FEBRUARY 2021 • VOL. 12 — NO. 2
Dunwoody Reporter FOOD FOR THOUGHT
General Muir comes to City Springs
Calling All Campers! P18 and 19
Volunteers aid parks and arts in ‘Day of Service’
Design work begins on new ChambleeDunwoody Road bridge
Meet the mothers of Civil Rights icons
BY SAMMIE PURCELL
Locals donate plasma for COVID battle
Elijah Nicpon, left, and Esha Bhat join volunteers painting a mural design on a courtyard path at the Spruill Center for the Arts during the city’s Jan. 18 “Day of Service” to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. See story and more photos, p. 15.
Council expresses skepticism about hotel-to-apartments plan
BY SAMMIE PURCELL
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The Dunwoody City Council met with skepticism a reworked development plan for 84 Perimeter Center East. The property is situated at the corner of Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Center East on about 2.86 acres. The development, which was first approved as a
12-story hotel by the council back in 2019, is now being submitted as an age-restricted, multi-family apartment complex. Plans for the hotel were scrapped due to the effect the pandemic has had on the hospitality industry. Councilmembers said at their Jan. 11 meeting that plans for See COUNCIL on page 23
The city has begun designing a new and improved Chamblee-Dunwoody Road Bridge over I-285 in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s plan to add toll lanes along the highway in coming years. But it remains to be seen how the design will match two other bridges -- and who will pay for which parts of the bridge. The City Council discussed the plans in a Jan. 25 meeting for the future of a bridge that acts as a southern gateway into the city’s Georgetown neighborhood. The conversation focused on the bridge’s design and how much the enhancements would cost the city. GDOT’s toll lane project, which is intended to help with traffic congestion, would widen highways, adding toll lanes along the top end of I-285 and on Ga. 400 between Sandy Springs and Alpharetta. The expansion has been immensely controversial due to the possible demolition of residential properties and the addition of highway entrances onto local streets. While the toll project is expected to take years – some segments are projected to be finished as late as 2032 – Public Works Director Michael Smith said GDOT expects a plan for bridge enhancements much sooner. See DESIGN on page 23
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2 | Community
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Defendant accused of killing local bicyclist in hit-and-run heads to grand jury
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www.plantbasedpizzeria.net @plantbasedpizzeria The “ghost bike” memorial for Mayer on Glenridge Drive in Sandy Springs.
BY BOB PEPALIS The case of a defendant accused of killing a Dunwoody bicyclist in a Sandy Springs hit-and-run collision last year is heading to a grand jury after a Fulton County magistrate ruled Jan. 22 there is probable cause. Felix Mayer was killed April 24 on Glenridge Drive just north of I-285 by a driver who fled the scene. Mayer was later honored with a “ghost bike” memorial on that street. Felix Mayer.
Leonardo Angulo Banos of Norcross was arrested last year by Sandy Springs Police officers and accused of hitting
Mayer while talking on his cellphone. The charges Banos faces include two counts of homicide by vehicle in the first degree; hit-and-run resulting in serious injury or death; reckless driving; improper lane change; speeding; and distracted driving while operating a wireless device. Judge Debbie-Ann Rickman ruled that Banos’s case can go to a grand jury, which will decide if enough evidence exists to indict him and allow him to be prosecuted. Sandy Springs Police Officer Charles Needham testified at the preliminary hearing and described some of the evidence. He said police identified Banos’s pickup truck in traffic camera videos as the vehicle involved in the crash. Needham said that he found damage to the truck that included “the imprint of the bicycle on the overhanging toolbox.”
Community | 3
After historic Georgia elections, Democrats aim to bring blue wave to city races BY JOHN RUCH With Georgia’s historic presidential and U.S. Senate elections in the rearview mirror, the partisan political momentum is now driving toward this fall’s municipal elections in local cities. Democratic activists emboldened by victory say they will localize the blue wave by backing candidates in officially nonpartisan City Council or mayoral races. And campaigns could involve some of the local figures who stood out in Georgia’s national political spotlight, such as Gabriel Sterling, the Republican state election official who some observers say might be a good candidate for mayor in his hometown of Sandy Springs. Partisan politics has often played a role -- albeit a quiet one -- in municipal races in traditionally Republican local cities, where candidates may rely on the networking and parties may groom candidates for higher offices. But in recent years there have been flashes of more overt partisanship, as when state Democratic Party chair Nikema Williams -now a U.S. congresswoman -- boasted in 2019 of Lynn Deutsch’s victory in Dunwoody’s mayoral race, though Deutsch insisted she’s an independent. Now Democrats are coming on strong to field candidates, and maybe even sway more incumbents like Brookhaven City Councilmember Linley Jones, who confirmed to the Reporter that she quietly shifted affiliation from Republican to Democrat in recent years. “All of our focus will be put into finding good candidates to run in municipal races where we have a verified Republican running,” said Lewanna Tucker, chair of the Fulton County Democratic Committee. “We will contest every race there is, from dog-catcher to governor! We don’t plan to let up until it’s all blue.” “I’m excited, now that we won Georgia... we can focus on local [elections] again,” said John Jackson, chair of the DeKalb County Democratic Committee. “... You still have Republicans in some municipal seats. So we’re definitely going to run some Democrats against Republicans.” Jackson said that the DeKalb Democrats also plan to boost their outreach to Latino and Asian American communities in the Buford Highway corridor after former President Trump saw significant increases in votes from such communities in metro Atlanta and nationwide. The Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon, Atlanta (JDWS) is a large, grassroots progressive group formed by residents of Brookhaven and Sandy Springs nearly 10 years ago. Known for hosting forums for state and federal candidates,
From left, John Jackson, chair of the DeKalb County Democratic Committee; Lane Flynn, chair of the DeKalb County Republican Party; Brookhaven City Councilmember Linley Jones; Valerie Habif, co-founder of the Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon, Atlanta.
the group also has many members involved in political campaigns. Now, says co-founder Valerie Habif, the salon is ready to go local. “We have not previously seen a need to involve ourselves in municipal elections because they are of course traditionally nonpartisan,” Habif said. “Our position has changed in part because of the outsized role that the suburbs and exurbs played in our recent election. … We do feel that municipal leaders in Atlanta’s surrounding communities should reflect not only the diversity of their citizenship but also their concerns.”
One JDWS member recently won office -- Tarece Johnson on the Gwinnett County Board of Education -- and the group is encouraging members to run for more, Habif said. JDWS won’t endorse candidates, but its members are likely to campaign for them, she said. Sandy Springs City Councilmember Andy Bauman, who was criticized as a “Democrat” by an unsuccessful opponent in his original 2013 campaign, has attended JDWS’s invitation-only forums. He has said he is undecided on a mayoral run or re-election campaign this year. For Republican officials, much of the
focus will be on building state and county campaigns with an eye on 2022. Trey Kelly, chair of the Fulton County Republican Party, said he expects more overtly partisan campaign in city races this year. “In the terms of municipal races in Sandy Springs or any other North Fulton city this year, it would depend on the candidates,” Kelly said of his party’s involvement. “The cities of North Fulton are the envy of local governments throughout Georgia. This was achieved through good government and conservative solutions to local issues. We hope that continues.”
