Sandy Springs Reporter - January 2022

Page 1

Sandy Springs Reporter reporternewspapers.com | @reporter_news

JANUARY 2022 • VOL. 16 — NO. 1

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Contents JANUARY 2022 Publisher’s & Editor’s Note Sandy Springs

4

CAC builds new branch

6

Kemp talks economic impact

7

New city manager

7

Buckhead Shepherd Center expansion

8

Pedestrian bridges opens

9

Dunwoody

10

Campus 244 lands hotel

10

Shipping company HQ

11

Party house ban

11

Brookhaven Daffodil plantings honor the Holocaust

12

Recreation National park to revamp trail system

14

Dining TheDinnerClub launches

15

Robot waits tables

15

Real Estate A look at the 2022 housing market 22

16

Commentary

42

Local leader forecast for 2022 18 Worth Knowing Published by Springs Publishing P. O. BOX 9001 Atlanta, GA 31106 Phone: 404-917-2200 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.com

Editorial Editor Amy Wenk aw@springspublishing.com Intown Editor: Collin Kelley Digital Editor: Chad Radford Editor-at-Large: Joe Earle

Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amy@springspublishing.com 404-917-2200 x1002

Atlanta Intown www.AtlantaIntownPaper.com

Staff Writers Bob Pepalis, Sammie Purcell

Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

Intern Khushi Niyyar

Office Manager Deborah Davis deborah@springspublishing.com 404-917-2200 x1003

Publisher Emeritus Steve Levene Publisher Keith Pepper keith@springspublishing.com

Contributors Kathy Dean, Maija Ehlinger, Carol Niemi, Isadora Pennington, Maria Saporta Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini Graphic Designer Harry J. Pinkney, Jr.

Sales Executives Jeff Kremer

Distribution 58,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to businesses/retail locations. For delivery requests, please email delivery@springspublishing.com.

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TWITTER.COM/ REPORTER_NEWS

Technology Behind the Roadie acquisition 21

Saporta Report A new collaboration at City Hall 22

Arts Literary agent shares best ‘bookish corners’

23

About the Cover Galloway School students Darren Chase and Ariana Jones are two of our 20 Under 20 honorees. See our special section on page 25. Photo by Isadora Pennington. Honored as a newspaper of General Excellence

Visit ReporterNewspapers.com INSTAGRAM.COM/ REPORTER_NEWS

20

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2018 © 2022 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing. JANUARY 2022| 3


PUBLISHER’S & EDITOR’S NOTE

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Our focus may be small, but our ambitions are large. Fifteen years ago this month, founding publisher Steve Levene wrote those words in the first issues of the Sandy Springs and Buckhead Reporter newspapers. As we mark this significant anniversary, it’s a good time to reflect on how much has changed since 2007. Back then, Sandy Springs was just a year into cityhood, filled with promise. Today, it’s Georgia’s seventh-largest city and home to massive corporations including UPS and MerBY KEITH PEPPER cedes-Benz USA. Its livable, walkable downtown is alive with sidewalk eateries and world-class jazz concerts. The housing market, as noted on pages 16-17, is one of the metro areas most robust. Buckhead, once known for sprawling malls and a raucous bar scene, has turned surface parking lots into luxury apartments and boutique hotels. It’s building a trail network that will connect to the Atlanta BeltLine, and restaurateurs from Todd Ginsburg to Nobu Matsuhisa seek out Buckhead as a destination dining location. But, a spike in crime has led to a movement to break off from Atlanta that seems like it will dominate 2022 headlines. BY AMY WENK What hasn’t changed in that time is our dedication to covering the hyperlocal happenings in these communities. Since the Reporter launched in Buckhead and Sandy Springs, we have added papers in Dunwoody and Brookhaven. In a time when the media (and newspapers in particular) are under tremendous economic pressure, our publications are more important than ever. Springs Publishing, parent of the Reporter, while not immune to these pressures, had a year of change and growth. With a new owner (Keith) and a new editor (Amy), we gave the papers a bit of a refresh with a more modern design both in print and with a new website. Although print continues to be an important medium for us, a lot of content appears first online or in our email newsletters. We have adapted by embracing content partnerships with local media organizations such as the Saporta Report, Hypepotamus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and WABE. By leaning into the things that we can control, we are able to deliver on our mission of providing responsible, non-sensational journalism to the communities we serve. It’s all an attempt to better reach our audience of today and continue to build a generation of readers for tomorrow. To build on Steve’s words in the January 2007 Reporter paper, we aim to be meaningful, not massive, and we welcome your continued feedback. Feel free to write to us at hello@springspublishing.com. Happy New Year!

As seen in Print

Use this QR code to read extended versions of stories found in this issue.

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SANDY SPRINGS

Community Assistance Center building new branch BY BOB PEPALIS An apartment fire across the street from the future location of the Community Assistance Center’s south Sandy Springs branch brought home the importance of the organization for CEO Francis Horton III. “When I drove up this morning, I was accompanied by many fire trucks,” Horton said Dec. 14 during a “Buildout Bash,” which celebrated CAC’s return to south Sandy Springs. Horton said he immediately felt that those impacted by the fire perhaps could use services from the CAC, signaling the nonprofit’s role in the community. “[I’m glad] to continue to build relationships that we started a long time ago in this neighborhood,” he said. CAC is building a new branch at 120 Northwood Drive. The interior buildout of the space, which is on the ground floor of a new storage facility, is expected to be completed in 12 weeks. The event also recognized contributions by The Association of General Contractors of GA (AGC) Young Leadership Program. AGC adopted CAC’s Northwood Branch as their nonprofit project for the year. Its spring golf tournament raised $125,000 for the project. They also donat-

Dianne Fries, Machell Harper, Brian Cunningham, Mayor Rusty Paul, Francis Horton, Nery Salguero, and Patricia Murcia. ed project management services. AGC’s total donations came in at $135,000, CAC Development Director Pam Jones said. Brian Cunningham, who was the chair of AGC’s Young Leadership Council when the project was adopted, said it was terrifying and exciting at the same time. “We appreciate the opportunities, the biggest project we’ve ever taken on. We’re

excited about it and we’re excited to see it at the point it is now,” he said. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said the new CAC location is a phenomenal space in a part of the community that really needs it. “We’ve come through one of the most challenging times in my life and most challenging times in recent history. And this was a hot spot every time I got the

maps that showed the highest incidences of COVID. This was ground zero,” Paul said. He said the city wants to make sure the people in south Sandy Springs, many of whom are Hispanic, have the same benefits and quality of life. “We want to make sure that they get what they need when they need it. And when they need it, this location is convenient for them to be able to access the services,” Paul said. On Dec. 10, CAC learned it had been awarded a $100,000 grant from the James H. Cox Foundation. The south Sandy Springs CAC branch will get some of that funding along with other projects, Jones said. This latest grant helped CAC exceed its fundraising goal, with $900,000 in contributions since March of this year. Patricia Murcia of CAC’s Client Services team will manage the branch. In addition to the food pantry, community members seeking financial assistance will be interviewed there. It also will be a location for people to apply for Medicaid and the Georgia Food Stamp Program (SNAP), she said. Adult education classes may be offered at the Northwood Drive location.

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Gov. Brian Kemp at the Dec. 8 event. (Photo by Paula Heller)

Kemp discusses economic impact Low unemployment and economic development were major topics during a December speech from Gov. Brian Kemp to the Brookhaven and Sandy Springs Perimeter chambers. Kemp spoke about the unemployment rate in Georgia, which is at an alltime low of 2.8%, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. The number of employed Georgians in November was up 11,983 from October to 5,027,981. Kemp also discussed Georgia’s economic development over the past year, including the contribution of two projects in Sandy Springs and Brookhaven. In August, Deluxe Corp. opened its FinTech and Customer Innovation Center in Sandy Springs and is expected to employ over 700 workers. He also discussed the Georgia Department of Transportation’s project for interchange improvements at I-85 and North Druid Hills Road, which will help better serve the needs of emergency vehicles headed to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Kemp also brought up the success of Georgia’s film industry, which set a record with $4 billion in direct spending on production in the state for fiscal year 2021. Kemp attributed that to the decision to open the state for filming earlier than other popular shooting locations, such as Los Angeles. — SAMMIE PURCELL

Sandy Springs names new city manager

Eden E. Freeman

The Sandy Springs City Council approved Mayor Rusty Paul’s selection of Eden E. Freeman as the next city man-

ager. Freeman was assistant city manager for Sandy Springs from July 2011 to June 2014 and its grants administrator for two years before that. Freeman most recently worked as @reporter_newspapers

deputy city manager of Greenville, S.C. There, she worked under John McDonough, who previously served as Sandy Springs city manager. Paul said in the search for a new city manager, they were looking for somebody who knew Sandy Springs and the expectations of the community. “We are delighted that Eden is coming home,” he said. “I am honored by the confidence the Mayor and Council have placed in me and am thrilled to be rejoining the team in Sandy Springs,” Freeman said. “There is a lot of exciting work ahead of us, and working together, I am confident we will continue to make Sandy Springs everything Mayor Eva Galambos and our other founding leaders dreamed it would be.” Freeman replaced Andrea Surratt who resigned effective Nov. 17. She will be the third city manager for Sandy Springs. Dave Wells is filling the interim role until Freeman comes on board. — BOB PEPALIS

Head of school leaving Brandon Hall Brandon Hall will lose its president and head of school, Dean Fusto, at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. “We have weathered storms together, especially navigating life through a Dean Fusto pandemic. Brandon Hall is positioned to welcome new, energized leadership,” Fusto said. The Board of Trustees has created a search committee to find the next head of school, Chair Karen White said. An interim head might be named before the final candidate is selected. Community voices will help shape the selection process. “Dean has been instrumental in the school’s strategic and operational successes, guiding Brandon Hall through many changes and managing the enormous challenges of Covid-19, just to name a few,” she said. The campus itself helped Fusto at times. “The river view has brought comfort during rough times like the passing of my mother and more recently my father-in-law. It has also provided a backdrop for celebrations like graduation lunches, parent gatherings, and outdoor class sessions,” Fusto said.

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BY AMY WENK Shepherd Center said it has filed plans for a major expansion that will add housing for its patients and their families. The project at 1860 Peachtree Road will add about 160 housing units, more than doubling the current housing provided by the rehabilitation hospital. “Expanded housing will ensure that our patients are surrounded by the love and support they need and that families

Shepherd Center co-founder James Shepherd Jr. had championed the land acquisition and expansion before his death in 2019. Shepherd Center was founded in 1975 after James sustained a spinal cord injury in 1973. “My father often talked about how having his family close by during his rehabilitation made all the difference in his recovery,” said Jamie Shepherd, chief operating officer of Shepherd Center. “We are proud to provide a home away

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– no matter where they call home – can be a part of the rehabilitative journey,” said Sarah Morrison, president and CEO of Shepherd Center. From April 2020 to March 2021, Shepherd Center said it served more than 740 inpatients and 250 day program patients. During that time period, more than half of Shepherd Center’s inpatients came from outside of Georgia and 72% came from outside of metro Atlanta. In 2018, the Shepherd Center spent $20 million to purchase the property at Peachtree Road and 28th Street for the project. In December 2020, the hospital received an $80 million grant from the Marcus Foundation to aid its expansion efforts.

from home for our patients and their families and to be able to continue my father’s legacy of caring for both the patient and the family.” The project team will include architecture firm Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, development partner Wood Partners and contractor Brasfield & Gorrie. Shepherd Center specializes in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Since it was founded, Shepherd Center has grown from a sixbed rehabilitation unit to a 152-bed hospital.

