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Weathering the storm

Call for unity in DeKalb

Toni Furman is getting assistance from the Occupy Atlanta group in her efforts to reclaim her Lithonia home, which she says was improperly foreclosed upon. 2

Residents are encouraged to prepare their emergency plans as the first named storm of 2013 makes its way up the East Coast. 7

Buck Godfrey, the winningest high school football coach in DeKalb history, urged an end to the north-south divisions plaguing the county. 9

Fighting for her home



Copyright © 2013 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

June 8, 2013

Volume 19, Number 6

Ga. Supreme Court hears arguments in School Board removals By Ken Watts

ernor the power to remove school board members violate the Georgia Constitution’s Ousted former DeKalb doctrine that school systems are governed School Board Chairman by local boards whose members are elected? Eugene Walker had his And does it exceed the General Assemlong-awaited hearing on bly’s authority to enact laws about school June 3 before the Georgia boards? Supreme Court in his Walker’s attorney Thomas Cox argued challenge to the constituyes. tionality of the state law Eugene Walker He told the seven justices that amended used by Gov. Nathan Deal to remove him state law 20-2-73 violates the Georgia and five other School Board members from Constitution, and since being placed on acoffice in February. creditation probation could not possibly be Walker filed suit that month challenging “deemed a qualification for holding office,” the 2011 Georgia law. then it cannot be a constitutionally valid The two-part question before the state’s highest court: Does the law giving the gov- Please see HEARING, page 5

Georgia’s high court justices are hearing Dr. Eugene Walker’s challenge to a state law used by Gov. Nathan Deal to remove six members of the DeKalb School Board.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Proposed opportunity zones irritate some Proponents extol benefits as ‘slum’ sets off firestorm By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

The DeKalb County Commission’s approval of 15 new opportunity zones to lure new businesses and encourage existing business to expand in South DeKalb and other unincorporated areas has set off a firestorm of protests from residents. Since the board voted May 28 to seek opportunity zone designation from the state for Bouldercrest, Panthersville, Wesley Chapel, Snapfinger Woods, Lithonia Industrial, Stonecrest, Tilson, Rock Mountain, Royal Atlanta, Stone Mountain, I-85, Kensington, Zonolite, Montreal Industrial and Ponce de Leon, angry residents have been circulating e-mails and calling the media to complain. The incentive gives employers who locate or create two or more new jobs $3,500 per job in state tax credits for up to five years or as long as the jobs are maintained. But to qualify for the Opportunity Zone Job Tax Credit Program, established in 2004, the county had to declare each of the targeted areas that has a 15 percent or greater poverty rate “a slum.” Dr. Kathryn Rice of Building Quality Communities says the broad stroke designation unfairly labels most of South DeKalb. “There is a better way to attract businesses and stimulate job growth, beginning with Community Improvement Districts,” said Rice, who lives in Hidden Hills in Stone Mountain. One caller to CrossRoadsNews wanted to tell the commissioners a thing or two. “I feel like I should go to the Maloof Auditorium and post a sign that says, ‘If south DeKalb County is a slum, members of the Board of Commissioners are slumlords,’ ” the caller said. But county officials say residents should

Proposed opportunity zones DeKalb County is seeking approval from the state to designate 15 unincorporated areas opportunity zones. If approved, new and existing businesses that create two or more new permanent full-time jobs paying $22,620 or more a year can qualify for $3,500 a year in state tax credits per job for up to five years if they maintain those jobs.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to attract business,” said Morris, a 35-year DeKalb employee. “The benefits far exceed the red tape.” Johnson said the county doesn’t like that the law uses the word slum and they have asked state Rep. Pamela Stephenson to sponsor an amendment in the General Assembly’s next session to remove outLarry Johnson dated language. “We believe in the economic opportunity,” he said. “Don’t get hung up on the criteria. Look at the benefits. It’s a tool that we have.” The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce passed a May 22 resolution supporting opportunity zones ahead of the BOC vote. The resolution signed by Chamber Chairman Arnie Silverman said the expansion of the Urban Redevelopment Area and the establishment of opportunity zones within DeKalb will further efforts in the recruitment and generation of jobs and investment. “This is an important tool to effectively compete with surrounding counties like Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, and others across the state to attract new business and to increase the level of employment for its citizens,” he said in an op-ed piece to CrossRoadsNews. The BOC’s approval clears the way for the county to apply to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs by June 30. The state takes 45-60 days to review applications. Morris said the Opportunity Zone Program is another economic development tool like the DeKalb Regional Land Bank, Brownfields Program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Community Development Block Grants, Enterprise Zones, Tax Allocation and Community Improvement Districts. “We have revitalization plans,” she said. “We have redevelopment plans. A lot of times, if you don’t have the tools to make things happen, nothing happens.

tage of, to make sure we not now dwell on the arcane language of the create jobs.” 1955 Georgia Urban Redevelopment Act. Chris Morris, the District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson, county’s Community who represents some of the areas targeted Development director, for opportunity zones, said that only some said the Opportunity parcels in the area qualify. Zone Job Tax Credit “It’s not the entire area,” Johnson said. Program is one more “There are certain parcels. You can’t take tool that the county is one word and castigate the whole thing. using in a comprehenWe would not make our entire community Chris Morris a slum. We want to take advantage of what sive approach to address blighted areas, forePlease see ZONES, page 6 Alpharetta, Duluth, Hartsfield all take advan- closed properties and underdevelopment.




June 8, 2013

“We believe housing is a human right. … This is not just Toni’s story. This is about a lot of people who are still struggling.”

Lithonia woman fighting eviction from home of 23 years By Ken Watts

Toni Furman was in her Lithonia home on May 7 when she heard someone breaking down her door. “They kicked the back door in,” she said. “I was in an upstairs bedroom trying to call for help and they told me to drop everything and show my hands.” “They” were the six DeKalb Sheriff ’s deputies who evicted her from the home on Stoneleigh Hill Road where she had lived for more than 20 years. “They ordered me to get my clothes on and to leave,” said the substitute high school science teacher. “And they started to take my things out into the street.” Furman said the eviction capped a fiveyear foreclosure fight with Cenlar Mortgage, a Ewing, N.J., loan servicing company. Furman contends that the company illegally evicted her. “In addition to the unlawful eviction document, the company used an old deed in the foreclosure and eviction process with the names of the home’s original owners, but not my name,” she said. Furman’s mortgage troubles began with the collapse of her marriage and divorce in 2008. She told a gathering of her neighbors on May 29 at the Willie Watkins Special Event Center on Redan Road that she and her exhusband had shared the house for 18 years. The court awarded the house to Furman, but with the divorce and legal fees she began to fall behind on the mortgage. She said she was on the phone with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network asking for advice when the deputies descended on her two-story, four-bedroom house. “I asked the deputies, ‘Do you have the

Toni Furman, shown outside her home on Stoneleigh Hill Road in Lithonia after her May 7 eviction, says Cenlar Mortgage illegally evicted her.

eviction papers?’ ” she said. “They told me they didn’t, but I kept asking. Finally, about an hour into the eviction one of the deputies handed me the papers. My name was nowhere on the document, which means they were conducting a wrongful eviction.” Furman said she applied for a loan modification and took on extra work to afford the monthly note, but without her ex-husband’s signature, the application was rejected. She said she continued to make payments but sometimes could only come up with part of the amount due. She managed to stop several foreclosure attempts with the help of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, and several community groups.

