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FEBRUARY 2020 • VOL. 14 — NO. 2

Buckhead Reporter

Perimeter Business

City authorities grant tax breaks, school districts eye budget impacts PAGE 5


Buckhead leads push to adopt fire stations


These ‘angels’ save pets P10 ROBIN’S NEST

Glamour shots dress up your food P15


Massell, former mayor, announces his retirement


have been lost, but they are some of the first faculty members of Atlanta’s Morris Brown College, a private, historically black college founded in 1881 by members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The portrait is part of the exhibit, “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow,” that runs through June 30 at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.

When Rachel Thorn’s Pharr Road condo caught fire in 2016, all five fire stations in Buckhead’s Battalion 6 responded. Firefighters couldn’t save her life, but they bought her precious time. “They ran into a burning building, ran up two flights of steps wearing 75 pounds of gear,” recalled her mother, Elizabeth Gill. “She lived for a few hours, long enough to say goodbye.” Gill was grateful for that help, and with her experience as a former president of the Buckhead Business Association and the Rotary Club of Buckhead, she wondered whether there was something she could do for firefighters in return. In an era of aging stations and tight salary budgets, it turns out the answer was a lot. Now she’s helping Buckhead to spark what the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation hopes is a citywide push to adopt stations and improve their conditions. Gill joined Rotary Club members on a tour of the local stations. “I was just appalled by the condition… shocked and appalled,” she said, recalling cabinets without doors and “furniture you wouldn’t put in your basement on a bet.” And firefighters on 24-hour shifts are left paying out of their own pockets for their meals and their internet service. City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit of Buckhead’s District 8 said there is a revival of longstanding neighborhood concerns about the local stations, some of which date to the 1950s. He got Renew Atlanta bond money earmarked for renovations of Fire Station 26 on Howell Mill Road,

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Sam Massell is embraced by his wife Sandy Gordy shortly after announcing his retirement as president of the Buckhead Coalition at its Jan. 29 annual meeting. For the 92-year-old former mayor, it may be his retirement from public life. Story, p. 2. ►

Exhibit explores struggles, successes under Jim Crow BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

In the center of the life-sized portrait, a woman wearing glasses stares directly into the camera. She is surrounded by men and women, some seated, others standing, all wearing their finest clothes. A staircase and doorway serve as a backdrop. The woman’s name and those with her


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Massell, former mayor, announces his retirement BY JOHN RUCH

ahead.” “You’re the ones who build a wonderful community like this,” he told the attendees. Noting that he Former Atlanta mayor Sam Massell is retiring as makes sure the annual meeting has a mingled group president of the Buckhead Coalition – and perhaps of business leaders, elected officials and journalists, from public life – after 32 years in the position as the he said, “You put those three together and you can neighborhood’s biggest booster. build anything.” Massell, 92, made the surprise announcement at Massell, who had successful careers in real estate the coalition’s annual meeting Jan. 29 at the 103 West brokering and the travel industry, served as mayor in event hall, drawing hugs and applause of praise from 1970 through 1974. In 1988, he became the founding the invitation-only guest of prominent business leadpresident of the coalition, a 100-member, invitationers and elected officials. The surprise was all the bigonly group of community leaders that works on local ger due to attention on the anticipated keynote speakadvocacy and charitable campaigns. er and Buckhead resident, new U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Joseph Evans, the coalition’s board chairman, told who had to cancel due to the impeachment trial of the attendees that he now knew how the biblical IsPresident Trump. raelites felt when Moses stepped down. He recountJOHN RUCH Massell announced his retirement in a joking style, ed some of Massell’s accomplishments. Massell, who Massell receives a gift bowl from the Buckhead Coalition saying he knew journalists would immediately ask was the city’s first Jewish mayor, worked to diversify at the meeting. Looking on, from left, are coalition board why he is stepping down. “I have no earthly idea why,” chairman Joseph Evans; Sandra Gordy; William Pate, its administration and was a leader on the creation of president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors he joked. Responding to heavy applause praising him, MARTA. At the coalition, Evans said, Massell successBureau; and City Council President Felicia Moore. he joked, “If you don’t quit, I may run again.” fully advocated for the extension of the Ga. 400 highAfter the meeting, he said he is not immediately way through Buckhead and the creation of the Buckhead Community Improvement Disstepping down. A “succession committee” of the coalition is working on finding a new trict, a self-taxing group of commercial property owners that works on public safety and leader, he said. When asked whether he plans to truly settle down or remain active in transportation issues. some effort, he said, “I haven’t had any offers.” Garth Peters, the coalition’s executive vice president, presented Massell with a silver Despite the humor, it was clearly a personal and emotional moment for the former bowl braced on silver deer antlers – a nod to the neighborhood’s name – that was created mayor, who spoke while embraced by his wife, Sandra Gordy, and was lauded by his rabby the Charles Willis store on East Paces Ferry Road. “Hail our leader… For a lifetime of bi, Peter Berg of The Temple. Instead of the usual gift bag of items from Buckhead shops, excellence, endurance, dedication and statesmanship,” read a plaque on the bowl’s base. meeting attendees received what Massell called “something personal to me” – a mezuAs for Loeffler, she sent a note that Peters read to the crowd. “Now that I am seeing zah, a Jewish religious item consisting of a box containing a prayer scroll, which is afour government from the inside, it is even more apparent to me how vital organizations fixed to doorways. Massell said the mezuzahs were from Israel and had a “written prayer like the Buckhead Coalition are for our communities and our state,” she said in the mesinside that tries to express our love for you, our history with you, our future… that lies sage. johnruch@reporternewspapers.net


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Community | 3


Community Briefs

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An illustration of Pace Academy’s future Kam Memar Lower School.



Pace Academy, a Buckhead private school, has started construction on its new Lower School building, set to open in August 2021. Renovation of the school’s historic “Castle” building is planned to follow that opening. The pre-first through 12 school at 966 West Paces Ferry Road is making a 36,500-square-foot addition to its existing Lower School classroom building. Work began this month, according to the school. The school has posted a video showing a simulated walkthrough of the future building here. Pace has launched a $50 million capital campaign for the projects. The new Lower School is named for Kam Memar, the late brother of lead donors Diana and Bijon Memar, who are current Pace parents. The Castle is a former home dating to 1931 that became Pace’s first classroom building in 1958. The local Neighborhood Planning Unit A gave its approval to the plan last year after Pace dropped a controversial proposal to build a new natatorium.


The Ga. 400 highway section between I-85 and I-285 is scheduled for repaving this year, and the work may begin in the spring, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. That stretch of highway through Buckhead and Sandy Springs currently has some rough patches of pavement, which was a minor topic of discussion at the Jan. 22 board meeting of the Buckhead Community Improvement District. GDOT spokesperson Scott Higley said the agency tentatively expects to open construction bids for the repaving in March. He said it’s possible the repaving would start later in the spring, but those details are not established and would be discussed in a meeting with the contractor.


The Jan. 18 police shooting of a suspect at Lenox Square mall, originally described by authorities as an armed robbery, is looking more complicated due to details released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GBI says the victim was charged with robbery, and according to media reports that authorities have not confirmed, a rapper says the man shot was a friend who was helping him recover a stolen chain. According to the GBI, which is investigating the Atlanta Police shooting, an officer confronted a man who was pointing a gun at another man in a parking deck of the mall at 3393 Peachtree Road. Christian Edlin, 21, of Louisville, Kentucky, allegedly had a gun and was shot by the officer, said to the GBI. Antonio Williams, 23, of Flint, Michigan was the man who had the gun pointed at him, according to the GBI. According to the GBI, Atlanta Police charged Edlin with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and carrying a pistol without a license. Williams also was charged by Atlanta Police, according to the GBI, with robbery by snatching and giving a false name and date of birth. According to media reports, a manager for Kentucky-based rapper 2KBABY, given name Christian Michael Todd, said that the rapper was present during the incident and that it involved an attempt to recover a chain stolen from him. The GBI said it has not confirmed those allegations. BH

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On-demand shuttle service is back on track; may debut in April BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

An on-demand, low-cost shuttle van service is set to run in central Buckhead’s business and residential districts as early as April 1 now that a liability issue was ironed out, according to an official involved in the deal. Hailed by an Uber-style app from a company called Via, the fleet of six free-roaming vans will take people anywhere in the general areas of the central business district, Buckhead Village and the Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls. The fare will be $3 a ride – and free for any trip to or from a MARTA station, according to Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, a nonprofit involved in operating the service. The Via vans will replace the existing “buc” bus, an old-school commuter shuttle service that operates on limited routes only serving MARTA stations and two office complexes. Livable Buckhead and the Buckhead Community Improvement District have operated the “buc” for over 16 years and have cut back the service in recent years. Instead of the fixed routes for commuters, the Via service of 12-passenger vans will be available anywhere in the central Buckhead area during the workday and on some extended evening hours Thursdays and Fridays. Much like Uber or Lyft, Via will use a phone app that allows riders to call for the van and see how long it will take to arrive. Starling said the app also will be able to offer promotional discounts at local businesses. The BCID board approved the Via deal in September, with board members calling it a potentially “revolutionary” model for transit service in the metro Atlanta area. But a planned launch this month was delayed by concerns about liability that nearly killed the deal. Via will not own the vans or directly employ the drivers, and the BCID did not want to be exposed to liability for accidents or other problems. Starling, who announced the successful deal at the Jan. 9 meeting of the Buck-

A Via-operated on-demand shuttle van in Arlington, Texas, as shown in a promotional video.


head Council of Neighborhoods, said in an interview afterward that the liability issue was resolved with insurance and various guarantees. She said April 1 is the target date for the launch. However, at a BCID board meeting later in the month, she said it might be delayed by Atlanta’s hosting of the NCAA “Final Four” basketball tournament, which is scheduled for the first weekend in April and is expected to bring large crowds of tourists.



