01-19-18 Dunwoody Reporter

Page 1

JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018 • VOL. 9— NO. 2


Dunwoody Reporter



► State, city officials debate best ways to regulate short-term rentals PAGE 4 ► Touring theater company for seniors eyes expansion PAGE 20

This way to MLK Day


Former All Saints pastor remembered as ‘just a great guy’ BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Mathew Horne and Addison Long, both 11, help direct volunteers in Brook Run Park on a chilly Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteer effort on Jan. 15. Many people came out for the annual city-sponsored event to clean the park, work in the gardens, and plant flowers and trees with the organization Trees Atlanta.



Bring on the bagpipes! 1,500 expected in Tartan Trot run Page 16

As an artist myself; I fully support art as a core in civic identity. Construction and traffic are my only main concerns preand post-completion. Is Sandy Springs’ arts-oriented civic center a smart play? See COMMENTARY, Page 10

Friends and parishioners are fondly remembering Monsignor Donald Kiernan, a renowned figure in Dunwoody and the retired pastor of All Saints Catholic Church, who died Jan. 9. He was 93. “He was about as personable a person you could get,” said Bob Fiscella of Dunwoody, a member of All Saints since 1993. “He could put everyone at ease.” Fiscella and his wife, Rita, were married by Kiernan in 1995 and he baptized their children. “He was just a great guy,” Fiscella said. “He transcended the Catholic community in Dunwoody and everyone knew him. I’m sure he never had to pick up a check at a Dunwoody restaurant.” Named a monsignor in 1969, Kiernan served as the pastor of several parishes until he was assigned as pastor of All Saints Church, Dunwoody, in 1985, where he served for 25 years, according to The Georgia BulSee FORMER on page 22

New baseball fields raise neighbors’ concerns BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net


Creating a student-operated cafe at North Springs High Page 8

A small group of residents met with city officials during a recent frigid morning at the construction site of the new Dunwoody baseball fields adjacent to Peachtree Charter Middle School to raise their concerns about stadium lighting, parking and noise. About 10 residents huddled up together the morning of Jan. 13 at the corner of Barclay Drive and North Peachtree Road See NEW on page 15

2 | Community

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CITY R ECO G NIZ ES ‘S O L A R I ZE DUNWO O DY DAY ’ Jan. 31, 2018 will be known as “Solarize Dunwoody Day” in the city following a proclamation by the Dunwoody mayor and City Council to recognize the Solarize Dunwoody Coalition for its effort in raising awareness of solar energy. The proclamation was announced at the council’s Jan. 8 meeting. Jan. 31 is also the last day for Dunwoody residents to sign up in the Solarize Dunwoody program where people can sign up for a free solar evaluation from Solarize Dunwoody’s chosen installer, Hannah Solar. The date does not end the program, however, as people who have signed up at www. solarizedunwoody.com will have two more months to decide if solar is right for them and enter into a contract. “I hope we’ll see a surge of sign-ups on or before Solarize Dunwoody Day and then think we’ll see even more people actually go solar,” said Tina Wilkinson, a leader of Solarize Dunwoody. The Solarize Dunwoody program began Sept. 1. The more people who sign contracts to install solar power at their homes or businesses, the cheaper the price for all involved in the program. To date, 20 homes in the city have committed to the program.

AJ C NEW SR O O M M O V ING T O AT L A NTA , S O UR C ES S AY The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s newsroom is likely moving from Dunwoody to WSB-TV’s headquarters in Atlanta’s Ansley Park sometime this year as a partly combined operation, according to sources with knowledge of the plan. The newsroom is part of the AJC’s operation at 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, which is part of a 42-acre site planned for the High Street mixed-use redevelopment and in the bidding for Amazon’s second headquarters. It is unclear whether the newsroom move is part of either redevelopment plan. Other AJC operations may remain on the Dunwoody site, sources said. The AJC’s parent company, Cox Enterprises, and GID, the Boston-based developer behind High Street, did not respond to comment requests. The city of Dunwoody has not received any filing or applications for that site from the AJC, GID or Amazon, according to spokesperson Bob Mullen. Cox said last year that the lease on the AJC building was set to expire in 2018, but was extended through 2021.

PAR KS & R ECR EATIO N G UI DEB O O K NO W AVA IL A B L E O NL I NE The Discover Dunwoody: Parks & Recreation Guidebook is now available online for those looking for events and activities during the winter and spring months. The guidebook includes listings each month for residents and visitors to the city of events, parks and amenities, youth and family activities, clubs, memberships and partnerships. To view the guidebook, visit dunwoodyga.gov. DUN

JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Community | 3


Mount Vernon/Vermack intersection project set to start BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Motorists traveling busy Mount Vernon Road can expect to see some changes coming soon at the Vermack Road intersection, but when the repaving of a section of the road that continues to crack and sink will happen remains to be seen. Tree clearing on Mount Vernon Road at the Vermack Road intersection is expected to begin by February to begin the longawaited improvements at the intersection notorious for traffic congestion. The City Council awarded the $56,000 contract to A1 Contracting at its Jan. 8 meeting. The tree removal is the beginning stage of the planned intersection improvements that dates back to 2014. The project includes adding sidewalks, concrete islands for pedestrian safety, bike lanes and additional turn lanes on both roads. About 150 trees will be chopped down along the project area that is about a quarter-mile long, according to city officials. The tree removal is expected to begin by early February. DeKalb County will also be undertaking a water main upgrade in the project area and the city is entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the county to incorporate the water main upgrade into the intersection improvement project, according to Public Works Director Michael Smith. The city approved the IGA in February 2017 and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners finally approved it in November. “In order to incorporate the county’s water main upgrade into the project the city needed a set of design plans from the county, and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners approval of the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that the City Council approved in February of 2017,” Smith stated in the memo. The final water main design plans are expected by the end of January at which point the construction contract can be advertised, Smith stated. To get the project underway, the city is starting the tree-clearing portion of the project as a separate contract so that the site can be cleared and utility relocation can begin, Smith explained. The city approved $1.25 million in 2017 for the Mount Vernon Road and Vermack Road intersection project.

Mount Vernon repaving

The city continues to try to work with a contractor to repave a section of Mount Vernon Road that is currently crumbling following the installation of a water main by DeKalb County in 2015. “The city is still on top of the matter and is working on potential solutions to address the cracked areas and road conditions,” said city spokesperson Bob Mullen. “There’s no definitive timetable as of now, but it will likely be spring or early summer before it can be appropriately


addressed due to weather conditions,” he said. The city is also continuing discussions with the contractor on the issue, Mullen said. Alessandro Salvo, owner of GS Construction, is battling with the city over who should pay to repair an eastbound stretch of Mount Vernon near Dunwoody Village

that continues to crack and sink. Salvo has explained that his company was contracted by the city to do the paving after DeKalb County replaced a water main along the road. He said the city and county told him to fill the trench dug for the water main with loose rock rather than solid dirt. That loose rock is like a liquid under-


A map showing the planned improvements at Mount Vernon and Vermack Road, including the addition of turn lanes on both roads.

neath the road and will constantly be moving, affecting the road, Salvo said. To repair the road, the road needs to be completely dug up and the backfill replaced, he said.

4 | Community

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State, city officials debate best ways to regulate short-term rentals BY JOHN RUCH

into effect late last year. Now it is considering ways to expand and refine regulations, possibly including a mandatory short-term rental registration system and the hiring of a company for $21,000 a year to keep track of them. At the Jan. 2 Sandy Springs City Council meeting, Mayor Rusty Paul said such regulations have complexities the city is still considering. “It’s a balancing act,” he said. Dollar said that it remains to be seen whether any state law will be passed in what is expected to be a short legislative session. But some kind of legislative reckoning is likely coming, he said, “just like we did with Uber and all those other things. Technology is forcing us to address these questions.”


As cities grapple with how to regulate short-term rental services like Airbnb, state legislation that would have reduced local control is getting a rewrite after pressure from Atlanta and Sandy Springs, among other jurisdictions. House Bill 579, introduced last March, would have prohibited cities from banning short-term rentals and limited local regulations. In Sandy Springs, where leaders are considering a new regulatory system, the city’s top planning official called the bill “frightening” and “dangerous,” and the city of Atlanta says it is “actively monitoring” the bill to ensure local control. The bill’s lead sponsor is Rep. Matt Dollar (R-Marietta), whose District 45 includes Sandy Springs’ northwest corner. He said the bill was a “conversation-starter” and is getting a rewrite. “The new bill will look very different,” he said, and likely will propose different types of short-term rental regulations for different types of housing and areas. That still leaves the big question of what those regulations will be, at both the state and local levels, where the issues are complicated and governments take varying approaches.