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Redistricting may ensure the blue wave’s Democratic dominance in local suburbs BY JOHN RUCH AND BOB PEPALIS City elections will be big news this fall, but around the same time, another political process will begin with even longerlasting impacts: the redrawing of Congressional, state legislature and City Council districts. Redistricting could affect the makeup of councils that in most cases do not now reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of their populations. And, one expert says, the redistricting may cement the new blue-wave Democratic dominance in local representation in Congress and the General Assembly, even though Republicans will control the process. One certainty is that the once-a-decade process will be intensely political as it attempts to balance short-term incumbent protection against long-term game plans, says Charles Bullock III, a University of Georgia political science professor and author of “Redistricting: The Most Political Activity in America.” “If you get it right, you hold [the legislature] for 10 years,” said Bullock of the General Assembly GOP majority that will conduct the Congressional and state redistrictings. And in the digital age, they
will be able to make finely detailed tweaks to district maps for political ends. “What’s often said is, the people [once] chose their legislators and now the legislators choose their people,” Bullock says.
to draw its own districts as well as Georgia’s Congressional districts. Gov. Brian Kemp likely will call a special session of the General Assembly to focus on that task, Bullock said. As for City Council districts, that process will be up to local governments. “The timing and process of redistricting at the local level is largely governed by city charters and local legislation,” said Holger Loewendorf, research manager for the Georgia Municipal Association. Officials in Atlanta, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs indicated they are not yet sure how the redistricting will be performed. Brookhaven, which incorporated in 2012, has never redistricted before. When Sandy Springs last redrew council districts in 2013, the work was done by then City Councilmember Gabriel Sterling, who since has become internationally famous as overseer of Georgia’s historic 2020 presidential election and critic of former President Trump’s conspiracy theories. (Sterling has been tapped to chair the city’s Charter Commission this year.)
Drawing a district
A district is the territory that an elected official represents. At each level of government, districts can vary in shape and size, but must contain closely similar numbers of people under the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of equal representation. To maintain that equal representation, districts are redrawn every 10 years following the results of the U.S. Census, which most recently was conducted in 2020. Previously redistricting processes typically began around late summer. But the 2020 Census results have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, missing the deadline for the “apportionment” data needed for redistricting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It remains unclear when that data will arrive, but Bullock said the process is likely to begin in late fall and last several months, with the aim of having new districts in place for 2022. The majority-GOP state legislature gets
Rules of the game
At all levels, “Rule number one is, your
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districts need to have roughly equal population,” said Bullock. To avoid court challenges, Congressional districts need to be very close to equal. By law, state districts can vary up to 5% more or less, but legislators need to provide a convincing rationale, like keeping the district within the same county; a variation of 1-2% is more common. “Second rule would be, you don’t discriminate against minorities,” said Bullock. “If you have an existing minority-majority district, you probably don’t want to break it up -- ‘crack’ it, is the term they use.” Governments aren’t required to create minority-majority districts, Bullock said, but they better have “some non-racial rationale” for why they did not if there were viable alternatives that someone sues over. He says that’s especially true “if a minority population is relatively compact and is in one part of the city, and instead of putting it in a district, you cracked it...” Within those two rules, there is plenty of room for gamesmanship on protecting incumbents, punishing the opposition and setting long-term partisan power plays in motion. But a tricky factor, especially in the north metro area, can be seen in the many close election results in so-called marginal districts, where neither major party dominates the electorate. Bullock says that marginal districts can be great for voters, as their representatives may be more responsive and moderate. But such districts are loathed by incumbents and parties, as a slight change in the political wind can blow them out of power. That’s what happened 20 years after a Democrat-led redistricting attempted to protect many incumbents by preserving their marginal districts. A conservative shift in national politics knocked out many of them. “If there’s a wave against you, you lose a lot,” said Bullock.
Protecting two 6th Districts?
Now the Republican-led state legislature faces a similar situation, Bullock said. “Especially on the north side of Atlanta, Republicans are going to have to make a choice,” he said: Help remaining incumbents saying “protect me,” or shore up fewer districts with bigger GOP margins. “What you’re thinking about is not how will these districts perform in 2022, but how they are going to perform in 2030,” Bullock said. “... I think that may be a battle within the Republican caucus.” Such calculations, Bullock speculates, may mean the Republicans giving up on two local districts -- both numbered 6 -that made attention-getting flips to blue in recent years: the 6th Congressional and the state Senate District 6. DUN
Doing Business | 5
Doing Business | Sandy Springs startup aims to revolutionize market research “Market research” and “customer engagement” are terms that may conjure up images of focus-group meeting rooms and dinnertime robo-calls. A Sandy Springs startup aims to revolutionize the industry with an app that instantly pays vetted users to answer questions in real time via their cellphones. In the 1Q system, companies cannot not only ask questions or offer surveys, but also ask for photos and videos, and target users based on their locations at the moment. Want to see where every user wearing a certain brand of sneakers is on a live map of metro Atlanta? Want to send a coupon to every user at the big game? Those creative uses and more are possible through the 1Q app. Meanwhile, every user who responds gets part of the $1-per-answer fee, either to their bank account or to their favorite charity. (Disclosure: The Reporter previously partnered with 1Q to conduct reader surveys on topical issues.) After several years of development, 1Q says it has over 1 million users and is in a higher-profile phase. The Reporter asked CEO and founder Keith Rinzler about the startup. For more information, see 1Q.com. Tell us about the app. How does it work? 1Q is not simply a survey app. It’s a rev-
olutionary market research and customer engagement platform that is changing the way companies conduct consumer research and interact with customers. 1Q allows companies to engage with an audience in real-time based on who they are or where they are by sending questions, surveys, pictures, videos, polls or promotional offers to their mobile phones. Consumers love engaging with 1Q because we are the only company operating in the analytics and insights marketplace that pays consumers instantly per response. We started building 1Q nearly six years ago, but we’ve really taken off in the past two to three years. We’ve experienced incredible growth, are being used on a regular basis by many of America’s largest companies, and have over 1 million consumers who have signed up to be paid instantly for their responses. How did you come to be based here in Sandy Springs? My family has been in the Atlanta area for five generations, so starting a business here made all the sense in the world. There’s so much talent in the Atlanta area, and it’s only growing year after year. Thanks to Georgia Tech and initiatives like the Georgia Research Alliance, It’s
one of the best places to start a tech business anywhere in the country. As for Sandy Springs, it’s a terrific central location within the greater Atlanta area that’s easy to access for all of our team members.
the radical simplicity and transparency of our platform -- there’s clear pricing, no contracts, and literally anyone can use it to get answers to their questions by visiting 1Q.com. The list goes on, including real-time responsWhat do you offer that es that produce meanother demographic comingful results in minutes panies don’t? instead of days, the abiliFor starters, even comty to re-contact the same pared to market research respondents to dig deeper competitors that have on insights, and the abilistrong demographic proty to get feedback on vidfiles of respondents, our eo, audio, image and even platform is particularly get consumers to send targeted and precise. But you pictures. On the othwe’ve been working on er hand, for people who SPECIAL the 1Q platform for years, answer questions, they Keith Rinzler, CEO and and every client has their love getting paid instantly founder of 1Q. own favorite feature. A for each question they annumber love our highly swer and they have the opsophisticated geotargeting capabilities that tion to donate the money they earn to charlet you zero in on customers who have visities. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. ited their stores within a specific time period. Others appreciate our commitment What types of businesses are using the to data quality and making sure there are service? no “bots” or professional survey takers on Our clients come in all shapes, sizes and the platform who are more concerned with sectors. They include Fortune 500 compamaking money than answering truthfully. And then there are those who appreciate Continued on page 6
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6 | Doing Business
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Continued from page 5 nies, market research organizations, advertising and marketing agencies, and management consulting firms. Just in the metro Atlanta area, companies like Delta, Coca-Cola, Ted’s Montana Grill, Bain and Kids2Grow use the 1Q platform. Unlike some competitors that force you to start at a very high price-point, we can scale up or down to solve a customer engagement and market research challenge. Our pricing is radically simple: $1 per response. Period. We provide solutions both for companies that have a few hundred dollars and a few hundred thousand to spend on market research. We’ve had companies testing Super Bowl commercials, asking consumers to take pictures of store shelves to see product placement, and inquiring about straightforward questions like eating habits, how they invest money, or political opinions.
