FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 10— NO. 4
Bowhunting in the ’burbs: Backyard deer-stalking draws fans and foes PAGE 18
► ‘Safest cities’ rankings don’t mean much, expert says PAGE 20
Hotel industry booms P 4-9
Parks Master Plan may take $67M bond, tax increase
Dancing with Daddy
BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
Blake Lyons and daughter McLean, 7, spend quality time together at the city’s annual Daddy Daughter Dance Feb. 10 at the Lynwood Park Community Center. More photos, page 22.►
AROUND TOWN A ‘family photographer’ for refugees
OUT & ABOUT CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH MUSIC, STORIES & LECTURE Pages 16-17
If citizens want the city to quickly build the improvements in the Parks Master Plan, they may need to approve a $67 million parks bond and a 25-year property tax increase to pay off the debt. The City Council originally approved a $28 million Parks Master Plan in 2016, but officials say now it will cost far more. In addition, a funding source for parks improvements was wiped out this year as a side effect of the deal for a new voter-approved DeKalb County special local option sales tax. The SPLOST was pitched as protecting homeowners with a property value freeze, but now those in Brookhaven could face a tax increase to make up for the park funding. The city’s total tax rate could rise as high as 3.86 mills, from 2.74 mills today. That’s higher than the 3.35 mills cap set by the city charter, but officials say the See PARKS on page 14
Arts center, affordability eyed for Buford Highway BY DYANA BAGBY firstname.lastname@example.org
I think movies that people actually saw and had a cultural impact should be honored. Which Academy Award nominated film should win the Oscar for Best Picture? See page 11
See COMMENTARY, page 10
A performing arts center, high-end condominiums and finding ways to include workforce and affordable housing in new developments are things City Councilmember Joe Gebbia would like to see on Buford Highway. The city can also use its leverage, likely through the Brookhaven Development Authority, to assemble and purchase property along the rapidly changing corridor to ensure certain kinds of development are inSee ARTS on page 15
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FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 10— NO. 4
$200K approved to begin process for new police station BY DYANA BAGBY email@example.com
The City Council voted Feb. 13 to approve spending $200,000 to initiate the process of building a $15 million police station and court building. The DeKalb County Special Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters in November will provide $15 million over six years for the public safety facility. “We have to build a new police facility,” Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman said after the council meeting. He said the $200,000 will be used to find an architectural firm to help design and find a location for the new building. The $200,000 is part of an amendment to the city’s 2018 budget and will be reimbursed to the city when it begins receiving SPLOST funds. Collections for the SPLOST begins April 1 and the city should begin receiving its allocation from DeKalb County by June. The Brookhaven Police Department currently rents a building at 2665 Buford Highway. The building is also shared by the city’s Municipal Court. “We really need it,” Chief Gary Yandura said. “We’re renting storage spaces in the city just to store evidence.” Yandura said he’d like the new facility to be located on Buford Highway because of its central location and easy access to the interstate and major roads to reach other areas of the city. The countywide SPLOST that increased the sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent is expected to bring in more than $47 million over six years to the city. The council agreed that $15 million would go toward public safety facilities and equipment; $14 million would go toward road pavement management; another $11.1 million would be used for transportation improvements; and $7 million would go to maintenance of existing capital assets.
New Municipal Court solicitors hired
Gregory Schwarz and Steven Chen are the new solicitors for Brookhaven Municipal Court, the city has announced. Both Schwarz and Chen have served as Assistant District Attorneys with DeKalb County, and have assisted nearby municipalities as fill-in city solicitors. Schwarz and Chen were hired following a request for proposals process. They will be paid $500 per session, not to exceed $4,000 per month, according to city officials. Brookhaven Municipal Court hears cases twice a week pertaining to violations of traffic laws, local ordinances and some state misdemeanors. The court is located at 2665 Buford Highway along with the Brookhaven Police Department. Schwarz graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in 1993, and while in law school completed various internships including stints with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Georgia and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Upon graduation, he joined the Clarke County District Attorney’s Office as lead trial attorney. In 2006, Schwarz joined the criminal defense firm of Ross and Pines, and later started his own firm of Schwarz Law Firm, LLC. Chen graduated from Georgia State University College of Law in 1998. While in school he completed an internship with the District Council of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Following graduation, Chen joined the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. He later started his private practice, the Chen Law Firm, LLC. –– Dyana Bagby
C ORREC TION
The story “Venues challenge Brookhaven’s new $100K liquor license fees” in the Feb. 2 issue incorrectly identified the location of Rush Lounge. It is located at 2715 Buford Highway and not in the Northeast Plaza shopping center.
