parking lot. “Yeah, I did leave and I came back,” he said, “because I thought they’d arrest me for drunk driving.”




Vote 2012 2346 Candler Rd. Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007

Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphic Design Curtis Parker Staff Writers Carla Parker Jennifer Ffrench Parker Brenda Yarbrough Advertising Sales Kathy E. Warner 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 CrossRoads­N ews are copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.

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July 28, 2012

“I’m in the race to represent all children. I have allegiance to children, not political parties.”

Speaks’ challenger injecting party in non-partisan race By Donna Williams Lewis

School board member Dr. Pamela Speaks is being slammed as a Republican by her lone opponent in the July 31 election in a series of automated calls placed to voters over the past week. Business owner Michelle “Mimi” Clark was a no-show at recent candidate forums but she is making herself heard loud and clear in calls that refer to her as “the only Democratic candidate” in the nonpartisan District 8 race. “Republican incumbent Pam Speaks has worked against us and our children and has taken school resources from us and put them in the more affluent areas of the county,” Clark says in the message. “Reject Republican incumbent Pam Speaks and vote for Democrat Michelle Mimi Clark, the only candidate able to fully represent your values on your school board.” Clark said she is honing in on

Michelle Clark

Pamela Speaks

political parties even though she’s in a nonpartisan race because Republicans and Democrats have different values. “Democratic values are umbrellas big enough for everybody,” Clark said. “Sometimes Republicans don’t share those values.” Speaks said Clark is focusing on a non-issue. “I think (political party) has absolutely nothing to do with any issue,” she said. “I’m running for the education of all children whether they are Democrat, Republican, Moderate, whether they’re white,

black or Latino. I’m in the race to represent all children. I have allegiance to children, not political parties.” Speaks, 62, a retired DeKalb school administrator who lives in Stone Mountain, would not say whether she is a Republican. “If that truly makes a difference to anyone then they should go to the voter registration department and find out, including my opponent,” she said. Maxine Daniels, DeKalb’s election supervisor, said no one registers as a member of any political party in the state of Georgia but a person’s voting history is a matter of public record. Speaks said the question of her political affiliation is not new. It surfaced four years ago when she was first elected to the school board. “Some people think I have leanings in one direction or the other so they try to label it,” she said. “You

need to look at what Pam stands for.” Speaks said she has no plans to retaliate with automated calls of her own. District 8, one of two “super” districts that cover half of the county, includes high schools from Dunwoody to Lithonia. Clark, 45, of Stone Mountain, did not return repeated phone calls placed over three days last week for a CrossRoadsNews article on the District 8 race. She also did not attend a candidate forum co-hosted by the newspaper. Clark said election season has coincided with the opening of her transportation business, a hectic situation she had not anticipated. Clark said she thought someone else was going to run against Speaks, but found out 20 minutes before the end of qualifying that Speaks had no challenger. “I entered the race at 12:00 on May 25,” Clark said.

State NAACP urges ‘no’ vote on transportation tax The Georgia State Conference NAACP is calling all clergy members, community activists and civic leaders to vote “no” on the controversial 1-cent Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum. In a letter sent to the groups, Sheila Brown, chairwoman of the NAACP’s community coordination committee, said the T-SPLOST is “unfair to the poor, minorities and middle class.” “It lacks the inclusionary language that is necessary to ensure fairness and equity in the distribution of contracts to small, minority and women owned businesses,” Brown wrote. “Further, there are no real guarantees that the thousands of jobs being promised by proponents of the referendum will go to

transit projects. It will add a second penny tax to the one that DeKalb and Fulton counties have been paying for 40 years to help fund MARTA. Through 2009, the two counties had contributed $7.5 billion to the public transit system. Brown said while the two counties have been paying a one-penny transit sales tax since the 1970s, the T-SPLOST referendum gives Cobb County a fully funded rail line while DeKalb County will only receive a partially funded rail line. A number of DeKalb residents oppose the new tax because south DeKalb County does not get a long-promised I-20 Opposition to the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax has rail line to the Stonecrest area. centered around inclusion, taxes and transit. Voters can say yes or no to one the most vulnerable segments of The T-SPLOST is seeking to percent tax on July 31. The polls our communities – the poor and raise $8.5 billion in the 10-county open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election middle class.” Atlanta region to fund 157 road and day.

Quick Read

Diversity of issues luring voters to polls A1

Fairington Walmart changing to serve customers better A6

Colorful, cuddly ‘Pajanimals’ to entertain young ones B3

Election day is three days away and DeKalb voters will join the 10-county metro area in what has been billed as the region’s most important vote in 40 years.

Two months after residents complained about problems at the Fairington Walmart in Lithonia, a big fix is under way.

Sweetpea Sue, Squacky, CowBella and Apollo are coming to town.

Speaks’ challenger injecting party in non-partisan race A4 School board member Dr. Pamela Speaks is being slammed as a Republican by her lone opponent in the July 31 election.

New election system to speed release of results A5 A new Election Night Reporting (ENR) system will be available for the July 31 primary election on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.

MARTA event explores retail ideas


Business owners and vendors can explore retail concession opportunities throughout the transit system at MARTA’s Industry Day on Aug. 7 at its headquarters in Atlanta.

Lil’ Beulah Boy joins DeKalb’s line dance phenoms B7 The high-stepping, booty-shaking Beulah Boys are used to wowing audiences across Atlanta, but an Aug. 4, they have a little something extra for the CrossRoadsNews Family & Back-to-School Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest.

Top football programs in same region A8 Healthy, balanced snacking, a good recipe for success B11 Some of DeKalb’s top high school football programs will be battling for the same regional title when the season starts on Aug. 24.

When your kid needs a snack, don’t reach for a bag of chips, some cookies or a candy bar, says Life Chef Asata Reid.

index to advertisers

Circulation Audited By

BJH Attorneys & Counselors at Law.............A11 Bryant Insurance Agency.............................A11 Changing a Generation.................................A9 Committee to Elect Judge Dax E. Lopez...... A12 Committee to Elect Lee May.........................A3 DeKalb Convention & Visitor’s Bureau..........A7 Executive Cuts..............................................A11 First African Presbyterian Church..................A9 Hibachi Grill..................................................A5 MARTA..........................................................A6 New Creations..............................................A11 Oakhurst Medical Centers, Inc......................A8 Padgett Business Services.............................A6

Peter Pan......................................................A7 Project Home Improvement........................A11 Quenon Smith.............................................A11 Savannah State University.............................A8 Solution Heating and Air.............................A11 TLA Foreclosure Prevention........................A11 Tree Form Landscaping...............................A11 Trinity Social Services...................................A11 WellCare of Georgia....................................A11 Amerigroup..................................................B6 Big Thinkers Science Exploration.................. B7 Chick-fil-A (Inside the Mall at Stonecrest)..... B7

Committee to Elect Frank Swindle................ B3 Conservatory of Dance & Fine Arts............... B7 DeKalb County Board of Health.................... B3 DeKalb County Solicitor-General’s Office.... B12 Dr. Craig B. Williams, DDS............................B4 Excellent Montessori School.........................B6 Faith Community Christian Academy.......... B10 Georgia Perimeter College........................... B7 Green Pastures Christian Ministries...............B6 Greenforest McCalep Christian Acad.Ctr....... B7 Kaiser Permanente of Georgia.....................B8 Kingdom Covenant Leadership Institute.......B6

Neighbor to Family....................................... B7 Oakhurst Medical Centers, Inc.....................B11 Optimal Health & Wellness Center...............B4 Organic Root Stimulator...............................B6 Sparks Christian Academy........................... B10 Sykes Tutoring Services.................................B6 The Mall at Stonecrest..................................B5 Walgreens - Stone Mtn............................... B10 WellCare of Georgia.....................................B8 Best Buy Co. Inc......................................Inserts Holistic Health Management Inc.............Inserts Walgreens...............................................Inserts

Vote 2012

Nancy Jester

Don McChesney



July 28, 2012

State legislators have been seeking ways to prevent the location of more cell towers on DeKalb Schools property.