Perimeter Business | 5


Perimeter Business

Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

Winter 2020 | Piloting a business jet company P6

As city authorities grant tax breaks, school districts eye budget impacts BY DYANA BAGBY, HANNAH GRECO AND JOHN RUCH Property tax abatements granted by government authorities for luxurious developments are the center of a political firestorm in Atlanta, blasted by officials and scrutinized by community groups for diverting money from the public schools and shifting tax burdens to homeowners. Meanwhile, the development authorities of the smaller suburban cities of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs are quietly granting millions of dollars in the same kinds of tax abatements for projects ranging from Roswell Road luxury apartments to State Farm’s massive new campus to an Atlanta Hawks basketball team practice facility. City officials say the tax breaks are worth it to compete with other cities, fund other local improvements, and boost the tax base in the long run, once the abatements expire. But the DeKalb and Fulton county school districts say the breaks contribute to losses of millions in revenue right now on projects that may have happened without a break, essentially giving away money in a time of tight budgets. They come on top of tax breaks offered by county development authorities, sometimes within city limits. “People may have a philosophical disagreement with providing tax abatements, but the long-term benefit in investments we get from these deals far outweighs the amount of the abatement,” said Michael Starling, Dunwoody’s economic development director. “We’re banking on these deals now to bring in higher property taxes in the future.” “This is an area of great concern for us,” said Marshall Orson, chair of the DeKalb County Board of Education. “We have no say in whether an abatement is granted or what proceeds are diverted or how they are used.” In 2019, the DeKalb County School District lost $3.9 million to tax abatements, according to interim Chief Financial Officer Robert Morales. He said that, as one example, around 43 teach-


ers could have been hired with that money. The district is in the midst of a budget crunch that recently led the administration to postpone construction of a new Cross Keys High School and an expansion of Dunwoody High. In fiscal year 2019, the Fulton County School System lost $6.2 million in “potential revenue” from various abatements and incentives, and $4.8 million in fiscal 2018, according to Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef. Dereef said there are certain types of tax breaks the school district can review. “Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether proposed developments require tax abatements to be economically viable, or whether they would continue without the incentives and thus, retain potential revenues,” he said. For local cities, the deals are sometimes a way to leverage other benefits. The city-created but self-funded development authorities collect a small percentage of their deals as fees that can be used to fund other “economic development” projects. And the deals can involve negotiated terms where the developer helps to build streets or create affordable housing. “These benefits are in addition to the jobs these companies bring to our city and the enhancement of the city’s tax base,” said Sandy Springs spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

The system

Development authorities are created by county or city governments, but operate independently. They receive no funds from their parent governments and don’t place any debt on them, either. Development authorities have a number of ways to offer tax breaks to developers. One is to issue bonds for construction funding on behalf of the developer, which cuts a federal tax on bond interest due to the authority’s tax-exempt status as a government body. The Sandy Springs Development Authority did that in 2014 for the Weber School, a private school. But the most common practice local-

This is an area of great concern for us. We have no say in whether an abatement is granted or what proceeds are diverted or how they are used. MARSHALL ORSON CHAIR OF THE DEKALB COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION ly is a largely fictional real estate transaction that essentially gets around a state law that bars tax abatements without the property changing hands. In such deals, the authority technically becomes the owner of the property and issues bonds for the project that are purchased by the developer itself. The developer then pays the principal and interest on the bonds back to the authority as “rent” on a “lease” that typically lasts 10 years. During that period, the authority uses its taxexempt status to grant a partial property tax discount. After the “lease” expires, the technical ownership reverts to the developer and the normal property tax rates apply. All of that happens only on paper in what Kraun described as a “phantom lease.” The developer remains fully in control of the property and gets its tax break. The terms of the “lease” deal may also require other benefits or a payment in lieu of taxes, which is made to the authority itself.

In the deals, a certain percentage of property tax is abatement. The dollar values are estimated at the beginning because they will vary in reality with the market.

The Atlanta debate

In Atlanta, concerns about tax abatements and other incentive mechanisms have stirred for years. Critics like Fulton County Commissioner Lee Morris, a Buckhead resident, expressed concerns that abatements were being used routinely in hot markets like Buckhead and Midtown rather than on projects that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Another longstanding concern is that developers get two shots at abatement requests – one from the county development authority and one from Invest Atlanta, the city’s version. Concerns exploded into major controversy in the past two years, particularly with criticisms from Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who says abatements and other tax breaks are costing her district tens of millions of dollars a year. She briefly served on the board of the Development Authority of Fulton County, pushing for it to be more transparent. She has criticized tax abatements on Buckhead luxury projects as giveaways to developers and says that graduating public-school students is an economic development and equity issue. Late last year, the Fulton development authority rejected a $2.2 million tax abatement for a Buckhead tower, the first such rejection in recent memory. The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, a coalition of homeowners associations, formed a “task force” to study reform of abatements and other tax discounts. And county and state officials have discussed legislation to prevent county development authorities from granting abatements in cities that have their own authorities.

Local cities

Development authorities in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs have Continued on page 8

6 | Perimeter Business

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Business Q&A Johnny Foster of OGARAJETS on piloting a business jet trader The private jet is an ultimate staQ: Who is the customer base for private tus symbol – and transportation planes? Mostly corporations? Individuals? convenience – for wealthy famiCan you name any prominent customers? lies and major corporation, and big Our client base spans more than 60 counbusiness at airfields like DeKalbtries and is blend of corporate and private Peachtree Airport. But where do enterprises as well as high-net-worth indithose planes come from? viduals. Of course we cannot name our cliJohnny Foster is president and ents, but the one thing they all have in comCEO of OGARAJETS, an internationmon is a desire to make more use of their al broker of private jet and turbotime. Private aviation gives them back that prop planes based in Sandy Springs. one commodity we all desire, more time -The company buys, sells and finds more time to spend with our families, more planes for clients. (For more infortime to lead our communities, more time mation, see ogarajets.com.) to grow our businesses, and of course more Johnny’s father, former Navy pitime to just relax in amazing places. Private lot John Foster III, co-founded the aviation remains the closest tool we have to company in 1980 in Marietta with a time machine. close friend Ed O’Gara as O’Gara Aviation Company. Johnny Foster (SPECIAL) Q: What are customers looking for in a priJohnny Foster, president and CEO of OGARAJETS. was named president in 2005, and vate plane that they can’t get by flying comin 2013, the company rebranded as mercial or charter? OGARAJETS, with the tag line, “Fostering confidence in business aircraft transactions” as a way to keep both family names in the company. Again, time. Private aviation is a powerful tool allowing our clients to travel one their The Reporter asked Foster about piloting the jet-trading business. own schedules and often direct to domestic cities or far away parts of the world that would otherwise we hard to access by the airlines and sometimes only by a combination


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of “planes, trains, and automobiles.” Private aviation also addresses security and privacy, critical to many corporations and UHNWI [ultra-high-net-worth individuals] alike. Imagine the value of departing Atlanta and flying direct to a meeting at facilities in, say Houma, Louisiana, and then to meet a client for lunch in Mena, Arkansas, and then an afternoon meeting at a facility in Knoxville, and still be home for their daughter’s dance recital and dinner with the family -- priceless. This is what private aviation looks like every day, all over the world -- something commercial travel simply cannot accommodate, except maybe over two to three days. Q: If we wanted to buy a new or used jet, what sort of budget should we have in mind? What is the financing like? That’s a hard question to answer, akin to asking what sort of budget should one have when buying a house. There are so many variables at play; however, in a broad scope, “business jets” can range from $500,000 to $75,000,000. Relative to other pieces of capital equipment, aviation residual values are fairly predictable and buyers are typically very strong credits, all affording strong finance opportunities. Q: Do buyers typically fly the plane themselves or do they have to find pilots? How does finding a pilot work? It depends. While we do serve some owner-pilots, most operations engage two or more pilots. Corporations and large private enterprises often run flight departments with a team of pilots, dispatchers, maintenance and management. Other clients opt for a management company to outsource the day-to-day operations of their aircraft. Q: How significant is DeKalb-Peachtree Airport to your business? Is any of your inventory kept there? PDK is generally considered the heartbeat of Atlanta with respect to general aviation and local as well as transient business aviation. That said, Atlanta businesses are blessed to be served by five significant airports in addition to Hartsfield. Over the last 40 years, OGARAJETS has developed a significant number of local client relationships, many have completed several transactions with our team as their needs developed over the years. We cherish our local clientele and their Southern values, where we often still do business on a handshake and appreciate agreeing to deal terms over a meal at Waffle House. As an inventorying dealer, we do purchase aircraft on speculation. Most of these purchases require investments in refurbishment of the exterior paint and interior cabin,

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modernization of avionics and systems, and maintenance. We enjoy many trusted local partners in each of these fields. Most of our inventory is stored in private facilities located at Falcon Field in Peachtree City. Q: Do you own a plane yourself? Do you get to fly in the planes as part of the business? As an inventorying dealer, we do own aircraft for resale and often fly to prospective clients to personally demonstrate the features and benefits. Most of our team are pilots, but while we all hold a passion for flying, we typically engage professional crew members for these demonstration flights. I spend approximately 200 nights per year on the road and most of my movements are via commercial service, usually making Diamond status with Delta by the end of each summer. Q: Tell us about how the business came to be in Sandy Springs. We moved to our current location in Sandy Springs in 2012. We love the community and its convenient location in relation to the private airports throughout the Atlanta area. I am an Atlanta-native and my wife Laura and I are lifelong parishioner of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church with all three of the foster children “Alpha Omegas” of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.

