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JANUARY 2019 • VOL. 10 — NO. 1

Dunwoody Reporter

JANU ARY 20 19

Section Two

Sandy Spring s Dunw oody Brookh aven Buckh ead

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Under 20 ►Exceptional Educator ►Raising money for music

20 20 UNDER

AROUND

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Super Bowl brings business excitement, traffic worries P20

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PAPERS .NET

SECTIO N

TWO

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SEE PA

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-40

Grocery store, hotel part of major Perimeter Center project proposal EXCEPT

COMMUNITY

TOWN

His life retiree changed, focus infinds new kids P2 helping 6

EDUCAT ION WWW.R

EDUC

ATOR North A teache tlanta High r, to perf orchestra orm at Carnegi e Hall P27

COMMUNITY

Legislator lends personal experience to ‘fake service animals’ study P17

CITY OF DUNWOODY

An illustration of the proposed redevelopment at Ashford-Dunwoody and Meadow Lane roads and Ashwood Parkway that includes a grocery store, restaurants and retail. A new hotel could also be part of the future development.

COMMENTARY

Keeping it hyperlocal P14

Millar will miss ‘being in the game’ at State Capitol BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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For the first time in two decades, Fran Millar will not be headed this month to the State Capitol, ready to begin another legislative session. Instead, he’ll be wearing a pair of swim trunks and sitting on a beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands with other tourists seeking escape from their everyday lives.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Don’t let that sunny image fool you, though. Millar would rather be sporting a tie and khakis and be seated in the Senate chamber listening for the hammer of the gavel to start another 40 days of debating policy and voting on bills. “When you do something for 20 years, you don’t just turn the switch,” he said while sipping a latte from an oversized mug a few

A “prototype” grocery store would anchor a proposed major redevelopment of a former restaurant hub near Perimeter Mall that also includes potential plans for a hotel. But plans to fill in the property’s pond on Ashford-Dunwoody Road to construct a parking lot are getting pushback from some residents worried about the loss of green space in the dense Perimeter Center. Branch Ashwood Associates, a division of Branch Properties, wants to redevelop the approximate 10 acres of prime real estate at the intersection

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2 | Community

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Community Briefs

age space. The police department’s main offices are at City Hall on Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The city’s annex also includes community rooms for the Parks and Recreation Department. But the new annex building has limited parking and city officials are asking Adevco to make some of its parking available as part of the SLUP approval. Representatives from Adveco said they have no problems sharing their parking but are not willing to grant a permanent easement to the city as requested. The developers are instead proposing a lease arrangement at no cost to the city. Adevco representatives said there is high demand for public storage due to many apartment complexes in the area. They said they expected no problem renting out the spaces in their proposed building.

ANNU AL M LK DAY O F S ERV IC E S ET FO R JA N. 2 1

One concept of an approximately 8,000-square-foot food hall at Crown Pointe shows a courtyard area.

CITY OF DUNWOODY

F O O D H A L L PR O P OSED AT C ROWN P OIN TE O FFICE CO M PLEX

The owner of the Crown Pointe office complex is proposing to build an approximately 8,000-square-foot food hall on an undeveloped portion of the property in Perimeter Center. California-based KBS Realty Advisors is seeking to construct the food hall close to the office tower at 1040 Crown Pointe Parkway. A park area is now on this site. Another office tower at 1050 Crown Pointe Parkway is located on approximately 14 acres. The food hall would front Crown Pointe Parkway. GreenbergFarrow, on behalf of KBS Realty, is seeking a zoning variance from the city to build within the 50-foot setback from the curved section road of Crown Pointe Parkway between the two office buildings. The request goes before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Feb. 7. Three concept plans for the food hall show one-story structures with outdoor seating and a courtyard. Plans would be to lease spaces to restaurants. No names of potential restaurants or the number of restaurants that would be located at the food hall are identified in documents filed with the city.

Residents who want to give back to the community by either planting trees, visiting seniors or other volunteer activities are invited to participate in Dunwoody’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service set for Jan. 21 at Brook Run Park. Volunteers will check-in at 8:30 a.m. at the pavilion at Brook Run Park, 4770 N. Peachtree Road, on Jan. 21 where the morning will begin with registration, donuts, coffee, music and giveaways. Volunteers can either stay in Brook Run Park or drive to their selected volunteer location with a goal of concluding activities at 12 p.m. This year, the city is teaming up with the Dunwoody-Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and collaborating with the Community Assistance Center (CAC), Second Helpings Atlanta, the Dunwoody Nature Center, The Daffodil Project and Trees Atlanta to host the third annual Day of Service. Opportunities include: planting trees, cleaning up a Dunwoody park, daffodil planting, sharing time at local senior living centers, and completing projects at the CAC. Volunteers can also make a donation of non-perishable food items to one of the donation bins on the day of the event at the pavilion at Brook Run Park.

G R O G AN HO NO R ED FO R 1 0 Y EA R S A S P O L I C E C HI EF

S TORAGE BUIL DIN G P ROP OSED O N N ORTH SH A L LOWF ORD RO AD

Police Chief Billy Grogan, center, was surprised at City Hall on Dec. 17 with a party to celebrate his 10th anniversary leading the department.

SPECIAL

Dozens of city officials and officers gathered at City Hall recently to surprise Chief Billy Grogan on his 10-year anniversary leading the city’s police department. Grogan was hired shortly after the city incorporated in December 2008 and spearheaded the effort to get the city’s police department off the ground and running by April 1, 2009. A decade ago, the police department had 40 officers and today has 62 officers, with a total staff of 76 people, including civilian employees. CITY OF DUNWOODY

A developer is proposing to build a three-story storage building at 4444 N. Shallowford Road as shown in this illustration. A former U.S. Post Office annex building is now located on the site.

A three-story storage building proposed to be built on North Shallowford Road in the Georgetown community near I-285 is expected to go before the City Council in February. Adevco Corporation is seeking a special land use permit to build a three-story storage building on nearly four acres at 4444 North Shallowford Road at the intersection of Peachford Road near Cotillion Road and I-285. The current zoning only allows for two stories. The site is near I-285 where a former U.S. Post Office annex building is currently located. The city of Dunwoody owns the 4470 North Shallowford building adjacent to the proposed storage building development. The city’s two-story building will soon serve as an annex to the city’s police department with training rooms and evidence stor-

WO M AN PLEA DS G UI LTY TO O P ER ATI NG LAR G E P R O S TI TUTI O N R I NG

A woman has pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges in a large Dunwoody prostitution ring case that netted more than 50 arrests last year. Darliene Crenshaw pleaded guilty Dec. 18 to one count of violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in DeKalb Superior Court, according to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. She was sentenced by Judge Gail Flake to 20 years with three years to serve behind bars and the remaining time on probation. As part of her plea agreement, Crenshaw must pay a fine of $5,000 and perform 200 hours of community service, said a spokesperson with the DA’s office. Crenshaw was ordered to turn herself in to the DeKalb County Jail on Jan. 6. Crenshaw and her husband, Sam Crenshaw, both of Marietta, and more than 50 other people were arrested in January 2017. DUN


Community | 3

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net Dunwoody Police said they received an anonymous tip in 2016 from a concerned resident about a commercial sex organization based in Dunwoody. This tip led to a months-long investigation, which resulted in the identification of two organizations, Atlanta Gold Club Escorts and Lipstick and Shoes Escorts. One of the escort services was operating out of an apartment complex across the street from the former Dunwoody City Hall and the Police Department at 41 Perimeter Center East. The other alleged escort service was operating out of another Dunwoody apartment complex, according to police. In June, Judge Flake tossed out undercover surveillance footage used by Dunwoody Police to arrest and charge the dozens of suspects. Flake ruled the police illegally obtained the video footage of men and women having sex after secretly installing several cameras in a private apartment in 2016.

D EVELOP ERS MAY SOON HAVE S TR IC TER P UBLI C N OTIC E R U LE S

Developers seeking a rezoning from Dunwoody may soon have to follow stricter guidelines when giving notice to the public about proposed projects. The Planning Commission voted Dec. 11 to recommend amending the city’s zoning code to require applicants to send a notice of their public meeting to the city planner at Dunwoody City Hall. The meetings must also be held weekdays between Monday and Friday or between noon and 4 p.m. on weekends, according to the proposed amendment. All meetings must be held at a public location. The zoning code already requires developers to hold public meetings on a proposed project. They are also required to notify property owners within 1,000 feet of the proposed project by mail at least 20 days before the required public meeting. The meetings are intended to inform residents of potential future developments and resolve issues before a formal hearing before city officials. The recommendation goes to the City Council for final say.

NO RD S TR O M ’ S S I GN TO BE RELOC ATED TO PAR KING D ECK

A sign for Perimeter Mall’s Nordstrom department store is being relocated to the parking deck next to the new Twelve24 office building now under construction on Hammond Drive next to the Dunwoody MARTA Station. City officials late last year approved the move of the sign so it could be viewed

from Hammond Drive. If the sign stayed on the Perimeter Mall building, it would be completely hidden behind the new 16-story office building expected to open next year. A 9-story Hyatt Place hotel is also being built behind the office building. The parking deck was once the west parking deck for the MARTA station. MARTA terminated its lease last year with mall owner General Growth Properties. Perimeter Mall sold the parking deck and nearly 4 acres of its parking lot next to the MARTA station on Hammond Drive to Trammell Crow to build the new office building and hotel.

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Doraville ordinance intends to inspire other cities to protect LGBTQ people BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The city of Doraville recently approved an ordinance that prohibits local businesses from discriminating against various minority groups, such as African Americans and people with disabilities. But the new law also bans discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in a move that bucks “religious freedom” bills that have been debated at the General Assembly for the past several years. In November, Doraville became only the second city in Georgia to put such a law on its books to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The city of Atlanta passed the first such ordinance in 2001. Doraville City Councilmember Stephe Koontz, believed to be the first openly transgender person elected to office in the state, spearheaded passage of the ordinance, which was approved in a 5-1 vote in November. She said she’s worked with the city of Clarkston and Chamblee on their own nondiscrimination ordinances and she hopes other metro Atlanta cities follow Doraville’s lead. “The whole idea is to inspire other cities to join in the fight against discrimination which they should want to do,” she said. The city of Brookhaven and Dunwoody have no current plans to take on such an or-

MLK JR. DAY OF SERVICE

Monday, January 21st @ 9am Brook Run Park 4770 N. Peachtree Road, Dunwoody

The City of Dunwoody, in partnership with the DunwoodyAtlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. have planned Dunwoody’s MLK Jr. Day of Service, an event open to all ages, to be able to give back to the community. Sign-up for an opportunity to participate by visiting the Dunwoody Parks Registration Portal. Opportunities include: planting trees, cleaning up a Dunwoody park, street sign cleaning, daffodil planting, sharing time at local senior living centers, or completing projects at the CAC. Volunteers will check-in at 8:30 a.m. at the pavilion at Brook Run Park (4770 N. Peachtree Road, Dunwoody) where the morning will begin with registration, donuts, coffee, music and giveaways. Please sign-up at the Parks Registration Portal through the following link, choosing your volunteer session, logging in or creating an account: https://secure.rec1.com/GA/dunwoody-ga/catalog

