More than 200 DeKalb residents attended a “Home Expo” at Commissioner Stan Watson’s Community Cabinet Breakfast. 5
Columbia High School boys basketball coach Phil McCrary was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame on June 9. 10
Help for homeowners
Hall of Fame inductee
EAST ATLANTA • DECATUR • STONE MOUNTAIN • LITHONIA • AVONDALE ESTATES • CLARKSTON • ELLENWOOD • PINE LAKE • REDAN • SCOTTDALE • TUCKER
Copyright © 2012 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.
June 16, 2012
Volume 18, Number 7
Daughter’s selfless gift to dad resonates on Father’s Day By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Bernita Reese plays a game of Scrabble with her father, Bishop Stewart Reese Jr., on Wednesday, five weeks after she gave him a kidney.
going on dialysis. “He said, ‘I would rather die than go on dialysis every day,’ ” she recalled Wednesday. Late last November, Bernita accompanied her parents on a visit to Dr. Mazen Abdalla at Conyers’ DaVita Dialysis Center. By then, her father’s last functioning kidney was operating at 14 percent and he was getting visibly weaker. She listened to the doctor trying to persuade him to go on dialysis. Finally she spoke up. “I will give him a kidney,” she said. Three pairs of shocked eyes turned to her, the youngest of the couple’s three living
This Father’s Day, Bernita Reese doesn’t have to lose sleep over what to give her father, Bishop Stewart Reese Jr., founder and retired pastor of Bethesda Cathedral in Decatur. On May 15, she gave him a kidney and a new lease on life. “Parents do so much for their children,” she said. “It’s not often that children get to do something as significant.” Bernita, 46, found out last fall that after years of diabetes and high blood pressure, and a small stroke in 2009, her 74-year-old father’s kidneys had failed. Her mother, Navoria Reese, said her husband of 55 years was adamant about not Please see FATHER, page 4
Kicking Trash Out of the Curb CEO launches initiative to clean medians, roadside
Operation Clean to the Curb schedule County crews will be on Wesley Chapel Road near the county library on June 16 cleaning up the curb around the median. Curtis Dozier, general foreman for the Sanitation Roadside Enhancement Special Service Division, said Wednesday that they will remove the built-up grass clippings and debris around the median at the intersection of Rainbow Drive and Snapfinger Road and Kelley Chapel Road. The mowing schedule for the rest of June includes: n June 19 – Briarcliff Road and Henderson Mill Road in Atlanta n June 20 – South Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road and Bouldercrest Road in Atlanta n June 21 – Briarcliff Road For the July mowing schedule, visit www.OneDeKalb .com or call 404-371-2881.
By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Gunk, trash and weeds have been put on notice in DeKalb County. Their days are numbered. That was the word Wednesday from CEO Burrell Ellis, who announced a number of coordinated initiatives to tackle quality-oflife issues throughout DeKalb – months after a Code Compliance Task Force made recommendations to his administration. Task force members studied code compliance problems facing the county for 14 months, and some of its members joined Ellis on June 13 at a podium set up near the intersection of Line Street and Glenwood Road in Decatur to launch his “Clean to the Curb” initiative. Ellis said county streets will be put on a regular schedule of mowing and right-of-way maintenance and that county workers will carry shovels to scrape and remove mounds of debris that have collected along the county’s curbs and medians from years of neglect. Illegal signs will be removed by volunteers before the lawn mowers begin work. “The key thing we want you to know is that we are starting to work right now, right here today,” Ellis said. “We are rolling up our sleeves and we are going to clean up DeKalb County.” The CEO, who is in the final months of his first four-year term and faces two opponents in his re-election bid, said he is committed to making sure that DeKalb is going to be safe, green, clean and thriving. “First and foremost, we have got to be a clean DeKalb County,” he said. “That’s what we are going to be all about.” He said that Operation Clean to the Curb is about anybody who cares about and wants to be involved and that he wants residents to
DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis scoops up debris along a curb on Glenwood Road, near Line Street in Decatur on June 13.
Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews
know that they are not alone in the fight to clean up the county. Ellis, who went on a drive-around in South DeKalb in May with a constituent who pointed out the pervasive evidence of neglect on Candler Road, Rainbow Drive, Wesley Chapel Road, Columbia Drive and Snapfinger Road, said his eyes were opened to the problem. “It’s not a South DeKalb problem,” he said Wednesday after putting some shoulder into dislocating some of the compressed debris in a tiny portion of the curb near the
“Our greatest resource is our people and no recession can take that way.” Gil Turman, who chairs the advisory committee and has been fighting for years for a county cleanup, called it “a wonderful day.” “Any initiative that is going to make DeKalb County better, I am for it,” he said. “There is a lot of work that has be done, and we have to hold them accountable for making this day the best it can be.” Ellis said the county Gil Turman also is revamping Code Enforcement, which is now called Code Compliance, and that it has been moved to the county’s Planning and Sustainability Department. Gary Cornell, that department’s interim director, introduced Marcus Kellum, the county’s new manager of Code Compliance and Neighborhood Stabilization. Kellum has 20 years of experience in code
podium. “It’s a DeKalb County problem.” Ellis said Clean to the Curb ties into his vision for the county. “But the first part of all of that is that we are a clean county,” he said. He called on citizens to mow and clean all the way to the curb in front of their yards. “Curb maintenance is partly the county’s responsibility, but we have been hit hard by the economic recession and have not been able to do everything we want to do,” he Please see CLEANUP, page 6 said.
June 16, 2012
“After the gun was checked it came back stolen out of DeKalb County.”
Victims shot each other to death in Victory Church parking lot By Carla Parker
office. James said that the practice of storing evidence off-site began in 2008, before he took office, and he ended it in 2011. “Obviously I was concerned, even bothered, and I immediately stopped that process and we brought all the property back to where it Carlos Henderson Delmetrius Heard Ryan Guider should be, which is in a secure location in the courthouse,” James said. funeral of Ryan Devon Guider. Guider, 19, It was not immediately known how Dixwas shot to death on May 26. on ended up with the gun. He was still in the Wiz Miller, DeKalb’s Public Safety Direc- DeKalb jail at press time Thursday, according tor, said Henderson and 28-year-old Delme- to the Sheriff ’s inmate database. trius Heard, are both from Decatur. On June 8, Miller said detectives believe DeKalb District Attorney Robert James that Henderson went to the funeral to mourn told WSB Channel 2 news Wednesday that Guider. the stolen gun was among weapons and Miller said a large group of “funeral drugs stolen on June, 10 2011 from an off- participants,” who were later identified as site storage facility previously used by his friends of Marcus D. Ventress – the suspect
A Decatur man was arrested June 12 after bringing a stolen to the wake of one of the men killed at a funeral at Victory for the World Church last week. DeKalb Police spokeswoman Mekka Parish said 21-year-old Camenthia Antwan Dixon was walking headed to the wake when an officer observed a gun in his pocket “After the gun was checked it came back stolen out of DeKalb County,” Parish said. Dixon faces a felony charge of theft by receiving stolen property, in addition to misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct, carrying a concealed weapon and obstruction, jail records show. Dixon was attending the wake of 19-yearold Carlos Henderson Jr., one of two men who shot each other death in the parking lot of the Stone Mountain church after a June 8
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Meeting, vigil to address issue of youth violence Youth, community, civic, social, elected, educational and interfaith leaders will convene to discuss and address the issue of youth violence on June 20 at Victory of the World Church in Stone Mountain. The conversation comes in the wake of a June 8 shootout in the parking lot of the church after a funeral service for shooting victim Ryan Devon Guider. Two men, 19-year-old Carlos Henderson Jr. and 28-year-old Delmetrius Heard, shot each other to death during the melee. The discussion takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. It is free to attend and participants are asked to bring candles for the vigil. Community organizations addressing youth violence can set up tables at the event. The church is at 1170 N. Hairston Road in Stone Mountain. For more information, call 678-476-6000.