Furman believes Cenlar was eager to grab the property because the house has about $100,000 in equity, which makes it a rare and attractive find for anyone planning to sell it quickly. In addition to the faulty eviction papers, she claims the company used a procedural maneuver. “Cenlar strategically foreclosed on the wrong deed, making it difficult to stop the process,” Furman said. “Many lawyers told me it was a wrongful foreclosure, but I didn’t have any money for legal fees.” She told the meeting that she is determined to reclaim her home and is getting help in her fight from the Occupy Our Homes Atlanta movement, a group known for its persistent and sometimes dramatic tactics in getting evicted residents back into their homes. Tim Franzen, the group’s spokesman, said that they are developing a leaflet that educates people in the neighborhood about Furman’s struggle and building a strong base of support for her. “Then we’ll decide our next step,” he said after the meeting. “Bottom line, we believe housing is a huTim Franzen man right.” Occupy backs up its principles with nonviolent direct action in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. The group has staged several marches in the metro area in which demon-

strators reopened foreclosed homes, allowing evicted owners to reoccupy the properties. The group says there are six vacant homes for every homeless person in metro Atlanta. Franzen would not disclose the action it will use in Furman’s case but says they believe in taking a stand. “Most times we win, other times we don’t.” Franzen praised Furman for her willingness to discuss her case publicly. “We live in a culture of shame when it comes to foreclosures and evictions,” he said. “This is something that thousands of people in the metro area have struggled with silently and not talked about it. Often when we canvass neighborhoods, we find that there’s five or six people in a very small area on one street that are going through it but are too ashamed to talk about it, all the way up to the time the sheriff is knocking on the door. That has to change.” Franzen acknowledges national and local statistics that show foreclosures leveling off or even declining. The DeKalb Foreclosure Registry shows 718 foreclosures in April compared with 1,290 in the same month in 2012. DeKalb is still ranked third in Georgia in the number of foreclosures behind Gwinnett and Fulton. Between January and April this year, 3,300 foreclosures were filed in DeKalb. “This is not just Toni’s story,” Franzen said. “This is about a lot of people who are still struggling.”

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June 8, 2013




“We want to make sure that any grocery store or anything that comes to our area has the quality of any other community.”

Piggly Wiggly owner, civil rights group agree on renovations By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Civil rights activists and Piggly Wiggly supermarket owner Ken Hong are now on one accord about improvements at his Candler Road store, which had been the center of daily picketing for 30 days. At a joint news conference on June 3 with Hong, Operation Lead founder John Evans and DeKalb SCLC Chapter President Nathan Knight and their supporters said they are now confident that changes will be made at the store, which had made headlines for alleged food quality problems. The groups called off their demonstrations on May 30 in anticipation of an agreement. The protests began on April 27 at the store at 2112 Candler Road in the wake of television news reports about moldy produce and a reddish liquid dripping down a wall. The liquid was later identified as corrosion on top of an old cooler. On April 26, Georgia Department of Agriculture inspectors cited the store for four health violations for “items stored too close to the floor” and “excessive buildup in the meat coolers.” In the wake of the reports and the protests, Hong said business plummeted 50 percent. Knight, who was among picketers who carried black-and-white “Bad Food Store Must Go” and “Don’t Shop Here” signs, said Monday that he is very proud of the outcome from “a very tough and long 30day ordeal.” “This community needs healing,” Knight said. “This community needs a store that appreciates it. Mr. Hong has demonstrated to me in recent days that he is stepping forward with that.”

Jami Ffrench-Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Ken Hong, owner of the Piggly Wiggly at 2112 Candler Road, said the $120,000 in renovations “will be financed personally.” Civil rights activists have ended daily pickets at the store.

Hong said an extensive four-week, $120,000 renovation begins today to upgrade the store and that he has hired Robert Butler of Supermarket Equipment, an AfricanAmerican firm, to do the work. “These renovations will be financed personally and costs will not be passed on to the customers,” he said. “This sizable investment is a demonstration of my long-term commitment I’m making to this store for the benefit of customers and for the well-being of our community.” Hong said he has 20 employees at the store and is committed to the growth and

success of the community, where he has operated the store for three decades. “I believe the residents of this community have the right to quality grocery stores just as any community in the country,” he said. “I apologize for my statement concerning South DeKalb not being Buckhead and for any hurt it has caused in our community.” Hong said his comments were taken out of context and his “intent has always been to help this community grow and prosper.” Evans said problems similar to those found at the Piggly Wiggly store exist across the community.

“It’s not an individual issue,” he said. “We plan to take stock of those who are not serving us properly, those who are not hiring black folk, those who are not giving scholarships, those who are not giving money to community funds, UNCF and other John Evans agencies. We are tired of people coming into our community taking money out.” Evans said he is putting all businesses providing services on notice that they must be the best. “We are not going to take anything less,” he said. “We are going to be looking at you. If you are in here and you are sucking money from the black community, we are going to ask you to support our community. If you haven’t shaped up, we are going to ask you to ship out.” DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson, who represents District 3 where the store is located, said that out of confrontation came conversation that led to collaboration. He said everybody deserves to have the best quality product in their community. “We want to make sure that any grocery store or anything that comes to our area has the quality of any other community,” Johnson said. “We don’t want a store to base this on socio-economic status. It’s about having a store that smells good, that’s clean, shelves not rusty, floors are kept up, customer service is strong.” Hong said the renovations will include upgrades to the floors, walls, ceiling and restrooms and that new coolers, meat cases, island freezers, shelves, checkout lanes and lights will installed.




June 8, 2013

If we do not take the initiative … we run the risk of creating the very environment we fear in words.

Outdated language clouds benefits of opportunity zones 2346 Candler Rd. Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007

Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphic Design Curtis Parker Staff Writers Jennifer Ffrench Parker Jessica Smith Ken Watts Copy Editor Brenda Yarbrough Advertising Sales Kathy E. Warner Circulation Manager Jami Ffrench-Parker 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.