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8 | Perimeter Business

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As city authorities grant tax breaks, school districts eye budget impacts Continued from page 5 executed abatement deals sparingly in the years since the cities incorporated – all within the past 14 years. But the deals add up to millions of dollars in tax abatements on major and sometimes controversial projects. Brookhaven’s authority has granted an $11 million abatement on its single deal. Sandy Springs’ five “phantom lease” deals total millions in abatements. And Dunwoody’s half-dozen deals total about $46.3 million in abatements. In Brookhaven and Sandy Springs, the authorities have negotiated payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, to pay for additional improvements as a kind of bonus. Brookhaven’s $11 abatement for the Hawks facility in Executive Park – touted by officials as making the area an “NBA city” – includes $302,900 annual PILOT over the 15-year “lease,” which started in 2018. The city and the authority are using the money to buy a former gas station on Buford Highway, which is intended to be an ambulance station and a future redevelopment site. The Sandy Springs Development Authority has granted abatements to projects that, in City Council meetings, were

praised as modernizations by some and criticized by others for boosting density and traffic. They include the massive Gateway mixed-use project on the Buckhead border, which replaced an apartment complex targeted by the city; the Modera apartments on Roswell Road; and the Aston apartments within the city’s own City Springs civic center. Kraun said that the deals for all of those projects involve PILOT agreements that return a significant portion of the tax savings to the city in the form of infrastructure improvements. For Gateway, about 72% of the savings, or $770,000, went to a Windsor Parkway/Roswell Road realignment at its driveway. Modera put 25% of its savings, about $675,000, to building an adjacent public street called Denmark Drive. And about 33% of Aston’s savings, or $770,000, is earmarked for “public infrastructure” in City Springs. “These benefits are in addition to the jobs these companies bring to our city and the enhancement of the City’s tax base,” Kraun said. Opinions still vary on whether such projects are worth the subsidies. Former City Councilmember Karen Meinzen McEnerny opposed the Gateway project at the time and still does. “I don’t think

it delivered what the community expected. Its design is not pedestrian-friendly with frontages being covered in advertising,” she said. “It’s a wonderful project and has been very successful for the city,” said Councilmember Tibby DeJulio. The Dunwoody Development Authority doesn’t use PILOT deals, but does include certain requirements, such as job numbers, that owners must meet to retain the tax break, according to Starling, the economic development director. The fee the authority collects on deals – one-eighth of 1% -- has left it with about $889,000 in the bank, which it is considering spending on promotion or infrastructure improvements in Dunwoody Village or Georgetown. The authority’s deals include a $33.8 million abatement, over 14 years, for the first two skyscrapers in State Farm’s massive new campus at Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway. A longtime argument for abatements is that everyone does them, a point Starling echoed in explaining how Dunwoody aims to remain competitive for office towers. “My belief is every Class A office building, certainly within DeKalb and Fulton, had a tax abatement structure

on them … I have not heard of a new office building that didn’t have abatements,” he said. Dunwoody’s first abatements, granted in 2012, were an estimated total of $8.2 million over 10 years for the renovation of office buildings at 64 and 66 Perimeter Center East. The idea was to help the landlord offer lower rents, Starling said. State Farm has since leased both entire buildings. However, Starling said, it is “hard to say if State Farm came because of the abatement.” The building was already leasing well at that time, around 2018. The Dunwoody authority is now negotiating two more major abatement deals: a possible $2.3 million break for the Perimeter Market project on Ashford-Dunwoody Road and a possible $19 million abatement for the gigantic, longstalled High Street project across Hammond from the State Farm campus. It remains to be seen how the public will respond to those mega-deals. “I certainly understand the critics and there should be conversations and debate on how we provide incentives to any private businesses,” said Starling. “Every project is different. Transparency is important.”

WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS SIMPLIFYING AND ORGANIZING IN THE NEW YEAR HOW DO YOU HELP PEOPLE FULFILL THOSE PREDICTABLE RESOLUTIONS ABOUT BETTER ORGANIZED FINANCES? “Predictable” is correct. In our 49-year history, we consistently hear this goal from clients. It is logical because complicated and disorganized financial planning leads to stress and procrastination over important decisions. The good news: just a few simple steps can result in significant improvement in your planning. For most people, it starts with preparing an up-to-date Balance Sheet that lists all of your financial accounts and assets, along with all debts owed. Update this yearly as a financial discipline. AN UPDATED BALANCE SHEET MAKES SENSE. WHERE’S THE SIMPLIFYING? Find opportunities to simplify to consolidate assets and liabilities into fewer accounts that are easier to track and manage. Over time, many families “proliferate” financial accounts which no longer make sense as a whole. Consolidating accounts makes it easier to properly manage personal finances, reducing costs and account fees. Do the same with credit cards and liability accounts. Imagine the feeling of efficiency as it becomes easier and quicker to manage accounts (auto-payments, paperless files). Also, don’t forget to protect these accounts from cyber-fraud. Use a Password Manager to organize and easily recall secure passwords. YOU HAVEN’T USED THE “B” WORD YET… WHAT ABOUT A BUDGET? Our Wealth Planning Committee, a multi-disciplinary group of professionals (CPAs, JDs, and other credentialed firm members), meets to brainstorm

(Left to Right: Sam Tortorici; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®; and Bill Kring, CFP®)

such topics and has developed a client-centered approach. Committee Chair, Phillip Hamman, CFP®, CFA, commented about budgets: “We should re-invent budgeting since ‘Budgeting in Reverse’ is sufficient for most – simply identify the required savings and accumulation targets, and make sure you hit those numbers.” WHERE CAN YOU GET HELP? Slaying the “Organization Dragon” is more than a weekend exercise. If you need help getting things in order, talk with your financial advisor since they may have expertise. We advise people to be careful in seeking help. Choose an advisor 100% committed to the Fiduciary business model, with a legal duty to put their clients’ best interests first. This is the model we follow at Linscomb & Williams. Contact us if you would like to sit down and create an organized financial plan at our office in Atlanta. 2727 Paces Ferry Road SE Building Two, Suite 1475 Atlanta, Georgia 30339 770 333 0113 www.linscomb-williams.com


Perimeter Business | 9


Ribbon-Cuttings The following businesses recently opened in Reporter Newspapers communities



Cutting the ribbon on the Endeavor Montessori school at 48 Perimeter Center East in Dunwoody in November are, from left, Ricardo Campo, CEO of Endeavor Schools; City Councilmember Jim Riticher; Mayor Lynn Deutsch; Patricia Gaya and son Max Vidal, who attends the school; Endeavor Chief Operating Officer Danielle Millman; and Sue Hansen, head of the Dunwoody school. Info: endeavormontessori.com.

285 Colonial Kitchen, restaurant, 5610 Roswell Road, Suite 110, Sandy Springs. Info: 285colonialkitchen.com. Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, 1402 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody. Info: bigfrog.com/Dunwoody. Boutique for Cosmetic Dentistry, 5975 Roswell Road, Suite D-229, Sandy Springs. Info: boutiqueforcosmeticdentistry.com. Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter hotel, renovation reopening, 4355 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: cpravinia.com. The Duke Pub, 4685 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: thedukepub.com.

Celebrating the opening of the City Barbecue restaurant at 6649 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs in November are, from left, Steve Hayes of City Barbecue; City Councilmembers John Paulson and Jody Reichel; Tom Mahaffey, president and CEO of the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce; Mike Muldoon, president and chief operating officer of City Barbecue; Mayor Rusty Paul; Karen Trylovich of the chamber; and City Councilmember Chris Burnett. Info: citybbq.com.

EarthLink, internet provider, new headquarters, 980 Hammond Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: earthlink.net. Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta, real estate brokerage, new office, 3221 Peachtree Road, Suite 105, Buckhead. Info: buckheadatlanta.evrealestate.com. etúHOME, kitchen accessories, Shops Around Lenox, 3400 Around Lenox Road, #205B, Buckhead. Info: etuhome.com. Max Stanco, leather accessories and footwear, Phipps Plaza mall, 3500 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. Info: maxstanco.com. Navy Federal Credit Union, 5898 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: navyfederal.org. Scotch & Soda, men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, Lenox Square mall, 3393 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. Info: scotch-soda.com. Strong Spine and Body, chiropractic, 6425 Powers Ferry Road, Suite 175, Sandy Springs. Info: strongspineandbody.com.


Fo r ov er t wo d ecad es, the Perim eter Co mm unity Improvement Distric ts has invested in acc es s, mobility , and qu alit y o f life to c reate a s ignatu re d est inat ion for co rpo rate head qu art ers, hos pit ality, and ret ail.

To learn more about how we improve quality of life in Central Perimeter visit perimetercid.org

10 | Commentary

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Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com.

An urgent pet post on a local social netThe photographer and author of the reworking site stood out from the constant cent post was Sandy Springs resident Lisa stream of other urgent pet postings. It was Zambacca, a founder and board member of a photo of a little brown terrier and her Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, which focuseight newborn puppies huddled in a cores on high-kill shelters throughout Georgia. Carol a marketing lives onAmong the Dunwoodyner at a high-kill shelter --Niemi soonis to be “red-consultant who Angels Us saves the most vulnerSandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire lined” if no one adopted them. able and least adoptable -- often the elderly others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com. What caught my attention were her or injured. Lacking a shelter of its own, the soulful eyes. But with her puppies too group relies on its approved fosters who young to be separated, all nine of them take rescues into their own homes. Angels would have to be adopted together or face can’t remove a pet from a shelter without a certain death. ready foster. Since its founding in 2009, the group has saved more than 16,000 lives and keeps them in private homes until they are adopted. “For every foster who steps up, we save a life,” said Zambacca, who acknowledges that many high-kill shelters are overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded, but run by decent people who notify Angels when an animal’s time is up. With adoption unlikely for the little mom and her pups, Zambacca also posted the photo on the Angels Among Us website and Facebook page, hoping to find a foster. Several days later, she posted that an Angels foster had come forward to save them. Who would take a stray with eight un-housebroken puppies into their home? And how do you take a dog into your home, care SPECIAL for it, train it, love it, bond A terrier now known as Little Missy with her with it and then let it go? puppies at a shelter where they faced euthanasia before Angels Among Us took them in. I called Zambacca and

