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Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




Link Dental Care Aristo J. Shyn, DMD

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We also offer in-office dental plans and Care Credit December/January 2021 â– Peachtree Corners Magazine




COVER STORY/COMMUNITY Faces of Peachtree Corners


KNOWLEDGE Winter Break Camps for Kids


COMMUNITY Corners Connector Peachtree Parkway Bridge Opens


BELIEVE Ring in the Holidays

10 FACES of Peachtree Corners


NOURISH Brewing Success


Pouch Pies Bring Comfort


BUSINESS SGCC Appoints 2021 Chairman


MOVE Take a Winter Walk



52 Looking up at the Stars in Peachtree Corners

46 Spaces: Neely Farm Today, and its history


SPACES Down on the Farm


The Family Behind the Street Sign


COMMUNITY Looking Up in Peachtree Corners




Inside Peachtree Corners

About the Cover The cover represents the twenty-one individual profiles of those we invited to be part of our Faces of Peachtree Corners. This issue’s cover celePEACHTREE CORNERS brates Peachtree Corners’ most valuable resource, which continues to be the people that live, work and thrive within its borders. Most of the individual photography was shot by George Hunter at Atlanta Tech Park. RING IN THE NEELY FARM HOLIDAYS P28 PAST & PRESENT P46


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22 Winter Break Camps


32 Brewing Success, Anderby Brewery





December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine









Rico Figliolini is a creative director and social media strategist, three-time magazine publisher and podcast host. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York and is a political junky, sci-fi and anime fan, and avid reader and movie binger.

Kelsey Asher is a proud graduate of the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Communications. She has held a variety of marketing leadership roles for several small, startup companies in a variety of industries including publishing, construction and technology.

Publisher & Executive Editor

Contributing Editor




JULIE DAVIS julie@livinginpeachtreecorners.com



Rita Figliolini has lived in PTC for 23 years with her husband and life partner, Rico Figliolini. Proud mom of 3 — Jason, Kinsey and Jack. Former Managing Editor of the original Inside Gwinnett, she’s now Advisor to PTC Magazine. Telling stories is in our blood!

Kathy Dean has been a writer and editor for over 20 years. Some of the publications she has contributed to are Atlanta Senior Life, Atlanta INtown, Transatlantic Journal and The Guide to Coweta and Fayette Counties.

Editor Emeritus

Editorial Consultant



Julie Davis is an accomplished sales rep with over 20 years of experience in the telecom industry. When not working or spending time with friends and family, Julie can be found melting glass, as she is an avid fused glass artist.

Patrizia hails from Toronto, Canada where she earned an Honors B.A. in French and Italian Studies at York University, and a B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. This trilingual former French teacher has called Georgia home since 1998. Catch her reporting about our vibrant city on the Peachtree Corners Network.

Account Executive




Julie Murcia has been a graphic designer for several years and works with Peachtree Corners Magazine to design ads for our clients. When she’s not doing that or other freelance work, she operates and owns a dog walking and pet sitting business.

Mark Woolsey is a communications professional who got hooked on radio and the written word at an early age. He attended Southern Illinois University and went on to pursue a 44-year broadcast career spanning nine states. He has worked as a news anchor, reporter, air personality, traffic reporter and meteorologist.

Graphic Designer instagram.com/peachtreecornerslife facebook.com/peachtreecornerslife twitter.com/peachtreecrnrs www.pinterest.com/ PeachtreeCornersMagazine





PUBLISHED BY MIGHTY ROCKETS LLC. Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 678-358-7858 editor@livinginpeachtreecorners.com

Kris Bird is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who specializes in Marketing and Communications. After earning her degree from Stony Brook University, Kris has been working as a science fiction and fantasy novelist for the past decade.

George Hunter is an IT professional from Alaska by way of Texas. His primary hobby is photography, covering a wide range of subjects from pets to cosplay, sports to fashion. Volunteering and fostering dogs brings him much joy. George, his wife Lila and their rescued dogs have made their home in west Gwinnett for almost 20 years.

Peachtree Corners Magazine is published six times a year by Mighty Rockets LLC. Opinions expressed by the contributing writers and editors are not necessarily those of the publishers, editors or Peachtree Corners Magazine. The publisher will not accept responsibility for submitted materials that are lost or stolen. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of this publication. However, the publisher cannot assume responsibility for errors or omissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. Publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertisement it seems unfit for publication or does not fit in our guidelines. December/January 2021 issue Volume 2 Number 12 ©2020 Peachtree Corners Magazine The editors welcome submissions, event listings, achievements and photography. Please direct them to editor@livinginpeachtreecorners.com. This publication is privately owned and managed by Mighty Rockets LLC





Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Life, Prime Luncheon with the City Manager, The ED Hour



Karl Barham’s company, Transworld Business Advisors, specializes in M&A and business valuations. For fun, Karl and his family can be found enjoying the family amenities around Peachtree Corners.

Alan Kaplan is a Realtor with Atlanta Fine Homes, Sotheby’s International Realty and a Peachtree Corners resident for 18 years. He is married with two young boys who are working actors and students at Peachtree Elementary School.


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com


Co-Host on the ED HOUR







The Hargray Economic Stimulus Plan We’re dedicated to supporting businesses like yours in Peachtree Corners. When local businesses succeed, the whole region benefits. That’s why we’re making 2021 the year of the local business, and doing our part to keep your employees seamlessly connected to each other and to the world.

Find out if your business is eligible for a FREE YEAR*:

Call 866.638.4407 hargray.com/business/economic-stimulus

*Limited time offer of up to 12 free months for new Hargray Fiber business customers in select service areas. Term agreement with minimum commitment required. See your Hargray Fiber representative for details and eligibility.

December 2019/January 2020■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Events, Programs & Fun Things to Do

Peachtree Corners Business Association Pms 350 c

Town Green Calendar 5140 Town Center Boulevard Peachtree Corners 30092 peachtreecornersga.gov

Pms 369 c

4989 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners 678-969-3385 | peachtreecornersba.com

PCBA Business After Hours

December 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Anderby Brewing Join PCBA for their year end celebration! They are excited to have an evening of business networking, great craft beers, craft sodas and great food while practicing social distancing. Enjoy the opportunity to meet everyone using speed networking, social distancing style. The organization will be awarding a check to Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett for their COVID-19 testing program and supporting critical health needs. Registration required at peachtreecornersba.com; space is limited. Cost of event ranges from $20-$30 per person, depending on member status and time of registration.

Atlanta Tech Park 107 Technology Parkway, Peachtree Corners 404-797-1221 | atlantatechpark.com

Southwest Gwinnett WordPress Meetup Tuesdays, December 15 and January 19, 7-9 p.m.

Whether you’re just learning or developing with WordPress, it’s very useful to have a local environment where you can experiment, ask questions, learn new skills and get recommendations on all things WordPress. The Southwest Gwinnett WordPress group is just the place. Each month addresses a new topic and meets at Atlanta Tech Park.

The Forum on Peachtree Parkway

Important Note: All City events are subject to postponement or cancellation due to current health and safety concerns, as well as other mitigating factors. Please check the city website and calendar for updates.

Sports on the Screen Saturday, December 12, 3 p.m.

Come tailgate and watch the Army vs. Navy college football game on the Town Green. Sports fans are encouraged to bring their own coolers or purchase food and drinks from one of the many restaurants in the Town Center. Please note: It is strongly recommended that all attendees wear face masks. Additionally, the CDC’s recommended 6-foot social distancing is required.

CornholeATL Winter League

Registration is open through December 28. Winter League plays Wednesdays, January 6 through February 24, 2021. Georgia’s largest and fastest growing cornhole league is into its tenth year. It offers four different divisions of play to accommodate all levels. For more information or to register, visit cornholeatl.com.

Holiday Schedule

December 24 and 25, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day — City Hall closed December 31 and January 1, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day — City Hall closed January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day — City Hall closed

For more info, visit chabadofgwinnett.org

Parade of Lights at The Forum

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2020 AT 5:30 PM EST From the sidewalks of The Forum on December 16 the Chabad of Gwinnett rolls through the center with the lit Menorah for the 7th night of Chanukah. The 10-car convoy will begin at Chabad of Gwinnett, circle through The Forum and end again at Chabad of Gwinnett for the grand Menorah lighting. The Adama Kosher food truck will also be present at Chabad of Gwinnett as part of their celebration from 4:30 - 7:30PM, at the Forum from 6:00-7:00PM

Important Dates Mark Your Calendar!

Hanukkah December 10-18 Christmas Eve December 24 Christmas December 25


Kwanzaa December 26-January 1 New Year’s Eve December 31 New Year’s Day January 1 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—January 18

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

FREE SKIN CANCER SCREENING Wednesday, December 30, 2-4 pm. Cole Dermatology & Aesthetic Center

3225 Holcomb Bridge Road, Peachtree Corners, GA By appointment only. Please call ahead 678-417-6900 Kendra A.Cole M.D. Double Board Certified Dermatologist




Peachtree Corners Library Branch Calendar Highlights 5570 Spalding Drive, Peachtree Corners 30092 770-978-5154 | gwinnettpl.org

Healthy Winter Slow Cooking- Class

December 16, 9-10 a.m., virtual Learn how to make two easy dinners with a slow cooker and find out how to maximize flavors foods with foods that are in season. The video will teach you the magic of using slow cookers. First, they’ll talk about seasonal foods and why you should buy these foods from your local farmers. Then they’ll teach how to make two healthy slow cooker recipes using these foods. This program will be posted to the GCPL Youtube page at the time of the event.

Homestead How-To: Handmade Gifts and Holiday Decorations

December 16, 5:30-5:40 p.m., virtual Think you don’t have enough space to homestead? Join online and learn to make the most of your resources! This program will be available on GCPL’s YouTube channel.

Virtual Writers’ Group

December 17, 6-7 p.m. This is the time to share your next fantasy, memoir, article, etc. Come and share writing, offer critique, talk about writing skills and discuss current writing news. Sign up at the library website.

GCPL’s Annual Yule Ball!

December 19, 11 a.m-11 p.m., virtual; registration opens December 1. This event, for Harry Potter fans, is a wintery and wizardly themed event of well-mannered frivolity presented by Youth Services. A new activity will be posted each hour, starting at 11 a.m. You can learn how to make snacks found in Diagon Alley, participate in wizarding games and activities, and win prizes in the cosplay contest. The majority of the Yule Ball content will be available through Google Classroom. Register at the library website. Other videos will be made available on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The first 50 people to register will get a free take and make craft bag. You must enter by December 15 to be eligible for prizes.

Surrounding Area Holiday Events A Sugarloaf Ballet Christmas

December 11, 7:30 p.m. and December 12, 2 p.m. Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth 30097

Join the Sugarloaf Youth Ballet at their annual Christmas celebration at the Infinite Energy Center. The Sugarloaf Ballet Christmas begins with a baroque ensemble playing classical Christmas tunes and is followed by the Sugarloaf Youth Ballet’s presentation of The Nativity Ballet. Free performance, but seating is limited so register at sugarloafballet.org.

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa

December 12, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Duluth Festival Center, 3142 Hill Street, Duluth 30096 The City of Duluth is proud to present Cookies & Cocoa with Santa. This event is designed to give our little ones a chance to tell Santa their wishes for Christmas. Arts and crafts are available for the kids (while supplies last), and children can bring letters to Santa to take back to the North Pole.

The Nutcracker with Live Orchestra

December 18-20. Matinees at 2 p.m.; night show at 7:30 p.m. Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth 30097 Presented by the Gwinnett Ballet and Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra, this holiday favorite is a traditionally told story ballet complete with beautiful dancing, colorful sets and costumes. Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s cast of over 100 professional and student dancers captivate audiences. Both live event and virtual ticket options are available. Ticket prices range from $37 to 69.50.

Socially Distant New Year’s Eve with Brotherhood December 31, 8 p.m. Eddie Owens Presents at Red Clay Music Foundry, 3116 Main Street, Duluth 30096

Wesleyan School Admissions Events Campus tour, Parent Preview Day, and Family Open House information available at www.wesleyanschool.org/admissions

Brotherhood is a Doobie Brothers tribute band made up of eight veteran musicians, including three guitarists, two drummers, a keyboardist, a percussionist and a female vocalist. Brotherhood not only replicates the musicianship, but also those sweet vocal harmonies that shaped the Doobies’ incredible sound. These experienced musicians are true fans who have come together to honor 50 years of the Doobie Brothers’ iconic music. Some socially distanced seating is offered at $35 cover. There is also live streaming live available at YouTube.com/EOPLive. The livestream is free, but there will be some passing the hat to help support the musicians! To tip them, visit Paypal/EOPresents.

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine




his year has presented unprecedented challenges, but it has also given citizens of Peachtree Corners time to reflect on past success-

es, moments of joy and the things that make this city great. The city has many wonderful features to offer, chiefly technological advancement, business development and scholastic excellence. Yet Peachtree Corners’ most valuable resource continues to be the people that live, work and thrive within its borders.

By Kelsey Asher


Jun Lin

Bailey Lesko

Jun Lin calls Peachtree Corners home, along with her husband Mark Lerner and her daughter Ellen. Both her personal and professional activities have proven diverse and compelling. Highlights include working as a teacher, a newspaper reporter and even hosting for the Chinese Basketball Association (essentially China’s NBA). The team she worked with, Bayi Rocket, even won the championship! Wang ZhiZhi was a member of that 1997-1996 team, and he went on to become the first Chinese basketball player to play in the NBA. Lin graduated from the Regional Leadership Institute in 2016 and attends the LINK trip every year; it’s organized by the Atlanta Regional Commission and is designed to connect leaders from different metropolitan areas to encourage cooperation and progress. In her free time, Lin devotes herself to many varied interests. She is a member of the Chinese Entrepreneur Club, as well as serving as vice president of the Linfield Homeowner’s Association. “I like to work and make friends, reading, playing badminton twice a week for doubles, pingpang and singing karaoke. I found myself so enjoying gardening and cooking when the pandemic time hit,” Lin said. When her daughter was a student at Northview Highschool, Lin was a dutiful supporter of its PTA as a vice president. She also assumed the VP role in the North Fulton Council PTA. Though Lin is certainly well-traveled, she plans to continue to call this town home for a long, long time. “We won’t move out because we don’t want to leave our neighbors,” she said. “They are caring, helping each other. And my husband loves to live in this beautiful city.” ■

Bailey Lesko is a senior at Norcross High School who looks forward to the possibilities of college but is making the most of the remainder of her high school experience. Her extracurricular resume is vast, spanning from Lesko’s tenure as Spanish Honor Society Vice President last year and as current President, to leading the charge as the NHS Varsity swim team captain this year. She also

Studio photos by George Hunter

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




was a Governor’s Honors Program Finalist as a Drum Major for the last two school years, not to mention an All State Bassoonist in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Her participation in the Norcross High School Band appears to be a particularly bright spot in her four years at the school. “The Norcross High School Marching Band has given me the opportunity to lead my peers, play great music and hopefully inspire younger musicians to continue playing into high school and beyond,” Lesko said. “The program is a positive staple of Peachtree Corners, as we love to perform and bring joy to the community.” Her plans after graduation are ambitious and diverse, as she debates majoring in music education or biochemistry as a pre-med route to becoming a doctor, with a Spanish minor to boot. “I’ve been in band for seven years and involved in music for 12, and I would love to give back to students what my teachers have given me,” she added. “Biochemistry serves as a great basis for medical school, and the way life can be sustained on a molecular level fascinates me. My dad was also a biochemistry major and he raves about it, so it’s always been an influence in my life. “I want to study Spanish because no matter where I go in my life, being bilingual will serve me well, and I love the language. And finally, I want to be a pediatric doctor with any focus because I love kids and want the opportunity to give them good and helpful experiences with doctor’s visits, like I had growing up.” ■

A.J. Boyd A.J. Boyd holds the title of Director of Business Development at Lakeview Behavioral Health. Her role is focused on marketing the business in a positive light and educating people on the importance of proper mental health practices. She has a genuine passion for helping people during these difficult times. “I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to connect the community and different referral sources to the mental health resources that they need,” Boyd said. “I hope to continue to be a part of bringing awareness to removing the stigma of mental health, so that more people see it’s okay to ask for help and that ultimately lives are saved!” Boyd lives in Peachtree Corners with her husband and her son Ezekiel. “My favorite thing is how community oriented and supportive the people of Peachtree Corners are,” she said. “I love how much there is to do in this area and all the events hosted by Peachtree Corners. This is such a great community to raise a family in!” Boyd has a strong Christian faith, which helps her to maintain a cheery disposition. “My keys to success are: number one, to lean on The Lord daily and allow Him to lead me in this life,” she explained. “Once I have started my day out in prayer, then I move to my calendar and write out my daily to-do list from work items to personal chores.” ■