By Arnie Silverman

Some residents of DeKalb have expressed a negative reaction to the establishment of “opportunity zones” in DeKalb County, specifically, in the South DeKalb area. The concern is over antiquated language used in legislation established back in 1955. At the center of this concern are the perceived negative impacts on property values within the opportunity zone often inhabited by minorities and/or the lower socioeconomic spectrum due to discriminatory practices of banks and some in the general population. Yes, we have not yet recovered from the impacts of one of our great sins as a society, which creates significant dysfunctional or “Twilight Zone” behavior.

Issues and concerns Citizens have expressed concern that opportunity zones will reduce property values due to the language used in the legislation. There are two different types of site profiles that are contained in the current list of sites for development. Stonecrest, for example, is an

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Arnie Silverman

example of an “up-and-coming” site that is ripe for development. Stonecrest is a long-awaited dream come true for residents of South DeKalb who longed to spend their money their own community; however, there are a few issues. In order for the site to remain viable, it must be supported by businesses which drive economic activity during the workday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.). Most of our malls, in what would be considered healthy economic centers, have a steady flow of business traffic throughout the weekday. All you have to do is look at the volume of cars in the parking lot during the workday and in the evening to understand that the business activity at Stonecrest is counter to what is experienced in the healthy economic centers.

If we do not take the initiative to make our market competitive compared to others who offer opportunity zones to attract business, we run the risk of creating the very environment we fear in words. By way of comparison, in the city of Atlanta the majestic SunTrust Tower is in an opportunity zone. The second type included in the list of opportunity zone areas is the distressed property. I know that words are powerful; however, the actual distressed sites have a far more negative impact on the value of local properties than the words used in the legislation. In this case, there is current-day blight.

The benefits Opportunity zones provide:

n A state of Georgia redevelopment tool which provides incentives for job creation. n Employers creating two or more jobs will receive $3,500/job/ year for five years toward income tax and state withholding – the lowest job creation threshold of any job tax credit program. n Opportunities for businesses of any nature to qualify. The choice is yours: Opportunity zones or “The Twilight Zone.” The DeKalb Chamber is in strong support of the actions of the DeKalb County government to establish opportunity zones for the purpose of increasing economic activity and employment in the county. This is an important tool to effectively compete with surrounding counties like Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett and others across the state to attract new business and to increase the level of employment for its citizens. You got this one right! Arnie Silverman is chairman of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and president of Atlanta-based Silverman Construction Program Management.

Make DeKalb a desirable place for middle class to live By Joe Arrington

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“The DeKalb Chamber is in strong support of the actions of the DeKalb County government to establish opportunity zones for the purpose of increasing economic activity and employment in the county.”

Perhaps the huge regions will be “opportunity zones” for some quality commercial and industrial developers, but a “slum zone,” “blighted area,” is the designation for nearly all the residential neighborhoods in and near unincorporated DeKalb County. The more “successful” this program might become, the more neighborhood coalitions will want to incorporate into their own selfgoverning cities. “Take control or perish” will be the cry for the many “slum-designated neighborhoods.” For anyone who saw WSB-TV’s story on this last weekend featuring an almost solid map of incorporated blue blight, there can be no doubt of what this will mean to the southern two-thirds of DeKalb County. DeKalb bureaucrats just don’t seem to get it. Until we begin and persistently focus on neighborhood protection and enhancements, we will never again become attractive to high-quality development that generates a meaningful number of full-time, mid- to upper mid-level paying jobs. Our school system and its leadership has let us down. The economic recession continues to kick us before we can get back on

“For every one step forward, we seem to take two steps back, and no one seems to get it or really care. There are consequences for every move made and for every remedial action not taken.” Joe Arrington

our knees. We are and continue to be a national leader in residential foreclosures. Over the past six and a half years, more mid- to upper midlevel “for-profit” businesses have left the county than have come in. The same can be said for upwardly mobile middle-class families, regardless of race. Most of the other 19 metro counties are showing visible signs of recovery, but not DeKalb. Our tax digest continues to decline. It is especially deplorable when comparing unincorporated DeKalb against its municipalities. A draft of the 2012 digest calculations was distributed June 4. It would have been progress if it had stopped declining. But, no, the unincorporated portion of the digest declined another $2.2 billion or minus 15.85 percent. Since 2008, unincorporated property values are down more than 59 percent. DeKalb property owners re-

ceived their 2013 Tax Assessment Notices last week. How do your values compare to 2007? Several neighborhoods are off more than 50 percent. A majority of homeowners are “under water.” How much longer can they hold on? Blame does not rest solely at the feet of the current CEO and his administration. According to the history of new structure building permits and the historic rise in the number of foreclosures, major declines started in 2006, hitting full stride by early 2008. For every one step forward, we seem to take two steps back, and no one seems to get it or really care. There are consequences for every move made and for every remedial action not taken. No one except neighborhood residents and forprofit businesses suffer from bad decisions made by our elected and appointed leaders. For them, there are no risks

and no negative consequences. We the uninformed and seemingly unconcerned voters and taxpayers repeatedly re-elect incumbents no matter what. When was the last time a central or south DeKalb incumbent lost an election? Not all incumbents deserve to be defeated and not all deserve reelection, but if a candidate has “(I)” by their name, re-election is almost automatic and guaranteed. Corrective improvement does not require any more $150,000 staff positions or half-million-dollar consulting contracts. Much progress could be made by eliminating most all unfilled positions and reducing staff by 2 percent per year. At the same time, issue a mandate by executive order that the top 12 paid county employees, including the BOC staff, meet for six hours each week to reflect on the factual trends and statistics over the past five years; connect the dots; stabilize and restore middle-class neighborhoods; and neither propose nor approve an agenda item that does not improve and enhance middle-class neighborhoods. Make DeKalb a desirable place for middle-class people to live and quality development will soon follow. Joe Arrington lives in Stone Mountain.

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June 8, 2013




“I feel good. I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing it for the people I represent and the integrity of their vote.”

DeKalb sheriff weighing run for Congress Keyes Fleming By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

After almost 13 years as DeKalb sheriff, Thomas Brown is contemplating higher office – in Congress. Brown confirmed this week that he is considering a 2014 run for the 4th District seat held by Hank Johnson. He said he will make a formal announcement in a couple of weeks. “It has always been a Thomas Brown goal of mine to serve the people of the 4th District,” Brown said. This is not his first time at this place. He said he thought about running four years ago. Brown, who was appointed sheriff in 2000, said that a number of people have asked him to run. An exploratory committee made up of former Georgia Sen. Steen Miles, urologist Emerson Harrison of Decatur, C.D. Moody of Lithonia, Stone Mountain dentist George Colletti, Rockdale County attorney Sherry Washington, and Charles Green of Covington has been conducting research and talking to people in the district. “As the word gets out, I am starting to get phone calls,” he said. “All have been favorable.” Brown said he has enjoyed being sheriff and is not tired but is not sure what God has in store for him. “If Congress is what God has in store for me, it will happen,” he said. Brown points out that the Sheriff ’s Office

