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SCENE

WELLNESS

SECTION B

Clarkston will celebrate its cultural diversity at the second annual International Festival on Oct. 1 in the Plaza downtown. A7

Avoiding genetically modified corn can be difficult as it shows up in everything from grits to salad dressing to chicken nuggets. A9

The Mall at Stonecrest is celebrating its first decade with events throughout October. We help with a Special Section. INSIDE

Cultural smorgasbord

What happened to corn?

10-year anniversary

EAST ATLANTA • DECATUR • STONE MOUNTAIN • LITHONIA • AVONDALE ESTATES • CLARKSTON • ELLENWOOD • PINE LAKE • REDAN • SCOTTDALE • TUCKER

Copyright © 2011 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.

September 24, 2011

www.crossroadsnews.com

Volume 17, Number 21

Black buying power headed to $1.1 trillion in four years The buying power of African-Americans is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, a new report says. The Nielsen State of the African-American Consumer Report, released Sept. 22, showcases the buying and media habits and consumer trends of a diverse black demographic. It showed that with their buying power, if blacks were a country, they would be the 16th largest in the world, between Indonesia and Turkey. Cloves Campbell, chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which partnered with Nielsen on the report, said it provides considerable insight into a significant market segment.

Cloves Campbell

“Too often companies don’t realize the inherent differences of our community, are not aware of the market size impact, and have not optimized efforts to develop messages beyond those that coincide with Black History Month,” Campbell

said. The report is the first installment in a three-year alliance between NNPA and Nielsen, a leading provider of analytics into what consumers watch and buy. NNPA, or the Black Press of America, has more than 200 black community newspapers

across the country. Campbell said he hoped the collaboration with Nielsen would help tell the story of the black consumer in a manner that businesses can understand. African-Americans make up the largest racial minority group in America with a population of close to 43 million, the report said. Susan Whiting, Nielsen vice chair, called the alliance with NNPA “an opportunity to share valuable insights, unique consumer behavior patterns and purchasing trends with the African-American community.” The report was released during the 41st Annual Legislative Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference in Washington

on Sept. 21-24. Among its findings: n The number of African-American households earning $75,000 or higher grew by almost 64 percent, a rate close to 12 percent greater than the change in the overall population’s earning between 2000 and 2009. This continued growth in affluence, social influence and household income will continue to impact the community’s economic power. n African-Americans make more shopping trips than all other groups but spend less money per trip. Blacks in higher income brackets also spend 300 percent more in Please see CONSUMER, page A3

Vigils Were Not Enough Janice Ivery of Stone Mountain, Mercedes Binnis of Marietta and Britt Schulte of Chicago were among those at a candlelight vigil for Troy Davis outside the state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Sunday.

Troy Davis executed after last-ditch efforts By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

After 20 years on death row, convicted cop killer Troy Davis was executed at 11:08 p.m. on Sept. 21. Davis’ death by lethal injection came four hours later than his scheduled 7 p.m. execution as his lawyers and supporters made a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. It declined to stay his execution. He was 42 years old. Witnesses said he died declaring his innocence and urging supporters to continue the fight against the death penalty after his death. Davis was convicted Sept. 3, 1991, for the 1989 death of Mark MacPhail, a white off-duty Savannah police officer, when he was 20 years old. MacPhail, 27, was working as a security guard when he intervened in a brawl in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah and was shot at point-blank range. There was no physical evidence linking Davis to the crime, and after several witnesses recanted their testimonies, supporters say there was too much doubt to execute. They and opponents of the death penalty called for clemency for Davis, but the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and the state Supreme Court both upheld his sentence this week. John Evans, president of the DeKalb NAACP, said the decision to execute was wrong. “When in doubt, you don’t want to kill anyone because you can’t do anything after you have done it,” he said. Evans, who joined the vigil for clemency on Tuesday, said the Davis case highlights the need for change. “We need to take this situation and do

Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

something about the death penalty. Period,” he said. “The disparity in sentencing between blacks and whites is disproportional. That’s why we can’t support the death penalty.” AJC reporter Rhonda Cook, who was one of five reporters who witnessed the execution along with MacPhail’s son and namesake; his brother, William MacPhail; and the Davis family, told CNN Wednesday night that Davis looked at the McPhails and said he was sorry for their loss. “I did not personally kill your son, father and brother,” Davis said. “I am innocent.” Cook said Davis asked his family and friends to continue to search for the truth. To

the prison officials who would pull the switch to kill him, he said, “May God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.” She said he lowered his head and was dead within 14 minutes from a three-drug cocktail of pentobarbital, which induced coma; pancuronium bromide, which paralyzed him; and potassium chloride, which stopped his heart. The worldwide campaign to spare Davis’ life drew high-profile support from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and 4th District U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson. Davis had escaped three previous dates with death before Wednesday.

Supporters began round-the-clock vigils last week and hundreds stood outside the Jackson state prison Wednesday praying for clemency. In a letter written by Davis and released by Amnesty International, Davis said the struggle for justice doesn’t end with him. By midday Thursday, the NAACP had begun organizing to work toward eliminating the death penalty. Evans said that he had received a call from NAACP state President Edward DuBose. “He said we need to get together in a few days to develop a plan of action to abolish the death penalty,” he said.


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CrossRoadsNews

Community

September 24, 2011

DeKalb weighs new EMS plan By Mary Swint

New emergency ambulance service should begin in DeKalb County on April 17, 2012, per a timeline presented to the Board of Commissioners’ Finance Committee this week. Chief Procurement Officer Kelvin Walton said on Sept. 20 that the request for proposals will be advertised on Oct. 21 and proposals from private ambulance services will be due on Dec. 15. The Board of Commissioners could vote on the recommended proposal on Feb. 14. The Purchasing and Contracting Department sought information in July from ambulance service providers on possible models for the new contract that will combine emergency (911) ambulance service with the billing and collections for ambulance service transports. Three companies that offered the traditional outsourcing model said the county will need to increase user fees or pay the EMS transport provider a subsidy because the current system operates at a loss. DeKalb Chief of Fire Rescue Edward O’Brien said he is looking at another option under which a “finance� company would fund the equipment and this would eliminate the county’s capital expenses. The company would contract with a private ambulance service and would pay a subsidy to the EMS transport provider.

The company would pay the county and the transport provider a percentage of the fee collections. This model also would emphasize the need for the ambulance provider to meet certain performance standards. One estimate showed the county might retain $3.1 million from the $15.7 million in baseline revenue under this model. Executive Assistant Richard Stogner said the national average for EMS ambulance services is to recoup 50 percent of the user fees since a large percentage of transports involve indigent patients or Medicare. He said the Fire Department would still operate ALS, or advanced life support. In a comparison of EMS fees from 11 Georgia counties, DeKalb has lower-thanaverage fees for ALS, mileage and oxygen. DeKalb charges $500 for basic life support while the average is $356.50, but there was no fee for this service listed for six counties. DeKalb is the only county to charge for EKG. It is one of four counties whose fire departments provide EMS services. For an example involving cardiac arrest and a 12-mile transport, DeKalb would charge $734 compared to the average cost of $942. In another example involving a motor vehicle crash, neck pain, oxygen and a 12mile transport, DeKalb charges $629, which is slightly less than the average cost of $631. The Finance Committee took no action.

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DeKalb residents can dispose of toxic household waste free of charge at a Household Hazardous Waste Event on Oct. 1 in Decatur. The 8 a.m.-to-noon event will take place at the DeKalb County Central Transfer Station at 3720 Leroy Scott Drive. It is sponsored by Keep DeKalb Beautiful and the DeKalb County Sanitation Division in partnership with Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. Household hazardous waste is classified as products that contain potentially dangerous chemicals and are no longer used. These products, which include aerosols, mercury,

batteries, adhesives, flammables, lawn care products, automotive products, fluorescent bulbs, photo chemicals, hobby and artists supplies, paints and paint-related products, and cleaners and swimming pool chemicals, should not be mixed with regular trash and can be potentially harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly.   Items that will not be accepted include bio-hazardous/biomedical waste, agricultural waste, ammunition, explosives, pharmaceuticals, radioactive materials, and non-hazardous waste. For more information, call 404-371–2654 or e-mail kdb@dekalbcountyga.gov.

S.H.E. Consulting & Ministries, LLC

(Seeking HIS Excellence) Domestic Violence Awareness Workshop

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

3929 Heritage Pointe Lithonia, GA 30038

IF YOU DON’T STAND FOR SOMETHING, YOU’LL FALL FOR ANYTHING TAKE A STAND AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SPEAKERS • MUSIC • TESTIMONIALS • RESOURCES • VENDORS & MUCH MORE For More Information, Please Call Rev. Leslie Taylor-Whitaker, 404-452-7619, or Barbara Dixon-Hamil, 770-875-2610 e-mail: she.ministries1@yahoo.com • facebook: She Consulting & Ministries

Your Source for Neighborhood News Call 404-284-1888 for Advertising Rates & Information

There’s No Place Like Home

Announcing the launch of a new church in South DeKalb

Augustine Chapel

Has been ordained by God as a LIGHTHOUSE in the Center of Community to help you find your way HOME Services held on the first and third Sunday of each month at 8:00 a.m. Located at

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The Community Achievement Center 4522 Flat Shoals Parkway • Decatur, Georgia 404-275-1096


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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Community

The percentage of African-Americans attending college or earning a degree has increased to 44 percent for men and 53 percent for women.