dinance. In Sandy Springs, a spokesperson said the city has no authority to regulate private businesses. “Our policy is, and always has been, that we do not discriminate against anyone for any reason,” Sharon Kraun said in a written statement. “Local government policies against discrimination apply to the local government not discriminating against persons similarly situated, on any basis,” she said. “That is the city’s policy. The city has no authority to police complaints by private citizens discriminating against private citizens.” Koontz, who is from Sandy Springs, disagreed with her hometown’s decision. The Doraville ordinance is legal because it is tied to the occupational tax permit businesses must apply for to operate in the city, she said. The city’s nondiscrimination ordinance also prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry or military status. “By applying for the permit, they are agreeing to abide by our ordinances,” Koontz said. The city of Chamblee was expected to approve its own comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance this month, according to City Councilmember Brian Mock. Mock, who is gay, said the city’s gay and lesbian population has “exploded” in recent years and the nondiscrimination ordinance would ensure their rights are protected. The local ordinances are representative of a shift in Georgia’s politics, he said. “We’ve changed a lot as a state and are not nearly as red as we used to be,” he said. “This is one city, one step at a time.” More than 60 cities in Georgia have their own nondiscrimination ordinances that prohibit discrimination against city employees based on sexual orientation; approximately 20 cities also ban discrimination based on gender identity. By approving the nondiscrimination ordinance that applies to privately-owned businesses, Doraville is taking a bold step, said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization. “This really should not be controversial in 2019,” Graham said. But cities other than Atlanta have been hesitant to regulate any kind of law based on sexual orientation and gender identity based on a 1995 state Supreme Court ruling, Graham said. In that ruling, the High Court ruled partly in favor of Bill McKinney, a Democratic state lawmaker who sued the city of Atlanta saying it overstepped its authority after it implemented a domestic partner registry and offered some protections to same-sex couples. Graham said he has heard from many cities citing this 1995 ruling for not approving a local ordinance such as the one Doraville approved. But others interpret the ruling to only deal with domestic partners and nothing else, Graham said. “There is really nothing that prohibits this,” he said. Mock said Chamblee’s attorney said the 1995 ruling is relevant only in that it concerns issues of discrimination but does not apply to the city’s proposed nondiscrimination ordinance. The Georgia legislature, however, does not shy away from anti-LGBTQ legislation. The General Assembly last year approved an overhaul of its adoption code for the first time in 30 years. But the law only passed after a year-long fight with Republican senators who wanted to amend the bill to allow adoption agencies deny children to LGBTQ couples based on their religious belief. Republicans over the past several years have also tried to push through a “religious freedom” bill to essentially prohibit governments from restricting a person’s exercise of their religion. Opponents of the bill say the bill would lead to businesses discriminating against LGBTQ people. Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, said anytime there is a step forward such as the Doraville nondiscrimination ordinance, there is the risk of backlash at the State Capitol. For the past several years, Democrats at the legislature have introduced a state civil rights bill backed by Georgia Equality that would mirror federal law to protect Georgians against discrimination in hotels, restaurants, theaters and other public accommodations based on race, color, religion, natural origin or sex and including sexual orientation and gender identity, Graham said. “One of the reasons why we are so concerned about the passage of any form or ‘religious freedom’ law in Georgia is that without the state having a civil rights law to balance it, a RFRA bill is an automatic open door to discrimination of groups of people, particularly LGBT people,” he said. Georgia is one of three states without such a civil rights bill, Graham added. Alabama and Mississippi are the other two states. Koontz said Doraville’s ordinance protects LGBTQ people, but it also protects a Muslim woman wearing a burqa from being refused service at a restaurant, for example. “This isn’t just an LGBTQ bill, this is a bill protecting everyone,” she said. -- Evelyn Andrews contributed.

dunwoodyga.gov DUN


Community | 5

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

GDOT to talk toll lanes in meetings; property impacts unclear BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Georgia Department of Transportation will discuss its controversial plans for adding toll lanes along the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange early next year in meetings at Sandy Springs schools and the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. Possible property-taking is a major concern, but GDOT has repeatedly refused to release any proposed right of way taking information in response to Reporter open records requests — even general estimates of the number of affected properties, which David Hudson, an attorney on the board of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, says would not be exempt from disclosure. GDOT variously cites open records law exemptions for real estate transactions, claims the information does not yet exist, or says the information does exist but is not ready for public presentation. Meanwhile, it has shown some projected property-taking details to Fulton County Schools and says a full estimate will be available at public meetings coming later this year. Meanwhile, two meetings at Fulton County schools will particularly address the district’s concerns about the possible property-taking and other impacts at local schools from the new toll lanes. The meetings are scheduled for Jan. 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Dunwoody Springs Elementary, 8100 Roberts Drive; and Jan. 16, 6:30-8 p.m., at Riverwood International Charter School, 5900 Raider Drive. The DHA will have GDOT at its board meeting on Feb. 10 from 7:30-9 p.m. at the North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, 5339 ChambleeDunwoody Road. The influential community group represents a city whose officials are increasingly expressing concerns about how the toll lanes might impact such neighborhoods as Georgetown. GDOT’s “express lanes” or “managed lanes” project would add four new toll-only lanes along I-285 and Ga. 400 in the Perimeter Center area over the next decade, with the intent of improving overall traffic flow. The Ga. 400 lanes also would carry a new MARTA bus rapid transit route.

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The early concepts for the toll lanes have already rattled some officials in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs for possible land-taking and the idea of putting the lanes on ramps towering 30 feet or higher over neighborhoods and plugging into new interchanges onto such local streets as Mount Vernon Highway. So far, GDOT has not held general public meetings about the toll lanes plans, but says that such meetings are coming in the “first quarter” of 2019 for the Ga. 400 plan and later in the year for the I-285 plan. GDOT has met off-and-on privately with “stakeholders,” such as the school system and the city of Sandy Springs, for over a year to get feedback on some details, and occasionally at local City Council meetings. GDOT also says it will meet with any local organization, such as a homeowners association, but it does not proactively notify residents who might be affected.

The new “managed lanes” for Ga. 400 run on elevated ramps in this sample concept design from the Georgia Department of Transportation. Similar lanes would be added to I-285.

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From Atlanta to Broadway A Q&A with Courtenay Collins of the hit musical ‘The Prom’ BY DOUG CARROLL

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Calling “The Prom” a “gay teen romantic farce,” as Vanity Fair did a few months ago, is like calling New York a big city — true, but demanding a fuller description. The Atlanta-born musical, which opened on Broadway to positive reviews in November, is making a lasting impression on audiences that goes beyond its peppy songs, energetic choreography, eye-popping costuming and satire of show business. It has something more to say, according to Courtenay Collins of Sandy Springs, who has a performing role in the production and is hearing nightly from those who are moved by it. “It’s a story with a heart,” says Collins, who was cast for the show’s local premiere at the Alliance Theatre in August 2016 and has moved on with it to Broadway. She is the only Atlantan to appear in either version. “It delights me that it’s being embraced in New York,” she says. “We had a hint of that in Atlanta. But people are coming to see it two, three, four times. It’s a joyous thing.” Back home, Collins is part of a wellknown Sandy Springs family. Mother Jan is a founder of many artistic and charitable programs, including the city’s mascot turtle sculptures and the new City Springs Theatre Company, which is focused on musicals. Brother Chip is a former member of the City Council and last year chaired the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce. Courtenay attended the arts program at Riverwood International Charter School — where her son, Spencer Vise, is now a student — and also studied at the University of Georgia and The Juilliard School. In “The Prom,” Collins plays Mrs. Greene, a conservative woman in a conservative Indiana town whose lesbian daughter, Alyssa, hasn’t come out. Alyssa is outed when she and her girlfriend, Emma, are denied an opportunity to participate in the high school dance. When some Broadway opportunists parachute in to take up the girls’ cause, chaos ensues and the laughs start rolling. But the tension between Alyssa and her mother is as real as can be, and that’s one of many things Collins values about “The Prom,” which has an openended run at the Longacre Theatre. Its cast recording was released just before Christmas.

Courtenay Collins

DEEN VAN MEER

We caught Collins on a recent day off to ask about “The Prom” and its place in her career.

Q:

Has the show’s reception on Broadway surprised you?

A: This business is crazy and fickle. You

can’t count on things in the arts as far as what will be a hit. But I’m not surprised. The story blew me away at the first table reading in 2016 at the Alliance. It had all the elements of something special — it was vibrant, current and exciting. Its success validates what I always thought.

Q:

You’ve had a lengthy career in theater that includes a touring production of “The Phantom of the Opera.” But “The Prom” represents your Broadway debut. Was it worth the wait?

A:

I pinch myself every day. The walk to the theater from my apartment is a dream come true. We just did nine shows in five days. People leap to their feet, they laugh, they cry. When we come out for the curtain call, you can hear the roar of the crowd. To witness 1,000 people every night reacting that way is incredible. Making my debut on this end of my career means so much more to me. I’m at an age where I really appreciate things and take nothing for granted. I’m grateful for every show, and it will never get old to me.

Q:

You have a son who is still in high school He and your husband, Michael Eckardt, are back in Atlanta. How does the family make your stint on Broadway work?

A: They’re holding down the fort. And my mom [Jan Collins] is still in Sandy Springs. Everyone was here in New York for Christmas. We’re making it work. It’s not easy, but they’ve been very supportive. On opening night, I said the only thing I wanted was for Spencer and my husband to come to the show


Art & Entertainment | 7

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net and understand why I had “abandoned” them. It was a magical night, with a lastminute snowstorm, an audience that was crazy and fabulous, and a bash afterward at the Copacabana. [Spencer] looked at me and said he was so proud of me.

seeing “Beauty and the Beast” at age 2. When the kids have it in them, their parents will call me and say, “I have a 4-year-old daughter who sings Broadway musicals all the time. What do I do?”

Q:

What will you remember most about “The Prom”? What has endeared the show to you?

A:

With this show, you get on this train and it never stops. Maybe it slows down some, but it DEEN VAN MEER never stops Courtney Collins, center right, and Isabelle McCalla share a until the end. moment during a Broadway performance of “The Prom.” When it finally does, you’ve been on this incredible ride. Q: Talk about how you have ap- It kind of takes your legs out from underneath you. It stays with you. You leave proached the role of Mrs. Greene and the theater and you’re not talking about her struggle with her daughter’s sexuwhere you’re going for dinner. You want al identity. to keep talking about it. A: People sometimes say, “How does it feel to play the bad guy?” But I don’t see Q: Any prediction on how long it will it that way. She is a mom who wants the run? best for her kid but doesn’t have the perA: May it run forever! spective of what’s coming. All families and communities have people from different ends of the spectrum. Living in Atlanta and being an actress, I took my kids to shows at an early age and we’ve discussed this all along. They have many gay “uncles” and “aunts.”

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Q:

Has the role evolved from the one you first played in Atlanta?

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A:

In Atlanta, the role was very stereotypical and it was a smaller role. At a lab in New York last winter, the writers created more scenes with her daughter. You see how much she loves her daughter and is so protective of her. There are these nuggets of compassion woven into her. I love the arc of the character. The writers didn’t want her story tied up in a neat little package. They wanted some of the tension between her and her daughter. So many parents and kids will say, “Your dialogue reminds me so much of what we’ve experienced.” Gay men and women will say that their mother said the same things. The writers were so precise in getting it right.

Q: What was your first introduction to musical theater?

A:

At age 16, I saw “A Chorus Line” at the Fox in Atlanta. I didn’t know musical theater was a thing you could do. That lit a flame in me, and from then on it was, “How do I sign up?” It’s in me. I’m also a voice coach, and the kids come in younger and younger now. They’re

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8 | Commentary

CHASTAIN-SANDY SPRINGS OFFICE

Thank You!

We would like to thank our clients, friends, and family for their great support in 2018. We look forward to an even better 2019.

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I am not a cook A friend had — as women do — made dinner for our family when we were in a time of need, and her chicken cacciatore was so darn delicious that I asked her for the recipe. She graciously complied. I started reading it enthusiastically but stopped as soon as I saw “pound the chicken breasts.” There are lines in the kitchen that I will not cross, and pounding chicken breasts is one of them. Websites and cooking shows try to entice me into crossing my culinary line by presenting dishes that use just five ingredients, but I am not fooled. To me, it’s not the amount of ingredients that matters. It’s what I have to do with them. I’ll use 20 different ingredients if all I need to do is throw them into a pot. The number is inconsequential, as long as I don’t have to clarify, pulse, knead, crimp or spatchcock any of them, I also don’t want to brush anything with egg wash. I enjoyed doing it with my grandmother when I was ten, but the appeal has worn off. Perhaps it will be fun again when I have grandchildren of my own. And that brings me to another personal premise, which is that cooking is better with a partner. I need Robin Conte lives with someone to distract myself from the fact that I’m doing her husband in an empit. ty nest in Dunwoody. To I cannot, however, cook while I’m entertaining. For contact her or to buy her me, that’s like texting while driving. In my opinion, new column collection, if you are someone who unwraps a piece of raw meat “The Best of the Nest,” from its Styrofoam packing as your guests are walking see robinconte.com. in the door, you have achieved a level of confidence in the kitchen that I can only admire and will never attain. I need to focus heavily on the dishes I prepare, and I need to make them up to three days ahead if I’m having a dinner party. I also cannot experiment with something new if I’m entertaining; I need to use a recipe I have prepared 187 times before. I have four such recipes: a hot appetizer and roast for the fall/winter seasons, and a cold feta and grilled meat for spring/summer. That means that I can only invite you to dinner at my house twice. So, I think you’re getting the point that I’m not that great in the kitchen. I believe that there is a talent to cooking, and in that department, I have no talent. I do however have a talent for finding friends who excel at it. How good are they, you ask? When I take a bite of something that they have prepared, I have to put down my fork and compose myself. My food does not elicit that kind of response. Well it might, but for very different reasons. A good cook can sense his or her way around the kitchen, intuiting when to flip the steak and when to stop seasoning the sauce, in much the same way that a lost dog can find his way home. A true cook knows when the cake is done … just by listening to it. A true cook enjoys cooking. I am not a true cook, and the signs of that abound. I have no working food processor or juicer, no mandoline, no cream of tartar. I use a handheld mixer. My knives are dull. I have never, nor will I ever, brine poultry. And I will not pound a chicken breast. I do, however, love reading recipes and imagining how wonderful it would be if someone made them for me. If you’re interested, I’ll have a hot appetizer and a roast waiting for you.