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Methodist Dunwoody United Gil Yates, about to begin at for his classmate Coast Indians was making a beeline A class on Pacific strode into the room, Church when a man OK.” approached. “Shuffling’sbuddy, who would not front row, center. said, as the man his “No running!” Yates is a year older than all in good fun. Yates The teasing was age: 91. with Perimeter Adults but did share his classes this spring reveal his name, 175 students taking of whom The men are among most adults, senior (PALS). By Kathy Dean for Learning & Services continuing education the start. year of providing been members from PALS is in its 25th need for of Dunwoody, have Wethe hear takes care of it all and his wife, Dot, and this kind of are 60-plus. Yates rings especially the time: less is more. The to help other people, phrase true for older “People our age want made lifelong friends.” adults who are empty nests and Yates said. “We have facing are4 ready to Continued on page fellowship,” Dot of their enjoy the lives. Intown and north metro second half many comforta Atlanta offer ble options for them. “Baby boomers have spent much working and of their lives building said Dawn Anderson their wealth for retiremen t,” , Realtor, Dorsey “As retiremen Alston Realtors. t becomes more of a reality, they plan their transition begin to downsize. Ease to and affordability of life, proximity are certainly the goals of most downsizing common boomers.” The trend of continues to grow, 55+ active adult commun ities Anderson said. well qualified “Baby boomers buyers and know are looking for.” exactly what they are Kim Isaacs, aged Avalon in Alpharet 58, said that her townhom e in ta gives her everything they and her husband want. “We had home in Johns lived in our previous Creek for 19 years. left for college, When our last we child and really didn’t decided that we wanted a change need a large house of us,” she said. for just the two
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4 | Perimeter Business
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Winter 2018 | Hotel Industry Booms
Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities
Why hotels are often in the mix of local mixed-use projects BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
An office tower project planned next door to the Dunwoody MARTA Station finally moved along when it added a 10-story hotel to its blueprints — one of three such hotels in mixed-use projects proposed last year around Perimeter Mall. Meanwhile, Buckhead’s Phipps Plaza mall announced it was replacing a classic anchor store, Belk’s, with a hotel and an office tower. And hotels seem to show up in every major mixed-use plan, from Sandy Springs’ Pill Hill to Dunwoody’s High Street. Why are hotels so often in the mix of the mixed-use development trend? Financing, marketing, customer satisfaction — lots of reasons, in fact, says Scott Smith, managing director of Buckhead-based CBRE Hotels’ Consulting, a division of the national commercial real estate services and investment firm. “It makes [a project] more economically viable, as well as makes it more attractive,” Smith said of a hotel component. “It provides a synergy that is attractive to the primary developer and, most importantly, to users who are going to pay a premium rate.” The concept is not new — downtown Atlanta was transformed in the 1970s by John Portman’s Peachtree Center, a sprawling mixed-use complex including several hotels. But hotels do play a new role in serving today’s “live-work-play” trend by providing social events and other planned activities. “There always has been, historically, that kind of development. What’s new is the programming,” Smith said. Nationwide, a hotel-building boom is slowing and never quite reached the heights of the last cycle, which ended about 10 years ago with the Great Recession, according to Ali Hoyt, senior director for consulting and analytics at STR, a firm that compiles hotel business data. “We’re actually starting to see the first slowing or decline in the number of rooms under development,” Hoyt said. “In terms of hotel development, it’s certainly true that development has been slower than in other cycles.” But if it seems like hotels are popping up everywhere, that’s because they are. The metro Atlanta market has about 3,300 hotel rooms under construction, making it Number 8 in the nation by number of rooms, Hoyt said. The top 10: New York City; Dallas; Nashville, Tenn.; Los Angeles; Houston; Denver; Seattle; Atlanta; Orlando, Fla.; and Boston. Most of Atlanta’s growth is centered downtown or in suburbs farther north and
An illustration of Trammell Crow Company’s proposed office tower with a hotel in the rear planned next to the Dunwoody MARTA Station on Hammond Drive.
south, Hoyt said. But projects in the pipeline will bring some of that construction soon to Perimeter Center and Buckhead. The metro Atlanta market currently has about 96,600 rooms and average annual occupancy rates that have hovered in the 68 to 70 percent range since 2014, according to STR data. That makes for a $2.6 billion industry. When hotels are built within a mixed-use project, they are typically not an anchor, but rather a bonus, said Smith. One example is an Omni Hotel that opened last month as part of the mixed-use development around the Atlanta Braves’ new SunTrust Park in Cobb County. The hotel opened months after the Braves’ debut season at the ballpark and wasn’t there to drive the business, but can boost it now that it is in the mix. Paired with an office building, Smith said, “The hotel component provides amenities and services to the office workers.” There can be cost savings, too, as all of the buildings can share such common facilities as a parking garage, with the different uses takContinued on page 9
Concierges work to be the tourists’ tourist BY DYANA BAGBY Janice Dempsey likes to think her job includes being a tourist in her own city. As a concierge for the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta in Buckhead, one of her tasks is setting up itineraries for visitors who want a real Atlanta experience during their stay. Many of the places, events and restaurants she recommends are places she visits herself to see the venue for herself, taste the flavors of the menu and gauge the experience to determine if it is more fitting for a family with small children or a solo traveler. “You can’t just sit at a desk and look online. We’re not just reservation makers,” Dempsey said of the concierge title. “I go online and look and then I go
myself,” Dempsey said. “I go to SunTrust Park, the High Museum, the Atlanta Symphony ... and you look around and while you are enjoying the venues you are also learning about them,” she said. Visiting a location after renovations, visiting a restaurant during different seasons, taking different modes of transportation to a venue, taking a child along to an event, determining actual distance to walk (a “short stroll” as described online could actually be a six-mile hike, for example) — these are all part of the learning experiences Dempsey and other concierges put into their work to ensure they can give guests the best information. “We have the ability to give knowledge,” she said.
That knowledge is something guests appreciate and are willing to pay for at highend hotels that include concierge services. And despite the rise in popularity of Airbnb, an online marketplace which lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms, many people still want the personal service Dempsey and others in her line of work provide. “People are still looking for luxury and want to be pampered and have someone take care of them,” she said. Continued on page 6
Janice Dempsey, a concierge at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta in Buckhead, is the new president of the Concierge Society of Atlanta.
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 4
Perimeter Business | 5
Buckhead’s school-to-work hotel career pipeline
BY EVELYN ANDREWS email@example.com
Anucha Wood works until 5 p.m. at a Buckhead hotel, his shift ending a halfhour before his classes in the graduate hospitality program at Georgia State University begin. He always makes it on time to class, however, because the program’s classes are held in the Tower Place building, a short walk from his human resources job at the Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta hotel. With GSU’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality headquartered in Buckhead and its wealth of hotels, it’s a natural schoolto-job pipeline for people seeking careers in the hotel industry. “I have no idea how I would get a job at Intercontinental without the program,” said Wood, who moved to Atlanta from Thailand in August last year to get a graduate degree in hospitality in the hope of furthering his career back home. Debby Cannon, the director of the School of Hospitality, said the location allows professors to bring in industry professionals frequently and set their students up for internships in neighboring hotels. “We have wonderful partnerships with many of the top managers [who] come lecture,” Cannon said. Along with the Intercontinental, Tower Place’s hotel neighbors include the JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead; the W Atlanta Buckhead; the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead; and the Westin Buckhead Atlanta. Stacy McClouse, a former student, got her start in the hotel industry in Buckhead. She now works at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center in Cobb County. She said GSU’s program isn’t focused on reading about working in the hotel industry, but having their students experience it firsthand.