How is the pandemic affecting the survey business? The market research industry has been challenged by the pandemic, particularly traditional market research companies that specialize in things like in-person focus groups. Obviously, gathering people in-person is a non-starter in the midst of a pandemic. However, similar to how the pandemic has led many employers to become more reliant on digital communication tools like Zoom and Slack, marketers and consumer research specialists have sought out digital research tools like 1Q that can quickly deliver results anywhere and anytime. We nearly doubled our revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, and we had our highest revenue month ever in September 2020.
The following businesses recently opened in Reporter communities. GOLFTEC Sandy Springs, golf instruction and club fitting center, 6329 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. golftec.com Hotel Colee, 3377 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. hotelcolee.com Indie Studios, workspace for designers and creative companies, 190 Ottley Drive, Buckhead. indiebecomesyou.com Orthopedic Cortisone Injection Center, orthopedic pain relief practice, 1705B Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. theocic.com Village Supply, pop-up space for food and lifestyle brands, especially minority- and women-owned, Buckhead Village District, 272 Buckhead Ave., Buckhead. buckheadvillagedistrict.com
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Food & Drink | 7
Food For Thought: The General Muir’s chef chats about opening in City Springs BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN An outpost of the popular Emory Point restaurant and delicatessen The General Muir opened its doors at City Springs on Jan. 13. The Rye Restaurants group, of which chef Todd Ginsberg is a partner, has five other eateries around Atlanta: West Egg Cafe, TGM Bread, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Yalla and Wood’s Chapel BBQ. Ginsberg, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef (Southeast) in 2014 and 2015. His career began at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta and continued at the Michelinstarred Lucas Carton in Paris and Alain Ducasse in New York. Back in Atlanta, he helmed the kitchen at Bocado before launching the General Muir at Emory in 2013, which became an instant success. The General Muir is named after the vessel that carried co-owner Jennifer Johnson’s family, who were Holocaust refugees, to the United States following World War II. The restaurant serves pastrami sandwiches, matzo ball soup, burgers and bagel sandwiches, among other traditional Jewish delicacies, as well as fried chicken and spaghetti suppers. The new location is in Sandy Springs’ civic center at 6405 Blue Stone Road, Suite 240, at the intersection with Johnson Ferry Road. For more information, see thegeneralmuir.com.
that reports to me and then we have executive chefs in each of the restaurants, and they have their sous chefs, and I oversee them all to avoid those balls falling in the gutter. That’s my goal: keeping those balls going down the alley until it ends. How is this new location in Sandy Springs different from the one at Emory? It doesn’t differ too much, other than we’ve done a couple things cosmetically. At the other General Muir, there are pictures of our families on the walls, and here we have pictures and some memorabilia of people that we’ve met over the years since we opened the first one. The menus are the same, but I think we’re going to be selling a lot more bagels, pastrami and corned beef than at the other restaurant. The fried chicken that we had available only on Friday nights at the other General Muir we are doing every night here, and we’re also doing brisket every night.
Todd Ginsberg, chef and partner at the General Muir.
You oversee seven restaurants as chef. How do you not go crazy doing that? We have a huge support team that ensures no one goes crazy, and that way we don’t drop too many balls or have things fall through the cracks. I have a culinary director
What’s been the reaction so far? Some of the people that I’ve talked to that have been to both restaurants say it’s very consistent, and that’s been great to hear. Our number one goal was to bring our product and our brand to a new space and we wanted to make sure that people are enjoying it. A lot of them live closer to here than the other spot, so this is just around the corner for them. The feedback has been great. The community has wanted us from day one and they’re supporting us and are happy that we’re finally here.
What else would you like people to know about your restaurants? That we are a friendly and safe environment for people to work in as well as eat in; that we take safety and precautions very seriously during these times; that we are protecting our staff as well as our guests. In addition to that, we’re doing things that everybody grew up eating and we just try to do them a little better than they remember them.
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8 | Food & Drink
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Quick Bites BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN Milkdrop, a pop-up specializing in biscuits and biscuit sandwiches, will open for business in February beside the Buttermilk Kitchen building at 4209 Roswell Road in Buckhead. Chef and owner Suzanne Vizethann oversees both ventures and describes this new one as “a chef-driven, made-to-order experience for our fellow Atlanta foodies.” Milkdrop was scheduled to begin taking pre-orders online starting on Feb. 1 for pick-up on Saturday, Feb. 6. milkdropbiscuits.com Apt. 4B, a Caribbean restaurant and bar, is now open at 2293 Peachtree Street in Buckhead, in a space formerly occupied by 1 Kept. In charge is Haitian-born chef Dayana Joseph who “serves up inventive dishes like oxtail hummus and snapper ceviche that remix Caribbean standards with other global standouts to create something new, familiar and otherworldly, all at the same damn time,” according to Apt. 4B’s website. apt4batl.com Botica has taken over the old Watershed locale at 1820 Peachtree Road in Buckhead with chef Mimmo Alboumeh, formerly of Red Pepper Taqueria, at the helm. Lebanese by birth, Alboumeh lived in Spain and Mexico, and his cooking is inspired by both countries. The menu features smoked meats and dressings, tacos, salsas, fish, cocktails and weekend brunch. eatbotica.com Grand Lux Cafe has reopened after closing in 2020 due to the pandemic. Located at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, it first opened in August of 2018. Other restaurants at Phipps were not so lucky: Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse has had to close for good due to COVID-19, and so has The Tavern. Also, Lovies BBQ on Piedmont Road in Buckhead has shut its doors permanently. grandluxcafe.com Recess, a “vegetable-centric, fine-casual” restaurant at Krog Street Market, will open a second location at 3150 Roswell Road in Buckhead later this year. Part of the Castellucci Hospitality Group, Recess will be positioned next to another CHG property, The Iberian Pig, at Hanover Buckhead Village. recessatl.com Storico Vino, an Italian wine bar, will start pouring at Buckhead Village, 3065 Peachtree Road, in the middle of February. “This Venetian-inspired concept will provide a variety of regional wines and small bites,” says its website. storico.com Wing It On!, serving fresh, non-frozen, all-natural chicken wings and “bigger, juicier, hand-crafted chicken sandwiches” plus seasoned fries, just opened its first branch in Georgia at 8290 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. CEO Matt Ensero said in a written statement, “Our dedication and commitment to exceptional wings, award-
A publicity photo of wings and other menu items at Wing It On.