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The ‘Angels’ who save pets from high-kill shelters learned that quite a few other kind souls are willing to do it. I ended up connecting with several of them, including Karen Marques, the foster who had rescued the little brown dog and her pups. She too had noticed the soulful eyes. “Angels couldn’t take her till a foster stepped forward. That’s when I volunteered,” she said. “There was something about her eyes. They were very soulful and spoke to me.” No one knows how Little Missy, as she’s now called, ended up in a high-kill shelter. But SPECIAL she was probably someLittle Missy in her new home. one’s pet. “She’s very sweet and told me I’m the bridge from their past to smart,” said Marques. “She knows comtheir future.” mands, opens doors and gates and moves Jill Feibus is an Angels foster who prechairs.” fers puppies, especially since she and her Every foster I spoke with, including husband work from home and have the Marques, had other pets in the home. Most time and patience. She’s fostering one of had become fosters after adopting a resLittle Missy’s remaining puppies. cue of their own. All were committed to the Like Angevine, cause. All had stories she’s also had memothat could break the rable rescues, includhardest heart. ing a little chihuahua Retired teacher mix with severe anxSally Angevine says iety. her favorite rescue “She barked evwas Emersen, a “little ery time my husband poodle-y mix” who or boys entered the was deaf, old and room, but eventualpartially paralyzed. ly got used to us,” she She fostered him for said. After 14 months, nine months until his the right family came death from cancer. along. “He was such a “Now she’s weargood boy,” she said. ing sweaters and goAnother elderly ing on outings to SPECIAL dog she fostered was Home Depot,” she Lisa Zambacca, founder of Angels adopted by an elderly said. Among Us Pet Rescue. couple, who “traveled But fairytale endthe world” with him. ings don’t happen “He only lived anovernight. At press other year,” she said, “but I bet it was the time, five of Little Missy’s puppies have best year of his life.” been adopted. Three are still with fosters Angevine has fostered 62 rescues for awaiting their forever homes, as is Little Angels Among Us, mostly elderly or disMissy, who has been spayed and is also abled. All but two who passed away from awaiting surgery on a torn ligament, for illness were adopted -- including the one which Angels is covering the cost. she adopted. But saying goodbye is bitterFor information on Little Missy or her sweet. remaining puppies, please email info@an“They take a little piece of your heart gelsresue.org or go to angelsrescue.org/ with them,” she said, “but a wise person adopt.


Art & Entertainment | 11


BCID News Roundup BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

West Village sidewalks and a North Buckhead orchard were among the discussion topics for the Buckhead Community Improvement District board at its Jan. 22 meeting at Tower Place. The BCID is a self-taxing group of commercial property owners in central Buckhead that funds various safety and transportation programs.


Sidewalks and other pedestrian amenities are coming soon to the West Village in a BCID project expected to wrap up in late November. The West Village is the area bordered by East Andrews Drive and Roswell and West Paces Ferry roads, known for entertainment, dining and shopping. The BCID’s West Village Streetscape project will add sidewalks, pedestrian lighting and street trees to the area. At the same time, the city and the Georgia Department of Transportation will install new stormwater infrastructure along Roswell and East Andrews. The streetscape work will be performed by Astra Group, which also built the adjacent Loudermilk Park at RoSPECIAL swell and East Paces FerA BCID map of the West Village, where sidewalks ry Road, for a contract and other amenities will be added. of up to $2,958,888 approved by the BCID board at its meeting. Matt Gore, a BCID project and programs manager, said construction would begin “imminently” once the paperwork is done.


A fruit-tree orchard will be planted soon near the Mountain Way Common park, according to Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling. The orchard site is 684 Mountain Drive, a lot at the intersection with North Ivy Road, which Livable Buckhead acquired in 2017 for Mountain Way Common – which runs beneath Ga. 400 across the street -- and future expansion of the PATH400 multiuse trail. Starling told the BCID board that the planting is expected in February or March. The trees should be mature enough for harvest in about five years, she said, at which time the fruit might be donated to a food pantry.

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Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ pay raise for Atlanta police officers is credited with boosting the ranks. But it’s also cutting down on the number of officers willing to work the BCID’s special traffic duty program. City Councilmember Howard Shook of Buckhead’s District 7, who is also a BCID board member, raised the issue at the Jan. 22 meeting. BCID staff member Tony Peters confirmed the pay raise’s impact on off-duty traffic officers, calling it a “continuing battle… And we’ll have to figure out unique ways of attracting them.” Peters said the BCID is not yet considering a raise in the hourly pay rate for traffic officers, but is considering hiring them from other departments. According to Gore, the BCID program currently employs officers regularly to cover 11 locations along Piedmont, Lenox and Roswell roads during rush hours at a rate of $45 an hour. In the winter holiday season, additional locations around shopping centers are served at a rate of $50 an hour.


The Lenox Square mall is working on new and redesigned signage at Peachtree and Lenox roads, according to General Manager Robin Suggs, who serves as the BCID board’s vice chairman. The 3393 Peachtree Road mall currently has a stone-like monument sign on Peachtree and its name on walls along the intersection. The new signage could come along with Lenox Road improvements the BCID is planning. That project won’t come until mid-2021 at the earliest, Peters said. A Lenox Square spokesperson later said that mall officials have no further information about the signage. BH

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12 | Education

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Atlanta Board of Education members spoke about the search for a new superintendent and other updates about the district at a Jan. 28 North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools meeting. Board Chair Jason Esteves said the search is about taking the Atlanta Public Schools district from a successful “turnaround” into new growth. In September, the board decided to not renew Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s contract. Her contract expires June 30. “All of us acknowledge that Dr. Carstarphen was the right leader when we hired her in 2014,” Esteves said at the meeting, held at Morris Brandon Elementary. “She is a turnaround leader. She came in and grabbed the school system and gave it the shaking that it needed and because of that, we are on a stronger foundation than we were five years ago.” But, Esteves said, looking forward, board members are faced with the decision of when to bring in a new superintendent and what type of leader they should be. “We know for a fact as a board that we are not at a place where we can just bring somebody in that’s going to maintain where we’re at because where we’re at is still not acceptable,” Esteves said. “But we also believe that we’re not at a place where we need that turnaround leader. We believe we need a leader who can drive that growth.” But Carstarphen has said she wants to stay in her current position. “I think my track record for not only the turnaround work, but our overall growth and improvement as a district speaks for itself,” Carstarphen said in an email. “I’m appreciative of everyone who had a part in improving the quality of education for Atlanta’s students.” Esteves said the search is well on its way and interviews for candidates will begin soon. “We plan on moving pretty quickly,” Esteves said. “We plan on knowing what the pool is in March.” Esteves said the district is attracting a wide range of candidates from large county school systems in Florida, the west and the midwest, as well as Atlanta-sized cities. “Our consultants have told us it’s going to be a pretty difficult decision because we’re getting some pretty good applicants,” Esteves said. Board member Cynthia Briscoe-Brown spoke about some updates in APS, including the new equity policy, facilities master planning and strategic planning. Last year, APS created an equity policy, which is the first of its kind in the school system. The policy states that APS believes that every child should get what they need to be successful in college, career and life. “It’s our ‘this I believe’ statement,” Briscoe-Brown said. “Our statement about what’s important, what direction we want to go and the foundational core elements about who we are as a system.” “It affects every single thing we do,” she added. The district is also amid facilities master planning, which is looking at all the properties APS owns and figuring out how to best allocate them. Much of that is being used for active schools and administrative buildings, Briscoe-Brown said, but the district also owns a fair amount of vacant land and surplus buildings. “We’re looking to create guidelines for what to do with the property we’re not using right now,” Briscoe-Brown said. “What can we do with that piece of land that benefits our students, our families and our city?” APS is looking at ways to contribute to alleviate to the affordable housing crisis or selling the land to put back into school programs, Briscoe-Brown said. The district is also creating a five-year master plan, which will go into effect in July 2020. “That will guide the steps of the district for the next five years,” Briscoe-Brown said. Board members Nancy Meister and Michelle Olympiadis were also in attendance. Atlanta City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit, who represents Buckhead, was in attendance and briefly spoke to parents about taxes. “We are making sure that we keep taxes low but also that we look at our commercial taxes and be sure that they are equitable and that people are paying their fair share and we don’t have too big of a burden on residential property tax folks,” Matzigkeit said. Matzigkeit also mentioned his interest in putting speed cameras in school zones. In 2018, state law was passed to regulate drivers by allowing cities to place cameras in school zones. Some metro Atlanta cities have approved the new cameras, but Atlanta has not pursued the legislation yet. “I’m a big proponent of sidewalks and making sure that we have safe ways for kids to walk to school,” Matzigkeit said. BH


Community | 13


Blue Heron names new director, completes Blueway trail

Blue Heron Nature Preserve has named a new executive director shortly after completing its internal Blueway trail system. Melody Harclerode is the new director, replacing Kevin McCauley, who retired at year’s end. Harclerode previously served nearly three years as executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy. She is a past president of the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Architects and former director of programs at the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance in DeKalb County. She also writes an architecture column for Atlanta INtown, a sister publication of Reporter Newspapers. Harclerode joined Blue Heron members for a tour of the Blueway trail on Jan. 26. Blue Heron recently completed work on the 3-mile internal section of the trail, following the installation of bridges in the Land O Lakes area, and it is now fully open to the public. The project took three years and $750,000 to complete. A second phase of the project, which would link the trail to Chastain Park and the PATH400 multiuse trail, is still in the works and has no current timeline, according to Blue Heron. Blue Heron consists of three distinct parcels of land totaling 30 acres. Its main entrance is at 4055 Roswell Road. It shares facilities with the Atlanta Audubon Society and the Amphibian Foundation. For more information, see bhnp.org.