“Their focus wasn’t on textbooks. It was to send you out to meet people,” she said. She said Buckhead is a “phenomenal place” to learn the industry because of the amount of hotels. “There’s a lot of flagship properties and a wide variety of brands,” said McClouse. A class assignment tasked her with interviewing someone she admired in the industry. One of those people she interviewed was the then-general manager of The W Atlanta in Buckhead. The manager surprised McClouse with an interview of her at the end of their discussion, and McClouse got the job, where she soon got experience in almost every part of the hotel. “I was hired for the front desk, but I restocked minibars, did room service and answered phones. I did almost everything outside of engineering,” she said. “If you work at a small hotel, you have to know how to do everything.” GSU is one of the few universities that has its hospitality program in its business school, she said. Students learn all
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the core business skills, but also learn hotel management and event planning, McClouse said. The school teaches students how to cater to millennials and people from other cultures, Cannon said. They are taught how to make service flexible to cultural and generational preferences, such as that millennials want to have a memorable experience at a hotel, she said. “It’s about making some in their twenties as happy as someone in their seventies,” she said. The hotel industry is a test of flexibility for its employees. Both McClouse and Wood have experienced what it is like to work in an industry that truly never closes for business, even when most of the employees can’t make it to work in inclement Continued on page 7
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Concierges work to be the tourists’ tourist Continued from page 4
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Dempsey started her career first as a flight attendant for Trans World Airlines (TWA). When it was purchased in 2001 by American Airlines, she opted for early retirement. While at TWA, she traveled the world and stayed at many different hotels. The concierge at those hotels was always someone she relied on for the best information on what to do, where to go. “I didn’t go to the hotel and stay in the room. I explored and was a big traveler on my own, and still am,” she said. “And it was always the concierge who ... I would ask where to go from here, that always knew what was going on locally.” Going from flight attendant to the hospitality industry was a natural fit for her, said Dempsey, who began working at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta five years ago. This year she became president of the Concierge Society of Atlanta, which boasts on its website, “Supporting the best Atlanta has to offer, one guest at a time.” She is also one of only six concierges from Georgia who are members of the exclusive Les Clefs d’Or USA (pro-
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nounced “lay clay door,” it translates as “the keys of gold”), the only international association for hotel concierges. The crossed gold key pins she wears on her collar signify that she is a member of the association whose members are only invited following a rigorous application process, numerous recommendations as well as written and oral exams. These associations give Dempsey access to other concierges throughout the world. For example, when guests at her hotel were traveling to Paris and looking for a special petit fours, Dempsey was able to call a colleague in France to ensure their petits fours were ready when they arrived. When a guest from Canada calls and asks Dempsey to get tickets to the Atlanta Braves for him and his grandson, she makes it happen. When an elderly guest needs colostomy supplies, she has made that happen, too. If a guest breaks a tooth and needs an emergency dentist, consider the problem solved. Recently, a guest tore a pocket in his pants. Dempsey sewed it up herself. “We make the impossible possible,” she said. But don’t expect her exploits to be as dramatic as M. Gustave, the infamous concierge from the Wes Anderson movie, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” “He was pretty cool in a silly way,” she said with a chuckle. During last year’s solar eclipse, several guests booked rooms at the Mandarin Oriental to witness the historic event. But they didn’t realize they were staying in a city filled with history itself, Dempsey said. She often recommends guests visit the Atlanta History Center, the King Center and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Other top spots for guests to visit include the Georgia Aquarium and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, she said. “Atlanta is a modern Southern city that still keeps its Southern charm,” she said. “You have to have a passion,” to be a concierge, Dempsey added. That includes pride in yourself, pride in your hotel and pride in how your city is represented. And concierges must also listen to their guests, study their body language, ask them questions to ensure they can provide them a memorable stay. “You have to always be willing to learn,” she said. “You have to be sincere. You have to have knowledge — about attractions, restaurants, locations, events, concerts, sporting events, the times places open, when the Braves are playing. “You have to be a tourist in your own city,” she said.
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 4
Perimeter Business | 7
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Buckhead’s hotel career pipeline Continued from page 5
hotel during major snowstorms in 2014
weather. Wood works in the human resources department, where he helps with benefits, payroll and employee questions. But because not enough employees could come in during the snowstorm in December 2017, he was temporarily on the same assignment he once had at his hotel job in Thailand — the restaurant. “People are staying here all the time, so we couldn’t just close the restaurant,” he said. McClouse said she was trapped in the
and 2017, but she said it was a unique experience that brought her team closer. Several people who had been able to make it to work camped out in one room and slept in shifts. They bought wine and microwave dinners at a corner store and watched movies when they weren’t on duty, she said.
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Hotels by the room numbers
Reporter Newspapers communities boast 65 hotels with a combined total of nearly 12,000 rooms, serving a wide variety of business travelers, tourists, events and more. Here are the numbers for specific cities and neighborhoods.
11 hotels 1,617 rooms
27 hotels 5,776 rooms
7 hotels 1,754 rooms
20 hotels 2,844 rooms
Sources: Buckhead Coalition, Discover DeKalb, Dunwoody Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism, Smith Travel Research.