Rank Country

Purchasing Power Parity (Billion $)

Tonya Peterson

Doreen Carter

Al T. Franklin

Deborah Jackson

Lithonia mayor’s forum set Lithonia voters can learn more about the candidates running for mayor at an Oct. 4 forum at the Lithonia-Davidson Library. The forum, from 6 to 7:45 p.m., is sponsored by the DeKalb League of Women Voters, CrossRoadsNews and the Lithonia Chamber of Commerce. All four mayoral candidates – incumbent Tonya Peterson and challengers Doreen Carter, Al T. Franklin and Deborah Jackson – have been invited. All three chal-

lengers have been City Council members. The candidates will discuss their platform and take questions from journalists and the audience.   Peterson was elected mayor in November 2008. She served on the council for almost three years. Jackson, who is an attorney, and Franklin, an advertising consultant, were elected to the council in 2009. Carter, an accountant, has been on the council since 2007. For more information, visit http:// lwvdk.org.

Not guilty plea in molestation case Nielsen: The State of the African-American Consumer

Technology use rises among blacks CONSUMER,

from page

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higher-end retail grocers – more than any other high-income household. n There were 23.9 million active AfricanAmerican Internet users in July 2011, 76 percent of whom visited a social networking/ blog site. n Thirty-three percent of all African-Americans own a smartphone.

n Blacks use more than double the amount

of mobile phone voice minutes compared with whites – 1,298 minutes a month versus 606. n The percentage of African-Americans attending college or earning a degree has increased to 44 percent for men and 53 percent for women. For more information, visit www.nielsen .com/africanamerican.

WHILE LEARNING HOW TO BUILD ROBOTS, STUDENTS ALSO PICK UP THE MECHANICS OF SUCCESS.

dio in Lithonia. The indictment Lithonia tae kwon do instrucaccuses him of having “carnal tor and Olympic athlete Adrian knowledge of ” a 9-year-old girl Spellen pleaded not guilty to two between May 23 and June 3. counts of rape and one count Spellen, 27, was arrested of aggravated child molestation June 25 and released on a during a Thursday arraignment $100,000 bond on July 7. in DeKalb County Superior On July 26, Spellen told Court. WSB-TV that he wouldn’t do A DeKalb grand jury indicted Adrian Spellen anything to hurt his students. Spellen on three counts of rape “I teach against this thing,” he said. and aggravated child molestation on July “This is the core of what I teach. This is 26. Spellen is charged with raping a female damaging my life, my reputation everystudent at his Powerkicks Martial Arts stu- thing that I stand for.”

The 100 Black Men of Atlanta’s Project Success Robotics Program introduces middle and high school students to science and technology, using real world examples and hands-on training. In addition to being poised for professional achievement in expanding fields, participants improve their core academics and learn life lessons they will never forget. Georgia Power is proud to support Project Success, and the future contributions of these brilliant minds.

georgiapower.com


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

www.crossroadsnews.com editor@crossroadsnews.com

Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker General Manager Curtis Parker Staff Writer Carla Parker Jennifer Ffrench Parker Advertising Sales Alison White

CrossRoadsNews is published every Saturday by CrossRoads­News, Inc. We welcome articles on neighborhood issues and news of local happenings. The opinions expressed by writers and contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor those of any advertisers. The concept, design and content of CrossRoads­N ews are copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

The GOD in me prevents me from glorying over the death of another human being or viewing the death of another.

Punishing property owners misguided in bad economy By Joe Bembry

I realize that we are in a crisis, involving job loss, home foreclosure and the struggle to survive. However, I believe the DeKalb Board of Commissioners has lost its way and is about to burden us even more with fines and liens imposed on our properties by its Board of Code Compliance. Allow me to explain. Our CEO created an Advisory Council on Code Compliance, that recommended the creation of a Board of Code Compliance, which would have the authority to hear cases and issue fines. Some commissioners want a provision that allows the county to impose liens on a property if the fine is not paid. If approved, the board or county would come back recommending liens and fines on our home by merely leaving a notice at the door. In a time when we are struggling to find work and keep our

In a time when we are struggling to find work and keep our homes, this is not the time for any added burden. Thousands of us will end up standing in line at Recorders Court for four or five hours being treated as less than citizens. Joe Bembry

homes, this is not the time for any added burden. Thousands of us will end up standing in line at Recorders Court for four or five hours being treated as less than citizens. Here are some issues that need the attention of an Advisory Council. n What about initiatives to encourage, support and bring jobs and businesses to DeKalb County n Initiatives to review regulations that have created an anti-business environment n Initiatives to address black-onblack crime in our communities n Initiatives to address the record

number of burglaries in our area that are causing our area to be undesirable What can we do about the level of vandalism and theft of catalytic converter, copper wiring and air condition units in our churches, homes and cemeteries? What can we do about thousand of tons of trash illegally dumped in every dark spot including parks and cemeteries, and the thousand of liquor bottles thrown on lawns and streets? What can we do about the excessive number of inoperable fire hydrants in our communities?

How do we create pride in citizens that make them want to take pride in their property? Could there be a relationship between low money flow and the appearance of one’s property? Could liens and fines cause the loss of even more homes in our communities? Could liens and fines end up with entire pockets or communities being vacant because of issues like burglaries and thefts, which are beyond the owners control? How do we take back the Southside of DeKalb County from negative elements? I believe what we need a “Solution Tour” on which the Board of Commissioners seek answers from citizens on how to address all issues. I am asking 20,000 citizens to attend the Sept. 27 Commission meeting to tell our Commissioners that this recession is not the time for an added burden of liens and fines without due process.

Troy Davis’ execution draws comments from web readers William Philips wrote on Thursday, Sep 22 at 10:25 a.m. The execution of Troy Davis should be a wake-call to those who choose to sit out our elections. With a Democrat as governor, this event might have had a different outcome. When I voted in South DeKalb last November, the polls were nearly empty. Two years earlier, when a Black Man was running for President, the lines were awesome. ALL ELECTIONS MATTER.

color. To be incarcerated for 20 years of your life on Death Row is not enough for some Georgians. I challenge any of you ghouls to live on Death Row for a month...no, for a week... then tell us about your experience being locked up 23 hours a day...with a hour of exercise, by yourself, in a small enclosed area. If you think this is living, then you are a sick and heartless person. The GOD in me prevents me from glorying over the death of another Arnold Butler Sr wrote on Thursday, Sep 22 at 07:59 a.m. human being or viewing the death of another. There is no justification for allowing HATE to consume your innermost being...if you allow this Georgia Commits Another Shameful Act to happen, then you, yourself, become a murderer in your spirit. We all Georgia once again has brought shame to itself. Troy Davis’s execution Wednesday night did not bring closure. In- are going to die one day, and we will have to justify the deeds that were stead, it has continued another shameful legacy of executing people of done while in our body before GOD. index to advertisers

Advertisements are published upon the representation that the advertiser is authorized to publish the submitted material. The advertiser agrees to indemnify and hold harmless from and against any loss or expenses resulting from any disputes or legal claims based upon the contents or subject matter of such advertisments, including claims of suits for libel, violation of privacy, plagiarism and copyright infringement. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement.

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Circulation Audited By

123 Discount Fabrics....................................A11 3 Girls & A Needle, Inc...............................A10 Abbott’s Hair Studio.....................................A11 Access Advertising.......................................A11 ALS Career Institute.....................................A11 Augustine Chapel..........................................A3 Augustine Preparatory Academy................A10 Auto 285......................................................A11 Cake Café Atlanta..........................................A6 DeKalb County Board of Health....................A8 DeKalb Co. Dept. Watershed Mgmt. ............A2

DeKalb County School System............. A6, A10 DeKalb County Solicitor-General’s Office......A2 DeKalb Health Pharmacy..............................A8 DeKalb Medical.............................................A9 DeKalb Technical College...........................A10 Element Funding.........................................A11 Wells Fargo...................................................A5 Flat Shoals Foot & Ankle Center...................A8 Georgia Power..............................................A3 Malcolm Cunningham Auto Gallery........... A12 MARTA................................................... A4, A6

Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism.....................A7 Pretty Faces Spa...........................................A11 PrimeTime Pro Painters...............................A11 ProShot Concrete Inc...................................A11 S.H.E. Consulting & Ministries.......................A3 The Law Office of B.A. Thomas...................A11 Wright Vision Care........................................A8 SECTION B Arabia Mountain Alliance.............................B5 Atlanta Sweeping Co.....................................B8

Committee to Elect Deborah Action Jackson.B4 Committee to Elect Lee May.........................B9 Congressman Hank Johnson........................B5 DeKalb County Office of CEO......................B11 Development Authority of DeKalb County.... B3 Great Wraps..................................................B4 The Mall at Stonecrest................................ B12 The Mall at Stonecrest............................ B6-B7 Best Buy Co. Inc...........................................INS Walgreens . .................................................INS


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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Community

“We have a great opportunity to serve our wildlife patients and give visitors an awesome educational experience.”

