Buckhead Reporter - January 2023

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4 JANUARY 2023 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com 23 21 16 As seen in Print Use this QR code to read extended versions of stories found in this issue. Presented by Editorial Collin Kelley Editor Sammie Purcell Associate Editor Staff Writers Dyana Bagby Bob Pepalis Contributors Sally Bethea, Cathy Cobbs, Kathy Dean, Maija Ehlinger, Katie Rice, Sarah Pierre Published By Springs Publishing Keith Pepper Publisher keith@springspublishing.com Neal Maziar Chief Revenue Officer neal@springspublishing.com Rico Figliolini Creative Director Steve Levene Publisher Emeritus Advertising For information (404) 917-2200 sales@springspublishing.com Deborah Davis Account Manager | Sales Operations deborah@springspublishing.com Jeff Kremer Sr. Account Manager jeff@springspublishing.com Suzanne Purcell Sr. Account Manager suzanne@springspublishing.com Circulation 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. Contents JANUARY 2023 ©2023 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. Honored as a newspaper of General Excellence 2018 About the Cover Lovett students (from left) Landon Denker, Samar Kibe, and Leah Cox were selected as 20 Under 20 honorees for 2023. See all the honorees starting on page 24. (Photo by Isadora Pennington) Editor’s Letter 6 Buckhead Buckhead City Movement 8 Thanking Firefighters 9 Sandy Springs Morgan Falls Trail 10 Sales Tax Agreement 10 Bike Ride Fundraiser 11 Dunwoody Future Park 12 Baseball Fields 12 Brookhaven St. Martin’s Athletic Facility 14 Oglethorpe STEM Grant 14 Home & Real Estate Housing Market Forecast 16 Business Carputty 18 Dining Women + Wine 20 Nobu Open 21 Quick Bites 21 Sustainability Above the Waterline 22 Arts & Entertainment Poet Cynthia Good 23 Focus on Education 20 Under 20 24 Breakthrough Atlanta 34 Lovett Podcast 36
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A new year’s hat trick

Since I celebrated my 20th anniversary as editor of Atlanta Intown back in August, I’ve put on a couple of additional hats.

In November, I officially took over as editor of our Atlanta Senior Life publication. I’m not quite a senior yet, but I do have my AARP card and I do love a discount. And to kick off the new year, I’ve been named editor of Reporter Newspapers. How’s that for a hat trick?

I became editor of our sister publication 20 years ago after stints with the Marietta Daily Journal and Neighbor Newspapers, The Sun Newspapers, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I am excited to bring my passion for journalism as editor of the Reporter Newspapers.

Technically, I guess I’m “executive editor” or “editor-in-chief” of all our publications, but I don’t particularly like titles that confer more power than I have. Since the inception of all our pubs, teamwork has been our hallmark and I’m happy to be leading that content team into a new year.

Sammie Purcell has been named our new Associate Editor and will focus on our newsletter products and covering arts and entertainment, including her weekly movie reviews. I’ll be working closely with Sammie going forward as we strive to bring timely, newsworthy, and entertainment content to you on a daily basis.

Like most media outlets, we’ve embraced a “digital first” approach, so be sure to visit ReporterNewspapers.com for more news and features in a timely manner. Along with our team of writers and contributors, you’ll find fresh content from our media partners, including GPB, Capitol Beat, Georgia Recorder, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. From breaking news to more in-depth features, our website is a daily must-read.

We are also investing a lot in our email newsletters, all of which are free. Rough Draft has become a morning favorite for subscribers, along with Sketchbook, Side Dish, and Silver Streak. Be sure to subscribe at RoughDraftAtlanta.com or by scanning the QR code on this page.

Our loyal readers and advertisers continue to make all our publications possible every month. Please feel free to reach out at collin@atlantaintownpaper.com if you have story ideas, comments, or concerns.

While we have a busy year ahead, I’m thrilled to be back on a more “normal” production cycle for our print issues. We did the December and January issues back-to-back – including choosing our annual 20 Under 20 honorees featured in this issue – so I actually feel like I can take a breather.

I had a very quiet holiday, catching up on some binge-worthy shows (“Wednesday” on Netflix is amazing!), catching up with friends, and working on my next poetry collection, which is out this fall.

Since we don’t like to cook, my friends and I had Thanksgiving dinner at Hobnob in Atlantic Station (delicious!), and for a little kitsch/nostalgia, we rocked around the Christmas tree for lunch at Hard Rock Café on Christmas Day. Definitely not your typical holiday, but I like that.

Happy New Year and on with the show!

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Buckhead City backers continue push for secession from Atlanta


Bill White, CEO of the Buckhead City Committee (BCC), says the push is on again at the Georgia General Assembly to get support for legislation that would let residents vote to split from the city of Atlanta. He said rampant crime in the neighborhood can only be solved by Buckhead becoming its own city with its own police force.

White is a controversial figure whose Trumpian style, such as personal attacks on social media against Mayor Andre Dickens and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, is considered by some to be the reason why Buckhead cityhood failed during the 2022 session.

Just days after 77-year-old Eleanor Bowles was murdered at her Buckhead home in a gated community on Dec. 10, White and the BCC sent out an email with the subject, “Tragic Loss in Buckhead: How You Can Help.” The email said, in part, “The process of becoming a city is expensive, and we need your generous contributions to make Buckhead safe, secure and independent.”

White said the fundraising email was sent out after BCC received requests from many people asking how they could help.

“The media labeled Buckhead City ‘dead’ after [Lt. Gov.] Geoff Duncan paused our bills last year,” White said in an email. “So many believed this. Buckhead City is alive and well.

“For those offended by us fundraising to make Buckhead safe — I hope they put this much energy into asking our mayor to do his job so there’s no need to leave Atlanta [and] stopping these young gangs from

robbing, attacking and murdering Buckhead residents,” he said.

BCC has also asked state legislators to add Bowles’ name to the cityhood bills. A suspect – Antonio Brown, 23 – was arrested and charged with Bowles’ murder three days later. Atlanta Police believe Bowles interrupted Brown while he was trying to steal her SUV.

Cityhood opponents say Buckhead voters already made their voices heard at the ballot box in November. That’s when they snubbed a slate of Republican candidates endorsed by the BCC and instead elected Democrats opposed to Buckhead City to represent them at the State Capitol.

“The people of Buckhead spoke very clearly in the [midterm] elections and they said loud and clear that they support candidates who want to keep the city united,” said Billy Linville, spokesperson for Committee for a United Atlanta.

It should be noted that no Atlanta legislators are sponsoring a Buckhead cityhood bill. Local delegations choose local legislation, but the GOP-controlled General Assembly is known for working around that rule.

Jason Esteves, former Atlanta Board of Education member and the first Afro-Latino elected to the Georgia State Senate, said he hopes the legislative leadership will listen to the officials who represent Buckhead.

“Legislators who represent the districts that are impacted by a Buckhead City decision, including myself who will be representing about 70% of Buckhead, are serving as a voice for our community and saying that we don’t want to be divided from the city of Atlanta,” he said.

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Restaurant thanks firefighters who put out blaze

After a devastating fire, the team at Chops Lobster Bar wanted to give back to the firefighters who extinguished the blaze.

On Jan. 14, 2022, diners evacuated from the Buckhead eatery because of a fire that began inside a hood vent. The fire was bad enough that firefighters needed to call a second alarm to put it out.

Executive Chef Ryan Delesandro and the Buckhead Life team were trying to figure out a way to thank the men and women of Firehouse 21 who helped them that night.

The idea came during a weekly Tuesday meeting between management staff and the corporate team just weeks after the fire.

When Chops reopened in the fall, the staff made its way to the fire station. Delesandro brought the restaurant’s delicious

menu right to the firefighters’ home – and just as they arrived, a call came in.

“They went and dealt with, I believe, a large brush fire … and came back hungry,” he said. “And they got fed.”

The firefighters enjoyed Chops’ 40 oz. porterhouse, 32 oz. double cut ribeyes, mashed potatoes, corn mash, creamed spinach, and wedge salad. For dessert, they had chocolate toffee crunch pie and New York style cheesecake.