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Perimeter Business | 9
Why hotels are often in the mix of local mixed-use projects Continued from page 4 ing advantage of them at different times of day. A hotel brand is also a way to add a familiar, respected name to the larger project, Smith said. That quality development kind of denotes the overall quality of office and retail space as well,” he said. In the long SIMON PROPERTIES term, hotels ofAn illustration of the Nobu Hotel and restaurant ten provide decoming to Phipps Plaza mall. velopers with the flexibility of converting the building into apartments or “Upper midscale” and “upscale” are incondominiums later in their lifespan or dustry jargon referring to average daiduring an economic shift. Smith said that ly room rates that fall on a spectrum of when the extended-stay hotel concept “economy” to “luxury.” was pioneered about 25 years ago, many A “limited-service” hotel means fewcompanies built the units with individuer amenities, such as having a bar rather ally metered utilities so they could make than a full restaurant; full-service means that flip if it didn’t work out. a full slate of such amenities as restauPartnering with a mixed-use developrants, fitness centers and event spaces. er can help hotels in today’s lending enIn a mixed-use complex, hotel guests can vironment and rising construction costs, get such amenities from other nearby Smith said. businesses. The hotel won’t get direct rev“It’s very difficult to build a standenue, but it also doesn’t have the expense alone, full-service hotel without public of building and maintaining them. assistance,” he said. While the national hotel boom may be Indeed, most of new hotel developcooling, the office/hotel combo in particment — 72 percent nationwide and 75 ular will remain popular, Smith said. percent in metro Atlanta — consists of “I think you’ll continue to see more of limited-service hotels of “upper midthat,” he said. scale” and “upscale” brands, Hoyt said.
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Community Survey / Picking the Best Picture winner isn’t easy Deciding which of nine Best Picture nominees should take home this year’s Oscar on March 4 was no easy ask for respondents to the latest Reporter Newspapers survey. And that may be a good sign for the Academy Awards, whose presenters have attempted to make the Oscars more diverse. Respondents still had plenty of suggestions for ways the Oscars could better honor their favorite films and filmmakers. “Dunkirk,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Get Out” topped the list of Best Picture picks from the 200 respondents to the unscientific cellphone survey, conducted in Reporter and Atlanta INtown communities via 1Q.com. Some respondents said the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did a good job of selecting Best Picture nominees. Others said they should nominate more often in such genres as action films and comedies. Some respondents suggested an element of popular voting. “I think the Academy has lost touch with what viewers find worthy. [It] would be interesting if they let average Americans weigh in on who should win,” said a 46-yearold Atlanta woman. If the Academy is anything like the survey respondents, its members will make a close call on Best Picture. For survey respondents, it was essentially a tie between three films: the true-story World War II movie “Dunkirk”; “Three Billboards,” in which a woman challenges local authorities for not solving her daughter’s murder; and “Get Out,” a racially charged horror mystery. Filling out the field were “Darkest Hour,” “Lady Bird,” “The Post,” “The Shape of Water,” “Call Me by Your Name” and “Phantom Thread,” which acclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis has said will be his last film. The Oscar nominees and winners are selected by a relatively small, elite, invitation-only group whose tastes have been criticized over the years as not representing all movies and audienc-
es. Several years ago, the Academy ended a six-decade practice of nominating only five films for Best Picture and moved to today’s longer, flexible slate to put more types of films in the running. A 2016 controversy over the Academy’s overwhelmingly older, white male membership led to a massive effort to diversify its ranks and the films it recognizes. Some survey respondents said the Academy has room for improvement on both counts. “They need to recognize the artistry and production value of sci-fi,” a 48-year-old Sandy Springs woman commented. “Not every movie that wins needs to be about a serious topic.” “I think breaking down the categories similar to the Golden Globes is a better way to honor multiple movies,” said a 41-yearold DeKalb County man who likes historical dramas and action/adventure films. “I love movies with strong female leads and true tales of feminist heroism. I also love to see an ethnically diverse talent pool,” said a 28-yearold Atlanta woman. “I would like to see the Academy recognize women and minorities with more regularity.” Others – especially fans of dramas – said the Oscar nominations are solid. “The awards shows seem to do a good job of honoring these. In fact I usually find out about good dramas from the ceremony even if the movies aren’t showing near me,” said a 51-year-old Atlanta woman. Some respondents love movies, but aren’t interested in the political moments that often arise on the Oscars broadcast itself. “I like movies that cause me to think, both during and after,” said a 51-year-old Atlanta man. But, he added, “I place zero emphasis on awards shows such as the Academy Awards. They exist primarily to generate revenue for the owners and have become platforms for celebrities to espouse their personal opinions about the world, no matter how biased and even hypocritical they may be.” Many others are ready to sit back, root for a favorite and see who wins.
Here’s what some respondents had to say I like comedies and drama. I also like films featuring all African American casts. The Academy Awards could be more inclusive of minorities. – 39-year-old DeKalb County woman
belle,” “Insidious” and many more. They should give a scary movie awards for those who are fans of it. – 18-year-o ld woman in north Buckhead/Sandy Springs
The Academy needs to get with the times and let the viewers choose the winners instead of allowing only the Academy members to choose the winners. – 50-year-old Buckhead man I like true stories. Dark [and] sad doesn’t bother me. Comedies are not my thing. I think the Academy Award already honors those. It’s definitely not about silly blockbusters. – 53-year-old Sandy Springs woman I like scary movies such as “Anna-
I really like original-content movies. I am tired of superheroes and reboots. The Academy could do more to honor them by highlighting more of the crew and writing talent who actually create the films. – 32-year-old Atlanta man I love action movies, and often the acting in them is not credited - Heath Ledger’s the Joker in “The Dark Knight” is one of the only superhero acting roles
credited with an Oscar. Yes, these movies win special affects awards or soundtrack awards, but I believe the acting should be more focused on as these movies become more and more complex. – 18-year-old woman in north Buckhead/Sandy Springs Give a voice to more independent films and documentaries by giving them a prominent position in the awards. – 51-year-old Atlanta woman I think movies that people actually saw and had a cultural impact should be honored. – 29-year-old Atlanta man
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 10— NO. 4
Commentary | 11
Joe Earle is editor-at-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A ‘family photographer’ for refugees When Lauren Hutson was little, she enjoyed watching her grandfather take their family’s photos. He was their Family Photographer, “the historian of our family,” Lauren’s mom recalled recently. “She was always amazed.” Lauren decided that someday she wanted to do that, too. When she was in the sixth grade, her parents bought a Canon Rebel that was supposed to be a “family camera” shared by everyone. That didn’t happen. “She took it over. It was a ‘family camera’ that no one else in the family touched,” her mother, Lisa Hutson, remembered with a smile. Lauren loved taking pictures. She took photos of her family at home and carried the camera to school and took photos of her friends. She had been introverted, she said, but after she transferred to St. Pius X Catholic School in the eighth grade, taking portraits of other students allowed her to open up. The camera let her talk to them. “Making pictures, what I learned is that even the most popular people I knew were insecure,” Lauren said. “I saw this as vulnerability. It opened me up to the idea that everybody goes through these things.”