S. Copelin-Wood

H. Paul Womack

Jay Cunningham

Thomas Bowen

Donna Edler

Pamela Speaks

Eugene Walker

Some School Board change position on cell tower issue On July 31, DeKalb voters will be asked in a non-binding advisory referendum whether the school system should be allowed to place or operate telecommunications towers on school property. State legislators have been seeking ways to prevent the location of more cell towers on DeKalb Schools property after a July 12, 2011, vote by the DeKalb School Board to allow T-Mobile to locate 150-foot-high towers on nine school properties for up to 30 years. Seven of the schools are in South DeKalb. Over the life of the lease, T-Mobile will pay the school district just over $2.3 million in rent. Construction of the first cell tower is expected to begin in August. The measure passed in a 7-2 vote, with District 7 board member Donna Edler and District 1 board member Nancy Jester voting against it. Twelve schools were originally on the list, but three were removed after parents and the community around them raised concerns about health risks, Board members said they didn’t hear about other communities in opposition until after the vote was taken. Opponents in other areas said they didn’t find out about the cell tower proposal until after the School Board vote. Here’s how School Board members say they’ll vote on the cell tower ballot question: Nancy Jester (District 1): Voting no. “I feel it’s a good neighbor issue. I wouldn’t want someone to vote to put a tower next to my house so I’m not going to vote to put a tower next to somebody else’s house. It’s also a distraction, and it has nothing to do with educating children.” Donald E. McChesney (District 2): Voting no. “I wouldn’t support putting the cell towers on school property, not when the community says they don’t want them.” Sarah Copelin-Wood (District 3): Voting no. “There are pros and cons about it. Some say it won’t cause lasting effects. Why take the

risks when we don’t know quite yet whether there are health effects.” H. Paul Womack Jr. (District 4): Undecided. “You get more radiation from your handheld cell phone and microwave and walk-around phone at home than from cell towers.” Jesse “Jay” Cunningham Jr. (District 5): Voting yes. “We have schools that don’t have wireless and it’s going to give us a chance to put wireless in the schools and move them into the 21st century.” Thomas E. Bowen, vice chair (District 6): Voting yes. “I am supportive of cell towers

and each time, we should take it back to the community to say yes or no.” Donna Edler (District 7): Voting no. “We are not in the cell phone business.” Dr. Pamela A. Speaks (District 8): Voting no. She also said she would probably vote “no” if she could redo her School Board vote that approved the placement of towers at 12 schools. “I probably wouldn’t vote for it because it’s not an educational issue. The school system has enough educational issues. We would have been better off not tackling this at all.”

Dr. Eugene P. Walker, chair (District 9): Voting yes. “I would strongly vote for it [as a board member] today because I think that’s a way to help get kids into the 21st century. Cell towers are the vehicles we use to help us better communicate. I clearly don’t believe, according to the appropriate national authorities, that there’s a serious health risk. I think we need these cell towers. I would hope the schools would benefit from them and get discounts on Internet and all these types of communication we’re moving toward.” — Compiled by Donna Williams Lewis and Jennifer Ffrench Parker.

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New election system to speed release of results A new Election Night Reporting (ENR) system will be available for the July 31 primary election on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. Secretary of State Brian Kemp said July 26 that the ENR system at is a great resource for Georgia voters. “Information will be distributed efficiently, be Brian Kemp interactive, and be able to be broken down to the precinct level,” he said in a statement.  Kemp is hosting an information session on the new system for media on Monday. Officials from Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems will guide participants through the system and answer questions.  For more information call Jared Thomas at 404-656-4269.



BUFFET No Seafood Half Seafood Hibachi Grill All Seafood All Sushi TO GO $3.99/lb. $4.99/lb. $4.99/lb. $5.99/lb. $6.99/lb.


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July 28, 2012

“It’s all about being clean and being in stock. ‌ It’s a big push for the company and we are here to do our jobs.â€?

Fairington Walmart changing to serve customers better Two months after residents complained about problems at the Fairington Walmart in Lithonia, a big fix is under way. And it starts with new store manager Greg Clark. For Clark, a 10-year Walmart manager who relocated from the Rockbridge Road store in Stone Mountain, it starts in the parking lot, which was a source of complaints aired at a June 7 community meeting. Walmart’s regional general manager Karen Brewer-Edwards, district manager Zola Davis, and public affairs and government relations manager Glen Wilkins were regaled with stories of rude employees, poor customer service, empty shelves, spoiled food, lost carts, trash, soliciting in the store’s parking lot, and long checkout lines. Clark, who came on board shortly after that meeting, says he starts his day walking the store’s parking lot. “I want to make sure it’s clean. I look for any paper that might be lying on the ground. I make sure there are no stray carts.� Since his arrival, Clark said all overhead lights in the parking lot are working, and tractor-trailers are not allowed to hang out. “After two hours, they are towed,� he said. “We have been towing left and right.� Clark, a longtime resident of Lithonia and member of New Birth Church, says he is on a mission to please his customers, many of whom know him and stop to talk when they see him. On a recent Monday morning, he greeted even the customers he didn’t know. “If you come within 10 feet of an associate, they should be speaking to you,� he said.

New manager Greg Clark is putting the emphasis on a clean, wellstocked store. “I never want a customer to walk out disappointed or unhappy.� he says.

Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

“It doesn’t cost anything to speak.� Clark said he wants to ensure that customers have the best shopping experience at the store. He stopped to pick up a discarded box in the shopping cart corral. “I never want a customer to walk out disappointed or unhappy,� he said. These days the floors are sparkling, the shelves stocked, and the aisles are uncluttered. On July 23, uniformed employees were busy tidying shelves, dusting the floors, and emptying trash cans. Clark said he is very, very big on floors. “It messes up my day if my floors aren’t

clean,� he said. Co-manager Bennie Gordon, who accompanied Clark and a visitor on the tour of the store, nodded in agreement. “I thought we had clean floors before he got here,� he said. “He is never satisfied with these floors.� In the produce and meat departments, Clark lifts packages to show the level of cleanliness below them. “We call it operation freshness,� he said. “You will not find a gnat anywhere. They are not here. I go crazy over one gnat.� Charlotte Freeman, who was shopping

for fresh vegetables, said she has already noticed the difference. “It’s cleaner and the speed of service has gotten better,� she said. “I am not waiting as long on the checkout line.� Freeman said she has a teenage son who likes to eat and she likes to cook. “I shop here three or four times a week,� she said. “I have my list. I like the fresh stuff. Lettuce, tomatoes.� Clark said his promise to customers is that the store will be clean and well-stocked. “It’s all about being clean and being in stock. The cases are clean. It’s a big push for the company and we are here to do our jobs.� To make the changes, Clark said he hired more associates and maintenance people. During his first week, he summoned store vendors to a meeting. “One hundred of them showed up,� he said. “I told them that I did not want any empty shelves. I laid out our expectation.� For families shopping for back-to-school supplies, Clark is ready. The store is stocked with book bags, pencil boxes, pens, uniforms and lunch boxes and everything else kids and teachers need for a successful year. And if you forgot your supply list, chances are he has them in the store. Last week, there were supply lists from elementary schools like Stoneview, Panola Mill and Shadow Rock. The eighth-grade magnet list was also on the turnstile and so was the Chapel Hill Middle School seventh-grade list. “We are here to take it to another level,� he said. “We are here to move that ball to the next level.�

MARTA event explores retail ideas Ground-breaking for new Walmart Business owners and vendors can explore retail concession opportunities throughout the transit system at MARTA’s Industry Day on Aug. 7 at its headquarters in Atlanta. The free event, from 9 a.m. to noon, is designed to share information regarding food and beverage and specialty retail concessions. R.S.V.P. by July 31. Last year, MARTA conducted a study to determine what its passengers wanted to buy in its rail stations. As a result of the study, MARTA will offer about 40 concessions in 16 of its 38 rail stations, encompassing nearly 31,000 square feet. The stations include Decatur, Edgewood/ Candler Park, and Indian Creek. Retail concepts being considered in-

clude fast food, small electronics, sandwich shops, a MARTA store, newsstands, dry cleaners, jewelry, kiosks, a sit-down restaurant, and a pharmacy/convenience store that address the preferences of passengers. Companies and vendors experienced in travel retail program development, concessions consulting, retail brokering and small-business ownership are encouraged to participate. Attendees will share experiences, ideas, and lessons learned to help significantly expand MARTA’s food and beverage and specialty retail program. The MARTA Headquarters Atrium is at 2424 Piedmont Road N.E. and is accessible via its Lindbergh station. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www