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Stephanie and Tye Hanna

As the right-hand woman of her husband Mayor Mike Mason, “The First Lady of Peachtree Corners” Debbie Mason has an unparalleled perspective on the inner workings of our fair city. “I have always been active in my neighborhood and community, and now I found it necessary to find my new place. My goal for Peachtree Corners as a new City was to make it a place for its citizens to make memories right here in their own City of Peachtree Corners,” Mason said. Her life has been full of proud points of note, many of a personal nature. “My proudest moment was becoming Mike Mason’s wife 47 years ago, followed by the births of my two boys Matt and Nick, and most certainly, becoming grandmother to Clara,” she said. “[Our sons] have grown into fine young men of whom I am proud.” Mason’s professional and altruistic achievements are certainly worth mentioning as well. “I am very proud to have been part of the team that created the City of Peachtree Corners, one of the Founders of Peachtree Corners Festival, on the Board of Directors of United Peachtree Corners Civic Association which does great work in our City and I am proud to have been named to the Norcross High School Foundation Hall of Fame for my various activities,” Mason explained. On a lighter note, there is a more relaxed side to Mason that some may not have seen. “I am from Indiana, I love Yorkies, I love to cook for those I love, and I absolutely live for gardening in the Spring by planting flowers in every corner of my backyard,” she said. ■

Tye and Stephanie have lived in the Norcross/Peachtree Corners area for 24 years and are proud parents to a daughter and son who graduated from Norcross High School. Both have contributed much of their time and financial support to many NHS programs. The couple is among the honorees of the NHS Foundation for Excellence Hall of Fame. Over the past decade, Tye has served as President of the Soccer and Baseball Booster clubs and continues to serve on the Foundation Board. Stephanie spent three years on the PTSA Executive Board. They both continue to serve as officers of the Football Booster Club and contribute much of their time each week to the NHS Football program. They have also supported the Band, Cross-Country, Tennis, Lacrosse, Softball and Volleyball programs at NHS and were instrumental in procuring new scoreboards for the Football and Baseball programs. “What we are most proud of at NHS is helping to establish and support the After-School Matters Program which provides after-school learning opportunities for at-risk students. To date, the program has assisted over 400 students to improve grades and graduation rate, with a long-term goal to prepare students for a career, military service or post-secondary education,” Stephanie said. Tye and Stephanie also give their time and financial support to other causes in the Norcross/Peachtree Corners community, including the Norcross Cooperative Ministry, where Tye has recently become a member of the Board of Directors. The couple has also had a fair amount of professional success, as well. “We both started as CPAs, which gave us the financial and operational background to start and grow our own businesses,” Stephanie explained. “As an entrepreneur, Tye has enjoyed the success of running his own businesses, which not only provided for our family, but also for the hundreds of employees that those companies had along the way.” Portions of this profile were adapted from norcrosshighfoundation.org/honoree/stephanie-and-tye-hanna/. ■


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




Dave Huffman

Lex Stolle

Dave Huffman retired in 2010 after a 30-year career as an electrical engineer with local defense electronics company L-3 Technologies Display Systems, specializing in aircraft displays. He had overseen research and development from the ground up. As groundbreaking and captivating as his professional endeavors were, his current interests and philanthropic efforts are equally so. Working with his church, Pleasant Hill Presbyterian, and the World Relief Agency, Huffman has assisted in welcoming over 30 refugees from Myanmar as they resettled in Gwinnett County. “They have all now bought houses, have good jobs and the kids are doing well (mostly) in school. We even have a couple of “our” kids now in college on their way to professional careers. These folks are living out the American Dream and it is inspiring to know them,” Huffman said. He has served as the president of the Peachtree Corners Festival committee, responsible for putting on community events like the summer festival and annual holiday parade. Huffman has also supported the community by being an involved parent at Norcross High School (NHS) while his son attended and beyond. His favorite experiences with the school include volunteering behind the scenes for the marching band. In recognition of his dedication, Huffman is one of this year’s honorees in the NHS Foundation for Excellence Hall of Fame. For more information, visit norcrosshighfoundation. org/honoree/dave-huffman/. ■

Lex Stolle is like many 6th grade boys at Wesleyan School, with a hunger to learn and a lively view on life. But his recent leukemia diagnosis and treatment has given him a maturity rare for his age — yet his outlook remains sunny and positive, in large part due to the support of his teachers and fellow students. “I love my school! I have had so much love and support from my teachers, principal, counselors and all the students,” Stolle said. “Last year, several of the teachers let me shave their heads after I lost my hair with chemotherapy. I even got to shave my headmaster’s head! I was super nervous about that because I didn’t want to cut him! I was really humbled that these men that I look up to would let me do that in front of the entire middle school. I also like how everyone is always praying and thinking of others.” Stolle’s school pride is evident in all the activities he participates in. He made his long-awaited debut with the middle school’s theater company at the end of October. To pay it forward, he works with the Rally Foundation to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. And as a student council representative for his grade, he has helped organize food and hygiene drives for local charities throughout our community. ■

“My goal for Peachtree Corners as a new city was to make it a place for its citizens to make memories right here in their own City of Peachtree Corners. Debbie Mason The First Lady of Peachtree Corners

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


FACES OF PEACTHREE CORNERS Khadijah Akbar Khadijah Akbar is a senior at Norcross High School with ambitions to attend law school and become an intellectual property lawyer. “I want to be an intellectual property lawyer to protect the ideas of the individual,” she explained. “After undergrad, I want to go to law school and study intellectual property law. I am very interested in law and computer science, and patent law incorporates both.” This intelligent young woman already has some educational experience in front of the bench as a veteran in the Mock Trial program. Akbar has competed as an attorney for four years, and as a lead attorney for two of those years. She has coached and assisted underclassmen in the “courtroom,” and this past year, NHS advanced to the state competition for the first time. Akbar has also been involved in High School Democrats of Gwinnett as a Norcross Representative. She taught students how to register to vote, collected and reported a political census of her school and campaigned for State House District 52-elect Shea Roberts. Akbar’s strong passion for justice presents itself in diligent service to the Peachtree Corners community. As a volunteer at the Peachtree Corners Library, she has assisted in shelving books, signing up library patrons for the summer reading program and answering questions about it, reading to children and organizing summer events. “The Peachtree Corners Library has so many opportunities to help and be a part of your community; I think it is a part of the foundation that makes this city so great,” Akbar said. “I hope I can be a part of a system that supports its community in the same way when I am older.” Other interests of Akbar’s include the art of henna, the Science Honor Society and learning languages — both linguistic and programming. ■

Mason Kaplan Mason Kaplan attends Norcross High School, where he is a senior and the quarterback for the football team. And he is a member of the National Honor Society, with an impressive 4.26 GPA. Kaplan was recently featured on WSB Channel 2 News as their Scholar Athlete of the Week. The enterprising young man also earned the Captain Award, voted on by Norcross football teammates. Additionally, he was selected by NHS to attend the IDEALS Leadership School program. This prestigious leadership program is run by a Peachtree Corners non-profit “designed to focus on high school student athletes who

Helen West Helen West is a Middle School Writing Teacher, as well as Coach of Cross Country and Girls Soccer at Cornerstone Christian Academy. She takes great pride in her work there. “With targeted instruction and personal feedback, the writing program at Cornerstone equips all students with the opportunity to improve and hone their skills,” she said. “Cornerstone positively impacts the community through service projects and providing a high-quality education alternative for local families.” West also takes great joy in the everyday pleasures of her community, from hiking the Simpsonwood Trail to kayaking on the Chattahoochee and, most importantly, the people around her. Her keys to success are simple but profound — trust in God, quality friendships, habits that keep her on track and creating a supportive family environment. That being said, not everything has to be quite so serious. Like most teachers, West bolsters herself with a healthy dose of coffee, and she also enjoys the occasional shopping trip around Town Center and other local shopping hot spots. When it comes time to make a meal or grab a bite, Trader Joe’s and Taqueria del Mar are among her favorites. And recently, she developed a new talent of sorts. “I started cutting my husband’s hair during COVID, and it actually looks good!” West said. ■


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com





h t i w y pp a h u o Are y ld’s gra des? hi c r u o y

have shown the desire to better equip themselves to be positive leaders and who want to make a difference in their schools, their teams and in the lives of those they influence,” according to IdealsLeadership.org. Kaplan recognizes that he is in a position to be a positive role model for the kids growing up behind him, and he takes that responsibility seriously. “As representatives of the school and members of the community, my teammates and I love to help out the community whether it be by reading books to younger kids or helping the youth league sports teams with their practices and motivating them to be a positive members of and role models in the community as they get older,” he said. “Other kids from Norcross and I are given the opportunity through the [IDEALS Leadership] program to learn how to be better leaders and positive athletes in our community and can use those skills to help make Peachtree Corners as great as it can be.” ■

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December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Brian Morgan

Aidan Bailey is a senior at Greater Atlanta Christian and lifelong Peachtree Corners resident who has made his mark through his dedication to lacrosse, football and public service. He has played lacrosse for 13 years and competed in the state championship. Bailey has also played in the state semifinals in AAA football and played on the winning region championship team every year he has played. Other shining moments for Bailey include his induction into Beta Club, going to the Face-Off Academy national showcase and his selection as a Gwinnett Daily Post Fan’s Player of the Week Nominee. Despite his success, Bailey works to stay humble. “I have had a number experiences in my life that have taught me to keep a level head, treat everyone with respect and be the hardest worker in the room,” he said. “A large key to success is my ability to handle and adapt to whatever life throws at me.” ■

As a lifelong Peachtree Corners resident, Brian Morgan has roots deeply entrenched in this town. “We love the location of Peachtree Corners. It’s like its own little corner of the world for us. We have food, shopping, recreation, nature, services — all within walking distance or a short drive. The people are friendly, the area is kept well, it feels safe and it feels like it will always be our home,” Morgan said. “For many of my Microsoft years, when people would be moving to Georgia or metro Atlanta, I’d always tell them they needed to look in Peachtree Corners.” As Chief Operations Officer at Wesleyan School, he has been instrumental in overseeing its efforts to keep children safe through the pandemic. “My wife and I have been a part of Wesleyan since the early 2000s. Both of our girls attended school and graduated from Wesleyan. We’ve always loved the school, what it stands for, the balance between a genuine Christian mission and high academic standards, the beauty of its campus and buildings, but most importantly, the genuine inner-beauty of the people that make up Wesleyan — teachers, staff, coaches, facilities workers, families and students,” he explained. Some fun facts about Morgan are that he has a passion for tennis, an interest in photography that has culminated in a side business and a long history of water skiing.

Brandon Branham As the Assistant City Manager and Chief Technology Officer for the City of Peachtree Corners, Brandon Branham spearheads many key initiatives relating to economic development, technology deployment/development, community engagement and strategic planning. He has proved instrumental in the launch of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, the world’s first 5G-powered smart city and autonomous vehicle living laboratory. “A lot of our residents may not know the full extent quite yet, but we’re truly a model for the rest of the country on how government and the private sector best collaborate to advance the global smart city vision for the positive benefit of society,” he said. “Some of the world’s most prominent technology companies have their eyes on our city, as we are one of the first to have created a real-world smart city environment, complete with cityowned infrastructure, that is giving everyone a glimpse into how everyday life may look in the future.” Branham has made a cozy home here for his wife and two daughters, as he works to make sure that the city continues to be a great place to live and learn. “Living in Peachtree Corners drives a lot of the decisions that I make, because it’s not just a place or a job. It’s my home, and I want what is best for my community,” Branham shared. “I am truly honored to be able to serve this community and be a part of shaping the future of Peachtree Corners — while advancing efforts here that will have a positive impact on society, cities and business across the globe through the development of smart city technologies.” ■


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




Lisa Proctor

Mitsue Ostapiuk

Lisa Proctor has made a point to contribute to her local Peachtree Corners community through her business experience, most notably through becoming one of the founding members — and current President — of the Peachtree Corners Business Association (PCBA). The basic idea was to have a business counterpart to the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association, a platform for the residents and homeowners to have a voice in the community. Similarly, PCBA provided a platform for businesses located in Peachtree Corners or that want to do business in Peachtree Corners to have an opportunity to network and share. “I am proud of the fact that the PCBA has donated over $88,000 to local non-profit charities and provided scholarships in our local community through the support of our members, sponsors and annual charity event,” Proctor said. Her professional achievements are remarkable. Proctor’s experience as a CFO, Vice President of Operations and Director of National Recruiting for AXA Equitable prepared her for the opportunity to create her own firm, Sanford Rose Associates – Lake Lanier Islands. The firm is celebrating its 10year anniversary this year. Despite the demands of operating her own firm and working with the PBCA, this high-powered businesswoman understands the importance of taking time for family. “Personally, one of my proudest accomplishments is living an intentional life with my husband and best friend, James (Jay) Proctor,” she said. “We have been married for 35+ years and enjoy taking this journey of life together.” ■

Mitsue Ostapiuk is a senior at Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) who lives in the Neely Farm neighborhood of Peachtree Corners. She is a lively contributor to her community, involved in charity work and the GAC Swim team. In her sophomore year, Ostapiuk received the Bronze Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She has been involved in the National Charity League since middle school, which has allowed her to serve her local community and surrounding cities. During the pandemic, she joined fellow students in packing goodie bags filled with crossword puzzles and health products for a retirement home. Through National Charity League, Ostapiuk has been able to work with foster care, the Children’s Restoration network and more. Through GAC, she has volunteered her time for the Peachtree Corners Light Up the Corners race benefiting the YMCA, as well as tutoring elementary school kids. Ostapiuk shares her love of the water by coaching her neighborhood summer swim team, relishing the chance to meet new kids and teach them how to swim. During the school year, she spends almost as much time in the pool as out of it, which has helped her achieve numerous accolades in the sport, including an All-American distinction as a sophomore. ■

Living in Peachtree Corners drives a lot of the decisions that I make, because it’s not just a place or a job. It’s my home, and I want what is best for my community. Brandon Branham City Manager and Chief Technology Officer

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


FACES OF PEACTHREE CORNERS Jennifer Jordan Jennifer Jordan has called Peachtree Corners home for 14 years. She has two sons with her husband Greg; the oldest, Will, is a junior at Norcross High School and the youngest, Charlie, is a 6th grader at Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA). Jordan considers herself blessed to be able to use her gifts and training in a variety of ways throughout this community. She currently serves as Director of Music and as Choral director at Christ Church Episcopal Norcross, as well as the director of the musical theatre program at CCA. Private voice lessons are another service she provides to CCA. As if that wasn’t enough, Jordan is also the Show Director and teacher for the Peachtree Corners branch of CYT Atlanta (Christian Youth Theatre). Jordan spoke about the challenges of continuing with an active youth theatre program in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but she confirmed that rehearsals and performances will continue to go on with appropriate safety precautions, such as face shields. Jordan has an active private studio, teaching and coaching students in both the classical and musical theatre arenas, in addition her career as a freelance soprano. “The Peachtree Corners community is very supportive of the arts,” she shared. “From schools to churches to the community at large, the arts are a huge part of the identity of our town. The vitality of the Peachtree Corners community provides a strong foundation for creative growth. I simply can’t imagine a better place to do what I love.” ■

Chris Ortiz Zamora As part owner of the family landscaping business, Zamora Landscaping, Chris Ortiz Zamora has made himself a valuable contributor to the Peachtree Corners community. “I think my keys to success are mostly determination and discipline. Having your own company takes a lot of work but with the help of your customers, things become a lot easier and it makes you feel you’ve helped someone in the community,” Chris said. As a Norcross High School alum, he has grown up in the area appreciating all the opportunities he has had to learn, live and work. “My dad started the business in early 2000s with not a lot, but with years and years of experience, it has grown to what it is today. He is very dedicated and definitely a hard worker,” Chris said. “I owe it all to my dad. I started working with him during the summers and now I work full time with him, getting to know great people around Georgia and the Peachtree Corners Community!” In his free time, Chris enjoys the finer things in life, like playing golf while enjoying landscapes on the course, collecting watches and rebuilding a 1985 Toyota Corolla. He said he also likes hanging out with his friends at the Forum, adding, “I love how we keep on growing, and I can’t wait to watch my kids enjoy the Peachtree Corners community.” ■