A mansion at 4205 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Buckhead as it appears in Airbnb listings that have drawn citations from the city of Atlanta, which the owner says are unfounded.

For cities like Atlanta, Brookhaven and Dunwoody, which largely address shortterm rentals through hotel and bed-andbreakfast sections of their zoning codes, statewide legislation could alter the playing field. “We are actively monitoring the bill and will work with our partners to ensure the

city has the ability to locally legislate on the subject matter in the interests of the public health, safety and welfare,” said Alnissa Ruiz-Craig, a city of Atlanta spokesperson. For Sandy Springs, timing could be important. The city just formally allowed short-term rentals to operate for the first time in its new zoning code, which went

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Short-term rentals have been especialterm rentals on the market in Georgia. Rep. Dollar notes that many “mom and pops” ly controversial in big cities, where they can rent out beach houses, mountain cabins act as significant competition with hotels and lakeside properties around the state, while avoiding the same taxes and regulawhich are accepted parts of local econotions. There are also concerns that shortmies. term rentals inflate local housing mar“Local governments kets, making it harder for are dealing with it in diflong-term residents to afferent ways,” amounting ford housing. In 2014, to a “big kind of hodgethe tourist-heavy city of podge,” Dollar said. The Savannah, Ga., cracked general intent of HB579, down on short-term renthe said, is to reduce “unals as zoning violations. certainty” for properLittle attention has ty owners and the shortbeen drawn to shortterm rental industry, and term rentals in sub“level the playing field” urbs and outlying urban with regular hotels and neighborhoods, where motels — and the taxes Jim Tolbert, Sandy Springs’ there likely aren’t such assistant city manager. they are required to pay. large-scale market imBut Tolbert, the Sanpacts and homeowners can often rent with dy Springs planning chief, said the legislamore privacy. But other concerns about tion was “frightening” and could be “taking short-term rentals are still possible, such as my authority to deal with these folks away.” absentee owners, misbehaving guests or viHe said the “most dangerous” part of the olations of condo rules. bill was that it would allow short-term rentJim Tolbert, Sandy Springs’ assistant al companies to pay local hotel/motel taxcity manager in charge of planning, told his es on behalf of their users without disclosCity Council that shorting where exactly any of term rentals can bring in those properties are. taxes and serve tourists Tolbert and his staff on the positive side. But are proposing several on the negative side, he changes to the legislative added, they can “replace proposal. Some ideas inlong-term residents and clude: requiring a shorttenants,” “alter neighborterm rental property’s hood character,” and creowner to live in the propate parking and safety erty the majority of the problems. time; requiring a business Tolbert said that in license and posting of November, he found 211 Rep. Matt Dollar. any city noise ordinance; short-term rentals offered and banning short-term in Sandy Springs via 10 different online rentals in subsidized housing units. companies. In 2016, a Reporter Newspapers Those ideas dovetail with additions Tolreview of listings on the services Airbnb bert suggests for the city code, such as reand Corporate Housing By Owner found quiring registration of all short-term rental dozens of local listings. Some of them were properties, with “detailed records” providthe type that concern city officials, such as ed to the city, and requiring all parking to a Buckhead “party house,” apartments bebe on-site. ing sub-rented against management’s rules, Two other local state representatives, and a Perimeter Center condo that had Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) and Deborah Silcox served solely as a short-term rental invest(R-Sandy Springs), said they have not taken ment property since 2010. a position on the legislation, but added that Certain properties have drawn city cithey have concerns. tations and neighborhood criticism in the “I am aware of a few homes here in my past two years. A prominent example is district that are the subject of a lot of neigha mansion at 4205 Peachtree-Dunwoody bor concern,” said Beskin, who represents Road in Buckhead that drew criticism for part of Buckhead. hosting a concert without the owner’s “I’ve got a lot of questions,” said Silcox, knowledge, then received a cease-and-deincluding the bill’s exemptions for “private sist notice from the city after noise comentities.” plaints, but remained in operation. Owner Dollar said he has spoken briefly with Paul McPherson said he was unfairly tarPaul, the Sandy Springs mayor, about the geted for past or nonexistent issues. issue. “I understand their position … SanIn Brookhaven, where Airbnb co-founddy Springs, it’s one of a handful [of cities] er Joe Gebbia Jr.’s father is a member of across the state that are addressing the the City Council, a house at 1302 Brooklashort-term rental issue,” Dollar said. wn Road drew city Code Enforcement at“The takeaway is, I am working on new tention for allegedly serving as a full-time language and I am working with all intershort-term rental property, which the ownested parties,” he said. er has disputed.

The legislative debate

But those aren’t the only types of short-

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6 | Food & Drink

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Popcorn Palooza BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Popcorn lovers Keith Gispert and Sandra Cox of Brookhaven worked in the medical sales field for many years, traveling the country, where they would specifically visit popcorn shops to try out some of their favorite snack. “We both remember being in a shop, looking at each other and saying, ‘We can do this,’” Gispert said. And so they are doing it. Popcorn Palooza was created in 2014 and now has a brickand-mortar spot at Keth Gispert and 5071 Peachtree Sandra Cox. Blvd., Suite 350, in Chamblee, just over the Brookhaven border, where they sell dozens of flavors such as parmesan garlic, red velvet, white cheddar, cotton candy and many more. The storefront is only open on Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m. because most of the business currently caters specifi-

cally to corporate and special events. Gispert answered the following questions about their business.


What inspired you to go into gourmet popcorn?


[Sandra and I] were both were in the medical sales field for many years. We had the opportunity to travel many places and tried several different popcorn shops. We both remember being in a shop, looking at each other and saying, “We can do this…” Here we are several years later.


How do you come up with the different flavors? What is involved in the process?


We come up with

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different flavors through experimentation. There have only been a couple of flavors we tried that did not work to our liking, but nearly everything has worked out well. We have our core offerings at this point, but can always make other flavors for special occasions. Some people request special flavors for events, weddings, etc. We use commercial equipment for everything. Our process is different for our savory flavors versus our sweet/chocolate flavors. The savory flavors are an easier process, where we combine blends of cheeses and spices in a large commercial mixing bowl that turns and combines everything. The amounts of cheeses and spices has all been trial and error to get to the flavor profile we feel is best. The one thing we pride ourselves on is not using powder cheeses. The taste of our product versus a powder cheese popcorn is rather evident. The sweet and chocolate flavors are made by mixing everything in our large commercial equipment. The ingredients go in the heat kettle and it is a longer process. Again, we have tried many varieties/ amounts of certain ingredients we combine to get to the final product. We definitely go with flavor combinations that we know work, like peanut butter and milk chocolate, hot wings and blue cheese, etc. We both love cooking shows and have gathered ideas by flavor combinations we see on Food Network. Lots of trial and error to get to where we are.


How is the gourmet popcorn business doing overall? Is it gaining in popularity, and if so, why?

A: The business is doing well. There was

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I have always purchased popcorn when attending the movies. Sandra would eat it sometimes, but not all of the time. Popcorn and the movies, the two just go together. I would not be telling the truth if I said we never bring our own popcorn to the movies. Let’s just say it has snuck itself in a time or 20.

Q: Can you eat regular popcorn anymore?

Or are you tired of popcorn when “off the clock” and like to eat other fun snacks?


We do eat regular popcorn here and there, but prefer to eat something we have created. People always ask us if we are tired of it, but we simply have too many options and flavor profiles to get sick of it. We definitely have our favorite snacks/treats. We are both on the same page when we say our favorite snacks outside of popcorn are donuts for me and ice cream for Sandra, but we definitely limit those treats.

Q: Why locate in Chamblee? A: Chamblee is growing like

crazy. There is a ton of development and great places coming to the community. We really enjoy the people and this location is rather convenient to where we live in neighboring Brookhaven.

Q: Who buys gourmet popcorn? A: Many people buy gourmet popcorn.