OUT K C E CH MER M U ! S OUR SPECIAloLw TIMEoupon Be See
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in Guider’s death – got into a physical altercation with Henderson, who was able to escape the group. “They followed him to his car and continued to assault him,” Miller said. “At this point Henderson retrieve a gun from his car.” Miller said Heard, who was with the group, also retrieve a gun and the two ended up shooting and killing each other. A 12-year-old girl and another man was also injured in the shooting but their injuries are not life-threatening. According to witnesses, friends of Guider were upset that friends of Ventress attended the funeral. Henderson was buried June 13. The funeral service for Heard, who leaves behind a wife and three children including a 18-monh-old, will be June 16 at First Mount Pleasant Church, 816 Maynard Terrace SE in Atlanta. After the shootings, witnesses told police they saw Ventress, 28, in the parking lot with a gun. Police later learned that Ventress was not at the funeral and is still at large. Miller also said there are no other suspect at this time.
Dad allegedly fed alcohol to infant
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A Stone Mountain father was indicted June 14 on charges that he gave vodka to his 2-month-old daughter, who died. A DeKalb grand jury indicted Keith Furlow on charges of murder and cruelty to children in the second degree after police said he mixed baby formula with vodka and gave it to the baby on June 8. Keith Furlow The baby was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where she was pronounced dead. A toxicology report confirmed a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.1119. The blood alcohol level of a legally drunk adult is 0.08. Furlow, 20, was arrested on June 8 and remained in the DeKalb County jail awaiting a bond hearing.
June 16, 2012
The resolution also ordered CEO Burrell Ellis to report to the commissioners on the expenditures for this project.
Commissioners apply brakes to Soap Box Derby project By Mary Swint
DeKalb commissioners voted Tuesday to stop work on the proposed Soap Box Derby track that would offer non-motorized car racing for youths until January. The stop order comes after CEO Burrell Ellis’ administration had spent about $90,000, without the BOC’s approval, to clear the site on Rock Chapel Road. Chief Operating Officer Richard Stogner also withdrew a proposed $1 million construction contract for the race facility that was presented to the commissioners in early January for their approval. Communications Director Burke Brennan said the contract amount was only good for a specific period of time. “It was about to expire,” he said, adding that the contract will be rebid with a narrower scope and eliminating the site preparation work that has already been done. On June 5, commissioners received a
breakdown of the out-of-pocket expenses for clearing, grading and site preparation at the track site at Bransby Park. It included about $19,327 for a private tree service to remove some trees, stumps and debris on 8.6 acres and about $48,000 for materials such as stones, wheat straw, and silt fencing. The county also spent $14,040 for 120 hours of engineering construction management. County roads and drainage construction crews worked 64 hours on the project for a total of $10,304 in labor costs. At the end of the June 5 Finance Committee meeting, District 1 Commissioner Elaine Boyer told Deputy Chief Operating Officer Ted Rhinehart that the commissioners had not voted to construct the racing facility. She called the site preparation work “inexcusable.” District 5 Commissioner Lee May said commissioners were told the work was being done by county employees, but they now
Hearing set on proposed cell tower Residents of the greater Hidden Hills area can voice their opinions about a proposed cell phone tower at 1708 Panola Road at a June 18 Community Council meeting at Redan-Trotti Library in Lithonia. The public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m.. Jacksonville, Fla.-based TowerCom Enterprises is seeking a variance to build the cell tower. The zoning ordinance requires that the tower be 200 feet from the nearest residential property line. At the closest point, the tower would be 102 feet away from residences. TowerCom builds cell towers and leases
them to mobile phone operators. The site under consideration is an abandoned subdivision on Panola Road north of Berean Christian Church. The site is outside the limits of the four-mile Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District. In February, more than 40 people attended an informational meeting about the proposed tower and asked questions about service improvement, spacing of cell towers, and radiation and health impacts. The second stage of public review is the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on July 11. For more information, call 770-482-3821.
learned vendors were doing some of it. “We are doing what we can with existing resources,” Rhinehart responded, adding that the roads and drainage crew was not able to cut down some sizes of trees so they hired a company to do that work. Boyer proposed the resolution at the June 12 board meeting. “It shall be the policy of DeKalb County that no further construction or site preparation work shall be done on the property located near Rock Chapel Road commonly identified as the potential site of soap box derby track immediately,” the resolution said. It also ordered CEO Burrell Ellis to report to the commissioners on the expenditures for the project and to forward that report to the county’s external auditor KPMG. It was adopted unanimously by the six commissioners present. District 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader was absent. The BOC’s staff was trying this week to locate where the funds were coming from in
the county budget. In late March, Parks Director Roy Wilson and Deputy Parks Director Marvin Billups gave the Finance Committee a business plan that said eight local racing events in one year would generate $55,000 in projected revenue and $40,000 in projected expenses. Revenue would come from race sponsors, $55 registration fees per race, $35 annual club membership fees, and concessions. Fees might also be charged to practice driving or to test derby cars on the track. May recommends that the site have another attraction, like skateboarding. The commissioners approved the purchase of a 10-acre parcel on a hill on Rock Chapel adjacent to the Bransby Outdoor Center for the facility in March 2011. The $585,000 bill came from the 2001 parks bond funds. The county has paid $130,000 for the design of the state-of-the-art racetrack. When completed, it will be the state’s first permanent soap box derby track.
No fund-raising at intersections Children can no longer fund-raise at traffic light intersections in DeKalb. The DeKalb Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on June 12 to outlaw fund-raising efforts at traffic light intersections. The commissioners said the resolution “moves forward to protect our youngest constituents as well as to support alternative and creative fund-raising strategies that fund extracurricular activities.” District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson said that he understands how rising expenses and reductions in funds for activi-
ties directly impact families. “However, it is imperative that the safety of our children is not compromised while innocently collecting cash,” Watson said. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said while fund-raising is essential to supporting programs and activities for children, “we want to make sure that it is done in safe and non-threatening environment.” Adults, nonprofits, and commercial vendors that choose to solicit funds at intersections in DeKalb must obtain a weekly $25 permit and wear safety jackets. For more information, visit www.co.dekalb.ga.us.
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June 16, 2012
Special guest honorees are Dosh Jackson, who is 101, and William F. Holton, past historian for the Tuskegee Airmen.