Explore Food & Beverage and Specialty Retail Opportunities 16 MARTA Rail Stations

Under One Roof! “There Is No Better Time to Plan Your Legal & Tax Strategies�

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Improvements that will accompany the construction of the store include: n A new traffic signal will be installed at the entrance from North Hairston. A right turn lane will be added on Memorial Drive, and the existing right turn lane from Lauren Parkway onto Memorial will be extended. n The signals will be interconnected for better function. n A traffic control island will be constructed on North Hairston to allow Kenilworth traffic to enter and leave but will prohibit traffic from coming into the community after exiting the Walmart parking lot. n There will be a dedicated truck entrance on Lauren Parkway. For more information, visit http://wal


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DeKalb County commissioners and regional Walmart representatives were scheduled to break ground July 27 on a new supercenter on the site of an old auto dealership in Stone Mountain. The 150,000-square-foot supercenter near the intersection of Hairston Road and Memorial Drive will employ 250 full-time and part-time associates and will generate an estimated $4.9 million in sales taxes. Walmart officials said the new supercenter will spur economic development and road improvements. Local charities and organizations also will benefit from its commitment to community and giving initiatives. Commissioners Sharon Barnes Sutton, Larry Johnson and Stan Watson were scheduled to attend the 11 a.m. ceremony.

3636 Panola Road • Lithonia, GA 30038 (Across from the Salem Crossing Shopping Center)

MARTA Headquarters Atrium 2424 Piedmont Rd., NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 Please RSVP at by July 31st.



July 28, 2012


The Leadership Academy Program has positively impacted more than 5,000 DeKalb students.

Jazz concert benefits youth

Seniors can play beach ball bingo for summer-themed prizes on Aug. 4 at the Regency House, an independent Decatur senior community. The event kicks off at 3 p.m. They can come back for more free fun all month long, including: n Aug. 9 at 7 p.m.: Senior Living Seminar. n Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.: Sing-along with watermelon and soda. n Aug. 14 at 1:30 p.m.: Jewelry show with Premier Design. n Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.: “Health Care Remedies Grandma Used” seminar. n Aug. 18 at 11 a.m.: National Aviation Day Celebration with a veterans educational seminar, lunch and live entertainment. n Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.: Shingles and Prevention Seminar. n Aug. 25 at 12:30 p.m.: Taste of Summer with a chef demonstration. n Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.: Beat the Heat Bingo and win a three-day getaway offer. The Regency House is at 341 Winn Way. To R.S.V.P., call 404-296-1152.

Help needed for library book sale Volunteers are needed to help the Friends of the Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library with its Aug. 3-4 book sale. They will help stage the books on Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and assist with the weekend sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers also can help with cleanup on Aug. 6. To sign up, call or stop by the library or just show up for the pre-sale and sale. The Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library is at 2861 Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur. For more information, call 404286-6980.

2 DeKalb grads on dance show George Lawrence II, a 2011 DeKalb School of the Arts graduate, is competing for “favorite male dancer” on Season 9 of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” Lawrence, 19, made the top 20 on June 27 along with 2008 DSA graduate and Decatur native Amber Jackson. He acquired his love for dance at age 11 and enrolled at Price Performing Arts Center in College Park that same year, where he studied lyrical, tap, jazz, modern, ballet, hip-hop and acrobatics. In 2010, he decided to further his technique at Dancemakers of Atlanta, and in the summer of 2010 he was selected to attend Juilliard in New York. He is a rising sophomore at State University of New York at Purchase College in White Plains. Lawrence said becoming a contestant was a “sense of accomplishment.” “As early as I can remember, I have dreamed of becoming a star,” he said. “It is my opportunity to share my talent with the world.” The show airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

A trio of R&B and jazz musicians will headline the “Sunday Smooth Jazz” at the Porter Sanford Center on Aug. 5. Legendary R&B singer/songwriter Phil Perry, jazz musician and producer Joey Sommerville, and violinist Brooke “Viosocalist” Alford will be the featured performers at the concert hosted by 100 Black Men of DeKalb County. Tickets for the 3:30 and 8 p.m. shows are $50 each. Proceeds benefit the 100 Black Men’s Leadership Academy Program for youth. Perry’s solo albums include “The Heart of a Man,” “One Heart, One Love” and “The Gift of Love.” He is a former member of the 1970s soul group the Montclairs and was a session singer with Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle, and Lee Ritenour. Trumpeter Sommerville has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists including mega-rock group Phish. He produced bassist/vocalist Rhonda Smith’s “RS2,” which features Prince, Sheila E. and gospel great Fred Hammond. In 2007, he started the Smooth Jazz After Dark Series at Sambuca Jazz Café in Atlanta. His latest album, “The Get Down Club,” features funk, gospel and bop influences delivered with pop sensibilities. Alford, who lives in metro Atlanta, performs as an Artist of the Violin. She plays in various styles, including contemporary jazz, gospel, pop and R&B, and has opened for national and international recording artists such as Najee, Will Downing, Paul Taylor, Eric Darius and Rick Braun.  Matthew Ware, the 100 Black Men’s president, said the fund-raiser serves a dual purpose. “The Sunday Smooth Jazz concert will

Brooke Alford (top), Phil Perry (left) and Joey Sommerville will perform at a concert hosted by 100 Black Men of DeKalb County.

not only provide great entertainment but will also provide the community an opportunity to support a program that builds future leaders from our community,” he said. Since its inception 20 years ago, the Leadership Academy has positively impacted more than 5,000 DeKalb students. It focuses on changing lives and building the character of students in grades six to 12 through education and personal empowerment. The Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center is at 3181 Rainbow Drive in Decatur. To purchase tickets, visit www.dekalb or call 404-288-2772.

Plan Your  Next  Family  Reunion   in  Atlanta’s  DeKalb  County!

Free Family  Reunion   Planning  Workshop   Saturday,  August  18,  2012 (9  a.m.  to  Noon)

Free activities for Decatur seniors

DeKalb Convention  &  Visitors  Bureau’s  Reunion   Specialists  will  teach  you  everything  you  need   to  know  to  plan  the  perfect  Family  Reunion!   Hilton  Garden  Inn  Stonecrest

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July 28, 2012

“When you talk about those programs, you’re talking about some of the best programs in the state.”

Top football programs in same region Montessori program back By Carla Parker

Some of DeKalb’s top high school football programs will be battling for the same regional title when the season starts on Aug. 24. Nine teams – Arabia Mountain, Clarkston, Dunwoody, Lakeside, M.L. King, Miller Grove, Southwest DeKalb, Stephenson, and defending AAAA state champions Tucker – are all in the newly reconstructed region Coaches and players hear the new regional placements on July 18 at the 2012 DeKalb 6-AAAAA. Football Media Day at James R. Hallford Stadium in Clarkston. DeKalb football and head coaches from Decatur High, Marist and St. Pius X dis- and in terms of head-to-head with Southwest DeKalb cussed the new regional placements on July 18 at the they’re leading us.” Tucker, along with Miller Grove, Southwest DeKalb 2012 DeKalb Football Media Day at James R. Hallford and Lakeside, has moved up from Class AAAA to Stadium in Clarkston. The rivalry between the MLK Lions and Stephenson AAAAA. Although they have moved up in class, Tucker’s new head coach Bryan Lamar said he believes his team Jaguars moved from region 2-AAAAA to 6-AAAAA. MLK finished the 2011 season undefeated and won has what it takes to win another state title. “At Tucker I think it’s just the expectation,” he said. the region 2 title after defeating Stephenson. The Lions “The kids believe that they can do it. It’s one of those got to the third round and lost to Lassiter High. Mike Carson, MLK’s head coach, said he knows it’s things where it depends on how hard we work and how going to be a challenge to win a regional title again but mature we can be to be able to handle the different diversities that hit us.” he and the Lions are looking forward it. After missing the playoffs by one game, Miller Grove “It’s always our goal to start off every year to defend the region, win the region championship and go on to head coach Damien Wimes said his team can get in the the state championship,” Carson said. “Anytime you add playoffs this year despite the challenges. He said that they a team like Tucker and Southwest DeKalb, of course it have the pieces this season to do it. “This is going to be a team that’s selfless and has gets tough on you to do that, but our kids have been working hard since January and through the summer.” the best team chemistry,” he said. “I think that we’ve Ron Gartrell, Stephenson head coach, said he knows improved our offensive line and defensive line and that’s it’s not going to be a “cake walk” to the playoffs for the the difference this year.” Other regional changes include Columbia and Stone Jaguars this year as it has been in previous years. “When you talk about those programs, you’re talk- Mountain moving up from region 5-AAA to 6-AAAA. ing about some of the best programs in the state,” he They are joining Chamblee, Lithonia and Redan. Cross Keys moves up from AA to AAA and will join said. “We hadn’t done well against Tucker, we lost the last two years to MLK, we never played Miller Grove, Cedar Grove, McNair and Towers in region 6-AAA.