We like to say our age demographic ranges from about age 3 to 90 years old. The key point with our product is getting people to try it. I can say with great confidence that it is nearly impossible for someone to not really enjoy at least one flavor we offer. We truly have something for everyone. Oreo, caramel sea salt, parmesan garlic, peanut butter milk chocolate, Hotlanta con limon (a cheese blend with lime and hot spices), white chocolate pretzel and more. There is something for everyone. We have broken into the corporate world pretty well and that makes up a large portion of our clients. This is a great and fun option for employee appreciation, catering events, weddings and parties.


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definitely a learning curve over the first couple of years. We feel like we have figured out the best model for us and things are growing. Our product speaks for itself. People seem to love our product and we take pride in that. We value our loyal customers and look forward to growing our business in 2018.


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JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Food & Drink | 7



The Dunwoody Farmers Market is set to open on April 18 at Brook Run Park after local volunteers partnered with the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and city officials to create the new offering. The city at one time had a for-profit farmers market, but it closed after not being able to find a permanent location. The new farmers market is nonprofit and is under the DHA’s umbrella, much like the DHA’s Food Truck Thursdays also held at Brook Run Park. The Dunwoody Farmers Market will take place Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning April 18 and continuing through Oct. 27.

More information can be found at facebook.com/dunwoodyfarmersmarket.


Zoë’s Kitchen, a fast-casual Mediterranean chain, opened this month in the new Plaza at City Springs shopping center at 5840 Roswell Road, Suite 300. For more information, see zoeskitchen.com. Meanwhile, two restaurants in Sandy Springs’ Abernathy Square shopping center closed in January. The upscale sports bar Dantanna’s closed its doors Jan. 9. No reason was given on its website or through social media. Dantanna’s, with other locations in Buckhead and downtown, was located in the Abernathy Square shopping center at Roswell and Abernathy roads for about four years. It replaced an Ap-

plebee’s that was located at the site. CT Cocina & Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant, also closed in early January after being open for about one year.


Pontoon Brewing celebrated its official grand opening the weekend of Jan. 12 with a ribbon cutting, tours, live music, food trucks and, of course, plenty of craft beer. Located at 8601 Dunwoody Place Building 500, Suite 500, it is Sandy Springs’ first brewery. CEO Sean O’Keefe told Reporter Newspapers in October that the business owners looked at 40 buildings in areas as far as Carrollton, Acworth, Smyrna and the West End BeltLine. “We finally found the location we are in today because of the great proximity to the Chattahoochee [River], the amount of traffic and businesses in Sandy Springs

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and the welcoming city. We thought Sandy Springs was a great location,” O’Keefe said.


The Dunwoody Village Burger King, which long doubled as the site for school groups and other organizations to hold car washes for fundraisers, closed its doors Jan. 5 after 30 years of serving Whoppers and fries. The fast food restaurant’s parcel was recently sold to Brand Properties, owners of the Shops of Dunwoody, who have listed the site for lease, according to City Councilmember Terry Nall.

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8 | Education

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Monica Brown, North Springs Charter High School Monica Brown, a special education teacher at North Springs Charter High School, helped create a school café operated by her students. She was awarded “Teacher of the Month” by the Sandy Springs school for her work creating the café in October. “It was a huge project undertaking with hard work, determination and patience with this process,” she said of the project. A teacher for 15 years, Brown is in her second year of teaching special education at North Springs, which created its CBI, or Community Based Instruction program, two years ago. “I am extremely elated about the new CBI program here at North Springs Charter High School. There are endless activities, programs and classes the students can participate in as a new high school student,” Brown said.

Q: Why did you decide to have your students run a cafe?


The Coffee Shop Program has been around in Fulton County for the CBI Program for some years. This program is designed to teach real life, functional, social, personal finance and transition skills to high school special needs students. The students operate a real business (a coffee shop)



in the school. Students operate a cash register, make change, fill recipes, deliver coffee, restock, talk to customers, clock in and lots more. There is no better way to teach job skills than to practice them in a real-world setting. The Spartan Café Express is doing a phenomenal job this school semester.


How is the café program going and how have the students responded to it?


The program is going great! The entire North Springs Charter High School is so excited about Spartan Cafe Express. The interaction amongst one another is exciting and friendships are made. The students have built great relationships with the other peer students. The staff and teachers are excited to receive their first cup of coffee and tea in the morning. This is such a wonderful delight in the morning. The students are loving it and excited! This is really a historical moment for our students. They have left a legacy, that’s for sure. I get a joy to see them prepare coffee, deliver and greet staff members and teachers each day.

Q: Do you enjoy your role in the new CBI

Monica Brown stands with students as they prepare to cut the ribbon on the Spartan Café Express in November 2017.



I truly enjoy my role as the CBI lead teacher of my classroom. The CBI scholars are growing, learning and having fun at the same time. I am extremely elated about the new CBI program here at North Springs Charter High School as the special needs population is growing within our communities. Now that the CBI program is up and running at North Springs Charter High School, students are able to go to their home school. There are endless activities, pro-


grams and classes the students can participate in as a new high school student. Students are learning and working towards building independence and employability skills while working in the coffee shop.


What attracted you to teaching at



After working with students and volunteering with the Special Olympics for several years as a recreation therapist, I later became interested to go back to school and pursue my Masters in Special Education as special education continues to grow within our nation and throughout our communities. I cannot imagine doing anything else. I have always had a passion and love for working with children and young adults with special needs. I see myself as a teacher, role model, friend and also a parent. I am truly living out my purpose, and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Q: What do you want to see in your students?


I want to see my CBI students transition after graduating into a college, community college or even a work program to get started. I would love to see them working in the community by taking every job skill learned from my class. I want to see them be successful in their career, skill or even managing in their own business.

Q: What keeps you going year after year? A: My love and passion for my students keep me going. They have a will to learn and succeed in their work as they continue to grow and glow each day. They have a spirit of not giving up. This is what keeps me going and wanting to teach them more the next following year.



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Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” articles, Reporter Newspapers showcases the work of some of the outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend a teacher or administrator to be the subject of an Exceptional Educator article, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net.

Education | 9

JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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A rendering shows the final design for the new Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, which includes an auditorium, gymnasium, media center and cafeteria.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Fulton County Board of Education is set to vote on designs for the next phases of Riverwood International Charter School construction among concerns about changing the driveway at Heards Ferry. The $80 million project would build an entirely new school, including an auditorium, gymnasium, media center, cafeteria and classrooms. The first two floors of a classroom building and a baseball field have already been completed. Meanwhile, the school district is set to present the renovation plan for North Springs High at a Jan. 23 meeting amidst advocacy for an entirely new school, fueled in part by the new Riverwood campus. The board heard details on the next phases at its Jan. 9 work session, ahead of its regular board meeting set for Jan. 18. The concept designs for the entire Sandy Springs school and the site plan have not changed significantly since originally presented in 2015, Robert Sussenbach, the architect working on the designs said at the work session, which was broadcast on the board’s website. “This is pretty much what we showed you several years ago, and we’re trying to stay consistent with that,” Sussenbach said. Officials won’t be able to say whether or not the project is set to stay on budget until the board meeting, as final costs are still being determined, Patrick Burke, the chief operating officer of the Fulton County School District said during the work session. Some board members, including Katie Reeves, who represents District 2, brought up concerns about limiting the use of the driveway at Heards Ferry, which used to be heavily used but is now restricted to construction traffic and as a right-turn-only entrance. The main entrances are now located at Raider Drive. Reeves argued its safer to have multiple entrances and exits and questioned why one would be removed. Burke said the city of Sandy Springs has safety concerns about the driveway because of the curves on Heards Ferry and prohibited the driveway from continuing to be used as a full access entrance and exit. Construction of the school, located at 5900 Raider Drive, is split into seven phases. The first phase is the only phase that has so far been completed, which included the first two floors of a new building and a baseball field. The third floor of that building will be completed in the second phase, which is scheduled to begin next month and end in June. The contract for finishing the interior of the third floor is also set to be voted on at the board meeting. The construction is estimated to cost $2.8 million, according to the work session agenda. A cafeteria and media center will also be built during phase two. Other phases will include the addition of a gymnasium, an auditorium and expanded parking from 450 spaces to around 650. All construction is planned to conclude in January 2022, according to documents. The new school facilities are being built on the existing school grounds without shutting down any current classrooms or programs. Once the new facilities are built, the old ones will be demolished.