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Read Robin Conte’s debut book ‘The Best of the Nest’ “The Best of the Nest” offers 49 of Reporter Newspapers columnist Robin Conte’s witty essays on suburban family life, organized by seasons. They include some of the pieces that won Robin the first-place Lifestyle/Features Column award in 2017 and 2018 and first-place for Humorous column in 2018 from the Georgia Press Association.

Order the book at bestofthenest.net Follow Robin’s book-related appearances at robinconte.com.


Community | 9

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Food for Thought: ‘Low and slow’ is the key for Chef Scott Serpas BY DYANA BAGBY

rants. The love of food and cooking, however, is a family tradition.

the kids and televisions inside for parents to catch the game.

Renowned Q: Who taught chef Scott Serpas you to cook? burst on the AtA: Well, growlanta restaurant ing up as one of scene more than five kids and I’m a decade ago, the youngest, we working as execdidn’t go out very utive chef at TWO much. Not sure if Urban Licks bewe couldn’t afford fore venturing it or if we didn’t out on his own behave very well! in 2009 with the (Just kidding!) renowned SerMy mom did all pas True Food in the cooking, red the historic Old beans on Monday, Fourth Ward. seafood on FriJust over one day and big famiyear ago, the ly dinners on Sunaward-winning day. We would chef opened Diwatch football xie Q in his own too — go Saints! Brookhaven My dad was in neighborhood charge of sliced SPECIAL where he’s lived meat po-boys on Chef Scott Serpas of Brookhaven opened Dixie for a decade. It’s Saturdays. We did Q just over a year ago on Caldwell Road, near just off bustling crawfish and crab the bustling food scene along Dresden Drive. Dresden Drive, boils too, which I where other notado as well over at ble restaurants make their homes, such Serpas True Food, my first restaurant in as Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub, Verde TaOld Fourth Ward. queria and Haven Restaurant and Bar. Q: Do you remember the first meal you Dixie Q opened in the former Slice of cooked? Brookhaven site on Caldwell Road, next A: Wow, yes. Peanut butter and jelly, door to a planned mixed-use developwhich I still love! Soft white bread, stickment to be called Dresden Village. The to-the-roof-of-your-mouth peanut butter development is set to include a restauand clumpy grape jelly. Simple is good.

Q: What do you love about being a chef?

dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A: Cooking. I’d rather cook than do anything else at my restaurants. Menu development, writing recipes, sourcing local food — these are the things that I truly look forward to each day.

Q: What is your opinion of the food

scene in metro Atlanta? A: I feel we are seeing restaurants move more and more north — more independent, smaller restaurants rather than chains … the culinary scene here is at its peak.

Q: What’s your go-to comfort food? A: Hands down, gumbo. Also, red beans, meatballs and lasagna.

Q: What other chefs in metro Atlanta or

Q: What’s the best way to cook barbecue

ribs? A: As the old saying goes, low and slow. There was a lot of trial and error when we were developing Dixie Q, and now that we have our feet under us, we are going strong yet still learning every day since we are new.

Q: What makes the best barbecue meal,

including sides and beverage? A: I’ve noticed that the older I have become, the more I’ve found myself more interested in how people cooked in the past ... wood-fire cooking. It’s all about the balance of smoke, seasonings, sweetness, acidity. Comfort sides, as I call them — my [menu item] Meme’s Potato Salad, collard greens ... a good, old-fashioned family Sunday supper. Complete with sweet tea, of course!

the South do you admire? A: We have so many new, young chefs in town. Even my own chef de cuisine at Serpas True Food, Manual Lara, keeps us inspired, creative and positive with his ongoing energy. Pop-ups, special, intimate dinner events, cookbooks, and a tremendous amount of culinary events keep this industry interesting day-to-day for guests.

CHEF SCOTT SERPAS’ RESTAURANTS Dixie Q 2524 Caldwell Road NE, Brookhaven, 30319 dixie-q.com Serpas True Food 659 Auburn Ave NE, #501, Atlanta, 30312 serpasrestaurant.com

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rants in Brookhaven? A: It is a close-knit, family community. The Dresden area, being walkable, is great to enjoy with my family. We wanted to fill a void in the community with a strong, family-friendly barbecue joint that is casual with great food and an appealing menu, choice-wise and pricewise. We have a swing on our porch for

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Serpas is a New Orleans native who learned his love of the restaurant industry as a busboy at New Orleans restau-

Q: Why did you decide to open restau-

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Ribs are a specialty at Dixie Q in Brookhaven.

rant called Dixie Moon, where Serpas would also be the chef. While Serpas declines to talk about Dixie Moon ahead of the project, a representative of the developer said he is still on board, and more announcements are expected this year.

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10 | Community

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Grocery store, hotel part of major project proposed in Perimeter Center Continued from page 1 of Ashford-Dunwoody and Meadow Lane roads where P.F. Chang’s is located to include an anchor grocery store. Branch is also proposing a gas station and convenience store, a bank and five retail buildings that could include restaurants and cafes. Brio Tuscan Grille restaurant was at the site before it closed in 2017 after about 15 years in business. A year ago, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks restaurant, also open for about 15 years on the property, closed its doors. “This is a very large site that was never designed for three restaurants,” Economic Development Director Michael Starling said. “It was a holding place. And then when you have two restaurants close, it led [Branch] to look at redevelopment options.” Branch is proposing to build a 25,440square-foot anchor grocery store on the site. Besides the grocery store, the site plan includes a 2,800-square-foot bank building; a 5,411-square-foot convenience store and gas station with a total of eight gas pumps; and five new retail buildings ranging in size from 8,400 square feet to 6,000 square feet. For comparison, the P.F. Chang’s building is 7,666 square feet, according to DeKalb County property tax records. The proposed redevelopment needs several setback variances to build close to the road and will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Feb. 7. The property does not need to be rezoned and will not go before the City Council. At Jan. 6 Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting, attorney Laurel David, representing Branch Properties, would only say the grocery store will be a “new prototype grocery store.” “We can’t wait to tell you what it is,” she said. Starling said the proposed redevelopment is a “hybrid” of urban and suburban design that tries to eliminate

locating an expansive parking lot in the front of shopping centers. “Ashford-Dunwoody is one of our main streets ... and this is bringing a more walkable, quality, sense of place project,” Starling said. “It’s not completely urban, but I think it is what you will see a lot more of ... this is a hybrid and part of the evolution of what we are seeing in Perimeter Center and not just a big parking lot.”

Concerns over loss of pond, green space

Four of the new retail buildings would be built close to Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Meadow Lane Road. A new CITY OF DUNWOODY Site plans submitted to the city of Dunwoody show where a new anchor grocery store is parking lot is proposed proposed to be built in Perimeter Center. Other retail buildings are shown built up to Ashfordto be built behind these Dunwoody and Meadow Lane roads where sidewalks and bike lanes are proposed. new buildings, where the pond is now. Filling in the pond would surface to preserve green space. The retail buildings will not front be the first order of business if the de“You are going to pave it all over to Ashford-Dunwoody or Meadow Lane velopment gets the go-ahead. put in a huge parking lot ... and that is roads, however, but plans are to inThe pond is also used as water denot something I’m looking forward to,” clude outdoor seating along Ashfordtention for the site. The pond is not a Wittenstein said. Dunwoody Road and side entrances natural pond and was built years ago Other DHA members agreed, some to attract pedestrians, David said. On by DeKalb County as a water detensaying the current area provides one Meadow Lane Road, a new sidewalk is tion site, according to a Branch official of few green space areas in Perimeter proposed to replace the existing sideat the DHA meeting. He said the pond Center for the thousands of people livwalk and a new bicycle lane with a was dirty and a new underground deing and working there. Some also not2-foot-wide striped buffer from motor tention pond for the proposed redeveled the pond was popular with the Canvehicle lanes. opment would better handle stormwaada geese. An approximate 1-acre spot on the ter runoff. Attorney David said constructing a site plan is reserved for a potential hoRobert Wittenstein said the loss of parking deck was not financially feasitel. No timeline was given when a hotel green space with the proposed redevelble. She also noted Branch is investing could be built at the site. Branch Propopment is inexcusable. $5 million in pedestrian and bicycle inerties last year proposed to construct “If I was on the ZBA, I’d tell you hell frastructure along Ashford-Dunwoody a 12-story hotel at 84 Perimeter Center no,” he told the Branch representatives Road and a private road with public East, where a vacant bank building now at the DHA meeting. “The loss of green access connecting Ashford-Dunwoody sits, but those plans did not pan out. space is a huge deal.” Road to Ashwood Parkway to include a He and other DHA members suggestbike path and sidewalks. ed building a parking deck instead of a

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Community | 11

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Perimeter Mall parking lot project would include Lazy Dog restaurant

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

California-based Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar could soon be coming to Dunwoody as part of a proposed commercial development that includes two commercial buildings on a small section of Perimeter Mall’s parking lot. The restaurant, which recently announced it was opening a new spot in Peachtree Corners, has already signed onto the proposed project by Brookfield Property REIT Inc. at the corner of Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Center West, according to city officials. The development would be on what is now slightly less than 3 acres of parking lot. A second tenant has not been announced. “This is part of our evolution from a big parking lot to a more walkable place,” said city of Dunwoody Economic Development Director Michael Starling of the proposed project. Brookfield Property Partners purchased General Growth Properties, which owned Perimeter Mall, last year. The tenants would be leasing the space from Brookfield Property, Starling said. This section of the mall parking lot is rarely used, he added, and development on the corner has been considered for the past several years. Years ago, General Growth Properties sold areas of its parking lot where the Seasons 52 restaurant and Capital Grille restaurant are now located on Perimeter Center West, he said. “Malls are looking at how to maximize their footprint ... and make some money off parking lots that sit mostly empty,” Starling said. Brookfield Property was seeking a zoning variance to eliminate the 50-foot setback requirement from both roads and instead allow for a 0- to 10-foot setback, according to documents on file with the city. Doing so allows the buildings to be constructed near the street as part of the Perimeter Center zoning approved in 2017. Variances do not have to be approved by the City Council. DUN

Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar includes a separate pooch-friendly menu and dogfriendly patio. Besides California, restaurants are located in Texas, Colorado and Nevada. Representatives from Brookfield Properties could not be reached for comment. The mall last year sold nearly 4 acres of an unused portion of its parking lot near the Dunwoody MARTA station where the 16-story Twelve24 office building is now going up and a 9-story Hyatt Place hotel is also planned.

GOOGLE EARTH

Left, the Perimeter Mall parking lot area at the corner of Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Center West as seen in this Google Earth image is where a developer is proposing to build a Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar and another commercial development.

CITY OF DUNWOODY

Above, Brookfield Property Partners is proposing to build two commercial buildings in a mostly unused section of the Perimeter Mall parking lot.

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12 | Community

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State rules on wireless antennas would strip local control, say city officials

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The General Assembly is expected to take up a bill this session that would reduce local regulations on placing smallscale wireless antennas, commonly called “small cells,” on existing or new poles in the public right of way. Supporters of such a bill say it would ensure high-speed internet access to rural Georgia. Such a statewide bill is supported by the small-cell industry, but some local officials say such legislation would strip cities of local control and clutter the cities’ right of way with ugly poles and boxes, while financially benefitting the wireless industry giants. “We don’t need Georgia to come in and offer a corporate giveaway to the small-cell industry at the expense of Brookhaven and of quality of life and safety of our citizens,” Brookhaven City Attorney Chris Balch said. Brookhaven’s City Council in December approved its own small-cell legislation written by Balch with input from representatives from the small cell industry. The ordinance puts restrictions on the size of small-cell “nodes” to be attached to poles as well as charges significant fees for access to the city’s right of way. Kimberly Adams is the Government Relations Manager for the South Area for Crown Castle. Crown Castle is the country’s largest provider of wireless technology that owns many of the cell towers and fiber infrastructure used by companies like AT&T and Verizon. She worked with Brookhaven on its ordinance and said both parties made compromises. But a state bill would eliminate having to meet different regulations in different cities and simplify the process to get-

ting high-speed internet access across the state, she said. “Our goal is to help ensure residents and businesses stay connected, and to that end we support state frameworks that create a predictable process with reasonable fees to streamline small cell deployments,” she said in a written statement. Sandy Springs was set to discuss smallcell technology recently but withdrew the item from the City Council agenda. Spokesperson Sharon Kraun said the city is working with the Georgia Municipal Association on the topic. Mayor Rusty Paul denounced last year’s bill as being part of an “assault on local government.” But the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), said his legislation would actually give more control to cities than they currently have. Gooch prefiled another broadband internet bill in December, but could not be reached for comment for this story. The GMA is working with cities like Sandy Springs, county governments and the telecom industry to draft a bill regulating small-cell technology. The main priority is to encourage the installation of small cell technology on existing infrastructure rather than putting up new poles for the new technology, said GMA spokesperson Kelli Bennett. “This process is more cost-effective for the providers and is the least invasive in the public right of way,” she said in a written statement. The GMA is also advocating the legislation provide protections to residential neighborhoods and historic districts and also that different fees need to be charged based on a local government’s size and population, she said. The Dunwoody City Council approved DUN


Community | 13

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net in 2015 a small-cell ordinance limiting the height and size of nodes and is watching closely what happens on the issue at the Capitol as part of its 2019 legislative priorities. The Atlanta City Council is considering legislation on its small cell fee structure to note they are subject to the Federal Communications Commission rulings. Gooch’s bill last year was pitched as rapidly expanding broadband internet access — and all of the business opportunity that comes with it — to underserved areas of rural Georgia. But there are no customers in rural Georgia, Balch said, and he said such a bill is purely a power grab by the massive wireless industry to “get something for nothing.” “If there was a significant market to deploy in those [rural] areas, they would already be there,” Balch said. Adams acknowledged small cells are currently predominantly located in cities

with dense populations because small cells require fiber. Brookhaven’s ordinance determined the fair market value for use of city right of way is $1,000 for each wireless antenna, or small cell node. Other fees in the Brookhaven ordinance range from a $500 application fee to a $300 fee to install a new pole or replace a pole. Last year’s state legislation only allowed cities to charge $20 for a new pole per year. Brookhaven’s decision to move forward with its own ordinance was in part to send a message to the General Assembly that local municipalities can work with the wireless industry to reach a compromise bill that fits the needs of the community, Balch said. “We worked very hard to come up with something both sides can live with and believe it something that can be replicated across the state,” Balch said.