at Midway Elementary By Carla Parker

The Montessori program will be back at Midway Elementary School when school starts on Aug. 13. Parents found out on July 12 that the program, which had been scrapped at the Decatur school by its new principal, Laconduas Freeman, has been reinstated. Freeman terminated the program when she could not find funds to pay teachers in the budget. DeKalb Schools spokesman Walter Woods said July 20 that “federal and other funding” was subsequently identified to pay teachers. “After receiving calls from parents, we been trying to help the principal fund the program,” he said. Woods said the school will be able to bring all 60 kids in the program but the classes may be a little larger. Countywide, the Montessori program, which also is offered at Huntley Hills Elementary in Chamblee and Briar Vista Elementary in Atlanta, lost 28 teachers as part of the School Board’s June 11 vote to eliminate positions to help it cover a projected $85 million shortfall. The Midway program was the only one eliminated. DeKalb Schools’ Montessori program is offered as a choice program. It is free to parents and features multi-age classrooms where children learn at their own pace through hands-on experience and use of materials prepared for investigation. Registration for the reinstated program began on July 23. Midway Elementary is at 3318 Midway Road in Decatur.

Fitness, school freebies Kids ages 6 to 12 can get free backpacks and school supplies at the second annual “Let’s Move! DeKalb” event on July 28 at the Exchange Park Intergenerational Center in Decatur. The first 250 kids at the event, which begins at 10 a.m., will receive the freebies. It also features Olympic Fitness Fun and includes sports, fitness demonstrations, and hands-on fitness activities for the whole family. It’s the official launch party for the “PALA+ Challenge,” a new campaign to get 2,500 metro Atlanta residents to commit to six weeks of exercise and nutrition goals. Visit or call 678-8193663. Exchange Park is at 2771 Columbia Drive.



July 28, 2012


“This occasion is to glorify God for the great things he has done enabling us to purchase our first church home.”

Way Christian Ministries celebrates new church home The Way Christian Ministries has moved into its own church home. The nondenominational church, which was founded on Sept. 23, 2001, is now located in a former church building at 1760 Snapfinger Road in Decatur. For the first six years, church services were held at Gresham Park Recreation Center. For the past four years, services were held at 2131 Snapfinger Road. Members formed a motorcade to the new location on July 21 and celebrated with a community day that included music, games and food. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place July 22. The Rev. Prince Edward Williams said it was a good day. “This occasion is to glorify God for the great things he has done enabling us to pur-

Members and friends of the Way Christian Ministries in Decatur enjoy a trumpet solo at a community fun day that included games and food.

chase our first church home,” he said. The 200-member church acquired the building from Sadie McCalep, widow of George McCalep, the late pastor of Greenforest Community Baptist Church. Gregory Bethea, a deacon in training, said they fasted for 42 days and prayed weekly about the decision to buy the building that seats twice the number of their former location. With the move, they have expanded Sunday school, adding teachers and dividing students into age groups. They have started marriage, singles, health and wellness, and single parent ministries as well as a bookstore and transportation and child care programs. For more information, visit http:// or call 404288-4452.

Workshops for Christian educators The Ray wraps up backpack drive More than 200 Christian educators are expected on July 31 for the fourth annual Urban Educators Staff Development Conference at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross. The 7:30 a.m.-to-3:30 p.m. professional development conference is sponsored by the Associated Consortium of Christian Educators and Schools. ACCES comprises urban Christian schools and educators in metro Atlanta. The theme is “Reigniting Christian Education – A STEAM Approach.” More than

30 workshops will be conducted in science, technology, energy, arts and mathematics, and they will be led by clergy, Christian school and college educators, topical experts and consultants, and business and corporate representatives. Registration will be accepted on the day of the conference beginning at 7:30 a.m. in Faith Hall. Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church and Christian Academy is at 182 Hunter St. For more information and registration fees, visit or call 404-379-4927 or 404-441-4680.

AME bishop for prayer breakfast AME Bishop Vashti McKenzie will be the featured speaker at Ray of Hope’s Daughters of Destiny Women’s Prayer Breakfast on Aug. 11 at the Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway. Intercession: Touching Heaven … Changing Earth, taken from 2 Chronicles 7:14, begins at 9 a.m. and includes praise, worship, sisterhood and fellowship. Vashti McKenzie McKenzie, who is based in Nashville, Tenn., serves as the 117th bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first elected and consecrated female bishop in the more than 200-year history of the church. She also is the first

woman to become the titular head of the denomination as the president of the Council of Bishops, making her the highest-ranking woman in the predominantly black Methodist denominations. She is the presiding prelate of the 13th Episcopal District, which includes the state of Tennessee and Commonwealth of Kentucky. Her husband, Stan, a former NBA player, serves as supervisor of missions for the 13th Episcopal District. The cost for the prayer breakfast is $30 per person and space is limited. The Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway is at 2020 Convention Center Concourse in Atlanta. Register online at www.rayofhope .org. For more information, call 770-6965100, Ext. 209.

Ray of Hope Christian Church’s monthlong back-to-school supply and backpack drive for underprivileged children wraps up this weekend at the Decatur church. Individuals can fill backpacks with grade-specific school supplies. Lists are available at Barrels are located in the church vestibule through July 29 for donations that will benefit economically disadvantaged children. Contributors also can donate money and gift cards from Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger and/or Publix. The annual backpack drive is a proj-

ect of the church’s Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry. The National Center on Family Homelessness ranks Georgia 47 out of 50 states in child homelessness. In DeKalb County, there are more than 3,000 chronically homeless children attending schools. They live in extended stay hotels/motels, the campaign says. Homeless children face stigmatization, and loss of self-esteem can lead to underachievement or dropping out of school altogether. The church is located at 2778 Snapfinger Road. For more information, visit www.rayof, e-mail or call 770-696-5100, Ext. 209.

Fairfield to launch digital marquee More than 200 people are expected to witness the launch of Fairfield Baptist’s digital marquee on Aug. 4 in Lithonia. The dedication and ribbon-cutting service begins at 10:30 a.m. The church says theirs will be the first digital marquee in the Redan and Lithonia community. After the service, participants will visit and join in with the Twelve Tribes of Israel Tribal Feasts and fun family activities around the church campus. The Twelve Tribes’ experience is a 40-day journey in celebration of Fairfield’s annual homecoming that ends on Aug. 5 at the Sunday

worship service. Tribes are formed using the alphabet of the last names of participants. The theme “Unity and Diversity in One Body” is taken from 1 Corinthians 12. Also on Aug. 5, Fairfield will observe its first new sanctuary anniversary as well as its homecoming and Son’s House Worship Service. Sunday services are 7:30 and 10:45 a.m. Its homecoming revival is Aug. 6-8 beginning at 7 p.m. Fairfield Baptist Church is at 6133 Redan Road. For more information, visit http:// or call 770-4827660.