Delesandro said he recognized some of the firefighters who helped combat the fire and was happy to do whatever he could to thank them.

“It’s always great to give back to those that give to the community,” he said. “They were more appreciative to us than we could ever be for what they do, which was very humbling.”


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Atlanta Firefighters at Firehouse 21 enjoy a meal from Chops Lobster Bar. (Courtesy Buckhead Life Group)

City breaks ground on Morgan Falls trail segment

ing south along the Chattahoochee River and turning east to cross Orkin Lake. Future segments will create a loop around Morgan Falls Athletic Complex, the overlook park, the dog park, Orkin Lake, and eventually throughout the city under the Master Trail Plan.

“It’s just been an absolute pleasure to work with the team that’s been working on this project for the past two years: City Council, city staff, PATH Foundation, KAIZEN Collaborative,” said Jack Misiura, Chair of the Sandy Springs Conservancy Board. “And I’m really, really excited that this moment has finally arrived.”

“We’re looking forward to creating an amazing network. I think the community will embrace and hopefully be the stepping stone to many great trail networks at the city,” PATH Foundation Project Manager Pete Pellegrini said.

Mayor Rusty Paul said the timing of the groundbreaking was very appropriate as the first meeting of the Sandy Spring City Council met 17 years ago on Dec. 5.

had been accomplished over the last 17 years.

“When we started the city we felt it was very important that we take the resources that this community generates, and we plow it back into the community amenities that the community can enjoy, and that we also lay the groundwork for future,” he said.

This is the first project of a series that will be transformational for the city, Paul said. It will link a broad trial network across the entire metropolitan Atlanta area and hopefully over time connect in a statewide network with the Silver Comet Trail, the Atlanta BeltLine, and trails across the river into Roswell.

Ground was broken on Dec. 6 for the first trail segment since Sandy Springs adopted its Master Trail Plan.

City officials and staff, Sandy Springs

Conservancy board members, PATH Foundation representatives, and Fulton County Public Works representatives were among the people gathered at Morgan Falls Park.

This trail section will link Morgan Falls Overlook Park to Roswell Road by travel-

“I think it’s appropriate that on the day after Founders’ Day that we come out here and mark another important milestone in the history of Sandy Springs,” he said.

Paul said he wished the city’s first mayor, Eva Galambos, was still alive to see what

Fulton County, cities sign sales tax agreement

“I tell my folks in the Conservancy if you want the average citizen to be engaged in protecting the river, you need to give them more access than just driving over it on Roswell Road or Johnson Ferry or wherever else we cross it,” Paul said. “If they come out here and see the beauty and see the river in its natural setting, you’ll have much more support in creating the community support the public support you need to protect this magnificent natural setting that we have.”

starting on July 1 which was accompanied by town hall meetings organized by the cities and responses by the county before an agreement was reached.

Throughout the negotiations, mayors shared stories of dire consequences if an agreement wasn’t reached due to the dependence their cities have on the one-cent sales tax.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens called the county’s negotiating position with its cities on the division of sales tax “irresponsible and reckless” in October.

The Board of Commissioners approved the agreement on Nov. 2 on how Fulton County and its 15 cities will distribute LOST revenues over the next 10 years.

The county share of LOST will increase from the current 4.98% to 12.5% over the next decade. The sales tax generates 1 cent per dollar on retail sales within the county boundaries and in every city.

Sandy Springs City Manager Eden Freeman said the city anticipates collecting $350 million in LOST revenue over the next 10 years.


10 JANUARY 2023 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com SANDY SPRINGS
BY BOB PEPALIS The Fulton County Commission and mayors from the county’s 15 cities held a signing ceremony in downtown Atlanta on Dec. 14 to formalize an agreement that keeps the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) – and approximately $4 billion in revenue shared by the governments – in place for the next decade. Commission Chair Robb Pitts, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and many other mayors and Fulton leaders participated. took four months of negotiations Sandy Springs Conservancy Board Chair Jack Misiura, Mayor Rusty Paul, Councilmembers Melody Kelley and Melissa Mular, and PATH Foundation’s Pete Pellegrini break ground for the trail segment. (Photo by Bob Pepalis) Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis, left, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul participated in the LOST signing ceremony on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy Brian Robinson/Fulton County)

Officer rides 1,000 miles to fight human trafficking

Sandy Springs Police Officer Jansenn Redcay ended a 1,000-mile bicycle ride on Dec. 10 that has raised more than $6,300 so far to fight against human trafficking.

His ride was part of his commitment to ZOE International’s upcoming 2023 Race Across America. The nonprofit has been rescuing and caring for trafficked children and orphans since 2003.

Redcay rode his bicycle from Austin, Texas

ed that he had just returned from Asia where he helped rescue children from prostitution, Redcay said.

“Obviously, I’m the father of a young daughter and that struck me right in the heart,” he said.

He kept track of Zoe International, which rescues children, educates them, and puts them in homes.

“That restores these kids so they can move on with whatever they choose to do in life,” he said.

The best thing about his rides that keeps him going is seeing what goes on in small towns and rural America along the way. They don’t see tourists, so when they spot him at convenience stores they’ll ask him what he’s doing.

Last year his ride went very wrong.

“I ended up being rescued by a local guy when I was in the middle of backwoods Vermont,” Redcay recalled. “I had a hole through my tire that I could not fix. The closest bike shop was 31 miles away.”

The local resident drove him to a ski shop where they were able to fix his tire. As the man was leaving, he gave Redcay the code to the front door of his house. But he wasn’t going home.

“He said there’s food in the pantry, here’s my code to stay there the night if you want to,” Redcay said.


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to Sandy Springs, starting on Dec. 1 and arriving at City Springs on Saturday.

Five years ago he began these ultra-long rides, cycling from Pennsylvania down to Atlanta and he said he was hooked.

“Every year since then I’ve done a separate ride in another area of the country,” Redcay said.

His connection to fighting human trafficking came two years after finishing a tough ride when he was having dinner with friends. One of his friends, a police detective, recount-

Moments like these – and he said there were many more of them – keep him going on these long rides.

He was blown away from the third day of his ride this month when he realized people were following his ride on social media and then he heard about media interest.

“This all started just trying to raise $2,000. Well, we raised $2,000 before I even got on the bike in Austin,” Redcay said.

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Proposed trail to future park rankles homeowners

The City of Dunwoody used signage to show where amenities would be in a future park, which is opposed by some homeowners.

January Highlights

City Hall closed

Dunwoody Art Commission Meeting

Dunwoody City Hall 7:30 a.m.

Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting

Dunwoody City Hall 6 p.m.

Free First Saturday

Dunwoody Nature Center

Dunwoody City Council Meeting

Dunwoody City Hall 6 p.m.

Planning Commission Meeting Dunwoody City Hall 6 p.m.

Sustainability Committee Meeting via Zoom 8 a.m.

Free Master Gardening Talk: Monarch Butterflies Brook Run Greenhouse 10:30 a.m.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Volunteer projects throughout the City 9 a.m. - noon

City Hall closed Dunwoody Development Authority Meeting Dunwoody City Hall 5 p.m.

Dunwoody Senior Baseball Pitching Clinic Brook Run Park Baseball Fields

History Alive

Donaldson-Bannister Farm Dunwoody Preservation Trust

Dunwoody City Council Meeting Dunwoody City Hall 6 p.m.

Gallery Exhibit Opening Reception Spruill Gallery

A proposed trail that would lead from a nearby neighborhood to a future park on Vermack Road in Dunwoody is already causing issues, and it hasn’t even been built yet.

Neighbors near the proposed 10-acre site are opposed to the construction of a trail that would connect the neighborhood to the park, citing safety, drainage and privacy issues.

At the Oct. 24 Dunwoody City Council meeting, homeowners from Village Mill and Heritage at Dunwoody presented a petition with more than 160 signatures representing 82 households asking for the path to be eliminated from the master plan.

According to the residents, although several council members have told the homeowners that they support its removal, the

trail remains in the proposed plans.

The city held a two-hour open house at the park on Dec. 10 and laid out signage and boundaries for the amenities that would be offered at the park. Included in the setup were cones indicating where the walking trail would be located.