was broke when he took office in the wake of the assassination of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown, no relation to him. Then-incumbent Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, whom Derwin Brown defeated in the 1999 election, is serving a life sentence for arranging his murder. Thomas Brown, who was the county’s public safety director for 11 years when he was appointed interim sheriff, said that the office is “now a well-oiled machine,” returning $500,000 a year to the county general fund in the past few years. “We are one of 38 offices out of 3,500 nationwide with three national certifications,” he said. “The jail is the best-maintained public building in DeKalb County.” The jail is accredited by the American Correctional Association, the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, and the National Commission of Correctional Healthcare. Brown, who has run unopposed in all reelection bids, including for his fourth term in 2012, said he will have to step down as sheriff to run but is not afraid of the risk. “Life is a risk,” he said. “I have always taken risks.” In preparation for his run, Brown has been shoring up his national and international credentials. He left June 5 for an 11day trip to Istanbul, Turkey, with a group of elected officials, distinguished individuals and other sheriffs. “The conference and accompanying excursion sponsors have a goal of fostering long-lasting, cooperative, economic, educational and cultural relationships between Turkish and U.S. officials,” a press release from his office said.

While in Turkey, the group will visit the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Turkish Grand National Assembly (Parliament) “to increase the understanding of government affairs, economic development, and the religious and cultural diversity of the Turkish people.” Brown said he is honored to be a delegate this year and that this is his third trip to the Middle East. He previously traveled to Israel twice to study its law enforcement and military efforts. He said he is very interested in the Turkish judicial system and its political perspective, considering its unique positioning in the Middle East. He also expressed an interest in Turkey’s renewed relationship with Israel. The statement said that past participants have included state Rep. Michele Henson, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, GBI Director Vernon Keenan, and executives from the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “This year’s invitees were nominated by these and other past participants,” it said, adding that Brown and the Istanbul Center are paying for the trip. On May 14, Brown joined attorneys general and law enforcement leaders from around the nation for a briefing on the Obama administration’s efforts and current legislation on “common sense” immigration reform. “The White House Office of Public Engagement invited Sheriff Brown to be a part of a briefing which seeks his and other top law enforcement officials’ input on one of the president’s top legislative priorities,” that press release said.

Grass-roots group helps fund Walker’s challenge HEARING,

from page


method of removing board members. “What would prevent the governor from replacing state Supreme Court justices based on … a report from the American Bar Association,” Cox asked. Justice David Nahmias said he was “surprised” by Cox’s assertion that the General Assembly had the authority to set up qualifications to hold office but not conditions for removal. Nahmias said he disagreed with Cox’s scenario and that “there is an elaborate removal process through the Judicial Qualifications Commission … it’s not called the ‘Judicial Removal Commission.’” Cox told the justices that county school boards are established by the Georgia Constitution and members are constitutional officials elected by voters and may be removed from office only through the recall process. “The constitution contains no other provision regarding removal and replacement of sitting elected county school board members,” he argued. The General Assembly passed the law to empower the governor to replace board members if the accreditation of their district by a private agency is believed to be in jeopardy. Cox said the law conflicts directly with the Constitution’s language and intent. “Its requirement that board members be elected coupled with the provision that they may be removed by recall cannot plausibly be interpreted to empower the governor to remove lawfully elected school board members because their school district has been placed on probationary accreditation status,” Cox said. Deal removed six board members on Feb. 25 in the wake of AdvancEd, parent company of accrediting agency Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, placing DeKalb Schools on accreditation probation on Dec. 17. It cited governance problems, financial issues and declining student performance. After a 14-hour hearing on Feb. 21, the Georgia Board of Education recommended

that the governor suspend six of nine board members. Four days later, Deal acted on the recommendation and suspended Walker, District 9; Sarah Copelin-Wood, District 3; Jesse “Jay” Cunningham, District 5; Donna Edler, District 7; Dr. Pam Speaks, District 2; and Nancy Jester, District 1. He left in place the three newly elected board members who joined the board in January. Jester later resigned. The others have all applied for reinstatement and they continue to receive their salaries. Deal appointed six new members on March 16. Senior Assistant Attorney General Stefan Ritter, arguing for the state, said the 2011 law “does not violate the Georgia Constitution generally nor does it prevent elected board of education members from serving in office.” Ritter said the General Assembly was acting within its own constitutional powers when it passed the statute. “Members of local boards of education are no more immune from the scope of the law than any other citizens,” he said. The state is using a high court decision in a 2012 case to back up its argument. In Roberts v. Deal, the court pointed out that Article VIII of the Constitution says “members of boards of education shall have additional qualifications as may be provided by law.” The case involved problems the Warren County School Board faced when its accrediting agency placed the district on probation. A group of citizens filed a petition with the governor to remove three members. The governor removed the members on the recommendation of an administrative law judge. Ritter interprets that case to mean that the Legislature is authorized to establish a mechanism for the administrative removal of board members. “The ability to maintain accreditation for a school system is a fundamental qualification for those who would control and manage the system,” Ritter argued. On March 1, Walker and the district requested a temporary restraining order against the suspensions. Judge Richard Story

denied the request but asked the high court to examine the constitutional questions. The court has six months from the time the case was docketed in April to render a decision. Walker was upbeat as he left the courthouse in Atlanta. “I feel good. I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing it for the people I represent and the integrity of their vote.” Walker says he is at peace because he’s not spending taxpayer money to fight the case. One Person, One Vote Legal Defense Fund, a grass-roots South DeKalb community group, has been raising money for his legal fees. Dr. Thomas Coleman, fund chairman, said fundraising is going well. “We had a goal of raising $25,000 and we’re 92 percent of the way there,” he said. “A lot of people have stepped up.” Coleman said they’re helping out because of the voting rights issues involved. “The financial burden is more than an individual can be expected to handle.”

tapped for EPA chief of staff By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Former DeKalb district attorney and Lithonia resident Gwen Keyes Fleming is now chief of staff of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington. Keyes Fleming, who was most recently the EPA’s Region 4 regional administrator based in Atlanta, relocated to the nation’s capital last month with her hus- G. Keyes Fleming band, Randal, and their sons Cory and Kyle. She began her new assignment on June 3. Keyes Fleming said she didn’t go after the higher office. “It’s exciting to be asked to serve,” she said. In her new role, she will serve as a senior adviser to the EPA administrator and agency senior leadership. She also will be responsible for managing the Office of the Administrator, which includes overseeing more than 17,000 employees. Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe said they are fortunate to have Keyes Fleming with her considerable leadership and managerial experience that includes covering eight Southeastern states and six tribes with responsibility for climate change, air quality, chemical safety and America’s waters. She also worked to expand the conversation on environmentalism, working for environmental justice and building strong state and tribal partnerships. “During her tenure as regional administrator, she has tackled many tough environmental issues, including nutrient pollution in Florida’s waterways and mountaintop mining,” he said. “I am confident that she will do exceedingly well in fulfilling her new responsibilities and will continue to contribute significantly to the work we do every day as One EPA.” Before becoming the first AfricanAmerican and first woman DeKalb DA in January 2005, Keyes Fleming was the first woman, first African-American and youngest person ever elected as DeKalb’s solicitor general. Keyes Fleming credits her parents – Ursula Keyes, a retired registered nurse, and her late father, Andrew J. Keyes, a former Tuskegee Airman – for her commitment to community service. She says that her parents “taught me to have compassion and serve people who cannot help themselves.”