“The Fire of the Holy Spirit” Prayer and Miracle Service Are you ready to operate in the Power and Anointing of God ? Are you ready for Signs, Wonders, and Miracles? Are you ready to hear the voice of God? Join us on Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. at the Colonnade Room, 8010 Rockbridge Road, Lithonia, GA. Call to register at (678) 580-3310 or register online at

Join us on Sunday, August 5th Changing a Generation

East Location Dedication Service

Your Life Will Never Be The Same!!! Bring a Friend, Co-worker, Pastor, Everyone is Welcome!

“Come on and be a part of the vision”

Bishop Paul S. Morton & Co-Pastor Debra B. Morton

First Afrikan Church is an Afrocentric Christian Ministry that empowers women, men, youth and children to move from membership to leadership in the church, community and the world. Praise & Devotion Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m. Join us for Bible Study Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

5197 Salem Road Lithonia, GA 30038

770-981-2601 “We are building far beyond our years.”

Rev. Dr. Mark A. Lomax

For more information visit

2600 H.F. Shepherd Drive Decatur


Vote 2012


July 28, 2012

“They are willing to gamble to make more money. … That’s why they have given so generously.”

Road construction companies, suppliers help fund war chest T-SPLOST,

from page


Some contributors are among metro Atlanta’s top companies, including Cox Enterprises, the Coca-Cola Co., Georgia Power Co., Delta Air Lines, the Home Depot, AT&T and Turner Broadcasting, but it’s the collective support of the road construction companies, engineering firms, and materials suppliers, who stand to benefit most from the passage of the referendum, that is most impressive. The top donors ranged from the Clear Channel Outdoor’s $295,000 in-kind contributions, the National Association of Realtors’ $276,679 cash and in-kind donations, and Cox Enterprises Inc.’s $250,000 cash donation, to the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s $91,679 cash and in-kind contributions. Clear Channel, which operates billboards across metro Atlanta, donated “bulletin and poster space” to the Untie Atlanta campaign. Cox Enterprises owns the Cox Media Group, whose Atlanta outlets include the JournalConstitution, WSB-TV Channel 2, and five radio stations, including KISS 104.1-FM. Yancey Bros. Co. in Austell, which sells construction machinery and equipment, was the top cash donor with $250,800. John Evans, the DeKalb NAACP’s president, said the disclosures show that the companies who will benefit most if the tax referendum is successful are going for “the big kill.” “They are willing to gamble to make more money,” Evans said. “Most of the funds will be going for paving and road work. That’s why they have given so generously.” C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Georgia’s largest road builder, was the sixth largest donor to the campaign with $200,000. To back its investment, company President Bill Hammack posted a video on the Marietta-based company’s Web site exhorting its 2,000 employees to support the referendum to help them Bill Hammack survive this lingering long-term recession. “This 1-cent sales [tax] will generate in excess of $10 billion over the 10-year life of the program and will double

of dollars in road contracts since the 1960s from the state. “Therefore, please plan to vote yes on July 31 for a brighter future for Georgia, your company and your family.” Through July 23, Citizens for Transportation Mobility, which The tax, if successful, is expected to generate $8.5 billion operates the Untie Atlanta Campaign, reports total cash and in-kind – not $10 billion – for 157 road and transit projects in the donations totaling $6.5 million. 10-county metro Atlanta area. It reported 685 contributions, and 25 of them accounted for There is no opt out for counties, and if the referendum 58.2 percent of the total. passes metro-wide, everyone must pay the tax. Companies standing to benefit directly from the passage of Opponents of the referendum argue that too much of the penny sales tax to fund $8.5 billion in road and transit projects the funds is earmarked for road projects rather than transit; contributed more than $1.2 million. that a second penny tax is unfair to residents of DeKalb and Fulton counties who already pay a penny sales tax to support Contributor Amount MARTA; and that the tax, which will be levied on groceries, Clear Channel Outdoor (in-kind) $295,000.00 is regressive because it will disproportionately impact the National Association of Realtors (cash and in-kind) $281,000.00 region’s poorest residents. Yancey Bros. Co. $250,800.00 Many DeKalb voters also oppose it because it excludes Cox Enterprises Inc. $250,000.00 the long-awaited I-20 rail to Stonecrest and does not set up Georgia Highway Contractors Association Inc. $250,000.00 a governance structure, which leaves voters unclear about Georgia Power Co. $250,000.00 who will make spending decisions and who will get contracts C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc. $200,000.00 and jobs. The Coca-Cola Co. $187,500.00 Stockert calls the group’s war chest “an unprecedented Delta Air Lines Inc. $150,000.00 effort” to run a campaign against all the prevailing winds The Home Depot USA Inc. $150,000.00 that are out there. “The key message should be this – businesses and citizens Vulcan Materials Co. $105,000.00 are so sick of traffic in Atlanta they are willing to put their AGL Resources (Cash & In-Kind) $100,746.33 money on the line to support a solid plan that creates jobs AT&T $100,000.00 and reduces congestion,” he said. Carlyle Fraser Empl. Benefit Fund $100,000.00 But Evans, the DeKalb NAACP president, sees it differCousins Properties Inc. $100,000.00 ently. ICE $100,000.00 He said minorities, who lack deep pockets, will get nothJamestown $100,000.00 ing if it’s not written down. Newell Rubbermaid $100,000.00 “These folks are planning to make money and we are not Post Apartment Homes $100,000.00 included,” he said. RockTenn $100,000.00 Voters can expect the onslaught of advertising to conSiemens $100,000.00 tinue through election day. SunTrust Banks Inc. $100,000.00 In recent weeks, it has bombarded voters with television, radio and Web ads urging them to vote for the controversial Turner Broadcasting System Inc. $100,000.00 referendum. UPS $100,000.00 As of July 16, Citizens for Transportation Mobility said Metro Atlanta Chamber * ($25,000 cash, rest in-kind) $91,679.70 it had more than $1.1 million on hand “for direct voter outTotal $3,761,726.03 reach during the last two weeks before the vote.” “Voters will continue to see messages from Untie Atthe amount of transportation funds available for new transpor- lanta on broadcast television and radio, billboards, mailers tation, generate over 200,000 new jobs and greatly benefit all and person-to-person outreach through Election Day,” the of Georgia,” said Hammack, whose company has won billions group’s June 23 statement said.

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July 28, 2012

Family & Back-to School Expo August 4, 2012 July 28, 2012

Section B

Embrace the Fun, Get the Info

Information, Performances, Fashion Show, Prizes Don’t miss the fun on August 4 at the Mall at Stonecrest Lower Level, Noon to 5 p.m.




July 28, 2012

Visit at least 20 Familiy and Back to School exhibitors during the expo and enter to win $250 Mall at Stonecrest Giftcard

“East Metro Atlanta’s Weekly Newspaper” 2346 Candler Road Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888

Aug. 4, 2012 - Noon to 5 p.m. • The Main Stage in front of Sears Lower Level, The Mall at Stonecrest

The 2012 Family & Back-toSchool Expo Special Section is a publication of CrossRoadsNews Inc. Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphics Editor Curtis Parker Reporters Jennifer Ffrench Parker Donna Williams Lewis Proofreader Brenda Camp Yarbrough


Pajanimals Live

Emcees Rae Clark, Pamela Holmes

12:30 p.m. Rae Rae, Shaniah, & Vanice Walker 1 p.m.

2 p.m.

3 p.m.

Healthy School Lunch Demos with Life Chef Asata Reid

1:45 p.m. DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston

2:45 p.m. The Nation of Islam Youth Drill Team Macy’s Back-to-School Fashion Show

3:30 p.m. Beulah Boys 4 p.m. Pajanimals Live Pamela Holmes

Rae Rae Clark

Pajanimals Live

4:30 p.m. Conservatory of Dance 5 p.m.

2:30 p.m. Sh’Boss Boys

Grand Prize Drawing Expo ends!

Sales Kathy Warner © 2012 CrossRoadsNews, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reprinted without written permission of the publisher.

Circulation Audit by

The Nation of Islam Youth Drill Team

Sh’Boss Boys

2012 Family & Back-to-School Expo Grand Prize Entry Form Visit at least 20 of these exhibitors* at the Mall at Stonecrest on Aug. 4 and enter to win a $250 Mall at Stonecrest Gift Card.