Stogner gets new contract with salary Forum seeks input on By Mary Swint

Richard Stogner’s free labor to the county is over. Stogner, who returned to his old office in the Maloof Building as DeKalb County executive assistant in September 2010 to work for a year for free, has a new contract to work through June 2012, but this time with a salary. Under the new agreement, approved by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners on Sept. 13, Stogner will receive a gross salary of $16,039 per month from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31 this year. In 2012, his gross monthly salary will not exceed $16,039 in any month Richard Stogner and his total salary will not exceed $96,234. He will be limited to working six months or less in 2012. Stogner, who served as executive assistant during the Vernon Jones administration, left county employment in December 2008. His one-year volunteer contract expired Sept. 14. Stogner said he opted to continue to work as executive

assistant under the provisions of a Home Rule amendment to the Pension Code adopted after the county’s early retirement program. The commissioners adopted the amendment in August 2010 to facilitate the part-time, temporary rehiring of retired county employees with valuable institutional knowledge. The amendment allows a retired DeKalb employee to work for the county part time while receiving pension benefits after Aug. 31, 2010. However, the employee is limited to working 1,040 hours in a calendar year and his county salary or wages cannot exceed 50 percent of his last pre-retirement annual base salary. If the retiree exceeds the hours worked or salary, his benefits would be discontinued for the remainder of the year. The amendment also limits the temporary work to three years, which do not have to be consecutive. Stogner’s new contract says he will not be allowed to work more than 1,040 hours during the remainder of 2011 or in 2012, so he will qualify as a part-time employee under the Pension Code. He will not accrue or use annual leave or sick leave under the new contract.

Avian specialist heads wild animal rescue Dr. Tarah Hadley, a board-certified avian specialist, is the new executive director of the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort in DeKalb County. Hadley is a nationally recognized speaker and author of several publications in the field of avian and exotic animal medicine. She is also the owner of the Atlanta Hospital for Birds and Exotics. Alex Hoffman, AWARE’s board president, said Hadley is “uniquely positioned to lead the nonprofit’s continued growth and establish it as a premier wildlife center for the area.” She will work closely with the public, veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators and AWARE’s dedicated volunteers.

With you when

She plans to position the organization as a top resource in the South for those who want to help wildlife in need. Hadley also believes the natural setting of Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve and AWARE’s staff will provide the community with a great travel destination. “I believe we have a great opportunity to serve our wildlife patients and give our visitors an awesome educational experience as well,” she said. AWARE is located 20 to 30 minutes outside Atlanta in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Since 2004, it has worked to preserve and restore wildlife and educate the public about living with wildlife. For more information, visit www.awareone.org or call 678-418-1111.

transportation projects DeKalb residents can share their opinions on a draft list of regional transportation projects at a Sept. 28 referendum forum at the Manuel Maloof Auditorium in Decatur. The 6-to-8 p.m. forum is one of 12 hosted by the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable to garner feedback from the public on the more than $6 billion in transportation investments to be funded by a regional penny sales tax referendum on the ballot next summer. Roundtable members are required by law to finalize the list by Oct. 15 and they want as much public input as possible. Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, chairman of the Roundtable, said members have heard from more than 200,000 metro Atlanta residents and worked hard to develop a list of transportation investments to give residents more travel options and reduce congestion. “Now we need to hear from our neighbors one more time and make sure we’re putting a list on the ballot that voters can support,” Johnson said. In June, the Roundtable hosted 10 telephone Bucky Johnson town hall meetings in which they reached out to 1.3 million registered voters and spent time on the phone with more than 130,000 of them. The forums are the next step in the process. Forum attendees can view a presentation, speak with transportation experts, and complete a survey. The presentation and survey also are available online at www.atlantaregionalround table.com – take the survey by Oct. 5. The project list has generated a lot of buzz in DeKalb County because it does not fund any rail option to the Stonecrest area. MARTA says that the $225 million proposed for an I-20 Rail Project will only fund engineering and final design for rail and four park-and-transit centers for buses. It said transit centers could be turned into rail stops later. The I-20 Rail Project is estimated to cost $500 million to build. The Maloof Center is at 1300 Commerce Drive. For more information, visit www.atlantaregionalround table.com or call 770-492-5206.

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Finance

CrossRoadsNews

The new general issue license plate will have a “digital” design – it won’t have raised numbers and letters.

MARTA fares will rise in October The new fares to ride MARTA go into effect Oct. 2. Train and bus commuters will pay 50 cents more to use the public transit system for a one-way trip as the fare rises from $2. A weekly pass increases from $17 to $23.75, and a monthly pass rises from $68 to $95. The MARTA board of directors approved the increases on June 22 as part of its fiscal year 2012 budgets. It adopted an operating budget of $413.76 million, a capital budget

totaling $185.5 million, and $143.7 million in debt service. A one-way trip with free transfers will be $2.50, while a round trip with free transfers will be $5. An all-day Visitor Pass with unlimited rides will be $9. A two-day pass will be $14; three-days, $16; and fourday pass, $19. Fares do not include the one-time $1 fee for the Breeze fare card. For more information, visit www.its marta.com or call 404-848-5000.

Property taxes due by Sept. 30 DeKalb property owners have until Sept. 30 to pay the first installment of their 2011 real estate and personal property taxes. Tax Commissioner Claudia G. Lawson said the first installment must be received or postmarked by Sept. 30 to avoid a 5 percent late payment penalty. If the payment is mailed, the postmark or cancellation stamp from the U.S. Postal Service is the only ac-

September 24, 2011

cepted evidence of timely mailing. A drop box is available at the Tax Commissioner’s Central Office, 4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur. The taxes can be paid by electronic check or credit card at 404-298-4000 or www.yourdekalb.com/ taxcommissioner. For more information, visit proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov or call 404-298-4000.

DeKalb Medical CEO resigns Medical at Downtown Decatur and Eric P. Norwood, who led DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, in DeKalb Medical for nine years, has 2002 as chief operating officer. He left the hospital system. took the top job six months later Norwood, who became presiwhen John Gerlach retired. dent and CEO of DeKalb Regional Lee said he could not confirm Health System in 2003, resigned that Norwood is leaving with a payabruptly and left the system Sept. out of more than $1 million. 16. He said that Norwood is owed Board Chairman Oliver Lee said bonuses and pay for vacation, perNorwood’s departure was unex- Eric P. Norwood sonal time off and sick time. pected but that it was “Eric’s choice.” “We don’t have those numbers yet,” he “We parted on good terms,” he said. Lee said they were negotiating a new said. “Our accountants are calculating those three-year contract when it appeared that figures now.” Norwood could not be reached at press Norwood had some other opportunity. “He did share his plans with us,” Lee time, but in a statement from the hospital, said. “Maybe he was under a confidentiality he said he was extremely proud of DeKalb agreement. But we understand that he is at Medical, its employees, medical staff, board the top of his marketability and has to look of directors and devoted volunteers. “I’ve accomplished what I set out to do nine years out for his family’s interest. “I understand that at some point you ago and am now excited for the opportunity have got to stop sacrificing your family,” he to take on new challenges,” he said. The statement said that a search for a new said, adding that they were lucky to have president has been launched and that Diane Norwood for nine years. “With hospital CEOs, most don’t stay Harden, the system’s chief financial officer, will serve as interim president and CEO. more than three to five years,” he said. Lee said it’s important to find a replaceNorwood joined the nonprofit DeKalb Regional Health System, which includes ment quickly. “I don’t think it’s wise to be DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, DeKalb without a CEO.”

New ‘flat’ tags will feature peaches Georgia’s new license plate is just peachy. The general issue license plate tag designed by Linda Sosebee of Forsyth goes into production this fall. Sosebee’s design, unveiled last month, features the moniker Peach State and bright, colorful peaches. It received the most online votes of 34,154 in the 2011 License Plate Design Contest administered by the Department of Revenue. The new general issue license plate will incorporate a “digital” (flat) design, meaning it won’t have raised numbers and letters. This new production process will result in a cost savings to the state and allow customers the

option of having their license plate delivered to them instead of having to go to a county tag office. The “flat” plate technology offers easier identification by Georgia law enforcement. Taxpayers won’t incur any added expense for production of the new license plates and will have the option of selecting a plain tag. During the owner’s registration period, the department will begin replacing existing license plates once the plate has exceeded the minimum five-year life as set forth by the Georgia Code. The Department of Revenue received more than 500 design submissions for the contest.


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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Scene

Cole said that 100 years after his death, Mark Twain, known for his biting wit, is still telling the truth.

Mark Twain’s 35 years of service celebrated Poet receives ‘Genius’ Award wit at benefit Dr. Marvin Cole, a former Georgia Perimeter College president, will impersonate author Mark Twain at a benefit on Oct. 2 in Clarkston. At 3 p.m., the audience will meander down the mighty Mississippi for “An Afternoon With Mark Twain.” For the past 35 years, Cole has portrayed the man who was known for his bitMarvin Cole ing wit. Cole said that 100 years after his death, Twain is still telling the truth. “Twain’s main purpose was to satirize human cruelty to other humans in the hope of realizing the need to respect all people. He poked fun at pretensions and exposed sham, but he also knew the mental and healing benefits of humor to audiences.” Tickets are $20; call 678-891-3572 or email gpctagtx@gpc.edu. Proceeds benefit the Retiree Association scholarship fund.