Observances focus on male health, salute men Grandfathers, dads, sons, brothers and uncles are the focus of National Men’s Health Month events throughout June. Local festivi- Dosh Jackson ties include Real Men Cook for Charity at the Georgia World Congress Center on June 17, Father’s Day. Comprehensive Men’s Health Initiative’s monthlong observance in metro Atlanta culminates on June 30 at the Loudermilk Center with a salute to pioneering men who have defied the odds by overcoming great obstacles and living well beyond what has been deemed the normal life expectancy. Special guest honorees are Dosh Jackson, who is 101, and William F. Holton, past historian for the Tuskegee Airmen. Jackson will receive the Legacy Award, which is given to an indi-
vidual whose life has served as a shining example of integrity and distinction. The oldest living member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, William F. Holton Jackson has served his frat for more than 75 years. He is a graduate of Morris Brown College and was one of the first African-Americans hired by the Postal Service in Atlanta. Holton will be honored with the Trailblazer Award. He served as national historian for the Tuskegee Airmen for nearly 20 years, and his work helped create an accurate depiction of the Airmen in the acclaimed movie “Red Tails.” Tickets are $50 per person and are available at cmhi.eventbrite .com. Proceeds will help educate men and their families on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. The Loudermilk Center is at 40
Courtland St. For more informa- aol.com or 404-219-6624. tion, visit http://mychmi.org or call Food and family fun 1-866-516-CMHI (2644). Real Men Cook for Charity will be held on June 17 at the Georgia Fatherhood rally at Capitol Proud Fathers’ Rally II at the World Congress Center in the State Capitol at 10 a.m. on June 16 Thomas Murphy Ballroom, Buildis presented by metro area chap- ing B, beginning at 3 p.m. It features sample dishes from ters of Omega Psi Phi to celebrate fatherhood. It supports the Presi- more than 100 chefs, restaurants dent’s Fatherhood and Mentoring and caterers and regular guys who Initiative, which urges dads to take cook and includes activities for kids such as face painting, caricatures a more active role in the family. The Omegas will host fathers and clowns. Entertainment will feature and their children at the gold gospel, jazz and R&B performers. dome. Volunteer legal assistance, em- There will be vendors and a health ployment recruiting, DNA testing, pavilion with screenings and inforand male health care screenings will mation on prostate cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. be available. The Department of Health and Tickets are $10-$20 in advance and Human Services Division of Child $15-$25 at the door. They are availSupport will introduce a non- able at ticketannex.com. The Georgia World Congress custodial parent jobs transitional program that will help fathers with Center is at 285 Andrew Young International Blvd. in Atlanta. finding work. The Capitol is at 206 Washing- For more information, visit www ton St. For more information, con- .realmencook.com/Atlanta or call tact S. Earl Wilson at undenied16@ 404-344-8496.
‘To see life extended for him, I would do it all over again’ FATHER,
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Bishop Stewart Reese Jr. will celebrate this Father’s Day at his Covington home with wife Navoria, daughter Bernita and the rest of the family.
children. “Are you sure?” asked her father, who retired on Nov. 5 after 42 years of ministry and passed the baton to his son, Stewart the 3rd. Bernita, who lives in Ellenwood and is a supervisor in the DeKalb Parks and Recreation Department, had her mind made up and wasn’t going to be swayed. Tests proved her a perfect match, and in February, doctors persuaded her father to go on dialysis to enhance his chance at a successful transplantation. When the two checked into Emory Hospital for the surgery, her mother was besieged with fear for Bernita and the bishop. “I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Navoria Reese said. “I prayed and fasted and prayed.” Within days after the surgery, her husband began improving. First his color came back, then his strength.
On Wednesday, five weeks after the surgery, Reese said he is feeling great. “The doctor said I would feel like a 45-year-old man,” he said. “I don’t remember what it felt like when I was 45, but I sure feel good.” Reese said his daughter’s selfless gift came because they are a close family. “Bernita knows we would do
Hearing set on proposed cell tower
Residents of the greater Hidden Hills area can voice their opinions about a proposed cell phone tower at 1708 Panola Road at a June 18 Community Council meeting at Redan-Trotti Library in Lithonia.
Observances focus on male health, salute men 4 Grandfathers, dads, sons, brothers and uncles are the focus of National Men’s Health Month events throughout June.
anything for her,” he said. On Father’s Day on June 17, the Reeses will be in high spirits. Lavoria Reese, the family’s oldest daughter, said they will celebrate at their parents’ Covington home instead of going out to eat. She has been cooking for her sister and her father to help them regain their strength and will reign over the stove again on Sunday. The gathering will include
all the kids – Belinda, the widow of her brother Norman, his son Norman and grandson Devon; Lavoria’s daughters Nicole Sanders and Naomi Reese-Colbert; and brother Stewart, his wife, Wanda, their daughters Cassia and Carma, and son Stewart the 4th. “This year is going to be over the top,” said Lavoria, who is a gospel singer. “We are going to be grateful for life for my father and for the kindness of my sister and the sacrifice she has made.” Donating a kidney is not without its discomfort, but whenever Bernita feels pain, she thinks of her father’s progress. “To see him happy,” she said. “To see life extended for him, I would do it all over again. I am just so happy that he is going to be here.” Her father said she has given him the ultimate gift. “She gave me a part of her life,” he said.
Homeowners seek out help as DeKalb foreclosures mount 5
Free testing, screenings on National HIV Testing Day 9
Fern Davenport’s Lithonia home is going into foreclosure and is expected to be sold on the steps of the DeKalb Courthouse on July 3.
DeKalb residents can get free HIV testing and other health screenings on June 27, which is National HIV Testing Day.
State’s unemployment rate holds steady at 8.9 percent 8 Georgia’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 8.9 percent in May, the first time in 10 months that the rate has failed to decline.
Board postpones budget vote to tackle shortfall 12 The DeKalb School Board postponed its vote on the FY 2013 budget to June 20 after learning that the deficit it faces is actually $85 million – not $73 million as originally thought.
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Atlanta Premier SMO.....................................15 BJH Attorneys & Counselors at Law...............14 Burrell Ellis for DeKalb CEO............................ 7 Cash Rentals....................................................1 City of Lithonia................................................ 5 Cleopatra Salon.............................................15 Committee to Elect Frank Swindle..................6 Committee to Elect Judge Dax E. Lopez.......... 8 DeKalb Convention & Visitor’s Bureau........... 11 Executive Cuts................................................14
Friends to Elect Dionne McGee......................6 Goodwill of North Georgia............................. 8 Hibachi Grill.................................................... 2 Living Healthy DeKalb.....................................9 Macy’s........................................................... 16 MARTA............................................................ 5 New Creations Fitness....................................14 Obama Academic Center...............................15 Padgett Business Services............................... 8 People Self Storage.......................................15
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June 16, 2012
Through the end of May, RealtyTrac said that there were more than 6,630 foreclosed homes in DeKalb County.
Homeowners seek out help as DeKalb foreclosures mount By Carla Parker
Fern Davenport’s Lithonia home is going into foreclosure and is expected to be sold on the steps of the DeKalb Courthouse on July 3. But Davenport is not going down without a fight. “I’ve been with NACA [Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America] for over a year and I applied to Home Safe a month ago, but nothing has helped me so far,” she said last week. “I’ve been to Chase [Bank] events, filled out all types of applications, talked to commissioners, everything.” Davenport was among 200 DeKalb residents who attended a home expo at DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson’s monthly Community Cabinet Breakfast on June 2. The expo provided information and resources for new, current and future homeowners. DeKalb County Community Development and APD Solutions partnered with Watson to stage the expo. Watson said that providing a platform for citizens to either talk to or hear from leaders in the community about issues that affect them is important to him. “I want to make sure that I am accessible, accountable and proactive in introducing resources that can stabilize and improve the lives for those who call DeKalb County home,” he said. Representatives from NACA, Home Safe, Metro Fair Housing, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson’s office, Empire Board of Realists, Gas South, Georgia Power, F.O.G., and Keep DeKalb Beautiful provided information on saving homes from foreclosure; modifying loans; reverse mortgages; finding, purchasing, improving and protecting a home; and state and county homeownership pro-
Joya Green of Metro Fair Housing and Lithonia homeowner Fern Davenport attend a home expo at Commissioner Stan Watson’s community breakfast.
grams. Davenport’s search for help at the expo was unsuccessful. “I’m still filling out applications and talking to people,” she said. “I’m looking for a way out or to save my home.” Through the end of May, RealtyTrac, a California-based company that tracks foreclosures nationwide, said that there were more than 6,630 foreclosed homes in DeKalb County. In May, Lithonia led the county with 337 new foreclosed homes, followed by Decatur with 282; and Stone Mountain in third with 281; Atlanta-in-DeKalb had 201 foreclosures;
Ellenwood, 120; Tucker had 47; and Clarkston had 17; Avondale Estates, 7; Scottdale, 7; and Pine Lake, 4. Marshall Laster, president of Sherwood Oak Neighborhood Association in Decatur, was collecting information at the expo to pass along to his neighbors. He said his subdivision used to have a lot of foreclosed homes, but now there is only one vacant lot. “The market has come back a little bit, but what helped our neighborhood was keeping our homes up,” he said. “When a neighborhood has nice homes, it attracts people and they want to move
In May, there were 1,303 new foreclosed homes in DeKalb County. Lithonia...........................................337 Decatur.......................................... 282 Stone Mountain..............................281 Atlanta............................................201 Ellenwood.......................................120 Tucker.............................................. 47 Clarkston...........................................17 Avondale Estates................................ 7 Scottdale............................................ 7 Pine Lake........................................... 4 Total .......................................... 1,303
June 16, 2012
“We are trying to get vital and healthy and we want to work cooperatively with our communities to do that.”