She also could see how important photographs are to the people they depict. She tried hard to let her subjects present themselves as they wanted to be seen. “Middle school girls are the most insecure people on the planet,” she said. “Seeing they were excited [by the portraits she took of them], that was such a good feeling for me. It makes my whole day when they look at these things and they love them.” Lauren’s dad is a doctor. A couple of years back, one of his co-workers volunteered to help an African refugee family settle in Clarkston, a community in central DeKalb County where many refugees live. The refugees had no family photos; they’d been left behind when they fled their home country. Lauren agreed to take new photos for them. “When I got [to Clarkston] for the first time, everything changed,” she said. Lauren hadn’t known what to expect. She was a 15-year-old, blond suburbanite. “I had really based my cultural experience on my little suburban bubble in Atlanta,” she said. The people she met to photograph that day were quite different from her. They were black, had been uprooted from homes
on another continent, and had very little best face to the world, even when you’re to call their own. But they welcomed her starting over in a strange new country. Perto their home. “I was blown away,” Lauren haps especially then. “People,” Lauren said, said. “The entire fami“want to be acknowlly I was taking pictures edged and listened to.” of, they were so kind.” Lauren figures The refugee comshe’s photographed 40 munity lived in a difto 50 refugee families ferent world than she and has delivered 150 did. “It was a kind of to 200 framed photos culture shock,” she to them over the past said. “I was like, ‘This is several years. The phoin Atlanta and I didn’t tos are her gifts. She know anything about set up a fund to deJOE EARLE it?’ ” fray the cost of printLauren Hutson stands alongside some of her photos hanging on the She wanted to help ing and framing the walls of a preschool in Clarkston. them. She decided to pictures. To celebrate do what she knew how to do. She offered to her recent 18th birthday, she asked to have take photos of their families. “It’s hard to asa fundraiser instead of a party. similate into a new culture … What if I could Lauren’s photos of the preschool’s stugive them family pictures to give them a dents fill its walls. “She has a big heart,” Wilsense of belonging in this country?” liams said. With help from April Williams, director With the contributions raised during of Early Learning Scholars 2, a Clarkston her birthday fundraiser, Lauren plans to preschool with a large percentage of refhead back to Clarkston to take more phougee children among its students, Lauren tos. She thinks it’s important work, for the put out the word in the local community families and for her. They get a record of that people who wanted new family pictheir family. She gets to talk to them. tures could show up on a Saturday to have “I have a theory that pictures are taken their photos taken. “The families dressed up on both sides of the camera,” she said. “In in their best outfits,” she recalled. formal [portrait] situations, they open up to Lauren returned to Clarkston for more you. I am touched every time I make a picphoto shoots. Each time, more refugee famture for one of these families. My incentive ilies showed up. She’s become the families’ to take pictures just builds and builds and photographer. She thinks it’s important to builds.” have an image of yourself that shows your
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12 | Community
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Four Buford Highway venues are denied alcohol licenses, may head to court BY DYANA BAGBY AND JOHN RUCH Four Buford Highway venues may take the city to court after their alcohol license renewal denials were upheld by the Alcohol Board Feb. 12. Rush Lounge, Medusa Restaurant & Lounge, XS Restaurant & Lounge and Josephine Lounge were told by the city in January their licenses would not be renewed for 2018. They appealed to the Alcohol Board, which held two hearings before voting to uphold the denials. Under the revised alcohol ordinance approved by the City Council in November 2017, the four venues are classified as “entertainment venues” — meaning they have either a DJ, dance floor or stage — and are now required to pay a $50,000 liquor license fee to sell distilled spirits for consumption on premises and $50,000 to sell beer and wine for consumption on premises. The city says the high fees are needed to pay for police coverage to these venues due to high numbers of police calls. The city’s new alcohol ordinance also rolled back last call from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m. as the city cracks down on what it sees as troublesome businesses in the city. The earlier last call begins April 10. Alan Begner, attorney for Rush Lounge, said in an interview he will appeal the Alcohol Board’s decision to DeKalb Superior Court within 30 days as allowed by law. The city says it will expect Rush Lounge and the other venues, should they also appeal, to pay the $100,000 fee during the appeals process. Cary Wiggins, attorney for the other three venues, could not be reached for comment by press time. During arguments before the Alcohol Board on Jan. 30 and Feb. 8, Wiggins implied he had a basis for a federal constitutional violation lawsuit based on the First Amendment and equal protection. “If they appeal to [DeKalb] Superior Court, the city contends that payment of the license fee into the registry of the court is required in order to continue business as usual during the appeal,” spokesperson Burke Brennan said. “If they do not pay into the registry after being ordered by court to do so, then we take the position that the board’s order is immediately enforceable,” he said. “That does not mean the clubs have to close their doors. It means that they cannot serve alcohol.” “We’re going to appeal [to DeKalb Superior Court] and they’ll fight the appeals process because there’s a lot at stake for them to try to uphold their new ordinance,” Begner said. Begner’s main argument against the city’s new $100,000 liquor license fee is that he says state law does not allow cities or counties to charge more than $5,000 for a liquor license. “A city in Georgia has never charged that much before. I don’t know any city that has tried this,” he said. “This is not an attempt to regulate businesses, this is an attempt to put them out of business.” In the Feb. 8 hearing, Wiggins hammered on the city’s decision to include in its ordinance that a venue with a disc jockey is considered an “entertainment venue” and required to pay $100,000 to serve beer, wine and liquor. “The elephant in the room tonight is the DJ thing,” Wiggins said, suggesting the city’s ordinance was illegal because it “would allow a heavy metal band to play at Outback or Applebee’s,” but penalizes the hiring of a DJ. He called the city’s focus on a DJ a “virulent form of speech restraint and speech regulation.” He also ticked off the names of several other venues in the city that have DJ booths but were not required to pay the new $100,000 liquor license fee. “The city knows that other businesses have the same format … and yet they’ve been renewed and my guys are being punished,” Wiggins said. City Attorney Chris Balch said because other businesses may be getting away with having a DJ without paying the $100,000 liquor license fee does not mean the city is violating anyone’s constitutional rights.