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$2.5 million bridge opens

BY AMY WENK A long-awaited bridge project over Peachtree Creek has opened in south Buckhead. The $2.5 million Confluence Pedestrian Bridge spans 175 feet, offering “an unprecedented bird’s-eye view” of the South and North Forks of the creek, according to an announcement. Located off Adina Drive, the bridge connects to the Confluence Trail and a new project called the Creek Walk Connector. It will also provide a critical link to future expansions of the Atlanta Beltline and PATH400 Greenway, which are set to converge in the area.

“It’s truly a bridge to the future,” said Julie Ralston, chair of the South Fork Conservancy, the nonprofit group that spearheaded the project. It’s an important project for Buckhead, an area of Atlanta lacking in greenspace. It also allows people more access to Peachtree Creek, a waterway with significant history in the city. The bridge features a “bowstring truss design” that’s reminiscent of the historic train bridges that once crossed Atlanta creeks. It weighs 70 tons and took a massive crane to lift it into place. Made of Corten steel, the bridge will weather over time, turning a dark-brown color in a decade or two. It also has three large ADA-accessible platforms at the south end of the bridge. The South Fork Conservancy is working to build 30 miles of creekside trails and preserve the banks and tributaries of the South Fork. It’s behind the Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop trails in Buckhead, as well as Zonolite Park in DeKalb County.

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BY AMY WENK A nearly 13-acre project planned near Perimeter Mall has landed a hotel flag, according to the development team. Buckhead-based RocaPoint Partners and New York-based The Georgetown Co. announced its new Dunwoody mixed-use development will include a 145-key Element Hotel. Called Campus 244, the more than 1 million-square-foot project is a redevelopment of the former Gold Kist Headquarters. The site is located off Perimeter Center Parkway, just south of the Dunwoody MARTA station. The first phase of Campus 244 will include the Element Hotel, featuring a lobby bar and chefdriven restaurant. Vision Hospitality Group, which owns and operates several hotels in Atlanta, is partnering on the Phil Mays project. Element is an extended-stay hotel brand from Marriott International that offers “bright, modern design, eco-conscious practices and an innovative guest experience,” according to its website. There are two locations in Georgia: in Buckhead and as part of a dual-branded hotel in Midtown. The first phase of Campus 244 will also remake the existing Gold Kist building into a five-story, 400,000-square-

foot office building. The project is also planned to have 25,000 square feet of new restaurants, located around a central greenspace. RocaPoint and Georgetown said some of those eateries may be concepts from Halcyon, its other project in Alpharetta. “In recent years, heavy investment in the Central Perimeter market has stimulated job growth and attracted a hub of major Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies from across the Southeast,” Phil Mays, principal at RocaPoint Partners, said in a press release. “At Campus 244, we’re bringing a proven model of a dynamic restaurant mix surrounding a central greenspace that provides an activated sense of place for employees and visitors alike.” S9 Architecture, the architectural team behind Ponce City Market, is handling the design and master planning for Campus 244. RocaPoint and Georgetown bought the former Gold Kist site in 2020. In October, the Dunwoody Development Authority issued final bond documents for the project. It will receive a roughly $23 million tax break over 10 years. It’s not the only large project in the works near Perimeter Mall. The $2 billion High Street just kicked off construction in November.

“At Campus 244, we’re bringing a proven model of a dynamic restaurant mix surrounding a central greenspace that provides an activated sense of place for employees and visitors alike.”

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​​Dunwoody to be new headquarters for shipping company Dunwoody will be the new North American headquarters for an international shipping company, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd will invest $18 million into the new headquarters at Three Ravinia Drive in Dunwoody, according to a press release. The building will be 125,000 square feet, and the company is expected to create 250 jobs in the metro Atlanta area.

“We are so pleased to welcome HapagLloyd and their team members to Dunwoody,” said Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch in a press release. “We appreciate our longstanding partnership with the State of Georgia and DeKalb County as we continue to grow the Dunwoody Perimeter Market.” The headquarters is expected to open by the summer of 2022. — SAMMIE PURCELL

City looks to ban party houses The Dunwoody City Council responded optimistically to possible new regulations regarding party houses in the city

during a Dec. 13 meeting. “The aim is to regulate commercial events in residential homes,” said Senior Planner Madalyn Smith. “By commercial event, we mean any party or ceremony or reception where a fee is charged for the use of the dwelling and/or entry to the dwelling for the event.” The new regulations are similar to ones approved by Sandy Springs earlier this year and would ban commercial events or “party houses” in residential districts. Events held in commercial districts would require a special administrative permit, which includes a public notification period of 30 days and review from the Community Development director, according to a city memo. Smith said the amendment would not prevent homeowners or tenants from throwing non-commercial, private

events in their own homes. Mayor Lynn Deutsch said after Sandy Springs initially adopted its party house regulations, the council wasn’t sure if the issue would affect Dunwoody. However in August, city code enforcement received complaints about parking and noise related to an event on Summerford Court, according to city spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher. Deutsch said while the city hasn’t had a huge problem with party houses, the city wanted to “send a message.” Many council members had questions about what exactly the consequences would be for anyone who broke party house regulations and asked for more details on that before the item comes back before council. — SAMMIE PURCELL

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The first time Sandy Baumwald heard about The Daffodil Project, it was from her brother, Ronnie Mayer. One day out of the blue, Mayer called her and asked if she wanted to come down to Brookhaven from her home in Athens and help plant some daffodils. Baumwald didn’t know about The Daffodil Project, but she still made the trek down to Brookhaven for a Nov. 7 planting at Ashford Park. She would later learn what the project was and realize how much of a personal connection her family had. The Dunwoody-based Daffodil Project is an initiative that aspires to plant 1.5 million daffodils in memory of children who died during the Holocaust, essentially creating a “living Holocaust memorial,” according to the project’s website. When Mayer heard about the project, he couldn’t wait to volunteer to help. Brookhaven resident Ronnie Mayer and his “I jumped all over it,” Mayer said. sister, Sandy Baumwald holding a picture The project meant to much to Mayer of their father Hans Mayer and his brother because his and Baumwald’s uncle, Kurt Kurt Mayer as young boys. Kurt is on the left Mayer, is one of those 1.5 million children with glasses. (Special/Sandy Baumwald) who died during the Holocaust, or the genocide of Jewish people during World War II. train. While she believes her grandmother “The shock and horror of what hapdied before they arrived at their destinapened, I’ve kind of lived with,” Baumwald tion, she said her uncle and grandfather said of what happened to her uncle. “But were executed in a village called Malytroit’s only been in the last 10 years or so that tensk. I really have dedicated all my resources “It’s unbelievable,” she said. “That’s the to finding out exactly, almost to the day, story of my family.” what happened.” The Ashford Park planting is not the In her research, Baumwald found that only Daffodil Project event that’s taken the siblings’ father, Hans Mayer, and his place in Brookhaven as of late. Accordyounger brother Kurt were born in Neuing to Steve Peters, chair of the Parks and wied, Germany in the 1920s. According to Recreation Coalition (PARC) BrookhavBaumwald, when Hans was around 13 or en, PARC Brookhaven has been encourag14 years old, classmates began bullying him in school because of his Jewish heritage. In 1937, the family sent Hans to live with great aunt in Savannah, Ga. so he could finish out his education. Kurt stayed behind with his family. A year later on Nov. 9 and 10 of 1938, the Nazis ransacked Jewish homes and businesses in an event called Kristall- A recent daffodil planting at Brookhaven Park on Dec. 4. (Special/Thad Ellet) nacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass.” Baumwald said afing parks within the city to host daffodil terwards, her uncle and his family were plantings. In 2021, plantings have taken taken to Cologne, Germany, where they place at three parks – Blackburn Park, were put to work building a highway. Ashford Park, and Brookhaven Park. VolBaumwald’s research led her to July unteers, including Baumwald and Mayer, of 1942, when she says her uncle, grandplanted 500 bulbs at each park. father and grandmother were put on a Andrea Videlefsky, the president of Am reporternewspapers.com SS


Yisrael Chai, the parent nonprofit organization of The Daffodil Project, said once this planting season finishes up in January 2022, the organization will have planted just over 700,000 daffodils since the organization began in 2010. “Steve Peters has given us a wonderful opportunity to plant in the Brookhaven parks, and he has a vision for this extending to many, many more parks in the Brookhaven area,” she said. The daffodil was a symbolic choice, said Videlefsky. “The reason we chose the daffodil is because the shape and the color are symbolic of the yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust,” she said. “So the daffodil is like the six-pointed shape, and the color yellow is also the color of remembrance.” Videlefsky said the group tries to incor-

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coastalstatesbank.com porate Holocaust education and awareness within the planting process. The gardens are outfitted with plaques explaining what The Daffodil Project is, and volunteers usually bring along bios of children who died in the Holocaust along with them. “When we plant, we usually ask people to step forward and take a bulb and also take one of the bios that kind of describes the life of a child who died during the Holocaust. And in that way, it sort of makes it more of a personal learning experience, and they can relate to that particular child,” Videlefsky said. “It’s very hard to conceptualize 1.5 billion. This makes it a personal way of learning about it.” But for folks like Mayer and Baumwald, the connection is already personal. During the Ashford Park planting, the siblings dedicated their daffodils to their Uncle Kurt. “It doesn’t really hit you until it hits you. And when it does, you feel it,” Mayer said of the planting and dedication experience. “You get a little teary-eyed.” Baumwald said while she was touched by the dedication and the planting, the experience wasn’t necessarily a joyous one, but rather an important reminder of the loss. “People I know that are children of Holocaust survivors, you grow up very differently. The world is an evil place, and there’s fear and there’s not a lot of joy,” Baumwald said. “So it wasn’t something like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve been waiting my entire life for this.’ It was nice, I was happy to help. As many times as I can tell this story, I will.” @reporter_newspapers SS

JANUARY 2022| 13


RECREATION

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Under a new leader, one of the country’s most visited national parks is working on a plan to revamp its trail system. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) spans 48 miles along the Chattahoochee and includes 15 land units. In 2020, it saw 3.5 million visitors, making it the country’s 16th most visited national park. It also contains about 20% of metro Atlanta’s greenspace and is home to hundreds of bird species. “It is beloved by many,” said Sandy Springs resident Ann Honious, who in August 2021 was named superintendent of the CRNRA, which has its park headquarters in Sandy Springs. “This is a special place in the entire country.” Originally from Portland, Oregon, Honious came to CRNRA after serving as the deputy superintendent at the National Capital Parks – East, a series of parks in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. She also previously worked at Gateway Arch National Park in Missouri, where she oversaw a $380 million rehabilitation project. Now, she will help lead CRNRA through its first comprehensive trails management plan, which will provide direction for improving trail conditions within the park’s more than 5,200 acres (or about 7,000 acres