Keri Fritz, whose property abuts the proposed trail, in a letter sent to city officials, said during the open house, she saw a man peering into her backyard from the marked area. “It was very jarring to say the least,” Fritz said.

The 2023 parks budget does not include any funds for construction, which will cost about $4 million. The council had discussed funding Vermack and other parks improvements with a $30 million parks bond, but in September decided not to put a parks bond referendum on the ballot in November.

City approves girls softball at Dunwoody Senior Baseball

The Dunwoody City Council approved a facility use agreement that will allow for girl’s softball programs to practice and play at the city’s Dunwoody Senior Baseball (DSB) fields next fall – a move that DSB officials say will force the organization to cut the number of baseball players significantly.

The facilities’ agreement also increases by $10 an hour the standard hourly rate for any fundraising tournaments hosted by DSB.

A memo regarding the changes also says the “west field will be excluded from their (DSB) use during August 1-October

31 from 4 p.m. -7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, unless otherwise approved by the city. This will allow the Dunwoody High School Softball Booster Club to utilize the field during that time frame.”

Prior to the meeting, two members of DSB’s executive committee, John Crawford and Peter Keohane, said the proposed changes would force “a real and direct impact” to the program.

The committee members said the change would mean a reduction in players, the number of games that can be played, and field conversion logistics.

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City Council approves St. Martin’s athletic facility

for and against the rezoning, which has involved contentious discussions regarding noise levels, public disturbance, public benefit, traffic, and property values. In early November, a petition began circulating against the rezoning.

“Everybody is saying that St. Martin’s is so great, and that’s not the issue here,” said resident Jaquelin Crew. “Sure, they’re great, but they’re not a good member of the community if they’re going to come in and totally disrupt our lives and our homes.”

Crew, in addition to other residents who spoke, made the comment that the field would only benefit the St. Martin’s community. Others said they believed the facility would benefit the whole community.

The application involves a roughly 7.2acre tract of land along Osborne Road, historically known as Morrison Farms. According to city documents, the rezoning would allow for a recreational facility including a 60-yard by 120-yard synthetic turf sports field, a 23,000 square foot multi-purpose building not to exceed two stories, 87 parking spaces, and a half-acre publicly accessible pocket park.

After two deferrals, the Brookhaven City Council has unanimously approved a rezoning application that would allow St. Martin’s Episcopal School to build new athletic facilities.

This is the third time the matter has been on the council’s agenda, following a 3-2 vote recommending approval on the application at an Oct. 5 Brookhaven Planning Commission meeting.

During the Nov. 29 meeting, multiple residents spoke in public comment both

“This is a neighborhood school. It’s been embedded in the neighborhood, it’s been successful in the neighborhood,” said resident and St. Martin’s parent Benton Stark, speaking in support of the application. “This is a unique opportunity to give the neighborhood an additional expansion where the school can continue to thrive and support the whole neighborhood and the homes around it.”

After a roughly hour-long public comment section, council members gave comments on why they were in favor of the rezoning. Councilmember Linley Jones said she thought the project would be a public benefit not only to St. Martin’s students, but also to the greater community. While St. Martin’s cannot lease or rent out the field, they could allow community groups to use it for free. The leasing condition would not apply to the gym.

“This has been a very difficult and challenging issue for all involved,” Jones said. “I believe that there is a great public benefit here for Brookhaven.”

Oglethorpe gets grant to foster STEM community

Oglethorpe University will receive $377,800 in funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to help foster its STEM community.

HHMI announced in November that it would be awarding $8 million over six years to 14 institutions including Oglethorpe, according to a press release.

The grant is part of the institute’s “Inclusive Excellence 3” program, which is the third round of grants of this type. Those institutions are expected to work towards HHMI’s goal of fostering a learning community for

STEM and increasing their school’s inclusion of all students, especially (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) those underrepresented in the sciences.

“We are grateful for the mission of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence program and are eager to continue our efforts to increase students in STEM fields,” said Oglethorpe President Nick Ladany in the release. “This IE3 grant will make a significant impact and represents hundreds of hours of work by our faculty and staff to expand our efforts in STEM inclusion.”

According to the release, the 14 institutions will focus on improving training for

STEM faculty, removing barriers in curriculum for STEM students, and developing mentoring programs.

“Sustaining advances in diversity and inclusion requires a scientific culture that is centered on equity,” said Blanton Tolbert, HHMI’s vice president of science leadership and culture, in the release. “In science education, increasing the number of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds must go hand in hand with creating inclusive learning environments in which everyone can thrive.”

Dr. Karen Schmeichel, Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Chair and professor of biology at Oglethorpe, said this moment has been more

than seven years in the making. Schmeichel and Dr. Laura Renee Chandler, Oglethorpe’s vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, were the program directors of the 10-person HHMI team that worked to submit the final proposal for the grant.

“It’s a win-win for the institution,” Schmeichel said in the release. “This money is welcomed as an initial investment in Oglethorpe’s faculty and staff as they become recognized leaders in STEM education reform and commit themselves as advocates for students who have been historically underrepresented in STEM.”

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Housing market forecast

Atlanta area housing market expected to stay strong while market normalizes

The last few years have been full of trauma and change. Economically, we’re facing real challenges across the country and around the world. That’s been particularly apparent in the housing market.

But it’s not as bleak as all that. Local real estate professionals point out that the market is now getting back on a healthy footing. They’re also quick to add that Intown, Buckhead and areas like Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs are particularly strong.

Despite economists predicting a recession this year, Georgia is poised to weather the headwinds thanks to a strong labor market and major developments bringing investment to the state, which means more jobs.

Still a strong market

“We are currently experiencing monthover-month average sales prices decreasing. However, year-over-year sales prices are still 5% above 2021 values,” said Chase Mizell, Global Real Estate Advisor | Atlanta Fine Home Sotheby’s International Realty. “Our inventory is less than three months, and our average days on market are fewer than 20.”

Figures from the Georgia Multiple Listing Service, which tracks home sales in metro Atlanta, show the median sales price in the region in November was $370,000, an increase of 4.2% from November 2021, but down 2.6% compared to October.

Mizell noted that Atlanta has a leg-up on the national market as it continues to be a top-five city nationally for corporate relocation. “Generally speaking, we’re expecting

the normalization of the real estate market to continue,” Mizell said. “Interest rates are more than double where they were at the beginning of 2022; however, inventory levels remain very low.”

Mizell said Atlanta needs new developments that are attainable by first-time homebuyers. “The rate of appreciation has forced most of our first-time homebuyers to the suburbs, so any developments with more approachable pricing, such as Summerhill, will lead the pack in demand,” he said.

Molly Carter Gaines, Ansley Real Estate | Christie’s International Real Estate, said she expects to see continued growth, but at a slower rate than previous years, “which is how a normal market functions. I strongly disagree with the negative prognostications, mainly because we still have an influx of buyers moving to Atlanta coupled with very limited inventory, and this won’t change any time soon.”

She added that Druid Hills, Morningside and Virginia Highland continue to be highly sought-after neighborhoods, and the demand for areas like Candler Park and Lake Claire has skyrocketed. “We’re also witnessing the push and pull between historic landmark districts and new commercial construction Intown, which will be a hot topic in 2023,” Carter Gaines said.

“We will continue to see low inventory and interest rates at 6%,” predicted Robin Blass, The Robin Blass Group, Harry Norman REALTORS, adding that the current interest rates are not out of line with historical rates.

She said that first-time buyers are at the lowest level in years, down by 6% according to the National Association of REALTORS. “We do feel that they will be back in the mar-

16 JANUARY 2023 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
A Buckhead penthouse for sale by Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. Chase Mizell Molly Carter Gaines

ket as home prices stabilize, sellers become more motivated, and buyers find ways to work with the interest rates.”

Blass said that Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, and Brookhaven are expected to remain strong, with their accessibility to highways and the new job growth coming to the Perimeter area.

Good things ahead

Ken Covers, a Private Office Advisor with Engel & Völkers Atlanta with over 20 years of experience, also sees good things in the coming year. “The shifting interest rate certainly has a big effect on the market, but at the same time, we have a really robust city with people moving in and out,” he said. “I expect the Intown market to stay strong.”