A who’s who in DeKalb government, politics and the legal profession showed up at a Sept. 15 “surprise bash” honoring attorney Dwight Thomas for his 35 years of service to the profession and community. During the event at the Porter Sanford Center in Decatur, Thomas, who has his law office in Atlanta and practices across the state, was recognized for a number of firsts and for his work as a trial lawyer and teacher and mentor to students and young lawyers. Thomas, who lives in Stone Mountain, was the first African-American to integrate Avondale High School and to procure legal office space in the city of Decatur, his hometown. There he rented space from now Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger. The county proclaimed Sept. 15 Dwight Thomas Day in DeKalb, and he received commendations from Gov. Nathan Deal, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the Georgia General Assembly.. Thomas was sworn into the State Bar of Georgia in 1976. He worked briefly for the Fulton County Solicitor’s Office before becoming an attorney for the U.S. Department

as 2011 fellow

Attorney Dwight Thomas receives a plaque declaring Sept. 15 Dwight Thomas Day from DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton.

of Health, Education and Welfare and later for the U.S. Department of Education as an attorney for the Office of Civil Rights. In addition to being an active trial lawyer, Thomas lectures and mentors students and lawyers on the importance of the legal system and has adopted several schools to promote the importance of gaining an education.

International Festival showcases Clarkston’s diversity The annual festival on Oct. 1 in the downtown Clarkston Plaza will feature food, music, live entertainment and dancing, plus games for adults and a kids corner.

Clarkston will celebrate its diversity at the second annual International Festival on Oct. 1 in the downtown Clarkston Plaza. The 10 a.m.-to-6 p.m. family-friendly festival will feature a variety of cultural food, music, live entertainment and dancing representing the city’s Asian, Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and African-American cultures. There will be games for adults and a kids corner. The festival is free to attend. To be a vendor, sponsor or volunteer, visit www.Stepup inGeorgia.org and click on “International Festival Icon” or call India Pullin at 404-343-1452.

Poet and translator A.E. Stallings, formerly of Decatur, has received the “Genius” Award and $500,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Stallings is one of 22 new 2011 MacArthur Fellows announced Sept. 21. A.E. (Alicia Elsbeth) Stallings, 43, is a graduate of Briarcliff High School, which has since closed. She graduated in 1990 from the Uni- A.E. Stallings versity of Georgia and received a master’s in 1992 from the University of Oxford. Since 1999, she has lived in Athens, Greece, where she is director of the poetry program at the Athens Centre. The foundation said that she mines the classical world and traditional poetic techniques to craft works that evoke startling insights about contemporary life. “In both her original poetry and translations, she exhibits a mastery of highly structured forms (such as sonnets, couplets, quatrains, and sapphics) and consummate skill in creating new combinations of meter, rhyme, and syntax into distinctive, emotionally compelling verse,” the foundation said in a statement. Stallings’ works include “Archaic Smile” (1999); “Hapax” (2006); a verse translation of Lucretius’ “De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things)” in 2007; and poems and essays published in periodicals. For more information, visit www .macfound.org.

and

We’re bringing Pigeon Forge to Atlanta on October 1. This one-of-a-kind event will feature: A free workshop with useful tips on hosting a successful family reunion

A trade show where group organizers can meet with more than 30 Pigeon Forge hotels , attractions , theaters, restaurants and event facilities

A chance to be one of 10 people selected to win a Pigeon Forge VIP card to area attractions and theaters

October 1, 2011 8:30 a.m. - Registration 9–11 a.m. - Reunions Seminar Noon–4 p.m. - Travel Expo

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9/13/11 4:22:42 PM


A8

Wellness

CrossRoadsNews

“The more time you spend sitting, the less total energy expended and you can have consequences such as weight gain and increased obesity.”

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Prolonged sitting carries risks Office workers, couch potatoes and others who sit for long periods of time risk shortening their life spans, a new study suggests. And desk-bound women are at greater risk of premature death. The Cancer Prevention II study, published online July 22 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, followed more than 120,000 American adults for 14 years from 1993 to 2006, and found that people who sit for extended period were more likely to die of heart disease than cancer. After adjusting for a number of risk factors, including body mass index and smoking, women who spent six hours a day sitting had a 37 percent increased risk of dying versus those who spent less than three hours a day seated. For men, the increased risk was 17 percent. The effect remained even after the researchers factored out obesity or the level of daily physical activity that people were engaged in. Although several studies have found a link between sitting time and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease risk, and unhealthy diets in children, few had examined sitting and “total mortality,” the researchers noted in the study. Exercise, even a little per day, did tend to lower the mortality risk tied to sitting, the team noted. However, sitting’s influence on death risk remained significant even when activity was factored in. On the other hand, people who sat a lot and did not exercise or stay active had an even higher mortality risk: 94 percent for women and 48 percent for men. Dr. Alpa Patel, lead author of the study, said that the obvious reason for the connection is that “the more time you spend sitting, the less total energy expended and you can have consequences such as weight gain and increased obesity.” That affects your metabolism as well as risk factors for various diseases, said Patel, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. He said there could be other biological factors beyond simply getting fatter that explain the link. Patel said there’s a burgeoning literature evolving around “inactivity physiology.” When muscles, especially those in the legs, are “sitting,” they stimulate or suppress

Although several studies have found a link between sitting time and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease risk, and unhealthy diets in children, few had examined sitting and “total mortality,” the researchers noted. various hormones, which then affect triglycerides, cholesterol and other markers for heart and other diseases, she explained. Females who sat the longest and exercised the least had twice the risk of death compared with women who recorded more activity and less sitting. Under similar circumstances for men, there was only a 50 percent greater chance of death. Patel could not explain why sitting may be more hazardous to women’s health. It’s unclear whether the varying results are caused by gender or if there are other influences at work. “We don’t understand the biological reason why it might be more detrimental to women than men,” she said. The authors of the study analyzed responses from questionnaires filled out by 123,216 people (53,440 men and 69,776 women) with no history of disease who were participating in the Cancer Prevention II study conducted by the American Cancer Society. The study concluded: “We observed 11,307 deaths in men and 7,923 in women over the 1,610,728 personyears of follow-up. Men and women who spent the least leisure time sitting were leaner, more likely to have never smoked cigarettes, more likely to be employed, and had lower total energy intake. Leisure time spent sitting was not associated with physical activity. Study participants generally engaged in light- to moderate-intensity activities, such as walking for exercise, gardening, shopping, and housework. Moderate- to vigorousintensity activities were relatively uncommon in this older population; 83 percent of men and 87 percent of women reported walking for exercise, and 37 percent of men and 36 percent of women listed walking as their only form of recreational physical activity.”

Screenings available for seniors DeKalb County seniors over 50 now have greater access to preventive health services and screenings through a partnership between Senior Connections and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Screenings will be available on Oct. 5 at the South DeKalb Senior Center, 1931 Candler Road in Decatur and on Oct. 12 at

You shared your voice; we heard you. Now see the results!

To RSVP, e-mail Alicia Cardwell-Brown at Acardwellbrown@dhr.state.ga.us or call 404.508.7847

the Lou Walker Senior Center, 2538 Panola Road in Lithonia. Both sessions take place10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants are urged to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. For more information, visit www.agingatlanta.com or call Mary Groover at 404488-7073.


A9

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Wellness

As of 2009, genetically modified corn made up 85 percent of the maize planted in the United States.

Today’s sweet corn is not the wholesome ear of yesteryear Real corn, warm from the fields, is sweet as candy in its juicy, crispy raw state. That’s the corn I remember eating during a pit stop on a road trip through Ohio with my grandmother. The sweetness of that corn haunts me actually, along with the taste of REAL tomatoes, because it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve tasted anything like it. The corn from my youth was present at so many meals and celebrations. Kids love it. Adults wax nostalgic thinking of it. Whether boiled, steamed, grilled, fried or popped, corn was always on the menu when I was growing up. But something happened. Corn stopped being the celebrity vegetable. It stopped being, well … good. Then it slowly faded into the background like the green beans, carrots and other vegetables that lost their luster. What happened? Here are a couple of corn facts to give you food for thought. n Known as maize in most of the world, corn has been a major staple food since as early as 1500 B.C. Corn is the largest crop grown in the United States with 332 million metric tons grown annually. About 40 percent of that corn is used to make corn ethanol. The United States produces about 40 percent of the world’s corn harvest. n Most of the corn grown and harvested is called “field corn” and is eaten as a grain for human consumption and fed to livestock. In 2008, 327 million bushels of field corn were used as grits, corn flour, corn meal, and beverage alcohol for human consumption. n The corn of your childhood memories is a genetic variant called “sweet corn” that stores more sugar than starch in its ear and is picked while still immature and is eaten as a vegetable. n As of 2009, genetically modified corn made up 85 percent of the maize planted in the United States. GM corn has incorporated a gene that codes for the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin to build a resistance to herbicides and insect pests. A 2009 study of rats revealed side effects from a diet of GM corn associated with the kidney and liver, and other effects were noted in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system (blood cell development). Home growers don’t have access to GM sweet corn seeds, but commercial growers do. The Food and Drug Administration does not require consumer labeling of products produced from GM sweet corn for sale here. Wait, what was that last part? Yeah, all that stuff about genetically modified corn? We’re not simply talking about those ears of corn you threw on the grill over Labor Day Weekend. Or the side dish of corn souffle that will show up on the Thanksgiving table. We’re talking about genetically modified corn that shows up in everything from grits to chicken nuggets, to salad dressing, to dog food. Consider this passage from Michael Pollan’s essay “We Are What We Eat,” where

In 2009, France and Germany banned planting of genetically modified corn, and much of Europe has placed strict planting restraints for fear of cross-pollination.

syrup in the bun, and in the secret sauce. Slim Jims are full of corn syrup, dextrose, cornstarch, and a great many additives. The ‘four different fuels’ in a Lunchables meal are all essentially corn-based. The chicken nugget – including feed for the chicken, fillers, binders, Life Chef Asata Reid coating, and dipping sauce – is all corn. The french fries are made from potatoes, but odds are they’re fried in corn oil, the source of 50 he writes: percent of their calories. Even the salads at “Take a typical fast-food meal. Corn is McDonald’s are full of high-fructose corn the sweetener in the soda. It’s in the corn-fed syrup and thickeners made from corn.” beef Big Mac patty, and in the high-fructose So basically, corn is everywhere.