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June 8, 2013

“We are appreciative of King & Spalding for acknowledging and removing these financial pressures on the district.”

Chamber honoring small businesses GDOT seeks imput on wider Panola Road “Project Management Evangelist” Frank Payne will help the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce celebrate small-business achievements at its third annual APEX Awards on June 12 in Atlanta. The 11:30 a.m.-to-1 Frank Payne p.m. event, presented by the Cornerstone Bank and Onyx Media Systems, takes place at Marriott Century Center, 2000 Century Blvd. N.E. More than 200 business and community leaders are expected to attend and celebrate the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, winner of the 2013 Small Business Champion of the Year, and the other awardees – Bella Lane Designs, Hampton Inn Northlake and SteelMart Inc. DeKalb Chamber President Leonardo McClarty said award winners will be recognized for their hard work, revenue growth, business development and contributions to the community.

Payne, who will deliver the keynote address, is also known as a “serial entrepreneur.” He has founded and led more than 10 growing and profitable companies as well as several outreach proLeonardo McClarty grams under the We Care Foundation. He is chairman/CEO of PQC International, a strategic global consulting firm. The APEX Awards honor DeKalb Chamber organizations for exemplary standards in business development, employee programs, business innovation, and contribution to DeKalb County and the metro Atlanta region. For tickets, visit http://2013apex For more information, visit www or contact Katerina Taylor at or 404-378-8000, Ext. 223.

Firm cuts School Board’s legal fees By Ken Watts

The DeKalb School System reached an agreement with Atlanta law firm King & Spalding that will cut at least $30 million from its spiraling legal fees. Board members voted June 3 to amend its agreement with the firm that has been representing the district in its 2007 suit against Heery International, its former construction firm. The law firm already has received $6 million in fees and stood to receive another $30 million if the district elected to settle the case against its recommendation. The new agreement also removes taxpayers from all future legal fees and expenses associated with the case. The district has sued Heery for alleged






























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fraud, waste and mismanagement. Dr. Melvin Johnson, School Board chairman, applauded the agreement. “We are appreciative of King & Spalding for acknowledging and removing these financial pressures on the district and for moving forward with us in partnering in the Heery case,” he said. Marcia Coward, president of the De­ Kalb Council of PTAs, was among residents happy with the new agreement. “I just had to shake your hand,” she told King & Spalding partner Robert Khayat Jr. “That [agreement] is an absolutely huge breath of fresh air. And we can all exhale now. That’s just awesome.” Khayat, a chief litigator in the Heery suit, negotiated the new agreement.

By Ken Watts

Residents can weigh in on the discussion about a proposed widening of Panola Road at a June 13 public hearing at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Lithonia. The Georgia Department of Transportation is seeking to widen nearly six miles of the busy corridor between Snapfinger Road and Covington Highway. The meeting takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. The open house will be informal and the public is invited to attend anytime during these hours to view the proposed project, ask questions, and comment on the proposal. The project will investigate the widening and

potential reconstruction of the Panola Road Bridge over I-20. The GDOT says the road widening project would be done in five segments beginning in 2019. Those segments would include Snapfinger Road to Browns Mill Road; Browns Mill to Thompson Mill Road; Thompson Mill to Fairington Road; Fairington to Snapfinger Woods Drive; and Snapfinger Woods to Covington Highway. Written statements can be made through June 28 to Glenn Bowman, P.E., State Environmental Administrator, Georgia Department of Transportation, 600 W. Peachtree St. N.W., 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308. The Lou Walker Senior Center is at 2538 Panola Road.

New digs for Workforce Development DeKalb Workforce Development will cut the ribbon on its new Decatur offices on June 12. The festivities include an open house and Spring Jobs Fair starting at 10 a.m. It is now located in Building 4 at 774 Jordan Lane. The jobs fair takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Job seekers can meet with top employers and get advice on their resumes, job search strategies, and interviewing styles. Participants will have access to DWD’s

Comprehensive One-Stop Resource Center, which offers more than 20 state-of-the-art computers as well as printing capabilities and Internet access. The Mobile Career Unit also will be onsite during the jobs fair. To register as a job seeker, visit http:// To register as an employer, visit For more information, call 404-687-3428 or 404-371-2592.

‘Blight,’ ‘slum’ called unfortunate ZONES,

from page


“Opportunity zones will help us attract the businesses.” The 15 proposed opportunity zones are located within the county’s Urban Redevelopment Area, created under the 1955 Georgia Urban Redevelopment Act. That law empowers local governments to combat blight and chronic underdevelopment in areas within their jurisdiction. The proposed zones were selected based on 2010 Census data. Johnson said that Candler Road was designated an Opportunity Zone in 2010, but he did not know if any businesses had benefited from the job tax credits. The boundaries of DeKalb’s Urban Redevelopment Area range from the county’s western border with Fulton County in the Bouldercrest area, to the Rockdale County line to the east, and to Stone Mountain in the north.

It includes the I-85 corridor and excludes cities and thriving areas. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis acknowledged the public relations issues raised by the terms “blight and slum” in the qualification criteria. Burrell Ellis “This unfortunate language would not be used if given a choice,” he said. “This language, however, has been used by many other jurisdictions including the cities of Atlanta, Roswell, Alpharetta, Marietta and East Point and Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties in order to obtain Opportunity Zone status.” Ellis said by moving forward with the Urban Redevelopment Plan, DeKalb will be able to leverage its many assets and other growth opportunities and gain a chance to diminish the current 8.5 percent jobless rate. Ken Watts contributed to this report.



June 8, 2013


FEMA wants individuals and families to know how to protect themselves from heavy rains that cause damage.

Start of hurricane season offers learning opportunities Tropical Storm Andrea at left on Thursday is the 2013 season’s first named storm. It spawned heavy rains and tornadoes in Florida on Thursday.