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10 | Commentary

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

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer: Soojin Yang Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Julie Davis, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Jim Speakman, Janet Tassitano Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Phil Mosier, Jaclyn Turner

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Community Survey / Is Sandy Springs’ arts-oriented civic center a smart play? With its new City Springs civic center, a $229 million facility set to open this year with a major performing arts center at its core, Sandy Springs aims to build its identity around the arts. Many respondents to the Reporter Newspapers’ latest 1Q.com survey say that’s a smart, forward-thinking move — though there is some disagreement about the cost. “I believe it adds great value and keeps the life in a city,” said a 58-year-old Sandy Springs woman, one of 200 respondents to the cellphone-based text survey of residents in communities served by the Reporter and our sister paper, Atlanta INtown. “Having this arts center will provide options for theater-going and generate revenue for the city. Keeping the arts alive is a way we can lead the younger generations and give them additional opportunities to learn more about their talents.” A 36-year-old Dunwoody woman said she couldn’t wait to join friends and family for shows at City Springs. “I love it!!,” she commented. “I think it’s a great add to our community.” “I live in Sandy Springs, so I’m all for it and the guests it will bring in,” a 53-year-old woman wrote. “I find it to be an incredible plan,” a 28-year-old Buckhead man commented. “I enjoy having various things to do around the Atlanta area, which includes art galleries, performances, attending the symphony, as well as enjoying music. More options like these make living in this city more enjoyable.” And a 52-year-old Buckhead woman put it simply: “It’s a good play for Sandy Springs,” she said. There were some naysayers. “That’s what the city of Atlanta is for. Not Sandy Springs,” said one 23-year-old respondent. Meanwhile, a 32-year-old Atlanta man applauded Sandy Springs for outdoing his city: “Not refurbishing and breathing new life into the Atlanta Civic Center was a waste of a beautiful property and a key part of Atlanta’s heritage. Glad to hear Sandy Springs is picking up the torch to enrich their community.” A bigger split in opinion was whether such a civic center, built as a public-private partnership, is worth $229 million. “Too much money spent,” a 42-year-old Sandy Springs man commented. “Let the private sector do this.” Another Sandy Springs resident, a 33-year-old man, had similar questions. “While I appreciate the city building a performing arts center,” he wrote, “the price tag to complete [it] is very concerning and [I] wonder if those funds could have been better used elsewhere for the city.” Residents of communities near Sandy Springs also were concerned about the cost. “I think it’s a waste for the smaller cities to do this. There are plenty of arts venues and organizations in Atlanta already,” a 36-year-old Brookhaven man noted. A 46-year-old Buckhead man said the project represented “a lot of money that could be going elsewhere. [I] don’t agree.” But other respondents thought money invested in the arts would provide a good return to the community. “I’m in favor of it,” a 51-year-old Sandy Springs man said of the performing arts center. “It makes a town more attractive and raises property values.” “Arts and culture are key to a community’s growth and vitality and is a proven economic driver for long term growth,” said a 42-year-old Atlanta woman. When respondents were asked what would attract them to Sandy Springs for a show, answers varied widely. Concerts featuring popular music led the list, with 34 percent of the respondents expressing interest. Classical music drew the least interest, with only 2 percent of the respondents saying they would come to Sandy Springs for that type of concert.

What type of arts event is most likely to attract you to visit City Springs? Popular music (pop, rock, hip-hop, etc.)


(musical or dramatic)


34% 18.5% 7.5%

Children’s arts programs


Art exhibit


Celebrity speaking tour






(classical or modern)

Classical music Other

2% 13%

Here’s what some other respondents had to say: “Great idea! The arts will enhance the cultural activities in the area.” — 27-year-old Atlanta woman “I believe arts are an important part of a community. The fact that Atlanta is doing pretty good on the arts front was a big reason for staying in the area.” — 39-year-old Atlanta woman “As an artist myself; I fully support art as a core in civic identity. Construction and traffic are my only main concerns pre- and post-completion.” — 25-year-old Buckhead woman “Feel like that money would be better spent in our schools and starting an appreciation for and attention to the arts early in life.” — 25-year-old Brookhaven woman

1Q is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a technology which sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text message from businesses and organizations across the country. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity. Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting REPORTER to 86312. © 2018 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, LLC.

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JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Commentary | 11


Around Town

Joe Earle is editor-at-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

Growing up in Dunwoody, Kristen Hard loved to make things. “I was always into food, from the time I was a child,” she said recently. “I was always in the kitchen wanting to make stuff.” At the same time, “All I ever wanted was a chemistry set. I was really into science. I was really into invention.” “I think I kind of always had this brain where I have a balance with this obsession for science and for art,” she said. Jump forward a few years. In her 20s, Hard was working as a private chef on a yacht. During a stop in the Caribbean, she had an epiphany. The two sides of her brain came together when she discovered chocolate – real chocolate – came from the seeds hidden inside the fruit of a tropical tree and wasn’t simply concocted in a huge factory. “It blew my mind. It was like all these dots connected… like the stars aligned.” Hard set about learning how to make chocolate from scratch. She produced small batches of chocolate for herself and friends. She experimented. In 2004, she moved back to Atlanta and started selling her chocolate through farmer’s markets and street fairs. When Hard started out, she was among a handful of custom bean-tobar chocolate makers in the country, she said, and the only one in the southeastern U.S. Now her chocolates draw widespread attention. Notices from magazines such as Travel + Leisure, Food + Wine and Oprah decorate the walls of her office in her northwest Atlanta factory. Her company, Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co., makes luxury chocolate directly from cacao beans and sells scores of chocolate treats — such as $3 chocolate truffles and $8 chocolate bars and $21.50 Salame di Cioccolato, which looks like salami — through a Buckhead shop and a café in Virginia-Highland. Hard says she’s set her sights set on an even grander goal. She wants to make the best chocolate in the world. And maybe, in the process, help save chocolate itself for the future. After she got into the chocolate business, Hard said she discovered its problems. It’s a far-flung industry, with small farms in Central and South America and Africa and

manufacturers spread around the world. “I started understanding the industry and the corruption and the lack of quality,” she said. “Over the last 100 years, cacao has been bred [to increase] disease resistance and yield,” she said. “They have bred out flavors.” She decided that if she wanted to make the best chocolate in the world, she needed to work with the best raw materials. She went looking for better chocolate beans. She said she worked with cacao farmers and at one point even owned her own farm in Peru. She says she found what she wanted in old chocolate trees that produced fruit that is sweeter, not as bitter, “more elegant.” “I’m looking for the rarest, the less than 1 percent, cacao,” she said. “It exists. It’s really hard to find. It’s hard to find farmers who are growing it.” Hard said she’s now working to convince farmers to grow rare, heirloom varieties of cacao. At the same time, she wants to create a market that would allow those farmers to be able to afford to grow those varieties. “We basically have created a new market for cacao that has never been seen before,” she said. That means making chocolate that’s expensive. That doesn’t worry Hard. “Chocolate is a luxury,” she said. “A dark chocolate, fine chocolate, is a luxury. It’s not a foodstuff, like rice. It shouldn’t be treated like a commodity.” She also worries about finding ways to replace aging cacao farmers. Their chilSPECIAL dren are moving away or to Kristen Hard of other crops, she said, which Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co. may mean real chocolate will grow even rarer, more expensive. “What happens when [the farmers] die?” she asked. She thinks it’s worth the struggle. “I am trying to redefine things so our children and children’s children will have this,” she said. “I just feel like there is a way to make a change in this world if you put your mind to it.”