Ann Honious. (Special/Melissa Lyttle)

said. But the park has yet to have a cohesive trail plan. As a result, the myriad of user-created social trails lacks connectivity and is prone to erosion, among other issues. Now, the hope is to create a better experience and grow the trail network to almost 90 miles over the next 20 years. The National Park Service had started the trail plan in 2018. A draft could be ready in March 2022. The trail plan also considers the Chattahoochee RiverLands project, a proposal to build a 125-mile multimodal trail running from Buford Dam to Chattahoochee Bend State Park. That would include a “Greenway” that follows the river, connecting 19 cities across seven counties. The Greenway is being proposed by the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Trust for Public Land, Cobb County, and the City of Atlanta. A scene from the Chattahoochee River. (Special/Tom Wilson) “Our trail management plan is our plan and framework to then if you count submerged areas). work with communities that want to build “I see taking this great, beloved park and part of that Greenway and have it touch elevating it for the future,” Honious said. or go through the national park,” Honious “That is through strategic planning for projsaid, adding they are supportive of the efects, dealing with deferred maintenance, as fort. well as creating awareness so that the comAs for CRNRA’s trail plan, a key group munity supports and appreciates what they called the Chattahoochee National Park have.” Conservancy (CNPC) will help raise money Today, there are about 64 miles of trails for projects once it’s finalized. The Conserthat run through the park. Most are legavancy was established in 2012 as the official cy social trails established before President “friends group” of the national park. In its 10 Jimmy Carter signed the national park into years, the nonprofit has spent $180,000 on law in 1978. park improvements, including rebuilding CRNRA has a long, interesting history. three river outlooks in the Cochran Shoals It was the culmination of years of advocacy unit. It has a big fundraiser planned for work by a group that called themselves the March 8 at SweetWater Brewing Co. River Rats. “In the 1970s, they were watchCRNRA will also seek funding from the ing the development starting to occur in this National Park Service and volunteer help area and worked very hard to protect the from various groups. river and the land along its sides,” Honious reporternewspapers.com SS


DINING

Sandy Springs resident aims to simplify mealtime with TheDinnerClub

BY AMY WENK With two kids under 4 and a baby on the way, Blake Gleaves and his wife don’t have much time to plan meals. That’s why the Sandy Springs resident launched a business earlier this year to help answer the constant question: “What’s for dinner?” Gleaves is the founder of meal subscription service TheDinnerClub, which recently expanded into areas including Sandy Springs and Brookhaven. It now serves parts of Fulton and DeKalb counties. TheDinnerClub partners with local restaurants to offer a curated menu of ready-to-eat meals. Customers pre-select a few meals a week, picking the day and time they will be delivered. Gleaves described the business as a cross between meal kit service HelloFresh and food delivery app DoorDash. “Our goal is to, in essence, have people take back their evening,” he said. “Our lives are so busy that you’ve got competing priorities at night.” Due to its delivery model, TheDinnerClub says it can save people up to 30% compared to standard food delivery apps. Some of its restaurant partners include Gusto, Old Brick Pit, Hattie B’s, Osteria 832, Verde Taqueria, Karv Family Kitchen, and Sukoshi. Gleaves is an Atlanta native who attended Georgia Tech. He previously served in business management roles, but a year ago, he got a “crazy idea” for the start-up and jumped in. His partner is Ashby Baum, an Inman Park resident. Now, the company is trying to raise $400,000 to fuel its growth. Gleaves hopes soon to expand into more areas, including Smyrna and Vinings. He’s also considering moving into the Columbus, Ohio market. “We were very intentional about having our home base in Atlanta,” Gleaves @reporter_newspapers SS

said. “Atlanta is awesome for tech startups right now. There is a lot of capital being pumped into this city, so we want to grow in Atlanta first. This is our proof of concept.”

A robot waits tables in Dunwoody BY SAMMIE PURCELL At Tastee Spoon in Dunwoody, patrons may notice a new, robotic face on the waitstaff. The Caribbean restaurant will employ a robot, named Irie Milly, to help support wait staff with their daily tasks. “It’s programmed to go around the entire restaurant,” said owner Raymone Williams in a video explaining how the robot works. “All the tables are strategically placed, and the robot stops at certain places and it can serve up to 12 plates at a time. So that makes a difference.” Williams said the robot’s name combines her mother’s name and the word “irie,” which means “cool.” “It’s a Caribbean word that’s used a lot,” she said. The robot is meant to lessen the load on Tastee Spoon’s waitstaff, said Williams. In comments on the post, some people worried the robot would take the place of human waiters, while others wondered if a labor shortage had led to the inclusion of the robot. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants across the state have been suffering from a worker shortage.

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Representatives from Tastee Spoon did not respond in time for publication to requests for comment, but in the video Williams said the robot has not replaced any human workers. “It’s only enhanced the experience that the waitstaff have,” Williams said. “It’s really helpful to whomever is working that day … and plus it also frees up the time where they can really interact with the guest.”

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JANUARY 2022| 15


REAL ESTATE

What’s ahead for Sandy Springs’ housing market? Home prices soared last year, up as much as 20%. Will 2022 be another strong year for the real estate market? We asked local realtors to share their predictions for this year. (Compiled and edited by Amy Wenk and Kathy Dean)

Cynthia Lippert President, Atlanta Realtors Association With 2021 drawing to a close, many realtors will have already developed their 2022 business plans. Here are some of the predictions informing the strategy for how best to serve their clients in the next 12 months. Interest rates are expected to rise in 2022. Economic indicators have been said by several industry sources to signal mortgage rate increases, though opinions on when and by how much are widely varied. But realtors are advising buyers that, in addition to higher prices, which are expected to continue rising throughout 2022, even a small increase in rates will have an impact on purchase power. Waiting it out may not pay off in the long run. Price increases will continue but possibly less steeply in 2021. The message for sellers is that if 2021 wasn’t the year to sell, 2022 is. The seemingly unstoppable rise in home prices has netted huge gains for sellers, leaving many wondering how much longer until we reached the top of the market. Sellers still have big gains to rake in over the next few months. However, sustained inflation, continued pandemic uncertainty, and the potential for rising interest rates could well undermine buyer demand and slow down that growth. And while we still don’t predict a housing bubble, a gradual rebalancing could make bidding wars and offers over list price less of the norm that sellers have come to expect towards the end of the year. The inner suburbs of Atlanta, including Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Brookhaven, and Dunwoody will continue to be extremely popular. These areas have historically attracted buyers seeking the perfect balance between intown convenience and a strong community vibe. And as inventory has become more scarce in the last 24 months, it’s only in-

16 JANUARY 2022| REPORTER NEWSPAPERS

Metro Atlanta Home Prices (11-county area) $460,000 $345,000 $230,000

$445,000

$373,500

$372,000

$306,000

$115,000 $0

Average Sales Price

November 2021

Median Sales Price November 2020

Source: Atlanta Realtors Association

creased the popularity of these sought after communities. However, rising interest rates may undermine purchase power, putting downward pressure on higher priced listings. 1 Predicting the market is a science of broad strokes, given how many factors influence our industry. And as we’ve seen play out in the last couple of years, it only takes a shift in one of those factors to make a big difference in the outcomes. For example, the way the real estate market responded to the pandemic was really fascinating and impossible to have anticipated. And with so many other factors at play, such as global trade, politics, and of course the effect of an evolving pandemic, the best thing we can do is continue to serve our clients’ needs even as they change. The single most important thing

buyers and sellers can do is consult with a realtor to understand how these factors are impacting their market at the local level.

Karen Cannon Karen Cannon Realtors After being in the business for many years now, I usually have a good sense of the market and the direction it is headed, but there is nothing normal about the market we experienced last year. The pandemic caused an unusual disruption

to the real estate market, and changed up what buyers usually look for in their homes. Based upon what we are seeing now and predictions from market experts, we expect prices to level off some as inventory slowly increases. Prices are still very strong and multiple offers are common. Albeit, buyer fatigue is starting to set in as buyers are becoming weary of the bidding wars, getting beat out or paying far more than what was “market value” just a short time ago. Homes that are renovated and movein ready still hold the strongest prices. For a buyer to renovate a home right now with the increased cost of building materials and supply chain issues can be too intimidating and risky. Because of this, new construction is doing very well and getting the strongest prices. While low inventory is the main driver of the current market, we do sense a shift lurking over the horizon but it’s hard to predict how and when it might play out. There is too much of an imbalance of buyers to homes available so I don’t anticipate anything drastic happening anytime soon. Interest rates are expected to rise, although they will still be historically low. Even so, even if rates increase a half percent, it significantly affects buying power. Nevertheless, we are still committed, no matter the state of the market, to helping our buyers find homes and getting sellers’ homes in front of the right buyers. reporternewspapers.com SS


Ashley Battleson, Bayne Battleson Group, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty All current signs point to 2022 being another very strong year in the Atlanta real estate market. The Residential Detached Average Sales Price increased 20% YTD 2021 vs YTD 2020. Inventory continues to be at historically low levels, buyer demand remains extremely high and interest rates remain low. All of these things make for a hot market but as a real estate agent, it also makes it very challenging. The continued inventory shortage will have an impact on home prices increasing. Patti Junger, Dorsey Alston Realtors A lack of inventory will continue to be a problem. New listings are down 5.2% yearto-date in Metro Atlanta, while the number of sales are up nearly 20%. This is an indicator of strong demand. This trend holds across every submarket, including Buckhead, Intown and Sandy Springs. We currently have less than two months of inventory in almost every submarket in metro Atlanta, where six months of inventory is considered a balanced market. Therefore, all indications are we will continue to see a seller’s market in 2022. The lack of inventory will continue to push prices upward in the coming year. Bill Murray, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices I think there will be leveling off. We can’t stay at 1820% growth every year. We should be around 10-13% since inflation is at about 5%. It’s a big market. It’s just gotten convoluted because there’s no inventory to meet the demand.

Angie Ponsell and Shannon Parkerson, Ponsell Luxury Group, Keller Williams Realty

Top Home Sales in 2021 Here are some of 2021’s highest-priced home sales in the Buckhead, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs communities. (Source: Staff research, Realtor.com)

All indicators show that 2022 should remain a seller’s market. There will continue to be a large shortage of home sales and competitive interest rates. This allows individuals to “cash out” on the accumulated equity and appreciation value of their homes and make a move for their current lifestyle. Jason Cook, Ansley Real Estate I think the outlook is very optimistic for Atlanta for the foreseeable future. People are moving here from other places in the country. Atlanta is still a good deal, as far as the housing market. Our city is drawing a lot of people and companies from around the country. People from New York or California don’t blink at a $1M price tag for a home, which is great for us.

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Valerie Levin, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New construction continues to be challenging due to the supply chain disruptions hitting industries around the world. Of course, this crisis is a result of Covid-19 paired with a boom in demand. The new home buyer must be very patient and expect the price of the property to increase from time of purchase.

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COMMENTARY

What to watch: Local leaders share their 2022 predictions 2022 certainly promises to be another news-filled year, from a continued fight against COVID-19 to a debate over whether Buckhead should break off from Atlanta. Reporter Newspapers surveyed local leaders to hear what they think will be the biggest issues in the next 12 months. These responses were edited for space. Read their full responses at ReporterNewspapers.com. — AMY WENK

in the way we all go about our daily routines, I believe 2022 will usher in an era of normalcy which I think all of us are looking forward to. Once of the fun things we’ll be bringing back is our annual Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival, back at Blackburn Park on March 26 and 27, 2022. I personally guarantee it will be a blast.

Rusty Paul, Mayor, Sandy Springs

Robb Pitts, Chair, Fulton County Board of Commissioners

We are excited to showcase our Performing Arts Center to the metro Atlanta area and beyond. As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ll offer a number of exciting performances, concerts and events to our visitors in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment. While crime has increased nationwide, our police department ensures Sandy Springs remains one of the safest places to live and visit. COVID-19 remains a concern, but we continue to adapt and move forward as safely as possible. Our fire department has hosted a number of educational and vaccine events throughout the community. The City selected the Heritage Building at 6110 Blue Stone Road to house the Georgia Holocaust Memorial and Anne Frank in the World exhibit. This important memorial will feature a greatly enhanced set of high-tech exhibits drawing on state-of-the-art technology. In the coming year, we’ll also continue our pursuit of water reliability for the residents of Sandy Springs. This is part of the City’s long-term vision and our residents deserve the opportunity to decide from where and how they receive their water. Lastly, it’s time to start working on the next phase of City Springs. We’ve come a long way since the development of our City Center campus, but there’s work to be done to update our master plan and expand our footprint.