The 2013 hurricane season kicked off June 1, and five days later, Tropical Storm Andrea, the season’s first named storm, made land in Florida on June 6, putting the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina under a tropical storm watch through Friday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency wants individuals and families to know how to protect themselves from heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. To prepare for a hurricane, FEMA urges the following steps: n Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. n Know your surroundings. n Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding is forecast. n Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard. n Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

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FEMA says everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. For more information, visit www.flood or -hurricane-season or call 1-800-427-2419.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reminding facility operators to shut down processes and minimize releases during hazardous weather events. The EPA issued the Hazardous Weather Release Prevention and Reporting alert in time for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1. It says that unlike some natural disasters, the onset of a hurricane is predictable and allows for early preparations to lessen its effect on a facility. Before hurricane-force winds and associated storm surge flooding damage industrial processes, the alert recommends that operators take preventive action by safely shutting down processes or otherwise operate safely under emergency procedures. The alert increases awareness among facility operators about their obligation to operate facilities safely and report chemical releases in a timely manner. It specifies operational release minimization requirements and clarifies reporting requirements, including exemptions. The alert and requirements are available at canereleases.html. In the event of a hazardous weather incident, visit events for updated emergency information.

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Make plans to secure property n Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8-inch marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking. n Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage. n Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed so they are more wind resistant. n Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts. n Reinforce your garage doors – if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage. n Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down. n Determine how and where to secure your boat. n Install a generator for emergencies. n If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor. n Consider building a safe room.

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June 8, 2013

“It is hard to imagine a better history of the Western Front’s final phase.”

Stonecrest debut for gospel artist Grammy Award winner Hezekiah Walker will perform live at the Mall at Stonecrest on June 13 to celebrate the launch of his latest CD, “Azusa the Next Generation.” Walker will take the stage at 7 p.m. for a performance that will air nationally on the radio. He also will sign copies of his CD at the DTLR store on the lower level of the Lithonia mall. “Azusa the Next Generation” marks a three decade-long career for Walker that has included collaborations with Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy and Whitney Houston. He has recorded more than a dozen chart-topping albums, including his classic gospel hits “Souled Out,” “Grateful” and “I Need You to Survive.” Walker says the new CD is about unity and collaboration in expressions of faith. “When I think back on the revival of 1906, there were all walks of life, every denomination, many nationalities, all under this one roof,” he said. The mall is at I-20 and Turner Hill Road in Hezekiah Walker will perform live at the Lithonia. For more information, visit www.mall Mall at Stonecrest on June 13. or call 678-526-9880.

Golden Hammers for housing advocates East Lake Terrace Neighborhood Association President Brenda Pace will be among four affordable housing advocates receiving Golden Hammer Awards from DeKalb Habitat on June 13. Vaughn Irons The others are APD Solutions CEO Vaughn Irons, former DeKalb Habitat President Jack DeVos, and longtime volunteer John Keilholtz. Bob Boyd, DeKalb Habitat executive director, said the event will acknowledge

key individuals for their tireless efforts working for affordable housing in DeKalb County. The ceremony that features live music, appetizers and a silent auction starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Solarium, Brenda Pace 321 W. Hill St. in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur. For tickets, sponsorships and silent auction donations, call 404-534-1611 or visit Hammer.html.




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Matthew Mayfield (left) and Bobby Bare Jr. headline the third annual Poverty Is Real concert series at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur.

Benefit concert to aid homeless Nashville’s Bobby Bare Jr. and Birmingham’s Matthew Mayfield are among acts that will be performing at Poverty Is Real’s June 14-16 concert series at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur. The series is raising funds for the nonprofit Decatur Cooperative Ministry that fights homelessness. Other acts for the third annual Decatur concert series include a Bob Dylan Celebra-

tion and Caroline Herring, who is releasing a children’s album. The Decatur-based Poverty Is Real says 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Decatur Cooperative Ministry. Last year, it raised $10,000 through ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise and a silent auction. For concert schedule and $10 advance tickets, visit Eddie’s Attic is at 515-B N. McDonough St.

Author to discuss WWII’s end correspondent for The Washington Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Post, he was a recipient of the PuRick Atkinson will discuss the final litzer and the George Polk Award. volume in his celebrated World War His six military books also include II trilogy on June 12 at the Decatur “The Long Gray Line” and “In the Library. Company of Soldiers.” “The Guns at Last Light: The Atkinson, who was born in War in Western Europe, 1944-1945” Munich, Germany, is the son of a is a revealing and detailed narrative U.S. Army officer and grew up on of the war’s bloody final year. Rick Atkinson military posts. He holds a Master It follows his two acclaimed earlier volumes on American armies, “An of Arts degree in English literature from the Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, University of Chicago. Copies of his books will be on sale at the 1942-1943” and “The Day of Battle: The War event, which starts at 7:15 p.m. It is part of in Sicily and Italy, 1934-1944.” the Georgia Center for the Book’s Festival of Publishers Weekly remains impressed. “It is hard to imagine a better history of Writers. Only the first 204 participants will the Western Front’s final phase,” its critic be admitted. The Decatur Library is at 215 Sycamore raves. Atkinson is a winner of the Pritzker St. in downtown Decatur. For more informaMilitary Book Award. As a writer and foreign tion, call 404-370-3070.

Overcomers’ food giveaway encore Families in need of food can get fruits, vegetables, meats and non-perishables on June 15 in Loganville. Overcomers House Inc. and the Atlanta Community Food Bank are co-hosting the food giveaway starting at 11 a.m. It takes place at the Healing Place Church, 781 Highway 78. Ann Mills, the Overcomers House director, said they will have enough food for 300

families. Mills said hundreds showed up at Overcomers’ first food giveaway on June 1. “The first time we were just trying to gauge the need,” she said. “Almost 250 families turned out that day. So we know there’s still a great need,” Organizers say plenty of free parking will be available. For more information, contact Ann Mills at 678-775-6608.


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June 8, 2013

“We were a black school and we had to play white teams. And I hope we’ve gone beyond that, but I still see north and I see south.”

Cedar Grove’s Lady Saints captured the 2013 Class AAA State Track and Field Championship on May 11 (above). The Redan Raiders (below) made history with their state baseball title.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Retired coach William “Buck” Godfrey greets well-wishers on June 3 after receiving a special recognition award from the DeKalb School Board.

Beloved coach appeals for unity By Ken Watts

At left, the Dunwoody High Wildcats girls track team was recognized as the 2013 Class AAAAA State Track and Field Champions.

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Board applauds DeKalb’s sports champions for 2013 By Ken Watts

DeKalb high school athletes who topped their sports this year were honored by DeKalb School Board members at their June 3 meeting. The history-making Redan Raiders were recognized for being the first all-black team from metro Atlanta to win a state championship in the Georgia High School Association. “The Raiders swept 12-time state champion Marist 30-7 and 27-9 on May 27 and walked into Georgia baseball history,” a board proclamation said. “It swept 12-time state champion Marist in a best-of-three series in Region 6-AAAA.” The state win is the first for a DeKalb public school since Dunwoody won in 2007. Redan is only the second DeKalb County baseball team to win a state championship in the past 39 years since Henderson in 1974. It was the third time that the Raiders had made it to the final. The team made the state playoffs in 12 of the past 13 years under the leadership of coach Marvin Pruitt. Six of the team’s seven seniors received college scholarship offers, and seniors Brandon Baker and Joseph Graves graduated in the top 10 percent of their class.