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12 | Community

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DeKalb school board member target of complaint alleging threat BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The former co-chair of the Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation has filed a complaint against DeKalb Board of Education member Stan Jester, saying she felt threatened by him during a recent meeting with him and other school administrators. Allegra Johnson, a longtime school volunteer, filed the complaint with the DeKalb County School District on Jan. 5. She resigned her post last month as co-chair of the foundation, citing her concerns about Jester’s behavior toward her that included him saying he would “come after her” and calling her a “bully.” Jester says Johnson’s allegations were unfounded and he did not threaten her. “I do not feel secure in making decisions or suggestions for PCMS because of this current situation,” Johnson wrote in her resignation letter, obtained from DCSD. “I believe they may infuriate Mr. Jester and lead to other verbal recourse against me or my family.” Johnson declined to comment. A DCSD spokesperson said the board will be considering the complaint, but details were not known at press time. DCSD does not have a separate ethics board. Superintendent Stephen Green declined to

comment about the allegations. In an email, Jester said he had seen the According to the complaint, Johnson complaint and it was his understanding said she and PCMS Foundation co-chair that no action was going to be taken by the Fran Bartel met Dec. 14 with Jester, Green board. He also noted that his daughter went and school board chair Melvin Johnson to to PCMS for three years and now attends discuss Jester’s recent quesDunwoody High School and tioning of the PCMS Foundathat he has a son in his second tion’s purchase of 80 iPads for year at PCMS. Each year he has $23,500 at the Dec. 4 school donated to the PCMS Foundaboard meeting. tion, he said. That discussion led to dis“While I appreciate the volcussion of Jester’s “Fact Checkunteering that Ms. Johnson has er” blog, which Johnson critdone over the years, she and I icized for being too critical of have disagreed on a number people and the school district. of issues concerning the Dun“Mr. Jester threatened to woody school cluster,” Jester ‘come after’ me personally said in the email. FILE for raising the issue of his dis“Last year we disagreed Stan Jester. paraging comments. His tone about which plan would be and manner caused me enough fear that I best with respect to high school over-crowdhave submitted my resignation to the PCMS ing. She also seems frustrated that I comFoundation,” she stated. “Mr. Jester also was municate my thoughts and opinions about allowed to name-call; baselessly accusing school district matters in a transparent and me of being a ‘bully.’” open forum on my blog,” he said. “In addition to the groundless delay of “I am left to surmise that Ms. Johnson is the iPad approval, the Foundation had condispleased with any public discussion of her cerns with Mr. Jester’s use of social media thoughts or her work and advocacy, particto disparage school councils and to criticize ularly on my blog,” Jester said. “I reject the PCMS where his son attends. Multiple times notion that I have mocked or ridiculed anyMr. Jester has mocked and ridiculed school one.” councils on his ‘Fact Checker’ blog,” she statAs for his questions about the iPad pured in the complaint. chase last month that delayed the board ap-

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proving the purchase, Jester said he requested to see basic financial statements of the PCMS Foundation. “This was a perfunctory request and one that I viewed as simple,” he said. The school district was slow in providing the information and at the Dec. 4 school board meeting the information was not available, Jester said. He asked to defer the vote and the superintendent and board members agreed. “It is puzzling why this routine deferral created such a truculent reaction from Ms. Johnson,” Jester said. He added he is currently reviewing the financial information provided by the PCMS Foundation. As for the Johnson’s allegations that Jester threatened to “come after” her, Jester said his exact words were, “If you come after me, I will come after you and defend myself.” “My use of the word ‘you’ in that sentence was an indefinite pronoun,” he said. He said his comment was made after Johnson stated she didn’t like a November 2016 post on his blog titled “Chesnut ES and Kingsley ES Not a Fan of Their School Board Rep.” The post included an email from the Chesnut Elementary Parent Teacher Council and Kingsley Elementary Parent Teacher Organization to the DeKalb school board as well as Superintendent Green and other school administrators concerning ESPLOST project plans that fund PCMS and DHS building additions. The councils of both elementary schools wanted the school board to know they supported the additions as a way to allow their students to remain in the Dunwoody cluster. They objected to Jester publicly stating his opposition to the addition that he said would add 600 students to DHS. “By promoting the misconception that 600 students will be added to the high school, Mr. Jester — who surely knows that in fact the plan allows for an enrollment of 267 net new students by 2022 (as DHS’ current enrollment already stands at 321 over capacity) — can only be attempting to incite opposition to the DHS addition,” stated Terri Young and Carrie Willard, chairs of the Chesnut and Kingsley councils at the time. Jester said the email was emailed to public officials and therefore was not required to be kept private. “I explained to Allegra that they emailed the board, administration and many of the elected officials around town at our public email addresses, so there was no intent of privacy,” Jester said. “In that email, they came after me. Subsequent to that explanation, my exact words were, ‘If you come after me, I will come after you and defend myself.’” In December 2016, the DeKalb school board voted 6-1 to approve $16.9 million for a two-story addition and 29 classrooms at Dunwoody High School. Jester cast the lone “no” vote. DUN

JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Community | 13


the new changes is yet to be determined, Mied said. “Rents have been well below market rates for a number of years, so current rents are not really indicative of the market ...,” Mied said. “Post-renovation rents have not yet been finalized but will remain very competitive when compared to other options in the area. $1,600 is in the ball park for the three bedroom plus den, which has 1,781 square feet.” The complex is about 88 percent occupied right now and the number of residents postrenovation is not projected, she added.

The complex’s current unit mix: Studio units — 1 1-bedroom units — 0 2-bedroom units — 28 3-bedroom units — 53 4-bedroom units — 20 Total units: 102

An aerial conceptual drawing of how the proposed landscaping areas would be enlarged and parking spaces colored to define an actual road through the DeLido Apartments complex. A requested rezoning of the complex to reconfigure four-bedroom units into one- and two-bedroom units would also enable the modifications to the parking area, according to property management.

DeLido Apartments seeks rezoning for renovations BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The owner of the DeLido Apartments in Dunwoody is seeking a rezoning from the city as part of a proposed redevelopment of the property that would make way for adding 20 units to the complex. An application filed with the city outlines plans that include renovations and reconfiguring of the 8-acre apartment complex located on ChambleeDunwoody Road at the intersection of North Shallowford and Peeler roads. The owner, Deneb Holdings LLC, bought the complex for $15.2 million last summer, according to a press release. The company is asking for the property to be rezoned from RM-100 to RM-75 to allow for more units. Currently, there are 12 two-story apartment buildings with a total of 102 residential units, including 20 fourbedroom units. The owner is proposing eliminating the four-bedroom units and replacing them with reconfigured one- and two-bedroom units. None of the buildings would be demolished as part of the renovations. “The zoning that we are requesting


would allow for the proposed increase in residential density and enable the changes to the current parking lot situation, which is the most important aspect to present DeLido as a new property,” said Sue Mied of Madison Property Management, which manages the DeLido Apartments. “With approval of the zoning we would implement changes in the parking to transform the feel to a much more residential setting with a defined street line and landscape,” she added. “It is really a remarkable transformation and visionary of the designer. This enhancement would then also support the many upgrades of standards within the units. We are prepared to move forward with this work immediately upon approval from the city.” A presentation by DeLido Apartments representatives was made Jan. 7 to the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. According to the rezoning application, the existing apartments were constructed in 1968. Deneb Holdings LLC purchased the property last year and is working on maintenance issues and improving the property, according to the application.

“Time, wear and tear, and deferred investment in maintenance and upkeep have taken their toll on the condition of the property,” states the application filed by David Kirk, attorney for Troutman Sanders, representing the property owner. Mied said while reconfiguring the four-bedroom units can’t take place without city approval of the rezoning request, plans are to start renovating the interiors of the two- and three-bedrooms in February. “We expect the whole process to take about one year because of our sectioned approach to the renovation, having only a few units ... under renovation at a time. The sections were determined by lease expirations,” Mied said. Mied said all residents have been informed of the proposed renovations and reconfigurations. “[W]e are very sensitive to the longterm residents at DeLido and have reached out to them to ensure advance notice of renovation dates, present availability of on-site temporary housing and inform[ation] of low introductory rates for the newly renovated units,” Mied said. How much rents will change with


All 20 of the current 4-bedroom units will be reconfigured, with each remodeled and reconfigured into two units, either in a 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom configuration, according to the proposed plans. Of the 40 new units resulting from the reconfiguration, 32 are proposed to be 1-bedroom units and 8 are proposed to be 2-bedroom units. The remaining units within the development would be remodeled in their current bedroom configuration, according to the rezoning application.

The final renovation would include this layout: Studio units — 1 1-bedroom units — 32 2-bedroom units — 36 3-bedroom units — 53 4-bedroom units — 0 Total units: 122

With 122 units, the complex grows to about 15.2 units per acre. Current zoning only allows for 12 units per acre. As part of the redevelopment, plans proposed also include an upgrade to the exteriors of the buildings, adding parking improvements, landscaping improvements, reduced impervious surfaces and other amenities, including bicycle parking.