Ellis vows regular mowing, maintenance to keep streets pristine CLEANUP,
compliance and is joining the county from the city of Sandy Springs, where he was director of code enforcement for six years. Cornell said he is bringing vision, coordination, better management and results to the initiatives being launched. Kellum, who starts with the county on July 2, said Clean to the Curb is one of those programs that can actually change the face of DeKalb. “I am willing to work with each one of you,” Marcus Kellum he said. “I am excited about the opportunity and I look forward to everything that we can do together as a community to change the face of the community.” Cornell said a lot is going on to impact quality-of-life issues – among them policy changes, the civil citation process in Recorders Court, the Land Bank Authority, public education, and reorganizing the county’s neighborhood and stabilization process to
become proactive to keep the county clean. He added that the advisory council on code compliance is making revolutionary change, including creating a neighborhood ambassador program that enables the county to have eyes and ears on the street in all the neighborhoods to help it do a good job and understand what citizens value about quality of life. He said a new program on interior code compliance will enable the county to enforce the code in multi-family communities. He added that his department is working with Recorders Court and that through the civil citations, they can more quickly deal with absentee landlords and some of the big problems tied to the county’s foreclosure situation that have debilitated neighborhoods. Cornell said that people sentenced to community service in Recorders Court give them a large force to work on cleaning up illegal signs and that working with Keep DeKalb Beautiful to find people to adopt streets and working with businesses to clean to the curb, the county can rid itself of some of the eyesores that pull down its image. “Illegal signs are things that people see as something that runs their neighborhood Gary Cornell, interim director of the county’s Planning and Sustainability Department, prepares to bag debris that he shoveled from the curb at Line Street and Glenwood Road.
down and gives them the wrong image,” Cornell said. “We are trying to rebound. We are trying to get vital and healthy, and we want to work cooperatively with our communities to do that.” Ellis encouraged residents and businesses to maintain landscaping all the way to the roadway and to keep the curbside free of trash or yard clippings. Joining him at the podium were members of the Code Compliance Task Force, Neighborhood Ambassadors, code compliance
officers, county mowing crews, Keep DeKalb Beautiful, and staff of the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment – ONE DeKalb. In front of the podium were soda and beer cans and other “prop trash” that county staff had strategically strewn. “I am assuming that this trash was not brought here,” Ellis said. “I am assuming this trash was found in the neighborhood. We really don’t have to set up ‘prop’ trash, let me just say that, because we got a lot of work to do.”
It matters who sits on the bench!
VOTE JULY 31, 2012 www.dionnemcgee.com
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NOW YOU CAN CHOOSE! Remember to Vote July 31st, 2012
Frank L. Swindle for DeKalb County Clerk of the Superior Court Friends and Supporters: I am pleased and excited to announce to you that I intend to become the next Superior Court Clerk for DeKalb County. I am committed to providing the right leadership as we move the DeKalb Clerk’s office into the 21st Century. • 22 years of case management in DeKalb County Superior Court • DeKalb Business Owner and Employer • Longtime community activist in DeKalb County • Volunteer, Mentor, Facilitator for the children of DeKalb County, and devoted Father • Active member of various community-oriented organizations
EXPERIENCE • SERVICE • INTEGRITY Learn More. Visit My Website: www.electfrankswindle.com electfrankswindle2012
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
Committee to Elect Frank Swindle Clerk, Superior Court of DeKalb County P.O. Box 3304, Decatur, GA 30030
Decatur Career Center Career Expo June 20 10am – 2pm Decatur Career Center
Goodwill has partnered with the DeKalb Department of Labor to help you find new job opportunities. Be prepared to share your résumé with hiring managers and start your next career in healthcare, retail or other high demand industries.
Goodwill Decatur Career Center 1295 Columbia Drive Decatur, GA 30032 Job seekers must arrive before 1:30pm to enter the Expo. Professional attire required. Please bring several copies of your résumé .
June 16, 2012
“During tough financial times, we are taking strong steps to balance our budget, re-establish our reserve fund and strengthen our finances.”
Schools’ credit rating lowered By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Standard & Poor’s downgraded the DeKalb School System’s credit rating to A+/ Stable from AA-/Negative this week. In a June 13 report, the New York-based rating agency lowered the district’s series 2007 general obligation bonds from AA-/Negative to A+/Stable “due its view of the district’s inconsistent financial performance Cheryl Atkinson and inability to maintain adequate reserves.” But even as it lowered the rating, Standard & Poor’s cited a stable financial outlook for the district and noted the reforms implemented by Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, the district’s debt burden is low, and said its overall net debt represents roughly $1,000 per capita and 1 percent of market value. Standard & Poor’s said that the 2007 general obligation bonds will be fully retired in fiscal 2013 but that the district has about $115 million of capital leases and certificates of participation outstanding. It also noted that the metro Atlanta region continues to feel the lingering effects of the economic downturn, characterized by high unemployment, limited development activity, decreasing home values, and a high incidence of foreclosures. “Correspondingly, the district’s historically strong property tax base growth has eroded, with the 2012 net maintenance and operations digest of $17.6 billion representing a 14 percent decrease from fiscal 2011 and a 20 percent decrease from its peak value in fiscal 2009,” the agency said. “We understand
that officials expect an additional 9 percent digest reduction for fiscal 2013.” Even though the district had alerted Standard & Poor’s to the 9 percent digest reduction, at its June 11 meeting, the School Board delayed a vote on its 2013 budget claiming that it had just found out that the county’s property digest had declined 9 percent, increasing its budget deficit by $12 million to $85 million. The rating agency said that full market value of the district’s tax base is currently estimated at $51 billion, “still yielding what we view as a strong $75,000 per capita.” It made note of the fact that during fiscal 2012, the school district announced that budgeting errors related to debt service payments on its Series 2007 bonds led to a $40 million shortfall in SPLOST funds earmarked for various pay-as-you-go projects. “However, we understand that all debt service payments have been made on time and in full and officials closed the shortfall through the cancellation and delay of certain projects,” it said. “We do not believe this issue will have a material impact on the district’s future ability or willingness to meet its debt service obligations.” Atkinson put a positive spin on the lowered rating. “During tough financial times, we are taking strong steps to balance our budget, re-establish our reserve fund and strengthen our finances,” she said in a district statement. “Standard & Poor’s has indicated that the district is moving in the right financial direction, and by taking the appropriate actions, we expect the district’s credit rating to continually improve.” For more information about the DeKalb School District, visit www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.
NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE
The Governing Authority of the City of Lithonia has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 6.43 percent. All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings on this tax increase to be held at City Hall, 6980 Main Street, on Monday, June 18, 2012 at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. A third hearing will be held at City Hall on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm. This tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 17.068 mills, an increase of 1.03 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 16.037 mills. This proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $25,243.00 is approximately $26.00. The proposed increase on non-homestead property with a fair market value of $64,656.00 is approximately $67.00. The proposed tax increase will enable the City to meet anticipated obligations and to establish a reserve fund.
The Mayor and Council of the City of Lithonia do hereby announce that the millage rate will be set a meeting to be held at City Hall, 6980 Main Street, on July 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm and pursuant to the requirements of O.C.G.A. Section 48-5-32 do hereby publish the following presentation of the current year's tax digest and levy, along with the history of the tax digest and levy for the past five years.
CURRENT 2012 TAX DIGEST AND 5 YEAR HISTORY OF LEVY 2007
Real & Personal 28,919,717 Motor Vehicles 1,900,420 Mobile Homes 184,102 Timber - 100% Heavy Duty Equipment Gross Digest 31,004,239 Less M& O Exemptions 327,906 Net M & O Digest 30,676,333 State Forest Land Assistance Grant Value: 0 Adjusted Net M&O Digest 30,676,333 Gross M&O Millage 11.699 Less Rollbacks Net M&O Millage 11.699 Total City Taxes Levied $358,882 Net Taxes $ Increase $41,637 Net Taxes % Increase 13.12%
30,651,118 2,052,210 191,510
28,842,932 1,979,710 191,805
26,674,180 1,582,040 176,149
20,765,829 1,615,590 176,149
19,375,805 1,690,000 117,094
32,894,838 636,190 32,258,648 32,258,648 11.699 11.699 $377,394 $18,512 5.16%
31,014,447 566,739 30,447,708
28,432,369 565,746 27,866,623
22,557,568 545,059 22,012,509
21,182,899 562,008 20,620,891
30,447,708 12.321 12.321 $375,146 -$2,248 -0.60%
27,866,623 13.178 13.178 $367,226 -$7,920 -2.11%
22,012,509 15.205 15.205 $334,700 -$32,526 -8.86%
20,620,891 17.068 17.068 $351,957 $17,257 5.16%
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June 16, 2012
“We added 16,400 new jobs in May, and we have 34,000 more jobs than in May a year ago.”
State’s unemployment rate holds steady at 8.9 percent in May Georgia’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 8.9 percent in May, the first time in 10 months that the rate has failed to decline. The state Labor Department also reported that 34,000 new jobs were added in the past 12 months. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at Mark Butler 8.9 percent from April to May. The rate was 9.8 percent in May a year ago. Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said there is some good news in the numbers. “Although the unemployment rate held steady, we now have the fewest jobless workers receiving unemployment insurance
benefits since the start of the recession in 2007, and the numbers of new layoffs and long-term unemployed are down,” Butler said in a June 14 statement. He said the state’s job growth continues. “We added 16,400 new jobs in May, and we have 34,000 more jobs than in May a year ago,” he said. “Fortunately, the growth is in some of our key industries.” Metro Atlanta gained 27,900 jobs over the past 12 months, a 1.2 percent increase to 2,345,800 in May 2012 from 2,317,900 in May 2011. Statewide, the number of jobs increased to 3,944,900 in May 2012, the most since December 2008. This marked an increase of four-tenths of a percentage point from 3,928,500 in April and nine-tenths of a percentage point from 3,910,900 in May of last year.
The industries showing growth from April to May were trade, transportation, and warehousing, 6,000; leisure and hospitality, 5,000; manufacturing, 3,000; education and health care, 2,200; and construction, 800. Government shed 1,300 jobs, mostly in educational services. Industries showing the most growth since May 2011 were professional and business services, 24,000, and trade, transportation and warehousing, 16,700. The greatest overthe-year loss of jobs came in the construction industry with 7,400, followed by local public education with a loss of 4,200 jobs. In May, there were 3,196 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in DeKalb County, an increase of 186, or 6.2 percent, over 3,010 initial claims in April. In May 2011, there were 3,631 new claims for an over-the-year decrease of 435, or 12
percent. Statewide in May, there were 73,621 recipients of unemployment insurance benefits. The number of initial claims filed in May declined by 729, or 1.5 percent, to 46,763. Most of the decrease in claims came across the board in trade, services, manufacturing, and construction. Initial claims also declined over the year, down 8,080, or 14.7 percent, from 54,843 in May 2011. The number of long-term unemployed workers decreased by 3,600 in May to 236,900. The long-term unemployed, those out of work for more than 26 weeks, make up 55.7 percent of all unemployed in Georgia. However, the number of long-term unemployed is down 14,900, or 5.9 percent, from May 2011. For more information, visit www.dol .state.ga.us.
Dream of moving to West Coast without job could turn into nightmare Dear Dave, I plan to move to Los Angeles to chase my dream of working in the television and film industry. I’m not married, have no kids, and I have $2,500 saved to live on until I can pick up a couple of jobs. I may have to finance a car, though. I’m not sure mine will survive the trip. Under these circumstances, how much of an emergency fund should I shoot for? This is a disaster waiting to happen, my – Cameron friend. Don’t get me wrong. I want you to live your dream, but I don’t want it turning Dear Cameron, into a nightmare. So, you’re looking at moving to California There’s no way I’d take a car payment to with $2,500 in your pocket, a car payment, California. And you’re going to need a lot and no job waiting. more than just $2,500, unless you have a job
So, you’re looking at moving to California with $2,500 in your pocket, a car payment, and no job waiting. This is a disaster waiting to happen, my friend. lined up. Even if there’s work waiting for you, $2,500 will disappear in about 20 minutes in Los Angeles. Slow down and take your time. Plan a trip to the coast and figure out what your living arrangements and expenses are going to look like first. Then, line up a job that will
pay you enough to cover your expenses. In the meantime, save up enough money to fix your car, or if it’s in really rough shape, to buy a good, used one. Once all this is done, then you make the move – without a car payment. Moving when you’re broke with no job prospects and a car payment hanging around your neck is a recipe for disaster! – Dave Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s written four New York Times best-selling books: “Financial Peace,” “More Than Enough,” “The Total Money Makeover” and “EntreLeadership.” Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the Web at daveramsey.com.
Credit Education Series at library
Community. Fairness. Justice.
A Credit Education Series with Duane White, president of Need to Know Information Inc., begins June 23 at the Salem-Panola Library in Lithonia. White teaches strategies for financial success in the five-part series. Classes meet from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of the month, beginning June 23 with What Is Credit and How Does It Work?
The July 28 session covers Fair Credit Reporting and Credit Report Analysis; the Aug. 25 class is The Fair Debt Collections Practice Act and Letter Writing; the Sept. 22 session is The Credit Card Act of 2009; and the Oct. 27 class explores Credit Scoring and Identifying Where You Are. The library is at 5137 Salem Road. For more information, call 770-987-6900.
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June 16, 2012
“Although progress has been made … this epidemic continues to grow at a rapid pace among minority populations.”