From schools to churches to the community at large, the arts are a huge part of the identity of our town. The vitality of the Peachtree Corners community provides a strong foundation for creative growth. I simply can’t imagine a better place to do what I love. Jennifer Jordan Director of Music and Choral director


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




Jesse McMillan Coach McMillan, his wife Elizabeth, and two children — Elyse and Mason — are long-time Norcross and Peachtree Corners residents. McMillan has been Head Coach for Boys Basketball at Norcross High School (NHS) for 11 years, and a teacher and coach at Norcross for 20 years. His Norcross teams participate in showcases and invitationals across the nation. During his time as head coach, NHS won two state titles (2011, 2013) and finished state runner-up in 2017 and 2018. McMillan grew up in a family of educators and knew early on that teaching and coaching was something he wanted to do. He is successful, in part, because he holds the players to a high standard and evolves the program from being “coach-led” to “player-led”, empowering the team to make suggestions and hold each other accountable. Coach McMillan has been recognized in the Gwinnett Daily Post as showing “a great ability to build chemistry [among the players].” Of course, his greatest pride is not in the scoreboard or his own personal achievements, but the student athletes he mentors. I’m most proud of the young men who have come out of program to represent Norcross High School and our community,” McMillan said. “We have alumni who have graduated from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. We have professional athletes, lawyers, ministers, educators, military personnel, etc. that have worn a Blue Devil jersey. Those young men mean more to me than any trophy or win.” His fondest athletics moments and most satisfying victories are Final Four and State Championship victories and memorable playoff wins versus Pebblebrook (2017), McEachern (2018) and Grayson (2019). Those games stand out because the team rose up against great odds and competed at the highest level. He said he’s also a bit superstitious; he makes sure to use his lucky pencil to fill out the scorebook at each game. McMillian is one of four honorees joining the NHS Foundation for Excellence Hall of Fame this year. “When I was told of my selection, I really didn’t expect it. Even though this is year 20 for me, it still feels like my first year. Time really has flown by and I think that goes to show how much I love my job and Norcross High School,” he said. “To be included with so many wonderful people is a true honor and one that I will appreciate very much.” Portions of this profile were adapted from norcrosshighfoundation. org/honoree/jesse-mcmillan/. ■

Homero Lopez If you are looking for hard-working in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Homero Lopez next to the entry. As the owner and head painter for Lopez Painting and Remodeling, Lopez has made a name for himself in the highly competitive Georgia interior design market. “My work has taken me to meet great clients, to the point of working with great interior designers and from there, the opportunity to even work with celebrities as my clients,” Lopez said. “Also, I have had the opportunity to not only work in residential homes, but in hotels and restaurants as well. “I enjoy that my clients are satisfied with my work. I enjoy making my clients happy and I always try my best to go above and beyond to ensure that happens,” he continued. The things that make Lopez happiest are life’s simple pleasures. “I know how to sing and enjoy doing it on my free time. Also, I love baseball. It’s my favorite sport and I enjoy watching and playing it when I can,” he said. Lopez also appreciates being part of the Peachtree Corners community. “My favorite things about the Peachtree Corners area are that it’s really central, everything is nearby. It has great schools and a great community.” ■

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Sarah Lim

Erica McCurdy of McCurdy Solutions Group has made it her mission in life to help “people in transition and navigate those waters successfully.” As an active part of the Peachtree Corners business community through involvement in the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Peachtree Corners Business Association and a Rotary board member, McCurdy has had a front row seat to the professional growth of this area. “McCurdy Solutions began when I was on staff at North Point Community Church,” she said. “I have always mentored teens and adults who felt like they were at a turning point either personally or professionally. At North Point, I was introduced to the field of executive coaching. I achieved my certification and as demand for my services grew, I made the difficult decision to leave North Point to open my own practice.” Since that time, McCurdy has served as a go-to voice for publications when they wish to discuss topics such as employability, communication and transition. She has been featured in over 100 articles by Forbes, US News, Business News Daily, Recruiter.com, Entrepreneur. com, MSN and others. After getting connected to Forbes, McCurdy became deeply interested in the work of the SEAL Future Foundation – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps career Navy SEALs transition to civilian life. This is a charity that McCurdy regularly supports. Despite the many professional and altruistic endeavors she is involved in, McCurdy tries to stay grounded. “My family has always been my first priority — often making career decisions that pulled me away from the “corporate ladder” in favor of those that allowed me to be present in my children’s lives as they grew up,” she said.

As an 11th grader at Wesleyan School and a Peachtree Corners resident, Sarah Lim brings a fresh perspective to the community. “I am an Asian-American with Korean and Taiwanese heritage. My parents’ stories of the discrimination and challenges they faced while growing up as second generation Asian-Americans inspire me to embrace the unique characteristics in each of us and make an impact in my community,” Lim said. She has grown up in this community and has a fond appreciation for all it has to offer. “Having lived in Peachtree Corners my entire life, I appreciate the resources and experiences this community has provided me, which includes the culture and sense of belonging,” Lim explained. “I especially love the recently built Town Center, where I often meet friends, eat good food and witness our community joyfully gathering.” She has made a point to be active in her community and in her school by joining the Honor Council, the Chapel band, the golf team, Mock Trial and the high school theater program. She was part of the theater program’s cast that placed second in the District One-Act competition. Lim also participates in the school’s No Place for Hate Initiative and Let’s Do Better, a non-profit movement founded by an alumna and current junior at Wesleyan. These diversity initiatives focus on raising awareness of racial and social inequalities and fostering communities of unity, within and outside of Wesleyan.

My parents’ stories of the discrimination and challenges they faced while growing up as second generation Asian-Americans inspire me to embrace the unique characteristics in each of us and make an impact in my community. Sarah Lim Wesleyan School Junior


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com



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December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Education & Experiences

Winter Break Camps for Kids


aking sure your kids stay happy, safe and active during the upcoming Winter Break can be a tough task to tackle. But this list of local camps has something for every kid to keep them entertained and to shake the snow out.

United Futbol Academy Norcross — Two Youth Soccer Camps 2020 High School Tryout Prep Camp (U15-U19) Dates: December 15, 17, 19 and 20 and January 5, 7, 9 and 10 Times: Weekdays, 6:30-8 p.m.; weekends, 10-11:30 a.m. Cost: $100 for all eight sessions Registration deadline: December 11 UFA Norcross Academy coaches invite all players born from 2006-2002 to sign up for their 2020 High School Tryout Prep

By Kelsey Asher


Camp, perfect for players wanting to prepare for high school tryouts. This is a high school camp for all players wanting to make their Varsity or Junior Varsity teams. These sessions will cover conditioning, speed, agility and high intensity technical training for all positions on the field. Each session will be led by full time UFA staff who know what it takes to play at a high level. All players will need to wear or bring their own ball and shin guards, as well as plenty of water. Winter Ball Mastery Camp (U8-U14) Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, January 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26 and 28 Time: 5-6:30 p.m. Cost: $150 for all eight sessions Registration deadline: December 31 UFA Norcross Academy coaches invite all players born from 2014-2007 to sign up for their Winter’s Ball Mastery Camp. This camp is a must for players who relish taking on defenders one-on-one, as well as twisting and turning to create scoring opportunities. This camp will work towards developing the confidence to be able to perform these skills in games. The camp is designed to devel-

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

op skills such as ball mastery and foot speed, one-on-one moves to beat players, stop and start moves to create space to pass, shoot and dribbles, as well as turns and disguise to speed away from defenders. Location: Summerour Middle School, Norcross 30071 Info and registration: Contact Sam Helliwell at sam@unitedfa. org or visit norcross.unitedfa.org.

Scouts BSA Winter Camp Bert Adams Scout Camp

Scouts BSA and Venturers can attend Winter Camp with their Troop or Crew, or as individuals. Dates: December 27-31 Cost: $200 for youth, $100 for adults. Troops/Crews of five or more youths will receive two adults at no cost. Youth attending without their Troop or an adult are $220. Camperships are available for scouts who cannot cover the full fee. The Atlanta Area Council is proud to offer Winter Camp at for Scouts BSA Troops and Venturing Crews. For five days and four nights in December, Scouts BSA and Venturers will have the opportunity to camp and play at one of America’s premier camps. Their winter camp will introduce unique programs and merit badges that are not available at peachtreecornerslife


either of their summer camps. They pulled together the best of their summer camp staffs for an all-star leadership team. Activities include over 40 Merit Badges, games, Cracker Barrels, an epic Klondike Derby, cold weather camping activities and campfires. Location: Bert Adams Scout Camp, Covington 30016 Info and registration: Contact Veronica Bramlett, Camping and Program Assistant, at 770-9565687 or check out campbertadams.org/wintercamp.

Alpharetta Recreation Parks & Cultural Services Winter Camps Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League (AEBL) Camp A fun basketball camp open to all skill levels for ages 5 to 16. Dates: December 21-23 and December 28-31 Time: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: $125.00 for residents; $187.50 for non-residents Location: Wills Park Recreation Center, Alpharetta 30009 Registration: bit.ly/AEBLWinterCamp

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continued from page 22 Gymnastics Camp Explore bars, beam, trampoline and foam pit, as well as floor exercises. This camp is offered for kids ages 3 to 12. Dates: December 21-23 and December 28-30 Time: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: Priced per day Location: Alpharetta Community Center, Alpharetta 30009 Registration: bit.ly/gymnasticswintercamp Dance Camp Campers ages 3 to 10 will enjoy learning new dances, playing games and doing crafts. Camp sessions vary in theme; see registration for details. Dates: December 21-23 and December 28-30 Times: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 1-4 p.m. Cost: $80 for residents; $120 for non-residents Location: Alpharetta Community Center, Alpharetta 30009 Registration: bit.ly/winterdancecamp

Zoo Atlanta School’s Out Virtual Sessions

When school is out, camp is in! Zoo Atlanta intends to engage and excite young learners ages 7 to 12 through interactive virtual camp sessions. These minds-on programs transport your children

to the Zoo as we visit animals on grounds, explore biofacts and observe science experiments and demonstrations — all from the comfort and safety of your home. Camp sessions are held on the Zoom platform, with engaging post-camp activities on Seesaw, an online learning management system. Each program includes an online parent meet-and-greet prior to the program. Internet access required. Predators on the Prowl From big cats to small invertebrates, predators are some of the most amazing creatures on the planet. Join in as Zoo Atlanta investigates the extraordinary hunting abilities of these animals, the reasons why they are critical to their environments, and ways we can protect them in their natural homes. Dates: December 21-23 Time: 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: $25/day per family for members; $30/day per family for non-members Info and registration: zooatlanta. org/program/schools-out-session/ To the Dismay of the Prey! Watch out! While not always an easy job, being able to find food and avoid predators is essential for animals to survive. Young scientists will have a blast exploring the clever ways that

NHS National Merit Semifinalists Congratulations to the Norcross High School National Merit Semifinalists: Cooper Allen, Aidan Dealy, Elliott Januzelli, Martin Lachev, Abby Lewis, and Eric Van Ness. Semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program were determined by students’ scores on the 2019 Preliminary SAT. About 1.5 million high school juniors took the PSAT, and fewer than 1% of high school seniors qualified to be semifinalists. To become a Finalist, the semifinalist and the high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. ■

prey animals outsmart predators. Dates: December 28-30 Time: 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: $25/day per family for members; $30/day per family for non-members Info and registration: zooatlanta. org/program/schools-out-session/

Winter Break Day Camps at Robert D. Fowler YMCA — Members Only

Spend your holidays at the YMCA! Holiday Camp offers a variety of activities for children 5 to 13 while they are off for the holiday break. Activities will be themed and consist of arts and crafts, swimming in a heated pool, cooperative games, sports and team building activities. Each camp day is individually priced, so a camper can come on selected days. Capacity is capped at 30 campers, so be sure to register early. Dates: December 21-30 and January 4-5 Time: 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Cost: $40 early registration; $50 late registration. Info and registration: ymcaatlanta.org/ymca-locations/norcross/

2020 Winter Fencing Camp with Dunwoody High School Wildcats Fencing Club

En garde! The Dunwoody Wildcats Fencing Team invites you to join in for some winter fencing fun! The camp is open to rising 6th grade to 12th grade students. Coaching is provided by Dr. Kathy Vail, Head Coach of the Dunwoody Fencing Club. No experience is necessary, and all equipment will be provided for use during camp. Experienced fencers will improve their techniques and beginning fencers will learn about an exciting, new sport. Dates: December 28-30 Time: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: $200, includes provided equipment, t-shirt and snack Info and registration: dhsfencing.org/2020-winter-fencingcamp/. Email questions to dunwoodyhsfencing@gmail.com.



Winter Camp Sessions at Chattahoochee Nature Center — Camp Kingfisher

Get your kids outside and unplugged! Camp Kingfisher offers an outdoor camp experience filled with hiking adventures, animal encounters and outdoor play on a 127-acre riverside campus. Campers grades K-7 learn about nature and understand the ecosystem of the Chattahoochee River area with hands-on science education. Age groups are broken up to: current K to 2nd grade — Broad Winged Hawk; current 3rd to 4th grade — Cooper’s Hawk; and current 5th to 7th grade — Red Tailed Hawk. Dates: Winter Session 1 runs December 21-24. Winter Session 2 runs December 28-31. Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Camp ends at 2 p.m. on final day. Cost: $248.68 for members; $292.56 for non-members. For the oldest group (Red Tailed Hawk): $301.96 for members; $355.25 for non-members. Info and registration: chattnaturecenter.org/education/camp/ seasonal/

Winter Break Camps at Tumbles Johns Creek

Prevent your little polar bears from hibernating during winter break with cool Winter Break Camps. They’ll enjoy a four-hour camp filled with exciting activities for children aged 4 to 9 years old. They will escape the cold weather with exciting specialties — Gym, Tumble Zone and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). Campers will get to warm up in the Tumble Zone Indoor Playground, stimulate their brains with activities and experiments in our Santa STEAM room and then burn off their milk and cookies with fun exercises and obstacle courses in the gym. They’re invited to wear their best reindeer or elf ears and enjoy a Magical wintertime at Tumbles. Dates: Camp 1 — December 21-23; Camp 2 — December 28-January 1. Time: 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: $50 for one child; $40 for each additional sibling. Info and registration: johnscreek.tumbles.net/camps ■




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December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Corners Connector Peachtree Parkway Bridge Opens


ate afternoon on November 17, Peachtree Corners celebrated the opening of its new pedestrian bridge. With a quick snip from a pair of oversized scissors by the mayor, the ribbon that stretched across the 14-foot walkway of the city’s new pedestrian bridge fell away as he, along with the city council and invited dignitaries, looked on. And with that, the city’s long-awaited Town Center pedestrian bridge was finally officially open. It brought applause all around from Mayor Mike

Mason, Council members Weare Gratwick, Phil Sadd, Eric Christ, Alex Wright, Jeanne Aulbach, and Lorri Christopher, as well as the invited dignitaries and guests who had gathered in the center of the new bridge for the official celebration. “We’ve waited a long time to experience this moment,” said Mayor Mason. “We are thankful that the city now has a safe way for our residents and visitors to cross over Peachtree Parkway to the Town Center. It was a real challenge to cross the road on foot, especially for families with young children in tow. Now everyone will be able to cross the road safely.”