14 | Community

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PUBLIC INFORMATION OPEN HOUSE INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS AT NORTHSIDE DR AND RIVERVIEW RD The City of Sandy Springs is hosting an Open House to present design concepts being considered to improve traffic efficiency and safety at Northside Drive and Riverview Road. Thursday, February 1, 2018 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, STEM Building 805 Mount Vernon Highway Sandy Springs, GA 30327

For more information please visit sandyspringsga.gov

A rendering of the 16-story office tower set to break ground this summer that will house the headquarters of national staffing leader Insight Global.

Insight Global to locate headquarters office in new office tower BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The new 16-story office tower to go up on Hammond Drive next to the Dunwoody MARTA Station in Perimeter Center will house a new headquarters for national staffing leader Insight Global. Insight Global will be relocating from its current headquarters building at the nearby Ashford Green building at 4170 Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven to the new site in Dunwoody in late spring or early summer of 2020 when the building is completed. “We are excited to have secured a new headquarters facility that can accommodate our growth and gives us the opportunity to design a space reflecting who we are as a company, all while remaining in the Central Perimeter area with great access for our clients and employees,” said Glenn Johnson, Insight Global’s Chairman and CEO, in a press release. The new building, set to break ground this summer and be finished in 2020, will be named Twelve24. The transit-oriented office tower on nearly four acres of unused parking area of Perimeter Mall will have 334,000 square feet of Class A office space and 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurants. The building can support more than 1,100 employees, according to a Trammell Crow spokesperson. The Dunwoody City Council approved the project in October. Developer Trammell Crow is also seeking $130 million in tax abatements from the Dunwoody Development Authority for the project. Insight Global, a national staffing and services company, has signed a long-term lease for 175,000 square-feet of the new office building. Twelve24 will feature large, open floorplates with floor-to-ceiling glass, extensive outdoor terraces within tenant spaces and within the building’s common areas, according to a press release. Amenities will include a lounge and collaboration area for tenants and guests, a conference center, an executive-level fitness center and on-site restaurants. The development team is seeking LEED Gold Certification. Additionally, TCC is working with Concord Hospitality Enterprises to develop a 10-story, 180-room select service hotel directly connected to Twelve24. Hotel guests and Twelve24 tenants will share the elevated outdoor terrace level between the two buildings. “[Trammell Crow’s] strategy to re-enter the Atlanta office market was to identify a site and building design allowing for one of the most unique office development opportunities in the Atlanta metro area,” said Brandon Houston, principal with Trammell Crow’s Atlanta Business Unit, in a press release. “Twelve24’s transit-oriented mixed-use environment with the combination of restaurants, retail, office, and hospitality creates a truly exceptional work space environment. The architecture of the building allows our anchor tenant, Insight Global, and our other tenants, the ability to office in a location where they can connect, innovate, and advance their businesses,” Houston said in the release. Duda Paine Architects is the design architect, and Wakefield Beasley & Associates is the architect of record. Concord ATL Perimeter LLC will construct a 10-story hotel with 177 rooms behind the office tower and is set to receive a $38 million tax abatement from the city’s development authority as well. DUN

JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Community | 15


New baseball fields raise neighbors’ concerns


Councilmember Pam Tallmadge, left, and Pat Cordle, center, listen to questions and answers about the new Dunwoody baseball fields.

Continued from page 1 where two new baseball fields are now under construction and are expected to be completed next month in time for Dunwoody Senior Baseball league play. Attending from the city were Mayor Denis Shortal, Councilmembers John Heneghan and Pam Tallmadge and Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker. After the chopping down of some 300 trees in September along North Peachtree Road and the recent installation of 45-foot tall stadium light poles for the fields, some residents said they were unaware of the scope of the project and fear noise and bright lights will affect their quality of life. Brian Mailman, who lives across the street from the current construction site, wanted to meet with city officials to find some way to mitigate any potential adverse effects to his home and neighborhood. “I get development, I understand that the city wants to grow, but people who are directly affected become very frustrated and there has to be some give and take,” he said. Walker explained that the city worked with Trees Atlanta to come up with a plan to plant more than 50 trees, including native species such as oak and maple and other trees, between North Peachtree Road and Barclay Road, to provide an immediate screen for neighbors living across the street from where the fields are being built. The new trees are part of a first phase to replace the 300 trees cut down DUN

as part of development of the baseball fields, he said. The trees in the first phase are small — only 15 gallons — but are expected to leaf and grow quickly. Future plans include planting more trees with the help of Trees Atlanta, possibly up to 20-feet tall, Walker said. No timeline when those large trees will be planted is known at this time, he added. The 15-gallon trees of the first phase, about 8- to 10-foot tall, are expected to grow significantly within three to five years to provide more of a buffer.

Georgia Power is expected to energize the stadium lights in the next few weeks and Walker said he would meet again with neighborhood residents to see where any light spillage into neighboring homes occurs. After noting where the light spillage happens, Walker said plans would then be made to plant the much taller trees to provide light blockage. But with games expected to run as late as 11 p.m., some residents were asking if the cut-off times could be changed to perhaps 9 p.m. Mayor Denis Shortal

said the 11 p.m. time has always been the cut-off time for Dunwoody Senior Baseball leagues, although most games end by 10 p.m. Walker addressed pedestrian crossing concerns and said a crossing beacon will be installed on North Peachtree Road near PCMS, but no site has been selected yet. As for parking, the city has an agreement with PCMS to use its parking lot as overflow from the dedicated parking for the baseball fields. The two new fields will serve as the new home for the Dunwoody Senior Baseball league, which has existed for 42 years. The fields will have rectangular multipurpose field overlay/striping complete with a durable all-season synthetic turf and will be set up for shared use by PCMS for the school’s gym and outdoor classes. The baseball fields also include a new concession building, new bathrooms, a playground, bleacher stands and batting cages. A new bus turnaround and drop off with ADA access and handicap parking will also be included at the new site. The Dunwoody mayor and City Council voted July 10 to spend up to $5.7 million for the design and construction of two new baseball fields adjacent to Brook Run Park. The new fields are being built on property that once belonged to the DeKalb County School District as part of PCMS School are to replace the current baseball fields in Dunwoody Park that were sold for $3.6 million by the city to DCSD as part of a land swap. The school district is building a new 900-seat Austin Elementary where the former baseball fields were located, in Dunwoody Park and adjacent to the Dunwoody Nature Center, that is set to open in 2019. The city will then get the property where the current Austin Elementary is located to possibly use as a park space.

Recent additions to the construction of the new baseball fields include the addition of 45-foot stadium light poles, causing alarm to residents living nearby who fear the bright lights will shine into their homes late into the night during baseball games.

16 | Arts & Entertainment

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News and artistic director Roni Koresh. $25 members; $38 community. MJCCA’s Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/boxoffice or 678812-4002.







Friday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, Feb. 18 Stage Door Players present the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Picnic,” by William Inge. The play is set on a Kansas Labor Day weekend in the joint backyards of two middle-aged widows whose families are disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious young drifter. $15$33. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Schedule and other info: stagedoorplayers.net.


Saturday, Feb. 3, events begin at 7:50 a.m. An anticipated 1,500 runners will gather to the sound of bagpipes to compete in the 2018 Tartan Trot 5K/10K race, which starts and ends at Saint Luke’s Presbyterian Church. The Tartan Trot features two Peachtree Road Race qualifying races (8:30 a.m.) and is a walker-, stroller- and dog-friendly event with a 1-mile Fun Run (8 a.m.) and a Tot Trot (7:50 a.m.). $35 for the 5K/10K; $15 for the Fun Run. 1978 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: tartantrot.com.


Saturday Jan. 27, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 28, 5 p.m. The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta presents the critically acclaimed Koresh Dance Company, founded by Israeli-born choreographer


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Saturday, Feb. 3, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Beginner’s dance lesson 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp band fuel the music for a Mardi Gras party featuring everything from bluesy twosteps and waltzes to Creole tunes and zydeco. Authentic Cajun/Creole food for sale. Sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. $18. $14 active military. $5 students. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org.

JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Arts & Entertainment | 17



Ongoing Senior Stretch and Cardio & Strength classes are now in session at the Briarwood Recreation Center. SilverSneakers is a fitness program for adults ages 65-plus that comes free with qualifying health plans. Free. $5 per class for nonSilverSneakers members. 2235 Briarwood Way N.E., Brookhaven. Info: silversneakers.com/flex or brookhavenga.gov.