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“Will the city look at other venues Mr. Wiggins has mentioned and see if we made a mistake? Of course we will,” Balch said at the Feb. 8 hearing. But even if others get away with having a DJ without paying the new liquor license fees doesn’t mean Wiggins’ clients can, he said. Linda Nabors, the city’s Finance Director, testified Feb. 8 that her decision to not renew the liquor license for XS Ultra Lounge was in part because they had not paid their excise taxes in a timely manner. She also decided to do so because Wiggins attached a letter with each of his clients’ liquor license renewals objecting to the new alcohol ordinance. Wiggins said her decision being based on his complaint letter could be “First Amendment retaliation.” Wiggins at both hearings also questioned Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman’s for-
Cary Wiggins, an attorney for XS Restaurant & Lounge and Josephine Lounge, questions a witness at the Feb. 8 Alcohol Board hearing.
mula for coming up with the $100,000 figure. Chapman explained Jan. 30 he and Balch derived the figure by using the city’s current business model with the Pink Pony, a sexually oriented business with nude dancing and alcohol. In 2014, the Pink Pony agreed to a legal settlement to pay the police department $225,000 a year for six years to cover public safety costs, to reimburse the city for its legal fees, to donate land along Peachtree Creek for a city park and to contribute up to $75,000 for that park. The settlement followed a lengthy legal battle with the city as it tried to close the strip club down shortly after incorporation five years ago. The Pink Pony is also slated to close in Brookhaven in 2020 as part of the settlement. Chapman said the high number of police calls were also used to determine the new fee. Wiggins introduced into evidence on Feb. 8 a memo from Chapman and City Manager Christian Sigman to the City Council about the fee-setting. Chapman agreed when Wiggins said that the memo said, “the first idea was to impose a tax” rather than the $100,000 licensing fee. But taxes have to be citywide and Chapman said the tax idea was “not practical.” Wiggins pressed Chapman about the police incident numbers used to justify the $100,000 fee. Apparently the police department submitted to Chapman two different analysis documents. One stated that it omitted all 65 package stores, any businesses that had since closed, and all hotels/motels, leaving only 69 alcohol-selling businesses to be ranked. But another list had no such disclaimer and Chapman suggested it was compiled based on all alcohol-selling businesses. Alcohol Board member Kris Sokolowski asked Chapman whether the licensing fee would be cut in half if the police incident numbers were cut in half. Chapman said yes and that the fee is “part of a program to reduce crime in the city of Brookhaven.” The number could be lowered, or “maybe we’d say we didn’t charge ’em enough and we need to bump it up to two [hundred thousand] and a quarter.” Balch told the Alcohol Board, “Ordinarily, I’d tell the board, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but sometimes there’s just a lot of smoke.” The venues lied under oath when they filled out their liquor license renewals and said they did not have a DJ, Balch said. “And somehow, in the face of all their admissions, the city is supposed to somehow turn a blind eye and let them flaunt all our rules. Not on my watch,” he said. “It’s not too much to ask that when we give the privilege to a business to sell alcohol in this community that they don’t lie to us, they don’t make things up to try to get over, to try to game the system,” he said. Wiggins said the $100,000 fee is a “death sentence” and the fee “makes absolutely no sense,” based on a wealthy strip club’s settlement, he said. BK
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 10— NO. 4
Community Briefs C ITY A DDS $ 180K TO P EA C H T R EE CREEK GREEN WAY DESIG N CO NTR ACT
The Brookhaven City Council approved Feb. 13 a $180,000 amendment to its contract with the PATH Foundation for design and engineering of the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The city hired PATH Foundation last year for $325,000 to provide design and engineering work for the first mile of the Greenway. But since that time, the project has changed somewhat, necessitating the need for more money, according to a memo from the city manager’s office to the council. “PATH Foundation delivered 100 percent documents, per the agreement, in January of 2018. Since delivery of documents, the boundaries of Phase I have been extended due to the recent donation of the Salvation Army parcel and the city’s recent acquisition of the parcel at 2036 North Druid Hills Road,” the memo states. “Additionally, status changes on property acquisition necessitate a realignment of the trail as engineered,” according to the memo. The additional $180,000 is needed to secure services for engineering and design for the trail extension, trail realignment, parcel acquisition support, and other services as determined necessary, the memo states. The Salvation Army donated in January two acres of its property located on the Northeast Expressway to the city to use as a trailhead and plaza area for the Greenway. Also in January, the city paid $650,000 for 1.3 acres at 2036 North Druid Hills Road that will be used for an entrance to the planned Greenway. The city is also embroiled in a heated eminent domain battle for 19 acres of undeveloped land on Briarwood Road.