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14 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers 

Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis

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Publisher’s Note / Keeping it hyperlocal, and a change for the Reporter This month marks the start of our al excellence in the past two years. 13th publishing year. While that alone The second section of this issue offers a good example of is not cause for a special celebration, what we do every day. Our semi-annual special feature on edwe’re gratified that the Reporter Newsucation, “20 Under 20,” focuses on students who are making papers family has grown in size and a difference in their communities. The selected students were scope at a time of dramatic, and often culled from submissions by readers and school leaders, then inturbulent, change in the print media interviewed by our writers and editors. It’s one of our best-read dustry. sections each year. Today, our six hyperlocal publicaA local focus also attracts the hundreds of advertisers who tions serve many of the metro area’s use one or more of our papers to promote their products and most diverse and dynamic communiservices cost-effectively to customers and prospects within a Steve Levene ties. The four Reporter editions covfew miles of where their businesses are located. We appreciate Founder and Publisher er Buckhead, Brookhaven, Dunwoody this large base of advertisers who have made our publications and Sandy Springs; Atlanta INtown an integral part of their marketing efforts, and we encourage connects the city’s bustling intown neighborhoods (and is celyou to patronize them, which also helps to build economic staebrating its 25th publishing anniversary this year); Atlanta Sebility in each community. nior Life reaches the burgeoning local population of active oldWe’re always looking for ways to create more readable er adults. and relevant publications, including the changes introduced Our mission from the start has been to provide our 100,000this month. If you like the look and content of your Reporter plus readers with fresh and engaging information about their or have an idea for improving it, please respective communities. Over the past dozen years, let me know at stevelevene@reportHello, Sandy Springs! we’ve made a number of changes to our publicaernewspapers.net. We value your input tions to ensure that they remain relevant in a digiand use it to remain focused. clear-cut fix Tree ordinance: No tally-driven, information-drenched universe. Our initial mission is still intact, fuAs we begin 2019 with this issue of the Reporter, eled by the enthusiasm of a talHello, Buckhead! we’re making another change: The printed edition of ented and experienced staff. Reporter Newspapers will now be published monthAs a new year begins, let me Add your vision to Chastain Pa Conservancy’s survey seeks rk input into long ly and will arrive by mail direct to homes; copies will say thank you to our readers -range planning still be available for pick-up at hundreds of local busiand advertisers for helping our p Chastain Park grou t nesses and other public places. We think these changbusiness to grow and serve your inpu lic pub ing seek es will better serve both our readers and advertisers. community. Atlanta Internat School surviveional Tree Hugger In the past year, our editorial team has been foNPU-B zoning s battle cused on turning the ReporterNewspapers.net web. nks Ba gs rin Sp Reporter Newspapers started in Where Sandy site into a daily news source for Buckhead, BrookhavJanuary 2007 with Sandy Springs and Buckhead editions, left, and en, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. Their digital efforts Tree Hugger has expanded into Brookhaven have been noticed, as the number of new online visiand Dunwoody. Atlanta INtown was acquired in 2013 and Atlanta tors has surged more than 30 percent last year. (Be sure Where Buck head Banks. Senior Life was launched in 2016. to sign up at the website to receive our daily and weekly emails with news about your community.) The monthly print edition will aim to help readers understand the big picture of the daily online stories. Brookhaven Whether our products are delivered Reporter Buckhead in print or on a digital platform, our loReporter Exhibit highlights ‘We rose to the occasion ‘Lynwood Atlanta in cal roots and focus are at the core of ev’ Integrators’ 50 objects s Day King Threeg a Latin honored for tradition ratin courage during Celeb erything we do. Some of our best stories desegregation over the years have come from local people and places: Friends talking at the SatAtlanta urday farmers market, a homeowner’s Sandy Springs dy group addressing a city council meeting, Reporter om’ law Dunwoo Survey: ious Freed Nationwide Survey: No to ‘Relig ReporterNo to ‘Religious Freedom’ law Stud Older adults find orts y supp search a school PTA fundraiser, a neighborhood planned creativity in clay An act of courag Presidential Retre on vaticity for new reno ats ay w Fire chief wants You Can Visit ka e ea man br of Broo agerk Run a on to refo rmshydr e’ Sh ter ant business owner. Usually, the local matters Thea inspections A Close-Knit we cover don’t make the headlines of the Group daily newspaper or fit the sound bites of radio and television news. Nor do they pop up in a Google search. Yet, they are Survey: No to ‘Rel s ’ law the cornerstone of our mission. We’re igious Freedom igious Freedom Opinions on park ’ law Survey: No to ‘Rel vary, as some feel they’ve been this also proud that our industry peers at the way before Georgia Press Association have validated our mission and efforts by honoring our The Atlanta Knitting Guild shares its love of craft and commun ity publications with 24 awards for editoriSandy Springs Plaza gets a face lift. –Page 14

Welcome to a at new way to look your community 6 –Page

Vol. 1, No. 1

Jan. 26 – Feb. 8, 2007

Fire inspections

First month of Sandy Springs fire inspections challenges. to be go- uncover –Page 2 the collusion that seems homall are opposed to or- on is that they developers and single-family trees the provisions of the city between some “clear cutting” the Two major issues are percent tree canopy on ing on in the law so that By John F. Schaffner s.net and is resulting in the homeowners a 50 tions eowners that dinance that require loophole in the presenthigher price. Crime stats editor@reporternewspaper a properties under a city of residential properties and four recommenda blotter to a developer at made for from their ordinance for the and Advisory Committee then sell their propertymade by the Advisory Commit- police chief talks about The proposed tree a lot of discussion residents they can the Tree Ordinance Police tions many created has that included: recommenda ordinance city’s staff, Sandy Springs The four City ordinance by the between many concerned inclusion into the first six months. to see included but –Page 3 left out of the tree which would inan apparent breach but also among mem- in the community want 9 discussion. tee but event “historic tree” designation, a historic citizens and City Council,The question is which Council flatly rejected at its January •Create significant and with a well. members, city staff votes any tree associated group with historic significance; bers of council as The one issue council loudest when council be in concert clude or for large voices will be heard its February 6 meeting. most of the general public seem to section or life of a person tree designation See the center at gets on the ordinance •Allow for “landmark”immediate vicinity of structure; The Reporter calendar canin the in Sandy 20 percent of the tree pine trees not and you Out & About owners removing over • Require residential a tree removal permit; Board Springs and beyond. removal plan and obtain Conservatio n opy to submit a tree Tree a of and ordinance •Establishm ent new the under appeals City Council. hear to capacity to the during a straw serve in an advisory tions were voted down All four of the recommenda members voting against the “historic all council ber Karen Meinzen vote by council with District 6 Councilmem recommendations. only and three tree” designation for each of the other Mayor Eva Galambos set McEnery voting Jan. 9 work session, introductory statement. During the council discussion with an “I think the tone for the ensuingtable loves trees,” the mayor said. Ride the Peach we absolutely de“Everybody at this on the council that with meanyou have total unanimitymay be going on between a few, the Reporter and that –Page 3 plore any collusion who think they can sell their land faster is in , Street talk while the city spirited homeowners to cut down the trees” Do you feel safer now? collude with developers and trying to pass the new tree ordinance. –Page 6 law present the that,” the mayor statbetween to do something about the “So, I think we ought of the homeowners are reluctant to cut By John F. Schaffner Bullish on real percent The cure for that .1 estate hazard. ed. “Probably 99.9 a editor@reporternewsp have they Harry Norman unless apers.net To require homeowneight-month study trees on their own lawn ish on residential CEO bullworse than the problem. yard, after getting a leading The Chastain Park real estate up tonot should thebe the new master percent Atlanta History Center developm their own in locally. trees Conservancy (CPC) ent down of plan. Survey cut hosts has to collusion.” process of forging been is thee results will be collected The real responsibl is in the until February ers to get a permit Expanded facility problem for number of park ’ exhibits on Ben be overkill. nership with “One of 14. The an the awonChastain Park—thea new master plan for 238-acre master arborist, hopes may –Page 2 the city of plan by CPC ‘blockbusterimprovements in to have a final the meeting, plan completed back. and the park’s partJr. growAtlanta the help of residents city’s largest park—and wants As it grow. told those attending late summer movesTrees Thebymayor Franklin and MLK toward trees The of this is that developin 7 year. partners. south back.” g a new master operating–Page is a things the the CPCforget, priorities and the and users of the park in setting formed CPC derful about organizati non-profit like grow we wouldthey plan for the Buckhead Village to know from residents long-term vision by Chastain neighbors on But we cringe. visit Chastain To that end, the for the park. hance, of the two cities park, Tree Ordinance Park, whatAdvisory When they go down, to restore, en-tions of the Is new developm they like y about if they recommenda what doesn’t and put on its websiteConservancy has distributed Since maintain and ent just a responsibilit preserve the the park, andhas Addressing Chastain Park. what the council 2003, it has signed would out thatThose a survey to obtain said the park better. what works and around the corner? shemake mayor pointed put as part of the upthe interested For instance, over Committee, 1,000 information gathering public in- bers—almost evenly in mempassing when ingordinances. to the Conservan participating in the survey can split between the budget –Page 2 aspect of the Atlanta business to consider residents of cy’s website: www.chas care ofdo and residents so by Taking Chastain Park of Sandy Springs— tainparkconservancy. Directorgo5 and ues—som contains SSBA Executive TREES, Page org. on e of which are a great diversity Gathers finger a of facilities has independeDonna horse park, historic ntly operated— and venincluding a See the the pulse of local business. center, ball fields, golf course, pool center section –Page 10 gymnasium, walkingand tennis facilities, The Reporter calendar arts one of Atlanta’s trails, most popular and long standingpicnic areas and gets you Out & About The Conservan tain and preserve cy was formed in 2003 to restore, concert venues. Buckhead and beyond. in Chastain Park, enhance, mainthe park’s stakeholde and to serve as a forum for all rs. Since then, By John F. Schaffner s.net many projects of the Conservancy aimed atinmaking has completed the process editor@reporternewspaper the park safer, In cooperatio (CPC)n iswith Conservancy know youand all Park—the greener. the park stakeholde Didcleaner stalled Chastain The Chastain Park severe weather fora 238-acre plan rs, usthe master and detection CPC inFacts & Figures and warning system of forging a new the help of residents the park. wants Springs at key CHAST locavision for About Sandy AIN, Page city’s largest park—and and the long-term 10its web site put on ers in setting priorities has distributed and asTo that end, the Conservancy information gathering input as part of the the new Christopher North Number of households a survey to obtain publicstudy leading up to the development of CPC pect of the eight-month will be collected until February 14. The year. results by late summer of this master plan. Survey master plan completed size by Chastain neighhopes to have a final Average household Park tree organization formed , prunes a Chastain Chastain Park. Since The CPC is a non-profit Street talk of Odd Job Tree Specialists the trees and bors to restore, enhance, maintain and preserve Springs Guidebook employee maintain an Sandy to –Source: Can infrastruct Jesus Libogio, and equipment ure handle By John F. Schaffner Odd Job donates time new growth? way to give back for 10 on a mild January day. Thomas said it is his editor@reporternewsp CHASTAIN, page Company owner Eddie apers.net l area. –Page 6 walkways in the park. from the recreationa The Atlanta Internatio his family has received nal School, Buckhead leaders years of enjoyment and residents, won a beloved institution of most Buckhe Civic Associatio a struggle with ad profile n the Garden Hills BBA’s Sharon Silva victory came only over three zoning matters this past month, but after some heated the the long road home. takes board of Neighborh exchanges among ood Planning members of the The school had acquired Unit-B at its first meeting page –Page 11 backseeking Seewas of 2007. some additional to expand its operations. Those property and the school to obtain two separate plans required of nine pieces variances of property along and 2 to RG-3, Peachtree Avenue a rezoning both residential from RGgeneral sector One Zoning variance, zoning categories Piedmont Hospita which applied es of property . l to the same nine was Outpatient unit piecPeachtree Avenue, to allow for parking in Howell Mill Road. going on the the construction where it is otherwise prohibited front yard on of , The second zoning a new school building and to allow for –Page 14 parking deck. variance was to of a structure from increase the isting school and 35 feet to 41 feet to allow for an maximum height a special exception addition the off-street parking from zoning regulation to the exs to reduce All three of the requirement from 379 spaces requests had been to 150 ing committee approved by NPU-B’sspaces. 8-0-0 with 14 zoncondition by both the school and the Garden s that had been agreed to Did you know However, the Hills neighborh sticking point ood group. Christopher North was that the Facts & Figures ciation wanted Jesus Libogio, an neighborhood an About Buckhead assowhich would have additional covenant placed employee of Odd on the school, Job Tree Specialis on a mild January the next 17 years. required that the land be ts, prunes a Chastain day. Odd Job donates used as a school The school had for walkways in the Park tree As part of the time and equipme not agreed to park. Company nt to maintain the Number of househol mittee had told Nov. 28 approval vote, however, that covenant. owner Eddie Thomas years of enjoyme trees and the two parties ds the zoning comsaid it is his way nt his family has an agreement on to the covenant as go back and work on obtaining to give back for three received from the part of zoning matters. recreational area. By the Jan. 2 NPU the NPU’s approval of the Average househol board meeting, d size the two parNPU-B, page