Track and field champs The Cedar Grove Saints girls track team was recognized for winning the 2013 Class AAA State Track and Field Championship

on May 11. “It was the first title for the Lady Saints since the 1995 season and third girls state track title overall for the Ellenwood school,” said the DeKalb School Board proclamation. Under the direction of coach Quanisha Smith, Cedar Grove’s Lady Saints defeated the Blessed Trinity track team 89-78 in the showdown at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany. The Lady Saints also defeated Blessed Trinity 150-145 to win the Region 6-AAA championship at Woodward Academy on April 19. The Dunwoody Wildcats girls track team got accolades for capturing the 2013 Class AAAAA State Track and Field Championship on May 11. “The Lady Wildcats, under the direction of coach Shannon Miller, defeated the Kell Lady Longhorns 69.33 to 44. It was their first title since the 2003 season and second girls state track title overall,” the proclamation read. Earlier in the season, the Lady Wildcats also captured their first-ever DeKalb County Track and Field Championship title and went on to win the Region 6-AAAAA championship. Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers who defeated archrival Miller Grove High on March 8 for Class AAAAA basketball state championship, was recognized in April by the School Board.

Legendary Southwest DeKalb High School football coach William “Buck” Godfrey made a heartfelt appeal for an end to racial polarization in the county as he accepted an award from the DeKalb School Board on June 3. Godfrey retired in February after 34 years as an English teacher and head football coach at SWD. He said to face the facts. “Our county needs to come together as one with one vision, several voices combined into one voice to make this county – I’m not going to say like it used to be – but better than it used to be,” he said during a special recognition ceremony at the start of the monthly board meeting. Godfrey, who is the county’s winningest coach, said that when he started coaching in 1983, it was tough. “We were a black school and we had to play white teams,” he recalled. “And I hope we’ve gone beyond that, but I still see north [predominantly white], and I see south [mostly black]. It’s just bad that we’ve gotten into that kind of situation. It all has to do with the color of our skin.” Godfrey said if we could “ever get by pigmentation and start thinking about implementation and the gift God has given us in the young, beautiful minds of young people,” the county would be much better off. A School Board proclamation pre-

sented to Godfrey praised his monumental influence in developing youths into productive adults. “No other individual has ever been head football coach at the same school in DeKalb County for more than 20 years,” the proclamation said. Godfrey won more games than any other coach in DeKalb history, finishing with a 27389-1 record. He led SWD to the state Class AAAA championship in 1995 and to the playoffs 26 of his 30 years as coach. Godfrey led SWD to the state semifinals seven times and to the championship game in 1990. “An amazing 279 of coach Godfrey’s players signed college football scholarships and 211 of them earned college degrees,” the proclamation said. “He was also an accomplished English teacher and published author.” Godfrey said that even with all the social strife in the county, young people’s needs haven’t changed. He called on adults to set a positive example. “Kids want discipline,” he said. “Kids want love. Kids want direction. Kids want focus. Kids want heroes and we’ve got to give them that. If we could ever get back to some sort of basis in this county to set the tone and be upfront as leaders and come together as one … God blesses effort and if you pray to your God and believe in what you’re praying for, God will answer. And, again, I hope to see this county come back together – not like it used to be – but much better.”




June 8, 2013

“Our hearts go out to him and his family. He was an outstanding gentleman, a dedicated and beloved employee of the district.”

Activist school bus mechanic spoke for ‘the least of these’ By Ken Watts

Family and friends will celebrate the life of beloved DeKalb school bus mechanic Gregory K. Davis on June 11. Davis, who fought for budgetary changes to get more school bus mechanics, collapsed at the June 3 DeKalb School Board meeting during the public comment session and died. His daughter Teaonne Davis says the service will be held at 11 a.m. at Saint Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road S.E. in Atlanta. There will be a public viewing from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 10 at Gregory Levett & Sons Funeral Home, 351 N. Clarendon Ave. in Scottdale. A wake takes place 6 to 8 p.m. Davis, 51, had become a frequent speaker at School Board meetings. He was in line to speak on the proposed fiscal year 2014 budget when he collapsed. Several bystanders rushed to his aid before an ambulance arrived. The board and audience took a break and observed a moment of silence before continuing the meeting. Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond made the sad announcement two hours later. Cause of death was not known at press time. Davis was a 13-year DeKalb Schools employee. At an earlier budget hearing, he criticized cuts in the 2013 budget that caused a shortage in mechanics, which led to a backlog

Ken Watts / CrossRoadsNews

Gregory K. Davis, 51, spoke frequently at School Board meetings. He collapsed at the June 3 meeting and died.

of buses in disrepair and disruptions in the district’s transportation schedule. The lack of buses causes students to arrive late at school. At the May 8 hearing, Davis praised the board for finding funds in the proposed $759 million 2014 budget to hire four additional mechanics. Thurmond credited Davis with helping set up a meeting with mechanics as Thurmond and his staff were crafting

the budget. “Gregory Davis was a kind and compassionate man who spoke out often on behalf of his colleagues,” Thurmond said on June 5. “He’s a big reason why there are four additional mechanics in our proposed budget.” Thurmond said that Davis provided strong counsel to him on matters regarding how best to support the employees who are dedicated to keeping the district’s buses safe and on the road. “Our hearts go out to him and his family,” Thurmond said. “He was an outstanding gentleman, a dedicated and beloved employee of the district.” Viola Davis, a co-founder of the Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter organization, and Kings Ridge Homeowners Association Vice President Joel Edwards called Davis “a true foot soldier for justice” and an “unsung hero.” “Davis fought for the bus drivers, cafeteria workers, bus mechanics, etc., to have better working conditions and pay,” Viola Davis said in a statement Thursday. “He spoke for ‘the least of these’ with inspiration and conviction.” She said that Davis, who is not related to her, served the people with a smile that would light up the room. “He provided a level of security that made everyone unafraid to fight for what is right,” she said. Surviving are three daughters: Teaonne Davis, Ivory Davis and Jalisa Davis. He will be buried at Georgia National Cemetery, 1080 Veterans Drive in Canton.