Eating Healthy

The last thing the community needed was “just another hospital.” Sure a state-of-the-art facility close to home would be appreciated. But what was equally important was building a place that would remind patients of the care that had disappeared from healthcare. So beyond simply launching the first alldigital master planned hospital in Georgia, we set out to give patients everything from access to a talented pool of doctors and dedicated support staff, who would engage them in their treatment, to free parking and amazing food. See, before DeKalb Medical at Hillandale was even established, we asked ourselves, “What can we do differently? What can we do better than them?” And we still ask ourselves those two questions every day. Because as far as we’re concerned, good could never be good enough.

Free seminar on breast cancer Breast cancer survivors, health care providers and others can attend a free educational seminar on Oct. 1 at the City of Refuge in Atlanta. Local and national breast cancer specialists will speak at the 8 a.m.-to-2 p.m. seminar hosted by the nonprofit Sisters by Choice Inc. as part of its 21st Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend. October is National Cancer Awareness Month, and the seminar is focusing on increasing awareness about breast cancer screenings and diagnosis, treatment, and cutting-edge research. Registration, a continental breakfast and lunch, and parking are free. To register and reserve a space, visit www.sistersbychoice.net. For more information, e-mail meetings@ sistersbychoice.net or call 770-987-2951.

So how do you know if your corn is simply good old-fashioned corn or if it contains a genetic mutation that might be harmful to you? n One way is to avoid processed food since corn syrup, dextrose, a host of fillers, starches and additives are corn-derived from commercially produced and potentially altered corn. n If you have a green thumb and a sunny yard, you could grow your own corn. n You also can purchase corn from small farmers and farmers markets where you can ask if the corn is GM or Bt corn (the seed is marketed as Attribute). n You can buy corn from the stores and co-ops that carry organically grown corn and vegetables because they steer away from genetically modified foods. In 2009, France and Germany banned Bt corn planting and much of Europe has placed strict planting restraints for fear of cross-pollination. Recently Mother Nature has issued her own backlash against the onslaught of genetically modified organisms that have taken over commercially grown produce. The insects that many of the GMOs were supposed to repel have now become resistant to the genes introduced to the plants’ makeup. Makes you wonder what the next step will be: more toxic scientifically engineered plants or a less toxic solution for both nature and the humans who consume the produce? For food that fits your lifestyle, visit Chef Asata Reid at www.lifechef.net.

To learn more, visit www.dekalbmedicalhillandale.org


A10

CrossRoadsNews

Youth

September 24, 2011

In the first phase of the plan, Atkinson will conduct a personnel audit of the central office over two weeks.

College fair for juniors, seniors High school juniors and seniors can get information about colleges and financial aid at an Oct. 1 Financial Aid and College Recruitment Fair in Decatur. The 9 a.m.-to-1 p.m. fair, which is free, takes place at the Community Achievement Center Inc. at 4522 Flat Shoals Parkway.

Representatives from local and state colleges and universities will provide information on their schools, loans, scholarships and grant opportunities. For more information, call Clarence Wells at 404-214-7400 or Danithea Ward at 404-234-5675.

enroll. DeKalb Tech Rocks! Over 100 programs | $75 per credit hour | dekalbtech.edu | 404-297-9522

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Busy first day for new superintendent By Carla Parker

On her first day on the job, Dr. Cheryl Atkinson took the oath of office and embarked on a whirlwind tour of four schools. After being sworn into office by Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams, DeKalb’s new school superintendent visited Clifton Elementary in Atlanta, Columbia Middle in Decatur, and Eldridge Miller Elementary and Redan High schools in Stone Cheryl Atkinson Mountain, where she chatted with principals, teachers and students. She said she saw excitement from students and teachers. “I think everyone understands that it’s a new day in DeKalb,” she said after her stop at Redan High School. “Everyone is excited and in forward-thinking mode.” As promised, Atkinson has developed a 90-day entry plan, which lays out her threephase strategy for putting children first in every action implemented within the district. Atkinson’s immediate focus: Gather information; assess the district’s strengths, weak-

nesses, opportunities, and threats; and create a working community network of parents, community leaders, contacts, and resources to engage stakeholders in transformation and accountability activities. “Keys to success are leadership and accountability,” she said. “The overall objective of the entry plan is to listen, learn and lead. Student achievement is our business and must be the central theme in all of our initiatives.” In the first phase of the plan, Atkinson will conduct a personnel audit of the central office, which will occur over the next two weeks. Next, she will audit programs within divisions and departments. The final phase will be to present to the Board of Education and the community her “Excellence for Education Plan” to improve educational achievement, internal operations, reporting, and accountability. She said that listening to and learning from internal and external stakeholders will be an integral part of the plan. At the end, Atkinson will provide her findings and employ them for future direction. “If we band together, keep our focus, and put students first, there is no limit to what we can accomplish,” she said.

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A Sept. 20 Strategic Planning Community Engagement Session was part of Dr. Cheryl Atkinson’s 90-day plan, which calls for the new school superintendent to immerse herself in the district.

300 offer input on schools DeKalb County School System Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)

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By Carla Parker

Nearly 300 parents, students, teachers and residents offered suggestions on making the DeKalb School System better at a Sept. 20 Strategic Planning Community Engagement Session at the district’s Tucker headquarters. The session, which was addressed by Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, who was completing her first week on the job, was called to help develop a strategic plan for the district. Atkinson told the group that it’s a new day in DeKalb and the focus should be on the students. “Victory is in the classroom,” she said. “It will take the entire community to ensure success.” The session was part of her 90-day plan, which calls for her to immerse herself in the district; meet teachers, principals and parents; and audit budgets and programs. She has promised to share her findings in four months. After listening to Atkinson, the gathering

broke into smaller sessions of 10 to 20 people to discuss the biggest challenges facing students and the school district and what they want the district to provide for students. In one classroom, mixed with parents, teachers and residents, discussions were intense and passionate but participants were mostly in unison on what needs to be done to make the school system better. Suggestions included putting quality teachers in the classroom, increasing resources for students in South DeKalb, garnering parental involvement, adding advance technology, and requiring better administration. Joe Lindsey of Lithonia said the session was excellent and he is happy that the district is seeking input from the community. “I think it’s very informative what the school system is trying to do,” said Lindsey, whose son Joe Lindsey Jr. is a senior at Arabia Mountain High School. “To reach out to make sure the school system is the best that it can be in the future.” A survey is available at www.dekalb.k12 .ga.us for those who missed the session.

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A11

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

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The Mall at Stonecrest

10th Anniversary Celebration September 24, 2011

www.crossroadsnews.com

B1

The mall’s location off I-20 makes it convenient to shoppers from neighboring Rockdale, Newton, Clayton and Gwinnett counties as well as from Augusta and South Carolina.

Lithonia shopping destination remains big draw in southeast DeKalb

At left, an aerial shot of the mall taken in 2008 shows the development that has sprung up around the Mall at Stonecrest. Above, a crowd gathers for one of the many star-studded events and expos hosted by the mall.

Although bankruptcy has claimed Borders, which closed for good earlier this month, the mall boasts an 87 percent occupancy rate, which equals the current national occupancy rate for malls.


B2

Stonecrest

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Bella, the 2008 recipient of the best supporting young actor award, has had roles in “Big Love” and “My Own Worst Enemy.”

‘Shake It Up’ star will greet fans at anniversary Disney Channel’s Bella Thorne will meet and greet fans starting at noon on Oct. 15 at the Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia.

“East Metro Atlanta’s Weekly Newspaper” 2346 Candler Road Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007 www.crossroadsnews.com editor@crossroadsnews.com

This Mall at Stonecrest 10th Anniversary Special Section is a publication of CrossRoadsNews Inc., East Metro Atlanta’s awardwinning weekly newspaper. Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphics Editor Curtis Parker Reporters Donna Williams Lewis Jennifer Ffrench Parker Carla Parker © 2011 CrossRoadsNews, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reprinted without written permission of the publisher.