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fire department,” Sanders said. “That way, I know all hydrants have been touched and have been inspected.” That will mean “more accuracy , more accountability,” Sanders said, adding it will also give firefighters hands-on edge of where knowlthe city’s hydrants case they need Page 18 are in to find them in an emergency. But those inspectio ns are where the department’s fire direct control of the crucial safety devices ends. The 2,910 hydrants on city streets are actually owned city of Atlanta’s by the Department of Watershed Management, which can take months to make repairs.

OUT & ABOUT Puppetry Arts Center expands under Atlanta’s er own puppet mast

Sanders called that situation a “challenge,” though he added he is not aware of any recent fire where firefighters had trouble finding a working hydrant on a public Continued on page 14

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crowd Familiar sights at the Atlanthe new exhibit Georgia ta History Center. Wreck holds BY DYANA BAGBY Tech’s Ramblin’ eady dyanabagby@repor center stage. A billboard-r one ternewspapers.net in Chick-fil-A cow protests Eugenia Calloway away, a Varflipped through corner. A few feet pages of the 1968 the hangs from a Cross Keys High sity car-hop’s tray yearbook, glancing School Valiant. over the photogra door of a ’63 Plymouth of many white phs the items faces. But in It’s no surprise that the back of the show yearbook she museum found first the in this particular boys’ basketball team all part of and then the seem familiar. They’re girls’ basketba team. repto ll chosen Atlanta. Each was “That’s me,” feature of she said, pointing resent some important smiling girl at say. to the curators the far right the city, the exhibit’s in the girls’ varsity team in 50 Obphoto.apers.n etblack JAN. 22 - FEB. One other The exhibit, “Atlanta was on the 4, 2016 • VOL. rnewsp girl Jan. 16 and is reporte far left; all the 10 — NO. 2 jects,” which opened players and the TER_NEWS coaches in between July 10, is FACEBOOK.COM/THER TWITTER.COM/REPOR were white. to be on display through EWSPAPERS EPORTERNEWSPAPER way, “That’s EPORTERN own its when I had the show, in S to TWITTER.C FACEBOOK.COM/THER intended most fun, when OM/REPORTER_NEWS I was playing Atlanta. 2 basketball,” she reporte what makes Atlanta VOL. 7— NO. said. Calloway was thing is the FEB. 4, 2016 • rnewspapers.net one of 17 students “I think my favorite JAN. 22 -Jamie integrated Cross who t,” guest curator who Chatman, one of the “Lynwood ments are Keys High School King manuscrip integrated Cross Integrators,” ly 50 years ago, benear►Mixed-use develop not for attends a Rev. Keys High School ►Mixed said on the day part of that Martin Luther -useWilson nearly 50 years develop Amy first group King Jr. Day dinner trend, but they’re of black students ments she and by graduates of Lynwood High School, ago. The Jan. PHIL MOSIER a hotand celebration honoring opened, asare 18 program, a hot trend, Cross Keys High to attend an PHIL MOSIER fore the all-white butshow School and Chamblee held at Lynwood Park school in DeKalb they’re not for directhe 17 Recreation e Kings Day or County and now Charter High everyon Center, featured studentss everyoneHistory Center exhibitions during the Three School. See additiona as the “Lynwood known comments busines for a performance draw made last-minute l photos Integrators.” Group, prepares photos on page 15.► on page 13.► tor Dan Rooney eter hotels 10. See additional Danza Aztec Dance the Jan. ►Perim of pointon ►Perim She page Center member a 14, exhibit. History eter to thedraw service, Ana Avilez, 12 hotels tweaks Continued festival at the Atlanta businesseries | P17 on page 12 “Dia de Los Reyes” with MARTA access, with MARTA a case holding a s R: TARTAN TROT ed toward access, CALENDA yela service, from ons Reporter pages attracti Newspapers is attractions of handwritten working with Rev. Atlanta-based a new mobile pad on which the 1Q, to survey market research research firm, Pages 4-9low legal residents of ourP4-9 Jr. had writtopics of state firm, a new mobile market communities and local interest. Martin Luther King s is working with CALENDAR: TARTAN periodically about es periodically about In our first poll, Religious Freedom speech for his Reporter Newspaper of our communiti TROT | P17 we ask about ten the acceptance Restoration Act to survey residents ask about the proposed the proposed ture. Nearly two-third “It’s the original Atlanta-based 1Q, being considere our first poll, we 1964 Nobel Prize. d in the state local interest. In s of 200 responde in the state Legislareactions to the Legislatopics of state and nts said the bill being considered are two law. Read more manuscript.” Restoration Act should be rejected. be rejected. Here started about the poll Religious Freedom s said the bill should Here are two 11. ► and local commen Wilson and RooneyPage 18 of 200 respondent comments on page ts on page 11. in Novemture. Nearly two-thirds the poll and local ► work on the project Read more about beidea reactions to the law. ber 2014. The original – gathering BY DYANA BAGBY hind the exhibit imporI’m dyanabagby@reporte so sick of Georgi objects that represent histornewspapers.net events in looking like backw a Even having a l tant themes or BAGBY propos City in a few othEven having a proposalaw DYANA cials are BY offi BY JOHN RUCH preparing to pers.net ry – had been used foons. This is just ard bufof a religious freedom al look for by@reporternewspa a newdyanabag shows city manager I’m so sick of Georgiad bufjohnruch@reportern of a religious freedom law to replace Marie er high-profile museum legaliz ewspapers.net seems rett, who held Smiththe Gar-would backwar ed in “The to Theater as like discrim step be a step theng looking jobBrook and books, such sinceRun seems to be a Brookhaven’s inceptionRenovati and fit plain and simple ination, right direction... in the of America inA hole in the sidewalk . ately $7.5 million sonian’s History foons. This is just direction... to start . to If near a Dunkin’ that start comright cost approxim Donuts A national 14 page at 6060 Roswell isn’t enough, it’s search citya new of Dunwoody’s having more consid Continued Road marks where into thefor city ager was easily legalized discrimination, bad for a fire hydrant a new feasihaving more consider erg to manexpected to begin was knocked that e plan, accordin ation for religio as soon as state down by a the period. tails prehensiv econom hicle de-Consercenter’s of vea nearly religion, separatio plain and simple. If for History Brook Run ically. n, period. a year ago and The the The Atlanta ation for between studynfrom remains missin 50 ing. And city and Garrett bility could be reached. exhibition, “Atlanta for the last four A 44-YEAR-OLD A 34-YEAR-OLD isn’t enough, it’s bad unique, Council mem- that we months of 2015, WOMAN WOMAN bers metvancy. if Objects,” showcases fi refi 34-YEAR-OLD WOMAN know A behind ghters cally. you WHO LIVES WHO LIVES had needed water closed doors to let katana from IN BROOKH IN SANDY SPRING with Garrett y has a SANDY SPRINGS the state economi “I am pleased local items like this and a mediatio to battle a blaze there, they AVEN WHO LIVES IN TV show. S n attorney that Dunwood would have found “The Walking Dead” is sigto work out areannow certainon Jan. 20that to hydrant across try there a WOMAN fi re LD agreemen the street gone A 44-YEAR-O facility and as well. ity for need for this t. Mayor John BROOKHAVEN Such long repair Ernst and members in the commun WHO LIVES IN times and uncertain nificant support of City inspections for ncy President the city’s 4,000 states Conserva public and that need,” private fire hydrants Countinued on letter14to the couna Jan. 15page are an ongoing Danny Ross in cern for Sandy conSprings fire offi at cials. Fire cil. Rescue Chief t a new theater Keith Sanders is now gearThe cost to construc ing up a tighter, $24.5 milcost would size more accounta ble inspecabout the same tion system. Step one: bringing y study states. PHIL MOSIER lion, the feasibilit hydrant inspections in-house feasibility PHOTOS BY ncy sent its instead of using Cutno breaks The conserva recently vate contracto priplayer Anjanice a varsity rs, as the Council members court during High School basketball study to City has done since city come up at the At left, Dunwoody as she heads down her home Wolverines on Jan. 15. its is expected to pack and the issue founding. High School Lady away from the the Miller Grove 25 meeting. game against council’s Jan. is support talks “The Nash there that Angela 2016 Tillie O’Neal-Ky Coach les, founder of While Ross argues he may inspections Above, Lady Wildcats with her players. Every Woman named the city’s g Brook Run Theater, Works, a nonprofi 2016 Humanita over strategy for renovatin council. will be done rian of the Year, t that battle from the at the 10th annual helps achieve financial top, 62-37, and independence, still face an uphill Rev. Martin Luther s came out on by the San22 are 8-9 PHIL MOSIER King Jr. Day celebratiopersonal growth and family The Lady Wolverinerecord. The Lady Wildcats Continued on page 12- 8 leadership 15.► dy Springs

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page 8

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firm, market research with a new mobile periodically about ers is working communities Reporter Newspap the proposed residents of our we ask about 1Q, to survey LegislaAtlanta-based In our first poll, d in the state and local interest. are two being considere topics of state be rejected. Here Restoration Act the bill should page 11. ► Religious Freedom s of 200 respondents said comments on the poll and local ture. Nearly two-third about more law. Read reactions to the

a I’m so sick of Georgiard buflooking like backw foons. This is just ination, legalized discrim . If that plain and simplebad for isn’t enough, it’s ically. the state econom WOMAN A 44-YEAR-OLD AVEN IN BROOKH WHO LIVES

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the city’s sound off on to The chance to 120 people more than parks drew on Jan. 12. library branch Dunwoody’s room, standinto a meeting They packed ideas on a to voice their ing room only, parks plan. city’s five-year rewrite of the n a bit familthe discussio Some found

iar. to all these ago, we went “A few years 12 Continued on page

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Dunwoody Nature Center hires new executive director BY DYANA BAGBY