PL A N N I N G C OMMI SSI ON OKS CHANG ES N EED ED TO L I F T Z ON IN G MORATO R IU M
The Planning Commission Feb. 7 approved recommending changes to the city’s zoning ordinance to ensure approved conditions and variances from DeKalb County are now included. A technical glitch apparently occurred when the city approved DeKalb’s zoning codes when the city incorporated five years ago. The City Council voted last month to institute a month-long zoning and development moratorium. “The zoning code did not carry over variances and preexisting conditions,” Balch told the Planning Commission Feb. 7. “The better part of valor is to protect” the residents and therefore the amendment to the code is needed, he said. The amendment does not affect the revised Brookhaven-Peachtree Overlay that was recently approved, he said. The amended zoning ordinance will now go to the full City Council Feb. 27 when the ordinance is expected to be approved, the technical flaws fixed and the moratorium is expected to be lifted. The gap in the zoning code was discovered as the city prepares to go to trial as a defendant Feb. 28 in what is known as the Connolly lawsuit, Balch said. Steve Pepmiller, who lives on Caldwell Road, sued the city in DeKalb Superior Court on Feb. 23, 2017, just a month after the council voted to rezone to PC-2, pedestrian community, the nearly four acres on Dresden Drive in the Brookhaven-Peachtree Overlay District near the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station and where the DeKalb tag office is currently located. Pepmiller alleges the city did not follow legal zoning procedure. Connolly Realty and Investment development firm got the council’s approval to build “Dresden Village,” a 5-story complex with 169 apartments and retail shops on the ground floor despite considerable backlash from residents living in the surrounding neighborhoods. The development would include a six-level parking deck, seven for-sale townhouses facing Caldwell Road and is supposed to also include the Dixie Moon restaurant on Caldwell Road. In other action, the Planning Commission also recommended approval to authorize the city manager to correct “scrivener’s errors” in the zoning ordinance. Such errors would include misspellings or punctuation errors, Balch explained, and would not change the intent of any policy and legislation approved by the council. By giving the city manager the authority to correct typographical errors, the City Council would not be required to approve again an ordinance if, for example, a comma was found to be out of place in an approved ordinance, Balch said. “There is constant debate within staff and the cabinet of where commas belong … we try to make sure the punctuation … carries out the intent of the council,” he said. “There is no hidden agenda here,” he added. Any changes made by the city manager would not change the intent of the council’s decisions, Balch added.
Community | 13 M U SIC ACTS ANNO U NC ED FO R C HER RY B LO S S O M FES T IVA L
Several music acts for the Cherry Blossom Festival at Blackburn Park on March 24-25 have been announced with still more acts to be named. Upcoming group Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones will play Saturday, March 24, and country music artists Craig Morgan and Keith Anderson will headline the Saturday evening lineup.
Top, from left, Craig Morgan, Hannah Wicklund, Keith Anderson. Bottom, Transviolet.
On Sunday, March 25, the group Transviolet will be performing. City officials say more acts are still to be announced. Morgan, a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2008, is also a TV personality and Army veteran. He announced last month that a docu-series about his family, “Morgan Family Strong,” will air on UP TV this spring and will be about his family’s farming business. Morgan’s hit songs include “Bonfire,” “Almost Home,” “Redneck Yacht Club” and “That’s What I Love About Sunday.” Keith Anderson’s top hits include “Pickin’ Wildflowers,” “Every Time I Hear Your Name,” “I Still Miss You” and “Sunday Morning in America.” He’s also been named one of People Magazine’s “50 Hottest Bachelors” and Men’s Fitness Magazine’s “Ultimate Country Star.” Rock band Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones are fronted by a 20-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter known for her bluesy guitar stylings. Transviolet is an LA-based quartet and has appeared on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and the “Today Show.” They’ve played the festival circuit including SXSW, Governor’s Ball, Firefly, Read and Leeds and Great Escape. The Brookhaven Cherry Blossom festival is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. Blackburn Park is at 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Admission to the festival is free. For more information about the 2018 Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival, visit www. brookcherryfest.org.
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14 | Community
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Parks Master Plan may take $67M bond, tax increase Continued from page 1 cap is not violated because the law allows taxes related to bond debt to be levied separately. The debt-related millage would decrease over the years. The parks bond idea was floated by the City Council and administrative staff at the council’s Feb. 3 retreat at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. No decisions were made, but council members agreed to continue discussing the idea at future meetings. A vote could come as soon as the November ballot. “Currently, there is no funding source to get the Parks Master Plans completed,” Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman said in an interview. “The only way to pay for all of this is to find an alternative funding source. If we pay as we go, there is a very low likelihood of the Parks Master Plan ever being completed.” Maintaining and improving the city’s parks were major reasons Brookhaven broke off from DeKalb County to become its own city. “Parks” is one of the popular “three Ps” evoked in recent cityhood movements — parks, police and paving. Two years ago, the city finished a lengthy Parks Master Plan pro-
cess conducted with public input. The funding proposal involves a roughly $67 million general obligation bond to be paid off over 25 years and an increase in property taxes of about $6 a month per $100,000 taxable value for the same 25 years. Rising construction costs, inflation and other factors over time will only add to the costs of fulfilling the city’s promise to improve its parks, officials say. A parks bond and property tax increase could mean all parks improvements and new amenities could be completed within three years, according to Chapman. “These are sort of diverging concerns,” Chapman said. “Do [residents] want parks or do they want low taxes? By financing the parks, the people who are getting the benefit of the parks will be those paying for it.” The $6 per month number translates to about $72 a year increase in property taxes for most Brookhaven homeowners, Chapman said. The tax rate would gradually decrease over the time of the bond, he added. It would start at 1.12 mills in 2020, then fall to 0.96 in 2021 and 0.91 in 2022, according to preliminary estimates. Chapman explained to council