Safe connection

By Kelsey Asher


Prior to the bridge’s deployment, pedestrian safety was a major concern for city officials. “On the south end of Peachtree Corners, this corridor carries

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

nearly 100,000 vehicles per day. That is second only to Interstate 85 as the heaviest volume roadway in Gwinnett County,” noted Greg Ramsey, the city’s Public Works Director. As a nod to the original Jones Bridge that once spanned the Chattahoochee River nearby, the new pedestrian bridge was designed to reflect the style of the historic bridge that a century ago carried traffic and pedestrians from Gwinnett to Fulton County. Taking a page from its history, the color of the old and new bridge are the same. While the city’s new thrust arch style bridge is a reminder of days gone by, that’s where the old and the new part ways. Designed by the local engineering firm of Michael Baker International, the new pedestrian structure features two elevators and two sets of stairs and connects the city’s Town Center with The Fo-



rum shopping center. The Town Center bridge is approximately 45 feet high (from ground to the top of the arches) with a 190-foot walkway. “The completion of this bridge not only provides a safe connection between two prominent shopping and entertainment districts,” said City Manager Brian Johnson, “but it also provides an expansion opportunity for the city’s multi-use trail system.” Key part of the city’s plan The idea for a pedestrian bridge evolved from one of the goals established in the city’s first Comprehensive Plan. Adopted in 2013, the Comprehensive Plan identified five major goals including the development of features that would “unify and connect” key parts of the city. City leaders had already been discussing developing a Town Center on the 21-acre undevel-


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Peachtree Corners bridge dedication at the Town Center (Jason Getz/Getz Images)

oped property fronting S.R. 141 near the intersection with Medlock Bridge Road. One major concern was how to safely connect what would become the city’s downtown area with the existing Forum shopping center and the many residents whose homes were located on the west side of Peachtree Parkway. A pedestrian bridge would solve that dilemma and serve as a key link to Peachtree Corners’ emerging multi-use trail. “The bridge team is very happy to see this segment of the overall Corners Connector trail open and available to the community,” said Ramsey. “This is now a safe and efficient crossing over a very busy highway, and its place-

making will serve the community well into the future.” On-site construction began in fall 2019. By this time next year, the bridge will connect to a trail along the stream that is adjacent to the Town Center. That part of the Corners Connector Trail system will provide connectivity to existing trails along Peachtree Corners Circle and Medlock Bridge Road. Those trail segments connect to existing path infrastructure that stretches north to Duluth and beyond. For the thousands of pedestrians who will use the new elevated walkway with its expansive view, the city’s new bridge was well worth the wait.■


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Faith, Belief & Purpose

Ring in the Holidays Service and activities schedules

Left and top, Walk Through Bethlehem program at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. Right, Perimeter Church, Christmas Eve Candlelight services.


orship and fellowship may look a little different this holiday season, but whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other traditions, we at Peachtree Corners wholeheartedly wish you a happy, healthy holiday. Here is a comprehensive snapshot of how nearby churches and synagogues plan to observe this holiday season.

delicious batch of latkes for the week. The outdoor Hanukkah party will be held on Sunday, December 13, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Food, story time, music and games are on offer. The large menorah will be lit. There is no cost to attend, but adults are asked for a $10 fee for lunch, $6 for children. Please register ahead of time. There are several other read-

Christ the King Lutheran Church Christ the King will hold three Christmas Eve services on Thursday, December 24. The Family Service is scheduled for 4 p.m., with the Contemporary service following at 6 p.m. and the Traditional service at 8 p.m. The church is also hosting an online holiday craft fair. Check out ctklutheran. org for more information.

ings, candle lightings and services throughout the week, with many opportunities to tune in virtually via Zoom. Find the full schedule at bethshalom.net.

Chabad Enrichment Center of Gwinnett Chanukah 2020 at The Chabad Enrichment Center of Gwinnett will begin with a Virtual

Beth Shalom ► Hanukkah 2020 activities kicks off at Beth Shalom on Monday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m., celebrating with a live Zoom cooking demonstration hosted by Julie Horowitz, making the first

By Kelsey Asher


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com



Chanukah Celebration on Thursday, December 10 at 7 p.m. It will consist of a menorah lighting, joyous music and a video presentation. Register for Zoom information. A Parade of Light will take place on Wednesday, December 16, the seventh night of Chanukah. It will start at Chabad of Gwinnett at 6 p.m. with police escort. Guests are invited to follow along in the car parade, which will end at The Forum on Peachtree Parkway, followed by a grand menorah lighting at 7 p.m. at Chabad of Gwinnett. Amada Kosher Food Truck will be available 4:30-7 p.m. There are also several outdoor menorah lighting ceremonies being held at different locations, as well as a holiday Hebrew School reunion. Consult the chabadofgwinnett.org events calendar for more info.


Mary Our Queen Catholic Church Mary Our Queen (MOQ) will hold several holiday masses, including Midnight Masses leading up to Friday, January 1. Multiple Christmas Eve Vigil masses will be held Thursday, December 24 at 4, 4:30, 6, 8, and 10 p.m. Visit maryourqueen.com and check the maryourqueen. com calendar for full details. There’s also a link on the site for live streaming of masses. Mount Carmel United Methodist Mount Carmel UMC will have two

the Christmas Story will begin Monday, December 14, and will be delivered daily by text messages to those who sign up for it. The church also offers a Countdown to Christmas digital family advent calendar. Visit northpoint.org for service updates.

and the traditional lighting of candles. Tune in at the Perimeter website (perimeter.org), Perimeter Church app, Facebook page or

YouTube channel. The church also offers Sunday

continued on page 30

Peachtree Corners Baptist Church Peachtree Corners Baptist Church (PCBC) will once again host the Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries Merry Market this December. Join the church family and the Peachtree Corners and Norcross communities in filling the Merry Market with toys for kids of all ages. They need volunteers to help provide an amazing Christmas experience and share the love of Jesus with those less fortunate. The main shopping day event

Join us as we celebrate the wonder of the Christmas season. Christmas Eve, December 24, worship services: • 4 p.m. – Children’s Play • 6 p.m. – Contemporary • 8 p.m. – Traditional Christmas Eve Services, the first at 5 p.m. and the second at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 24. For more information, go to mtcarmel-umc.org. Northpoint Community Church Join Northpoint Community Church for multiple Christmas tree lighting events on the Northpoint Lawn, Friday-Sunday, December 11-13 at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night. The Unexpected Christmas 12 Day Devotional Journey Through

is Saturday, December 12, with activities throughout the rest of the week. Visit pcbchurch.org for more information on Merry Market and on upcoming holiday services. Perimeter Church▲ Perimeter Church will hold online Christmas Eve Candlelight services on Thursday, December 24 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Celebrate the sweetness of this special night with carols, powerful music

We practice social distancing. Masks Required. Please register at: www.ctklutheran.org/register. Christ the King Lutheran Church 5575 Peachtree Parkway Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 ctklutheran.org 770-449-1211

continued on page 30 December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


continued from page 29


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Take the extra step towards a life of learning

services during Advent, November 29 through December 20. The services are on Sundays at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. at the same outlets as above, as well as AppleTV. There are other opportunities for holiday fellowship, service and giving, too, so check out christmas.perimeter.org for everything happening at Perimeter Church this holiday season. Simpsonwood United Methodist Church The much-loved Walk Through Bethlehem program at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church (SUMC) will continue virtually this year. SUMC has this to say: “Join us online in 2020 as we bring the magic of Walk Through Bethlehem into your home! Together we will follow Mary as she makes her way to the manger in

the little town of Bethlehem. Our virtual Walk Through Bethlehem will premiere on Christmas Eve. Check back for more updates and a glimpse behind the scenes as Simpsonwood brings this annual Christmas tradition into your homes and hearts!” Visit simpsonwoodumc.org for more information. Unity Atlanta Church Unity Atlanta Church presents “The Gifts of Christmas” Candle Lighting Service on Thursday, December 24, from 4:45 to 6 p.m. The evening will start with a beautiful preconcert performance. The traditional Christmas Eve Candle Lighting service begins at 5 p.m. and will feature soloists, a quartet and a reader’s theater of “The Gift of the Magi.” Registration is required, so attendees should go to unityatl. org to sign up. ■

The Light Shines in the Darkness Advent Study Christ Church Episcopal in Norcross (ccnorcross.org) has announced an Advent Study via Zoom that will be led by Reverend Andrew Frearson on Sundays, November 29-December 20, 9:15-10:15 a.m. The study will reflect on four influential figures and look at how each overcame great difficulties and brought consolation and hope to many through their lives, work and writing.

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■ Nov 29: Meister Eckhart (c1260-1327/8) — the Dominican mystical writer and teacher. ■ Dec 6: Lilian Staveley (1871-1928) — from being an atheist, she wrote secretly of the experience of her soul’s journey of love back to God. ■ Dec 13: Christina of Marykate (c1096/8- c1155) — the Anglo-Saxon woman who managed to live the life of faith she desired in spite of the many 12th century obstacles faced by women. ■ Dec 20: Maya Angelou (1928-2014) — the American poet, memoirist, civil rights activist, singer, dancer, actress, composer and playwright. No advance preparation is required, but interested folks are welcome to look at the following writings for background. ■ On Meister Echkart: Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Warrior for Our Times by Matthew Fox or Conversations with Meister Eckhart by Simon Parke ■ On Lilian Stavely: A Christian Woman’s Secret: A Modern-Day Journey to God by Lilian Stavely, edited by Joseph Fitzgerald ■ On Christina of Marykate: The Life of Christina of Marykate, translated by C.H. Talbot ■ On Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou Reverend Frearson is a former Rector of Christ Church Episcopal and currently a Rector at the Scottish Episcopal Church in Gloucestershire, England. This study is open to everyone. To receive the Zoom link, email Karen Bass at Kbass@ccnorcross.org. ■ peachtreecornerslife



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Brewing Success

Anderby Brewing works through pandemic challenges to keep growing


he signs were promising for Peachtree Corners first brewery — Anderby Brewing. The fledgling operation on Technology Parkway debuted in August of 2019, and the taproom was generating steady

revenue. Growlers were heading out the door. A third-party operator provided some canning of their product for package sales, albeit at no resulting profit. Owners Preston and Michell Smelt projected that March of 2020 was to be their first breakeven month. COVID-19 had other plans.

Pressures from the pandemic

By Mark Woolsey


The taproom closed and didn’t reopen until the Memorial Day weekend as Georgia shut down for a time. Restricted

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

or shut-down food and drink establishments stopped ordering kegs. Still able to offer to-go sales from their production facility, the couple proved the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. They found a supply of bottles and cranked up equipment that Preston had found at an auction. Some monotonous, not-much-fun work ensued. “There we were in the back with a counter pressure bottler and it would take us literally all day to do two or three kegs of beer,” said Michell. “No matter



Left, Owners Preston and Michell Smelt Top, Kegs being cleaned for the next round of beer. Above, Anderby’s very own Wild Goose Filling canning line. (Images, Facebook Page)


how tedious, that’s what we did — and actually, for a while, it was working out pretty well. That’s when we started talking about having a canning line.” Sales of to-go bottled beer, leftover canned product from a prior run and a $26,000 CARES Act grant got them through to Memorial Day.

Profits in the can

What the couple talked about in those uncertain shutdown days is now a reality — a newly-arrived $50,000 canning and labeling setup. The long-awaited equipment ordered in March showed up at the end of October. It operates at nowhere near the dizzying pace of larger operations that can turn out 100 finished cans of suds a minute, but it does produce four or five cans in 60 seconds time, about two barrels per hour. They are staking a path to profitability on it. And they say the timing was providential. The manufacturer of the equipment rolled out the smaller-scale model in February of this year; that cost just half to less-than-half the price that a canning line would normally run for smaller startups. It proved both a blessing and a curse. It gave them the ability to can beer at an affordable price, but so many smaller brewers ordered the smaller model that a months-long backup resulted. But now they say, “We’re sending a lot of packaged beer out the door and that’s making a huge difference for us.” The 16-ounce four-packs are headed to destinations, including high-profile chain Total Wine, with which they’ve struck a solid partnership deal.

Improved technology means improved taste

Preston said the switch to canning makes sense from any number of standpoints. As he explained, “In the craft beer industry, cans were always looked down on for the longest time because the older canning technology wasn’t great. A lot of people would pick up subtle metallic tastes in the beer, especially with craft beer, which is a

little more sensitive because we don’t pasteurize and most of us don’t filter.” The canning companies have improved their technology and a lot of the old issues have gone by the wayside, he said. On the purely economic side of the equation, Preston said that for what it would cost them to buy 6,000 cans, they might only get 2,000 bottles — a significant price point difference. The co-owners said they have 19 beers on tap, and already eight or nine of them have been pumped into cans with all to follow eventually. The canning approach is part of an industrywide trend, they explained.

Growing the brand

As to what consumers browsing beer coolers can expect to find in those Anderby-labeled cans, well, that’s undergoing an evolution. “When we first started, I was really trying to dabble in a number of different styles, trying to figure out what our niche should be,” said Preston. After gauging the marketplace and working with a consultant, they’ve narrowed their focus to three areas: hazy IPAs, heavy imperial stouts and fruity sours. He said those three varieties account for 60% to 70% of craft beer sales nationally, and they also do well from a package sales standpoint. Their beer list will be changing to reflect that emphasis in the coming weeks. The Smelts said they decided on only rotating offerings, an approach that some other craft brewers eschew because “the key thing for offering core beers is you have to make a lot of them, and we can’t.” Preston said the core approach doesn’t work without a heavy restaurant presence. The ever-changing aspect of their offerings should appeal to those venturing into their taproom with the notion that repeat customers who see an unchanging beer list will eventually quit showing up, according to Preston. The couple added that on occasion, however, what has been a signature beer may well make a comeback, like their popular “Get off My Lawn” IPA.

Future plans

Anderby has the capacity to brew 2,500 barrels a year, and they’re now at a rate of under a thousand. So far, they’ve not hiked production, but they anticipate increased demand that will boost them to that level — with the resulting distribution cash flow bringing them into the black. “Once we get maxed out and can’t really do any more on our current system, then we’ll start to talk about expansion,” said Preston. “We have some penciled-in plans on what the next round would look like.” They said a bigger footprint would include additional fermentation tanks, more staff and consideration of a higher-volume canning line. One thing it would not include is a relocation. The co-owners said they could quadruple their current production capacity without having to move. “That was one of the benefits of moving into this building — to have the room — because the

last thing we wanted to do was get into a spot, grow and then have to find more space,” said Michell. “Here [in a large facility] we can grow and not have to find more space in a couple of years.” Whatever shape future plans might take, they credit the City of Peachtree Corners with helping to make the setting-up-shop process in their current location and configuration a positive experience by facilitating necessary changes in the city zoning code to allow for operation of a production brewery. “Other nearby cities we talked to seemed encouraging, but then they didn’t actually do anything, “Preston reported. As to what niche they may grow into in metro Atlanta, he said, “If we get to the point where we are the destination brewer for someone coming into the Northeast OTP area, we’ll be happy.” ■

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December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


Pouch Pies Bring Comfort to Peachtree Corners

By Kris Bird During this difficult time, when we are all looking for a little comfort for our families and ourselves, we need not look further than our own community. We can find it in the walks we take, the neighbors waving hello to us on the street, but especially in the meals we share with our loved ones. That comforting feeling can be found in delicious Pouch Pies, made locally in a Roswell facility by an entrepreneurial Peachtree

Corners family. Now that the holidays are fast approaching, it’s hard to imagine how we will make this season feel “normal.” Perhaps if we can’t be with the people we love, we can still eat the foods that bring us a sense of nostalgia. The Pouch Pies’ Malcher family saw the value in bringing families together, when the two daughters, who were living in South Africa at the time, convinced their parents, who were living in Scotland, to move to the United States to be closer to extended relatives.

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A taste of home

Once they made the move, they quickly grew homesick for a certain kind of dish that most other countries around the world have their own version of. “Pies,” as they lovingly refer to them, are not the same thing as the sweet, fruit-filled treats we have here in the South. Latin countries have the empanada, India has the samosa and Jamaica has the beef pattie. Even George Washington used to make some version of it; in fact, it was his favorite dish. But when it comes to this common food, the closest thing the U.S. has would be the pot pie, which isn’t handheld and convenient. “The U.S. had it, then somehow lost it. Now we’re bringing it back,” said Dave Malcher, the ‘father’ of Pouch Pies. In 2015, the family — they call themselves the “pie”-oneers! — decided to open up a small shop in Athens, Ga., where they lived, and spent six months perfecting their recipes and trying new, exciting combinations. Using fresh, high-quality ingredients, they forged on to handmake each pie from scratch. It was a hit! Not only did they get a ton of business from the local university students with late-night munchie cravings, they also start-



ed to notice something far more touching. Expats from all over the world would drive for hours and hours to their little shop in Athens — just to get a taste of home.