winning sauces and a phenomenal customer experience is a perfect fit for local foodies and wing fans in Sandy Springs.” wingiton.com Plant Based Pizzeria launched on Jan.16 at 8540 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. The vegan joint serves flatbreads, calzones, pastas, breakfast, desserts, and, of course, a variety of pizzas, just like their first location in Virginia-Highland. Plant Based Pizzeria also operates a food truck around town with the motto “Eat Figs, Not Pigs” emblazoned on its side. “Everything is going great,” owner Paul Jordan wrote in an email. “Hours will be extended soon once we have a full staff hired. Every new customer that has come in loves the pizzas and burgers.” plantbasedpizzeria.net Kathleen’s Catch, a seafood market, is now open at 3434 Clairmont Road in Brookhaven. The owner is fishmonger Kathleen Hulsey, who already has locations in Milton and Johns Creek. The place sells fresh oysters, clams, shrimp, salmon, tuna pokes, crab, sandwiches, salads, ceviche, chowders and smoked trout dip, as well as traditional New England lobster rolls. kathleenscatch.com
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Food & Drink | 9
Food for Thought | Brewing up a good time during the pandemic challenge Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant has opened its first location in Georgia at Lenox Marketplace, 3535 Peachtree Road in Buckhead, featuring an on-site brewery that can crank out 900 barrels of craft beer a year. Fare includes appetizers, tacos, pizzas, burgers sandwiches, salads, and entrees. A second location in the Perimeter Center area is in the works. Chief Operating Officer Joe Kopke provides details. For more information, see ironhillbrewery.com/buckhead-ga. What challenges have you had so far? This is our first location in Georgia and we were slated to open in 2020. We had some construction delays due to the COVID pandemic. It definitely caused some constraints, and was the first roadblock in the process. Once we got into a position where we could move construction forward, we were then able to successfully open Iron Hill in Atlanta. You’re bringing quite a few jobs to the area as well, aren’t you? We are. You’re talking a hundred to a hundred-and-fifty per location. We will open at the Perimeter in the summer, it looks like, so definitely extending our footprint and looking for more potential sites as we grow. We start construction in February. Can you talk about the food and beer you
are serving? Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant is a craft kitchen and scratch brewery. We operate with the freshest ingredients and make creative dishes but we also make beer from scratch. Our basis and foundation has always been a restaurant that pairs our scratch beer with our handcrafted food so that they go together. I love beer but if you can have a beer with a dish that complements it, it really just makes the whole experience even better. Obviously as the landscape has changed and the craft brewery scene is pushing forward, there are different trends. Philly Phavorite is our number-one-selling IPA and pairs well with our signature Philly cheesesteak egg rolls. We are always looking to be at the forefront of beer and we fully understand what that scope looks like. We don’t try to be the trendiest, but we’re very meticulous, serious and disciplined about our approach to making beer. And then also bringing the restaurant along with it. Iron Hill has a history of philanthropy. Tell us about it. We have our Triple Chocolate Hill dessert, which is a double fudge brownie and vanilla ice cream, then it’s got peanut butter and caramel sauce, chocolate sauce and whipped cream, and it’s tied to a char-
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, but a little box from Lauderhills never hurt anyone.
Joe Kopke, chief operating officer of Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant.
ity initiative across the company. For each one sold, we donate 75 cents to CureSearch, which is for children’s cancer, and another 75 cents to a local charity, the Atlanta Children’s Shelter. We’re always looking to do local fundraisers and engagement in the community and help out the best we can. What else should we know about Iron Hill? I think the people of Iron Hill are what make the brand. We have intelligent, incredibly hard-working brewers, we have talent-
ed chefs and leaders running the restaurant day in and day out with an intense focus on giving great hospitality and making amazing food and award-winning beer. Has the local reaction been good so far? It’s been great. A lot of beer is selling and we are fully ready to go, one guest at a time. It’s a hard time for everyone and we want to help people gather and get away from world problems, break bread and have a good experience in the restaurant. That’s really impactful in people’s lives.
2090 Dunwoody Club Drive Suite 107 Sandy Springs, GA 30350 770-396-0492 www.Lauderhills.com
10 | Commentary
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Commentary / City annexations and tax abatements need reform Editor’s note: Annexations and tax breaks have become politically contentious issues between many county and city governments. DeKalb County and Brookhaven have been involved in recent legal disputes over both issues; in Atlanta, the city government and public school system have demanded more control over tax abatements granted by Fulton County’s development authority. The Reporter asked state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver to explain a package of legislation she is proposing to reform annexations and abatements. The creation of the new city of Sandy Springs in 2005 after political control of the Georgia General Assembly shifted to the Republicans impacted the local governments of existing cities and counties throughout the Atlanta region. Since 2005, all of Fulton County has been municipalized with the creation of new cities of Milton, Johns Creek and South Fulton and the expansion of existing cities. In DeKalb County, the city of Dunwoody was created in 2008, Brookhaven in 2012, Tucker in 2016, and Stonecrest in 2017. Other new cities have been proposed, the voters have voted against a few, and legislation to create more municipalities will be filed in the 2021 session. In and around all these incorporations are related annexations and expansions of new city lines with and without opposition, and many lawsuits. For many of these political creations, opposition has been contentious and costly, whether it has come from citizens or businesses. It is also true, however, that the new cities are popular with most voters, and the annexations have benefited businesses and cities. What is not clear is whether these changes have benefited the larger number of citizens who continue to live in unincorporated portions of counties. None of these new cities or annexations has been examined in view of comprehensive planning or economic development of the counties impacted. And most have offered new forms of tax benefits to developers and property owners as inducements to annexations. My district, HD 82, includes parts of Decatur, Brookhaven, Chamblee and Tucker, and has been ground central
in a variety of cityhood and annexaamends the Title 36-36-111 et seq annextion proposals. Prior maps have includation procedure by requiring the notice ed my neighborhood of Druid Hills in of the filing of the annexation petition efforts to incorporate what remains of to disclose any proposed tax abateunincorporated DeKalb County. ments, rebates or other financial incenI have filed proposed legislation tives that a development authority of(House Bills 23, 24 fers the annexing and 66) to strengthproperty owners. en the two existing Finally, HB 66 statutes that progrants standing to vide oversight to anany local school sysnexations and issutem or other governance of bonds in tax ing authority petiabatement offerings tioning for revenue (OCGA 36-36-110 and bond validation un111, and OCGA 36der OCGA 36-82-77. 82-77). The purpose Recently, a DeKalb of these measures Superior Court judge is to provide greater granted standing Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) is transparency and alto DeKalb County the state representative for District 82, which includes part of Brookhaven. low participation by School District in a impacted local govbond validation proernments, including school systems. My ceeding over the objection of a developfirst priority is to create public discusment authority. sion for citizens and all the interested Since prefiling these bills in Nogovernments and stakeholders to provember, I have met with lawyers for pose how we can improve the statutory Brookhaven and DeKalb County and processes for annexations and new citrepresentatives from the Association of ies. County Commissioners of Georgia and OCGA Title 36-36-110 et seq provides Georgia Cities United, and I have solica procedure for a county to object to a ited advice from many others. From petition for annexation filed with a city these discussions, I have made changes and for the Department of Community to early drafts based on good and generAffairs to create arbitration panels to ous advice. I am ready to and hope we hear the dispute based on specific stancan continue these helpful discussions dards, and this procedure most recently in hearings before the House Governhas been used by DeKalb County to obmental Affairs Committee and its new ject to an annexation filed by the city of chair, Darlene Taylor. Brookhaven. My bill, HB 23, gives the loOur current systems for city crecal Board of Education ability to file an ation and the multiple annexation proobjection to an annexation and utilize cedures need reform to create greater the arbitration panel review process. transparency and participation. The companion proposal, HB 24,
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Around Town As Janice Rothschild Blumberg saw it, Jan. 6, 2021, started out as a very fine day. It was the day after the runoff election and, as the votes were counted, Blumberg was rooting for the two Georgia Democrats running for U.S. Senate.
Janice Rothschild Blumberg.