The most important issue of 2022 is going to be the same as it was in 2021 and 2020 – fighting and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic. It might have briefly felt like we put this crisis behind us, but by June of this year, more Americans had died of COVID-19 in 2021 than in all of 2020. This year, we faced the Delta variant which caused a tremendous spike in cases and in deaths; in 2022, it seems likely we’ll be up against the Omicron variant and others. We know how to defeat this virus – by getting everyone fully vaccinated it becomes much more difficult for the virus to continue mutating. Unfortunately, the fight we’re in now is convincing people to actually get the vaccine. They have been in use for over a year now and just over 60% of eligible people in Fulton County have gotten a single dose. Now, we know that to be fully protected you need the booster shot – which only around 30% of eligible Fulton County residents have received.

Lynn Deutsch, Mayor, Dunwoody Even with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, Dunwoody has continued to thrive. City Council remains focused on connectivity by purchasing additional parkland, enhancing pedestrian and cyclist safety with new sidewalks and crosswalks, paving roads, hosting events and partnering to encourage improvements to the Dunwoody Village area. In 2022, Council will continue to make public safety a priority. In order to attract top talent to the Dunwoody Police Department, City Council approved a significant salary increase, as well as providing excellent benefits. Ambulance response times, which had improved before the pandemic, have not returned to an acceptable level. We are working with DeKalb public safety officials and our county commissioners on this important issue. We will begin construction of a new park in Perimeter Center and continue to work on plans for two other parks. The City will start constructing additional multi-purpose trails for both recreation and commuting. We have unveiled several public art pieces and have many more planned. We are thrilled that Hapag-Lloyd selected Dunwoody to be its North American home, and we anticipate similar announcements in 2022. A key takeaway from the pandemic is that outdoor space in commercial areas is as important as indoor spaces. High Street, Campus 244, and Ashford Lane will all add green space and amenities to the Perimeter area. John Ernst, Mayor, Brookhaven As always, the thing that affects most people more than anything else is traffic. We have made significant headway with recommendations from the Top End I-285 Transit collaborative with all of the cities and CIDs to work with the GDOT on the critical transit alternatives needed on the perimeter between Smyrna and Tucker. Of course, we’ll also be back at work paving our roads, making them some of the best in the state, leveraging SPLOST funds that were approved by voters in 2018. Speaking of SPLOST, Brookhaven’s new Public Safety Building, housing our police and Municipal Court, should be open for business this year. Also, design work will be underway for Phases II and III of the Peachtree Creek Greenway, which extends our “model mile” literally and figuratively, into a model for transit alternatives for the region. Construction on parks improvement projects will also be in high gear in 2022. Beginning in January, we’ll be working on all Lynwood Park projects at once, which will be an epic transformation in less than a year. We’ll continue to keep our eyes open for the latest developments in the worldwide COVID pandemic, and make any changes necessary to ensure the health and safety of our residents and our workforce. Having said that, with multiple vaccines readily available and changes

18 JANUARY 2022| REPORTER NEWSPAPERS

Alan Goodman, President & CEO, Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce Our City, just as most municipalities in the State of Georgia, is climbing out of a rough time for both our neighborhoods and businesses. Brookhaven, in my opinion, is ahead of most communities, in that more and more people are deciding on our city, which allows our businesses to attract new clients and tourists and once again continue to flourish. Simply look at the numbers of people who are walking around and driving and doing! As an intelligent friend of mine states, “Police, parks, and lack of potholes makes ours an attractive place to live and work; add to this formula, the amazing development going on around Children’s Hospital/Emory and a couple of other corridors”…enhancing our appeal even greater. My friend, whom I paraphrase here, is Mr. Joe Gebbia. Joe retired from our City Council after 12 years, but the council has added another strong person who (like the rest of the council including the Mayor) loves this place and will continue to help us grow this city. Stephanie Freeman, President and CEO, Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber Companies will continue to manage return to work guidelines, offer stay-at-home options and navigate any government mandates. If businesses require employees to be in office, the amount of traffic will increase, which will add more stress to already challenged retailers and restaurants who are confronted with issues while recruiting and retaining employees. Continued adaptation to curbside pickup and delivery options, as well as combating the loss of revenue due to delivery apps that reduce profit margins added to supply chain shortages, may also cause continued stress to many businesses. The real estate bubble may cause increased property taxes associated with inflated values, and there may be a long-term impact on commercial real estate due to remote working environments. The redevelopment of Dunwoody Village into a destination-for-all spot is an exciting and much anticipated project, one that will come with its own set of challenges as development gets underway. Jim Durrett, President of The Buckhead Coalition, Executive Director of Buckhead CID ​​Standing at the edge of 2022, it’s difficult to imagine that there has ever been a more pivotal year in Buckhead’s history than the one that lies ahead. Crime and cityhood are far and away the most pressing issues facing our community, and both have the potential to reshape the future of Buckhead, and the City of Atlanta, in dramatic fashion. The Buckhead Coalition and Buckhead Community Improvement District are heavily engaged on both fronts, working closely with many community-based groups to improve public safety and take a unified stand against the movement to split from Atlanta. We will continue working closely with the Atlanta Police Department in 2022 to grow the police force in Buckhead and reduce serious crime. We will also continue pushing for enforcement of license and permit violations to reduce illegal acreporternewspapers.com


tivity at problematic establishments. The first quarter of 2022 will be dominated by work to stop Buckhead cityhood legislation from passing in the Georgia General Assembly. With every passing day, more people are joining the effort to keep Buckhead a part of Atlanta, demonstrating a shared understanding that we are stronger together. I look forward to working with some of Atlanta’s most recognized leaders and its most passionate citizens to keep Buckhead and Atlanta unified. Denise Starling, Executive Director, Livable Buckhead Some years it can be difficult to anticipate what issues will be most pressing, but that is definitely not the case for 2022. Without a doubt, crime and cityhood will be the two biggest issues facing Buckhead in the year ahead. These are big challenges and there are no quick fixes, but I am encouraged to see the level of engagement in our community as people step up to advocate for a safer, more unified Buckhead. It’s important not to lose sight of other issues that have a dramatic impact on our quality of life, such as traffic. Livable Buckhead is taking innovative approaches in 2022, starting with a program for employer-subsidized housing that would make it more affordable for Buckhead’s workforce to live here instead of commuting from other parts of the city. We’ll also launch an on-demand shuttle service – similar to Uber or Lyft – that makes it easier for people to get around Buckhead without a car. And the final, major phase of PATH400 between Wieuca Rd. and Loridans Dr. will begin construction in 2022. When complete, Buckhead residents can walk or bike from one end of the community to the other, avoiding traffic and adding exercise to their daily routines.

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Ann Hanlon, Executive Director, Perimeter CID 2022 will be another year of growth for the Central Perimeter market. We have several new large companies bringing energy to the market, including Carvana in the Park Center campus and Insight Global in the 1224 building. We are also excited to welcome Hapag-Lloyd to Perimeter, where they plan to lease space in Ravinia. On the infrastructure front, 2022 should be a banner year for project funding from the federal government. It will take time and thoughtful consideration as we work with our elected officials to determine how and where those dollars will be invested. A successful TSPLOST referendum in Fulton County will also bring huge opportunities to invest in projects that benefit the Sandy Springs community on the Fulton County side of our District. Finally, as the 285 @ 400 interchange enters the final stages of construction, we can all begin to see how impactful this project will be when it is complete – not just for Central Perimeter, but for all of Metro Atlanta.

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Malaika Rivers, Executive Director, Chamblee Doraville CID

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2022 is determined to be quite a year. For businesses, labor shortages, supply chain issues, cost of materials and pandemic-related health concerns will continue into 2022 and impact all of us. Passage of the trillion dollar federal infrastructure bill presents major opportunities all the way down to the community level. Public-private partnerships are the name of the game as it allows dollars to stretch further. Much of the money will repair aged infrastructure but the feds also intend to push the needle on innovation. Politics is also always on the table. If Buckhead succeeds and forms its own city that will have major consequences. Metro Atlanta’s collective ability to attract and retain companies is our lifeblood and carving out a new city, essentially along racial lines, would be destructive on so many levels. That, combined with the divisive tenor of political rhetoric so prevalent today, will make for a wild ride in statewide races and midterm elections in 2022.

of a luxury address combined with attentive, expert support when the need arrives. Call 404.381.1743 today to schedule a complimentary lunch and personal tour.

Bob Fiscella, President, Dunwoody Homeowners Association Looking into my crystal ball, the biggest issue facing Dunwoody in 2022 will continue to be the DeKalb County School District and how it deals with overcrowding and failing infrastructure at virtually all of its facilities within the borders of the city. Dunwoody needs to continue to press for the construction of the proposed new elementary school near the intersection of Chamblee Dunwoody Rd. and Shallowford Rd. Is it the perfect location for a new school? Perhaps not, but it is necessary. It is also necessary to eliminate the overcrowded situation at the high school, and unfortunately adding onto the current facility is not the answer. An addition simply does not address some of the major issues including lack of athletic facilities and parking. @reporter_newspapers

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JANUARY 2022| 19


COMMENTARY

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FESTIVAL FEBRUARY 16–27

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FILM

Finding an old Army buddy for old time’s sake

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ATLANTA JEWISH 16A

WORTH KNOWING 17

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STREAMING and IN THEATERS AJFF.ORG

Have you ever wondered why midnight After he called home to tell his parents, on New Year’s Eve is always marked by the his mother wrote to Ed Jones, her U.S. Consame old Scottish song about remembergressman, pleading that her son Jimmy be ing old friends, especially those we have spared because she had already lost one forgotten? son over there. Eventually, we all long to see someone Nobody in the family knows exactly from our past, what happened, but Bolding’s order to go often someone never came through, and he served out the who left their rest of his time at Ft. Benning. Mike, howevmark while er, was still in Vietnam, and the two friends just passing wrote back and forth. through. But adult a Dunwoody-Sandy way of changing Carol Niemi is aPermarketing consultant wholife liveshas on the Springs line writes people whose lives inspire others. Contact at worthknowingnow@gmai hapsabout that unithings. Bolding went her back to Tennessee, versal longing where he became a construction superviis what makes sor. the song so en“I went to work on the river,” he said, during. “building riverbanks for the Army Corps of This was the Engineers, moving 17-ton granite rocks to case for Dunmake jetties in ship channels on the Missiswoody resident sippi and Ohio rivers.” BY CAROL NIEMI Holly Hawkins Mike came back to Georgia and spent – or more accuhis career working for Southern Railway. rately for her father, Jimmy Bolding, from Bolding married. Leading parallel lives, rural Bells, Tenn., a town so small most resboth men spent much time away from idents still don’t have internet. home because of their work. In time, they Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the DunwoodyThe story started in June of 1969, when lost touch with each other. Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire at age 19, Bolding was drafted others. and sent to But Jimmy Bolding never forgot his funContact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com. Ft. Campbell, Ga. ny, cheerful friend. And that brings us back In 1969, the Vietnam War was tearing to Dunwoody. the country apart. In the previous year, it “Through the years, he’s asked me to had taken the lives of 16,899 Americans. help find Mike,” said Holly. “He always The antiwar movement said, ‘I sure would like was at its peak. Though to know if he’s alive President Nixon had and how his life turned taken office vowing to out.’ I always told him I end the war, his stratwould find him.” egy was to expand and Holly did the intensify the fighting to searching because pressure the North VietBolding has no internamese to talk peace. net access. Though American ca“He’s never been sualties were on the deon the internet,” said cline, the year ended Holly, who for years with 11,780 deaths. searched for “Mike” The war had alKilgore on the interready brought tragenet. The result was lists dy to Bolding’s famiof names and phone ly with the death of his numbers and countJimmy Bolding of Bells, Tenn., and his older brother in 1967. less phone calls, never daughter Holly Hawkins of Dunwoody. His mother was overto the right Mike. whelmed by the specter of sending anothThen one night, after years of searching, er son to war. she searched “Michael” instead of “Mike,” Bolding reported to Ft. Campbell with and up popped Michael Kilgore and his a black cloud over his head. Too far from wife, Carol, in Suwanee. She called her faBells to go home on weekends, he was lonether to give him the news. ly. With pay of only $3 a day, he couldn’t af“I was so excited I was jumping up and ford much entertainment either. down,” she said. “My dad, who never gets In 1970, the cloud lifted when he was excited, said, ‘Really? Really? You really transferred to Ft. Benning and met Mike found him?’” Kilgore, a soldier from Marietta. Both selfShe called Mike and talked – or rather described “farm boys,” they became fast he talked – for 45 minutes. friends. Mike had a sense of normalcy “I can see why my dad liked him. He was about him as he was already married to very entertaining,” she said. Carol and went home with her most weekFinally, the two old friends had their ends. long-awaited phone call. Even more, Mike was a happy guy and “I really didn’t think it would happen,” a storyteller. Bolding said. “He was a funny guy,” said Bolding, “and They plan to meet the next time Bolding he liked to carry on like the rest of us.” visits Dunwoody. I wonder what they were The happiness was short lived because thinking on New Year’s Eve when the old that year Mike was sent to Vietnam, and song played. Bolding was told he too would have to go. reporternewspapers.com SS