Free testing, health screenings on National HIV Testing Day DeKalb residents can get free HIV testing and other health screenings on June 27, which is National HIV Testing Day. The Decatur nonprofit STAND Inc. is offering the OraQuick Advance rapid oral testing, counseling and referral services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4319 Covington Highway, Suite 117-A, in Decatur in the Omni Tech building in the back parking lot. It also will offer free HIV testing from 3 to 7 p.m. on June 27-29 at the Walgreen store at 2320 North Druid Hills Road N.E., at the northeast corner of North Druid Hills and Briarcliff (404-248-1793). The OraQuick Advance rapid oral swab provides a result within 20 minutes. STAND also will host a health and wellness event on June 27 and provide information on resources available to the community. The health fair will offer blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index, HIV and STD screenings. There will be a number of other community service providers who will share information and Margaret Renfroe community resources. STAND’s Prevention Services Department is at 3423 Covington Drive, Suite D. For more information, visit http://standinc .com or call 404-284-9878. Free testing also will be available for anyone 17 or older at the DeKalb Addiction Clinic at 455 Winn Way in Decatur from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 27 at an event sponsored by the DeKalb Community Service Board and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Stone Mountain-Lithonia Chapter. Participants will receive results within 20
DeKalb Community Service Board worker Margaret Renfroe, at right, has tested more people for HIV than any other worker.
minutes. If needed, personnel at the DeKalb Addiction Clinic can make references for follow-up services to the DeKalb Board of Health or another health care facility. Testing at the clinic is coordinated by DeKalb Luevenia Holloway CSB employee Margaret Renfroe, whose longstanding dedication to HIV work stems from a friendship. “My best friend in the whole wide world died from AIDS and I made a commitment to her to do everything that I possibly could do to help stop the spread of this virus,” Renfroe said in a June 4 statement. Last fiscal year, Renfroe tested 1,276 people over the course of 12 months, up 50 percent over the previous year. She tested more people than any other HIV Early Intervention Services worker in Georgia. HIV EIS is a program of the Georgia
Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Luevenia McCain Holloway, president of the Stone Mountain-Lithonia Chapter of 100 Black Women, said the chapter is committed to advocate on behalf of initiatives that support HIV/AIDS awareness and testing. “Although a tremendous amount of
progress has been made in the areas of HIV/ AIDS research and treatment, this epidemic continues to grow at a rapid pace among minority populations,” Holloway said. The DeKalb CSB is a nonprofit public provider of community-based behavioral health care, offering a full range of mental health services, substance abuse treatment and developmental disabilities programs. For more information, contact the DeKalb Addiction Clinic at 404-508-6430. Since 1995, HIV Testing Day has been a national observance to promote testing. According to the 2008 Georgia Data Summary: HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Georgia has the sixth highest number of AIDS cases in the United States and as many as 38,300 people in the state may be infected with HIV. In 2007, the metro Atlanta area had 64 percent of all AIDS cases in Georgia. Despite representing only 14 percent of the U.S. population in 2009, AfricanAmericans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections that year. African-Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease – from new infections to deaths.
Free lung screenings for asthma in Clarkston Free asthma screenings will be available on June 23 at Christ Community Praise & Worship Center in Clarkston. Lung screenings and consultations take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the event co-hosted by Not 1 More Life, founded in 2004 by Dr. LeRoy Graham, a pediatrician and pediatric pulmonologist. Not 1 More Life’s team of volunteer doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists
and health educators conducts asthma screenings and educational programs and partners with faith-based communities to reduce the negative impact of asthma on minorities and other high-risk populations such as women, children and the poor. Christ Community is at 4154 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. For more information, call 404-297-7011.
“Working with kids is something I love to do. It’s all about the kids, not the accolades. But I am honored.” Columbia High’s basketball players salute their coach, Dr. Phil McCrary. The school, which has five state championships, won the Class AAA title in 2012.
Culture talk to spotlight on Caribbean Metro Atlanta residents can rediscover the island nations of the Caribbean at Conversations on Caribbean Culture on June 16 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center in Decatur. William “Chad” Skinner will facilitate the discussion, which takes place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event will explore the island nations standing alone and/or as part of a whole, similarities, experiences, and differences. It is presented by the Georgia Caribbean Culture Inc. as part of the activities celebrating Caribbean Heritage Month in June. R.S.V.P. to C. Patrick at siprosol@att .net or email@example.com. The Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center is at 3181 Rainbow Drive.
Clothing drive to benefit men Concerned residents can take part in the United Way’s Day of Action by contributing men’s clothing to the Fox Recovery Center in Decatur on June 21. The DeKalb Community Service Board is collecting men’s clothing donations for the residential substance abuse treatment program for men. The most needed items include gently used men’s clothing in all sizes and new socks, undergarments and T-shirts. The Day of Action is a national volunteer strategic effort on the longest day of the year, providing opportunities to give, advocate or volunteer in the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta’s 13-county region. The Fox Recovery Center is at 3100 Clifton Springs Road. For more information, call 404-508-7875.
June 16, 2012
Columbia’s coach inducted in Hall of Fame Dr. Phil McCrary, who led Columbia High’s boys basketball team to its fifth state championship, was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame on June 9. During the ceremony at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, McCrary was presented with a plaque and his photo and record will hang in the center. He was inducted alongside girls basketball and Atlanta Tipoff Club pioneer Jackie Bradford, Olympic gold medal sprinter Mel Pender, Georgia Tech football’s only threetime First Team All-American Randy Rhino, and Emmy-winning sports broadcaster Bill Hartman. McCrary has been the head coach of Columbia’s boys basketball program for 25 years. During his tenure, the school racked up 546 wins, had 13 seasons of 20 or more wins – including four seasons of 30 or more victories – and a string of 23 wins or more since 2004. It had just two losing seasons over the two-and-a-half decades. McCrary called the induction an honor and blessing. “Working with kids is something I love to do,” he said. “It’s all about the kids, not the accolades. But I am honored.” McCrary found out he was nominated at the DeKalb Basketball Media Day on Oct. 20 and said he thought it was a prank. “Larry Winter [Hall of Fame president] and Greg White [who represents DeKalb on the advisory committee] told me,” he said.
Dr. Phil McCrary was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame on June 9.
“My wife called later and told me what was going on.” White, who nominated McCrary, said it was time to honor him for his accomplishments. “I think his impact on this county and on young men’s lives needs to be recognized,” he said. “I see how he wants to help the young black males and shape their lives so they can contribute to society. It’s more than just basketball for him,”
A Griffin native, McCrary grew up playing football and baseball in high school and in college at Clark Atlanta University. A short stint at Walton County as girls basketball and assistant football coach led to a football assistant’s job at his college alma mater, Clark Atlanta. He was recruited to Columbia High by then-principal Bennie Lowe in 1988 and started out as an assistant football and basketball coach. “I thank Bennie Lowe for giving me the opportunity to coach in DeKalb,” he said. “He always told me to do the right thing by the kids and I’ve lived by that motto for years.” It took McCrary 18 years to get his first state title in 2006, when Columbia defeated Douglas County 78-50 for the Class AAAA title. But his Eagles have been on a roll ever since, winning four more state titles in six seasons (2008 Class AAAA, 2010-12 Class AAA). He won his 500th game in 2011 and his total now stands at 546-185 after a 31-1 season and the completion of a three-peat at the top of Class AAA in 2012. McCrary says he thanks God for putting him in a position to meet so many people who helped him to succeed. “Without the great support of my wife, Constance, my family, the players, the teachers and administrators at Columbia and the great folks in our Central Athletics Office, I could not have gotten to where I am today,” he said.
June 16, 2012
“Crimes against seniors have become a major issue in our area and across the nation.”