Top left, New Blue Heron Executive Director Melody Harclerode talks with Allison Barnett of Park Pride. Top right, Kevin McCauley, the former executive director, explains the plan to connect the Blueway to PATH400 and Chastain Park. Left, Lauren Reynolds, Blue Heron’s education coordinator, stands on a boardwalk section of the trail. Bottom, The group walks the trail in the Emma Wetlands. Photos by Phil Mosier

14 | Commentary

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Commentary: When should local governments provide tax breaks? Elected officials and Goals that tax breaks board members are belatpotentially serve include: edly re-thinking Atlanta’s growing the tax base, atgo-along approach to tax tracting jobs, housing afbreaks after public outcry fordability and sustainover recent mega-deals. ability. Breaks reduce Giving Arthur Blank resources for schools and $900 million of our hotelpublic services or increase motel taxes to replace his residents’ taxes, so should stadium, according to my be treated like real money analysis of the city’s 2019 ($27 million in 2018, and financial report, was ridicrising). ulous -- which is why forProjects should only mer Mayor Kasim Reed inget breaks if they would sisted it ‘only’ cost $200 not happen without one. Julian Bene is a former Developers and employmillion. Giving real-estate bil- member of the board of di- ers pitch breaks smoothly rectors of Invest Atlan- -- it’s free money for them. lionaires $1.9 billion in tax ta, the economic develop- So responsible boards have exemptions for a private ment authority of the city to assess what the compadevelopment in the downof Atlanta. A retired man- ny would do without an intown area known as “The agement consultant, he centive. Gulch” was crazier – and has a degree in economsome of us challenged the Recent luxury apartics and politics from Ox- ment and trophy office deal’s legal flaws, still in ford and an MBA from towers in Midtown Atlancourt. Harvard. He comments on ta? They were coming reSo, when should Invest local incentive topics on gardless of the millions in Atlanta or the Development Twitter at @julian_bene Authority of Fulton Countax breaks they received, ty give tax breaks? Based to meet hot demand. Emon eight years on Invest ployers seeking tech talent Atlanta’s board, discussing this with and access to a hyper-convenient airgood people, I recommend the followport are also coming regardless, though ing principles. some prizes warrant modest incentives

Julian Bene

Your Views on Tax Abatements

as insurance – think NCR’s 5,000 jobs. For deals that likely won’t happen without incentives, what price is worth paying? Property tax breaks are 25% for 10 years. It’s better to grow the tax base by 75% than by zero on developments that have location choices, like UPS’s Fulton Industrial hub. For jobs wins: How much per job, and what quality of jobs? Sadly, few employers attracted to the city offer mid-skill jobs for non-degreed folks, our highest need. We’d be better off funding skills training than over-paying Norfolk Southern to relocate HQ jobs here. Georgia’s film tax credit has us paying some $50,000 each year for every job. We should instead pay that to teachers to educate our kids. For apartment projects that offer discounted units in exchange for a break: Is the subsidy reasonable? Recent deals costing $10,000-$20,000 per unit per year were developer welfare. Better to give breaks or grants to preserve older multi-family properties. Apartments at MARTA stations might merit breaks for sustainability, if they walk the talk and forego parking. Tell your elected officials you expect them and the boards they control to agree incentives only in return for good value for residents. Your voice helps! How often should the government offer tax abatements -- a break on property taxes -- to large real estate projects as an incentive?

Local governments’ use of property tax abatements to spur development of large real estate projects found little support from 51 readers who responded to an informal Reporter online survey. About half the 51 respondents to the survey opposed the use of such abatements, agreeing that the private market should decide the viability of projects. Another quarter said abatements should be used rarely, only when a project wouldn’t happen otherwise. Ten respondents agreed that tax abatements should be used frequently or always to boost long-term tax revenue or stay competitive with other areas. The survey was posted on the Reporter’s social media and distributed through our weekly email newsletter of top stories in our communities.

Frequently. Redevelopment creates new tax revenue. Always. They are a tactic for staying competitive. No opinion/ Not enough information.

To participate in future surveys, subscribe to the newsletter at ReporterNewspapers.net.





Rarely. Only when the project would not happen otherwise Never. Let the private market decide. BH


Commentary | 15


In Instagram era, food dresses up for ‘flamour shots’



Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, someone took a potato and turned it

into soup. We’ve been repurposing food ever since. But somewhere along the line, probably around the time we emerged from caves, there was a subtle shift in focus from repurposing food to gussying it up. We get a serious kick out of playing with our food. Like a teenager in the ’90s

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playing dress-up with feather boas and blue eyeshadow in preparation for a Glamour Shot, we play dress-up with raspberry drizzle and chopped nuts. We figure out how much we can do to a latte, then we snap a photo of it and post it. Food has become the Glamor Shots subject of our society. We’re Flamour Shotting. Consider the Oreo. The perfectly good Oreo, since 1912, has been a cookie considered by the average person to be in its final form. Yet it, too, can get the foodie version of a sequined top and red lipstick, or, shall we say, the Flamour Shot

Robin’s Nest

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see robinconte.com.

treatment. Simply skewer the cookie on a stick with two other Oreos, then dip that skewered trio in chocolate. Next, mix an entire cake’s worth of Funfetti cake mix,

FEB 9 • MAR 8

dip your chocolate-covered Oreo skewer in it, and deep fry it. You’re not done yet -- keep gilding that lily! Drizzle the whole thing with icing, then for one final touch, add some confetti sprinkles. I must admit, they made me look. So did the chef who

turned a piece of toast into a five-layered entree…and then lit it on fire.

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So did the fellow who, while uncomfortably focused on the camera, grabbed pieces of raw meat dangling from hooks around his head and fried them a on a grill the size of a driveway, stuffed them in the world’s largest hotdog bun, and then added a garbage can’s worth of condiments. Let’s face it, we do a lot in the name of presentation. Presentation has been important since there were kings and queens and four and 20 blackbirds baked into a pie. Then Wilton went and invented about 156 piping tips so that there was really no excuse any more for the common baker to not cover a cake with Russian tulips.

Do you take daily medication for


However, I am not compelled. My idea of presentation is taking the food out of its wrapper. If company is coming, I’ll put it on the good platter. I cannot relate to someone who does not merely think, “Today I’ll make choc-

If you treat your Parkinson's Disease daily

olate cupcakes,” but who thinks instead, “Today I’ll make chocolate cupcakes and

with a carbidopa-levodopa medication

turn them into lava-oozing volcanoes.” Nor can I relate to the mindset of some-

but experience OFF periods, local

one who looks at an orange and instead of seeing a bright delicious fruit, sees a vessel for a mini-cake. I will, however, watch the whole process on Instagram, where it’s set on fast speed using pre-measured ingredients and a peppy soundtrack.

doctors need your help with the RISE PD research study testing an investigational extended-release formulation.

I will click on that video of someone building a Ferris wheel out of chocolate and sit with it while he fashions little macaroon-filled baskets and garnishes them with sugared snowflakes. I’ll watch the account where I can’t tell if they’re throwing a bowl on a pottery

medication Rytary and must be

wheel or frosting a cake. I’ll watch someone frying eggs in happy-face pastry ring.

experiencing OFF periods most

I’ll watch the forkful of cheesy corn pudding coming at me in slow motion. And I

mornings and for at least 2 and a half

will be mesmerized.

total hours during the day.

I will watch a pair of disembodied hands add yet another layer, another topping, another garnish, wondering all the while if it’s done, yet. And instead of sending us home with a poufy-haired photo to hang on the wall, the Glamour Teams post fabulously dressed-up food on Social Media for all the world to see. Everything looks better in Flamour Shots…even the potato.

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16 | Commentary

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


From her early days as a lawyer, Elizabeth Green Lindsey wanted to be in a courtroom. There might be more money to be made working for big law firms negotiating big deals for big corporations or handling big property transactions, but she wanted to be involved directly in the smaller kinds of cases that could change people’s lives for the better. JOE EARLE “I did not want to be Elizabeth Lindsey in her Buckhead office. in a cubicle somewhere doing research and drafting documents all day,” she said during an interview in a conference room in the 50-year-old Buckhead law firm where she’s now a shareholder. “I wanted to be in the courtroom working with people.” She considered criminal defense law, but settled on family law, the kind of legal practice centered on the divorce courts and the kind some other lawyers say they avoid if they can. She wanted to be where the action was, and she didn’t want to have to wait years for her chance to get involved. After graduating law school in her home state of North Carolina in 1985, she found a job with a “very small law firm” there. “Two days after I was sworn in [as a lawyer],” she said, “I was in a courtroom.” She moved to Atlanta a few years later when she married another lawyer, Ed Lindsey, who represented Buckhead in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2004 to 2014. They met during a ski trip to Wyoming, she said. There was a time, she admits, when a career built on divorces and custody cases seemed a little less posh, perhaps, than following some other legal paths. “Back in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, it was kind of a red-headed stepchild of the law,” she said, “because nobody wanted to do it.” Yet times do change. The standing of lawyers practicing family law has risen over the past generation, and Lindsey has played her part in that rise. She’s been active in both national and state organizations working to improve the practice of family law. Later this year, the 59-year-old Buckhead lawyer takes over as president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an organization that promotes professionalism in the practice of family law and that’s, coincidentally, about a year younger than she is. She’s now serving as president-elect of the organization, which claims more than 1,650 fellows in the 50 states. She received that academy’s Fellow of the Year Award last year. She also is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and has chaired the family law section of the Georgia Bar. The academy organizes training sessions for lawyers involved with domestic relations cases and works to promote professionalism among specialists in that area of legal practice. “The Academy Fellows are highly skilled negotiators and litigators who represent individuals in all facets of family law,” the organization says on its website. Practicing family law requires a lawyer to be mentally nimble, Lindsey said. “You have to have a lot of knowledge about a lot of things,” she said. “It’s intellectually stimulating, and, on the personal side, you’re dealing with people in crisis.” One reason divorce courts can seem unlike other courts is because they can involve the dissolution of families. Stress and anger run high. “It’s different because it’s so emotional and so personal,” she said. As with other types of legal disputes, the great majority of divorce cases settle out of court. Lindsey thinks that’s appropriate. “Good lawyers will help clients reach a reasonable solution,” she said. But many divorces still end up going to trial before a judge or a jury. “I find that juries are very fair-minded,” she said. “I think they take these cases very seriously. I think they do a good job.” And getting the change to try cases was a big part of what drew her to family law in the first place. “It was about doing something where I thought I could make a difference,” she said.