From a big-picture perspective, buyers are still trying to understand what life is really like after the pandemic, Covers said. “People can live in almost any part of the country and still have stimulating, interesting careers. I see them weighing their options and mak-

ing their choices very carefully.”

Since Atlanta still has low inventory in sought-after Atlanta neighborhoods, multiple offers are not necessarily a thing of the past, according to Kim Boyd, Broker Associate, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. “Demand has slowed some, but so has supply. We are only seeing a very slight downward trend on prices with this market shift, particularly with high-end homes.”

She concluded that sellers can still expect a successful profit, but they can expect to give on inspection items when needed repairs or defects come up.

Atlanta continues to top the lists as one of the best places to do business and live, Boyd said, adding that many buyers love being close to the city. “The areas, year after year, that are hot will continue to be Buckhead, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Morningside, Virginia Highland, and Ansley Park.”

The first quarter of 2023 is likely to continue as the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Bill Murray, Senior VP/Managing Broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties. “If the Feds slow the increases to a half basis point and then, in second quarter, no hikes, this will bring mort-

gage rates down to the mid to upper 5% and we should be in a much-improved market,” he said.

Murray believes that townhomes will continue to be a strong segment of the market. He shared that his focus is on Doraville, the Westside Quarry area and neighborhoods along the yet-to-be-developed sections of the BeltLine.

“Home ownership is still an excellent way to build wealth,” Murray stated. “Higher mortgage rates are just a cost of building your real estate wealth.”

Mizell also had some encouraging words to share. “We are experiencing a normalization of the market which will be healthier for both buyers and sellers in the long term.”

Older adults active in the housing market

Murray said that he’s seen an increase in seniors in the housing market, especially those who want to downsize and find lower-mainte-

nance properties. He noted that it can be a challenging time for some older adults, who have seen their retirement accounts drop, requiring them to look at different price ranges.

Carter Gaines has a different experience.

“I’m intrigued to see that instead of downsizing, I have several older adult clients upsizing and pursuing opportunities with larger lots and more square footage, she said. “These clients like the idea of having a hub for their children and grandchildren to gather for holidays and family get-togethers.”

She added that, in her experience, it’s been an ideal time for active seniors to buy. “My senior clients rely less on financing, which gives them a more competitive foothold in multiple offer situations,” Carter Gaines said.

Blass reported that many older clients feel their large homes and yards are too much to take care of – or they’d rather spend their time and money with travel and other things.

“You’d think that they are looking for smaller, but it’s really something different that they’re looking for,” she said. “They need everything on one floor, but still want lots of square footage with some availability on another level for the family to visit. They’re also looking for developments with smaller lots that are maintained by someone else and that have a sense of community.

JANUARY 2023 | 17
A home for sale in Brookhaven by Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. Ken Covers Kim Boyd Bill Murray

Carputty startup is challenging the car loan status quo

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

The auto loan space was ripe for innovation, says Atlanta-based entrepreneur Joshua Tatum.

“Consumers currently have to apply for an auto loan each and every time they wish to purchase, refinance, or buy out their current leases. On top of that, consumers are given different rates based on the car they wish to have. Finally, the entire financing stage of the car buying process is time-consuming, frus-

trating, and expensive for consumers,” he explained.

But that won’t cut in a post-COVID, online-focused consumer world. That’s where Carputty comes in.

“The shift to digital is one that will remain in a post-COVID landscape as consumers are continually doing more online and looking for the ease-of-use benefits that come with it. Carputty’s technology and business model not only allows consumers a quick and easy online experience but also helps our business partners to fast-track their own capabilities to meet this growing demand for digital ecosystems,” Tatum added.

Tatum, co-founder and CPO of Carputty, describes the startup as a “technology platform in which consumers can manage their vehicles much like they would manage their stock portfolio.”

The platform brings “transparency to the automotive world,” he added. That is important, given that the US Census Bureau finds that the average American household has 2.5 cars. The majority of car loans originate at a dealership, which adds to the lack of transparency.

How Carputty Drives Innovation

Carputty has two key tools to help consumers, V3 Valuation and Flexline.

V3 brings together data from auctions, dealerships, and private sales to get the most accurate representation of a car’s value. Flexline works as an “evergreen line of credit” members use to finance their vehicles. Flexline accounts have a maximum of $250,000 and can be used to purchase new or used vehicles, buyout leases, or refinance existing auto loans.

Carputty’s “stickiness” in the market has attracted customers and investors alike.

The team just closed a $12.3 million Series A, from Atlanta-based TTV Capital, Michigan-based Fontinalis Partners, Michiganbased Grand Ventures, Utah-based Kickstart, and Germany’s Porsche Ventures.

Carputty is connecting two business areas where the Atlanta business community thrives – fintech and automotive.

The Metro Atlanta area is home to giants and startups alike in the lending space, and it is also headquarters for Cox Automotive and the US HQ for Mercedes Benz.

That’s been good for Carputty’s talent acquisition. The team currently has 48 employees, 22 of whom are based in Atlanta.

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Cozy up with a winter white


We have all heard the saying: “No white after Labor Day!” Luckily this doesn’t apply to wine because there is nothing like sitting in front of a fire on a cold evening with some sugar cookies and a cool glass of rich white wine. We’ve put together a list for those who want to skip the red.


Chardonnay has gotten a bad rap over the years by being overproduced, overly oak-aged, and the full butter that comes from malolactic fermentation (a process where tart, bright malic acid converts to creamy, rounder lactic acid.) Many Chardonnay exist on the shelves that are tropical and full-bodied, but with balanced acidity

that are perfect for a winter’s evening. Look for wines from Burgundy, France – regions like the famous Chablis which is traditional with seafood but matches pork tenderloin perfectly. Try a2019 Domaine Coulaudin-Bussy Chablis. For a domestic offering, Katie has been drinking a 2020 Brea Chardonnay from Broc Cellars that hails from California’s central coast and does see oak aging and malolactic, but with the heavy mineral soils and cool climate the ripe acidity balances out the light vanilla creaminess.

Rhône Valley Whites

Located along the Rhône River in Southern France, this valley has ancient wine-growing roots and is known mostly known for its red from regions like Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes-du-Rhône, but their white wine grapes Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier produce wines that vary from tart and mineral to honeyed and richly round. For that special occasion, regions such as Condrieu builds Viognier that is savory and seductive but relatively hard to come by. Instead try the Domaine de la Janasse Côtes du Rhône Blanc. This grenache-based blend has citrus and apricot notes with a beautiful round mouth feel that goes perfectly with a roasted chicken.

Chenin Blanc

Another grape that has seen a huge resurgence in recent years, especially in the wine nerd world is Chenin Blanc. This grape was born in the Loire Valley of France in regions like Vouvray and Anjou but is being planted all over the world and is especially thriving in South Africa. Taste profiles vary but you can always count on Chenin’s acidity, pear and peach notes, and earthy undertones. For an OG Chenin, reach for Vigneau-Chevreau’s offering called Cuveé Silex – a wine that ages in a little oak and then on its lees giving fruits like quince and apple backed up by mineral undertones. Try with roasted mushrooms for a great umami experience. For a New World offering, pick up Kumusha’s Chenin. This wine was described as “Liquid Sunshine” by winemaker Tinashe Nyamudoka. It is acidic and tart and a perfect cure for the lack of sunshine.

For the next months of chilly weather, look no further than the arms of a comforting white wine, you may not even miss the reds!

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Nobu opens in Buckhead

Nobu restaurant is now open in the lobby of its eponymous hotel adjacent to Phipps Plaza in Buckhead.

Celebrated for its Japanese cuisine, Nobu’s Atlanta outpost is 10,000-square-foot and seats 272 people. Designed by the Rockwell Group, the restaurant was influenced by traditional Japanese garden pavilions often used for ceremonies and rituals. An open kitchen allows guests to watch the culinary team at work

Diners can expect iconic Nobu menu items, including Black Cod with Miso, Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce, and Yellowtail Jalapeño.