TECHNOLOGY

After the deal: Roadie founder on the path to acquisition and the road ahead

Reporter Newspapers has partnered with Hypepotamus, the go-to source of startup and technology news in the Southeast. hypepotamus.com

Marc Gorlin, founder of Roadie.

BY MAIJA EHLINGER When Roadie first hit the streets, founder Marc Gorlin saw an opportunity to create a logistics marketplace that was somewhat of a “UPS, eBay and Airbnb spun together.” Seven years later, Roadie is now officially under the UPS banner. UPS is based in Sandy Springs. The road to acquisition looks different for every startup. But from being repped by Ludacris to getting a shoutout on Jimmy Kimmel, few have as many viral moments as Roadie has had. Roadie started with the premise that there is a “natural resource of regular people and regular vehicles” that have extra space as they travel throughout the city, Gorlin told Hypepotamus. What made the idea so powerful was that it scaled a network of drivers that gave businesses the same-day delivery tools that have traditionally only been available to the likes of Amazon. That helped small businesses and large corporations like Delta and The Home Depot work through logistics and local shipping challenges. The pandemic showcased just how important a network of drivers can be for businesses of all sizes. Roadie helped Tractor Supply, Advance Auto Parts, and @reporter_newspapers SS

even the craft supply company Micheal’s get omni-channel capacity up and running during the early part of 2020. “You might not think that sidewalk chalk and Rainbow Looms are essential items. But if you have a bunch of kids trapped at home, they become pretty essential pretty fast,” Gorlin said. While Roadie’s airline business dried up at the early part of the pandemic, retailers could not scale delivery options fast enough. That helped Roadie become an essential network for customers and businesses alike. “Our drivers were awesome. They essentially went from doing side hustles and gigs to becoming essential workers overnight. They were delivering groceries to people that couldn’t go to the stores. Sidewalk chalk and rainbow looms aside, we were delivering cleaning supplies, food, and prescriptions,” Gorlin said.

In addition to the capital investment, Gorlin said partnering with UPS for insurance provided necessary “credibility” to those looking to send items using the Roadie network early on. The UPS acquisition of Roadie officially closed in October of this year. Though exact numbers were not disclosed, Gorlin said that UPS “took care of all of our employees in a way that you don’t typically see in an acquisition.” The acquisition looks like a natural fit for two companies tackling very different problems in the logistics space. Roadie drivers have the capability to deliver oversized items and perishable goods, as well as take on 2-hour delivery options that traditional “hub and spoke” systems like UPS can’t manage. The acquisition made sense, Gorlin added, because “the goods transported by Roadie are not going to cross into the UPS network, and UPS packages aren’t going to cross into the roadie network.”

Behind the acquisition UPS and UPS Capital have had a long relationship with Roadie, including joining in on investment rounds since 2015. Gorlin also had a previous relationship with UPS through Kabbage, the FinTech giant he built in Atlanta with Kathryn Petralia and Rob Frohwein.

Building in Atlanta It’s no surprise a startup looking to shape the future of transportation infrastructure would be born in Atlanta. Roadie’s first HQ is less than 10 miles from “Mile Zero,” the traditional crossroads for the Southeast’s railroad net-

work. Roadie scaled quickly both in Atlanta and across the country, but Gorlin said he is proud that “a lot of OGs” have stuck around to make Roadie an Atlanta success story. He specifically shouted out general counsel Stephanie Millet and Head of Marketing Mary Frances Jones who helped get the startup off the ground early on. “My startup advice, in spite of what everybody else says, is you need a designer and a lawyer first. You’ve got to have somebody to make it look like something bigger than it is and show people the path forward. You’ve got to convince investors and employees and all these customers. And then you need someone to keep it street legal from the get-go.” Now, the Roadie team is ready to go and scale with UPS. For Gorlin, the acquisition is a chance to ensure Roadie is on streets and highways for years to come. “This is my fifth startup. So for a founder like me, you want to build something that actually lasts,” he said. “UPS is one of the biggest shipping logistics companies in the world. There’s a chance decades from now that my great-grandkids are going to get a Roadie delivery. And that’s pretty cool.” JANUARY 2022| 21


BUSINESS

Reporter Newspapers has partnered with Saporta Report to provide local business news from one of Atlanta’s most respected journalists, Maria Saporta. saportareport.com

New collaboration at Atlanta City Hall BY MARIA SAPORTA A drastically different Atlanta City Hall is taking office in January. A new mayor — Andre Dickens. A new city council president — Doug Shipman. Nine new Atlanta city councilmembers (including the return of Mary Norwood and Alex Wan after a four-year hiatus). But most importantly, the newly-elected leaders will bring a renewed spirit of cooperation to City Hall — thanks to the tone being set by Dickens and Shipman. “Doug is high-energy, like me,” Dickens wrote in an email. “Doug and I worked very well together when I was on the board of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and he was CEO. I like him, and I trust his character. My conversations with him have always been about the love of Atlanta and ways to solve our inequity and challenging social conditions.” In an hour-long interview, Shipman agreed. “I think Andre and I can have a collaborative approach that is unique, one that we haven’t seen in a long time,” he said. For the past 12 years, there’s been a distant — and often adversarial — relationship between the mayor and the city council president. Case in point, during the four years former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former City Council President Felicia Moore

were in office, they only donors, and advisers are met twice one-on-one. significant in every demoThat’s in stark contrast graphic.” to when Atlanta Mayor Shipman agreed. Shirley Franklin and City “When it comes to the Council President Cathy racial dynamics of govWoolard were in office erning, Mayor-elect Anin the early 2000s — the dre Dickens showed he last time there was a close has support from all over working relationship bethe city,” Shipman said. tween the mayor and the “The coalition he put topresident of the Council. gether covers a lot of the “Cathy Woolard and I city.” met every week,” FrankThe same can be said lin said in a telephone inabout Shipman, who was terview. “It certainly was able to garner at least 30 open. There was lots of dipercent of the vote from alogue.” every city council district. Doug Shipman and Andre Dickens That also was the last “You’ve got two people ran into each other in Midtown on time when there was a who can move across the Nov. 30 while they were campaigning Black mayor and a white entire city and can build during the run-off election. (Special) city council president — collaborations throughuntil now with Dickens out the city,” Shipman and Shipman taking ofsaid. “That’s going to open fice. up opportunities for us to work together.” More importantly, both Dickens and Dickens said he is sure they will have disShipman were able to draw support from evagreements about policy or agenda items, ery part of the city. but he added they are both professionals who “The racial dynamic can be seen in my will keep their disagreements civil. election results and even in the polling way “Atlanta needs unifiers with a track reback in June, and even in my first election in cord, a backbone, and an opinion,” Dickens 2013,” Dickens said. “My voters, supporters, said. “We will get the job done without draw-

ing lines.” Both Dickens and Shipman share another important attribute. Both consider former Mayor Franklin as their mentor – and both will turn to her for guidance and advice. “Shirley has a school of mentees,” Dickens said. “I’m just one of them. Doug is too. Great leaders can’t stop who they magnetize, especially those of us with a thirst for more input.” For Franklin, the new administration at City Hall will be an opportunity for her to fully serve as an elder statesman – a role she was denied during the administrations of Mayor Kasim Reed and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. In many ways, she now will be able to pay it forward. Franklin’s leadership was built on the foundation of two of her mentors – the late Mayor Maynard Jackson and Mayor Andrew Young. She relied on their counsel and support during her career in public service. Franklin, who downplayed her insider role, described both Dickens and Shipman as “intellectually curious” with “outstanding” networks and a willingness to talk with everybody. “I want to be helpful, but I’m not going to interfere,” she said. “I’ll be there if they just want to vent. These are hard jobs. And these are complicated times.”

Breaking ground in 2022 Exciting new trail and infrastructure projects in partnership with the City of Sandy Springs!

5.7

1 3

in planned infrastructure improvements for 2021

miles of trails in design or under construction

of metro Atlanta’s Fortune 1000 firms call Perimeter home

sq ft of commercial space

24m

2.7m

3.2m

10

sq ft of office space within a 10-minute walk or shuttle ride from MARTA

sq ft of new development in the last 5 years

people within a 30 minute drive

colleges and universities within 20 miles

9.25m

$

PERIMETER 2021

For 22 years, the Perimeter Community Improvement District has invested in access, mobility, and quality of life to create a signature destination for corporate headquarters, hospitality, and retail. Here’s a snapshot of our progress in 2021.

31m

Learn more about how we improve quality of life in Central Perimeter: perimetercid.org INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. It’s what we do. 22 JANUARY 2022| REPORTER NEWSPAPERS

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ARTS

Literary agent shares her top ‘bookish corners’ Brettne Bloom is a literary agent who divides her time between her home in Atlanta, where she moved with her husband and two teenage daughters last December, and New York City, where she is a founding partner of The Book Group. “After living full-time in New York for nearly 20 years I’m so excited to get to explore all the bookish corners of Atlanta,” Bloom says, “I’ve been thrilled to see how much vibrancy there is here in the literary community—and I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface.” Here are her Top 5 favorite spots so far. Happy reading!