Mothner said he let the board know in September he would be stepping down and said he would stay until March 1 so they could work together to find the best candidate. He said he does not have The Dunwoody Nature Center has a new executive director. Mianother job lined up yet, but is looking at some opportunities. chael Cowan, who worked for AT&T for 10 years and has chaired the “I don’t know where I’m going … but it was time to move on,” he city’s Sustainability Committee for two years, took over the helm said. “Michael is an excellent candidate and he’s going to be great.” on Jan. 7. More than 250 people applied for the job and a dozen candidates Alan Mothner, who has served as executive director for seven were interviewed by the board before the board voted unanimously years, is staying on until March to help with the transition. to hire Cowan. “I love nature … and this is my life’s mission,” Cowan said of why Cowan joined the Nature Center board in December and then dehe wanted to lead the Nature Center. “This is the perfect job for me.” cided to apply for the job. He said his service on the city’s SustainMothner said it was time for him to step down and make way for ability Committee for four years, including the past two years as its new leadership after years of work with the board and staff. chair, had helped him develop relationships with the City Council Dunwoody Nature Center “We’ve accomplished a lot together and I feel the Nature Center is Michael Cowan started his and city staff. in a great place,” Mothner said. “It was time to bring in new leaderjob as executive director A 20-year resident of Dunwoody, Cowan worked for 10 years as at the Dunwoody Nature ship and for the Nature Center to continue to grow.” the AT&T Accessories Team business director. Center on Jan. 7. The Nature Center is undertaking a multimillion-dollar capital During that time, he was recognized as the company’s official campaign with plans to construct a new 7,000-square-foot building “Environmental Champion” for his efforts to improve sustainabiliin a portion of the center’s parking lot that will include exhibit space, classrooms ty of retail packaging by reducing waste, requiring use of 100 percent recyclable paand community meeting space. The current building in Dunwoody Park at 5343 perboard and the introduction of plant-based plastic. He also led the development Roberts Drive would be renovated into office space. and introduction of the world’s first sustainable zero-draw wall charger that reThe new Austin Elementary School adjacent to the Nature Center is slated to duced energy consumption used to charge cell phones, according to a press release. open next year and the Nature Center is also planning after-school programming Cowan is also a leader with Boy Scout Troop 434. for students. “Michael brings an unparalleled level of professionalism and management experience to our team. We are excited to have him lead us in our next stage of growth and service to the community,” said Nature Center Board President Catherine Lautenbacher in the release. The Nature Center continues to offer its other camps and events, such as the Monarchs and Margaritas fundraiser. dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Sprouts closing takes anchor from Mount Vernon Shopping Center BY DYANA BAGBY AND EVELYN ANDREWS

The recent closure of Sprouts leaves a large void in the Mount Vernon Shopping Center where the grocery store served as the anchor. City officials say the site is still prime real estate for another supermarket. “It’s a big loss for that center ... and obviously a big hole to fill,” said Dunwoody Economic Development Director Michael Starling. “As for economic development, another grocery store makes the most sense there.” Sprouts, at 2480 Mount Vernon Road, announced its closure in December after being open just over four years. A spokesperson said the decision to close the store was because it wasn’t performing as well as hoped. A Kroger across Dunwoody Club Drive in a neighboring shopping center did not play a role in the Sprouts closure, the spokesperson said. “This is not a result of competition, and the decision to close our Dunwoody store was made by company leadership after careful evaluation of store performance in the context of the overall market,” Kailia Pang, spokesperson for Sprouts, said in a written statement. Pang added that Sprouts has evolved in how it selects store locations as it expands across the country and “we sometimes find a trade area can be serviced more efficiently by simply consolidating the business to nearby locations.” The Mount Vernon Shopping Center is owned by Branch Properties, which is planning a major redevelopment of another property on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, where a P.F. Chang’s restaurant is currently located. That redevelopment includes an anchor grocery store 25,440 square feet in size. What grocery store would go there has not been named. The Mount Vernon Sprouts store was 34,647 square feet, according to DeKalb County property tax records. The Publix grocery store in Sandy Springs’ Prado Shopping Center at 5630 Roswell Road also closed in December. Scott Amoson, the director of research at real estate firm Colliers International’s Atlanta office, said the competitive landscape of grocery stores in metro Atlanta is leading to these closings. “All were reported as having disappointing and/or declining sales and were considered underperforming,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think grocery store closings is a trend by any means in the metro Atlanta area as a whole,” he added. “I just think it’s part of maybe too much saturation of grocery stores in certain areas of our market. The ones that are well-located and up-to-date and offer the newest and best experience to meet customer preference will always be the winners.” DUN

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Millar will miss ‘being in the game’ at State Capitol Continued from page 1 days after the New Year at Crema Espresso Gourmet shop on Mount Vernon Road. Millar served in the state House from 1999-2011 and then in the state Senate from 2011 through this month when his term officially ended. He lost his first race ever on Nov. 6 to Democrat Sally Harrell in an election largely defined by anti-Trump sentiment, changing demographics in the affluent suburbs, and overwhelming Democrat voter turnout spurred by Stacey Abrams’ historic bid for governor. He said he has no plans to run for another elected office and is still searching for what to do in this next phase of his life. He has a Dunwoody office he goes to every day and works on finding online purchasing packages for clients like Piedmont Healthcare. Millar plays golf, likes jigsaw puzzles and has five grandchildren living in Dunwoody to keep him busy. His dream right now is to work for the Georgia Board of Regents, where his experience as chair of the state Higher Education Committee could be useful, he said. He’s also a member of the Southern Regional Education Board. “You have to have reason to get up in the morning, so I have to see what that’s going to be going forward,” he said. “I’m a person of faith and believe things happen for reason. I’ve still got my brains, and the opportunity to do something worthwhile,” he added. “Time will tell.”

Two years ago, during the presidential election, 75,000 votes were cast in his district that includes Dunwoody and portions of Sandy Springs, Brookhaven and Gwinnett County. During last year’s midterm election, he expected maybe 60,000 people would vote in his district. But the final number was again 75,000. The political truth now, Millar said, is that Republicans in metro Atlanta can no longer depend on single-family homeowners to win elections. Later, he added that what he meant was actually code for white single-family homeowners. As new people continue to move to Georgia, Republicans have to find issues that matter to Asians, Latinos and women, he said. “You’re not going to win over people coming to this state with guns and abortion,” he said.

The Trump factor

Another major factor in his loss, according to Millar, is that many Republican women stayed home. When 55 percent of

House.” Kemp’s decision to tie himself closely to Trump — including a primary ad where he boasted about his “big truck, just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself” — likely turned off many metro Atlanta voters who may have supported Millar. But Millar stressed he supported Kemp’s campaign because he did what he had to do in rural Georgia to win. “And you can’t do anything without a majority,” Millar said. “To me, it’s a lot more important that Brian Kemp is governor of this state than Fran Millar getting re-elected, because I believe this election was about capitalism versus socialism,” he said. “I don’t believe you can have free everything,” he said, noting Abrams promised to expand Medicaid and make college free to some. “I come from a world of innovation and entrepreneurship, where you are rewarded for the effort you put forward, not that anybody owes you these things,” he said.

On race and being called a racist

Millar then recalled one of his infamous quotes that made national headlines and tagged him a racist. In a 2014 Facebook post, Millar blasted Lee May, DeKalb County’s interim CEO at the time, for holding early voting on a Sunday at South DeKalb Mall. The mall attracts mostly African-American shoppers and is near several large African-American churches. Mil‘It was a tsunami’ lar implied early voting there The sting of defeat is still palwould benefit Democrats Jason pable two months after Nov. 6, Millar acknowledged. At 10 minCarter in the governor’s race utes to midnight on Election and Michelle Nunn in the U.S. Night, he was down by only 400 Senate race. DYANA BAGBY votes and three weeks of Dun- Fran Millar, 69, wrapped up 20 years as a state legislator this month. A few lines later, Millar woody’s early voting ballots wrote he “would prefer more edwere yet to be counted. Polling by his camucated voters than a greater increase in the college-educated women can determine an paign also had him in a slight lead. number of voters.” election, this factor was significant, he said. But then the numbers rolled in and HarMillar said he was not being racist with “People came up to my wife, people rell got 16,000 early votes to Millar’s 10,000, the statement and stands by what he said came up to me, to say, ‘I don’t think I can resulting in a final tally of 40,956 to 33,842, to this day. vote for you because of Donald Trump,’” or 54.7 percent to 45.2 percent. “We are not informed on the issues in Millar said. “I got waxed by 6,000 [early] votes,” he this country,” he said. “I would venture to Millar, a 69-year-old lifelong Republisaid. “I have to give credit to Sally for runsay 20 percent of the people I represent becan who backed John Kasich in the presining a good campaign.” lieve I go to Washington, D.C.” dential primary two years ago, said he votAlthough Abrams lost to Republican Millar is also renowned for his 2017 ed for Trump because he wanted him to Brian Kemp in a squeaker of a race, many comment during the heated and expenselect the next Supreme Court justices. He political pundits, including Millar, agree sive race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and said he tried to stave off anti-Trump senher campaign pushed many down-tickRepublican Karen Handel for the 6th Contiment from affecting his campaign too et Democrats over the finish line to victogressional District. The seat became open ry. Nowhere was that truer than in north much by telling voters he applauded most after Tom Price was tapped by Trump to be Fulton and DeKalb counties, he said, where of the president’s policies but didn’t conthe U.S. secretary of health and human serDemocrats won traditional Republican done his behavior. vices. Price resigned eight months later afstrongholds not only in Dunwoody, but in “But it didn’t matter … because I’m a Reter a scandal broke out for his use of charSandy Springs, Brookhaven and Buckhead. publican,” he said. He added he is probably tered flights. “This year it wasn’t a wave in the metro ready for Vice President Mike Pence to be“I’ll be very blunt: These lines were not area, it was tsunami,” Millar said. come president in 2020. drawn to get Hank Johnson’s protégé to That tsunami included thousands of “Because I’ve probably had enough,” he be my representative. And you didn’t hear voters from apartment complexes, where said. “Give [Trump] four years. Maybe he’ll that,” Millar said, according to the Atlanta Democrats spent significant resources in be bored. Maybe he’ll be impeached by the Journal-Constitution, of the 6th Congrestheir get-out-the-vote efforts, Millar said.

sional District. “They were not drawn for that purpose, OK? They were not drawn for that purpose.” Handel won the special election but then had to run again in November, losing to Democrat Lucy McBath. The quote was “true statement,” Millar said, because he helped draw the congressional district’s lines to take north DeKalb out of Hank Johnson and Cynthia McKinney’s area. He doesn’t know what the future holds with McBath in the seat. “Was it partisan? Yes. Was it legal by the courts? Yes. Am I without blame? No,” he said. He also fended off criticism that the redistricting was racist. “Race has never been an issue for me,” Millar answered. Price, he said, better represented his values and the values of those living in north DeKalb. He said he believes Johnson is a “socialist” who never worked across the aisle. Millar also said he has good relationships with black Democratic lawmakers, including DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. But, he added, there comes a point when some people “like him say enough is enough” when it comes to raising the issue of race. “This isn’t the ’60s or even the ’50s. We’re all for equal opportunity, but don’t try to throw the sins of the past on me, whether you’re Irish or black,” he said. “I get tired … Don’t play the race card as an excuse.”

The high points

Millar said he is proud of his service on the Higher Education committee and the bill he got passed through state Senate last year to fund testing school children for dyslexia. His support in the House and Senate for new cities including Dunwoody and Brookhaven are proud moments for Millar. He notes he received the Thurgood Marshall award from DeKalb NAACP for his role in changing the Georgia flag to remove Confederate symbols. Another controversial social issue state lawmakers continue to deal with is LGBT equality. In 2004, Millar supported the referendum to change the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which was overwhelmingly supported by voters. The law was overturned in 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage. Millar said because of his faith as an active member of Dunwoody United Methodist Church, he does not support samesex marriage, regardless of the SCOTUS ruling. He said he tried to “tread the middle ground” on the controversial “religious freedom” bills because he said he doesn’t believe in discrimination. The bills continue to be introduced by legislators despite a veto by Gov. Nathan Deal, but Millar predicts they will continue to get nowhere in the upcoming session. DUN


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JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Local legislator lends personal experience to ‘fake service animals’ study BY EVELYN ANDREWS

rants, grocery stores and apartments on the difference between the types of animals “as well as the fraudulent misrepreState Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick brought sentation of such terms and meanings,” her experience volunteering with her the report said. pet dog Dobie to the table to make recA service animal is trained to perommendations on how to curb the use of form specific tasks to help someone with “fake service animals.” a disability, such as a guide for someone “That’s why I am on the committee,” who is blind, according to the Americans said the senator, who represents part of with Disabilities Act website. Dogs are Sandy Springs. “I am an animal person.” the only animal whose use is fully proThe Senate study committee was adtected under the ADA, although miniadressing concerns about people passing ture horses are allowed under different off their regular pets as trained service regulations. The ADA allows dogs to acor emotional support animals to gain accompany their handlers anywhere they cess to public spaces that typically ban go, unless the dog is out of control or them, particularly restaurants and airbreaks safety rules, such as going in a lines, Kirkpatrick said. The issue often public pool. happens with pet dogs, sometimes causEmotional support animals provide ing safety issues or disruption, she said. comfort, typically to people with such People can buy certifications and vests psychological conditions as anxiety or for their pet online with little regulation, depression. The animals cannot accomKirkpatrick said, which are sometimes pany their handler to every public space, used to circumvent apartment pet bans but their use is protected under the Fair or fees. Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act, “Everyone from airlines to grocery according to the committee documents. stores to apartment owners have conAirlines and landlords can ask for docucerns,” Kirkpatrick said. ments from a mental health professionThe confusion and debate revolves al that verify the need for the animal, a around at least three categories of anicommittee document said. mals: Kirkpatrick volunteered with her pet ■ Service animals: trained to perdog as a therapy animal, which only has form specific tasks to assist someone basic obedience training and can visit fawith a disability. cilities that pro■ Emotional vide permission support animals: to visit to comprovide general fort people, such comfort to people as patients in a with psychologihospital or resical conditions. dents of an assist■ Therapy aned-living facility, imals: provide she said. Theracomfort to peopy dogs were disple other than the cussed in some of handler in places the committee’s like hospitals and sessions, but are assisted living fanot usually used cilities. to pass off as a The committee fake service dog was created to reand are not mensearch possibly cretioned in the final ating a uniform cerreport. tification process or Ideas includcriminalizing the use ed requiring inof a fake service anstate physician imal, according to certification and the group’s final remonetary fines, port, which was isbut the commitsued in January. The tee backed away KAY KIRKPATRICK report called for more from this, saying STATE SENATOR awareness about the more research is difference between needed to ensure “service animals” and “emotional supthe state laws would not violate the ADA. port animals.” Similar laws in other states have be“The thing that was startling to me is come a “strong point of contention bethe lack of understanding of different antween lawyers and advocates, especially imals and regulations,” she said. “We’re in the housing industry,” the report said. trying to figure out how to clear that up.” Dawn Alford, the public policy direcRecommendations include drafting tor at the Georgia Council on Developlegislation that calls for public service mental Disabilities, warned in a commitannouncements and guidance for restautee meeting there could be “unintended evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The thing that was startling to me is the lack of understanding of different animals and regulations. We’re trying to figure out how to clear that up.

Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick sits with her dog Dobie while volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Sandy Springs.

consequences that could result from any attempts to criminalize the misrepresentation of ‘fake’ service animals” that could harm people with disabilities, according to the report. The committee heard testimony from groups like Delta and the Georgia Restaurant Association who did not recommend state level legislative changes but encouraged more education and awareness, the report said. The committee was not looking into more regulations on pet ownership or allowing pets into public spaces, such as pet-friendly parks or restaurants. Kirkpatrick’s dog is in a separate category from a service or emotional support dog. Her dog, a golden doodle, served as a “therapy dog,” which has been screened for temperament, has passed basic obedience training and provides comfort to people other than its handler. Dobie typically visited the Ronald McDonald House that serves Sandy Springs’ Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. The visits were coordinated and overseen by an Atlanta group called Happy Tails, which also uses pet cats and rabbits and therapy animals, according to its website. “It was great for him and great for families who were far away from home for months with their kids who are sick,” she said. She volunteered for five years and became a group leader for volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, which is run by a nonprofit and provides hous-

SPECIAL

ing for families during their child’s hospital stay. Dobie has gotten too old to continue the visits, but Kirkpatrick said she hopes to get another dog and continue volunteering. “It’s very rewarding,” she said. “It’s a win-win-win.” But therapy dogs are not permitted anywhere their owner can go, which service dogs can, Kirkpatrick said. “A therapy dog is a pet that has basic obedience training,” she said. “No selfrespecting therapy dog owner would try to pass their dog off as one that can go in a restaurant.” She said more education is needed to ensure everyone is aware of those differences in what the law allows. “There are possibly people gaming the system, but I think it’s more confusion,” she said. The committee’s report also calls for doing more research on the need to clarify the difference between the types of animals in state law. She expects other dog-related bills to come up this session, including one that allows people to attempt to save animals from hot cars, which was recommended by the committee, and a return of a bill to ban pet store sales of animals from breeders statewide. Sandy Springs and Atlanta already have a pet sale ban on the books. Opposition by major stores that sell pets is expected to try to “thwart local control,” Kirkpatrick said.


18 | Art & Entertainment

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tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Studio Theatre at City Springs. This year’s event features the work of Los Niños Primero, an educational program serving at-risk Latino preschoolers and their families in Sandy Springs over the past 18 years. Meet the families and volunteers of this program and learn how you can get involved. Free. 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringsga.gov.

BROOKHAVEN’S MLK DAY DINNER

FREE ADMISSION FOR MLK DAY AT ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER

Monday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Atlanta History Center once again offers free admission and a full slate of special programming for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Events include a Freedom Ride simulation, museum theater performances and inspirational activities for all ages. Among the highlights is a 1 p.m. film screening and discussion of “Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask,” a regional Emmy Award-winning documentary by Frederick Lewis. At 3:30 p.m., author Adam Parker discusses his new book “Outside Agitator: The Civil Rights Struggle of Cleveland Sellers Jr.” Sellers, who was program director of Atlanta’s Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, will join Parker for this talk. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

SANDY SPRINGS’ TRIBUTE TO MLK

Monday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. The city of Sandy Springs holds its annual

Monday, Jan. 21, 5:30 p.m. The city of Brookhaven hosts its fourth annual “MLK Dinner and Program,” an event appropriate for all ages, at Lynwood Community Center. Former Lynwood Park resident U.S. Army Brigadier General Richard Dix will be keynote speaker. Tickets can be purchased at the Lynwood Community Center, once the site of the segregated Lynwood schools, whose students integrated the DeKalb School System in 1968. $10. 3360 Osborne Road, Brookhaven. Info: 404-637-0542.

DUNWOODY’S MLK DAY OF SERVICE

Monday, Jan. 21, 9 a.m. to noon. Dunwoody’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service kicks off at Brook Run Park. Volunteers check in at 8:30 a.m. and the morning begins with donuts, coffee, music and giveaways. Volunteers can either stay and work in the park or drive to their selected locations. Opportunities include: planting trees, cleaning up a park, daffodil planting and completing projects at the Community Assistance

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Art & Entertainment | 19

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net Center (CAC). 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyga.gov.

PERFORMANCES “THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO”

Friday, Jan. 25 to Sunday, Feb. 17. Stage Door Players presents “The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Best Play. The play by Alfred Uhry is a comedy/drama set in an upper-income German-Jewish community in Atlanta in December 1939. College student Sunny examines her Jewish identity and begins to question the beliefs with which she has been raised. $15-$33. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: stagedoorplayers.net or 770-396-1726.

“VITALY: AN EVENING OF WONDERS”

Saturday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 10, 5 p.m. The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta presents “An Evening of Wonders” starring Vitaly Beckman, one of Canada’s top illusionists. From making drawings and paintings come to life to teleporting playing cards from one audience member to another, Vitaly’s illusions defy logic and belief. $20$28. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/boxoffice or 678-812-4002.

VISUAL ARTS WOMEN IN AFRICAN ART

Friday, Jan. 18 to Sunday, April 21, Tuesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Oglethorpe University Museum of Art presents “Stories Without an End: Power, Beauty and Wisdom of Women in African Art of the Mehta Collection.” The exhibit represents art from more than 25 ethnic groups spanning 12 countries and was inspired in part by the work of the Grandmother Project, an American nonprofit that works with elders in West African villages to fight the maltreatment of girls. $5; free for members, Oglethorpe University students and children under 12. 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: museum.oglethorpe.edu.

“SHARED SPACE”

Saturday, Jan. 19 to Wednesday, March 6, Monday, Fridays and Sundays 9 a.m. to noon and by appointment. Opening reception Jan. 19, 6-8 p.m. Three fine arts painters — Laura Davis Shainker of Sandy Springs, Susie Stern of Dunwoody, and Deb Rosenbury of Marietta — jointly present a collection of their paintings at Gallery 4945 at Highpoint Episcopal Community Church. A portion of the sale proceeds will be donated to North Valley Animal Disaster Group, a nonprofit working to care for pets and farm animals displaced by the recent wildfires in northern California. 4945 Highpoint Road, Sandy Springs. Info: highpointepiscopalchurch.org.

COMMUNITY EVENTS ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

Wednesday, Feb. 6 to Tuesday, Feb. 26 Featuring a diverse collection of international and independent cinema, the annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival takes place at six metro Atlanta locations, including its new anchor venue, the Sandy Springs Performing Arts

Center at City Springs at 1 Galambos Way. The full lineup of events for the 2019 festival will be released on Jan. 10. Tickets go on sale beginning Monday, Jan. 28. Info: ajff.org.

11TH ANNUAL STUDENT AND INSTRUCTOR JEWELRY MARKET

Sunday, Feb. 10, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This fundraiser for the Spruill Center for the Arts features the handmade creations of jewelry artists ranging from beginners to professionals using precious metals, glass, beads, gemstones and more. Metal sculpture and hand-forged items will also be for sale. Free. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.

describes her struggles; her messages include the importance of respect and tolerance. Exhibit begins at 6 p.m. “Hope and Perseverance” starts at 7 p.m. Am Yisrael Chai is a nonprofit Holocaust education and awareness organization that focuses on the spirit of survival and success. Free. Byers Theatre, Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. RSVP required: 2019remember.eventbrite.com.

MASTER GARDENER SESSION

Saturday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m. to noon. Join the Dunwoody Community Garden and Orchard group at Brook Run Park for a presentation on tomatoes by Richard Osterholtz — hybrids vs. heirlooms, disease resistance and tomato growing tips. Meet at the “barn” in the DCGO greenhouse complex, opposite the skate park. Free. Refreshments served. 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.

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“FREE FIRST SATURDAY” AT DUNWOODY NATURE CENTER

Saturday, Feb. 2, 1-2 p.m. In February’s edition of “Free First Saturday,” Nature’s Echo will do a birds of prey presentation in the Dunwoody Nature Center meadow. Learn what makes raptors different from other birds and how you can help protect them. Free First Saturday is a recurring event sponsored by Northside Hospital. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

SANDY SPRINGS’ DADDY DAUGHTER DANCE

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BROOKHAVEN’S DADDY DAUGHTER VALENTINE’S DANCE

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20 | Community

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Super Bowl brings business excitement, traffic worries BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Super Bowl comes to Atlanta Feb. 3, bringing a 10-day football festival that is stoking local excitement about hospitalityindustry money, and fears of “horrific” traffic and other congestion impacts that have the General Assembly likely to suspend its session. Buckhead is expected to be a center of activity, as many attendees of the NFL championship game are staying in local hotels, and the neighborhood is hosting many public and private parties. Farther north on Ga. 400, Perimeter Center is likely to be busy as well, though officials said hotels were not sold out there for the Super Bowl. “Buckhead businesses are excited to have the Super Bowl come to Atlanta and very enthusiastic about the economic benefits our area is expecting,” said Chris Godfrey, the president of the Buckhead Business Association, in an email. “Buckhead leads Atlanta in hospitality, fine dining and nightlife – so we expect a very busy month ahead. Hotels have been booked for many months and at premium rates! With Buckhead’s accessibility to MARTA, we are thrilled about our connectedness for the event.” The BBA was keeping an eye on traffic and other effects as well, including by hosting a breakfast speech from the Super Bowl host committee’s head of logistics that was scheduled for Jan. 10, after the Reporter’s press time.

Sam Massell, the former Atlanta mayor and current president of the Buckhead Coalition, said he is also a member of an advisory board for the Super Bowl. In a written statement, he praised planners for “proactive rather than reactive problems management.” “Having also been on the Olympic Committee for the 1996 games in Atlanta, and helped coordinate control of some community interests when the National Democratic Convention was held here in 1988, I’ve understood the importance of advance planning for crowds,” Massell said. “There’s no end to the amount of effort that can be exercised, and there’s always the potential for missed issues, even alongside of ‘overplanning.’ Still, it’s been my experience that our City Hall and its police department have been ready and able to confront the day-today activities.” Massell said that the advice to most residents is to “be prepared to be proud of your city and enjoy the excitement, and hopefully profit from the commercial impact.”