“It’s an honor to lead the Nobu Atlanta

Quick Bites

culinary team as we open our doors to the Buckhead community and travelers from all over the world,” said Executive Chef Brandon Chavannes in a media statement/

Nobu’s bar and lounge feature a backlit, white-onyx bar highlighted by a 12-footlong river rock art installation. Located adjacent to the main dining room, the bar and lounge will serve light bites alongside exclusive cocktails, including the Buckhead Cooler—only available at Nobu Atlanta.

Guests also have the option to dine in privacy—the Private Room can accommodate up to 24 guests while the Sake Room can accommodate up to 12.

Reservations can be made at nobu.com/ atlanta/reservations or via OpenTable.

The iconic Polaris, the Hyatt Regency’s rotating blue dome, has finally reopened after the pandemic. The restaurant remains committed to serving meats, cheeses, and produce from local farms and food purveyors, while the bar highlights liquor from minority-owned distilleries. Get more information at facebook.com/PolarisAtlanta.

A new Korean and Japanese fusion restaurant, Jinbei West, has opened in Peachtree Corners. Details at jinbeiwest.com.

Morty’s Meat and Supply is now open in The Village on Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody featuring daily specials like a pastrami sandwich or barbecue lasagna alongside regular menu items, including meatloaf, brisket, smoked chicken wings, and assorted sides. See the menu at mortysmeatandsupply.com.

Postino Wine Café is opening a new location in West Midtown soon after receiving positive responses from its Buckhead flagship. Get updates at postinowinecafe.com.

The Belvedere Plaza Shopping Center is getting a new Dunkin’ née Dunkin’ Donuts, in the former Sonic spot—plans have been submitted, but no opening date is set.

The Australian-inspired “all-day café” Isla & Co is open in Buckhead featuring brunch, lunch, and “elevated” dinner options, including charred octopus. Find out more at isla-co. com.

►Tyde Tate Kitchen, a new Thai concept along South Downtown’s Historic Hotel Row, is projected to open in Spring 2023.

Cameli’s Pizza in Little Five Points closed in December after nearly 30 years, while Floataway Café on Zonolite Road closed after 25 years.

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JANUARY 2023 | 21

‘Drastic changes’ proposed for Cumberland Island

rious problem. Astonishingly, under the proposed plan, no additional funds are assured to monitor, and then adaptively manage, the impacts of more visitors (up to 700 daily ferry passengers and more private boaters) and new development. One hundred of these ferry passengers would be allowed to dock, for the very first time, at Plum Orchard mansion on the edge of the wilderness.

Why is the NPS proposing to dramatically increase visitation now? Currently, more than 100,000 people are allowed on the island every year: double the number of visitors logged annually over the past decade. I read hundreds of pages of NPS documents, seeking clear, fact-based answers to this essential question. I found only vague references to recurring stakeholder debates, possible socioeconomic barriers, and the need to enhance access to the wilderness.

Wilderness Protection

Iland, but it is not sufficiently comprehensive and doesn’t appear to meet federal requirements.

Longtime island resident Carol Ruckdeschel – a biologist, environmental activist, and author – believes the proposal is “far out of bounds.” A fierce protector of Cumberland for nearly sixty years, Carol has dedicated her life to studying sea turtles on the island, as well as its ecology and natural history. She told me: “We have a giant mess on our hands here with a terribly destructive visitor management plan. If accomplished, it will drastically change the island as we know it.”

Atlantic Coast and the first national park to limit the number of daily visitors, Cumberland was always intended to be managed differently from most other units of the park system.

In 1984, the NPS approved a general management plan for the island with a visitor limit of approximately 300 people per day: the maximum number that two large ferries can carry to the island; purposefully, there is no bridge. Many years of studies and heated debate led to this decision, bolstered by literally thousands of letters from the public saying, in essence, “leave the island alone.”

The proposed visitor plan opens the door for more expansive use of electric bikes near wilderness areas, potentially violating federal law. E-bikes were approved for national lands by the Trump Administration; however, a recent judicial order requires the NPS to review potential user conflict and damage to the environment and allow public comment. It is premature for Cumberland’s new plan to promote the use of motorized bikes, zooming down beaches and near wilderness areas at 25 miles per hour.

Drone shot from Piedmont Park by Luis Gaud (@jerrito1 on IG).

was looking forward to spending the final weeks of this particularly difficult but also joyful year doing virtually nothing: walking, reading, and getting ready for the new year. That is, until I learned the National Park Service has proposed to dramatically alter the way a beloved barrier island on Georgia’s coast has been managed for decades. Cumberland Island National Seashore, a unit of the national park system, is threatened by an overdue but fatally flawed new management plan. The deadline for the public to make comments is Dec. 30.

Most glaringly, in its draft visitor use management plan, the NPS proposes more than a doubling of the number of visitors to the wilderness island with no clear explanation of what is driving this action at this time. An environmental assessment explores the potential impacts of allowing more people and development on Cumber-

Conservation and Conflict

The U.S. Congress established Cumberland Island National Seashore in 1972 and President Nixon signed the legislation into law to be managed and protected by the NPS. The enabling legislation states: “the seashore shall be permanently preserved in its primitive state, and no development… for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing.”

A decade later, half of the island, which is about eighteen miles long and averages several miles in width, was designated as federally-protected “wilderness” or “potential wilderness.” As one of the largest remaining barrier island ecosystems on the

Hans Neuhauser, former coastal director of the Georgia Conservancy, was actively involved in the planning for Cumberland. He says there was little evidence in the early days – or now – to suggest that the general public wants any change. “To protect the special quality of a visitor’s experience, the island’s ‘carrying capacity’ was determined through experimentation and adopted in official policy; the ferry became the mechanism to control the number,” he said. As a management tool, Hans believes the restricted ferry access has worked well for the 50,000-plus people who visit annually.

Private boats and cruise tours also regularly visit the island; however, the NPS is unable to monitor the number of people who arrive in this fashion, given the minimal funding and staffing available to enforce use limits and other laws. This is a se-

There is no doubt that fact-based management plans must be developed for Cumberland Island National Seashore to offer solutions to real problems and opportunities to enhance park goals. Many of the suggestions in the proposed visitor use plan are positive. The plan’s visitor capacity analysis for a dozen key park destinations is helpful, with the exception of the wilderness section. How can visitor capacity in wilderness areas be calculated without the required stewardship plan?

The NPS must prepare a full-blown EIS, or environmental impact statement, to comply with federal law and answer the many questions posed here and by others. I plan to make that recommendation in comments submitted to the NPS by December 30. Will you also make your views known? There will be plenty of time to rest and plan for the new year, once we’ve given a voice to the pristine maritime forests, saltmarsh, and beaches of Cumberland Island.

Review the draft Cumberland Visitor Use Management Plan at https://www.nps.gov/ cuis/index.htm and please comment by the extended Dec. 30 deadline. Wild Cumberland offers helpful comments at www.wildcumberland.org.

Cumberland Island (Photo by Charles Seabrook)

News anchor, entrepreneur, poet

Cynthia Good finds new outlet for her unique voice

Cynthia Good has been using her unique voice for decades, first as a well-known news anchor, then as an entrepreneur, and now as a poet.

Many Atlantans will remember Good as one of the faces of Fox 5 Atlanta’s news anchor team. In the late ’90s, she pivoted and launched Atlanta Woman magazine, and then in the early aughts as the founder of Little PINK Book for women in business.

Now, she’s released her first collection of poetry, “What We Do with Our Hands,” via Finishing Line Press. Good said the poems poured out after a five-week period where her 27-year marriage disintegrated, she was kicked out of her home, and her mother died.

The confessional poems are both eloquent and heartbreaking in their directness and observation of a life at a crossroads.

“The structures I had relied on began to crumble,” Good said. “I had this long marriage, was living in Buckhead, and thought I was living the dream. No one knew what was going on, but I felt like I was losing it.”

Good said her grappling with life and death issues led her back to an outlet she hadn’t tapped in many years.

She started writing poems around age 9, but never considered herself a poet. That began to change when Good took a poetry workshop with award-winning poet Memye Curtis Tucker at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.

She went on to get an MFA in poetry from New York University and worked with noted local poet Travis Denton to shape

her debut collection. Most of the poems in the collection previously appeared in literary journals.

Good said she’s “not trying to change the world or sell books,” but hopes that her poetry will resonate with others facing similar life-altering circumstances.