Thursday, Jan. 25 to Saturday, Jan. 27, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Cathedral of St. Philip partners with the nonprofit Antiques Council for its festival of art, antiques and floral and interior design, benefitting A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab. Period furniture, jewelry, art and accessories will be for sale; lunch available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. $20 covers the three days. Additional costs for author talks, a Sunday tour of homes and other scheduled show events. 2744 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. Info: cathedralantiques.org.

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Thursday, Jan. 25 to Monday, Jan. 29. (Closed Sunday.) Members only: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Public hours: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. The Friends of the Dunwoody Library will hold a four-day book sale culminating with a Bag Day on Monday. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-512-4640.

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Saturday, Jan. 27, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Heritage Sandy Springs has rebranded its American Girl Club, which always welcomed all genders but only attracted girls, to reflect the inclusive nature of the program. This month, kids will learn about the history of country music with coed characters Logan and Tenney. Each monthly club meeting includes an activity, craft and snack. Kids are invited to bring their favorite doll. Best suited for ages 5 to 12. Advance registration recommended. $8 Heritage Sandy Springs members; $10 nonmembers; $15 at the door. 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org. Click the education tab. Continued on page 18

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18 | Arts & Entertainment

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 17


Wednesday, Jan. 31, 5 to 6:30 p.m. All are invited to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta at Zaban Park for a celebration of the Jewish Earth Day featuring songs, activities, crafts, fruit and nut sampling and a Tu B’Shvat birthday cake. Free. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Registration: atlantajcc.org. Info: Rabbi Brian Glusman at 678-812-4161 or rabbi.glusman@atlantajcc.org.

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Saturday, Feb. 3, 6 to 8 p.m. This ninth annual event is open to all girls attending school in Sandy Springs (grades K-5) and their dads or father figures. A DJ will play music from both generations. Dance contests, musical games, complementary snacks and refreshments, keepsake photo, door prizes and a goodie bag for each girl. Business casual to semi-formal attire. $35 for father-daughter; $10 each additional daughter. Preregistration required by Feb. 2 or until the event is full at registration.sandyspringsga.gov. Spalding Drive Elementary School, 130 West Spalding Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: 770-730-5600.




Wednesday, Jan. 24, and Wednesday, Feb. 7, 4 to 5 p.m. Seniors are invited to audition stories of their lives for a national living history initiative called “These Eyes Have Seen” (theseeyeshaveseen.com) during either of two events at local retirement communities. Free, with complementary food and beverages and live entertainment. The Jan. 24 event, featuring a presentation on the history of Dunwoody, is at Dunwoody Pines, 435 Georgetown Square, Dunwoody. RSVP by Jan. 23 to Traci Sherman at 770986-1100 or traci.sherman@sunshineret.com. The Feb. 7 event, which features a presentation by Holocaust survivor Helen Weingarten, is at Hammond Glen, 335 Hammond Drive, Sandy Springs. RSVP by Feb. 5 to Alicia Bartlett at 404-256-6300 or alicia.smith@ sunshineret.com.


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Saturday, Jan. 27, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Adult artists of all abilities are invited to the Blue Heron Nature Preserve for a natural science illustration workshop focused on trees. Drawing techniques such as modeling, contour and value building will be explored. For ages 18 and older. Preregistration required. Basic art supplies provided. $75. 4055 Roswell Road N.E., Buckhead. Info: bhnp.org.


Ongoing Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (beginners) and 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (intermediate). Learn Spanish and refine your Spanish language skills at the Sandy Springs Library. Free. 395 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-303-6130.



JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Arts & Entertainment | 19


Atlanta Jewish Film Festival returns The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, a cinematic exploration of Jewish experience, is back for its 18th year of presenting films from around the world. This year’s event runs over 23 days, from Wednesday, Jan. 24 through Thursday, Feb. 15, at seven venues across metro Atlanta, including Sandy Springs’ Regal Perimeter Pointe and The Springs Cinema & Taphouse. Presented by AJFF, an independent nonprofit arts organization, the festival will feature more than 190 screenings, with 75 films from 27 countries. Filmmakers, academics, authors, critics and other guest speakers will engage with the audience before and after select screenings. Opening night and closing night festivities will take place at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Other venues include Regal Atlantic Station, Regal Hollywood 24, UA Tara Cinemas and Woodruff Arts Center. Here’s a preview of some of the film festival attractions:

“The Invisibles,” a docudrama about the teens and adults who survived World War II in Berlin hiding in plain sight.

“Let Yourself Go,” an

Italian comedy that features a self-involved psychoanalyst who has his tightly ordered world thrown for a loop by a high-spirited fitness instructor.

Tickets and other info: ajff.org.

“Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me,”

a tribute to the iconic dancer, singer and actor. Kicks off opening night.

“Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds: The Conductor Zubin Mehta,” a film that celebrates the international career of a musical maestro.

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20 | Arts & Entertainment

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Touring theater company for seniors eyes expansion BY JACLYN TURNER

ing there, Theatre-To-Go’s professional company travels to senior living comAfter a decade of bringing theater to munities, senior centers, churches and seniors, the Atlanta Theatre-To-Go travsynagogues, bringing a theatrical exeling company is making a big move of perience to seniors, its own, expanding from some of whom may its base in a Sandy Springs not be able to go to a house and hiring its first traditional theater. executive director. Three plays and “I am looking forward a musical are perto having more creative formed each year, time and to seeing my often written by lo“baby” blossom into its full cal playwrights, inpotential,” said founder cluding Ilgenfritz. Sondra Ilgenfritz, who has Beyond the 60 or so stepped down as president performances put to serve on the company’s on each year, TheSondra Ilgenfritz. board and devote more time atre-To-Go offers histoto playwriting. ry tours, and such interactive works as Lois Keopke, the new executive di“reminiscence theater,” where a memrector, has a resume that includes ory from a participant is turned into a forming a troupe of senior dancers to script, which is then performed in front perform at the Milwaukee Bucks basof family and friends. ketball team’s halftime shows. “We are ready for our next stage of “I’m really jazzed up about what I’m growth,” said Ilgenfritz. “For 10 years, doing and joining this organization,” we have been a largely volunteer-drivKeopke said. “Seeing what they are doen organization fueled by an entreing and bringing this joy to seniors, it’s preneur with a passion and a mission. really cool.” Thanks to generous sponsors and doFounded in 2007 in Ilgenfritz’s Sannors, we are now able to move into a dy Springs home and regularly rehearsprofessional business model with the funds to hire expert help. “I hope that Lois can create the type of buzz that makes Atlanta Theatre-ToGo a catalyst for other communities throughout our nation to harness and utilize the creativity of our seniors,” added Ilgenfritz, who will continue to serve on the company’s board. Koepke spent 22 years choreographing and creating halftime shows for the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks. She formed the “SeniorGee!” dance team in 2006, a group of dancers ranging in age from 60 to Your monthly guide 85 who auditioned and performed durto the city’s vibrant ing halftime, and calls it a highlight of INtown community! her career. She was inspired by a MiPick up a copy or ami Heat performance at an NBA Allread it online at Star game involving seniors, and adaptatlantaintownpaper.com ed it to her own. “They’d start with a classic routine, and then switch into hip hop. They brought the house down,” said Koepke. New Restaurant

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Reporter Classifieds

At right, Sandy Springs resident Sondra Ilgenfritz, president of Atlanta Theatre-to-Go, introduces some actors at during the company’s 2010 season.

well in order to continue the mission.” “They were the most popular entertainTheatre-To-Go rehearses and opment group I’ve worked with.” erates out of Ilgenfritz’s home, some“The work ethic was just awesome, thing that has worked smoothly for the and they just wanted to entertain,” Kolast 10 years, but Koepke would love to epke said of working with the dancers. have access to a rehearsal space or of“A piece of me says, I know what sefice space, perhaps in a community niors can do, and what they are capacenter. For one upcoming performance, ble of doing when they are jazzed about the company is rehearsing a Tucker the arts, and then actually perform it.” church. Koepke retired, but after a recent “My goal is to partner with an orgamove to metro Atlanta, she said, she nization that would like to serve as a wanted to get involved in her new comhome for Atlanta Theatre-To-Go. And I munity, and was interested in working say that very loosely, but with nonprofits. it could be a place where Koepke has expanwe rehearse and partner sion and upgrades in with them to give their mind for the theater residents free theater,” company, such as bringshe said. ing more technology to The company is curthe organization as well rently touring a musias creating a unifying cal comedy called “Evbrand. ery Day Is Tuesday,” with “It’s time to reach a stops including the Berbroader audience, and man Commons assisted my role is going to be living and memory care funding. I want to bring residences in Dunwoody. more performances to For more informamore places,” she said. tion, see AtlantaThe“I’m the one to make Lois Keopke. atreToGo.com. sure we function really