By early that afternoon, Raphael Warnock had claimed election as the first Black U.S. senator from Georgia and Jon Ossoff was on his way to becoming the state’s first Jewish member of the U.S. Senate. Taken together, their election meant the Republicans would lose their senate majority and Democrats would control the national government. “I am ecstatically happy,” Blumberg said during a phone chat early that afternoon. “It couldn’t be better. It’s wonderful.” Then, suddenly, the tenor of things seemed to change. As Blumberg and I talked, texts started to appear on my phone saying something shocking was happening in Washington. I hung up and watched TV news broadcasts fill with pictures of the takeover of the U.S. Capitol by an armed and angry mob. The mob called for the recent elections to be thrown out, for White supremacy to rise again, and for resistance to the U.S. government. Some in the group carried Confederate Battle Flags through the halls of the Capitol.
Commentary | 11
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
After a while, I called Blumberg back to get her take on what was happening. She was horrified. “Unbelievable,” she said. Yet she said she had not abandoned hope. It was still a good day. “Look at what happened last night,” she said. “Look at what happened in Georgia. There’s still hope out there.” She’s seen political upheavals before and weathered her share of them. During her long and active life -- she turns 97 this month -- she has been a writer and public speaker and has led and worked with Jewish charities and organizations. Her first husband, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, was a public critic of segregation and supporter of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s and was spiritual leader of The Temple in Atlanta when it was bombed in 1958. The Rothschilds were friends of Atlanta’s Civil Rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Blumberg, who now lives in Buckhead, grew up in Druid Hills. “Atlanta was very different then, very different,” she said. “We were segregated Jewishly as well as we were racially.” She first met Rabbi Rothschild at the Standard Club, then a social club for the Jewish community that was located on Ponce de Leon Avenue. “Atlanta, and particularly the Jewish community, and particularly the Reformed Jewish community, was mostly the same people … Everybody knew everybody,” she said. She remembers the community was abuzz at the time about the new, young rabbi. “I saw him on a tennis court,” she said. “Someone said, ‘That’s the new rabbi. Want to meet him?’ He was being feted by every family with a young daughter… I think we knew [we belonged together] on our second date.” They told their family he proposed during a University of Georgia football game as they shared a poncho in a rainstorm, she said. Actually, she said, he had brought up the subject the night before by giving her a cartoon showing a man on bended knee who was saying, “It’s simple. You just ask.” They told her mother that night and the rest of the family the next day, after the game. She said she first met Martin Luther King through her mother. Her mother was hosting a European journalist who wanted to meet civil rights activists in Atlanta, so a dinner was arranged at Pas-
A changing Georgia echoes the Civil Rights years chal’s, a well-known restaurant. King dropped by to chat. A few months later, Blumberg recalled, King was arrested during a protest and Blumberg called Coretta to offer her sympathy. They hit it off. “As standoffish as she seemed to be with the public, somehow she talked to me like a sister,” Blumberg said. “I felt very big-sisterly to her.” They had much in common. Both had young children and were married to prominent men who took public positions that made them enemies who regularly threatened to do them harm. Blumberg said there were threats against her, too. The threats against Rabbi Rothschild turned into real-life harm on Oct. 12, 1958, when The Temple was bombed. Dynamite severely damaged the building, but no one was killed. The community rallied around the congregation and public figures from the mayor of Atlanta to the president of the United States quickly condemned the bombing. “A Republican president [spoke out against the bomb-
ing] on the eve of mid-term elections,” she said. “He answered from his heart, and what he did, he did from the heart. He sent in the FBI.” Yet no one ever was convicted for the bombing. And Blumberg believes echoes of those times continue today. Some politicians still offer support to right-wing extremists, including those who help stir up the mob that took over the Capitol last month. She thinks of Joseph McCarthy and others. “We’re living through some parallels to that time,” she said. I called Blumberg again on Inauguration Day. She’d watched on TV as the country had installed a new president. Georgia was being represented in Congress by two new senators. Was she hopeful? “You bet I am, I certainly am,” she said. “[There’s] a decent, kind person in there and I think he’s very smart and … he’s got really knowledgeable people around him giving advice.” It looked like things were changing. Look at what happened in Georgia.
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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 email@example.com.
Northside Hospital has announced 110 pounds; have had a positive COan urgent need for COVID-19 convalesVID-19 diagnosis; are at least 14 days cent plasma (CCP), the clear liquid part without symptoms; pass a hemogloof the blood from recovered COVID-19 bin test to assure a healthy iron blood patients containing potentially life-savcount; have normal blood pressure, ing virus antibodies.Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant pulse and are in generwho lives on thetemperature; DunwoodySandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire Granted Emergency Use Authorizaal good health and have not been vacothers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. tion (EUA) by the FDA last August, CCP cinated. is given to hospitalized COVID-19 pa“There’s no upper age limit,” said tients as soon after diagnosis as possiCox, “but if you’re over 70, we’ll reach ble and has helped more than 100,000 out to your doctor to be sure it’s safe for sick Americans. you to donate.” But demand is up, and supply is Prime donors are people who have down. What gives? recovered in the last 14 to 90 days beAccording to Carrie Cox, execucause they have the highest level of antive director of Atlanta Blood Servictibodies. Most needed are blood types es (ABS), a major local supplier of CCP, B and AB, with rare AB- the universal only 3% of eligible donors normally plasma donor. give blood. Surprisingly, since the virus is not “We’ve also seen a higher rate of cantransmitted through blood, you can cellations [of donor appointments] bedonate even if you’re still COVID posicause of potential illness,” Cox said, tive but no longer have symptoms. The “and many people are staying home.” whole process takes about two-and-aAll that’s required to donate is that half hours, with about two hours for you: are age 17 or older; weigh at least the withdrawal.
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How to join the local plasma donors who are helping to fight COVID-19 “There’s one big needle stick, and you have to keep your arm straight and still,” said Cox. “We keep you warm and feed you snacks while you watch a movie on a Kindle on a little TV cart.” For most donations, Atlanta Blood Services uses an apheresis machine, with one needle and two tubes that withdraw your plasma and return the rest of the blood to you. Unlike a wholeblood donation, which yields only one plasma dose per donation, the apheresis machine yields up to four doses per donation, enabling one donor to help four patients.
Dr. Lonnie Herzog, left, donates convalescent plasma while getting moral support from son and fellow physician Alex.
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To find out more, I spoke with some recent donors, many of whom have donated multiple times. For some, donating is a family affair. Dr. Lonnie Herzog, an internal medicine physician, and his wife Kim and daughter Nikki donated their CCP to ABS together. His son, Dr. Alex Herzog, who had not had the virus, joined them for moral support. “We were fortunate to have mild cases and recovered quickly without any complications,” said Herzog. “It was important to be able to give as a family.” Dunwoody sales engineer Chris Germann, diagnosed in late July, was “wiped out for two days.” “I self-quarantined in the basement for 10 days. My wife opened the door and threw food down. When I was thirsty, I went outside to the sprinkler. Nobody else got it,” he said. A sense of humor helps. With AB- blood, Germann is a universal plasma donor, has donated CCP three times (plus more than 25 units of platelets since 2015) and considers donating personal downtime. “The hardest part is sitting still for two hours,” he said. “The needle doesn’t hurt as much as pulling the tape off, and you get to watch a movie, drink water or juice and eat junk food.” Sandy Springs marketing executive Sarah Anne Dickman was sick for eight days in December and has already donated and scheduled a second appointment. “I didn’t know about CCP till I read about it on Facebook,” she said. “It might seem intimidating, but it’s just a needle stick.” Dunwoody teacher Stacey Asher was sick for a week in July and has donated five times, sometimes while attending virtual faculty meetings. “It helps more people than you know,” she said. And do patients who receive CCP ever give back? Attorney Richard Morgan did. In November, hospitalized in the ICU at Northside with COVID-19 and double-pneumonia, his oxygen level “plummeted” so low he was told “it could go either way.” Within 24 hours of receiving CCP and other experimental medications, his body started fighting back. “The doctors were shocked at my fast turn-around,” he wrote in his newsletter. He’s now a CCP donor at ABS. Atlanta Blood Services has locations at Northside Hospital Sandy Springs and Marietta. For information, go to http://www.atlantabloodservices.com.