Good says she’s also found new freedom in writing poetry.

“I’m being more honest and genuine and writing whatever I want to write without selfcensoring.”

The poetry of Sylvia Plath, Toi Derricotte and Gwendolyn Brooks informed much of Good’s understanding of poetry, but she’s also become enamored with more contemporary poets like Ocean Vuong and Ada Limon.

While promoting “What We Do with Our Hands,” Good is also shopping a fulllength collection and a second chapbook to publishers. And doing a lot of writing.

“I’ve got notes for new poems everywhere,” she said.

Find out more and order a copy of Good’s poetry collection at poetcynthiagood. com.

What We Do with Our Hands

He invites me in, his feet bare on the cold tile. In a Saturday fog, we sit across a table. He is a forest at midnight, birdwings, the cry before an avalanche, pull of the moon. He is wind, the silence of space, the thirst of cactus, hunger of wildfire. He moves to my side, his leg pressing mine. My awkward arm around his shoulder. Words stay in the lines on his face, welled up, sunken, an Aitken crater. When morning purples the low mountains from grey clouds in a swath, it’s like that moment before a storm, the sky hovering like a truce.

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Atlanta Intown and Reporter Newspapers have once again joined forces to select honorees from our coverage areas for 20 Under 20. As in past years, we are in awe of these students’ abilities to juggle their education while giving back to the community in such significant and meaningful ways. From creating nonprofits and fundraising to mission trips and mentoring, the 2023 honorees have gone above and beyond to bring positivity and leadership to the metro. While narrowing down this year’s honorees and runners-up wasn’t easy, we think these students will inspire and motivate you to give back to your communities.

Leah Cox, 16 Samar Kibe, 17 The Lovett School

Leah and Samar worked together to create Lovett’s Mental Health Liaisons with the goal of bringing attention to student mental health and training peer liaisons who can create student-directed programming around mental health and serve as links between students and counseling staff. In addition, Leah coordinates Lovett’s Tanzania Tutoring program in partnership with the Buckhead Rotary Club and worked hard phone banking and registering young people to vote as a member of the statewide board of students for Stacey Abrams. Samar is an active member of the debate team and organizes Lovett’s Model UN team. The duo said about the creation of the Mental Health Liaisons: “In 2020, mental health-related doctor’s visits for adolescents ages 13-18 increased sharply. Teenagers going to these appointments were most frequently diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorder. There has never been a time more important to address these issues. We need to take action now, in order to be proactive instead of reactive when tragedy strikes.”

Landon Denker, 16 The Lovett School

Landon launched a website and initiative called FiveStar Comeback (fivestarcomeback.com) to help provide high school student-athletes everywhere with mental health resources and inspirational stories of their comeback from injury. The initiative started as a project in his Ethical Leadership Class after he saw teammates mentally struggle during physical rehab and recovery and wanted to help them. The website has been shared with all Georgia High School Association member schools and Landon has been invited to speak to children and athletes about the values of hard work, determination, commitment, and teamwork, which have helped athletically and in the classroom. “Sports are so important to students because they teach them individual responsibility and being part of a team,” he said. “High school sports can create friendships that last a lifetime. I also believe high school sports build leadership and character.”

24 JANUARY 2023 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com FOCUS
Left to right, Samar Kibe, Leah Cox and Landon Denker (Photo by Isadora Pennington)

James and his sister are cofounders of Double Play, which collects sports equipment to underserved athletes both locally and internationally. He has been the “muscle” behind the scenes, collecting and transporting the gear and creating a scholarship program. Since 2017, Double Play has now donated 90,000+ pieces of gear in partnership with 35 organizations, including Nike and Dick’s Sporting Goods. In 2021, James founded Triple Play in partnership with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch to educate underserved students on money management. “More than anything, I learned that teamwork is critical to make things happen and to surround yourself with amazing role models,” he said. “My sister and I started a small gear collection, and I can’t believe it has grown so much and in diverse ways. None of this would have been possible without our team and community.”

As part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Caring for Caregivers, Mariana organized a donation drive to support the caregivers of pregnant, incarcerated women in Georgia prisons. The senior partnered with the nonprofit Motherhood Beyond Bars, organized a collection of baby items through an Amazon wish list, and encouraged HSPS parents and faculty to donate. Within a month, she collected over 500 baby items, including cribs, diapers, formula, wipes, clothing, toys, and more. Mariana said she received a photo of a father holding one of the care kits collected during her project. “I smiled ear to ear and realized that because I was determined to help, it made a difference in a family’s life. That feeling is one of the greatest and unforgettable,” she said.

JANUARY 2023 | 25
James Rhee, 17 The Westminster Schools Mariana Munoz, 17 Holy Spirit Preparatory School

Arthi Devineni, 17 Riverwood International Charter School

The senior played a critical role as coordinator for Riverwood’s Big Questions Debate Tournament and is also the captain of the school’s speech and debate team. Arthi is a member of the Fulton County Youth Commission, where she leads efforts to reduce homelessness in the community by distributing school supplies, care packages, and other essentials to youth struggling with uncertain housing. She’s also played an active role in Solidarity Sandy Springs, a community movement to help families who have been overlooked or in need. “Giving back to the community through volunteering for me is an effective way to contribute and make a difference in enhancing society,” Arthi said. “It allows me to make connections from toddlers to the elderly, creating change and driving the causes I advocate for.”

As one of the leaders of AIS Against Human Trafficking, Charlotte drove outreach for a campaign that resulted in getting two billion impressions on social media in over 140 countries for CNN’s #MyFreedomDay. She hosted a global webinar with panelists from more than 40 countries and was included in CNN’s panel of students discussing human trafficking. Charlotte was also invited to be a speaker by 3Strands Global Foundation and Rotary International where she spoke on behalf of student leadership and educating for prevention alongside the White House’s council on human trafficking. When AIS adopted the anti-human trafficking curriculum, PROTECT, she trained herself and then made the training videos to deliver to fellow classmates. “Being able to deliver this training to my peers, I was able to serve my community by providing meaningful information about human trafficking, which can affect us all,” Charlotte said.

Charlotte Dixon, 17 Atlanta International School

As vice president of the 21st Century Leaders chapter, Salaam creates service projects that students can partake in to help the greater community. Over the past three years, she has organized food and clothing drives, as well as opportunities where students can volunteer. The senior also organized a Community Service Fair that brought representatives from multiple nonprofit organizations to Midtown High to connect with students for volunteer opportunities. “I think this event was especially cool because this type of project has a domino effect in our community; it allowed many students to learn about the service opportunities they can each be a part of to give back to our community and speak with their respective service organizations first-hand,” she said. Salaam’s goal is to get her law degree, work for the United Nations, and specialize in human rights.

Awad, 18 Midtown High School

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Asenior at Cristo Rey, Amelia has worked on projects as a member of the Girls Scouts, including organizing canned food drives, care packages, and Christmas cards for the needy. She also partnered with SeaQuest to paint murals that educate children about marine environments and created an alliance with PaintLove to use artistic expressions to bring awareness to mental health. Amelia said meeting a homeless man who shared his “life lesson” with members of the school’s Labre Ministry for the Homeless has stuck with her. “He told us his life story and emphasized the importance of education, confidence, and being true to yourself. We gave him his food, he thanked us and said that he would forever pray for our success,” she recounted. “It helped me realize the importance of giving back to your community and showing empathy towards others.”

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Amelia Wilson, 17 Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

since he was in seventh grade to help prevent homelessness and hunger, including collecting hundreds of items of cold-weather gear shared with various other organizations over the last three years. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he created an online wish list of food items and then delivered them to those in need. Avi also delivered weekly groceries to individuals who are unable to travel to the ministry’s food pantry and picked up excess freshly grown produce from area farmer markets for distribution. In the fall, he organized a service initiative with the Georgia High School Water Polo Association to get toiletry donations for the nonprofit Rapid Rehousing Program. “I started volunteering at the Intown food pantry five years ago when I was in seventh grade,” he said. “I keep coming back because I can see the impact I can have.”