Finding more mouths to feed

Three years ago, they decided to close up the shop in Athens and move into a factory in Roswell, Ga. Once there, they expanded the operation, hiring more chefs and distributing to boutique stores and markets all over the country. Now they ship all over the nation using cooled containers, while still keeping the tradition of hand-making each pie individually. It eventually caught the eye of some prestigious culinary awards and earned the Flavor of Georgia Award in 2019. Once the pandemic hit, the Pouch Pies family worried about how their special little company might survive. “We learned not to take anything for granted,” said Dave, speaking about the ability to stay quarantined with his family and still see them every day. “The way I see it, you can either adapt to it, or stop your life right there.” And adapt they did. In addition to distributing their pies to businesses, Pouch Pies started

continued on page 36 peachtreecornerslife

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! In the last 30 years The Nancy Minor Team has sold more Peachtree Corners homes than any other agent or team. Thanks to the over 4000 families that have put their trust in us!

Happy Holidays from our Team, Nancy Minor and Laurie Rogers Nancy Minor and Laurie Rogers, Owners and Partners Ed Mitchell and MJ Westbrook, Agents • Liz Lawrence, Stager • Becky Paterni, Office Manager • Rhea Minor, Finance and Technology • Ron Minor, Outside Customer Service • Sid Minor, Research, Partner and Technology Development



December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


Where to Eat

continued from page 34 shipping directly to customers, even providing free local deliveries to members within the community. Now families of Peachtree Corners — and all over the country — can enjoy a homecooked meal on nights when they’re exhausted from virtual learning, housebound kids or COVID-burnout. “It was local businesses that first kept us going,” Charmaine, one of the sisters, recalled. “Now we love being able to help out the community during this difficult time.”

Familiar flavors

I, myself, was “coerced” into a taste test. (Yes, it’s hard being a writer, sometimes!). After sharing with my family, I asked what they thought. My mama’s favorite was the Spinach and Feta, and she pointed out that while most American pot pies are mostly gravy, Pouch Pies are full of meat and vegetables. My husband’s first response was that one of the pies — Beef, Bacon and Ale — reminded him of his mother’s fabulous brisket. And that’s what it comes down

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Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

to, isn’t it? This holiday season, even though we can’t physically be with our loved ones, we need to do all we can to find the comfort of the many holiday meals we’ve shared with them. Thank you, Pouch Pies for giving us a taste of home this holiday season. ■

As an exclusive perk for magazine readers, Pouch Pies is offering a 15% discount on their site — just order through their site at pouchpies. com and use the code PTCmag when checking out. You can also call at 470-5453895. The offer will be valid until January 31, 2021. Use the discount for the seven- or nine-ounce pies. Pouch Pies also plans to offer mini sausages and sticky toffee pudding, and they’ll roll out a new flavor — Beef Bourgeon — for the holidays.

Jolene’s Wings & Beer, a New Virtual Restaurant from Lazy Dog Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar introduces Jolene’s Wings & Beer, a takeout and delivery restaurant that offers a variety of wings, sides, house-made dipping sauces and house beers. “We’ve been playing around in the kitchen with different sauces and flavors on our wings for years and now seemed like the right time to share some of our favorites,” said Chris Simms, Lazy Dog founder and CEO. “Jolene’s Wings & Beer gives us a way to serve more people in our communities and bring some fun with crave-able, scratch-made wings at a great value.” The name is inspired by the 1975 retro RV that Lazy Dog renovated last year and took on the road to visit restaurants, ranchers, growers and communities around the country. Available for take-out and delivery, the Jolene’s Wings & Beer concept centers around bone-in or boneless wings in eight chef-crafted flavors, listed hottest to mild: Nashville Hot, Buffalo, Kung Pao, Sweet Chili, Cajun Lime, Smokey BBQ, Garlic Parm and Naked (no sauce). Jolene’s will offer four-packs of 16-ounce cans of Lazy Dog’s house beers for $15 each, custom brewed by Melvin Brewing. Beer options include Huckleberry Haze IPA, Bonita Bonita Pale Ale, Whoa, Nellie Lager, Old Pal White Ale and Ankle Buster Blonde. Of course, customers must be over 21 to order beer. Jolene’s also offers seven house-made dipping sauces, one included with each order, including Honey Mustard, Blue Cheese, Umami, Spicy Maple, BBQ, Nashville Hot Ranch and Ranch. Shareable sides — starting at $2 each — include coleslaw, celery + carrots, fries, Cajun fries with chipotle ranch on the side, umami fries with umami sauce, sweet potato tots with jalapeno aioli, and onion rings with Lazy Dog’s classic bark + bite sauce. Handcrafted salads and shareable house-made desserts round out the menu. ■ peachtreecornerslife



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Peachtree Corners Business Association “Where Businesses Come To Grow”

Staying Connected Supporting Business Growth This Fall PCBA is offering a variety of events to meet your business needs. Stay connected and join us for PCBA Connecting Over Coffee, Lunch Clubs, Speaker Series, Networking, and Business After Hours. Our calendar of events includes both virtual and inperson options, with social distancing being practiced.

Visit the PCBA online to learn more about becoming a member or sponsor today! 678.969.3385 www.PeachtreeCornersBA.com December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Appoints 2021 Chairman


he Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the appointment of Margie Asef as the Chairman for 2021. “Under Margie’s leadership, the current Board and nominating committee are confident we can continue to grow and meet our commitments to the communities we serve,” said SGCC Chairman Weare Gratwick. Asef has enjoyed a variety of life experiences while living in Ohio, Kentucky, California and now Georgia. She currently serves as the Community Relations Director for Greater Atlanta Christian School, man-

aging public relations, facility rentals, sponsorships, internships and large-scale events. She was selected to participate in Leadership Gwinnett in June and will be a member of the Class of 2022. A life-long learner, Margie seeks to live out her faith, love her family and others, and travel as often as she can. She has a natural curiosity about people, places and cultures which makes connecting in the community a true joy. Director of Sales and Membership Support Beth Coffey whose duties are to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Chamber, will continue in that role. ■

ASHRAE Announces Move to New Net-Zero Energy Global Headquarters ASHRAE, a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment, announced a move to its new global headquarters, located at 180 Technology Parkway in Peachtree Corners. The business began renovations in January 2020 on an existing 66,700 square foot building, originally built in 1978 on 11 acres. Located 10 miles north of its previous headquarters building, ASHRAE joins other innovation and sustainability-focused organizations based in the popular Technology Parkway corridor. “ASHRAE’s new global headquarters is a prime example of how we are helping to pioneer a movement that many expect will ultimately make net-zero energy the ‘new norm’ in sustainable design and construction,” said ASHRAE Building Ad Hoc Committee Chair Ginger Scoggins, P.E. “Although new construction of net-zero energy buildings make a lot of headlines, reuse of existing structures is a basic tenet of sustainability – the energy performance of existing buildings must be addressed to substantially impact the 40% of primary energy consumed by buildings.” “ASHRAE’s goal for this project was to renovate a three-story 1970s era, cheap energy period building into a high-performing net-zero-ready facility in a cost-effective way that can be replicated in the built envi-

ronment industry,” added Technical Advisory Subcommittee Chair Tim McGinn, P.E. The photovoltaic (PV) system design is currently in progress. The building will be on its way to fully net-zero energy by March 2021 upon the completion of the PV system installation. ■

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Merlinos & Associates Relocating to Summit at Peachtree Parkway Transwestern Real Estate Services (TRS) announced its Atlanta Agency Leasing team has executed a 25,347-square-foot lease for Merlinos & Associates Inc. to occupy a full floor at Summit at Peachtree Parkway. Transwestern Senior Managing Directors Chip Roach and Stephen Clifton provide exclusive leasing services for the 179,617-square-foot, six-story office building at 5550 Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners, on behalf of owner OA Development. KW Commercial’s Howard Garrett represented Merlinos & Associates in the transaction. “Merlinos chose Summit at Peachtree Parkway for the building’s flexibility, beautifully renovated interior, stellar amenities and easily accessible location within Peachtree Corners,” said Roach. The Transwestern team has completed nearly 130,000 square feet of leases at the property over the past 18 months for companies that include Soliant Health LLC, Randstad, Teradata Operations, Capstone Hospice and Carlson Design Group. In 2019, Transwestern facilitated a complete renovation of the Class A property’s lobby, corridors and elevators, including adding a new conference center and fitness facility with lockers and showers. The property also offers a 10,000-square-foot, fully furnished patio overlooking basketball and volleyball courts, and covered parking for more than 50% of vehicles. Learn more at transwestern.com and @Transwestern. ■


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T-Mobile is investing more than $11 million on a switch expansion in a 24,000-square-foot building in Peachtree Corners. The project consists of new computer rooms, generators, condensers, switchgear and administrative spaces. One of America’s largest financial management and process outsourcing companies is moving to 6801 Governors Lake Parkway in Peachtree Corners. Convergent is renovating two floors in building 100 to accommodate a customer assistance contact center, a roughly $1 million project. In addition, employees of Convergent will enjoy the amenities that the Governor’s Lake property affords them, including surface and structured-deck parking, a health and fitness facility, and the café located within Tower 200. Kettlerock Brewing is renovating the interior of 6025 Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners, the location formally owned by Nemoe’s. It is set to open in February 2021, according to construction projections on the company’s Facebook page. Nine members of the Peet family are “working hard to build a comfortable taproom where you can enjoy our quality craft beer and delicious craft soda,” according to the kettlerockbrewing.com description. Childs Company, a private wealth management firm, has relocated from Buckhead to 655 Engineering Drive, Suite 125 in Peachtree Corners. “While we will certainly miss our friends and family in the Buckhead office, we are excited about the opportunity for a fresh start in an office that we have designed and built to our specifications,” Childs Company representatives stated in an August 2019 official memo. 3815 Media, a content development, production, marketing and distribution company, is expanding with a new headquarters in Peachtree Corners. The business’ expansion to 3201 Peachtree Corners Circle is expected to create 23 jobs in Gwinnett County, state officials said. “It was a no-brainer for me to open 3815 Media in a city recognized as one of the best places to live in the entire State of Georgia thanks to its education quality, low crime rate, cost of living, employment and access to amenities,” said 3815 Media CEO Rushion McDonald. ■

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Health & Fitness

Take a Winter Walk Trails and hiking in and near Peachtree Corners


any people have been searching for an outdoor exercise alternative to allow for six feet or more of space between walkers, runners and families. If you are looking for a new place to get in your steps, refer to this list of nearby trails and hiking spots.

Corners Connector Multi-Use Trail in Peachtree Corners

In August, the City of Peachtree Corners unveiled the first section of its multi-use trail

By Kelsey Asher


and announced the new name: Corners Connector. When completed, the entire trail will span 11.5 miles. In several in-person and online surveys, citizens ranked multi-use trails among the most desirable and valued community recreational assets. The city envisions that the Corners Connector will not only serve as an alternate means of travel but will also be a linear park offering unique amenities and programs for its residents. The new 1/3-mile section of the trail runs around a portion of the 7-acre Technology Park Lake. “This is an exciting moment for our city,” said Mayor Mason during the ribbon cutting event. “We hope our citizens, and those who work here in Tech Park, enjoy this new amenity. We look forward to celebrating each section of our “Corners Connector” trail as it is completed. We are also conducting feasibility study now to add a 3 ½-mile

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




Chuck Waters

walking trail along Crooked Creek. We hope to have more news on that proposed section soon.” The city also plans to install a total of six round-shaped Button Art sculptures, each depicting a theme based on the area of town in which it is located. Button Art, Inc. is a nonprofit created to further the love of art in Gwinnett County. The project was inspired by Button Gwinnett, the county’s namesake.

Simpsonwood Loop Trail in Peachtree Corners

Simpsonwood Loop Trail is named after donor Ludie Simpson who donated over 200 acres on the Chattahoochee River to a Methodist church, which was later acquired by Gwinnett County. It is a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers, intended as somewhat of a reserve rather than a heavily trafficked community park. Features of note include the Chattahoochee River and an old chapel used as a wedding venue. This trail offers activities and terrain for all skill levels.

Learn more at alltrails. com/trail/us/georgia/simpsonwood-loop-trail.

W. P. Jones Park Nature Trail in Peachtree Corners

For a short, straight forward track to get in your steps and walk the dog, the W.P Jones Park Nature trail fits the bill. It’s a .7-mile loop that is accessible year-round. Learn more at alltrails.com/ explore/trail/us/georgia/w-pjones-park-nature-trail.

Pinckneyville Park and Baseball Complex Trail in Peachtree Corners

Pinckneyville Park and Baseball Complex Trail is a 1.2-mile, lightly trafficked, paved loop trail that features a lake. It is very accessible to strollers and wheelchairs, though sometimes certain sections are closed for re-pavement. It’s one of two trails within Pinckneyville Park, located within the park’s Baseball/Softball Complex. It travels along the complex perimeter, encircling a dog park, skate arena, picnic pavilions and ball fields. Its wooded segment crosses a brook, a steep hill, and runs alongside a pond and a railroad. Learn more at alltrails.com/ trail/us/georgia/pinckneyvillepark-and-baseball-complex-trail.





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Pinckneyville Park Soccer Complex Trail in Norcross

The yin to the other Pinckneyville Park trail’s yang, this one is slightly longer at 1.7 miles. It’s also paved and situated in a pretty forest setting. It has many of the same offerings and much of the charm as the other, and it serves people in many ways. Another worthy point of note: there are two public restrooms situated amongst


continued on page 42

Top left, members of the Peachtree Corners Photography Club on a trail at Jones Bridge Park (photo by Ludwig Keck) Top, trail walkers at Jones Bridge Park (photo by Tracey Rice) Left, Corners Connect, 1/3-mile section of the trail runs around a portion of the 7-acre Technology Park Lake.

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continued from page 41 the trails that are available to visitors. Learn more at alltrails.com/ trail/us/georgia/pinckneyvillepark-soccer-complex-trail.

Medlock Bridge Trail — Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Peachtree Corners

Medlock Bridge Trail is a 1.3mile loop trail located in Duluth; it’s great for a short stroll. It’s also kid-friendly and dog-friendly, though dogs should be kept on leash.

Jones Bridge Unit — Chattahoochee National Recreation Area in Johns Creek

Not so way-down-yonder on the Chattahoochee River is the Johns Bridge Unit Trail, which takes visitors along the river with excellent view. Round trip, it’s 4.6 miles, with mild hilliness that is suitable for most families and pets.


Learn more at atlantatrails. com/hiking-trails/jones-bridgepark-trail/.