Brettne Bloom. (Special/Brettne Bloom) 1. Virginia Highland Books is the bookstore of my dreams, with its perfectly curated selection of new releases and beloved classics, all in a stylish, airy space. There’s also a rotating collection of art (I’ve had my eye on one of their giant typewriter pieces for a while now) and a charming children’s section. The Instagram-worthy back staircase, stenciled with the names of famous authors, is the icing on the cake. My older daughter loves this store almost as much as she loves Sally Rooney, so I’ll be stopping in to buy her a copy of “Beau-

tiful World, Where Are You,” a bestselling novel about moody millennials searching for love and the meaning of life. While I’m there, I’ll also pick up some gifts for my mom: Elizabeth Strout’s “Oh William,” so we can have a mini-book club, Anthony Doerr’s “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” the last book that wowed me, and Ann Patchett’s “These Precious Days,” which made me cry. My mom and I love a good tearjerker. 2. The Atlanta History Center: I spend at least one or two days a week reading and editing manuscripts at Brash Coffee in the Atlanta History Center. The café has such a great vibe, and I’m addicted to their oat milk cappuccinos. Before I leave, I like to pop into the museum shop tucked in the back, with its great selection of books by local and regional writers, cookbooks, and works on history, antiracism, and social justice. My younger daughter is a passionate baker, so on my next stop, I’ll be picking up a copy of Cheryl Day’s “Treasury of Southern Baking.” Day was part of the History Center’s excellent reading series last year, and her family stories are as memorable as her recipes are delicious. I’m also going to buy a copy of Amanda Gorman’s new poetry collection “Call Us What We Carry” for my own library and two copies of “How the Word is Passed” by Clint Smith, which cracked me open when I listened to the audio edition last fall. One for my husband, the other to donate to the Little Free Library on my street. The more people who read Clint Smith, the better. 3. H Mart Extravaganza: For the foodie in your life, here’s what I’d suggest: Head over to the nearest outpost of the famed Asian grocery store chain and load up with an armful of goodies. Rice cakes, Wagyu beef slices, maybe even a Cuckoo rice cooker. The sky’s the limit! Then, pick up a copy of “Crying in H Mart,” Michelle Zauner’s celebrated memoir of losing her Korean mother to cancer, that also explores the connection between food and identity. Present this bounty along with a Spotify link to the new album from Mi-

Virginia Highland Books with owner Sandy Huff. (File) chelle’s band Japanese Breakfast, which is nominated for two Grammy Awards. (“Posing for Cars” is the most moving song of the year, in my opinion.) Read, eat, listen, repeat. It will be a true feast for the senses. 4. I went to Emory for undergrad, so I love to support the writers in their English and Creative Writing department. Jericho Brown, Tiphanie Yanique, and Tayari Jones are three of my current

favorites—Tiphanie’s third novel, “Monster in the Middle,” just came out to rave reviews. You can find their books anywhere, of course, but I’ll be purchasing copies for my best friend at For Keeps Books, a remarkable bookstore+boutique+reading room+oasis founded by artist Rosa Duffy. Last I checked, For Keeps also had a signed collector’s edition of “Kindred” by Octavia Butler, among many others.

Lucian Books and Wine. (File)

5. Lucian Books and Wine: For the ultimate splurge: A gift certificate to dinner at Lucian Books and Wine. You saw that one coming, right? Atlanta’s hottest restaurant opening of 2021 merges three of my favorite things: books, wine, and French fries with horseradish mayonnaise (actually, I’m sure everything on the menu is delicious). What could’ve come off as a tad pretentious is instead a space that you’ll want to linger in for… eternity. If you’re looking to spoil the super special person in your life —the hip lawyer who solves all your legal woes, the cool assistant who saves your bacon, the fashionista babysitter who loves to finger paint with your kids—here’s your answer. Brash Coffee at the Atlanta History Center. (Special/Atlanta History Center) @reporter_newspapers SS

JANUARY 2022| 23


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JANUARY 2022| 24


Talking It Out Page 36

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JANUARY 2022 | SECTION TWO

Our annual recognition of students who give back to the community in extraordinary ways returns after a pandemic pause. Frankly, we are in awe of the ingenuity, resilience, and time management skills this group of honorees brings to the table. From creating nonprofits and fundraising to mission trips and mentoring, the 2022 class of 20 Under 20 are a beacon of hope in our troubled times. This year, Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown joined forces to select the honorees from our coverage areas, which was no easy task. But we think you’ll agree that these students deserve all the accolades for their efforts to help better their communities. — Amy Wenk and Collin Kelley

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Chase, 1 n e r r a D | 7 1 , s Ariana Jone ool The Galloway Sch

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n the midst of the pandemic, Darren Chase and Ariana Jones started So-

start our non-profit, we had no idea the impact we would have on both the commu-

cializing for Senior Citizens, a non-profit organization that aims to connect

nity and our own lives,” Darren said. “One of my favorite experiences with the non-

teens and young adults with senior citizens who have experienced physical

profit was how close I got to one of my seniors. I soon started calling him twice a week

and emotional isolation during the height of the pandemic. The students re-

and eventually took socially distanced, masked walks with him.” Ariana said the dis-

cruited classmates to check in and connect with seniors using Zoom, phone

regard for senior citizens had always angered her, and the pandemic motivated her

calls, FaceTime, emails, cards, and more. As of November, Socializing for Se-

to act. “While I have been and still am a part of many organizations and movements

nior Citizens had held 169,915 minutes of calls and sent 9,734 emails and cards. The

to fight for change, I had never started one myself. Starting this non-profit and see-

duo also served on the student committee that helped Galloway earn a No Place for

ing its success helped me realize that I am much more capable of being a leader than

Hate School designation two years in a row. “When my friend Ariana and I decided to

I thought I could be.”

Share on Instagram #20Under20

@REPORTER_NEWS


20 UNDER 20

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oe has volunteered at Sandy Springs Mission (SSM) in person, on Zoom during the pandemic, and at their summer camp. To help with her tutoring at SSM, she went through structured literacy training to teach her how to better teach reading. Zoe is also part of the ESOL (English as a Second Language) tutoring program at Riverwood and a tutor in the school’s Riverwood High School writing center, where she leads the virtual tutoring program. “Through my volunteer work, I have become a kinder and more patient person,” Zoe said. “I have learned to remain grateful for everything in my life, and I have also grown my passion for education.”

Zoe Van de Grift, 18

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his year’s youngest honoree may not have her driver’s license yet, but she is already giving back to the community by volunteering at the Center for Puppetry Arts and at Zoo Atlanta. At the zoo, she answers visitor’s questions about the animals and recently applied for the high school volunteer program where she’ll commit a minimum of 160 volunteer hours at the zoo over the course of a year. “I have learned to be willing to assist others no matter how small it seems because you never know how much of a help it is to the other person,” Tatiana said. “There were times in my volunteer work that I was asked to do things that I thought were insignificant because they didn’t take me a lot of time or effort to do. And many North Springs Charter School times, I would find out later how much of a help it was to someone and how grateful they were for my assistance.”

Tatiana Plummer, 14

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n 7th grade, Carly’s dad was diagnosed with a rare occurrence of breast cancer. The experience heightened her interest in medicine and research, leading her to intern for three summers with the at Houston Methodist Hospital’s ALS and Alzheimer’s research lab. In 10th grade, she was asked to participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year competition and raised over $7,000 Pace Academy as a team member. Her junior year, she co-led a Secure the Cure team that raised over $233,000, the most in metro Atlanta. Carly personally raised over $62,000 and funded the Evan Appel Immunotherapy research grant in honor of her father. Last summer, she spent a week shadowing doctors and nurses at Whiteriver Indian Hospital and making home visits on the Ft. Apache reservation in Arizona. “Through my involvement at Pace and my work with LLS, I learned that adaptable leadership is the key to success,” she said. “I discovered that motivation isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair, and as a leader it’s necessary to understand what motivates each of your team members.”

Carly Appel, 18

26 JANUARY 2022| REPORTER NEWSPAPERS

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M

addie is passionate about the environment and social justice issues. As co-president of the Environmental Club, she helped organized a clean-up of Nancy Creek, which runs through the Marist campus. She’s also extensively involved with the Campus Ministry program, leading retreats, as part of the Peer Leader program, and volunteering in Marist School the community. “Inspiring people to care about the environment requires not expecting them to agree with me on everything, but rather meeting them where they are,” Maddie said. “In order to accomplish things like an improved recycling program at my pool, I learned to work together with others, many of whom held differing opinions. Experiences like this one taught me the importance of teamwork in all aspects of my life.”

paceacademy.org/admissions

CONNECTING LEARNING TO LIFE AT EVERY LEVEL.

mm, 17

La Madeline ‘Maddie’

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eorge is a member of Youth Leadership Sandy Springs, a program that develops the next generation of leaders. Over a 10-month period this year, George is working with local leaders to learn more about service, local businesses, government, and citizenship. As a member of the Young Men’s Service League, he has packed lunches for MUST Ministries, served meals for Feeding the Homeless, completed a recycling and outdoor equipment cleanup with Keep North Fulton Beautiful and the Chattahoochee Nature Center, and spent time with seniors at Mount Vernon Towers. At Holy Innocents’, George serves as executive president of student council and is president of the UNICEF Club. “Through my volunteer and charity work, I have learned to identify and respect the unique situations of people in my communiHoly Innocents’ Episcopal School ty and to specifically target their needs,” he said. “In addition, I have realized that collaboration with others is crucial to problem solving and that even small acts of kindness can have a major impact. “

George Wray, 18

Now Enrolling for

2022

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• Independent Study Courses for Credit

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Call 770.645.2673 or visit EatonAcademy.org @reporter_newspapers

JANUARY 2022| 27


S

arah and Ben cofounded PRISM, an initiative designed to challenge Lovett’s curriculum, programming, and leadership decisions to be more inclusive for all things LGBT+. They visited department heads to discuss opportunities in the curriculum, presented a program on National Coming Out Day, and are The Lovett School formalizing the initiative so that underclassmen can take the reins when they graduate. Ben was honored with the Nancy Fraser Parker Citizenship Award to honor well-rounded students who are actively involved in school-sponsored program, while Sarah leads the Student Diversity Leadership Council and Girl Talk Club and was named the state leader of March for Our Lives, the student organization against gun violence. “Through my work in PRISM and March for Our Lives, I’ve definitely learned

Sarah Dowling, 17

the importance of taking things one step at a time,” Sarah said. “The big end goals of comprehensive education about LGBTQ+ topics and stopping gun violence will only be achieved at the end of each “climb,” and I’ve come to realize just how important each small step is (meetings, events, assemblies, emails, you name it) to reaching those goals. No effort I’ve worked on could have been The Lovett School accomplished without the help and support of other people with a shared passion for equity.” Ben, who also served with Sarah on the Student Diversity Leadership Council said, “I have learned how to navigate conversations with individuals holding differing opinions than my own. After having countless conversations on race, sexuality/gender, and other forms of diversity, I feel confident expressing my own opinions and beliefs, but I am also aware that my personal experiences do not apply to every conversation on diversity. “

Ben Foster, 17

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hether it’s responding to a call on NextDoor to help clean up her community, gathering donations for the Friends of Disabled Adults and Children thrift store, collecting reading material for Books for Africa, volunteering at animal shelters, or her devotion to Girl Scouts, Sheridan has been giving back to the community since she was a child. She was accepted into the UPenn Social Innovators Entrepreneurship program and is working on starting a non-profit that assists the needs of the senior community “Charity and volunteer work provides so many valuable lessons, but the most rewarding lessons are lifelong in the relationships that I have built by engaging in these Capstone Academy activities,” Sheridan said. “I have always been an extrovert, the more people I get to know within my community, the more I learn about life and myself. My goal as I continue on this journey is to be strong, optimistic, faithful, caring, and open to new experiences and points of view as I share my own.”