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Classifieds | 21






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Former All Saints pastor remembered as ‘just a great guy’ Continued from page 1 letin, the newspaper for the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. Kiernan was the editor of The Georgia Bulletin for more than 10 years in the 1950s and 1960s. Kiernan was born in Taunton, Mass., and came to Georgia soon after becoming ordained in 1949. At the time, he said in a previous interview with Reporter Newspapers, there were only 33 Catholic priests in the entire state. His first assignment was in Savannah and he also served in communities such as Cedartown, Gainesville, Monroe and downtown Atlanta before becoming the pastor at Saint Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Sandy Springs and then Monsignor Donald Kiernan. in 1985 to All Saints in Dunwoody where he retired in 2011. In 2011, he was honored by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia legislature for his accomplishments upon his retirement from All Saints, as reported in Dunwoody City Councilmember John Heneghan’s blog. Heneghan said Kiernan was “a great guy, a jovial guy, full of life.” “The community is going to miss him,” he said. Mayor Denis Shortal, a member of the All Saints Knights of Columbus, said Kiernan “was a man of the people.” “Not only was he liked, he was revered and loved,” Shortal said. “He was a special human being, a holy man and also a man who could understand the common Catholic. And he had a sense of humor that was neverending that endeared him to folks.” Shortal said Kiernan was at this past year’s Fourth of July Parade, sitting where he always sat along the route in front of All Saints. The monsignor served as the parade’s first grand marshal in 1995. Kiernan had a special affinity for the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, according to Fiscella and Shortal. Shortal, who is a member of Saint Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, said he remembers attending All Saints one Sunday and Kiernan joking during his sermon about not having tickets to the Masters. “He said if someone got him tickets that the next time they went to confession to tell him who they are and he would only have them say a couple Our Fathers and Hail Marys, no matter what they did,” Shortal said. “And he got two tickets.” Kiernan also blazed a few trails within the law enforcement community. He helped organize the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, which offers training as well as educational and information sharing opportunities to its personnel, and was its chaplain for more than 20 years. He was also a chaplain for the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the DeKalb County and Atlanta Police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the local division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A funeral Mass was scheduled for Jan. 19 at All Saints. The Georgia Bulletin reports that in lieu of flowers, donations in Kiernan’s memory may be made to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home, 760 Pollard Blvd. SW, Atlanta, Ga. 30315. For more information, see olphhome.com.

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JAN. 19 - FEB. 1, 2018

Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Dunwoody From Dunwoody Police reports dated Jan. 7 through Jan. 14. The following information was pulled from Dunwoody’s Police-2-Citizen website.

B U R G L A RY 9000 block of Perimeter Lofts Circle

— On Jan. 11, during the day, someone forced into a home, and took two laptops, a TV, two watches, and an iPhone.

R O B B E RY 1500 block of Mount Vernon Road —

On Jan. 11, in the afternoon, a bank reported a robbery. The unknown male suspect got away.


100 block of Perimeter Center East—

from a car. The window was busted.

On Jan. 8, in the evening, a man reported his car had been entered. 4400 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

Jan. 11, in the evening, a laptop was stolen from a car. The handle was busted open.

— On Jan. 9, in the morning, a woman said someone tried to break into her car.

to the crime lab for THC and hallucinogenic testing. Another woman was charged with escorting without a permit. She was also found with several drugs on her person.

100 block of Perimeter Center West — On

4500 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road



block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 9, in the morning, an officer observed a car with all the windows down and a damaged door handle. 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 9, in the morning, a group of young men stole more than $2,000 in items from a retail store. Only $300 worth of merchandise has not been recovered. 4700 block of

Jan. 7, sometime during the early morning, someone broke into two cars.

Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 9, in the afternoon, two people were arrested and accused of stealing food from a discount superstore.

1400 block of Kings Down Circle — On

4500 block of

Jan. 7, someone broke into a car, taking a $150 gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond.

Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 10, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of trying to shoplift from a department store.

4600 block of North Springs Court —

On Jan. 7, a man said his car was entered and ransacked while parked in the driveway sometime overnight. A child’s backpack with school supplies was taken. 4700 block of Kings Down Road — On

5300 block of Roberts Drive — On Jan.

7, in the afternoon, a car window was smashed open and a purse containing $160 cash was taken. 4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 7, at night, a 17-yearold man was arrested and accused of attempting to shoplift a USB cord. 100 block of Perimeter Center West —

On Jan. 8, in the evening, a woman said her car was broken into and a purse was stolen. 100 block of Perimeter Center West —

On Jan. 8, in the evening, a woman said her car was broken into. A purse containing a Samsung Galaxy Note8 and debit cards was stolen. 100 block of Perimeter Center West —

On Jan. 8, in the evening, a woman said her laptop and paperwork were stolen from her car. 1000 block of Crown Point Parkway —

On Jan. 8, in the evening, a man said the rear passenger window of his Mercedes was smashed. A briefcase containing a MacBook, iPad and checkbook was stolen. 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 8, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of trying to shoplift various items from a department store. He also had 15 grams of marijuana and a taser on his person.



block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 10, in the afternoon, a suspect was stopped and arrested and accused of trying to shoplift from a discount superstore. 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 10, in the evening, two unknown suspects stole $1,000 worth of sunglasses, which were later recovered. 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 10, in the evening, an unidentified suspect tried to steal items from a sports fan store. 6200 block of Perimeter Lofts Circle —

Overnight into Jan. 11, ammunition, a respirator and a filter were stolen from a car. 4700 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Jan. 10, at night, a laptop and an Indian passport were stolen from a car. 5100 block of Lakeside Drive — On

Jan. 11, during the day, someone broke into a car and took various items. 4700 block of North Peachtree Road

— On Jan. 11, in the afternoon, someone took a bookbag containing a laptop

— On Jan. 11, in the evening, a gym bag containing clothing and a laptop bag with a computer were stolen from a car. 4400 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 7, at night, a man was arrested and accused of cocaine possession and pimping, also related to the above prostitution arrests.

— On Jan. 11, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of trying to shoplift household items from a department store.

6900 block of Peachtree Industrial Bou-

1000 block of Crown Pointe Parkway

4400 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Jan. 11, at night, a laptop bag containing a computer, $740 cash, wireless headphones, $250 gift card and other items was taken from a parked car. 1200 block of Ashford Crossing — On Jan. 11, at night, a woman reported a backpack with an iPad and patient documents was taken from her car.

4700 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 12, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting from a discount superstore.


block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 12, at night, two people were arrested and accused of shoplifting from a discount superstore. 4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 12, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct. Another man with him was arrested and accused of shoplifting. 1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

Jan. 13, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

A S S AU LT 6700 block of Peachtree Industrial

Boulevard — On Jan. 8, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of aggravated assault with a weapon.

levard — On Jan. 7, at night, a man was arrested and accused of violating probation. — On Jan. 8, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct during a shoplifting in progress. 4400 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Jan. 9, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of violating probation. 1200 block of Ashford Crossing — On Jan.

9, at night, an intoxicated woman was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct. 4300 block of Village Oaks Lane — On

Jan. 10, in the early morning, a man was arrested on various drug possession charges, including cocaine, meth and ecstasy. 5300 block of Chamblee-Dunwoody

Road — On Jan. 10, in the afternoon, a 62-year-old woman was arrested and accused of driving under the influence of prescription drugs. I-285/Shallowford Road — On Jan. 11,

in the morning, a woman was arrested following an accident and accused of marijuana possession. 1900 block of Mount Vernon Road —

On Jan. 11, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct. I-285/Peachtree Road — On Jan. 11, at

night, a man was arrested and accused of violating probation. 4500

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 12, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of marijuana possession and disorderly conduct under the influence. 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Jan. 13, in the early morning, a woman was arrested and accused of violating probation. 4500 block of Ashford-Dunwoody

ARRESTS 4800 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

Road — On Jan. 13, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of violating probation.

— On Jan. 7, in the evening, several women were arrested and accused READ MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT of prostitution. A lollipop was sent


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