Garrard Landing Park Loop in Alpharetta

Vickery Creek Trail at Roswell Mill ▼

What makes this park unique is the effort taken to truly make it accessible for nature lovers of all types and abilities. It is a 1.2-mile loop situated on mostly soft surface, but it also offers a hard surface ADA compliant portion perfect for strollers and wheelchairs that runs along a manmade lake. The half mile segment along the Chattahoochee River is nice and shady, with an observation deck. The rest of the trail meanders through an open meadow and features a cascading stream, covered bridge and pond. You can customize your path with interconnecting segments of trail. Learn more at alltrails. com/trail/us/georgia/gar-

For beautiful greenery and your daily dose of Southern history, Vickery Creek Trail delivers. Nestled beside two historic Roswell mills, the trail features a covered bridge and a breath-

taking waterfall. Part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, the entire trail has a roundtrip span of 4.7 miles. Note that the terrain is moderate, and the area is dog friendly. Learn more at atlantatrails. com/hiking-trails/roswell-millvickery-creek-trail/. ■

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Late Boomers

Local author publishes book about enterprising seniors


By Kelsey Asher ong time Peachtree Corners resident Jeri Bernstein has recently published a book partly inspired by her interactions with residents in a large retirement community in Buckhead. As a freelance advertising copywriter, Bernstein would periodically write community posts for their websites that would essentially profile the life stories of select residents. She noticed just how interesting the lives of these people were — and continue to be. Mostly, she found herself drawn to seniors who made late-in-

life pivots. A 60-something friend retired from teaching last fall and started a new job as a Delta Flight attendant. If her friend could do it, so could others. So Bernstein did some research and dug into the thick of it. Out of that process came Late Boomers: Inspiring stories of people who’ve done life-changing things later in life. “In my book, using the same process that I use for the people at the retirement community, I wrote about Ginny who set out to do just one pull-up and now is the oldest female competitor on the America’s Ninja Warrior TV show,” Bernstein said. “I told the story of a Maryland couple in their 80s who started a stand-up comedy club...and they had never even set foot in a comedy club. “I searched out and interviewed 16 fantastic people and wrote their stories to inspire others to keep on going — age is just a number, and accomplishment never gets old,” she continued. Some might say Bernstein herself takes after the very role models that she depicts, choosing to write a full-length non-fiction book instead of staying in her copywriting comfort zone. To purchase a copy, visit Amazon or LateBoomersRock. com. ■

Local Author Publishes Second Children’s Book, Raymond the Rooster Katie Morgan Lester grew up on a South Carolina farm with a charming cast of animal characters so captivating that she has decided to share them with the world in her two children’s books. These days, she and her husband Mark live in Peachtree Corners — they’ve been here for about 15 years — with their seventh grader Brandon who attends Pinckneyville Middle School. “I have a degree in studio art from Furman University and have always loved doing illustrations, murals and children’s décor,” Lester said. The first book, Picky Pig Pete, was inspired by her picky eater son and teaches kids to try something new. Her recently released second title, Raymond the Rooster, is somewhat of a spinoff of the first in that the title character, Raymond, appeared in the


first story as well. “Like my first book, Raymond the Rooster has rhyming text with watercolor pages, but with a message about friendship and inclusivity, that ‘friends come in every color, shape and size.’ I include photos of the real Raymond the Rooster at the end of the book,” Lester said. Lester is available for in-person or virtual visits featuring Picky Pig Pete and Raymond the Rooster books. To order your own copy of one or both books, go to morganfarmbooks.com. Lester offers to sign each book and add an inscription for any child who would like one. ■

Left, the colorful cover of Raymond the Rooster, Katie Morgan Lester’s 2nd book Right, Katie Morgan Lester, pictured with her first story, Picky Pig Pete.

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com





Now more than ever, we could use a little artistic inspiration and entertainment. Here’s a quick look at what the local art community has in store for December and January.


The Hudgens Center presents its 10th Annual Juried Members Exhibition, on view at the center through January 30. This year’s exhibition will be adjudicated by Atlanta based artist Jerushia Graham. Graham has exhibited work nationally and internationally, and is the Museum Coordinator at the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking in Atlanta. For info, visit thehudgens.org. Bring the joy and magic of holiday theatre home with The Twelves Dates of Christmas: A Virtual Christmas Play presented by ART Station Theatre. After seeing her fiancé kiss another woman at the televised Thanksgiving Day Parade, Mary’s life falls apart — just in time for the holidays. Over the next year, she stumbles back into the dating world where romance ranges from weird and creepy to absurd and comical. This heartwarming one-woman play offers a hilarious and modern alternative to the old standards of the holiday season. Get details at artstation.org. Christmas has arrived at Aurora Theatre. Anthony Rodriguez is back to delight audiences with an exhilarating one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Nestled in the intimate Aurora Studio, the theatre is transformed to make you feel as though Mr. Dickens has personally invited you into his parlor. Rodriguez guides you through the traditional tale of Mr. Scrooge one last time and single-handedly portrays all the beloved Dickens characters. At its heart, this rendition captures the true spirit of Christmas — the joy of giving. The show runs from December 16 to 23, with tickets at $60 apiece. Go to auroratheatre.com to learn more.

Business ownership has been challenging to many in 2020. Savvy business owners have survived to thrive this year and are ready to close out the year strong. But what next? Now is the perfect time to think about buying or selling a business. Today, seasoned entrepreneurs enlist a business broker and the savviest of them use Transworld Business Advisors. At Transworld, we are experts at matching buyers and sellers of businesses of all kinds. We have a huge pool of buyers ready for the right opportunity to buy, and a bank of businesses up for sale for qualified candidates. We streamline the process for a fast and seamless sale – the type of transaction modern business people demand.

For a virtual experience of Aurora Theatre, it doesn’t get more wonderful than an It’s a Wonderful Life stage adaptation. This hilariously touching stage adaptation of one of the most popular and heartwarming films ever made stars Atlanta’s own Jeremy Aggers (Singles in Agriculture, Hands on a Hardbody). Mr. Aggers inhabits all of the wonderful characters — Clarence, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Mary, Mr. Gower, yes even Zuzu, as well as the iconic George Bailey, who learns that it takes a lot more than money to be the richest man in town. The cost for streaming access is $25. Click on auroratheatre.com for details. The Sacred Threads interactive quilt exhibit at the Rectory in Norcross features recordings of the artists explaining their work. The Sacred Threads traveling exhibition has attracted a wide array of visitors across the nation and has proven appropriate for all ages. Following the opening reception, the exhibit will be available through January 8. More at sacredthreadsquilts.com. The Lionheart Theatre Company presents Orphans by Lyle Kessler, directed by Christine Trent. It’s a dark, moving story about two lost and forgotten brothers who find redemption through a mysterious stranger, their kidnapped victim. The show will run from January 8 to 17, hosted at 10 College Street in Norcross. There’s a $25 admission cost; each show is capped at 25 attendees. Get more info at lionhearttheatre.org.



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December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Real Estate & Home

Down on the Farm Neely Farm, Part One


esides the natural beauty along the Chattahoochee river, rolling hills, mature trees and a neighborhood developed during an era when builders still appreciated the value of beautiful properties, Neely Farm is also conveniently located near The Forum and Town Center. It’s an easy commute to Atlanta and a quick jaunt to John’s Creek, Alpharetta and surrounding areas of interest. One of the finest assets is the natural park with trails along the Chattahoochee River which will remain undisturbed. It’s a certified bird sanctuary for bluebirds and a wildlife preserve. Residents can enjoy nature as they walk, jog, bike

By Patrizia Winsper


or picnic.

Farmers and socialites

I spoke to Neely Farmer resident of 26 years and former Homeowner’s Association (HOA) President Pamela Brazell about some of the things that make Neely Farm a special place. “We were attracted to this community-oriented neighborhood,” she said. “Neely Farm is more than a subdivision. It’s a community where people care about their neighbors. You feel like you know everybody, people are so friendly. I love how our neighborhood has transcended time. It was beautiful when it was new, and it’s even more so now.” Residents, known as “Farmers,” have a community website and neighborhood watch group. They also leverage a Facebook Page to keep each other abreast of new developments, ask for recommendations, help of all sorts, and give praise or express grievances. A group volunteers is set up specifically to help those in need. “If you’re sick and can’t pick up groceries or medications, they’ll do it for you,” Brazell explained.

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

Good sports and great schools

Tennis is king in Neely Farm. An old map of the subdivision shows four tennis courts. “We built two more because we needed more,” Ned Richards said. Ned and his wife, Marsha, moved to the Neely Farm subdivision 32 years ago and are among the original residents. Pickleball is an up-and-coming sport, and several neighbors play on the tennis courts now; Brazell reports that the HOA is considering building a pickleball court in the next couple of years. The Neely Farm Mallards swim team started up almost immediately, Richards added. Kids from 4 to 18 take lessons at the pool and, besides competing with the swim team, may go on to other divisions. Richards said that in the early days on the Farm, almost everybody’s kids went to Peachtree Elementary. “We were all in the same PTA,” he recalled. All the Neely Farm teens went to Norcross High School, though there may have been one or two kids going to Westminster or Lovett. “We all did the same activities, had vacation and school breaks at



the same time. Kids were getting on the same school bus,” Richards said. “Now the senior banner in the spring shows 10 or 12 different high schools represented.” Wesleyan moving here and the area getting redistricted into Simpson Elementary were a plus, and several families with school-aged kids are moving in. “That’s helped a lot in terms of property values and resales,” Richards noted.

Unique homes

Another great thing about Neely Farm is the variety of home styles found here — they’re not cookie-cutter homes. “When you selected a lot in Neely Farm, the builder came with it. By 1994, it was pretty well built out,” Richards said. “Back then, it wasn’t typical for a subdivision to have only one builder. Developers preferred a variety of builders so there’d be different styles of homes.” There are 334 homes in Neely Farm. Two of them are in the Reserve at Neely Farm, where homeowners have the option of paying into the Neely Farm HOA to gain access to the tennis and swim facilities.


The average price of a home in Neely Farm was between $650,000 and $675,000 in 2020. Typically, 18 houses are sold yearly. As of November 2020, 24 homes have sold; the increase is likely due to lower interest rates during the pandemic.

Sidewalks make good neighbors

Marchman was the developer who purchased 325 acres of land from Frank Neely’s descendants and began the transition from a rural to a suburban setting in 1984.

Richards said that Howard Hoffman, the late husband of Neely’s granddaughter Eve, insisted that sidewalks be built on both sides of the street as a condition of the sale. It’s an extra cost for the developer, but Hoffman was unflinching. “Howard said, “You can build nice houses on nice streets, and people will wave. But if you have sidewalks, they’ll stop and talk. Then you won’t just have a subdivision, you’ll have a neighborhood,” Richards recounted. Residents make use of the sidewalks — walking, jogging, walking their dogs, strolling with their children — and cross paths with neighbors regularly. Richards shared an amusing bit of Farm history, “Depending on what was going on, or if there was something you did that warrant-

Opposite page, Early November morning at the Neely Farm Clubhouse designed by renowned Architect Henry J. Toombs, best known for his design of ‘The Little White House at Warms Springs, GA. (Photo coutesy of Vipul Singh.) Top left, clockwise, Awards being given to the Neely swim team, The Mallards circa 1995. (Photo courtesy of Marsha Richards) The Neely Nuts, B7 ALTA November 2020. Division Winners and friends for life. (Photo courtesy of Sam R. Schneider)

ed it, in years past, you may have woken up to a toilet on your front lawn. It rotated around the neighborhood as needed, depending on who ‘deserved’ it.”

The Farm’s full calendar

“Social events bring neighbors and kids together,” Brazell said. “We’ve enriched our programs for

Halloween graveyard at the Lewis home in Neely Farm 2020. (Photo courtesy of Jess Lewis) Our neighborhood Santa always delights the children at the Neely Farm clubhouse. (Photo courtesy of Julie Koch Zurn) Women’s Neely Farm B 3 Tennis Team City Winners circa 2005. (Photo courtesy of Marsha Richards) Center bottom, Ned Richards

continued on page 48 December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


continued from page 47 children to keep them an active part of the neighborhood. There is something for everyone here.” Neely Farm has a special Christmas tradition. What was once a Dine Around at different homes has evolved into a single gathering at the clubhouse. The Farm’s very own Bruce Brett grows his white beard every year in preparation for “Christmas with Santa,” an evening with the children, Mrs. Claus and an elf. “He is the perfect Santa Claus. The kids enjoy coming to see him and having cookies,” Brazell beamed. For Valentine’s Day, the kids meet for an array of arts and cookies, and the Easter bunny makes an appearance in Spring for an egg hunt and refreshments. Chastain Night is held in May. Around the pool deck at the clubhouse, a band plays while neighbors mingle, dine and dance around theme-decorated tables. A highlight is the Pig Roast in fall. The men gather for comradery and set up tents the night before. Face painters, balloons, a DJ, and delicious food make the annual event fun for the whole neighborhood. Fierce homemade BBQ sauce competitions at the roast have gone on for three decades, complete with campaigns and signs. Richards recalls that, in years past, “…we had skits, routines, sang songs. We made hand fans for Slap your Mama BBQ sauce. The last song of the night was always David Allan Coe’s, ‘You Never Even Called Me by My Name.’ We’d all sing, a large group of us in a circle.” Brazell remembers that The Fourth of July used to be over the top. “A firetruck would park at the clubhouse. Kids would climb all over it and take pictures. Then we had a parade. Kids decorated their bikes, their little motor cars, wheelbarrows. With music playing, they’d march through the neighborhood,” she recalled. The Armchair Brigade was a fabulous part of the Fourth of July parade, she said. “Husbands would get together to practice. They used folding chairs. They would fold up, march, snap them open, snap them shut, put them down, sit down. It was a hoot!” ■

The Family Behind the St Neely Farm, Part Two, the History


he Neely Farm name provides a glimpse into its rich history. It was the country retreat and dairy farm from the 1930s to the early 1970s in what was then Norcross, where Frank Neely — a Southern-raised Renaissance man, Georgia Tech graduate, mechanical engineer and Rich’s Department store executive — delved into scientific agriculture in his spare time. Neely purchased the land in the early 1930s from different owners, piecing it together into a 410-acre tract, according to Eve Hoffman, a local poet and author — and the daughter of Neely’s only child, the late Rachel Neely Parker. While Hoffman resides

By Patrizia Winsper


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

on property adjacent to the subdivision, deeded to her by her grandfather, her two brothers who also own land in the area live elsewhere. Hoffman has been learning more about her illustrious grandfather through her own research. “What my brothers and I have really come to appreciate in the last 10 years is how forward thinking he was,” she said. “He was chairman of the bond commission that created the viaducts downtown. He was chairman of the commission that built the new city hall. He was into computers when none of us had ever heard of them.” Neely was talking about running nuclear power from Tech to Piedmont hospital for nuclear medicine, she noted. Georgia Tech even named their nuclear reactor after him; it was shut down in 1988. “He wrote a book called “The



Manager, a Human Engineer,” Hoffman said. “He created the phrase, ‘The customer is always right’ — and [Rich’s] instituted it. The stories are legendary. People would buy a set of dishes, have a dinner party and then bring all the dishes back. Rich’s never questioned it.” She shared a story that during the Depression, schools in peachtreecornerslife

Street Sign

Rich’s Christmas Tree Lighting Rich’s had one store downtown. When it took over a second building across the street, it was Rich’s Home store (furniture, appliances). Neely was responsible for the building of the Crystal Bridge, a four-story, glass bridge connecting the two buildings.

Left, clockwise, Neely Farm, the working Dairy Farm, in the Fall. (Photos courtesy of Eve Hoffman) Cows in the terraced pastures on The Neely Farm. Cows feeding in the barn. Neely had Holsteins and Guernseys. Farmworker getting hay from the barn on the old Neely Farm.

Atlanta didn’t have money to pay teachers. “They gave them scrip. Rich’s said, ‘Bring the scrip here and we’ll cash it. You don’t have to buy anything.’ The goodwill from that lasted well into the ‘50s and ‘60s.” Neely also helped found public radio in Atlanta. He worked on the design of I-285 and was instrumental in bringing Lockheed Martin to Atlanta. “He was extraordinary in a lot of ways,” Hoffman said; but to her, he was grandpa.

Memories of grandad

“We called him Mimi,” she remembered. “He taught us our

first swear word. He was a passionate GA Tech alum, so we sang the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech.” Hoffman recalled once accompanying her grandfather on a Jeep ride to check on Mr. Duncan’s “corn crop” in the Spalding Corners area. Neely picked up some corn whiskey that day — Duncan was reputed to have the best. He would smuggle his supply on the creek that went through his property, came down through Neely Farm, onto the Chattahoochee and got off in Fulton County. The revenuers were

continued on page 50

It’s one of the great Atlanta stories. Every year, different choirs would perform on each level of the bridge — starting from church choirs to very accomplished performers at the top. A renowned opera singer would sing, “O Holy Night.” Each story would light up as they were singing, from the bottom to the top. At the high note of the song, a real Christmas tree on top of the bridge would light up. It could be seen from miles away. “Because we were his grandchildren, we got to stand on a parking garage roof to see that. This was in the ‘50s, and the audience was totally integrated. It was what you did on Thanksgiving evening, everybody came out to see this. It gives me chills just to think about it. Even a Jewish girl like me was in love with it. It was very powerful, incredible,” shared Eve Hoffman. “As I’ve gotten older and look at these pictures, I see these faces — of all races, sizes and ages — everybody bundled up with a coat on. Neely envisioned that kind of thing. He got the architect, and they did it.” ■

Top down, The Great Tree Lighting Over the Years (for a gallery of images and more information visit www.ajc.com and search the title) From visit wdanielanderson.wordpress.com for history and photos Book by Celestine Sibley, a renowned southern author, journalist, and syndicated columnist, who reported for the Atlanta Constitution from 1941 to 1999.