Community | 17


Buckhead Plaza’s namesake open space, streetfronts to get makeover


Above, An overview of the Buckhead Plaza makeover plan. Right top, an illustration showing improved stairs and signage along West Paces Ferry Road. Right bottom, An illustration of what the Buckhead Plaza space might look like after renovation, including new sculptures.

BY JOHN RUCH Johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Buckhead Plaza office and commercial complex needs a better namesake, according to co-owner Cousins Properties, which plans to remake the central plaza and exterior streetscape with public art, a bicycle commuting facility and more. Cousins’ plan for the prime property in the heart Buckhead at West Paces Ferry and Peachtree roads got a positive response on Jan. 8 from the Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 9, a local zoning district. Cousins believes it needs no zoning variances and is aiming to start construction in March and April on the 12- to 14-month makeover. Charles Zakem, the project’s engineer, said that “we intend to remove, improve and replace” virtually all of the hardscape in and around the complex, which currently consists mostly of pavers, some interior trees and an unused miniature amphitheater. The overall amount of greenspace will be similar, he said, but one goal is to provide better signage and a more appealing atmosphere along with some programmed events to attract patrons. The complex is anchored by the One Buckhead Plaza office tower on West Paces Ferry and the Two Buckhead Plaza office building on Peachtree. It also includes standalone buildings for the restaurants Chops Lobster Bar and King + Duke, and a parking deck accessed from Buckhead Avenue. The plaza, which includes open space and storefronts, runs behind One Buckhead Plaza and the restaurants. Modular pavers will be replaced with “decorative concrete,” Zakem said, and new trees will be planted. At the request of DRC members, John McColl, Cousins’ executive vice president for development, said the company will consider ways to save and replant the existing trees elsewhere. Among the bigger changes in the plan are flattening the amphitheater and replacing it with artificial turf; installing several sculptures by two artists, one local and one regional; and creating a traffic turnaround circle with a sculpture in the center at the end of the driveway off Buckhead Avenue. Beneath the King + Duke restaurant is a retail space built into the hillside. McColl said the awkward space made it “very difficult” for retail tenants. Cousins will turn that space into a “bicycle facility” for commuters and visitors of the entire complex, including parking and showers, and possibly charging for electric scooters. “For lack of a better word, we call it the bird’s nest,” McColl said. The plan also calls for bike and scooter parking along Peachtree Road. Improved wayfinding signs are another element, including large ones to lure visitors up a stairway on West Paces Ferry. McColl said Cousins would like to partner on programming with the adjacent St. Regis Atlanta hotel on West Paces Ferry. One possibility, he said, is moving its annual temporary ice skating rink onto the plaza. A separate project noted on the plan is a potential expansion of Chops. McColl said that project – an expansion of around 1,100 to 1,200 square feet and a repainting – is not a done deal and would need to be permitted separately. BH

Restaurant, retail makeover may come to Piedmont Road BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A shuttered mattress store on Piedmont Road may get a makeover into a Turkish restaurant and high-end retail space, in a plan working its way through the city approval process. The plan would remake an existing one-story retail building at 3162 Piedmont, just south of Peachtree, into a two-story structure SPECIAL with an exterior elevator. A design concept of the remade restaurant The restaurant would use and retail space at 3162 Piedmont Road. the ground floor and basement, and two stores would go on the second floor. One of the stores is Italian Gold and Diamond, a jeweler that currently does wholesale trading at downtown’s AmericasMart Atlanta. Alan Ensari, the business’s owner, is spearheading the redevelopment concept. The other store would be JFL Corp., a men’s clothing business that also is based at AmericasMart. Ensari would not reveal the name of the restaurant owner he is in discussions with, but he and his consultants described the concept as a high-end version of Turkish food. A conceptual illustration of the project uses the name “Lokanta Kitchen,” but there was no sign that is a final decision or even related to the Turkish concept. Starting in November, the project went through three rounds of review at the Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 9, a local zoning area. After working out such issues as parking and accessibility for people with disabilities, the DRC gave its blessing at a January meeting. Review from city staff is still pending.

18 | Community

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41-unit condo building sells for $8.4M; may become luxury rentals BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A 41-unit Buckhead condominium building has sold for $8.4 million and will soon be empty of owners and tenants, likely for renovation into luxury apartments, according to the real estate agent who brokered the sale. The sale of the House at Phipps Condominiums at 3645 Peachtree Road closed on Dec. 20, according to broker Steve Massell of Massell Commercial Real Estate. The buyer is Global Liberty Investment, LLC, which is registered to Amin Alibhai at a Sandy Springs house. Alibhai could not be reached for comment. “The property was 100% occupied at time of sale, but all owners will vacate and the new owner will likely renovate to luxury multi-family residential,” said a press release from Massell’s firm. In a phone interview, Massell said some of the units were rented to tenants. Massell worked for four years on the complex deal to get all of the condo owners to sell, but originally had an even bigger pitch. In 2016, he marketed the House at

The House at Phipps condominium building at 3645 Peachtree Road as seen in a Google Maps photo at the time it was for sale.


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Community | 19


the Peachtree and Roxboro Road intersection: a BP gas station at 3639 Peachtree and

of the 1951 Darlington Apartments at 2025 Peachtree generated citywide controver-

the 12-unit Roxboro Apartments at 3607 Roxboro. Those other two properties are no

sy for displacing tenants. Last year, the nonprofit Livable Buckhead issued a study

longer being actively marketed, Massell said, after some prospective buyers of that

about middle-income, or “workforce,” housing affordability and related commuter

heard that rezoning for redevelopment could be a challenge.

traffic that urged preservation of existing housing as a tactic. Livable Buckhead Ex-

Central Buckhead’s luxurious redevelopment has moved into the Peachtree/Roxboro intersection. The BP is catty-corner to 3630 Peachtree, a 40-story, mixed-use

ecutive Director Denise Starling is scheduled to speak about housing issues at the Jan. 9 meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods.

tower built in 2009. The House at Phipps dates to 1958. Massell said his understanding is that it was

In the case of the House at Phipps, Massell said, “I think the opportunity for

built as apartments, then became a dorm for the now-shuttered fashion school

workforce housing is there in that – and I’m just guessing – that maybe 50% of the

Bauder College before a condo conversion. Massell said “the building was in pretty

owners were not in the workforce. They’re elderly. So you’re adding inventory that

terrible condition… Class C condition for a Class A location.”

could be occupied by those in the workforce.”

The sales price amounts to nearly $205,000 per unit, and Massell said that various prospective buyers’ estimates of renovation costs varied from $20,000 to

“From a dollar perspective for affordability,” Massell added, “that’s going to depend on how much Amin sinks into it.”

$50,000 per unit. Some owners said they would stay if the building were renovated,

Massell, a former Buckhead Business Association president and son of former

Massell said, but the final deal involved vacating the property. His understanding is

Mayor Sam Massell, previously put together another multiowner deal in 2015, a

that Alibhai intends to make the building “luxury rentals.”

neighborhood buy-out along Sandy Springs’ Allen Road where John Wieland Homes

The conversion or redevelopment of older residential properties into luxury

is building more than 80 houses.

units is drawing increasing attention in Buckhead. In 2018, the luxury conversion

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20 | Community

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Garden Hills house dispute could head to court BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN

Blake. He said in a phone interview that the owners of the property are not asking for anything out of An empty corner lot in the leafy Garden Hills the ordinary and he expects a building permit to be neighborhood continues to agitate nearby resiissued in due course. dents who fear a redevelopment plan will change The dispute revolves around how setbacks are the neighborhood’s character. Now the dispute may calculated on a corner lot. head to an appeal in court. George Heery represents Garden Hills in the Plans for a 5,000-square-foot house at the interNPU-B and is on the board of the neighborhood’s section of Pine Tree Drive and North Hills Drive have civic association. “The BZA is basically saying that been the subject of complaints since builders apthe applicant has his rights under zoning to build plied for a variance from the City of Atlanta’s Board whatever he wants to build,” he said in a phone of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) last year. interview. “We don’t agree with that, and it really At issue is a request for a 17.5-foot front-yard setcomes down to whether the lot is a regular lot or an back instead of the traditional 35 feet. Additionally, irregular lot.” the BZA had determined that a variance is not even Heery is among those who think it is irregular needed because it is a “regular” lot. KEVIN C. MADIGAN and should adhere to the setbacks of adjacent propThe lot at Pine Tree Drive and North Hills Drive. A second appeal by a group of residents Jan. 9 in erties. The house, if it’s constructed, would be 20 to front of the BZA found in favor of the applicant, a 25 feet closer to the street than any of the surroundcontractor working on behalf of owners identified ing houses, all of which are 40-plus feet away, according to Heery, “and that really in city documents as David and Amanda Parrilli. The BZA again determined that a would hurt the historic character of our neighborhood.” building permit for the site can be issued. “I know there has been some pushback against the plan,” said Sally Silver, an “My clients are considering appealing this decision to Fulton Superior Court,” aide to City Councilmember Howard Shook of District 7, which includes Garden said attorney Lawton Jordan in an email. Lawton represents a number of Garden Hills. “This house will be set back 17-and-a-half feet instead of what the other housHills residents who are fiercely opposed to the construction. On Jan. 7, Lawton apes are and it will obviously stick out like a sore thumb.” peared before the Neighborhood Planning Unit B to update the group on the situLast year, NPU-B voted to recommend denial of the application, with NPU chair ation, calling the applicant’s request to the BZA “a very cynical misuse of the proNancy Bliwise saying the plan could “radically change the character of the neighcess.” borhood.” Blake Builders, contracted for construction of the project, is owned by Russell

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Public Safety | 21


Crime Reports / Buckhead The following information, involving events that took place in Buckhead Jan. 1 through Jan. 22, was provided by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department from its open data records.