Commentary | 13
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City considers tax and fee incentives to attract big businesses BY SAMMIE PURCELL The city is considering a system of tax and fee waivers and other incentives for businesses to come to town. The plan would be a first for the city, hoping to draw in large-office users. Michael Starling, the city’s economic development director, presented the incentive plan at a Jan. 11 City Council meeting. The system would be separate from the Dunwoody Development Authority, which offers tax abatements for developments through a different mechanism of tax-free bonds. And it would be a change in longstanding policy. “Since Dunwoody was created, we made a conscious decision not to offer incentives from the city,” Starling said to the council. “We rely on our low office rents, as well as tax abatements from the Development Authority. But we are entering a sort of uncharted territory here with COVID-19, and I think this is a good opportunity to look at offering what many of the other cities around us offer, which is an incentive directly from the city.” As COVID-19 numbers continue to climb in the state, many offices sit vacant. The
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plan would attempt to help fill those empty offices with such incentives as expedited permitting processes and waivers of business and occupation taxes. To qualify, companies would have to lease spaces of at least 100,000 square feet; create at least 500 jobs; sign leases of at least 10 years; and invest at least $4 million in furniture, fixtures and equipment. “We are constantly looking at our policies and checking them against other communities that are around us,” Starling said in a phone interview. “And this has been something that’s been on our radar for quite some time. It just seems like this is the right time to bring it forward.” In Dunwoody, incentives traditionally have been handled by the Development Authority and its tax abatement process. In Georgia, development authorities can be formed by cities or counties. In recent years, development authorities have come under scrutiny for offering tax breaks to projects in hot real estate markets, and for governmental disputes between cities and counties over whose development authority should grant such breaks and when. The Fulton County and Atlanta authorities recently butted heads over jurisdiction. DeKalb County and the city of
100 West Paces Ferry Road | Atlanta, GA 30305 Information believed accurate but not warranted. Equal Housing Opportunity. If your home is currently listed, this is not a solicitation.
Brookhaven have had several disputes about tax breaks granted by their respective development authorities, sometimes with the city objecting and, more recently, with the county in the role of abatement-challenger. Some Dunwoody council members expressed concern over the incentive plan’s relationship to the Development Authority, a quasi-govermental body with a board that votes on tax break deals. The incentive plan proposed by Starling would involve a vote by City Council. “I just want to make sure I understand that there’s no double bite at the apple in the sense of tax abatements,” said Councilmember John Heneghan.
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Starling confirmed the incentive plan would be separate from the Development Authority. “I would say that this is an opportunity to possibly package an incentive from the city with something that the Development Authority is looking at, but no,” Starling said. “Just the City Council would offer this.” Starling said that in the short term, companies would be eligible even if most of their employees were working from home due to the pandemic, and expressed optimism for the future of the office market. “We do believe that moving forward, there’s still gonna be high demand for office use,” Starling said in the interview. “A company that maybe before the pandemic would have taken more space, they might be leasing less space now. But we still think they’ll be in the market. So, if for the next year or two, the majority of their people are working remotely, that’s not going to impact our incentives.”
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Community | 15
Volunteers aid parks and arts in ‘Day of Service’ Many volunteers turned out Jan. 18 to aid parks and painting projects as part of the “Day of Service,” the city of Dunwoody’s annual way of marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Around 100 volunteers worked to uproot invasive species at the Dunwoody Nature Center on Roberts Drive and to paint a mural on a courtyard at the Spruill Center for the Arts on ChambleeDunwoody Road. Brook Run Park on North Peachtree Road was a volunteer site as well. With the event occurring during the pandemic, the attendance was limited by registration and volunteers worked in masks. Other MLK Day events in Dunwoody included a display of King-related items by the Dunwoody Preservation Trust at the Donaldson-Bannister Farm, and a food drive to help fill the pantries at Community Assistance Center and Malachi’s
Right, Kate Carson of the ecological cooperative ReForest ATL holds up a sample plant as she leads volunteers to remove invasive species at the Dunwoody Nature Center.
Storehouse, which have seen enormous demand during the pandemic. PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER.
Top left, Jack Burch, an Emory University sophomore who grew up in Dunwoody, checks the temperature of incoming volunteers at the Dunwoody Nature Center as a pandemic safety precaution. Bottom left, Volunteers uproot ivy at the Nature Center.
WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS SIMPLIFYING AND ORGANIZING IN THE NEW YEAR HOW DO YOU HELP PEOPLE FULFILL THOSE PREDICTABLE RESOLUTIONS ABOUT BETTER ORGANIZING THEIR FINANCES? “Predictable” is correct. In our 50-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 by consolidating 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, etc.). Also, don’t forget to protect these accounts from cyber-fraud. Use a Password Manager to organize and easily recall complex passwords. WHAT ABOUT A BUDGET? Our Wealth Planning Committee, a multi-disciplinary group of professionals (CPAs, JDs, and other credentialed firm members), meets to brainstorm such topics and has developed a client-centered approach. Committee Chair, Phillip
Bill Kring, MaryJane LeCroy, and Phillip Hamman discuss the importance of developing hassle-free and organized financial lives. (Left to right: Phillip Hamman, CFA, CFP®; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®; and Bill Kring, CFP®)
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.
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Community Briefs WO M AN’S CLU B O FFER S C O L L EG E S C HO L A R S HI P S
The Dunwoody Woman’s Club is offering $2,000 scholarships to college-bound students from Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and parts of Doraville and Peachtree Corners. The club is offering three of its Student Achievement Scholarships. Eligible students are college-bound high-school seniors who live or attend school within the ZIP codes 30328, 30338, 30346, 30350 or 30360. According to a press release, the scholarships will be awarded to applicants who are judged by a committee to “demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, school and community involvement, and an exceptional desire for higher education.” The scholarships can be used for any educational expense and will be sent directly to the school’s financial aid department. The application deadline is March 18. For more information, see dunwoodywomansclub.com. The club is a 50-year-old service organization and affiliate of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
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Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch and Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul were joined by State Farm representatives to cut the ribbon opening the Springwood Connector, which links the two cities between Hammond Drive and I-285.
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A new road called the Springwood Connector now links Perimeter Center Parkway NE with Peachtree Dunwoody Road just south of Hammond Drive. State Farm and RangeWater, a private developer, worked with Dunwoody and Sandy Springs to complete construction of the Springwood Connector, a news release from the city of Dunwoody said. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch were joined by State Farm representatives to cut the ribbon signifying the road’s opening on Jan. 12. State Farm paid for land, design and construction costs of the Dunwoody portion of the road. The company’s new regional hub with its 1.1 million square feet of office space is on land beside the road. The company managed the permitting and coordination needed for the road to cross Perimeter Creek. RangeWater completed the Sandy Springs segment as part of its apartment development, The Bishop, which is on the western end of the new road. Springwood Connector is expected to divert up to 8,000 vehicles per day from Hammond Drive. The new road includes bike lanes and sidewalks and is within walking distance to the Dunwoody MARTA Station. “Improving transportation connectivity doesn’t stop at a city’s borders,” Paul said. “Our cities have a history of partnership which adds value to commuters throughout the region.” “We’re excited to celebrate this great, collaborative effort involving two cities and two development teams,” Deutsch said. “The Springwood Connector provides an important new access point for those who live and work in the Perimeter.” “Today is a great example of the strength of the working relationship between State Farm and our local community” said Rich Fatzynytz, State Farm administrative services director. “We look forward to – when we can again – live, work and play here.” DUN
Arts & Entertainment | 17
Author Q & A Meet the mothers of three Civil Rights icons BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN
something they didn’t necessarily receive themselves.