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


continued from page 49

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Hoffman grew up in the circa-1850 two-story, white clapboard house on the farm that had been spared by General Sherman’s troops during the Civil War. It’s the oldest home in Neely Farm. Scrawled above the door in her old bedroom is the message: “Eve slept here.” A legend surrounds the reason this home was not burned down by Sherman’s men. “I heard it growing up from different families, so I think there’s a lot of truth to it,” Hoffman recounted. “The men had all gone off to war. Sherman’s men were camped across the river. They would come across, and this was how they fed themselves; they stole chickens and hams.” Tired of having their food sources stolen, the women fired a buckshot at the Union soldiers. A message was sent by the commanding officer, “Stop shooting my men!” The woman who lived there at the time — her last name was Nesbit — hooked her horse and buggy up, crossed the river at Holcomb Bridge and went to see the commanding officer. “She went in his tent and visited for a long time. She was seen occasionally visiting again. No more chickens and hams were stolen,” Hoffman said. We both erupted into laughter and chalked it up to Nesbit’s courage, charm and diplomatic abilities.

Welcome to the farm

Neely and his wife, Rae, lived downtown and spent the weekends on the farm. “He would spend a good chunk of the weekend working with the farm people,” Hoffman said. “Every weekend, he covered every inch of this property. He was very scientific about it.” Neely aimed to preserve the land and make it better. “He worked with the agriculture people at the University of Geor-



gia who told him to terrace the hills to cut down on runoff and erosion, and to get cattle, because cattle would naturally fertilize the fields,” she explained. Neely was interested in agriculture as a means of rebuilding the impoverished South. His award-winning farm, a mixture of cultivated fields and open pastures, was one of the last two dairy farms in metro Atlanta. “When the power went out due to storms, Neely Farm would be the first place in the county that Georgia Power would get back online — we had a 500-gallon tank of milk!” Hoffman said. The architect for the big house (now the clubhouse) was Henry Toombs, who also designed part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s extra house in New York and the Little White House in Warm Springs. “Eleanor Roosevelt came here at one point to see what Neely was doing in agriculture. I have a page of her diary about coming out here, in a photograph,” Hoffman said.

The magnificent Mrs. Neely

She remembers that her grandmother, Rae, had magnificent gardens around the big house, and saw the farm as a way for her husband Frank to catch his breath. “She was an extraordinary woman. I always thought of my grandmother as protecting my grandfather. I didn’t realize how many other things she was doing,” Hoffman admitted.“She was president of a gazillion different things: garden clubs, community clubs and the Council of Jewish Women.” Rae was also Secretary of the Georgia Women’s Suffrage movement. “I found articles she wrote peachtreecornerslife

Barn and silo from when Neely Farm was a working dairy farm. (Courtesy of Judy Sternad)

about Women’s Suffrage, one published in the Atlanta paper. She said that women’s suffrage wasn’t just about women having the vote, it was about improving the lives of families, children, pregnant women and addressing hunger.” Hoffman’s mother, Rachel, went to Smith College, which was the equivalent of an Ivy League school for women. “I went to Smith; my daughter went to Smith. It started with Rae Neely, who read about Smith College in the paper,” Hoffman said.

Selling the farm

“Selling the farm was hard,” she confessed. “Frank Neely was gone by the time we sold the

land. We were the only ones here, my husband and I, and our kids.” She continued to live here, so she experienced firsthand the conversion of her beloved family farm from a rural to a suburban setting. “It was hard to see the place go — really hard when the bulldozers started cutting in,” Hoffman said. In her story, “Walking with Frank,” she suggests she felt her grandfather’s presence on her property. “I do believe there’s some kind of energy out there. I was walking down that hill and he was with me. He was there,” Hoffman affirmed. To learn more about Eve Hoffman, find her latest book, “Memory & Complicity,” at amazon.com and mercerceruniversitypress. com. ■

A longer version can be found online with more photos at livinginpeachtreecorners.com

What’s in a Name? According to Eve Hoffman, the street names proposed by the developer were multi-syllabic, North American Indian names that bore little relationship to this part of the country. Instead, she and her family suggested they choose names that were meaningful to them. That’s why I live on Rachel Ridge today, — the street named after her mother — and not on Hiawassee Drive. Big House Road was named because it led to the Neely home, today’s clubhouse. It was referred to as the “big house” back in the day. Granite Springs Lane is so called because there is, in fact, a granite spring there. Holstein Hill Drive is where the cows grazed. Dove Field Court is one of the places where doves were hunted. Daffodil Lane was named after the field of daffodils that grew beside Hoffman’s childhood home. Millet Way notes a crop that was grown here. Indian River Drive is for the American natives who lived here, fished in the river and left behind many arrowheads. River Bottom Drive was named because it follows along the river and back up. Loblolly Trail pays homage to the biggest of the southern pine trees. That’s the street where Hoffman and her husband lived. “My husband built the house our kids were raised in. After he died, I had to let go of that,” Hoffman said. The dining room table that she sat at during our Zoom interview was made by her husband from a loblolly tree that grew on the old house site. Hoffman confessed that the developer did not approve of one of the street names that the family proposed — Honeywagon. While it sounds adorable, it’s the name of a machine used to spread manure, so they called it Hawk Run instead. ■

The Memory Enrichment Program at Village Park Open to residents of Assisted Living and Memory Care, the Memory Enrichment Program fosters residents’ independence while providing the caring support with specialized activities tailored to residents’ wants and needs. Speak to our

5701 Spalding Drive Peachtree Corners, GA 30092

senior living consultants about how your loved one can flourish at Village Park.


they need. The program’s small group setting provides a close-knit community

December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Looking up in Peachtree Corner


hen the brilliance of a clear night sky meets up with a young and impressionable mind, a lifelong fascination can result. Peachtree Corners resident Jay Brantley certainly exemplifies that. “It started when I was about eight and I got a pair of binoculars and gazed up at the night sky, “he remembers. “I looked at

By Mark Woolsey


the moon and it felt like I was pretty nearly on the moon. When I was 11, I got my first telescope and things evolved from there. The rest of the house would be asleep, and I was out with my telescope pointing it at the moon, the planets and the stars.” Brantley started out wanting to be an astronomer, segued into engineering but has maintained his interest in Life, the Universe and Everything (to borrow from a book title) ever since. “There’s just something magical about it,” he said of astronomy. Rafael Garcia, a retired architect and another longtime Peachtree Corners resident, has

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

a similar childhood tale to tell. “Back around 1968, I had a little refracting telescope in Puerto Rico. We had a second story that had an opening to the sky, and I loved going up there. I could find many things other than the moon,” he said. Garcia is of the generation that came of age during the moon race of the 60s-and says that also contributed to his decades-long fascination. “The whole concept of space travel was embedded in my psyche,” he said. “I saw the moon landing live on TV, so it’s always something I’ve been fascinated by.



And I have always liked science.”

Stars in their own backyards

Amateur astronomers have been prowling the night skies of Peachtree Corners for decades in parallel with the professionals who staff observatories and research black holes, the origin and evolution of stars and the formation of distant galaxies. The backyard astronomers aren’t necessarily looking to push the boundaries of knowledge — they delight finding brighter sights, like the moon, the planets and their moons and even much more distant objects like



the Orion nebula, star clusters and the Andromeda galaxy in the midst of a city where light pollution has grown steadily worse. Or they head for darker environs such as the north Georgia mountains to look for fainter objects. Others combine a love of roaming the universe with astrophotography, capturing breathtaking images of Saturn’s rings or streaking comets. The technology involved with telescopes for the backyard buff has advanced steadily and prices have come down in the last 10 to 20 years, cutting out the tedious work of finding and then tracking celestial objects. These aren’t

your grandpa’s telescopes. “At one point, someone — it must have been my wife — gave me one of those department store telescopes,” said Ludwig Keck of Peachtree Corners, “and it illustrated very well why you shouldn’t have one of those. They make big [and to his thinking largely unfounded] claims on what you can see. They come with a tripod and a mount that aren’t very stable. And, of course, it has no drive, so you have to constantly reposition it.” Modern consumer telescopic equipment of the last 10 to 20 years is a far cry from that. Motorized mounts and computer

control make celestial tracking objects a snap — no constant repositioning. Enthusiasts say you can program the equipment for a nighttime tour of whatever planets are visible, for example. Pair one of those higher-end telescopes together with a laptop, or even an app-equipped iPhone or Droid, and you’re in business. Eyepiece and phone cameras can yield spectacular photographs. Even that app-equipped smartphone by itself can find and follow landmarks in the sky — no telescope required.

Opposite page, Rafael Garcia surrounded by his Coulter Oddysey 12” Dobsonian reflector telescope on home-built tracking base and an Orion Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric telescope with guiding motor in the foreground. Rafael used his laptop to run real time astronomical charts, eyepiece camera, and tracking. Sky charts: the old way of locating stars before the laptop and tablet lay before him. Above, Jay Brantley, with his 150-millimeter refractor telescope, strong enough to see Jupiter, Saturn and distant galaxies.

continued on page 54 December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine


Left, Rafael Garcia’s photo of the moon during a solar eclipse, August 2017.

continued from page 53

Spectacular night shows

Of course, one thing that hasn’t changed from the old days is the awe and wonder of having a front row to the universe. Jay Dunn is an assistant professor in physical sciences at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College. He teaches taught a slate of astronomy and physics courses and co-presides over the observatory on the Dunwoody campus, apparently the closest such facility to Peachtree Corners. He says a major factor in his continued passion for the science is watching the amazed reactions as visitors peer through the eyepiece of their 14-inch telescope. “Even with less interested astronomy students, when they look through the telescope, they might drop an expletive,” he said. Unfortunately, the observatory building was shuttered at press time due to COVID-19 restrictions. Dunn said they plan to reopen after getting the go-ahead from Georgia State officials. Dunn is a professional, published research astronomer but is well in tune with what visitors like to see. He says the moon is most popular, particularly in the first quarter because shadows create an extra viewing dimension. Saturn and its rings also rank high. Peachtree Corners sky


watchers don’t disagree. Brantley says Jupiter, Saturn and distant galaxies are the preferred observational targets as objects that one can get more detail on, in contrast to stars. And when he points his 150-millimeter refractor telescope at the moon and invites youngsters to peer through the eyepiece, “They are absolutely mesmerized.” Speaking to that same sense of youthful fascination, Keck was a Boy Scout leader and before taking kids on a campout, he’d consult a star chart and to learn what could be seen and what part of the sky it could be spotted in. “I remember one trip where the Scouts were rowdy and talking and wouldn’t go to sleep, so well past midnight, I told them we were going on a star walk. After some hemming and hawing they complied,” he said. “We walked to a big field. And they were just fascinated. It was beautiful and clear and there were so many stars it was hard to pick out the constellations.” The astronomy bug can be passed down through the generations. Garcia said his daughter is a semiprofessional photographer who does a great deal of astrophotography. He himself has linked an eyepiece camera to his motorized refracting telescope to take moon and eclipse shots and has posted them to a local photography club website.

Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com

Advice for stargazers

A word of caution — patience and technique are key for such photography. Forsyth Countian and retired broadcaster Jim Ribble has shot a plethora of sky pics. He says with fainter objects, the necessary light-gathering can take hours. If he’s photographing Orion, for example, he might take hundreds of shots and then uses software to stack the 30-second frames into one, brilliant whole. He uses an 11-inch telescope and explains that the bigger the telescope, the more light it can gather, a key factor that outshines that of simple magnification. And he enjoys the challenge. “It’s pointing the camera at a dark spot in the sky and realiz-

ing that it’s filled with incredible, colorful objects,” Ribble said. Getting started in the hobby is akin to others, said astronomy buffs, as you can pretty much spend as much or as little as you want — $100 perhaps for a decent pair of binoculars to as much as $13,000-$15,000 for a very high-quality telescope. With more time post-retirement, Garcia looks to point his higher-end refracting and reflecting hybrid telescope upward to find more galaxies as well as observing some of the planets. More digital photography is in the offing as well. And he’s among those who think that the SpaceX program and NASA’s plans to return to the moon and go onto Mars may fire up additional interest in celestial gazing. For Brantley, there’s a strong linkage between astronomy and elemental questions of existence and origin. “You ask yourself the existential question ‘Are we alone?’ You look at another galaxy and it’s like our own, with billions of stars. Is there life there? There’s a philosophical debate on that and a religious debate. These are questions we’ve been asking ourselves since the dawn of humanity.” ■

You ask yourself the existential question ‘Are we alone?’ You look at another galaxy and it’s like our own, with billions of stars. Is there life there? Jay Brantley Amateur Astronomer





From the Mayor’s Desk

Keeping Our City Safe: Security Cameras to be Installed

Mike Mason, Mayor

The City Council and I consider community safety of utmost importance. Gwinnett County Police Department (GCPD) provides excellent service to our residents and businesses, but we felt there was more that we could do to enhance the safety of our city. At our October meeting, the council and I approved a contract for 25 license plate reader (LPR) cameras to be installed along the city’s main thoroughfares. The information collected by the cameras will assist GCPD in solving cases such as those involving stolen vehicles, entering autos, thefts, property damage and more. Data that is collected from these cameras will only be accessed by the GCPD. The city will not access the data, and it will only be stored for 30 days. The new cameras are solar-powered and will be mounted on 10-foot poles. Each will be positioned to collect data from vehicles entering the city. The locations of the 25 cameras were selected by the GCPD. The accompanying map shows the camera locations. The cameras will be part of a larger data base to address the gap in camera coverage of public right-

of-way in our city. Peachtree Corners has relatively low crime rates, however, we have state and county roads that run through our city that carry over 150,000 vehicles daily. Adding an additional crime-fighting tool that GCPD can use makes our city that much safer. Below is additional information. Q: How do these cameras work? A: The cameras will take still photos of objects that enter the camera’s field of view. For vehicles, the data will include a timestamp, a vehicle’s make, color and license plate. The cameras operate 24 hours per day. Q: Do the cameras collect video footage too? A: No. The LPR cameras capture still images. Police use the information to identify vehicles that are associated with illegal activity and or are of interest to police. A real-time alert is sent to GCPD for vehicles that meet the criteria.

continued on page 56

Be sure to visit the city’s new YouTube Channel Peachtree Corners Network at Youtube.com/peachtreecornersnetwork

Gwinnett County’s newest and largest city, Peachtree Corners, was founded July 1, 2012 and is located along the Chattahoochee River in the southwest corner of the county. The city is home to over 40,000 residents and 2,700 businesses.

Peachtree Corners City Hall 310 Technology Parkway Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 Telephone: 678-691-1200 December/January 2021 ■ Inside Peachtree Corners


INSIDE PEACHTREE CORNERS continued from page 55 Q: Will these cameras capture images of automobile traffic only?

Q: Will the city own these cameras?

A: No. While the 25 cameras will be positioned to maximize the collection of automobile images, the cameras are designed to photograph any moving object including pedestrians.

A: No, the cameras will be leased. Maintenance, repairs and replacement are included in the lease.

Q: When will the cameras be installed?

A: The annual lease is $2,500 per camera per year. The cost is part of the city’s 2020-21 budget.

A: We expect the installation to begin in December of this year; the average installation is 6 – 8 weeks. Q: What sort of statistics are available that support the use of LPR cameras? A: There are 7 million property crimes that occur every year. Unfortunately, only 13% are solved because police need more evidence. These LPR cameras give law enforcement the evidence they need to solve crimes.

Q: How much do the cameras cost?

The council and I are pleased to be able to provide this important service to our citizens. If you have any further questions, please contact me or City Manager, Brian Johnson at City Hall, telephone, 678-691-1200.

Mike Mason, Mayor

Keep Up With COVID-19 in Gwinnett by ZIP Codes

Ins and Outs of Recycling

Did you know you can view the latest weekly COVID-19 reports on the Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale Health Department’s website, www.gnrhealth. com. Review and check the statistics for your ZIP Code. Remember, face masks, social distancing and hand washing make a big difference in keeping the coronavirus from spreading. Do your part, don’t leave home without your face mask! Use this link to review all reports: https://www. gnrhealth.com/archivecovid-rates/

Contaminants cause the rejection of tons of recyclables every year, which increases the cost of recycling. The Top Four Contaminates are: 1. Plastic grocery bags 2. Take-out pizza boxes 3. Styrofoam 4. Glass Other contaminants include: • Food • Hard cover books • Light bulbs • Electronics • Cookware (ceramics, plates, cups) • Window / mirror glass • Construction debris Please do not put these in your recycle bin, and remember: When In doubt, throw it out!