Policing and traffic

In Buckhead and the neighboring city of Brookhaven, officials plan to cover the main club and hotel districts with more police officers than usual as security for game-related events. Buckhead’s Lenox Square mall will house a police command center, said Robin Suggs, who manages the mall for Simon Properties, at a recent meeting of the

Independently

together

Buckhead Community Improvement Districts. Interim Deputy Chief Brandon Gurley of the Brookhaven Police Department said his force is “preparing to have additional officers on hand during the peak times to increase our police presence around our hotels and entertainment venues.” The last time Atlanta hosted a Super Bowl, in 2000, Buckhead became the scene of a notorious crime that crystalized crime concerns and helped to spark redevelopment of Buckhead Village’s old nightclub district. Ray Lewis, a star NFL player, and two other men were charged in a doublemurder by stabbing after a fight outside a West Paces Ferry nightclub. Lewis’s murder charges were dropped and the other men were acquitted. Meanwhile, the nightclub zone was remade into what is now the Shops at Buckhead Atlanta high-end shopping center and related mixed-use development. The Shops are among the local sites hosting Super Bowl events, including a Feb. 1 fashion show by the Off the Field Players’ Wives Association. For Buckhead’s business district, the downside of police coverage is typically offduty officers being pulled into service as part of the event’s massive security plan. The BCID hires such officers to direct commuters, especially out of parking garages during the 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. rush hour. BCID staffer Tony Peters said at the recent board meeting that means “we will, more than

likely, not be able to have our regular police officers” for the entire work week prior to the Super Bowl, Jan. 28 through Feb. 1. “So it’ll be a tough week,” said BCID chairman David Allman, who is also president of the real estate firm Regent Partners. He predicted traffic “will be horrific.” Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, works with businesses on commuting alternatives. She said that many people are unaware that the Super Bowl is a 10-day event, not just the Sunday game. Her group is calling on employers to let people work from home. Starling said businesses should “treat it a lot like the Olympics.” The 1996 Summer Olympics, held in Atlanta, are widely remembered as a time of wide-open highways due to commuters being scared away from downtown and people leaving town to rent out their homes. In Perimeter Center, a similar program of off-duty traffic officers is run by the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts. That program shows no sign of being affected by Super Bowl security duty, according to PCIDs government relations director Linda Johnson. However, Perimeter Connects, the PCIDs’ commuting assistance program, is advising employers to consider letting employees work from home, especially those with commutes that run through the city of Atlanta. The crunch days will be Feb. 1 and Feb. 4, the Friday before and the Monday after the game, said Johann Weber, the assistant program manager at Perimeter Connects. Police departments in Perimeter Center cities are loaning small numbers of officers to the main downtown Super Bowl security team. Brookhaven is providing about 10 officers; Dunwoody is providing three, and Sandy Springs is providing 10. Most of those officers are SWAT team members and all of those departments say their regular patrols will not be affected.

General Assembly

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For the General Assembly, which is scheduled to begin its legislative session Jan. 14, sharing the Gold Dome area with Super Bowl fans raises “special logistical challenges” that could mean a hold in lawmaking, said Kaleb McMichen, a spokesperson for House Speaker David Ralston. Traffic is an issue; so is the tourist use of hotel rooms that otherwise are used by out-of-town legislators. The legislature has “got the lodging to consider as well as just the issue of traffic given the proximity of the Capitol to the event sites,” said McMichen, a spokesperson for House Speaker David Ralston. “The Super Bowl has a series of ancillary events taking place the entire week leading up to the game itself, so that adds to the considerations when it comes to traffic.” He said no decisions will be made until the House and Senate calendars are established after the session’s start. State Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) said the early talk was pausing for a couple of days. A full break in business is not the only option, she said. One possibility is holding appropriation hearings, which do not require the attendance of the full legislatures, so that some business is done.


Classifieds | 21

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Personal & Professional Services Directory The Law Office of Mark R Elliott EMPLOYMENT LAW ■ Wrongful Termination ■ Employment Discrimination ■ Employment Contracts ■ Employment Arbitration ■ Severance/Separation Agreements ■ Sexual Harassment ■ Executive Compensation ■ Employee Tort Claims www.lawofficeofmarkrelliott.com Complimentary Initial Consultation

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Home Services Directory

Reporter Classifieds HELP WANTED Farmer’s Basket Perimeter Inc seeks a Culinary Operations Specialist to design and implement internal policies to promote food, hygiene, safety and service qualities; analyze budget and cost on restaurants oprtns and mngmnt, kitchen personnel training and inventory controls; develop restaurant menus with nutrition concentration; oversee chefs for food preps; design and implement sales/marketing strategies. Must have bachelor’s deg. in culinary arts management. 40hrs/wk. Resumes to 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. Ste. 1665, Atlanta, GA, 30346

Unlimited PCS Georgia LLC seeks Database Administrator to perform server database programming, management, & maintenance for Mobile and Web applications. Need two years’ experience in Mobile & Web applications management by using Java/J2EE, Core Java, JDBC, JSP, JIRA, SQL Server. 40 hr/wk. Must have Bachelor’s degree in computer science or its foreign equivalent degree plus two year of experience in Mobile & Web applications. Resume to 1841 Chamblee Tucker Road, Ste. 1-4A, Atlanta, GA, 30341.

Marmoluna Tile & Stone, Inc. seeks Operations Research Manager to collect data on all business operations, conduct analysis, and provide relevant information to executives; assist in budgetary planning; assist in establishing company policy and periodic sales goals; analyze purchasing behavior/market trends to develop marketing plans; and analyze business competitors. Must have Bachelors in Econ. + 5 yrs. of marketing or prom. exp. Resumes to 4437 Park Drive, Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30093

Atlanta Yajima Chiropractic, LLC seeks Chiropractor to: Adjust spinal column and other articulations of the body to correct abnormalities of the human body believed to be caused by interference with the nervous system. Examine patient to determine nature and extent of disorder. Manipulate spine or other involved area. May utilize supplementary measures, such as exercise, rest, water, light, heat, and nutritional therapy. Must have a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Must speak, read, and write Japanese to take care of Japanese patients. 9-5, 40hrs/ wk. Send resume to 5000 Winters Chapel Rd. Suite #1, Doraville, GA, 30360.

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110

Insurance Sales Agent - Ardra Financial, Inc. seeks Georgia Licensed Insurance Sales Agent to sell various types of insurance policies. Determine clients’ needs and financial concerns; develop protection plans by calculating and quoting rates for immediate coverage and long term strategy implementation; obtain underwriting approval. Must have Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or its foreign equivalent degree plus min. 2 year’s experience in financial analysis or management. Please send resume to 691 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. #V-15, Atl. GA 30312

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22 | Community

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DeKalb Schools say protocols kept students safe during hoax threats BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A recent rash of prank threats against schools in Dunwoody and Brookhaven put emergency protocols to the test and proved effective in keeping students and staff safe, according to DeKalb Schools officials. But some parents and teachers say the recent hoax threats that forced an evacuation and several lockdowns are disrupting students’ learning as well as creating undue trauma. “This needs to stop,” said Kimberly Sampson, a Dunwoody Elementary School teacher whose son also attends the school. “As teachers and parents, we want this to be over.” Sampson was one of approximately 70 people who attended a Dec. 20 community meeting at Dunwoody City Hall to hear from DeKalb Schools officials and local law enforcement about the investigation into the hoax threats that appear to be originating from the U.K. In November, Dunwoody, Vanderlyn, Austin and Kingsley elementary schools in Dunwoody were temporarily locked down after receiving prank threats. Police said the internet address used to make the threats was traced back to the U.K. In December, more hoax threats were made against Dunwoody, Vanderlyn and Chesnut elementary schools, Dunwoody High School and Montgomery Elementary School in Brookhaven. There were also threats made the same day at other schools in metro Atlanta. Local police said it appeared the same internet address used in the November threats were being used in the second round of prank threats. Dunwoody Police and DeKalb County Schools’ Department of Public Safety are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI and U.K. law enforcement to track down the suspects, but no arrests have yet been made, Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said this month. Bomb threats against schools are not a new phenomenon, but in an era where school shootings and other mass shootings are so prevalent, the recent fake threats take on a new meaning. Nearly a year ago, 17 students and staff were killed in a mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Rabbi Ed Harwitz is head of school at The Weber School, a private Jewish school in Sandy Springs. Jewish schools and synagogues are familiar with threats of violence, he said. He said he sympathized with the threats DeKalb Schools recently faced and said one way The Weber School deals with potential threats is to be

constantly proactive, including a visible security presence at the school meant to serve as a deterrent. A working relationship with the Sandy Springs Police Department also ensures the highest level of security, he said. Lockdown drills are also practiced regularly. “There’s unity with our school ... which is essential for our security and educational well-being,” he said. DeKalb Schools also hold practice drills to prepare for emergencies. DeKalb Schools Region I Superintendent Sherry Johnson, whose region includes Dunwoody and Brookhaven, explained that school administrators follow a protocol designed to keep students and staff safe and also calm fears. When asked at the Dec. 20 meeting why students weren’t automatically evacuated when there was a threat, DeKalb Schools Public Safety Director Bradley Gober said doing so is not necessarily safe. Mandating a mass exodus of students could funnel students into a “kill zone” where they are vulnerable to attack, he said. DeKalb Schools police and Dunwoody Police knew fairly quickly the recent threats were not credible because they were coming from the same or similar internet address as previous threats, Gober added. Dunwoody Detective Sgt. Patrick Krieg explained the emails and phone calls used to make the hoax threats appear to come from one group that is not just targeting Dunwoody, but also sites throughout metro Atlanta and approximately 200 sites across the country. “These offenders are a well-organized group,” Krieg said. Several parents asked about the trauma children are experiencing due to the constant threats that force lockdowns at various levels, from requiring students to remain in their classroom or younger students being told to hide in their cubbies. “This is trauma for our children,” one mother said. “This is leaving a mark on our children.” All schools have assigned counselors. Social workers and psychologists

DYANA BAGBY

Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan, center, answers questions at a recent community forum about school safety following a recent string of fake threats to local schools. With him are, at left, DeKalb Schools Region I Superintendent Sherry Johnson and DeKalb Schools Director of Public Safety Bradley Gober.

are also assigned to schools. Student support staff members are trained in supporting students and understanding trauma, a spokesperson said. Mental health awareness is currently a major focus of professional development for staff members. Gober said DeKalb Schools works closely with Dunwoody Police and other local law enforcement to make sure no harm comes to students during a lockdown. “We are doing everything we can to keep your children safe,” he said. Many parents asked how they could help to hire a school resource officer to be stationed at every school in Dunwoody. School resource officers are currently housed in middle and high schools and respond to emergencies in elementary schools as needed. The Public Safety department is part of the Division of Student Support

and approximately $14.45 million is included in the 2019 budget for campus security, according to a DeKalb Schools spokesperson. DeKalb Schools includes more than 102,000 students at 138 schools. There are more than 14,000 full-time employees and 6,000 teachers. Any measures taken in Dunwoody to provide more resource officers would also have to be done district-wide to ensure the school district is treating all students fairly. “It would have to be feasible for everyone,” she said. “We have got to be equitable.” Police and school officials said responses to threats have to be measured and careful because those making the fake threats are seeking any kind of attention — on social media or on TV. “We don’t want to give them the satisfaction,” Grogan said.

D E K ALB S CHO O L S ’ P R O T O C O L F O R T H R E AT S 1. The principal or building manager is notified of the threat. 2. DeKalb Schools Public Safety Department is

then immediately notified of the threat.

3. School resource officers with Public Safety begin an

investigation and work with local law enforcement.

4. If the threat occurs during school hours, the school is immediately

placed on lockdown status until cleared by Public Safety. There are three levels of lockdowns that include limited access or restricted movement at the campus.

5. The superintendent, regional superintendent and communications

staff is also notified. DUN


Public Safety | 23

JANUARY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Police Blotter / Dunwoody From Dunwoody Police reports dated Dec. 23 through Jan. 6. The following information was pulled from Dunwoody’s Police-2-Citizen website.

LARCENY/ SHOPLIFTING/THEFT „„4500 block of Chamblee-Dunwoody

incident was reported. „„2400 block of Stonington Road — On

Dec. 25, in the afternoon, a residential mail theft incident was reported.

Road — On Dec. 23, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of larceny.

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 26, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„4100 block of Townsend Lane — On

„„4400

Dec. 23, in the afternoon, a larceny incident was reported. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 23, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported. „„4400 block of Ashford-

„„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 26, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„4400 block of Ashford-

woody Park — On Dec. 27, in the afternoon, items were stolen from a car.

„„ 4000 block of Dun-

„„ 100 block of Perimeter

Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 24, in the morning, items were stolen from a car.

Center West — On Dec. 27, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

„„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

Dec. 24, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident occurred.

Dec. 27, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported.

„„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 24, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

„„4400

Dec. 30, at noon, items were reported missing from a car.

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 24, in the afternoon, a larceny incident was reported. „„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

Dec. 24, in the evening, a shoplifting incident was reported. „„6700 block of Peachtree Boulevard —

On Dec. 24, in the evening, a mail theft incident was reported. „„4000 block of Dunwoody Park — On

Dec. 24, at night, items were stolen from a car. „„2400 block of Stonington Road — On

Dec. 24, at night, a residential mail theft

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„„1300 block of Valley View Road — On

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„„100 block of Perimeter Center — On

Dec. 30, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of burglary of a nonresidence. „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 30, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported.

Brookhaven

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„„2300 block of Mount Vernon Road —

On Dec. 30, in the afternoon, a residential mail theft incident was reported. „„100 block of Perimeter Center Place —

On Dec. 31, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4300

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 2, in the evening, a larceny incident was reported.

READ MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT

www.ReporterNewspapers.net DUN

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woody Park — On Dec. 26, at night, items were stolen from a car.

Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 23, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

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Dec. 26, in the evening, items were stolen from a car. „„ 4000 block of Dun-

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 24, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

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Dunwoody Road — On Dec. 23, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

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| 24

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January 2019 - Dunwoody  

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