_____ Aflac - Pamela Holmes

_____ Faith Community Christian Academy

_____ Oakhurst Medical Centers

_____ Amerigroup

_____ Forever Pink Foundation

_____ Optimal Health & Wellness

_____ Big Thinkers Science Exploration

_____ Georgia Perimeter College

_____ Organic Root Stimulator

_____ Compassionate Nurses

_____ Green Pastures Christian Ministries

_____ Organizing for America

_____ Craig B. Williams DDS

_____ Greenforest McCalep Christian Academic

_____ Sparks Christian Academy

_____ CrossRoadsNews

_____ Kaiser Permanente

_____ Sykes Tutoring Services

_____ DeKalb County Board of Health

_____ Kingdom Covenant Leadership Institute

_____ Walgreens

_____ DeKalb County Solicitor-General’s Office

_____ Neighbor to Family

_____ WellCare of Georgia

_____ Excellent Montessori

_____ Newburn Reynolds Photography

Name ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________City _______________________________________ St: ______ Zip: ___________ Email ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Home phone: _________________________________________________ Cell phone: ____________________________________________________ *Exhibitors must write their validation code on your entry form. Your name, address and a telephone number are required to win. Employees and immediate family members of CrossRoadsNews and the Mall at Stonecrest are not eligible for awards. Must be 18 years or older to win. Must be present at the drawing to win.



July 28, 2012


The colorful puppets will appear in half-hour shows at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the Main Stage in front of Sears.

Colorful, cuddly ‘Pajanimals’ to entertain young ones Sweetpea Sue, Squacky, CowBella and Apollo are coming to town. “Jim Henson’s Pajanimals” will appear live on stage at the Mall at Stonecrest on Aug. 4 during the CrossRoadsNews 2012 Family & Back-to-School Expo. The colorful puppets will appear in halfhour shows at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the Main Stage in front of Sears. Parents should bring their cameras to capture the fun. The annual expo takes place from noon to 5 p.m. on the lower level and includes performances, healthy food demos, free health screenings and immunizations. The Pajanimals’ imaginary bedtime journeys resolve challenges like brushing teeth, friendship and sharing, typically encountered during every preschooler’s day. “Pajanimals” debuted as a full-length series in October 2011 on PBS Kids Sprout and also appears on NBC Kids! It is co-produced by Sprout, the Jim Henson Co., and Northern Ireland’s Sixteen South Television. The show features: Sweetpea Sue, a pink and orange pony with a Southern accent. She makes sure she brushes her big bucked teeth and washes her hooves before she goes to sleep each night. Squacky, a very excitable blue and yellow duck. He loves to play practical jokes and to read. CowBella, a pink, purple and white cow. She is well-mannered and very neat and

The “Jim Henson’s Pajanimals” characters resolve challenges like brushing teeth, friendship and sharing that preschoolers encounter.

organized. She loves elegance, loves to play dress-up and puts bows on her horns. Apollo, a purple and lime green dog. He is the leader of the bunch and loves everything to do with space. He finds any excuse he can to avoid going to bed. The show includes characters the Pajanimals turn to when they don’t know what to

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do, and there’s always something. In one episode, Squacky doesn’t know what to snuggle with when his blankie is in the wash. In other episodes, CowBella is afraid to go to sleep because she’s afraid she’ll have a nightmare. Sweetpea Sue is worried that her birthday party won’t be a success. Apollo is disappointed that he keeps losing

every race. The Pajanimals were designed and built by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop from original concepts by Los Angeles-based toy and clothing designer and artist Jeff Muncy. The Mall at Stonecrest is at I-20 and Turner Hill Road. For more information, call 404-284-1888.

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July 28, 2012

“You gotta move or you’ll lose. If you don’t do anything with [your body], it won’t do anything for you.”

Fitness mavens, young singer to get crowd moving in style By Donna Williams Lewis

Get ready to “hustle it up” on Aug. 4 at CrossRoadsNews’ Back-to-School Expo. Exercise motivator Rae Rae FreemanClark will be joined by soul line dancer Vanice Walker and little local singing sensation Shaniah Jones for an energetic good time. They will be on the Main Stage near Sears on the mall’s lower level at 12:30 p.m. Freeman-Clark said she will do her own “Sassy Classy” hustle. Walker will show off some line dancing, and Shaniah will perform her hit song “Tutus and Tennis Shoes.” Just under 6 feet tall, Freeman-Clark reached a weight of 300 pounds during her child-bearing years, but today at age 49, she is about half that weight. The svelte fitness instructor does exercise warm-ups and classes for conferences and programs across metro Atlanta. She wants her session at the expo to get people young and old excited about moving. “I say let’s hustle it up. Let’s get busy!” she said. Shaniah is a pretty busy rising third-grader at Atlanta’s Benteen Elementary School. Girls across the world are sharing their own versions of the 8-year-old’s song “Tutus and Tennis Shoes.” Her mother and manager, Cherlon Jones of southeast Atlanta, said Shaniah is an excellent reader with an exceptional memory. “She’s a natural and such a professional at her young age, and she’s still a kid at the same time,” Jones said. “She might be timid Shaniah has her own line dance for kids and humble and laid-back in person, but called the “Kiddie Shuffle.” when she gets behind the mike she’s a whole Two years ago, she was a finalist on Q different person. It’s like lights, camera, ac- 100s’ The Bert Show - “Bert’s Big Break,” and tion. She’s on!” recently performed her “Tutus and Tennis

Shaniah Jones, 8, a rising third-grader at Atlanta’s Benteen Elementary School, will perform her hit song “Tutus and Tennis Shoes.”

Rae Rae’s Cardio Commitment Campaign Freeman-Clark shares her four-step fitness program: n Start your day by drinking water. n Follow that by eating fruit. n Eat salad as a meal four times a week, twice for lunch and twice for dinner. n Exercise for a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes at least two to three times each week.

Find Shaniah:

Shoes” on Fox 5 Atlanta. She has performed at schools, charity events and birthday parties. Walker, 52, has been teaching soul line dance for several years as the founder of

“Watch My Feet.” She can teach the steps to about 150 line dances and choreographs her own steps. Walker had to get two artificial discs after falling on her FedEx job in 2007, but the injury could not stop her. She dances for therapy and does lots of stretching. “You gotta move or you’ll lose,” Walker said. “If you don’t do anything with [your body], it won’t do anything for you.” The Decatur grandmother leads line dancing at family reunions and parties and three times a week at 8 p.m. at the following locations: n Tuesdays: Central Park Bistro, 5231 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain. n Wednesdays: V&J’s Sports Bar and Grill, 1917 Pryor Road, Atlanta. n Thursdays: Bigelow’s Sports Bar and Brill, 2564 Gresham Road, Atlanta.

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July 28, 2012






July 28, 2012

Each year, the DeKalb School System refers 700 cases of alleged educational neglect to the solicitor general.

For a better future, keep our kids in school and out of trouble By Sherry Boston

DeKalb County children should have every opportunity possible to learn and grow so they can build a better future for themselves and, in taking a larger view, build a better future for our county and state. After all, education is powerful. It can energize, enlighten and, quite simply, lead to better jobs. That’s why education is one of my four key goals for DeKalb County: Keep our kids in school and out of trouble; keep our community safe; improve our quality of life; and protect the vulnerable. State law in Georgia requires that all children between the ages of 6 and 16 attend school. Any parent or guardian found to be violating the compulsory attendance law shall be guilty of educational neglect, a misdemeanor offense, and can face stiff penalties, for each day that a child has more than five unexcused absences, according to the law. These unexcused absences can include oversleeping, not feeling like going to school, staying home to work or baby-sit, or keeping a lonely parent company. Individuals convicted of violating the state law can be fined, sentenced to 30 days in jail, and ordered to perform community service. Each year, the DeKalb School System refers roughly 700 cases of alleged educational neglect to the Solicitor General’s Office. Some children have missed more than 40 days of school in just a six-month time period. In talking with families, the SolicitorGeneral’s Office has found that sometimes parents keep kids home from school because they don’t realize that there are resources available to help solve problems a child may be having – whether it is due to a learning disability, bullying, or transportation issues caused by homelessness. These absences are preventable because the schools can provide resources to help parents and guardians cope with these problems. Jailing parents is the last resort The Office of the Solicitor General works with a team of school administrators and education experts to provide support and resolve attendance issues before they rise to the level of prosecution of parents or guardians. The solicitor general offers parents and guardians whose children are chronically absent an opportunity to complete a diversion program called the Attendance Review Team, which requires parents and guard-

Education for the common good

DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston says education is one of her four key goals, which include keeping the community safe, improving quality of life, and protecting the vulnerable.