Sheridan Stevens, 17

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s a freshman in high school, Kira got involved with Friendship Circle and Gigi’s Playhouse where she helped a young girl with Down Syndrome to enter mainstream classes. She also teaches music and dance therapy classes for adolescents with Down Syndrome. Helping the underprivileged in her ancestral home of South African included donating clothes, cooking dinner for an all-girls shelter, and bringing dinner to homeless individuals while on family visits. She also volunteers at the Bremen Jewish Home, helping serve meals, playing bingo, and reading to residents. Kira also worked with Am Yisrael Chai to plant daffodils around the world to honor those that perished in the Holocaust. Each year, she runs an annual 5k to remember those who perished and assists Holocaust survivors to light candles at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Program. “I’ve noticed that when you shift the focus from yourself to serving others, you are able to experience a more gratifying form of joy,” Kira said “The experiences, love, relationships, and skills I have gained through my volunteering will stay with me forever and will continue to influence my actions.” The Web

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s leader of her school’s community service club, Jennifer organizes projects for students, including helping Atlanta’s homeless community in Atlanta with food and clothing drives. She’s also the leader of the Green Club, which, under her guidance, is growing vegetables for people who do not have access to healthy food. Her other volunteer work includes hurricane relief, Medshare, American Red Cross, tutoring students, and is a principal member of the school’s Amnesty International chapter, which advocates for Academe of the Oaks human rights. “Volunteering to me is a way of expressing gratitude towards those who have shown me kindness and passing that kindness forward to others,” Jennifer said. “As a volunteer, I’ve learned how a small act of kindness can have a big impact on someone’s life. Volunteering is full of self-discovery, developing new skills, creating friendships, and bringing joy to peoples’ faces.”

Jennifer Van Par, 17

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s a member of Woodward’s Service Leadership Board, Zach helped organize care packages and created a performance recording to send to the elderly residents at a local nursing home during the pandemic to help them feel connected to the outside world. He also initiated and spearheaded the Prison Library Book Drive and hosted a letter writing event to support veterans. “To me, service is not just an act, it is an attitude, it is a way of life,” Zach said. “Every day, I try to think of ways I can help others. It can be as simple as holding the door open for someone or asking them how they’re doing, and it can be as complex as organizing a drive or volunteerWoodward Academy ing at a service initiative. Service to me is placing the interests of others before my own. It is the image of Jesus washing the Disciples’ feet.”

Zach Gardner, 17

Discover Marist Parent Information Sessions Monday mornings via Zoom War Eagle Walking Tours Varying weekdays on campus Friday Forums Weekly Zoom discussions featuring leaders from campus ministry, athletics, fine arts, and more Shadow Days for Rising 9th Graders Tuesdays & Thursdays, January through mid-March REGISTER TODAY AT:

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lijah has been a L.E.A.D. Ambassador for four consecutive years. L.E.A.D. (Launching, Exposing, Advising, Directing) has partnered with Atlanta Public Schools since 2010 to empower an at-risk generation by using baseball to teach Black boys how to overcome three curveballs that threatNew Schools at Carver en their success: crime, poverty and racism. Elijah leads baseball practices and is co-creator of a signature Adidas shoe and cleats. He also serves as a mentor for over 200 boys in the L.E.A.D. Middle School Character Development League and has helped increase the number of high school recruits to join the organization from his school. “A personal lesson I’ve learned from volunteering is that the small things that I contribute could impact someone’s entire day, and their smile will let me know I did my part,” Elijah said.

Elijah Grant, 17

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harlie is busy at school, (marching band, student government, named Mr. Sophomore at homecoming, to name a few), but he’s also active in the community. He’s a volunteer in the Princeton Way Neighborhood Association, where he assists in neighborhood activities and special preparation for community events. Charlie also serves as a Youth Lay Delegate for the Atlanta College Park District of the North Georgia United Methodist Church Annual Conference and serves as Senior Teen Chaplin for the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. “Through serving others, I have learned that being kind is its own gift,” Charlie said. “Just by showing kindness, I can make someone’s day better and then, suddenly, my day is better, too. You never know what kind a day a person may ol Druid Hills High Scho be having, so it’s best to lead with respect and kindness.”

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TOGETHER we are more At Whitefield, we understand the importance of community. That is why we are dedicated to bolstering Christian families in rearing young people who go on to college and life with a passion for learning, for others ahead of self, and for the living and active Jesus. A Christ-centered College Preparatory School for PreK through 12th Grade located in Smyrna, Ga.

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www.springmont.com 32 JANUARY 2022| REPORTER NEWSPAPERS

ara’s cousin, Logan, was born with Down’s Syndrome. Inspired by him, Kara and her older sister, Brooke, started volunteering with Special Olympics and became interested in Unified Sports programs, where able-bodied athletes compete alongside individuals with disabilities. In 2017, the sisters founded the Play Unified Club at Westminster to proThe Westminster School mote the social s inclusion and acceptance of individuals with disabilities by providing opportunities for students to engage in sports, music, and STEM activities with them. Kara has been the president of the Play Unified Club since 2020. In 2021, Kara was selected for a mentorship summer program sponsored by KPMG and Special Olympics. She’s also actively involved GiGi’s Playhouse, a Down Syndrome Achievement Center that provides free programming and services to families, including creating a lending library of multi-sensory therapeutic equipment. “I learned that I could make a much greater and deeper impact by focusing on one cause in our community,” Kara said. “Because I am passionate about helping people with disabilities, I was motivated to partner more closely with Atlanta organizations to make a difference.”

Kara Stevens, 16

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urtis has spent countless hours sorting thousands of donations for the homeless at the Atlanta Mission, but it’s the interaction with the people he’s met there that has left the lasting impression. “Obviously, donations for the homeless are important, but so is sitting with them and having a conversation,” Curtis Midtown High School said. “Many of them sit all day being ignored by almost everyone who passes by, while we talk to dozens of people every day. Some are so deprived of human interaction that a simple conversation can be worth just as much as any amount of money someone can hand out their car window.” Along with his volunteer work in Atlanta, Curtis also travelled to Ecuador to help build a school and interact with the students. “Building a new school is amazing, but what is the point if the kids in the school are not happy. Little kids are far more likely to remember their first kickball game, rather than those who put the last brick on their school.”

Curtis Harris, 17

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aylor volunteers at the Hi-Hope center, which cares for adults with developmental disabilities, and packs Operation Christmas Child boxes for less fortunate families with her mom every holiday season. She’s also been a student ambassador for two years, volunteering to lead new and prospective students Greater Atlanta Christian around camSchool pus. She’s also an active participant in the school’s marching band, which she calls her second home. “Among the most profound lessons I have learned during my time serving are the importance of humility and gratitude,” Taylor said. “Ultimately, the greatest gift obtained through service is the inevitable joy it brings to the community. Seeing how these acts bring so much joy to people who have so little makes me significantly more grateful for the blessings I have been given in my life.”

Taylor Leslie, 16

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mmanuella’s interest in her own family history led her to serve at the Haitian Institute of Atlanta—a mission focused on helping Haitian immigrants transition into American life. There, she helps run educational seminars and workshops for families on a wide variety of topics, from coping with trauma to community problem-solving. In Haiti, she served as a counCristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School selor at a children’s camp, while also teaching science classes and assisting with health checks. “I was raised by a deeply rooted Haitian immigrant family living in the United States, emphasizing education and supporting the people around you,” Emmanuella said. “Through my volunteer work, where I spent countless days in Haiti working with the kids, I connected to Haiti. I gained a love for my country and its people. I realized that immigrating to a new country does not mean completely erasing the country of origin. I learned never to forget where I come from.”

Emmanuella Buteau, 17

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atherine spent three years creating Troop Hope, a web-based program launched last winter allowing girls of all ages undergoing long-term medical treatments in the hospital to participate in Girl Scouts and earn special badges. Started at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals, Troop Hope has expanded to 10 hospitals in six states, with others expressing interest in offering the program once pandemic regulations ease. With Troop Hope, Catherine earned her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, completed by only 6% of Scouts. In addition, she received the Scouts’ highest honor as Woman of Distinction. Coastal Carolina University “Volunteering and giving back to my community has given me so many opportunities to expand my horizons and has always made me feel empowered knowing that my efforts are making a positive impact on someone else’s life,” Catherine said.

Catherine Friedline, 18

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homas has been a L.E.A.D. Ambassador for four years, transforming himself into a dependable leader, including serving as senior class president at Booker T. Washington High School. He also serving as a mentor in the L.E.A.D. Middle School Character Development Booker T. Washington High School League, regularly attends formal galas with the organization’s director, and assists with donor relations as a part of L.E.A.D.’s fundraising efforts. “My personal lesson learned from volunteering is how good it feels to be really helpful to someone else,” Thomas said. “Waking up every day knowing that someone else is happy makes me feel joyful.”

Thomas Fennell, 17

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very week for the past three years, Asha has been a volunteer tutor at New American Pathways (NAP) working with middle school students in DeKalb County. During the pandemic, she increased those hours to help students struggling with academics, specifically math, while trying to learn from home. StuThe Paideia School dents constantly calling Asha outside of her tutoring time to ask questions and no matter how busy she is or what time of day she always stops to help them. Asha is also a longtime UNICEF volunteer, creating multiple fundraisers for international humanitarian efforts specifically for COVID vaccinations and to support Afghanistan refugees. She recently completed a fundraiser called “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” where she sold candy grams at school where she raised almost $1,000. “I sincerely value the friendships I have made with the students at New American Pathways, gaining both perspective and understanding of the challenges they have overcome,” Asha said. “I have a deep respect for their perseverance and work ethic, qualities that I hope I can emulate.”

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It’s not easy being a middle or high school student today with 24/7 social pressures and the uncertainty of a persistent pandemic. And adolescents who have marginalized identities such as being low-income, youth of color, and/ or LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience mental health stressors and less likely to access help, especially in Georgia, which ranks last in the nation for access to mental health care. Hopebound seeks to bridge that gap by providing weekly one-on-one teletherapy to under-resourced adolescents, ages 10-17 in Atlanta (and Newark), during the school year. “Hopebound isn’t too good to be true,” said founder Christina Guilbeau. “We provide our services at no or very low cost because our supervised clinicians are pursuing licensure. Our mission is to make mental health support more accessible to adolescents in need.”

The nonprofit works with schools, afterschool programs and families for referrals. Hopebound staff meet with each caregiver and youth client to explain their services, complete the intake process and provide devices/ hotspots, if needed. The adolescent is then matched with a supervised prelicensed clinician. “We also have monthly caregiver sessions,” said Cayla Winn, Hopebound Programs and Operations Manager. “We want parents to be as involved as possible – not breaching any confidentiality – but to check in on how their child is progressing.” While teaching middle school in Baton Rouge, Guilbeau became aware of the lack of mental health support for adolescents. “I saw how it made my students unable to show up in the way they really wanted to because of everything they were dealing with outside of the classContinued on page 38 reporternewspapers.com


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Continued from page 36 room,” Guilbeau said. She also experienced burnout trying to plan individual lessons for “100 students on almost 100 different proficiency levels,” so she sought mental health support for herself. “I had been dealing with what is called ‘high functioning anxiety and depression’ since I was 14.” Guilbeau said. That’s the age at which 50 percent of lifetime cases of mental illness begin. Her “aha” moment came later while pursuing her MBA in nonprofit management at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “During that time, one of my former students with whom I’m very close almost took her own life,” Guilbeau said. “I was the only adult who knew what was going on. I needed to do something.” Meanwhile, Guilbeau’s friends and family members who were pursuing mental health professional degrees were struggling to earn their clinical hours. This sparked Guilbeau’s idea to virtually connect adolescents in need of mental health support with supervised clinician interns. “I knew there were so many other kids

out there like my student who needed accessible one-on one mental health care,” Guilbeau said. “So I thought, let’s make these two come together. I applied for and received the 2019 Stanford Social Innovation Fellowship and with that funding, launched Hopebound.” Hopebound’s clinicians are graduate students – studying counseling, social work, clinical psychology, or marriage and family therapy – required to complete supervised hours for licensure. Through the nonprofit, they provide talk therapy services and meet with a licensed mental health clinician weekly to review and support their cases. “I tell them, ‘This is as authentic as it’s going to be’,” Winn said. “These are real clients; these are real kids. It’s preparing them for what they are going to do after school.” Current Atlanta clinicians include Brenau University graduate students and a post-graduate clinician from Clark Atlanta University. For the 2021-2022 school year, the nonprofit is serving 42 adolescents in Atlanta, coming from SLAM! Atlanta charter school (grades 4 - 6), Paideia (financial scholarship students) and caregiver referrals. “We will be launching a virtual group in January with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, with an estimated 8-10 participants,” Guilbeau shared. Research indicates that clients can show improvement within a few months of starting therapy. This is consistent with Hopebound’s initial results; all clients reporting a 21% average improvement in their mental health functioning. “I have learned how to identify and cope with sudden feelings of anxiety, and that I am not as alone as I would think,” a client shared. “My children adore their therapists (as do we) and seem to have a much greater understanding of their emotions” a caregiver shared. “I think having a neutral, relatable third party in their corner helps them feel heard and understood in a way that they hadn’t felt before.” The nonprofit is seeking more Atlanta partners to reach more adolescents and pre-licensed clinicians. “We try to be responsible with our growth because we know how fragile this is, “Guilbeau said. “We were unable to serve all interested families and community partners due to limited capacity. We are excited to be able to expand next school year.” Caregivers, schools, and community partners learn more at Hopebound.com.