HOMICIDE 100 block of Irby Avenue — Jan. 18


200 block of Colonial Homes Drive — Jan. 1 1400 block of Cave Road — Jan. 2 1200 block of Swims Valley Drive — Jan. 3 200 block of Colonial Homes Drive —

Jan. 4

B U R G L A RY-N O N-R E S IDENCE 1700 block of Howell Mill — Jan. 1 2300 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

Jan. 7

500 block of Northside Circle — Jan. 4


100 block of Vernon Road — Jan. 20

3000 block of Piedmont Road — Jan. 1 400 block of Bishop Street — Jan. 3 800 block of East Paces Ferry Road — Jan.

4 500 block of Broadview Place — Jan. 6

2400 block of Peachtree Road — Jan. 9

400 block of Northside Circle — Jan. 10

100 block of Rumson Road — Jan. 1

100 block of Stratford Place — Jan. 5

3500 block of Peachtree Road — Jan. 1

1800 block of Emery Street — Jan. 6

Jan. 12

3500 block of Northside Drive — Jan. 14

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

2300 block of Piedmont Road — Jan. 6

2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —

500 block of 17th Street — Jan. 14

Jan. 5 100 block of Lenox Pointe — Jan. 7 I-75 SB/Deering Road — Jan. 7 2300 block of Parkland Drive — Jan. 8

2300 block of Piedmont Road — Jan. 8 700 block of Bellemeade Avenue — Jan. 11 4500 block of East Conway Drive — Jan.

1400 block of Chattahoochee Avenue —

Jan. 12

3200 block of Cains Hill Place — Jan. 19

2300 block of Coronet Way — Jan. 13 3000 block of Peachtree Road — Jan. 15


1600 block of Howell Mill Road — Jan. 15

2400 block of Parkland Drive — Jan. 18

3300 block of Peachtree Road — Jan. 12

1200 block of Collier Road — Jan. 15

1900 block of Peachtree Road — Jan. 19

2100 block of Defoors Ferry Road — Jan.

1700 block of Howell Mill Road — Jan. 15

3300 block of Piedmont Road — Jan. 22


2300 block of Peachtree Road — Jan. 16

3000 block of Maple Drive — Jan. 18

Burglary-Residence 200 block of Colonial Homes Drive — Jan. 1

2700 block of Alpine Road — Jan. 20

LARCENY Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 22 there were 145

larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 99 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.

AU TO T H E F T Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 22, there were 56

reported incidents of auto theft.

4400 block of Northside Parkway — Jan.


KENYA JOHNSON FOR PROBATE COURT JUDGE EDUCATION/ MEMBERSHIPS/ PROFESSIONAL AWARDS/ APPOINTMENTS Clark Atlanta University, Bachelor of Arts, 1995 South Texas College of Law,1998 Distinguished Leader Award, Fulton County Daily Report Chief Assistant District Attorney, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office Community Prosecutor of the Year, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, 2016 Community Service Award, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District, 2017 Chief Deputy Solicitor, Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office (2017-Current) State Bar of Georgia Judicial Nominating Committee, (2018-2020)

Member, Georgia Bar Association Member, Atlanta Bar Association, Probate Section Executive Board, Georgia Association Women Lawyers Foundation (2019-2020) Executive Board, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (2012-2017) Regional Director, National Black Prosecutors Association (2015-2019) Executive Committee, Gate City Bar Community Law Clinic (2012-2019)

“The Probate Court of Fulton County is a true ‘family court.’ From marriage licenses to guardianships for loved ones with mental health needs, Probate Court can help families grow and prosper. For 20 years, I have represented victims of crime, achieved justice for families after devastating crime events and protected public safety as a Community Prosecutor. When my dear mother passed, I was left to handle her business affairs through grief and bureaucracy. When loss and challenges arise, families need an effective, competent and compassionate court to guide them through difficult times. As a proven leader, I have the experience, knowledge and vision to take Probate Court into the future, increase efficiency and make probate services more accessible and convenient. In 2020, I ask for the privilege of your vote to serve as your next Probate Court Judge in Fulton County because family, either by blood or choice, means everything.

Kenya Johnson

Kenya Johnson Judicial Candidate Fulton County Probate Court



ANDREW YOUNG Former U.S. Ambassor

MICHAEL LASCALA Partner LaScala & Aurora, LLP

KEITH E. GAMMAGE Fulton County Solicitor-General


22 | Public Safety

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Buckhead leads push to adopt fire stations Continued from page 1 which were completed in December, and Fire Station 27 on Northside Drive, where renovations are likely to begin by spring. “I’m focused… on public safety and making sure we take care of the people who take care of us,” said Matzigkeit. But some of that is more like BandAids at the moment. Matzkigkeit said the quarter-million-dollar interior renovation of Station 26 only made it “slightly better than my fraternity house.” He has called for the station to be replaced – as a Fire Rescue Department capital improvement plan also did more than six years ago, at an estimated cost of around $4 million. Station 27 was on that department replacement list, too. More than 11 years ago, Buckhead residents disturbed by the condition of the 1950s-era station raised $250,000 to upgrade its living quarters. The $300,000 renovation coming this year is targeted mostly at exterior basics like accessibility for people with disabilities and water-sealing. Of the stations in the Buckhead battalion, only Station 3 at Phipps Plaza is

B U C K H EA D BATTA L ION F I R E S TATI O N S STATION 3 800 Longleaf Drive, Phipps Plaza STATION 21 3201 Roswell Road STATION 26 2970 Howell Mill Road STATION 27 4260 Northside Drive STATION 29 2167 Monroe Drive

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brand new, rebuilt in 2018 as part of a mall renovation. Besides fixing up older facilities, Matzigkeit also has called for the revival of an old department plan for a new fire station at Peachtree Road and Peachtree Battle Avenue. City funds provide the buildings, the firefighter salaries, and the gear – including a new engine and ladder at Station 26 and a new engine at Station 27, both added last year. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms instituted a firefighter pay raise that took effect Jan. 31 amid concerns about recruitment and retention. But firefighters still have to pay for their meals and virtually all station amenities out of those salaries or assistance from the Fire Rescue Foundation. “They have to pay for their own WiFi,” said Gill. “If they want any meal, they have to pay for it… It is just a bad situation.” She found that most of the firefighters’ needs are “really not sexy,” like in-


From left, Atlanta Fire Rescue Battalion 6 Chief Michelle Middlebrooks tries out one of the recliners contributed to four local stations by Havertys at Station 21 on Roswell Road while joined by Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell, Rawson Haverty Jr. of Havertys, and Elizabeth Gill of the Rotary Club of Buckhead.

dustrial washing machines to get dangerous chemicals out of their clothes. Some are basics, like pots and silverware. “Just things we all have 14 extra of and they have none of,” she said. In 2019, with Gill’s activism, the Rotary Club pledged to give $75,000 over the next three years to the Fire Rescue Foundation for Buckhead station amenities. It’s part of the foundation’s “Adopt A Fire Station” program, which currently has drawn support for eight of the department’s 36 stations. Shirley Anne Smith, head of the foundation, said the program “offers the community an opportunity to make an impact not only in the city and in their respective neighborhoods, but it also creates a culture of appreciation for our city’s first responders.” Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell joined in late last year, working with Rawson Haverty Jr. of the Havertys

furniture company to donate recliners to each of the four stations within Buckhead proper. The stations have other needs and desires for comfort items, too. Gill put together a wish list from the five stations, which she recently circulated to the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods. It contains some big-ticket items, like a 60inch TV and a refrigerator. But there are a lot of household basics, like bowls, window blinds, and coffee and cups to drink it from. Gill said some minor items can simply be brought to a local station. The foundation urges people to give through its donation system, to make sure stations need the items and because major donations need to be approved by City Council resolution under the law, among other reasons. The foundation has a donation page at atltfrf.org/adoptafirestation.


The following are local fire station wish-list items compiled by Elizabeth Gill. Station 3: Wi-Fi equipment and installation; set of steel dumbbells; butcher block knife set; silverware for 12; 12 coffee cups; dinnerware and bowls for 12 Station 21: two recliners; one desk chair; four-drawer locking file cabinet; Green Egg charcoal; extra-larger Crock-Pot; coffee; coffee cups; 4-by-6-foot American flag; 3-by-5foot state flag; 6-inch wire wheel with 5/8-inch arbor; leaf blower; back-pack vacuum; Ping-Pong table; Home Depot gift card; soft drinks; snacks Dunwoody 1221 Ashford Crossing in Perimeter Place Brookhaven 804 Town Blvd in Town Brookhaven Midtown 1551 Piedmont Ave NE at Monroe Drive

Station 26: 60-inch TV; silverware for 12; microwave; two 42-inch TVs; heavy-duty pots and pans; sofa; window blinds; plates for 12 Station 27: King Kong 7131 grill cover for Weber Genesis II; dumbbell rack; three Amazon Fire sticks Station 29: kitchen chairs (bar-height); large refrigerator; bench grinder with wire wheel; back-pack blower; push mower; Home Depot gift card; hand angle grinder; commercial coffee-maker and coffee; commercial-grade garden hose

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Art & Entertainment | 23










Through Sunday, Feb. 16 The Stage Door Players perform the Tennessee Williams classic about a young man, Tom, living with his controlling mother and introverted sister Laura, who lives in her own world of make-believe. Tickets: $34 ($31 seniors, $24 students). Stage Door Playhouse, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: stagedoorplayers.net.

Saturday, Feb. 8, 8-10 p.m. Valentine’s-themed concert of Cajun/ Creole fais-do-do and dance with Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp, sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. No partner required, all ages welcome. With Cajun/Creole food for sale. Tickets: $20, $14 active military service members, $5 students. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: 877-338-2420 or info@aczadance.org.

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Sunday, Feb. 23, 4-5:15 p.m. Chamber musicians perform a work by the French composer Olivier Messiaen, partly written while he was in a German concentration camp. Admission $10. Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, 4464 Peachtree Road, Atlanta.