Senior Ball to honor Lewis for activism and leadership U.S. Rep. John Lewis will be honored for his activism and leadership at the 2012 Senior Ball on June 23 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. The black-tie event for DeKalb residents John Lewis 60 and older is hosted by District Attorney Robert James. It kicks off at 5 p.m. with an hour-long resource and information fair showcasing an interactive safety program. Lewis, whose 5th Congressional District now includes a large chunk of DeKalb Commission District 3, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from James and District 5 DeKalb Commissioner Lee May during the formal portion that starts at 6 p.m. The award recognizes his work as a civil rights icon, congressional leader and community advocate. May called the congressman a staple in the community with “an incredible track record of addressing critical issues facing our nation.” “Whether it is educational disparities or health care reform, Congressman Lewis has remained a guiding voice for national change,” May said in a June 12 statement. Lewis, who was elected to Congress in 1986, was a founder and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was an architect of and keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in 1963. He was beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the March 1963
Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights. Lewis is senior chief deputy whip for the Democratic Party in the House, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, a member of its SubRobert James committee on Income Security and Family Support, and ranking member of its Subcommittee on Oversight. The black-tie Senior Ball begins at 5 p.m. with the Senior Expo. It will feature an interactive session led by James to educate participants about precautions seniors can take to minimize theft, crime, abuse and exploitation. The annual event is already at capacity. James said DeKalb seeks to keep its older residents informed. “Crimes against seniors have become a major issue in our area and across the nation,” James said. “With DeKalb having one of the fastest growing senior populations in the state and with an aging baby boomer population nationwide, we have to find ways to connect with our seniors and educate them on crimes targeted at the elderly.” He said the ball provides a perfect platform to explore issues of elder abuse, exploitation, consumer fraud, and telemarketing scandals and to make seniors aware of valuable community resources dedicated for the elder community. To serve as a sponsor, contact Erik Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org. For vendor information, contact Angel Riley at email@example.com.
Cleveland native Ja’Naan will bring her distinctive style to a performance at the Decatur Library in downtown Decatur on June 24.
Jazz vocalist to perform at library Accomplished jazz vocalist and performer Ja’Naan, who has appeared with Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Lionel Hampton and other celebrated artists, will bring her distinctive style to the Decatur Library on June 24. Whether fronting her own ensemble or connecting with musical colleagues, her
warm interpretation of cover and original tunes brings you into her living room. The performance by the Cleveland native, now a metro Atlanta resident, is funded by the Friends of the Decatur Library. It begins at 4 p.m. The library is at 215 Sycamore St. in downtown Decatur. For more information, call 404-370-3070.
Workshop for Internet beginners
WordPress developer and search engine optimization consultant Micah Wood will present a June 23 seminar for Internet beginners on setting up blog and Web pages for personal or business use at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library. Get Online With WordPress takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants should bring a laptop, notepaper and pencil or pen. No registration is required, and funding is provided by the Friends of the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library. The branch is at 5234 LaVista Road in Tucker. For more information, visit dekalblibrary.org or call 770-270-8234.
a lady, we have to first accept Jesus Pastor Kathern Thomas’ latest Christ as our Savior,” she said. book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like “When you allow Jesus to come Jesus,” will be unveiled at a June into your life and transform it, you 23 book release party in Stone are becoming who he wants you Mountain. to be.” Thomas is pastor of WorshipThomas is also the author of pers Interceding for Excellence “Private Hell/Public Ministry” Church in Scottdale. published in 2010 and “Celebrating She said she wrote the book to let women know that God wants Kathern Thomas Celibacy,” published in 2004. The 2 p.m. book release party will be in them to be who he created them to be. “The Bible says that we are fearfully and the third-floor solarium at the Spring Chase wonderfully made. If we’re going to act like Apartments, 4947 Memorial Drive.
Plan Your Next Family Reunion in Atlanta’s DeKalb County! DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Reunion Specialists will teach you everything you need to know to plan the perfect Family Reunion!
Worship Services: .... Sundays - 7:45 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. Church School: ........ Sundays - 9:30 a.m. Victory Chapel:......... Sundays - 11:00 a.m. (Ages 5-16) Prayer Service: ........Tuesdays - 6:30 p.m. Sanctuary Family Bible Study: ..Tuesdays - 7:00 p.m. Mid-Wk Communion: Wednesdays B4 First Sunday - 11:30 a.m. Child Development Center
“God has a vision for our lives that is greater than any vision we can have for ourselves or that others can have for us.”
Free Planning Workshop & Showcase Saturday, July 14, 2012
• Reunion Planning Workshop (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) • Family Reunion Showcase (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.) Meet with DeKalb County Hotels, Local Attractions and Reunion Vendors
Atlanta Marriott Century Center
2000 Century Center Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30345 Call (770) 492-5050 ext. 1048 to Pre-Register
Pastor pens third book for women
June 16, 2012
“As critical as this is, we’re spinning out of control and not having all the facts together to make a wise decision.”
School Board postpones budget vote to tackle bigger shortfall By Carla Parker
The DeKalb School Board postponed its vote on the FY 2013 budget to June 20 after learning that the deficit it faces is actually $85 million – not $73 million. The board was scheduled to vote June 11 on a list of cuts to close a $73 million gap when it said it discovered it has an additional gap of $12 million created by a 9 percent drop in tax digest, instead of a 6 percent decrease. Chief Financial Officer Michael Perrone told the board that the DeKalb County Tax Assessor’s Office is projecting the larger decline in the value of taxable property. But Calvin Hicks, the county’s chief appraiser, said the School Board was made aware of the extent of the tax digest decline nearly a month ago. The school district also alerted Standard & Poor’s about the 9 percent drop in time for it to be a part of the credit agency’s June 13 report that lowered the district’s rating on its general obligation bond from AA-/Negative to A+/Stable. “We understand that officials expect an additional 9 percent digest reduction for fiscal 2013,” the Standard & Poor’s report said. At Monday’s meeting, board members seemed shocked and surprised at news of
the 9 percent drop. Hicks said Thursday that the School Board should not have been surprised. “They’re on our distribution list, so they would have received the reports on May 16 and 30 and on June 13,” Hicks said. Hicks said he expects the value of property taxes to continue to drop. “We’re still in the appeal process, and during the process you’re typically going to lose value during the appeal,” he said. On hearing Perrone’s June 11 announcement about the extra $12 million hole, District 5 School Board member Jay Cunningham motioned to postpone the vote on the budget. “Based on the information we just received, I don’t see how we can move forward tonight,” he said. District 2 School Board member Don McChesney agreed with Cunningham. “As critical as this is, we’re spinning out of control and not having all the facts together to make a wise decision,” he said. “And us just blasting forward is just not a wise thing to do.” The board voted unanimously to postpone their vote until June 20. The district’s 2013 fiscal year starts July 1, and it must have a balanced budget in place by then. It can run beyond that date with monthly spending resolutions.
Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson urged the board to make a decision soon on the cuts because the delay could affect staffing at schools. After the meeting, school spokesman Walter Woods said the staff would like to move forward with some of the cuts as quickly as possible because some of the teacher contracts end on June 30. “If we’re making position changes, we need to go ahead and make those so folks will know,” he said. “And also if we’re cutting programs like pre-k and transportation for magnet schools, parents need to make decisions about that for next year because summer is not that long.” Before postponing action, the School Board was going to vote on a proposed list of budget cuts worth over $78 million to close the gap on the deficit. The cuts included terminating transportation for all magnet and choice programs – including DeKalb Early College, theme school students and Montessori programs. The list also included eliminating the school district’s share of the pre-k program; two extra furlough days; eliminating the monthly health and dental insurance subsidy for employees; increasing class sizes by one student; reducing the number of media clerks by 25; eliminating overtime extra activity pay and textbook replacement;
and reducing 10 assistant principals and 10 counselors through attrition. Before the meeting, Atkinson added the Fernbank Science Center to the list. After public outcry, board members pulled the center off the closure list, which would have saved $4.7 million. The center will still be open but operating with less than a third of its budget – trimming $3.2 million from the center, leaving it with a $1.5 million budget. Some parents applauded when the board voted to hold off on the budget for now. Sandra Weaks, whose daughter is a rising senior at Stephenson High School, said tabling the budget was the best thing to do. “They need to make a decision,” she said. “It’s very disheartening that we are already in a deficit … they need to get all the input and find money from somewhere.” Angelena Kelly, whose daughter is a rising senior at Arabia Mountain High School, said tabling the budget is just prolonging the issue and they need to get it done in a timely fashion. “They’re talking about getting rid of prek. So, you got that population of people who now have to find something else for their child,” she said. “So I think it’s irresponsible. They need to put the emphasis on getting this conducted timely.”