Solicitor general’s office tops statewide food drive to stem hunger DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston is flexing her muscle on behalf of Georgia’s hungry families, and last month the DeKalb Board of Commissioners recognized her efforts with a proclamation. Between April 22 and May 3, Boston’s office collected 55,824 pounds of food during the second annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy drive. Her office collected the most food of any legal organization in Georgia. Statewide, the drive netted 842,000 pounds of food for Feeding America food banks in Georgia, an increase of 38 percent from last year’s donations. Every week, the Atlanta Community Food Bank distributes about 58,000 pounds of food. Boston says she is pleased to help hungry individuals in the community, especially the children who often suffer during summer months because the free and reduced-cost

The May 21 Board of Commissioners proclamation said that nearly 60 percent of Georgia’s children enrolled in public school are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches, and less than 15 percent of them have access to a lunch program while school is out, causing an increased demand at food banks during the summer months. The Legal Food Frenzy competition was created by the Office of the Attorney General, the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia, and the Georgia Food Bank Association. For DeKalb’s Legal Food Frenzy, Boston’s office competed with the DeKalb Public DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston (third from left) was recognized by the Board of Defender’s Office and the DeKalb County Commissioners for her efforts to feed the hungry. Her office collected 55,824 pounds of food. Clerk of Superior Court Office in a friendly lunches they receive at school are no longer has two young daughters. “interDeKalb” drive. Nearly one in five Georgians struggles available to them. The proclamation also commended the “We know that this food will make a real with hunger, including one in four children other participating county agencies. difference to many families who are strug- who will suffer both physically and intellecFor more information, visit http://galegal gling to make ends meet,” said Boston, who tually if they do not get enough to eat.

5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15


Legal Notices 5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15

Notice of Petition to Change Name of Adult in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++ 13CV5497-2 ++ Marie Paraison Smoak filed a petition in the DeKalb County Superior Court on May 9, 2013 to change the name from: Marie Paraison Smoak to Maria Berth Paraison. Any interested party has the right to appear in this case and file objections within 30 days after the petition was filed. Dated: May 9, 2013 Marie Paraison Smoak 751 N. Indian Creek Drive, Apt 678 Clarkston ,GA 30021 Petitioner, Pro se

Debra DeBerry Clerk of Superior Court

6/1,6/8, 6/15,6/22

NOTICE OF PUBLICATION In the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action # ++ 12CV11991-10++

Denise Johnson Plaintiff Vs. Andre L. Winston Defendant TO: Andre L. Winston By Order of the Court service for service by publication dated May 10, 2013, you are hereby notified that on Nov 2, 2012, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for: Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court, and to serve upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Denise Johnson, 1858 McConnell Road, Grayson, GA 30017, 678-365-1902. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days of, May 10, 2013. Witness the Honorable Tangela M. Barrie, Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 22nd day of May, 2013. 5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15

Notice of Petition to Change Name of Adult in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++ 13CV5413-7 ++

Valeri Maria Smith filed a petition in the DeKalb County Superior Court on May 7, 2013 to change the name from: Valeri Maria Smith to Laila’t Maria Maryum Muhammad. Any interested party has the right to appear in this case and file objections within 30 days after the petition was filed. Dated: April 5, 2013 Valerie Maria Smith Petitioner, Pro se 1107 Chase Lane, Norcross, GA 30093

Debra DeBerry Clerk of Superior Court

5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15

Notice of Petition to Change Name of Adult in the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action Case Number: ++ 13CV5403-3 ++ Stephanie Rolax filed a petition in the DeKalb County Superior Court on March 11, 2013 to change the name from: Stephanie Rolax to Stephanie Howard. Any interested party has the right to appear in this case and file objections within

In the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

30 days after the petition was filed. Dated: April 8, 2013 Stephanie Rolax Petitioner, Pro se 3423 Covington Drive, Ste B Decatur, GA 30032

Debra DeBerry Clerk of Superior Court

5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15

NOTICE OF PUBLICATION In the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action # ++ 13CV5429-7++ Tawanda Montgomery Plaintiff Vs. Henry Montgomery Defendant TO: Henry Montgomery 6501 SW 59th Ave Miami, FL 33143 By Order of the Court service for service by publication dated May 9, 2013, you are hereby notified that on May 7, 2013, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for: Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court, and to serve upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Tawanda Montgomery, 4900 Central Dr, Apt 196, Stone Mountain, GA 30083. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days of, May 9, 2013. Witness the Honorable Mark Anthony Scott Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 9th day of May, 2013.

Civil Action # ++ 13CV5429-7++ Lesbia Yadira Morales Plaintiff Vs. Perfecto Espinoza Oliva Defendant TO: Perfecto Espinoza Oliva By Order of the Court service for service by publication dated May 13, 2013, you are hereby notified that on May 7, 2013, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for: Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court, and to serve upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Nancy Rhinehart, 246 Sycamore St, Ste 120, Decatur, GA 30030. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days of, May 13, 2013. Witness the Honorable Daniel M. Coursey, Jr., Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 13th day of May, 2013. 5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15

NOTICE OF PUBLICATION In the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action # ++13CV4361-3++ Natasha Perry Erena Plaintiff Vs. Joti Erena Defendant TO: Joti Erena 708 Arbor Crossing Drive Lithonia, GA 30058 By Order of the Court service for service

by publication dated May 7, 2013, you are hereby notified that on April 11, 2013, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for: Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court, and to serve upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is 708 Arbor Crossing Drive, Lithonia, GA 30038. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days of, May 7, 2013. Witness the Honorable Clarence Seeliger Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 8th day of May, 2013. 5/25, 6/1, 6/8, 6/15

NOTICE OF PUBLICATION In the Superior Court of DeKalb County State of Georgia

Civil Action # ++ 13CV5362-7++ Tonya Billings Plaintiff Vs. Gregory Billings Defendant TO: Gregory Billings 1988 Columbia Drive Decatur, GA 30032 By Order of the Court service for service by publication dated May 8, 2013, you are hereby notified that on April 25, 2013, the above-named Plaintiff filed suit against you for: Divorce. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court, and to serve upon the plaintiff’s attorney whose name and address is: Tonya Billings, 1988 columbia Drive, Decatur, GA 30032. 404-437-0798. Answer in writing within sixty (60) days of, May 8, 2013. Witness the Honorable Daniel M. Coursey, Jr., Judge of the DeKalb Superior Court. This the 8th day of May, 2013.



June 8, 2013

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Reader Notice As a service to you – our valued readers – we offer the following information: This newspaper will never knowingly accept any advertisement that is illegal or considered fraudulent. If you have questions or doubts about any ads on these pages, we advise that before responding or sending money ahead of time, you check with the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Line and/or the Better Business Bureau. They may have records or documented complaints that will serve to caution you about doing business with those advertisers. Also be advised that some phone numbers published in these ads may require an extra charge. In all cases of questionable value, such as promises or guaranteed income from work-at-home programs, money to loan, etc., if it sounds too good to be true –­ it may in fact be exactly that. This newspaper cannot be held responsible for any negative consequences that occur as a result of you doing business with any advertisers. Thank you.



June 8, 2013


DeKalb Family Medicine




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CrossRoadsNews, June 8, 2013  

CrossRoadsNews, June 8, 2013

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