What would you like people to take away from reading your book?
Religious leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and author James Baldwin have become enduring icons of the Civil Rights movement. But what about Alberta King, Louise Little and Berdis Baldwin -- the mothers who raised them? The rarely discussed influence of those women is the subject of Anna Malaika Tubbs’ new book “The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation.” A doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge, Tubbs is a sociologist, anthropologist and expert in multidisciplinary studies. Outside academia, she is a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant. Tubbs will appear in a virtual SPECIAL author talk at the Atlanta HistoAnna Malaika Tubbs. ry Center on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. Registration for the free discussion is available at AtlantaHistoryCenter. com.
I absolutely agree. They were trying to push the country generally to their ideals and a vision of what was possible, because they saw so clearly that it wasn’t true in the United States. They understood they had value and worth, that they and their children deserved respect and dignity, but each day they also saw examples of that being denied to them as well as to their children. They were constantly focused on their vision for the future, helping the world realize their own ability to see humanity in everybody. And so they commanded respect in their own households and it’s very clear that the sons knew how influential their mothers were. All three of the sons later spoke about how powerful and important their mothers were within those family units. Away from their personal connections, people were not paying them the honor and respect they were due.
The biggest thing is that we re-evaluate how we’re telling our stories and history so that it includes the people that are around all of us. So, less of this notion of unicorn figures who pop up out of nowhere and are messiah-like, as if they were just born with these inspiring ideas, but to see more realistically things that were part of generational movements. Then we get a better understanding of the continuance of the work, and of where we are as a nation, and the world. Beyond that, we are specifically focusing on the stories we are intentionally erasing, and these are just three examples. Again, the sons spoke about their mothers often, and if you go back through their works with that lens, you’re going to see the moms so much more clearly because the sons had no intention of erasing their mothers. It’s up to us historians to pay more attention and stop taking for granted the work that women have been doing on our behalf, especially Black women and Black mothers.
Why choose these women in particular for your book? There are so many women I could have chosen, but I wanted to highlight Black women’s stories and talk about Black mothers, so I chose these three because their sons are so often put in conversation together. When I entered my Ph.D. [program], I had just watched the “I Am Not Your Negro” documentary based on James Baldwin’s writings, in which he speaks about Malcolm X and MLK and of bearing witness to his friends’ work, and how he felt it was his job to speak the truth about what they were doing, what they were accomplishing for our country and our world, and from that point on I saw these three men as being in a constant conversation together. I felt their moms would add an incredible, beautiful layer to the story and help us understand how all three men approached their work so differently based on what they were taught in their own families. All three moms were born within six years of each other and the sons were born within five years of each other. That allowed me to have some really cool intersections in terms of their stories and their timelines, about what was happening nationally and internationally, and how it played out so differently in each of their lives based on their own access to resources, education, etcetera. It’s interesting that all three mothers taught their sons to command respect,
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BY COLLIN KELLEY Plans to hold summer camps for kids are, as one organizer put it, moving “full steam ahead” but with COVID-19 safety precautions still in place. While camps were cancelled or curtailed last year due to the pandemic, the vaccine and a better understanding of the safety precautions needed to hold camp sessions mean organizations can plan ahead. Registration is now open for most camp programs. Pace Academy in Buckhead will have a full slate of camps, according to Zach Slaney, the school’s director of auxiliary programs. “We are moving ahead at full steam with our programs for this summer,” Slaney said. “Pace will be offering athletic, academic, STEM, and specialty camp offerings for campers in grades K-8 for eight weeks between June 1 and July 30.” Registration opened in January at Pace and Slaney expects the slots to fill up quickly. Visit paceacademy. org. Similarly, Westminster in Buckhead will hold its
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summer camps with the “same COVID safety protocols in place that allowed us to safely host several of our day camps last summer,” according to the school’s communications assistant director Justin Abraham. “Some of those protocols include mask wearing for campers and counselors, temperature screening, scheduled handwashing times, social distancing, and extra cleaning and disinfecting of spaces and equipment throughout the day,” Abraham said. Along with day and sports camps featuring outdoor activities, there are a number of specialty camps being offered by Westminster including filmmaking, chess, coding, and even one for Dungeons & Dragons. Visit Westminster.net for a complete schedule and to register. In the City Camps will host summer sessions at two locations this year – Chabad Intown on the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail and at the Weber School in Sandy Springs – for kids in kindergarten through 8th grade. Spokesperson Tali Benjamin said In the City Camps is working with medical experts to be sure about COVID-19 precautions for the summer. “We ran a modified version of our camps safely for four weeks last summer, so we do have a lot of experience with that this year,” Benjamin said. Benjamin said as much outdoor programming as possible was being scheduled so that kids won’t be cooped up inside a closed space. She said partnering with Chabad Intown would give campers plenty of opportunities to be outside on the BeltLine. Some of the camp offerings include basketball, magic, art, soccer, archery, cooking and more. Visit inthecitycamps.org for more details. Budding actors can check out the Alliance Theatre’s series of in-person and virtual camps for all grade levels scheduled for spring and summer. Camps will be held not only at the Alliance’s home base of Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown, but in partnership with schools around the city. From performing on stage as part of a musical to working behind the scenes, there’s a camp for all interests and ages. Visit alliancetheatre.org for details.
20 | Arts & Entertainment
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2021 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival returns virtual and live
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BY COLLIN KELLEY The 2021 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) will present its lineup virtually and live with a three-night drive-in experience at the Home Depot Backyard adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Downtown. Set to take place Feb. 17-28, this year’s festival will screen 38 feature and 16 short films, including world and U.S. premieres. The film selection covers a range of genres, including documentaries “Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me” and “On Broadway” comedies like “Shiva Baby,” the LGBTQ+ feature “Kiss Me Kosher,” and the drama “Asia.” It’s a big adaptation for a festival that, in the pre-pandemic years, drew more than 40,000 to several theaters and venues, including the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. “In a year of firsts and unprecedented challenges, AJFF has worked tirelessly to reimagine the annual festival in a way that preserves the most cherished qualities of this annual celebration of community and the cinematic arts,” AJFF Executive Director Kenny Blank said in a press release. “Though the experience itself will be undeniably different, the power of these films to connect and inspire us is more deeply felt and appreciated than ever. Our hybrid edition embraces all of the opportunities that virtual affords us while continuing our commitment to bring audiences ‘together through film’ in new ways.” The pandemic itself is addressed in the film “Atlanta: The City Too Busy to Wait,” a documentary about the local Jewish community’s response to the crisis. The 11-acre Home Depot Backyard will be able to accommodate more that 200 vehicles nightly for social-distanced drive-in screenings on Feb.18, 20 and 21. The live shows kick off with AJFF’s Young Professionals Night, followed by two campy, kitschy Hollywood classics: Mel Brooks’ sci-fi spoof “Spaceballs” and the musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors.” Each drive-in pass can be purchased for $40 and accounts for parking for one car, regardless of how many people are in the vehicle. Food trucks will be on-site serving food for moviegoers to enjoy in their vehicles. For those watching from home, the lineup of films will be accessible via smart TV, home theater, tablet or mobile device. Requiring only a single ticket per film for each household, viewers will have a flexible 48-hour window to watch festival films at their convenience. General admission for virtual screenings is $16 per household (or $14 early bird pricing), and for special events, which include Opening and Closing Nights, admission is $36 per household. Film-lovers will also enjoy an expanded program of virtual Q&A conversations recorded with filmmakers, actors and other guest speakers. The “Virtual Lobby,” featuring a series of lunchtime Zoom sessions with facilitated discussion, will take a deeper dive into films on show during the festival. Ticket holders for the opening night screening of “Kiss Me Kosher” will receive a specially curated “Festival-In-A-Box” full of “tasty and cozy surprises.” Tickets went on sale in late January for members and will be available to the general public on Feb. 10. For tickets and a full lineup of films and events, visit AJFF.org.