Chandler serves on Woodward’s Service Leadership Board, an organization that plans and provides volunteer opportunities for students to support the needs of College Park and the broader Atlanta community. As a ninth grader, she began volunteering at Horizons Atlanta, an affiliate of Horizons National, a summer enrichment program that lessens the educational disparity gap for underserved students through high-quality academics. As a teaching assistant, Chandler was responsible for ensuring that young students retained knowledge from the previous school year and did not fall behind in reading and math. “I believe that every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status or race, should have the same opportunity at making a positive impact on their community,” she said. “Having served in the Horizon program for four years, I have had the opportunity to witness the children grow into themselves, advance academically, and excel in their extracurricular activities.”

The senior dedicates most of her

challenges. Irene has helped organize school-wide service projects benefiting local shelters and volunteered countless hours both in and out of the DeKalb County Animal Shelter. She recently helped find a forever home for an emaciated dog named Scarlet, who was found on the roadside by a teacher. Irene said the time and energy to help the dog brought tears, but also determination to help animals. “Volunteering and having an internship at the DeKalb County Animal Shelter has been the most rewarding experience,” she said. “The number one question I get asked by people is, ‘How do I do it?’ or ‘How do you not take every dog home?’ I remind them, “If I do not stay strong, what example am I setting for others that want to pursue their passions?”

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Avi Chandler Warden, 16 Woodward Academy free time to studying, supporting, and educating the community about Atlanta’s animal welfare Irene Sharon, 17 The Weber School
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The senior is a Chapel Leader and Core Leader within the GACS Student Ministries program, where she acts a mentor to the student body. As a member of the Beta Club, she assembles holiday care packages for the nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse. In the community, Kate has made healthy lunches for undernourished children during the summer and collected canned and dry foods in the fall to restock local food pantries. She was also a mission student in El Paso, Texas for Casas Por Cristo, which sends building supplies to Guatemala and builds homes for poor underprivileged families. She’ll be heading to Guatemala herself in February to build one of the homes. “I am excited to now travel to Guatemala and actually build a home from the ground up for a family,” she said. “It will be so rewarding to have seen this process through from start to finish. I also cannot wait to meet the family that will be blessed with this wonderful new home.”

Food security first caught Catherine’s attention in junior high. She and her classmates volunteered at the Paideia school farm to help grow and harvest food for a local food pantry that served hundreds of families. To learn more, she volunteered at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and attended the Youth Food Summit for two consecutive years. Last summer, she volunteered at the Clarkston Community Center to support young children whose families do not have access to healthy food and also gathered food with Concrete Jungle. With help from chefs, teachers, and students, Catherine organized in-school cooking classes to preserve all this fresh food for food-insecure people in her community, including a women’s prison facility. “I felt an unforgettable sense of community and support working with this group and knowing that students took something away from this experience,” she said. “I learned just as much from this experience as the younger students, and I was excited to find that the women at the facility were grateful to receive the preserves.”

During her 9th grade year, Naomi participated in the Hope Education Project, which connects Academe of the Oaks students to the refugee community. She worked every Sunday with refugee children, helping them with schoolwork and making them feel welcome. After this program ended because of the pandemic, she found new ways to reach out to her community. Naomi volunteers at the Carter Center regularly, at the nonprofit daycare Our House, and as a camp counselor. She has also taken classes and attended events for the Dunwoody Teen Police and is a police cadet, which includes volunteering as a public safety advocate. “I’ve gained knowledge in different ways that I can best help communities, which has given me a chance to become a confident leader,” she said. “Being a leader requires you to give an excellent representation of everything our society should be doing and help guide followers to become leaders with you.”

30 JANUARY 2023 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
Love. Challenge. Lead. Change. WESTMINSTER 1424 West Paces Ferry Road, NW Atlanta, Georgia 30327 Every day, we connect bright, curious students with a community of support and opportunities that awaken their aspirations so that they can lead positive change in the world. Learn more at westminster.net
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Naomi Stinnett, 18 Academe of the Oaks

During his sophomore year, Max started the Atlanta ID Project to help housing-insecure individuals obtain government-issued IDs. He submitted his idea to the Dr. Siva Kumari MYP Student Innovators program. Max was selected as a winner from an international pool of applicants to receive a grant to further his project. He then connected with Intown Collaborative Ministries, which has generously provided time and mentoring, enabling Max to build a process to help people obtain IDs. He also tutors at-risk youth with the Sandy Springs Mission and has created two award-winning documentaries on issues challenging the world today. “Across a big city like Atlanta, it might be expected for its citizens to have more differences than similarities, but we actually have a lot in common,” he said. “We share joy over Braves World Series victories, burning hatred for the traffic, and a sense of pride to hail from the former hub of the Civil Rights Movement. That pride inspires me to uplift our geographically bonded community through service.”

The senior served as a program assistant with the Emagination Tech Camp at Mercer University and Georgia Institute of Technology for four years where he assisted elementary/middle school age students with coding. One of the first cohort of students to be accepted to the SMASH program at Morehouse College, Hunter spent the last three-plus years engaged in team building, data science, and analyzing solutions for 21st-century geo-global issues. He’s also a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and won first place in their annual competition for a public service announcement he created on mental health. He plans to attend either Georgia Institute of Technology or Morehouse College after graduation.

Schedule your family’s tour at gallowayschool.org/visit!


We are only a short drive away! Plus, GAC has 11 bus routes (with Wi-Fi & A/C) across the Atlanta area.

Congrats to Kate Hidell (GAC ‘23) for winning the 20 Under 20 Award and to Ivy Holland (GAC ’24), selected as runner-up!

JANUARY 2023 | 31
Galloway students confidently embrace challenges while developing the knowledge, skills, and cultural competence to thrive as enlightened contributors in their chosen pathways.

Lear n. Lead. Ser ve.

Sheza has been volunteering with youth development nonprofit Pebble Tossers since 2015. She has helped collect, sort, and distribute school supplies and books to over 10,000 students in 24 countries. Through Supplying Hope Around the Globe (supplyinghopearoundtheglobe.org), which she established in 2014, Sheza has worked with the Isdell Center for Global Leadership at Pace Academy, and other partners to collect and distribute 4,200 pounds of gently used school supplies and 4,000 children’s books, keeping them out of landfills and placing them in the hands of underprivileged and refugee school students. Since 2020, she has been leading weekly virtual English classes for disadvantaged girls at a residential high school in Pakistan. “Interacting with my global peers through Supplying Hope Around the Globe has helped me understand that the desire to learn is universal and that education is the true equalizer as it leads to opportunities,” she said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have witnessed the sparks of hope when underserved students receive a book or even a seemingly simple pencil.”

Sheza Merchant, 18 Pace Academy

In 2022, Sophia created ReTakeOut (retakeout.com), a nonprofit whose mission is to reduce plastic pollution by collecting used plastic takeout containers and repurposing them by donating them to individuals and organizations that reuse them to help feed the hungry in the metro Atlanta area. So far, ReTakeOut has partnered with The Elizabeth Foundation, Hope Atlanta, Eye Believe Foundation, Free99Fridge, FoodCommune, and Food4Lives. Sophia recently formed a second nonprofit called the Southern Youth German Education Association, Inc (sygea.org) whose mission is to promote and preserve a high degree of community and education, student interest, support and sponsorship of German language and culture for 4th-12th graders in the southeast. The nonprofit has applied for a grant to help cover expenses for local German teachers to attend a conference in Boston and to help cover expenses for a summer study program in Germany for 15-20 students. “The sheer number of people who had already donated or were willing to donate to ReTakeOut really brought a heartwarming feeling to me, and the messages I received about the actual nonprofit itself also made me feel like I was truly making a difference in our community,” she said.

Blind since birth, Raveena has not let her sight limitation get in the way of giving back to the community. As co-leader of the school’s Community, Service Club, she spearheaded the Period Project two years in a row by collecting feminine hygiene products for Atlanta GLOW and My Sister’s House at Atlanta Mission. Ravenna also worked in the community with Partnership for Southern Equity, Intown Collaborative Ministries, organized food drives for Meals on Wheels and volunteered via Zoom with SUKRUPA, a nonprofit school in Bangalore, India serving underprivileged youth. “For me, giving back fulfills me and is one of the ways I find purpose,” she said. “It allows me to connect with new people and to learn new insights into what our community needs and how I can do my part to support and be a part of the solution. Serving others has always been a passion of mine and reminds me daily of the abundance I have been blessed with to share with my community and beyond.”