Tips for a successful school year n Send your child to school every day school is open – except when he or she is sick. n Wake your child up early enough so he or she can get to school on time, even if that means 15 or 30 minutes earlier than he or she used to wake up. n Encourage your child to eat a good breakfast every morning; try not to let him or her skip breakfast. n Pack healthy snacks and lunches that will maintain their energy and help with learning. n Talk with your child about their school day. Ask what was the best and worst part of the day. n See if your child needs help with his/her homework and make sure it’s completed each night. n School officials can be great problem solvers. Contact your school if you think your child has a learning disability, is being bullied, has transportation or attendance issues due to homelessness, or needs other support. n Create a study routine for your child. A good rule of thumb is to have your child do his or her homework right when he or she gets home from school. n Have your child prepare for school each night: Pick out clothes or uniforms, socks, shoes, place homework assignments in book bags, etc. n Be sure your child gets a good night’s sleep.

ians to sign a contract agreeing that their month for a specific period of time. Failure child will have no unexcused absences and to complete these conditions may result in that they will meet with the child’s teacher, criminal prosecution. counselor, or social worker at least once a

We believe that education is a building block for a good quality of life, that we all win when a child succeeds in school, and that our county’s success tomorrow depends on how well we educate our children today. We believe that every child deserves an education, a great school and great teachers. We believe it also takes strong families, a stable home life and good health. We believe that high school dropouts are years in the making, and that early intervention is the key to success. Our vision is that every child will enter school ready to learn, read proficiently by 4th grade, make a successful transition to middle school, and graduate from high school on time. We believe in the power of parents, teachers, students, companies, elected officials, law enforcement and members of the community, working together for the common good. I pledge to strive for perfect school attendance. I pledge to support the United Way’s Campaign for the Common Good and help cut the high school dropout rate in half by 2018.

Education matters Nearly one-half of all high-school dropouts ages 16-24 are unemployed. High school dropouts earn an average of $270,000 less than graduates over the course of their lives. For Georgians, this represents a $7.3 billion loss in earning potential. Many social issues can be linked to educational neglect: Dropouts are six times more likely to be unwed parents and they are 7.5 times more likely to be dependent on welfare. Truancy is the No. 1 predictor among boys and the No. 2 predictor among girls for future criminal activity. In Georgia, 88 percent of all prison inmates are high school dropouts. And 90 percent of the inmates in the DeKalb County Jail never obtained their high school diploma.


770-736-8938 1 8 2 8 S t e p h e n s o n Ro a d Lithonia, GA 30058



July 28, 2012


“Mr. Nick said he almost forgot their steps because Benjamin was out there doing their dances.”

Lil’ Beulah Boy joins DeKalb’s senior line dance phenoms By Donna Williams Lewis

The high-stepping, booty-shaking Beulah Boys are used to wowing audiences across Atlanta, but an Aug. 4, they have a little something extra for the CrossRoadsNews Family & Back-to-School Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest. The group of eight dancers, ranging in age from 57 to 72, will be joined by 7-year-old Benjamin Ravenel, a kid who literally danced his way into the band. “Y’all gonna love Benjamin!” said the group’s spokesman, Nick Bowers. “He’s good. When we brought him to practice, he caught onto it instantly.” The group was performing at the Best of Small Business Expo in April when Benjamin began following along. His mother, Debra Ravenel, said he just started dancing, doing their moves. “Mr. Nick said he almost forgot their steps because Benjamin was out there doing their dances,” she said. When the performance ended, Benjamin took pictures with the Beulah Boys and then wandered off with his mother through the expo’s exhibition tables. They were headed back toward the stage to catch the expo’s final prize drawing when a woman they’d been standing near earlier came rushing toward them. “They’re looking for you!” she said. “They want your son to dance with them!” She handed Ravenel a business card the Beulah Boys had given her. What happened next was a match made in Western heaven. Ravenel said her son has been dressing up like a cowboy since he was 2 years old. So all Benjamin needed to look like a Beulah Boy was a matching shirt. Now a Lil’ Beulah Boy, he will join the men, some of whom are old enough to be his grandfather, on the Main Stage in front of Sears during the expo at 3:30 p.m. The dancers will wear their trademark black cowboy hats, black jeans and black boots. And so will Benjamin, who’s looking forward to his third performance as a Beulah Boy. “Because I dance pretty well,” he said. Benjamin is headed to the second grade at Lithonia’s E.L. Bouie Elementary School where he’s on the Principal’s

Benjamin Ravenel, 7, is the newest Beulah Boy. He will perform with the line dancing group at 3:30 p.m. on the Main Stage near Sears on the mall’s lower level.

List. His mother calls him a great kid. “He’s an ambitious fellow,” she said. “He likes to play, but he’s not just all play. He likes to think about his future.” She says that he always talks about the movies and what he wants to do. “He draws pictures and makes cards. He works on little books. He makes robots out of toilet paper rolls,” she said. “He doesn’t want to miss Sunday school and he likes to go to Bible study.” When he grows up, Benjamin said, he wants to be a dancer and a doctor. And, he said, “I want people to be happy.” The Beulah Boys now plan to recruit other young boys for their group. Bowers’ grandson, 6-year-old Kenton Bowers, is rehearsing to become one of them. Kenton isn’t ready to join the group on stage just yet but he will be dressed up like the group for a “guest appearance.” The Beulah Boys recently won DeKalb County’s Senior Line Dance Competition for the second time in a row and are now performing every weekend. “There’s no type of dancing we don’t do, but we don’t do anything raunchy,” Bowers said. In May, they performed at an Alabama Connection scholarship dinner and dance in Cincinnati. On Thursday, they were at Atlanta City Hall for a celebration of the July 26, 1990, passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. They perform at senior centers, schools, community events and churches and are booked up for two months. They have three events scheduled on the day of CrossRoadsNews’ Expo, including a black-tie event at the Atlanta Hilton in Buckhead. These guys make sure their bodies are up to the challenge. Every weekday, Monday through Friday, they hit the Beulah Missionary Baptist Church gym at 6:30 a.m. for a workout. At 8 a.m. they start their one-hour dance rehearsal. How do they do it? “God is good,” Bowers said. “That’s all I can say.” For more information, call Nick Bowers at 404-3100067.

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July 28, 2012

“Anything there’s a vaccine for is usually a pretty bad illness to get, and we generally do not have cures for them.”

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Kaiser Permanent and Compassionate Nurses will offer blood pressure screenings. Compassionae Nurses will also offer tips on holistic treatment of stress and other rissues.

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Oakhurst Medical Centers, Inc. will provide a “limited number” of free immunizations to school-age children at the CrossRoadsNews Back-to-School Expo on Aug. 4 at the Mall at Stonecrest.. “We plan to serve from 25 to 65, depending on our manpower for that day,” said Tarri Johnson, coordinator of research and collaborative services. Children must have their shot records with them, and kids who are immunized at the Expo will get free backpacks packed with school supplies, while they last. Free hearing and vision screenings will also be provided by Oakhurst physicians. Dr. Shaveanda Queen, a pediatrician at Oakhurst Medical’s Decatur location , will process immunization s and greet families. She talked about the significance of the shots. “Anything there’s a vaccine for is usually a pretty bad illness to get, and we generally do not have cures for them,” she said. She tells kids: “It’s a little hurt to prevent a big sickness.” She reminds families about the importance of handwashing and staying home from school when a child is sick with fever until the fever has been gone for 24 hours.

“That reduces their ability to spread sickness,” Dr. Queen said. People who miss out on Oakhurst’s immunizations at Stonecrest can try to get them the same day at Oakhurst Medical Center’s main office, 770 Village Square Drive in Stone Mountain. The health provider will hold its own Back to School Health & Wellness Family Fun Day Aug. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The immunizations given there will also be free and available while they last. Immunization records are required there as well.