Bella Thorne, star of Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up,” will appear at the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 15 to help celebrate the mall’s 10th anniversary. Bella, who portrays CeCe Jones, will meet and greet fans on a first-come, first-served basis starting at noon. There will be no posed photography, but she will give one autograph per person. “Shake It Up,” which premiered to 6.2 mil-

lion viewers, earning it the title of Disney Channel’s second highest-rated series premiere, made Bella an undeniable rising young star. Bella also has had roles in “Big Love,” “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” and “In the Motherhood.” She is a three-time nominee and 2008 recipient of the best supporting young actor award for past starring roles in “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Entourage,” “In the Motherhood,” “October

Road,” and the popular “Little Monk.” She was a spokeswoman for Texas Instruments and loaned her face to major brands and designers like Ralph Lauren, H&M, Guess, Limited’s Justice, GAP and ALDO Kids. She is the youngest of four in a family of talented actors. The Mall at Stonecrest is off I-20 at Turner Hill Road in Lithonia. For more information, visit www.mallatstonecrest.com.

Congratulations to the Mall at Stonecrest on Your 10th Anniversary

Best Wishes for Continued Success! 2346 Candler Road • Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 • Fax: 404-284-5007 • www.crossroadsnews.com


B3

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Stonecrest

The mall quickly distinguished itself as a destination for celebrities and over the years has hosted many famous and infamous people.

Fall carnival, parade of stars to help Lithonia mall celebrate By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Human and animated stars of Disney Channel, Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon will descend on the Mall at Stonecrest in October for the monthlong celebration of its 10th anniversary. The 1.3 million square-foot mall, which opened its doors on Oct. 22, 2001 – just six weeks after 9/11 – is celebrating its milestone with a parade of stars beginning Oct. 8. “This is a big one for us,” said mall marketing manager Donald Bieler. The Lithonia mall last celebrated its anniversary in 2006, and Bieler said it has been awaiting the big one. On tap are appearances by Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego on Oct. 8; Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up” star Bella Thorne on Oct. 15; the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba from the hit Nick Jr. television show of the same name on Oct. 22; and the return of the hugely popular North American Midway Entertainment carnival, Oct. 27 to Nov. 6. Bieler said the lineup is a fitting tribute for a major anniversary. It builds on a mall tradition of hosting celebrities of music, television and publishing. In 2001, the mall, which was first proposed in 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, was on schedule to open when the terrorist attacks on the Donald Bieler World Trade Center and the Pentagon claimed nearly 3,000 lives and put the country on edge. Still, over the next five years, the areas around the mall saw expansive growth, with big-box stores like Sam’s Club, Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, Staples, and a host of discount

They said it ... “It’s difficult to believe it’s been 10 years, but oh, how well I remember the excitement. “It was something we had waited 20 years for. It was just a jubilant time. “It was a long time coming. We had reached a point when we thought it would never happen, and it finally came to fruition and we were happy it had happened. “I don’t get out there much anymore, but I am still so thrilled it is there.” Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Mall at Stonecrest patrons often have the opportunity to interact with their favorite stars.

retailers, including Marshall’s, Ross, DSW, Rooms 2 Go, Pier 1 Imports, World Market, and fast-food restaurants flocking to the area. “The amount of investment and development that have taken place around Stonecrest was above anyone’s expectations,” Bieler said this week. “Within a short time, the live-work community was realized.” The mall quickly distinguished itself as a destination for celebrities, and over the years it has hosted many famous and infamous people, among them, stars of gospel, pop, hip-hop and country music and television and reality shows. Many famous and aspiring authors and political luminaries also have visited the mall, among them, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Hilary Duff, Dog the Bounty Hunter,

Corbin Bleu, Ann Nesby, Keke Palmer, Tavis Smiley and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Bieler said that they have been lucky to be able to offer customers the opportunity to meet and interact with their favorite stars with great success. When Duff came to the mall in December 2003, so many young girls showed up, management closed Stonecrest as a precaution. And in August 2007, hundreds of fans swamped the mall for a book signing by reality television star Dog the Bounty Hunter. “We believe there is a value in bringing family-friendly entertainment and celebrities to the mall,” Bieler said. “We stand head and shoulders above any other mall in doing this.” But the mall has not stopped at enter-

– Barbara Lester, former Lithonia City Council member and lifelong resident of the city.

tainment. Bieler said it also has provided education for the community through its partnership with the CrossRoadsNews Community Expos. Since 2006, the newspaper has hosted four annual expos – Health & Wellness in January, Summer Camp in March, Personal Finance/Home Buyers/Best of Small Business, and Family & Adoption/Back-to-School Expos at the mall. “These events help to educate our community by providing information they can use,” he said. For the next decade, Bieler said they envision continuous growth. “We are remaining very optimistic as we continue to serve our community and welcome new tenants as the economy rebounds,” he said.

THE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF DEKALB COUNTY Congratulates The Mall at Stonecrest on its 10th Anniversary

The Development Authority of DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Office of Economic Development are all about the business of recruitment, retention and redevelopment. Together, these groups work to create quality jobs and investments to expand the tax base and support balanced growth. address: 330 West Ponce de Leon Avenue 6th Floor Decatur, GA 30030 phone: 404.687.2370 web: www.decidedekalb.com


B4

Stonecrest

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

“It’s always good to have something new and fresh. It was the most upscale mall we had. That was nice.”

After 10 years, employees still love Stonecrest

“As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we are reminded once again of the loyalty of so many of our shoppers. We appreciate the patronage throughout the years and look forward to an even better and brighter future ahead.”

By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

In the decade that Pixie Vaughn and Benjamin Gray have worked at the Mall at Stonecrest, both have seen their customers grow up – literally – in the stores. Vaughn is the manager of Stride Rite, and Gray is the manager of First Class Barber Shop, both on the lower level of the Lithonia mall. They are among a handful of employees who have worked continuously at the 1.3 million square-foot mall since its opening on Oct. 22, 2001. Ten years later, they are still on the job. Vaughn remembers how excited she was when she found out in 1998 that ground had been broken on a new mall in Lithonia. She was then a six-year manager at Stride Rite, rotating between stores it had inside Macy’s at Lenox Square and at Southlake Mall, and had just bought a house off Panola Road, a mere 10 minutes from the new mall. She immediately saw the possibilities. “I made sure my company knew about the mall, and I told them if they were putting a store there I would be interested,” she said. They did and she got the nod. Gray had joined First Class Barber Shop’s location on Panola Road in July 2001 and volunteered to relocate to the company’s new store at Stonecrest. He too loved the newness of the beautiful five-anchor mall. “It’s always good to have something new and fresh,” he said. “It was the most upscale mall we had. That was nice.” Stride Rite sells children’s shoes, and Vaughn said customers she fitted as infants are now grown. Gray, too, has seen many of his shop’s clients through the transition from children to adults. “The middle school kids I had are now grown,” he said. “Ten years is a long time. I have done many graduation cuts and wedding cuts. Some are even bringing in their kids now for haircuts.” Vaughn remembers working on the build-out of the Stride Rite store even as the mall itself was being completed, and she can’t forget how shiny new everything was. “It was like a new beginning,” she

They said it ...

– Patricia Elmore Edge, general manager.

Stonecrest by the Numbers

10 Stride Rite manager Pixie Vaughn (above) and First Class Barber Shop manager Benjamin Gray have worked at Stonecrest for 10 years and have seen many of their clients grow up.

dollar amount, in millions, of tax concessions given to get the mall built

22 the date in October 2001 that the mall opened

440,000 number of residents in Stonecrest trade area in 1999

7 million said. Over the years, Vaughn said the store has developed a loyal customer base that is far-flung. “We have customers from Augusta, Macon and from overseas. We get people from the Bahamas and a lot of travelers from England and Africa, just a lot of different countries. How about that.” Gray also sees customers from Augusta and from South Carolina as well as Rockdale, Newton and Gwinnett counties. He said some are regular customers and some

are just passing through. “Being on the interstate, people stop in to get something to eat or to shop and they say, ‘A barbershop in the mall, let me get a haircut,’ ” he said. “We meet a lot of new people.” Vaughn also loves the many events that the mall hosts. “There is always something going on,” she said. “I love the health expos and the celebrities who come through. And once we had a band marching through the mall playing music. I like the excitement.”

dollars spent on infrastructure development for the mall

120 number of specialty stores at the mall

4,500 number of jobs created in mall’s first year

1,500 number of job applicants at the mall’s first job fair on Sept. 1, 2001

1,100 acreage of the Master Plan Community of which Stonecrest is a part

1.5 million dollars spent on Evanswood Shopping Center improvements within a month of mall’s opening


B5

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Stonecrest

“It made good sense to give an incentive to an area that needed it. A couple of commissioners felt it was corporate welfare.”

Mall’s opening left its champion with wonderful feeling We worked on it for a long time and I am grateful for the people who helped. The mall has done a tremendous thing for the community. I look at it as a regional shopping center. It brings jobs, it brings property taxes, and it brings sales taxes. It has pulled business from Rockdale County. It has attracted a great deal of bigbox stores. It brought in a variety of different stores that made the area flourish.

Editor’s note: When Liane Levetan became CEO of DeKalb County in 1993, the area now known as Stonecrest comprised acres of vacant land w ith Mall Parkway running through it. The 1,100 acres on which the mall now sits was a popular playground for operators of all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikers. Levetan immediately became a champion of the area and fought for incentives to get the mall built. Here she reminisces about helping to make the Mall at Stonecrest a reality. Former DeKalb CEO Liane Levetan has photographic memoirs taken at the ground breaking and during construction on the Mall at Stonecrest. Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

W

hen I took office in 1993, a lot of infrastructure had been put in out there. There were water lines and roads, but it had just laid dormant for 18 years. We got a lot of complaints from the people in the area about there being no good places to shop, no restaurants and so on. It appeared to me this was something that just made sense to do. I made up my mind that something was going to happen while I was there.