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Raveena Alli, 16 Atlanta Girls’ School
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See bios of each runner-up at reporternewspapers.com.

Rachel Joseph, 19, Georgia State University

Jordan Polain, 18, Douglass High School

Tsumari Patterson, 17, City Springs Theatre Conservatory

Fernanda J. Morales, 17, Midtown High School

Christopher Martinez, 19, Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation

Ivy Holland, 17, Greater Atlanta Christian School

Nonprofit raises $460K to help underserved students

A local nonprofit now has the funds to support more than 180 underserved Atlanta students in their journey to postsecondary success.

Breakthrough Atlanta is a nonprofit organization that helps students and their families overcome education disparities and close inequity gaps. It aims to make college accessible and attainable for everyone.

“For more than 25 years, Breakthrough Atlanta has equipped thousands of scholars to go to college, and inspired hundreds of college students to pursue careers in educa-

tion,” said Monique Shields, Breakthrough Atlanta CEO.

On Nov. 2, the organization held its seventh annual Fund-A-Scholar event at the Foundry at Puritan Mall.

The event saw more than 500 people attend, donating $460,000 to the nonprofit. The record-breaking total is 20% higher than last year’s event.

The funds will be used to support more than 180 students in Breakthrough Atlanta’s 2023 program.

“Many of these scholars and teaching fellows were — or will become — the first in their families to graduate from college. For them, college means much more than a degree; it’s a dream realized that offers hope and opportunity for generations to come,” said Shields.

The life-changing, year-round education program aims to increase academic opportunity for underserved students. It aims to inspire and develop the next generation of teachers and educational leaders.

“Breakthrough Atlanta not only helps you see new things and gives you interests, but it’s taking me out of a comfortable environment because now I have to open myself up,” said Maziah Lanes, current Breakthrough Atlanta scholar.

Lanes is an eighth-grade student and will be the first in her family to graduate from college.

“I feel like in college you’re going to have to open yourself up to different techniques, different opportunities and different people. I’m so excited to go to college,” she added.

For more information, visit breakthroughatlanta.org.

34 JANUARY 2023 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com Our students find joy and purpose in learning by doing. Learn more at lovett.org LIVE IT LEARN IT
FIND YOUR PLACE HERE. Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School | PK3 - 12 | www.hies.org | 805 Mount Vernon Hwy NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 YOU BELONG AT THE 805!
Maziah Lanes shares her experience with Breakthrough Atlanta.
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Podcasting helps form community at Lovett

cover art was created by 2022 Lovett graduate Stewart Key, and the music featured throughout the show is performed by Lovett’s Ellington Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Tim Pitchford, director of Upper School Bands and head of the Upper School Fine Arts Department.

The podcast is hosted by Jessica Sant, Lovett’s chief engagement o ffi cer. Sant, who grew up in East Cobb and attended Lassiter High School and the University of Georgia, has been with Lovett for 12 years. Reporter Newspapers spoke to Sant about the school’s reason for starting the podcast and how to create a cohesive season of podcasting.

thing like that. It was still in the middle of COVID, where we actually couldn’t have parents coming into the building. So, we were struggling to find ways to make those connections.

I was actually talking with my husband, who happens to work at another independent school in the area, and he was the one that started thinking about a podcast. From there, I did a little bit of research on how we might go about creating something like that at Lovett and found a producer who has been wonderful, Catherine O’Brien. And we tried it out.

Late in the COVID-19 pandemic, The Lovett School tested out a tried-and-true way to connect to their audience – podcasting.

Last March, the Buckhead private school launched the first episode of a podcast called “Living Lovett: Stories from the Riverbank.” On the podcast, you’ll hear from a variety of voices related

to the school – from teachers to students to alumni to parents – addressing topics such as co llege counseling, philanthropy, art, and more.

According to Chartable, “Living Lovett” consistently ranks in the Education for Kids podcast category and has even been heard in 23 countries outside of the United States. The podcasting endeavor has been a community effort, according to a press release. The podcast’s

What was the reasoning behind

launching the podcast?

My role did not exist at Lovett, and really doesn’t exist as far as we can tell in many school settings. One of the charges for me was to consider different ways that we might better connect with families. People are so busy, and a lot is asked of families in terms of time. So we wanted to create pathways where we could facilitate an understanding of community and connections to community without asking them to come and sit in a theater, or come and listen to a speaker, or some -

The pilot was meant to be really just a test run, to see if we would generate any interest. And we did. We’ve gotten so much positive feedback, and it’s just a great way for people to get to know so many different teachers and parents and students in our community that they may not otherwise have a chance to hear from. So it’s been fun – a fun way to celebrate all the folks that make this place so special.

Were you always going to be the host?

Yeah, I think so. Because of my role, one of my major responsibilities is con -

36 JANUARY 2023 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS reporternewspapers.com
Continued on page 38
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Jessica Sant interviewing a guest for an episode of “Living Lovett.” (Courtesy The Lovett School)
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necting with families and educating families, and so the plan was to be the host. I want to talk a little bit about the process of putting an episode together. How do you go about choosing the topics for each one?

We map out an entire season before we start inviting folks to be a guest on the show. So that’s the first step. We’re really trying to create a broader narrative around what types of messages we want families to walk away with. And not just our current families, but also prospective parents. So we time them based on the different events that may be occurring in our community.

From there, for an individual episode, I’ll sit down with Catherine, the producer, and we’ll form a list of questions that we think will help facilitate that conver -

sation. The great thing about a podcast is that it’s not live. What we have found with guests who obviously don’t have a ton of experience doing something like this is that it removes the pressure for them, to not feel like they have to get it right the first time. If they need to stop and restate something in a different way, they can do that because we can edit it so it’s true to their message without them feeling like they’ve fumbled through a response. So that’s a nice way, I think, of disarming guests who may be reluctant to do it if it were a live conversation.

Is it just you and Catherine who work on the podcast? Is it something that students would ever get to be involved in?

Right now, it’s just Catherine and me. But … Lovett is talking about putting together a broadcast program. We currently have a newspaper and yearbook class,

but we don’t have anything that’s formalized around broadcast. We have some clubs that kids participate in, particularly around broadcasting our athletic events. We’d like to expand that a little bit. So we can see a future where students are involved with the production and even the hosting of some of the episodes. There have certainly been a lot of student voices on the episodes. We try to leave in as many kids’ voices, K-12, as we can. What are some of your favorite episodes that you’ve done?

This season, there were a few – and my producer, she kept poking at me because I kept saying after every episode, “That was my favorite one!” For me, it’s about celebrating so many people that are a part of this place. It’s just fun to hear these voices that are doing such great work and get to honor that.

I did an episode with the Class of 2012 – it’s their 10-year reunion this year. We ended up capturing nine different alums, which was a huge undertaking to edit all of that and make a cohesive episode out of it. But many of those students were kids that I worked with in the college process, and so it was personally rewarding to be able to hear what they were up to and to know that they were doing so well. As an educator, it’s why we get into this work. You get to play a very small part in somebody’s life trajectory, and to know that all

of those now 27- and 28-year-olds are doing so well, it was pretty cool to put a nice, neat ribbon around their experience here at Lovett in that way.

I know the podcast is doing fairly well on some charts. How does it make you feel to know that people are connecting with it?

It’s meaningful. Lovett has done a great job of promoting it with our prospective families. As we’ve gone along, I think that has been a really rewarding aspect of this effort, is to know that we are helping families who are considering Lovett clarify whether or not this is a great fit for them. Because it’s hard – if you’re just coming in for a tour or you’re doing an information session, something like that, you only get so much context from a place. Certainly, in that environment, people are putting on their best effort and that’s understandable, it’s what you would expect. But the great thing about a podcast for a prospective family is that they get to hear from people who are going to be directly interacting with their students on a daily basis. I think, while that was certainly a part of the overall plan, I think that’s an even more rewarding aspect of this work than I anticipated – just knowing that we’re helping so many of our families that are considering Lovett know whether or not this is a good match for them.

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