Other screenings Kaiser Permanente will do blood pressure screenings. Compassionate Nurses will offer blood pressure screenings and tips on natural holistic treatments for stress and other issues.

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July 28, 2012


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July 28, 2012

“It is a little glitz and glam, but it’s like a fairy tale, honestly.” The Forever Pink Foundation will be recruiting high school girls for its 28th debutante cotillion.

Young ladies sought for debutante cotillion By Donna Williams Lewis The rap trio the SH’Boss Boys will perform at the Aug. 4 expo at Stonecrest. They appeared on “America’s Got Talent.”

SH’Boss Boys to rap at back-to-school expo

A year ago, the SH’Boss Boys were seducing the judges and audiences on “America’s Got Talent.” On Aug. 4, they will be wading into the hearts of expo-goers at the CrossRoadsNews 2012 Family & Backto-School Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest. The rap trio of Javan Jr., 7, also known as Captain SH’Boss and Young J; Tobias, 8, also known as Senior SH’Boss; and Joshua, 6, also known as Junior SH’Boss and Lil Josh; will be on stage at 2:33 p.m. Young J is responsible for the SH’Boss Boys becoming a group. At the age of 4, he read a poem written by his aunt and put his own rap twist to it. He told her he wanted to act and rap. She added two more boys and with their positive lyrics and commanding stage presence, the boys were well on their way to stardom. Since 2010, they have performed more than 100 times at festivals, birthday parties, and talent shows. They will be showing their moves from the Main Stage near Sears on the mall’s lower level. They are the 2012 winners of Maury’s Mini Idol competition. The Youtube video of their “America’s Got Talent” appearance has more than 4 million views.

Long white gloves. Lavish white gowns. Tuxedoed escorts. A waltz. The Debutante Cotillion, a truly old-school event that historically presented young ladies to “polite society,” is still going strong in some circles. One of those circles is DeKalb County’s Lambda Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The chapter’s 330-plus members are recruiting high school girls now for their 28th Debutante Cotillion. Information about the Cotillion and the six-month grooming program that precedes it will be distributed during the CrossRoadsNews Aug. 4 Family & Back to School Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest. The noon to 5 p.m. expo takes place on the lower level of the Lithonia mall. Deloris Birch, 2012-2013 Cotillion General Chairman, said debutantes and their escorts will meet at least once monthly for programs and weekly for dance classes beginning in January. “To see how they grow during that time and to just listen to them, it is amazing,” Birch said. The students participate in arts, social etiquette, community service and college prep activities designed to help broaden their perspectives and prepare them for life, she said. They also compete for awards and scholarships. The Debutante Cotillion is the signature event of the Forever Pink Foundation, a nonprofit community service affiliate of the Lambda Epsilon Omega Chapter. High school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors from any school in metro Atlanta are invited to apply to the


Debutante Cotillion Community Service Program. Freshmen and sophomores are invited to apply to be hostesses. The program culminates with the formal “Prevue of Celestial Pearls”28th Debutante Cotillion in March 2013. Taylor Harris, a 2012 Chamblee High School graduate, is the chapter’s current “Miss Debutante.” Harris said 75 percent of the $17,000 she raised to win that honor goes back to her as a scholarship to her school of choice, Florida A&M University, where she plans to major in occupational therapy. Her fellow debutantes, whom she called “awesome,” elected her their president early on in the program. “It was really great and humbling to see that people saw leadership in me,” she said. Some of her acquaintances told her the cotillion seemed “kind of fake” to them. “It is a little glitz and glam, but it’s like a fairy tale, honestly,” Harris said. Harris said the program helped her grow socially through the new friends she met, the volunteer work, dance rehearsals and showcases where the debutantes were presented. At an etiquette workshop, “I learned how to eat at a table with influential people, how to take bread from a basket, “she said. “We learned how jewelry pieces can say things you don’t want them to say, and about the right amount of cleavage.” She said the program had “just about the right amount” of female interaction. Debutantes pay a registration fee; and must raise a minimum of $750 to be presented at the Cotillion. Applications can be obtained at the Expo or by visiting www.

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July 28, 2012




“I’ve made a discussion at our house around food. A lot of edible stuff at the grocery store is just not food.”

Healthy, balanced snacking, a good recipe for success By Donna Williams Lewis

When your kid needs a snack, don’t reach for a bag of chips, some cookies or a candy bar, says Life Chef Asata Reid. “Change the vocabulary,” she said. “That’s not a snack. It’s junk.” The popular food guru will share her tips on healthy, balanced snacking at the CrossRoadsNews’ Aug. 4 Family & Back-to-School Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest. Reid takes the stage at 1 p.m. on the main stage in front of Sears. “I like to drive home how we make snacks – that we’re making small plates based off as many food groups as possible. Crackers and cheese, that’s not a snack. It’s a carb, loaded with salt, fat, artificial colors and preservatives. “Don’t think Snickers. Don’t think Twix,” she said. “Think whole-wheat crackers and grapes.” And when you’ve got your snack act together, put those little goodies right on “kid level” in the fridge, Reid says. That way they can see and reach what you want them to have: sliced fruit, washed fruit, low-fat string cheese, yogurt, carrot sticks, hummus. Her No. 1 tip for parents: “If you don’t want them to eat it, don’t buy it. That causes battles.” The East Atlanta mother practices what she preaches with her two boys, ages 7 and 2 1/2. “I’ve made a discussion at our house around food,” Reid said. “A lot of edible stuff at the grocery store is just not food.” An example: frozen meals. To Reid, frozen meals are worthless because they lost nutrients when they were precooked, lost more when they were frozen, and even more when they passed through the microwave. “That’s kind of the nail in the coffin,” she said. “If there were anything nutritionally viable left, you just nuked it. Just take 10 minutes and cook yourself something.” Teaching people to cook is Reid’s passion. She demonstrates dishes and shares her knowledge at the Sevananda Natural Foods Market, a food co-op in Little Five Points at 467 Moreland Ave. Reid’s classes are at noon

Nutritious combos

Asata Reid will share her tips on healthy, balanced snacking. She said snacks should be placed at “kid level” in the fridge.

on second Saturdays monthly, except in August. The class costs $15 for Sevananda members and $20 for visitors. She also conducts demonstrations at churches and community organizations and does one-hour lunch-and-learn sessions at a number of Atlanta companies. Reid goes by the moniker “Life Chef ” because she teaches people to have healthy relationships with food and to let food fit their lifestyles. She has been a chef at the Dish Restaurant, the Food Studio and Nikolai’s Roof, and the vegan restaurant Lush. She also has catered through Bold American Catering and

When snacking, try to pull in something from each of the main food groups: fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy, says Life Chef Asata Reid. Here are some of her snack suggestions: Multigrain Cheerios + yogurt-covered raisins + toasted pumpkin seeds Veggie chips/straws + wasabi peas + sesame sticks + shredded coconut Popcorn + banana chips + peanut butter chips (or peanuts) + dark chocolate chips Banana chips + almonds + dark chocolate nibs + dried cherries Rice crackers + garden veggie cream cheese + sliced turkey Apple slices + peanut butter + Craisins Carrot/celery sticks + hummus + multigrain crackers Low-fat cheese + multigrain crackers + cherry tomatoes Whole-wheat mini pitas + hummus + olives & grape tomatoes Multigrain crackers + marscapone cheese + grapes + honey Whole-wheat tortilla + peanut butter + banana + agave nectar Whole-wheat tortilla + low-fat cheese + turkey breast + spinach

has worked as a private chef with an upscale staffing company for private estates in Atlanta. Reid teaches at the Viking Cooking School in Buckhead. She also works with families who want to eat better and people with health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancers and obesity.

Follow the Life Chef Chef Asata Reid can be found on Facebook and Twitter. You also can reach her at 404-95D’LISH (404-953-5474). For classes and recipes visit; for videos, www.

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July 28, 2012

CrossRoadsNews, July 28, 2012  

CrossRoadsNews, July 28, 2012