To do a development like this, you have to get your anchors. If we could just get the five anchors, the rest would fall into place. They started with five anchors – J.C. Penney, Dillard’s, Sears, Parisian and Macy’s – which was unheard of. It was the first Dillard’s in DeKalb County. It made good sense to give an incentive to an area that needed it. A couple of commissioners felt it was corporate welfare. Today, the Kia plant wouldn’t have opened without incentives, but back then it wasn’t

Congratulations to The Mall at Stonecrest on your10th Anniversary! Lithonia looks forward to strengthening its relationship to bring more economic development and benefits to the community in the coming years!

Deborah A. Jackson, J.D., Ph.D. Candidate for Mayor of Lithonia

PAID FOR BY THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT DEBORAH A. JACKSON MAYOR

very common. When you have developable land that had languished for 18 years, you have to give it something, a boost, a shot in the arm. Business people always look at the bottom line. It has to make sense. The mall really and truly brought a lot of good stores there. Gosh, who knows when that would have happened without the incentives. Sometimes you have to give to receive.

‘It is still a viable area’ I was there when it opened, and it was such a wonderful feeling to see the look on people’s faces. It was a well-thought-out plan that was done very nicely. I was so pleased that it was providing service to people who deserve it and who no longer had to drive miles for shopping and restaurants. I believe the land would still be vacant if we hadn’t done what we did. I know there is still a lot of land to develop, but it is still a viable area. There still is room for good commercial development. With the economy the way it is, it will take a few more years, but I am the proverbial optimist. With the city of Dunwoody having possession of Perimeter Center, I shudder to think what the county’s tax base would be without Stonecrest and the businesses there. We all have to be patient and we have to realize that it is the center for a vibrant area of southeast DeKalb County. A few years ago, I talked to the county Economic Development Office and they told me prices for land had gone up in the area. The initial investment was minuscule compared to what we have there now. – Liane Levetan, DeKalb CEO, 1993-1998

SEE 400 MILLION

YEARS

FROM HERE.

10 Great Years

of serving the community

Congratulations to the Mall at Stonecrest. You are a true asset to the 4th District. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson Office of Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) 5700 Hillandale Drive, Ste 120 Lithonia, GA., 30058 770-987-2291 WWW.HANKJOHNSON.HOUSE.GOV

There have been a lot of changes around here over the millenia and Arabia Mountain has witnessed every one them. One of the biggest in recent memory is the construction of The Mall at Stonecrest just 10 years ago. Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area wishes Stonecrest a Happy 10th Anniversary and and invites all Stonecrest shoppers to visit the other wonders of the heritage area. Challenge yourself on more than 20-miles of uninterrupted biking & walking PATHs—a trailhead leaves right from the mall. Feed your soul at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit or visit historic Flat Rock Archive to learn about the lives of Arabia’s earlier settlers. www.arabiaalliance.org


B6

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011


September 24, 2011

CrossRoadsNews

B7


B8

Stonecrest

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

“We are hoping and praying we can stay there forever, but the economy has to change because of the monthly cost to be here.”

After roller-coaster decade, mall looks for more development By Donna Williams Lewis

Ten years ago, something that seemed just short of a miracle happened in southeast DeKalb County. The Mall at Stonecrest opened to huge fanfare in Lithonia on Oct. 22, 2001 – a full 18 years after the first announcement that a mall would go up on Turner Hill Road and I-20. Many thought the huge swath of land cleared for a 1,100-acre planned community would never be developed. But the $131 million mall today is surrounded by four hotels, a medical facility, office buildings, big-box retail, popular restaurants, a car dealership, and thousands of residents in homes and apartments. The mall will celebrate its 10th anniversary with events that “will delight children of all ages,” said Donald Bieler, the mall’s marketing director. Stars from hit Disney and Nickelodeon television shows will appear on three consecutive weekends starting Oct. 8, and a fall fair with rides and games is scheduled for Oct. 27 through Nov. 6. Former Lithonia Mayor Marcia GlennHunter vividly remembers the mall’s opening day. “It’s just unbelievable that 10 years have passed,” she said. “I was convinced that the people would be there to support that development. It just took so long to convince other people of that possibility.” Ground was broken for the Mall at Stonecrest in October 1999 by Torontobased commercial real estate investor Cadillac Fairview and its partner on the mall, Cleveland-based real estate developer Forest City Enterprises. County CEO Burrell Ellis said he was vice chair of the DeKalb Development Authority when the authority drew up the tax incentive that helped bring the mall to fruition. Under the arrangement, the mall’s developers paid taxes on only 5 percent of the value of the property the first year, increasing that by 5 percent each successive year up to 100 percent. “I feel that we were very proactive to do this to spur economic development,” said Ellis, who calls Stonecrest “DeKalb’s next growth engine.” By 2006, the value of the 1,100 acres had grown from $4 million to $425 million, according to the latest available property tax comparison performed by the county Tax Assessor’s Office. Ellis said that figure is now in excess of $470 million. Population within a three-mile radius of the Mall at Stonecrest swelled by 54 percent from 16,915 in 2000 to an estimated 26,035 in 2010, according to a report prepared for Wheeler/Kolb, which sells land around the mall. The area is expected to grow to 28,183

Astronaut Sally Ride, at mike, was among luminaries attending the opening of the Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia in October 2001.

by 2015. Despite the 2008 downturn market, the Stonecrest community has proved to be resilient, said Alan Carlisle, senior vice president of the U.S. Portfolio at Cadillac Fairview. “Immediately adjacent the Mall at Stonecrest, Strayer University recently expanded its footprint and class offerings in the office building on Stonecrest Parkway to provide continuing education opportunities for the community,” Carlisle said. The Office Park at Stonecrest, a 55,000-square-foot building anchored by the college, is now 65 percent leased. “Other recent additions to the Stonecrest community are Stonecrest Toyota [2009],” Carlisle said, “and Ruby Tuesday’s is reopening this fall with a new seafood restaurant concept, Marlin and Ray’s.” Within a mile of the mall, the DeKalb County Library opened its $7.7 million Stonecrest branch in June. About five miles away, Arabia Mountain High School opened on Browns Mill Road in 2009. The school was recently connected to Panola Mountain State Park and the Mall at Stonecrest by a spur of the PATH Foundation’s 20-mile Arabia Mountain/South River Trail. But Stonecrest has not escaped the economy’s dark cloud. First Class Barber Shop was among a handful of locally owned businesses that was there when the mall opened 10 years ago. Ronald McKenzie, who co-owns the

The Mall at Stonecrest brought new shopping opportunities to an area starved for retail and restaurants.

shop with Stanley Powell, said Stonecrest is a beautiful mall with a safe environment. But he said the mall is suffering because of the economy. “People just don’t have the extra money to patronize businesses such as mine. They’re spending money on necessities,” he said. McKenzie credited mall management with helping his business stay afloat. “By the grace of God, we’re still there,” he said. “We are hoping and praying we can stay

there forever, but the economy has to change because of the monthly cost to be here.” Glaring examples of failed business ventures dot Stonecrest’s landscape. n The former Malcolm Cunningham Mazda dealership on Mall Parkway has been vacant since the business shut down in 2010, after 14 months in operation. n A hotel that was to open in 2009 is still a concrete shell for lack of financing to complete the project.

Educating and Empowering Our Community

Community Expos

at the Mall at Stonecrest Health, Wellness & Beauty Expo January 28, 2012

Dance & Summer Camp Expo March 31, 2012

Healthcare providers, insurance companies, fitness instructors, spas, haircare & natural product providers, and others bring messages of good health and help empower residents to live more active lives. Exhibitors also offer health screenings, fitness & product demos.

Dance & karate schools, cheerleaders, churches, tutors, YMCAs, and other summer activity providers offer options for parents seeking innovative and interesting programs for their children. Organizations offering services and resources to families are also invited.

Best of East Metro/Small Business Expo April 28, 2012

Businesses and entrepreneurs – from landscapers to lawyers, Realtors, florists, insurance and travel agents – showcase their goods and services at this expo, which also celebrates the winners of CrossRoadsNews’ “Best of East Metro” Readers Choice Awards.

Family & Back to School Expo August 4, 2012

Businesses and organizations serving families will showcase goods and services to help students have a successful school year. The expo highlights services from afterschool to private schools and options for adults looking to retool and sharpen their skills for new careers.

Limited Signature Sponsorship Opportunities. Only 50 exhibitor spaces available. Book yours today. Call 404-284-1888 for more information. CrossRoadsNews • 2346 Candler Road • Decatur, GA 30032 • 404-284-1888 • Fax: 404-284-5007 • expos@crossroadsnews.com


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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Stonecrest

Lithonia residents had hoped to rise with Stonecrest’s star and turn the sleepy town into a sparkling gateway.

New alliance forming to seek grants for area improvements The economy has taken its toll with the bankruptcy of Borders, and stalled commercial development and some empty storefronts.