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Friday, Feb. 7-Sunday, Feb. 23 Tim Firth’s comedy based on the true story of 11 women who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund. Tickets: $18-$23. Act3 Productions, 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: act3productions.org or 770-241-1905

Monday, Feb. 10-Thursday, Feb. 27 The 20th Annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival explores Jewish culture and history, life in Israel, and the work of Jewish artists in this two-week celebration of the Jewish experience featuring more than

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Continued on page 24


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Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 23 50 films and documentaries taking place at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs, Regal Perimeter Pointe, UA Tara Cinemas, The Plaza and Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema. Tickets: $16 adults/ $14 seniors/students/children. Info: ajff.org



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Sunday, Feb. 23, 1-3 p.m. The Classics Film Club watches and discusses the 1945 thriller starring Joan Crawford. Admission $5 for non-members, free for members. MJCCA-Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/ama


Monday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. In the later part of the 19th century, Hugh Mangum was an itinerant portraitist working in North Carolina and Virginia during the rise of Jim Crow. His clientele was both racially and economically diverse. His forgotten glass plate negatives were discovered in the 1970s in a barn slated for demolition. Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris discuss their book “Where We Find Ourselves,” about the discovery of photos by Mangum. Admission $10 non-members, $5 members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com


Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m, Culinary historian and author Adrian Miller discusses his books “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time” and “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas.” Admission $10 non-members, $5 members. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com



Through Sunday, March 1 30 travel photographs by Jane Robbins

Kerr, a Mississippi native and Atlanta resident who has traveled the world photographing people and places. Admission $5. Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. Lowry Hall, 3rd Floor, 4484 Peachtree Rd NE, Brookhaven. Info: museum.oglethorpe.edu.


Through Friday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. The Fulton County Arts & Culture and Dunwoody Fine Art Association present a Southeastern regional art show juried by Susannah Darrow at the Abernathy Arts Center. Free to view; artwork available for purchase. Abernathy Arts Center, 254 Johnson Ferry Road NW, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-613-6172.


Through Saturday, March 14 Sculpture by Eileen Braun. Spruill Center for the Arts, 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org



Sunday, Feb. 9, 1-4 p.m. A natural science illustration class with a walk in the field and tea in the studio while practicing the elements of drawing. Fee $50. Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info: bhnp.org.


Tuesday, Feb. 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, 1-3 p.m. Create special cards for the loved ones in your life during this card workshop. All supplies will be provided. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Register through events.dekalblibrary.org.


Friday, Feb. 14, 2-3 p.m. Learn to weave a heart-shaped basket that can hold a special note, gift or candies for your valentine. No experience is necessary; all supplies will be provided. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Register through events.dekalblibrary.org.


Friday Feb. 14, 9-10:30 a.m. Enjoy a naturalist-guided winter nature walk down to Falling Branch Creek, then warm up in the cozy Lost Corner Preserve cottage with a “pinecone critter” craft. Free. Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. Info: registration.sandyspringsga.gov.



Art & Entertainment | 25

Jewish Film Festival marks 20 years with big slate of screenings BY JUDITH SCHONBAK

early days as one of the original members of the board of the Atlanta Jewish Film Society. He painted a vivid picture of what it takes to Celebrating its 20th anniversary year, the Atlanta Jewish Film make the event happen every year. Festival brings an extraordinary lineup of diverse films to venues “Committed, passionate people” is his first stroke on the canvas. across Atlanta and to its anchor venue, the Sandy Springs Perform“The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has a small but mighty staff of 11 ing Arts Center. people year-round. Most of the others are volunteers – more than What began two decades ago with a handful of films and a mod400. est number of a little more than 1,900 filmgoers is expected to welWhat makes a Jewish film? It’s a frequently asked question by aucome more than 40,000 attendees for this year’s run, Feb. 10 through diences and the public in general. On Feb. 23, for the first time on 27. the festival roster, there is an evening conversation between audiThe anniversary program counts a total of 64 films: 48 features ence members and a five-person panel on just that topic at the Sanand 16 shorts. Among them are award-winning films and awarddy Springs Performing Arts Center. The panel includes local and nanominees, three world premieres, five North American premieres, tional film experts, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Rabbi Brad two US premieres and a number of Atlanta premieres, from 17 counLevenberg of Temple Sinai. tries around the globe. For many, it’s a film lovers’ wonderland. It is The AJFF description is “a cinematic exploration of Jewish experithe largest Jewish Film Festival in Atlanta and one of the largest in ence — Jewish culture and history, life in Israel, and the work of Jewthe world. ish artists — entertaining and engaging diverse audiences with film The screenings are held at seven metro Atlanta venues. There are through a Jewish lens.” two venues in Sandy Springs: Regal Perimeter Pointe, which is host“Essentially it encompasses obvious Jewish topics, such as life in ing 38 screenings, and Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center’s Byers ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL/VAUGHN GITIsrael, the Holocaust, Jewish creative people, foreign films with JewTENS Theatre, which is hosting 19 screenings, including two screenings of ish characters and more. We try to be relatively broad,” said LevenMax Leventhal, president of the the closing night film on Feb. 27, “Saul & Ruby, To Life” and an eveAtlanta Jewish Film Festival. thal. The question is an important part in the orientation of the Film ning reception celebration. Evaluation Committee of more than 200 members. The word is out that Saul Drier and Ruby Sosnovicz, two Holocaust survivors and “Importantly, the committee is a widely diverse group that looks like metro Atlanta,” musicians, in their nineties, who are the subjects of that closing night film, will be said Leventhal. “There are many loyalists and newcomers, too,” he added. there. It’s an uplifting story of the duo seeking to bring peace and hope through mu“For the 2020 festival, we started with 700 films to consider. Think of it as a big funsic in the U.S. and their home country of Poland, even as anti-Semitism is on the rise. nel,” said Leventhal. “The committee’s job is to get it down to a workable number. Mounting the film festival is a major undertaking that involves hundreds of people This year, there were 21,561 evaluations, to be exact, according to the AJFF. The evaland a complex set of considerations, from the films themselves, venues, guest speakuations go on through October, then the screening and streaming process begins. ers, finances and more. Streamings are private for committee members via their computers, TVs and phones. Film festival president Max Leventhal has been involved with the event since its For detailed information on show schedules and tickets, go to ajff.org.

26 |

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New exhibit explores African American struggles during the Jim Crow era Continued from page 1 “I feel like you are getting in the face of these people and they are changed from caricatures to real people,” said Calinda Lee, vice president of Historical Interpretation and Community Partnerships with the Atlanta History Center. “These large images are humanizing.” The exhibit, created by the New-York Historical Society in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, takes a closer look at the 50 years following the Civil War, after slavery was abolished and the promises of equality and full citizenship are made but repeatedly broken. The years between 1865 and 1877, known as Reconstruction, include the passage of the 14th and 15th amendments to


the U.S. Constitution as Congress tries to heal a divided nation. African Americans are now considered citizens and gain the right to vote. But many white southerners could not accept a black person as their equal and a harsh backlash ensued. Many cities and states passed and enforced “Jim Crow laws” that legalized discrimination. Those laws were named for a character created by a white performer who wore blackface in minstrel shows. The laws segregated schools and public facilities and forced blacks to take obscure




This life-sized portrait of early Morris Brown College faculty members is part of the Atlanta History Center’s exhibit, “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow.”

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tests before casting a ballot. At the same time, the Ku Klux Klan reestablished itself and numerous black people were lynched across the country. But it was also a time when African Americans shined, particularly in Atlanta and Georgia, Lee said. Tunis Campbell, Aaron Bradley and Henry McNeal Turner were elected to the Georgia Legislature in 1868, only to be expelled by the white majority. W.E.B. Du Bois helped form the Atlanta University Center in the West End, the largest consortium of historic black colleges and universities in the nation. And interracial neighborhood unions begin meeting, their pictures featured in the Atlanta newspaper. “This exhibit speaks the lie that black southerners were not deeply and fully and creatively engaged in a fight for their full participation in American democracy as citizens,” Lee said. “It’s a disservice and I, increasingly think, slander to black southerners to suggest they were complacent in the face of their marginalization,” she said. “They built schools, engaged in education with each other, and created communities to serve their needs that were entirely neglected by the state and municipalities.” African Americans also filed lawsuits to fight the discriminatory laws and disrupt white supremacy, Lee said. Journalist Ida B. Wells investigated lynchings and discovered many black men were hanged because white men envied what little pros-

perity they achieved in business, Lee said. “So many people took incredible risks,” Lee said. “If people don’t take anything else away from this [exhibit], let a word never be spoken by anybody of any color … that suggests these incredible black southerners were not deeply courageous and focused and tenacious in accessing their full human rights and dignity.” The Atlanta History Center exhibit’s timeframe closes as World War I is beginning in 1914. Black men fought in the Civil War and continued to enlist and fight in World War I for a country that rejected them, Lee said. “One of the ways African Americans struggled to prove their fitness and patriotism for full participation in American democracy was choosing to become soldiers, to fight in war … in the face of a nation that fundamentally characterized them as less than human,” she said. The African American struggles and successes after the Civil War to be recognized as human beings goes to the core of exhibit’s message, Lee said.


Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow Through June 30 Atlanta History Center 130 West Paces Ferry Road Atlantahistorycenter.com

“In many ways, this exhibit is about showing African American agency in the face of that,” she said. “Jim Crow was a significant challenge to that expression … but this exhibit focuses on the realities of people who continued again and again to push for full inclusion in the American experience.” Complete and unfettered access to American citizenship is what they strived for, but that still has not been achieved.

For example, there is still voter suppression that is aligned with race, Lee said. But black southerners experienced success and paved a path for future struggles that continue today. “Laws that amplify and reinforce racial disparities still exist,” Lee said. “This exhibit reminds us that until the race is won, it is worthwhile and necessary to keep raising your voice.”

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