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Community | 23
Design work begins on new Chamblee-Dunwoody Road bridge
Council expresses skepticism about hotel-to-apartments plan
Continued from page 1
Continued from page 1
“It’s a little bit of a moving deadline,” Smith said. “They were going to advance [the bridge project] ahead of the managed lanes. They’re still hoping to do that, but it’s a possibility it’s going to get put back into the overall bigger project. But as long as they’re continuing to try and advance this one forward, they really want to hear back from us in the next couple of months.” The city has partnered with the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs), and both have contracted with the consulting firm Kimley-Horn to help come up with bridge design features. The city will be responsible for enhancements to the Chamblee-Dunwoody bridge, while the PCIDs will be responsible for enhancements to two other bridges over I-285 on Perimeter Center Parkway and Ashford-Dunwoody Road. “The core of our task is to come up with a series of design features that can not only be applied to Chamblee-Dunwoody Road bridge, but also to each of
We’ve talked about a landscape buffer, It’s still up in the air, the expectation of who pays for that. MICHAEL SMITH PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR
the other bridges within the Perimeter Community Improvement District[s],” said Eric Bosman, vice president at Kimley-Horn. Kimley-Horn showed examples of enhancements that could be added to the Chamblee-Dunwoody bridge, such as barriers, retaining walls, lighting structures and landscaping. Several councilmembers had suggestions for aesthetics to be incorporated into the bridge’s design. Councilmember Tom Lambert mentioned that enhancing the bridge, which serves as an entryway into the community, could work in conjunction with Dunwoody’s gateway project. “These bridges just happen to be gateways into the city as well,” Lambert said. “It dovetails nicely with that program we’re looking to do. I would hope there DUN
would be some sort of coordination with the gateway project.” Lambert said he liked the idea of including natural landscaping in the design, as well as public art, a sentiment echoed by Councilmember Joe Seconder. A new city Art Commission will hold its first meeting Jan. 28. “I pose this question to our newly engaged public arts commission,” Seconder said. “Can we … ask them to provide their feedback on design preferences?” Bosman said Kimley-Horn could come back to a February council meeting with concepts for the council to review. Much of the conversation about bridge enhancements centered around budget constraints. While GDOT would cover the cost of rebuilding the Chamblee-Dunwoody bridge and the city is responsible for enhancements, there was some discussion over what was considered an enhancement and what was considered essential. Councilmember Stacey Harris asked if GDOT would cover a buffer between a multi use path and traffic lanes. “We’ve talked about a landscape buffer,” said Public Works Director Michael Smith. “It’s still up in the air, the expectation of who pays for that.” Mayor Lynn Deutsch expressed concern the PCIDs might have more resources available than the city, considering the Chamblee-Dunwoody bridge will be rebuilt while the two other bridges will only be refurbished. “I’m concerned about budget,” Deutsch said. “Our budget versus [the PCIDs] budget, because we may have some expenses [the PCIDs] is not going to have.” The PCIDs are two jointly operated groups of commercial property owners in Perimeter Center who tax themselves to pay for transportation, public safety and beautification projects. Ann Hanlon, executive director of the PCIDs, said their board has not yet spoken about the design or budget for their bridges. Deustch went on to say it would be difficult for the council to provide more guidance on the budget for the bridge because “we have no idea what money buys in this case.” She asked if it would be possible for Kimley-Horn to come back with concepts the council could visualize to decide what works both aesthetically and budget-wise. “Something along those lines might work best for us,” Deustch said. “Simultaneously working with the PCID[s] so we can make sure we’re kind of on the same page.” She said that she did not want the designs to be so different that they look “like you’ve transported yourself to a totally different place.”
the new structure were more different from the original property than expected. They then deferred any decision at their Jan. 25 meeting. “This was presented to us as, ‘Well, we’re just kind of swapping out a hotel for a residential component,’” Councilmember Tom Lambert said at the Jan. 11 meeting. “It appears to be significantly more than that. In scope, the footprint and design all seem to be very different.” Lambert pointed out some changes to the retail portion of the structure, including the lack of open spaces and smaller area. John DiGiovanni, a representative of property owner JSJ Perimeter LLC, said developers were forced to extend the residential side into the retail area when the project switched from a hotel to apartments. “In order to get the number of multifamily units that we have to get economically to make it work, we had to extend it,” DiGiovanni said. DiGiovanni stressed the development might look different when it’s actually built, depending on which retailers decide to come to the table. JSJ Perimeter LLC requested four landuse permits, including a request to increase the limit of impervious coverage for the development from 65% to 85%. Restrictions on impervious coverage are in place to reduce the amount of surfaces, such as concrete or pavement, that prevent the absorption of rainwater, causing damage to the environment. Before the council hearing, the Dunwoody Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning and all four land-use permits. But the City Council appeared more cautious, particularly about increasing the impervious coverage. The applicants pointed out that 86% impervious coverage was previously approved for the site in 2008. “With all due respect, I don’t necessarily concern myself with what was approved in 2008,” Lambert said. “I’m talking about 2021 here.” Laurel David, an attorney for JSJ Perimeter LLC, pointed out that a request to increase the limit for impervious coverage was also approved last year for the site. “Don’t forget, we are providing a public road to an adjoining property,” she said. “That, plus the extensive streetscape improvements that will be made, which will also be available to the public — which is of course all hardscape — should be taken into consideration when evaluating this special use permit.” Councilmember Joe Seconder also expressed concern over the request to increase impervious coverage and request-
ed the developer come back with plans to decrease that percentage “What can we do to limit [or] reduce the heat map, look at the reduction of that,” Seconder said. “And just increase green wherever you can, if it’s on the roof or wherever. If you could look at that, that would be greatly appreciated.” Some council members also expressed
With all due respect, I don’t necessarily concern myself with what was approved in 2008. I’m talking about 2021 here. TOM LAMBERT COUNCILMEMBER
concerns about the age-restricted nature of the development. Councilmember Stacey Harris asked how the restriction works if a 55-year-old person has a child or grandchild living with them. According to the federal Fair Housing Act, one of two conditions must be met for age-restricted housing that is not assisted living. Either all occupants must be over the age of 62, or 80% of the occupied units have to have someone over the age of 55 living in them. Those occupants could have a younger spouse, child or grandchild also living in the unit. The other 20% of occupied units can be filled with residents of any age. Lambert and other members of the council also expressed concern over the lack of architectural renderings in their packets and the wording of one of the Planning Commission’s conditions for approval. Condition 19 stated that the completed architectural drawing is to be submitted to the City Council for consideration, but Lambert worried that wouldn’t give the council the ability to approve or deny something that wasn’t to its liking. “Everything that we’ve talked about tonight is subject to change,” Lambert said. “All too often when we have these kinds of projects come up, the actual product that comes out of the earth is not always very close to what was presented to us. And I’m not comfortable approving something that I don’t know what it’s going to look like.” The proposal will be back in front of the City Council for a second hearing and possible vote in two weeks.
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