They said it ... “Ten years already. You got to be kidding. It seems like it’s been open only a few years. “I remember standing over there with Liane Levetan saying, ‘Is this going to happen?’ She assured me that it would and it did. “People over here love it. They don’t have to go far to shop and to restaurants. “I did a lot of talking back then. … It was well worth sitting in all those meetings. “I admire the way it’s operated. It’s just an ideal situation and one that we wanted for so long.

“It has well-served this area. The elderly just enjoy walking there and shopping while they are there, or going back later to shop for things they saw while they were walking. “It just kinda work up the community. “We had nothing here before; it’s just a divine place. We really appreciate it. “We don’t want nothing to happen to it, but some people say, ‘Why don’t they expand it more?’ and I say ‘How?’ They say maybe bring more restaurants.” – Rosemarie Pickett, past president of the Klondike Civic Association.

Residential development around the mall grew at a fast clip in its first year but has slowed in recent years. These signs at McDaniel Mill Road and Rockland Road announce new subdivisions.

n A 30-acre field originally marketed as an removed the big black letters over the door

“entertainment village” and later remarketed as a retail/residential area awaits a new concept and a developer. n With 87 percent of its space occupied, Stonecrest equals the current national occupancy rate for malls. Its shuttered spaces are on the plaza outside the AMC 16-screen movie theater and on the mall’s upper level near Kohl’s. On the opposite near Dillard’s, a worker

of the Borders bookstore on Tuesday. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based chain declared bankruptcy this year and is closing all of its retail outlets. At the Lithonia mall, it leaves an 18,000-square-foot vacancy, which is now being marketed to national tenants. While she is grateful for the mall, GlennHunter is unhappy with the shopping choices. “I would like to see the same quality of

Thanks for Bringing Us 10 Years of Shopping Excellence

ATLANTA SWEEPING SERVICES

BDW Corporation Jimmy Wettlaufer, President

P.O. Box 870892 • Morrow, GA 30287-0892 770-960-1464 • Fax: 770-968-8663 jimmy@atlantasweeping.com

merchandise that you would see at Macy’s at Lenox or Perimeter at the Macy’s at Stonecrest,” she said, expressing a common sentiment. Chad Belinfanti who bought a home in nearby Parks of Stonecrest in 2005 says he feels “a bit bittersweet” about Stonecrest’s progress. “I think the mall itself and mall management have done a pretty good job of maintaining the standards of the mall,” he said. But he was disappointed to see the departure of some of the area’s restaurants and “nicer shops.” He also hopes to see more schools built closer into the area and that more businesses will come. “I would really like to see more whitecollar jobs to make this a true live-work community,” Belinfanti said. “And we definitely need a grocery store. That has been one of the biggest complaints about this area.” The push continues for a full-scale grocery store at Stonecrest. In the meantime, Cadillac Fairview and co-sponsors including Wesley Apartments Homes, host the seasonal East Metro Farmers Market on Saturdays in the parking lot outside Borders. Residents can watch chef demonstrations and buy fresh food from farmers who come from as close as seven miles away. Less than two miles away from the mall is the one-square-mile city of Lithonia, which has a population of 2,100.

Residents there had hoped to rise with Stonecrest’s star and turn their sleepy downtown into a sparkling gateway to the development with attractive shops and eateries. “It is a disappointment that we, being the city of Lithonia, were not in a position when the mall was built to really take advantage of some of that traffic,” said Glenn-Hunter, who now lives in Ellenwood. Deborah Jackson, who chairs the city of Lithonia’s Redevelopment Committee and is a candidate for mayor, said the city and Stonecrest have had a “cordial” relationship since it opened. She hopes to see it become more tangible over the next decade. “The designation of a national heritage area at Arabia Mountain and the extension of PATH trails from Lithonia to the mall create a dynamic that did not exist before,” Jackson said. “As a cultural gateway to the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Lithonia has a rich history to share.”

Stonecrest Growth Initiative A group of residents, business owners and county staff concerned with the area’s quality and continued growth has been meeting under the name of the Stonecrest Growth Initiative. Jetha Wagner, vice president of Euramex Management Group, which has 1,700 housing units in Stonecrest’s Wesley Apartments, said the area needs advocates who will make sure that it is clean, appealing and safe. She said 90 percent of her company’s units at Stonecrest are occupied. The Stonecrest Growth Initiative grew out of an effort by Wagner and Sarah Kendall, director of development for Cadillac Fairview, to work with community leaders to develop a Stonecrest brand, similar to Perimeter. The group plans to form a Stonecrest Business Alliance and apply for grants for community improvements. People who responded to a recent survey sent to about 400 property owners listed crime, litter and transportation as their top concerns. Police recently reported to the group that crime is down at Stonecrest in all categories over the past year. Meanwhile, Commissioner Lee May and other county leaders continue to advocate for rail service from Indian Creek to Stonecrest to be included in a list of projects for a 2012 statewide transportation referendum. May said Stonecrest mall is critical for the future of DeKalb County. “It really is an asset for the entire county and for the region as well,” he said. “The mall’s 10-year milestone really allows us to take a self-evaluation to think about what can be done to move forward, to grow it, to enhance it.”


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CrossRoadsNews

Stonecrest

September 24, 2011

Dora is the 7-year-old Latina heroine whose adventures take place in an imaginative tropical world.

Family-friendly Fall Fair offers fun, thrills, food and more

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

The Ferris wheel is a perennial favorite at the fair along with carnival games and treats. Children and adults can enjoy a ride on the merrygo-round, a carnival staple.

Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

The Fall Fair by North American Midway Entertainment will be at the Mall at Stonecrest from Oct. 27 through Nov. 6.

Thrill-seekers and families will find more than 30 rides to give them adrenaline rushes at the Fall Fair coming to the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 27. Rides include everything from YoYo, Matterhorn (Himalaya), Cliff Hanger, Fireball, Sizzler, Family Swing, Raiders, Tilt, Gravitron, Inverter, Power Surge, Mini-Indy, Ferris wheel, Kiddie Land, and Slide and Train to bumper cars and merry-go-round.  The fair by North American Midway Entertainment boasts a spectacular inventory of more than 200 state-of-the-art rides, custom-designed

concessions and family-oriented games. More than 21 million fairgoers in 20 states and four Canadian provinces annually attend the fair since North American Midway’s launch in 2004. The fun takes flight at 4 p.m. on Oct. 27 and continues daily through Nov. 6. The Fall Fair is part of the mall’s celebration of its 10th anniversary. It opens 4 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. on Saturdays, and noon on Sundays. The Mall at Stonecrest is at Turner Hill Road and I-20 in Lithonia. For more information, visit Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews www.mallatstonecrest.com or its Facebook page Attractions include fun midway at www.facebook.com/mallatstonecrest. rides for the little ones.

The cartoonish costumed characters of “Yo Gabba Gabba!” – Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee and Plex – will bring music and dancing to the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 22. DJ Lance Rock is host for the program for kids ages 1 and up.

Live-action show to entertain tots The zany cast of “Yo Gabba Gabba!” is coming to the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 22, and kid-toting families are encouraged to bring the camera to capture the moments. The stars of the show are cartoonish costumed characters – Muno, the red cyclops; Foofa, the pink flower bubble; Brobee, a little green monster; Toodee, the blue cat-dragon; and Plex, the yellow robot. Oct. 22 is the actual anniversary of the mall, which opened in 2001. It will celebrate throughout October, and “Yo Gabba Gabba!” stars will be in town to pump up the volume on the celebration. Donald Bieler, the mall’s marketing manager, said

families will get up close and personal with the colorful stars. DJ Lance Rock hosts the fun, live-action program for young children ages 1 and up. He will introduce spectators to the friendly toy monsters who reside in a magical land full of music, dance and colorful cartoons and learn simple life lessons through short animated sketches. Of course, dancing is involved to the magic words “Yo Gabba Gabba!” The popular children’s TV show, which premiered in 2007, airs on the Nick Jr. and Noggin cable networks. It gets its title from the chant “Gabba Gabba Hey,” first coined by punk rock band the Ramones. The Mall at Stonecrest is at I-20 and Turner Hill Road in Lithonia. For more information, visit www.mallatstonecrest.com.

Dora, Diego return for big Block Party Animated television stars Dora the Explorer and Diego will be at the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 8 for the mall’s 10th Anniversary Block Party. The popular Nickelodeon stars are no strangers to Stonecrest. They have entertained at the mall numerous times before and are expected to draw huge crowds of kids and their parents. Both characters star in the preschool play-along, animated adventure series “Go Diego! Go.” Dora is the 7-year-old Latina heroine whose adventures take place in an imaginative tropical world filled with jungles, beaches and rain forests, and she can even make animal noises and talk to the wild animals. Diego, her cousin, helps his parents at the Animal Rescue Center in his hit show, “Go Diego! Go.” Dora and Diego were a hit the other two times they visited the mall and are expected to draw large crowds again this year. They will appear onstage on the mall’s lower level at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Mall at Stonecrest is at Turner Hill Road and I-20. For more information, visit www.mallatstonecrest. com.


September 24, 2011

CrossRoadsNews

Burrell Ellis

DeKalb County CEO

Congratulations 10 years of success DeKalb County into a regional retail marketplace. On behalf of DeKalb County, we wish you continued prosperity and look forward to many more years of growth and success.

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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011


CrossRoadsNews, September 24, 2011