Keep Autumn Leaves Off the Ground and Out of the Storm Drain It’s the time of the year when the deciduous trees begin to shed their leaves and consequently, bestow more yard work upon every household’s lawn maintenance designee. How do you handle and dispose of the leaves that fall on your yard? For a lot of people, the easy solution to clear their lawn from the influx of leaves is by raking or blowing the leaves into the street and therefore, directly into a stormwater inlet such as a catch basin or curb inlet. What people do not realize is that leaves and landscaping trim-


mings clog stormwater systems preventing water from entering the drainage system. The redirection of the water flow, by preventing the stormwater runoff from entering its designed system can cause localized flooding and damage to property and infrastructure. Not only can the improper disposal cause flooding, but it can also impair our water resources. Leaves in the stormwater system begin to decay, releasing nutrients that encourage algae blooms and therefore, depletes oxygen content in water and suffocates aquatic life. ■ Remember, never blow or dump leaves, grass clip-

Inside Peachtree Corners ■ December/January 2021 ■ peachtreecornersga.gov

pings, needles and other yard waste into the street, stormwater drain, drainage ditch or surface water. ■ Instead, dispose of yard waste by bagging as solid waste. Alternatively, you can recycle this organic yard matter by using a mulching mower, adding them to your compost bin, or spreading them as a protective mulch. Don’t wait until after the storm to do your yard maintenance. No one wants to be the one responsible for street flooding in their neighborhood. Do the right thing and keep our storm drains free and our waterways clear.




INSIDE PEACHTREE CORNERS Community Celebrates Veterans Day Veterans, family, friends and many from the community gathered to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 13. The event, originally scheduled for Nov. 11, was delayed two days due to inclement weather. Despite the last-minute date change, there were over 100 who attended the city’s annual Veterans Day event. The program featured the Wesleyan band and chamber singers and the Norcross HS Jr. ROTC. The program included an invocation by Christ the King Lutheran Church Pastor Jay Bergstresser, a U.S. Navy veteran chaplain, remarks by Mayor Mike Mason, (Navy veteran) and Bob Ballagh, an Army veteran. Councilmember Alex Wright, also a Navy veteran, served as master of ceremonies. Thanks to all who came to support and recognize the men and women who have served our country. And thanks to Peachtree Corners professional photographer Jason Getz for capturing this special day.

Be sure to visit the city’s new YouTube Channel Peachtree Corners Network at Youtube.com/peachtreecornersnetwork

December/January 2021 ■ Inside Peachtree Corners


INSIDE PEACHTREE CORNERS Rules for Posting Temporary Outdoor Signs ■ All temporary signage is prohibited from being placed in the City of Peachtree Corners right-of-way. Signs within the City of Peachtree Corners right-of-way will be collected and disposed of. Generally, when installing temporary signage, it should be placed at least 10 feet from the back of the curb or behind utility poles if the utility poles are greater than 10 feet from the curb. The aggre-

gate area of all signs on a single-family residential parcel shall not exceed 16 square feet consisting of either one sign that is 16 square feet in area or up to four signs, the aggregate of which may not exceed 16 square feet. ■ All temporary banners must be permitted prior to being affixed to a property. The temporary sign permit form is located on the city’s website, www. peachtreecornersga.gov. Under the “Government” tab, select “Building & Permitting” in the pull-down menu. The link to the permit is available under “Forms and Permits.” ■ Signs cannot be attached to trees, fences or utility poles. Please reference Code Section 54-10 for a list of all prohibited signage: https://library.municode.com/ga/peachtree_ corners/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH54SI_S54-10PRSI James Lemoine, Chief Code Enforcement Officer For questions: 678-691-1200 Email: jlemoine@peachtreecornersga.gov


Understanding Residential Emergency Egress In an emergency your safety is the most important issue It’s always important to understand the why. So why is residential egress such an important factor in building plan review and inspections? If we, as building plan examiners and inspectors, do our job, it ensures you and your family can exit a dangerous situation no matter your location in the home when an emergency arises. There are several locations in the home that require windows or doors to be available and be a particular size. Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape opening by today’s code. The minimum opening size for an emergency escape opening is 5 square feet. at grade, and 5.7 square feet for second floor and above. So, at this size we are usually talking about windows. Your bedroom must have at least one window that fits this minimum size in each bedroom, and a window seal height of no more than 44 inches measured from the floor to the bottom of the opening. This is also true of your basement. Each bedroom in the basement is required to have at least one escape opening directly from the bedroom to the outside that allows you to

move away from the structure. So, what if the basement is completely underground? An escape opening is still required without going upstairs. The use of window wells is a common practice. This utilizes the same window dimensions with a well of not less than 9 square feet with a horizontal projection and width not less than 36 inches. If the well has a depth greater than 44 inches, it must be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps to bring you to the outside of the structure. Of course, a door can be used in the same manner as a window. It is confined to the same minimum area limitations as a window opening, and if in a basement it must be a side hinged door or a sliding door. If you have submitted residential plans in the past or you submit them in the future, be aware that this will be the first thing we looks for, because in an emergency your safety is the most important issue for an inspector. Mark Mitchell CBO, MCP Chief Building Official mmitchell@peachtreecornersga.gov

City Receives Prestigious National Award for Governmental Finance Reporting The city’s Finance Department recently received a certificate of achievement of excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for its 2019 financial year-end comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement is the highest honor for governmental accounting and financial reporting. It is the city’s second year in receiving the award and represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. “We are pleased to again receive this honor,” said City Manager Brian Johnson. “Our finance department is to be commended for this achievement as it is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.” The city’s Finance Department produces the CAFR each year and works with independent auditors to verify the city’s financial

Inside Peachtree Corners ■ December/January 2021 ■ peachtreecornersga.gov


situation and standing. The CAFR is judged by an impartial panel to meet the highest standards of the program. “This is an important award that validates Peachtree Corners’ commitment to go beyond the minimum requirements to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure,” said Assistant City Manager, Brandon Branham, who was the Finance Director when the 2019 CAFR was completed. The Government Finance Officers Association, based in Chicago, is a non-profit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals. With offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., it serves the member organization by advancing uniform standards and procedures in financial management for governments and assisting with professional development for public finance managers.



INSIDE PEACHTREE CORNERS Curiosity Lab Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary Lab enables corporate innovation teams and startups to test AV Technology

First Package Store in Peachtree Corners Officially Opens The Corners Fine Wines & Spirits celebrated with ribbon-cutting

In September Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners celebrated its one-year anniversary as the world’s first 5G-enabled living laboratory for testing, demoing and deploying autonomous vehicle and smart city technology. “Peachtree Corners has built a one-of-akind technology ecosystem in Curiosity Lab that enables technology companies such as us to test and prove next-generation solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges,” said Eyal Elyashiv, founder and CEO of Cynamics. The city of Peachtree Corners founded and launched Curiosity Lab on September 11, 2019 in conjunction with Smart City Expo Atlanta. Curiosity Lab features a 3-mile autonomous vehicle test track, 5G connectivity, dedicated DSRC units, a network operations control center, smart traffic light and smart poles. The Lab enables corporate innovation teams and startups to test their technology in a real-world environment where more than 8,000 people work and live. The Lab combines access to subject matter experts and experienced serial entrepreneurs with infrastructure that accelerates growth and engagement for established companies and startups. Since its opening, the Lab has experienced significant growth with the addition of some of the world’s most promising technology innovators. Building upon that momentum, Curiosity Lab launched a variety of partnerships with organizations such as Georgia Power, Delta Airlines, the Ray, ASHRAE,

The Technology Association of Georgia, The Metro Atlanta Chamber, Kennesaw State University and Georgia Tech. Curiosity Lab milestones during the year also include: ■ Winning Transportation Project of the Year in IDC’s Smart Cities North America Awards (SCNAA). ■ Deploying Local Motors’ Olli, the world’s first co-created autonomous electric shuttle, for several months with city residents. ■ Launching the world’s first fleet of shared e-scooters with teleoperated repositioning. ■ Expanding its technology infrastructure to enable research and testing by academic, corporate and startup technology innovators. “The last 12 months have been exciting and challenging – but Curiosity Lab has remained focused on facilitating innovation and creating opportunities for our members and ecosystem partners,” said Betsy Plattenburg, executive director of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. “Our grand opening demonstrated the potential of new technologies for a future yet imagined. Autonomous delivery that was novel this time last year is critically important today.” Curiosity Lab is actively recruiting innovators working on mobility and smart city technologies. To learn more visit www. curiositylabptc.com

Be sure to visit the city’s new YouTube Channel Peachtree Corners Network at Youtube.com/peachtreecornersnetwork

Some things are worth waiting for, even if they do require jumping through multiple hoops. That surely was the case for the three business partners of Corners Fine Wine and Spirits. Sept. 16 was the day they finally cut the ribbon to celebrate the official opening of their long-awaited new retail package store. The occasion also marked the very first such store to open in Peachtree Corners. The city was just getting settled in as Gwinnett County’s newest city in 2012 when Gerald Davidson and his partners Stuart Cross and John Curry began formulating their plans. The first order of business was to secure enough signatures from residents so that a referendum allowing a package store could be presented to voters. The referendum vote in 2014 easily passed 1,394 to 492 in favor of allowing the city to issue permits for retail package stores in its city limits. Then came scouting for a location. The first choice on Peachtree Parkway near what would become the Town Center wasn’t viable. Their second choice, located about 2 miles south was doable, but developing the site would take time. A new road had to be cut into a hill and the building site prepared. On that September day, their patience and perseverance paid off as they celebrated the official opening of the 12,000 square-foot Corners Fine Wines & Spirits store surrounded by friends, family and supporters. The celebration also included remembering business partner John Curry, who passed away earlier this year. The remaining owners, along with John’s widow, Libby, installed a plaque near the entrance to ensure he would always be remembered “as the heart and soul of this establishment.” “These three businessmen are to be commended for their persistence,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “We applaud their efforts in following through the process. It’s taken a few years, but looking around the store, it was well worth the wait. We wish them great success.”

December/January 2021 ■ Inside Peachtree Corners


INSIDE PEACHTREE CORNERS Public Safety Technology Co. Establishes HQ in Peachtree Corners

Order PTC T-Shirts, Coffee Mugs and More Online

Fusus, Atlanta Inno “50 on Fire” recipient, moves into expanded office space

Shop the city’s online store for T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. Several T-shirt designs are available. You can find the details on the city’s website - locate the “Residents” tab then in the pull-down menu select “City Online Store” to view items and place your order. Purchases must be made online. You will be notified when the items are ready for pick up at city hall. No walk-in purchases available. Here is the direct link: https://www.peachtreecornersga.gov/residents/city-online-store

Fusus celebrated the opening of its new office with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 1. Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason, Mayor Pro Tem Weare Gratwick and Councilmember Lorri Christopher were on hand for the celebration.

Fusus, a rapidly growing public safety technology company, recently announced its move into expanded offices in Peachtree Corners and establishing its headquarters in the city. Fusus’ offices are located at 5550 Triangle Parkway. Fusus is known in the Law Enforcement and Public Safety sphere for their leading-edge Real-Time Crime Center In The Cloud (RTC3) platform. A 2020 member of Atlanta Inno’s “50 on Fire,” Fusus was recognized as among the hottest new companies in the Atlanta area. The company has relocated to the larger office space due to rapidly increasing demand for their platform. The Fusus RTC3 platform’s video intelligence and map-based awareness interface serves as the central integration point for Law Enforcement agencies’ surveillance, security, and life safety technology. Fusus brings all personnel and emergency operations centers under a unified umbrella that aggregates video and data, and directly integrates with 911- Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems, enabling agencies to geolocate officers and units in the field via the native fususOPS app, track calls for service, and better coordinate


their resources. “The pace of adoption of our Real-Time Crime Center Platform continues to accelerate, especially among technologically progressive agencies, and we’re committed to the continued delivery of really unique and unified public safety solutions,” said Chris Lindenau, CEO of Fusus. “When we decided to scale-up our operations, Peachtree Corners was a no-brainer for us- it’s the perfect spot for us, being at the center of a rapidly evolving technology hub with great infrastructure.” A diverse set of law enforcement agencies ranging from the Georgia Tech Police Department, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the New Hampshire Department of Safety, to Police Departments in cities like Rialto, Honolulu, Minneapolis, and Oak Lawn have all recently activated the Fusus platform to power their Real-Time Crime Centers. “Peachtree Corners is pleased to welcome Fusus,” said Mayor Pro Tem Weare Gratwick. “The city is known as a hub for technology-focused businesses and has a deep pool of talented work force from which Fusus can draw as it continues to expand.”

Inside Peachtree Corners ■ December/January 2021 ■ peachtreecornersga.gov


Keep Up with News, Events on City App Have you downloaded the new Corners Connect app? Find events, dining and entertainment, bus routes, city information, news, weather and more. You can also find a parking spot within the Town Center and get assistance navigating to the available parking locations. Use the app to report a non-emergency police issue, traffic problem, find links, phone numbers to pay your water bill and county property taxes or to register to vote. The Fix-It app is also accessible through the Corners Connect app. The City’s app is free and available for both iPhones (App Store) and Android (Play Store) users. Use “Corners Connect” to search for the app.



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with DentRite Plus Membership

At Imagix Dental, our team of general dentists and specialists have dental solutions for your entire family ages 1 to 100. From orthodontics to implants to wisdom teeth, and everything in-between, we aim to be your preferred dental provider.

Our Commitment to Safety Your safety is our top priority. Visit our practice with confidence and the assurance that we have heightened sanitation and infection control procedures in accordance with all CDC, ADA and OSHA recommendations. Our team is confidently and safely serving smiles today...and every day. No Insurance? Ask about the DentRite Discount Plan: • Just $80 per family ($60 Individual)* • Adult Cleanings just $55 • Other Dental Treatment 25% Off

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of these convenient locations! ALPHARETTA








11125 Jones Bridge Rd, Ste 200 Alpharetta, GA 30022

5270 Peachtree Pkwy, Ste 101 Norcross, GA 30092

1345 Hembree Rd Roswell, GA 30076

350 Town Center Ave, Ste 301 Suwanee, GA 30024

*Members save 25% on all other dental services, including but not limited to fillings and major work such as dentures, extractions, root canals, crowns, periodontics, and orthodontics. Membership price per year plus a one-time non-refundable $10 processing fee. ADDITIONAL CHARGES MAY BE INCURRED FOR RELATED SERVICES WHICH MAY BE REQUIRED IN INDIVIDUAL CASES. Gene Witkin, DDS & Associated. Issued December 2020


ImagixDental.com December/January 2021 ■ Peachtree Corners Magazine



Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




Exceptional Senior Living means we’re here for you... Experience a staff dedicated to extraordinary hospitality, service and care.

Experience a reassuring sense

of safety and peace-of-mind.

Experience a genuine

community of neighbors and friends.

Questions? Allow us to be your resource during this uncertain time.

Contact us TODAY and schedule your personalized tour of our beautiful community!



Parc at Duluth | 3315 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Duluth, GA 30096 | 770.622.6880



FREE SKIN CANCER SCREENING WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30TH 2:00PM - 4:00PM By Appointment Only Please Call 678-417-6900

Introducing SRT. The non-surgical alternative treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer.

Cole Dermatology & Aesthetic Center 3525 Holcomb Bridge Rd. Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 Phone: 678-417-6900 frontoffice@colecosmeticskincare.com


Come see our new cosmetic coordinator, Lauren. We will be offering a FREE Visia skin analysis ($75 value) with every complimentary consultation! This advanced skin analysis will help us to best identify your personal needs and create a personalized treatment plan for you. We offer treatments for acne, acne scarring, wrinkles, dark spots, and more. Call us today to see how we can help you become the best version of yourself!


Peachtree Corners Magazine ■ December/January 2021 ■ LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com




Profile for Peachtree Corners Magazine

Peachtree Corners Magazine - December/January 2021  

What's in this issue: FACES of Peachtree Corners - this year has presented unprecedented challenges, but it has also given citizens of Peach...

Peachtree Corners Magazine - December/January 2021  

What's in this issue: FACES of Peachtree Corners - this year has presented unprecedented challenges, but it has also given citizens of Peach...