‘Funk Machine’ to tout band’s talents during 1-hour summer showcase The Arabia Mountain High School Marching Rams will give the community a small taste of why they are known as the “Funk Machine” at a June 16 Summer Band Showcase at the Lithonia school. The free one-hour event begins at noon. Band director Emanuel Johnson helped establish the band program in the fall of 2009 under the strict charter of musicianship, scholarship, discipline and integrity. The program began with 40 students and has grown to more than 120 participants. The band program also features the Arabia Jewels and Arabia Emeralds auxiliary squads, Arabia Mountain Wind Orchestra, Jazz Masters and Chamber Orchestra. The school is at 6610 Browns Mill Road in Lithonia. For more information on the band program and participation, contact Emanuel Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Marching Rams of Arabia Mountain High in Lithonia will perform at a free Summer Band Showcase on June 16 at the school.
June 16, 2012
Participants will learn the conventions of writing against the backdrop of the park’s granite ecosystem.
Southwest DeKalb alums finish Meharry with high honors By Carla Parker
Southwest DeKalb High alums Marcus Gates and Trey Porter never met in high school, but on May 19, both graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. Gates, a 2005 Southwest DeKalb graduate, entered the high school a year after Porter graduated in 2001. In 2008, the two met during their first year of medical school and were among 85 Meharry 2012 graduates. Gates, 25, graduated with the highest honors and a 4.0 GPA, the highest in his class. Porter, 28, graduated with high honors and finished with a 3.8 GPA. Gates is currently in Rochester, Minn., where he will begin his residency in neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic on June 30. His father, Dwight, lives in Stone Mountain and his mother, Vickie, still lives in Decatur. Porter moved back to Atlanta and will begin his residency in orthopedic surgery at Atlanta Medical Center on June 25. His parents Melvin and Katrinda also live in Decatur. Gates and Porter had all of their classes together the first two years of medical school. Both said it was comforting to know someone from their hometown was at Meharry. “It was good to know that someone from your area was here and was exposed to the same things as you were growing up,” Gates said. Southwest DeKalb alum Phillip Walton graduated from Meharry in 2009. Gates enrolled at Meharry through the Fisk University-Meharry Joint PreMed Program, which allows students to enter Meharry as a candidate for a medical, dental or research degree after three years of undergraduate study. Gates received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Fisk University in Nashville. Gates’ interest in the medical field began after his right femur was broken in a car accident the day before he was to begin his junior year at Southwest DeKalb. “I considered orthopedic surgery at first and making prosthetics,” he said. “But I took some courses in neuroscience and got interested in the brain and how it works.” The summer after his freshman year at Meharry, Gates had the opportunity to participate in the Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program in
Trey Porter (above with parents Melvin and Katrinda) graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville on May 19 with Marcus Gates (at right with family members), who had the highest GPA in his class.
Neuroscience at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to do neurological research. During the eight-week program, he worked alongside renowned neurosurgeon Keith Black, chairman of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Neurosurgery. Gates said working with Black, who is now his mentor, was a great opportunity for him. “I was excited to go to L.A. and do research with him,” he said. He was also the 2009 graduate-level Neuroscience Award winner of the Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program and received a $2,500 stipend, which funded his summer fellowship at the center. The Washingtons presented the award to Gates in person while he was at Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Middle School in Los Angeles giving a speech. “I was shocked and very surprised,” Gates said. “It was very surreal [meeting Denzel Washington].” Porter said he had dreamed of becoming an orthopedic surgeon for a long time. “I like to work with my hands and putting things together,” he said. “I also like helping people and improving their lifestyle with mobility.” He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Georgia and his masters in Public Health at Georgia State University before going to Meharry. Porter said he fell in love with Meharry
Students head to Honors Program Eight South DeKalb students are among 40 rising juniors and seniors from DeKalb headed to Valdosta State University on June 24 for the four-week Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. Brandon McLean, Dallas Turner and Karri Thomas from Arabia Mountain High; Mikaila Ware, Richard Peay, Virginia Spinks and Constance Tolbert from DeKalb School of the Arts; and Southwest DeKalb High’s DuMarkus Davis will be among 690 students from across Georgia picked for the 2012 program. More than 2,900 were nominated and interviewed in January and February. Last year, 14 students from South DeKalb participated in the summer residential
instructional program that provides intellectually gifted and artistically talented high school students with challenging and enriching educational opportunities not usually available during the regular school year. Students spend 4.5 hours in their major area classes every morning and Monday through Saturday on activities that help them to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes to become independent, lifelong learners. The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program is fully funded by the Georgia General Assembly and operates at no cost to the participant. For more information, visit www.gadoe .org/School-Improvement/GHP.
Writing workshop for tweens, teens Kids 12 to 19 can learn to write fiction, poetry and scripts at a Teen Summer Writing Workshop at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. During the four-day workshop, participants will learn the conventions of writing against the backdrop of the park’s granite ecosystem and forest trails. On June 20-21, students will learn how to craft rich fiction, form a comprehensive plot structure, and develop detailed characters. A June 25 screenwriting session explores
the basics of act structure and tension. At the workshop on June 28, instructors will guide students through writing exercises to help them craft beautiful poetry. Participants must bring a laptop or notebook, paper, pen, pencil, plenty of water, a healthy snack, a light jacket and repellent. In case of inclement weather, students will convene in the classrooms. Workshops are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch break. For cost and other information, call Annette Johnson at 678-691-9005.
after completing a post-bachelor program at the school. “I wanted to stay because they invested a lot of resources in me and they had the type of environment that I wanted to be a part of,” he said. “It’s a family environment. A lot of people were there to help and willing to help.” Before earning his medical degree, Porter received a certificate in health policy from the Center for Health Policy at Meharry through the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Both Porter and Gates are members of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Porter said seniors are usually inducted into the organization, not juniors, but he and Gates were among five juniors that got in. “That was a great honor,” he said. Atlanta Medical is his choice for his resi-
dency because it’s close to home. “I’ll be able to learn and practice in a city that I know and be around family,” he said. “The program is also very welcoming to me.” Gates said he wanted to venture out a little further. “[The Mayo Clinic] has the top program in neurosurgery,” he said. “I like the environment, the people and the faculty.” Both said they are excited about starting this new chapter in their lives. “I’m looking forward to getting the experience of becoming a doctor,” Gates said. “Getting the knowledge and meeting new people and starting a new life.” Porter said he is ready to get his feet wet. “And having fun treating and helping patients,” he said.
June 16, 2012
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OPEN A MACY’S ACCOUNT FOR EXTRA 20% SAVINGS THE FIRST 2 DAYS, UP TO $100, WITH MORE REWARDS TO COME. Macy’s credit card is available subject to credit approval; new account savings valid the day your account is opened and the next day; excludes services, selected licensed departments, gift cards, restaurants, gourmet food & wine. The new account savings are limited to a total of $100; application must qualify for immediate approval to receive extra savings; employees not eligible. N2050179A.indd 1
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