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Harlem Globetrotters visit Cumberland Academy BY AMY WENK The students of Sandy Springs-based Cumberland Academy of Georgia were treated to some impressive basketball skills. Torch George and Moose Weekes of the Harlem Globetrotters took part in the school’s annual Faculty vs. Students basketball game. The Globetrotters joined the student team, and former NFL player Lee Woodall played with the faculty members. Other celebrities included Gina Kavali, a radio personality for Cumulus Media, who acted as the sports commentator. Former NBA player Eddie Lee Wilkins refereed the game. “The game was full of dunks, three pointers, intensity and fun,” said a Cumberland Academy spokesperson. “Torch demonstrated her Guinness World Record move for the most basketball under the leg tumbles in one minute, and Moose landed an impressive long shot basket in a single attempt. Ultimately, the students brought home the win with a score of 52-15.”

“We are blessed to have such influential people take time out of their busy schedules to be a part of these memorable events and serve our students.”

From left, Torch George of the Harlem Globetrotters; Debbi Scarborough, founder and head of school for Cumberland Academy of Georgia; Eddie Lee Wilkins, a former Atlanta Hawks player; and Moose Weekes of the Harlem Globetrotters. (Photos courtesy of Cumberland Academy of Georgia)

Galloway students confidently embrace challenges while developing the knowledge, skills, and cultural competence to thrive as enlightened contributors in their chosen pathways.

Debbi Scarborough

Cumberland Academy serves students in grades 4 through 12 who have high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities. “We are blessed to have such influential people take time out of their busy schedules to be a part of these memorable events and serve our students,” said Debbi Scarborough, founder and head of school for Cumberland Academy. “The Globetrotters’ natural talent to combine entertainment and skill provided the encouragement even our most introverted students needed to keep trying until they succeeded.” @reporter_newspapers

PRE-K3 – GRADE 12

Schedule your family’s tour at gallowayschool.org/visit! JANUARY 2022| 39


A Perfect Match

New event center, foster care nonprofit join forces for good BY DONNA WILLIAMS LEWIS Christie Simons was looking for event space for Atlanta Angels, a nonprofit she co-founded in 2020 to serve the foster care community. At the same time, event planner Lauren Pelissier was eager to fulfill her vision for 42West, the event space she recently created with former Atlanta Hawks player Kevin Willis (#42) on Atlanta’s Upper Westside. Focused on creating high-end occasions such as red-carpet film premieres, 42West was designed to also give back to the community. Its paid events are a funding stream allowing Atlanta nonprofits to rent the space at zero rental cost. Simons and Pelissier found each other through mutual social media connections and the result was “incredible,” Simons said. Atlanta Angels became the first charity hosted at 42West, launching its “Until Every Child is Reached” campaign at the venue on Nov. 11. The “Influence for Impact” event featured live music, live artist painting, din-

Celebrating 70 years of joyful learning Serving students age three through Sixth Grade, Trinity School has cherished childhood while preparing our students for the future since 1951. Our small class sizes, early childhood and elementary education experts, and state-of-the-art technology are just some of the reasons your child will flourish at Trinity, Atlanta’s only private elementary-only school!

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Atlanta Angels’ “Until Every Child is Reached” was the first charity event hosted at the 42West event space. (Photos by Beri Irving)

Lauren Pelissier of 42West, right, and Christie Simons, founder of Atlanta Angels.

ner and a service project. Guests filled “Love Boxes” with family night-type items for foster care families. “It’s important to hold those types of events, but we like to reserve as much of our finances as possible to go into our programs. So, to not have to use that money to pay for an event space is really incredible. We’re super grateful for that,” said Simons, Atlanta Angels’ executive director. “We wanted the whole evening to be really just incredible and memorable and the space really lended itself to that. The space is amazing.” The 6,000-square-foot venue is in renovated 1950’s-era warehouse space in the Blandtown neighborhood on Huff Road. It features 17-foot-high black ceilings, brick walls, and a white wall used for projection. Nonprofits are charged “very nominal” fees for security, valet parking and cleaning, Pelissier said. Willis’ clothing store, Willis and Walker, occupies 6,000 square feet on the other side of the building. Collaborating with Atlanta Angels was appealing to Pelissier and Willis, who both have long experience in youthrelated nonprofit work. In 2002, Willis co-founded the Atlanta Children’s Foundation, which supports reporternewspapers.com


children living in long-term foster care. Pelissier, a Southern California native now living in Decatur, ran a camp for homeless children for 18 years. She’s the founder of S’more Smiles, a nonprofit that provides a camp experience for children in hospitals. The Atlanta Angels event “literally filled our walls with love,” Pelissier said. “They’re lovely humans, doing amazing work.” A counselor by training, Simons started thinking about helping foster care families while attending an Atlanta Braves game with her husband and the daughter they adopted through the foster care system. “That’s one of our favorite things to do and I was kind of reflecting on how grateful I am,” Simons said. “Then I thought about the fact that there are still thousands of children in foster care in the metro Atlanta area whose childhoods are not filled with fun, happy memories … and I wanted to do something about that.” Georgia had about 12,000 children in foster care as of August 2021, according to the state Division of Family & Children Services. Simons said more than 50 percent of foster families close their homes within the first six months to a year because they feel overwhelmed. Children in foster care move an average of seven times every two years, she said. Atlanta Angels is a chapter of National Angels, which began in Austin, Texas in 2009 and has more than 20 chapters around the country. Simons co-founded the local chapter with Alex Brownfield, current Board chair. Through the Angels’ Love Box program, volunteers deliver boxes filled with items tailored to the specific needs of their matched families every month and spend intentional time with the families, building relationships with them. Simons shared a message an Atlanta Angels Love Box leader received from a foster mom in their program. “Beth” had taken in a sibling set with a medically fragile child who would need intensive care and frequent hospital stays. Despite the challenges she faced, Beth wrote: “I had no idea fostering could be this good. We feel so loved and supported. With previous placements, every day was a struggle, and I didn’t know if we would make it. With the boys and all the support we have, I am positive we can give them everything they need for as long as they need us.”

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How you can help Atlanta Angels has served more than 250 children through its Love Box foster family support program, a Dare to Dream youth mentorship program and special initiatives. For information on volunteering or donating, visit atlantaangels.org. To find out more about the 42West event space, visit 42westentertainmentgroup.com. @reporter_newspapers

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9-year-old Sandy Springs entrepreneur lands Meta grant BY AMY WENK “Get started. Done is better than perfect.” That’s the business advice Zoe Oli, 9, gave in a talk with Meta’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “A lot of people think it has to be the perfect time to start. But if you wait for that, you are going to wait forever,” Zoe told Sandberg. The Sandy Springs kid entrepreneur certainly didn’t stall her dreams. Zoe is the CEO behind a growing business called Beautiful Curly Me, which creates Black dolls with curly and braided hair. Meta (formerly Facebook) recently awarded Beautiful Curly Me a $4,000 grant as part of its $100 million investment in Black-owned small businesses. The state of Georgia was the largest recipient of the grants, receiving more than $5.6 million. In December, Sandberg interviewed Zoe and her mother, Evana Oli, on Instagram Live, asking about the origins of the company and their future plans. “It all started when I was six years old, and I did not like my hair,” said Zoe, her curly hair pulled back with a headband. “I wished my hair was straight like my class-

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“I liked her, but she did not have hair like mine,” she said. Instead, the doll had straight, silky hair. “I still did not feel good about myself because of that.” It was then Zoe said she wanted to do something about it. She wanted to start a business. “I was taken aback,” Evana said. “She was six years old.” Today, Beautiful Curly Me sells 18-inch dolls named LeZoe Oli, 9, and her mother Evana. yla and Anika with curly or mates.” braided hair in Zoe said her mother tried to console her different skin tones. The company also ofand bought her a Black doll at the store. fers hair care, along with books written by

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Zoe that aim to empower young girls. Beautiful Curly Me has since been featured on national media outlets from “Good Morning America” to People magazine. Sandberg praised the dolls. “Not only is she beautiful with her curly hair, but she’s anatomically correct. This is a real girl,” she said. “You are helping girls feel good about their hair, their skin and their bodies. That is so wonderfully important.” Evana said her daughter is the “driving force” behind the company and has big plans for the future. “About 66% of the world has curly hair,” Evana said. “We really want to go global with this brand. Zoe has huge dreams and aspirations.” That includes launching a podcast and writing more books, said Zoe. She also wants to expand the company’s charitable endeavors. For every doll purchased from Beautiful Curly Me, the company donates one doll to a girl in need. So far, they have donated 667 dolls, according to their website. “We know there are millions and millions of girls out there whose lives we can really impact,” Zoe said.

Kennesaw’s MBA program looks to grow at City Springs Several evenings a week, students fill a classroom at City Springs, the walkable town center of Sandy Springs. Since fall 2019, Kennesaw State University’s Michael J. Coles College of Business has offered its Master of Business Administration program at City Springs. “Our MBA program has grown from about 300 students to almost 600 students in the last three years,” said Dennis Marrow, executive director of MBA Programs for the Coles College of Business. “And part of that growth has been the expansion into the Sandy Springs area.” He said the location is convenient for students who live in the area and for those who work in downtown Atlanta. KSU also offers its MBA program at its main campus, as well as at the Cobb Galleria. Marrow hopes the program can grow in Sandy Springs. Nationally, though, there has been a decline in MBA enrollment. The Wall Street Journal reported in September that some of the best-known MBA programs in the U.S. saw “precipitous drops or sluggish interest” in fall 2021. “We were on a really strong growth trajectory pre-COVID,” Marrow said.

“Our plans are to get back on the growth track. And once we’re back on the growth track, and we see the need, we are certainly willing and able to expand our classrooms in City Springs. Right now we use one classroom four nights a week, and they certainly have space over there to expand if it makes sense.” The MBA program is designed for working professionals. On average, students take two MBA courses each semester and can complete their degree in as few as 17 months. Marrow said obtaining an MBA can lead to higher salaries and better career mobility. “It’s an investment in yourself,” he said. — AMY WENK reporternewspapers.com


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