members at the retreat that the recent approval of the DeKalb special local option sales tax (SPLOST) to raise the sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent dedicates no money toward the city’s Parks Master Plan. The bulk of the city’s expected $47 million SPLOST funds over six years are dedicated for transportation improvements and road paving. The SPLOST also eliminated HOST revenue that brought in $2.5 million each year to the city that could be used for the Parks Master Plan. The HOST funds were generated from 1 percent of the 7 percent sales tax collected in DeKalb County and was divided among the county and its cities. Eighty percent was distributed to homeowners through property tax credits and 20 percent went to fund capital projects, such as parks projects. The SPLOST vote replaced HOST with the EHOST in which 100 percent of the revenue goes toward property tax relief. Councilmember Bates Mattison voiced his frustration at the retreat with the SPLOST funding. “Our citizens are getting penalized. Our only option is this additional tax. If we floated the debt earlier, it could have been paid for with SPLOST,” he
said. “The only way we can pay is to raise taxes. And HOST could have done it.” Councilmember Linley Jones said at the retreat she has heard from residents who are frustrated that SPLOST funds cannot be used for parks. In an interview, she said she personally supports the idea of residents having a chance to vote on a parks bond. “This would simply be giving people the opportunity to decide if they want to quickly finish the eight parks master plans we have,” she said. The proposed millage increase for the parks bond would not violate the city’s millage cap, and would be part of a separate debt millage, Chapman said. The city’s millage cap is 3.35 and the current millage rate is 2.74. Chapman said state law requires voters to approve any debt, such as long-term general obligation bonds, involving property tax funds. If the voters approve a parks bond, then there is a separate debt millage that is restricted to paying off the debt, he said. The city’s charter also states the millage cap does not apply to such debt, he said. “The separate millage will be paying the debt service payments based on the bond issuance, based on the proj-
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‘Lynwood Integrators’ honored for courage during desegregation
A hole in the sidewalk near a Dunkin’ Donuts at 6060 Roswell Road marks where a fire hydrant was knocked down by a veFamiliar sights hicle nearly a year ago and remains misscrowd the new exhibit ing. And for the last four months of 2015, at the Atlanta History if firefighters had needed water to battle a Center. Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ blaze there, they would have found a fire Wreck holds BY DYANA BAGBY vancy. that we center stage. hydrant across the street gone as well. to let you know A billboard-re dyanabagby@ ady “I am pleased has a reporternewspapers.net Chick-fil-A cow Such long repair times and uncertain that Dunwoody protests in one sigis are now certain corner. A few there inspections for the city’s 4,000 public and Eugenia Calloway feet away, a Varfacility and that for need for this flipped through sity car-hop’s private fire hydrants are an ongoing conpages of the 1968 in the community the tray hangs Cross Keys High nificant support President door of a ’63 Plymouth from a cern for Sandy Springs fire officials. Fire yearbook, glancing School Conservancy Valiant. over the photographs that need,” states to the counIt’s no surprise Rescue Chief Keith Sanders is now gearof many white a Jan. 15 letter that the items faces. But in Danny Ross in in this particular the back of ing up a tighter, more accountable inspecthe yearbook museum show she found first at cil. seem familiar. the boys’ basa new theater tion system. Step one: bringing hydrant ketball team They’re all part and then the The cost to construct cost $24.5 milof girls’ basketball Atlanta. Each inspections in-house instead of using priteam. size would was chosen to about the same represent some important city vate contractors, as the study states. “That’s me,” she said, pointing PHIL MOSIER lion, the feasibility PHOTOS BY the city, the exhibit’s feature of its feasibility its since done sent has smiling to the girl at the far curators say. Cutno breaks The conservancy recently right in the The exhibit, player Anjanice varsity team founding. girls’ a varsity “Atlanta in 50 Council members photo. One other court during High School basketball the study to City Objects,” which to come up at black girl At left, Dunwoody as she heads down her home Wolverines on Jan. 15. 2016 “The was on the far opened Jan. 16 pack Lady issue is expected left; all the players the School and and High away from the is to be on display and the coaches in between inspections the Miller Grove 25 meeting. through July game against were white. council’s Jan. 10, is intended to show, Nash talks that there is support will be done “That’s when Coach Angela in I had the most While Ross argues Above, Lady Wildcats with her players. what makes Atlanta its own way, Theater, he may fun, when I was playing by the SanAna Avilez, 14, renovating Brook Run over strategy basketball,” she Atlanta. for a member of PHIL MOSIER said. “I think my favorite from the council. the Danza dy Springs Calloway was battle “Dia de Losface Aztec Dance Group, uphill top, 62-37, and anfestival thing is the one of 17 students was still Reyes” came out on and family leadership, prepares for a are 8-9 King manuscript, Jamie Chatman,fire departat the Atlanta on page 22 integrated Cross a nonprofit that helps achieve financial independence, personal growth who of Every ”Woman performance The Lady Wolverines ContinuedHistory Center Tillie O’Neal-Kyles, founder The Lady Wildcats one of the “Lynwood page 15.► guest Works, Keys High School during the Day celebration at City Hall on Jan. 18. Story onwho curator a 12- 8 record. PHIL MOSIER on Jan. 10. See integrated Cross Integrators,” on page 15.► SandWilson said of the Year, at the 10th annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ly 50 years ago, 2016 Humanitarian ment,” currently have the city’sAmy nearnamed additional photos Three Kings Day or attends a Rev. Keys additional photos High School nearly on the day bepart of that by graduates on page 15.► Martin Luther this season. See fore the show 50 years ago. first group of Lynwood said. of black students ers High School, The Jan. 18 program, King Jr. Day dinner and opened, as she Cross Keys High to attend an celebration honoring PHIL MOSIER and History Center all-white School and Chamblee held at Lynwood Park school in DeKalb “That way, I the 17 students exhibitions direcRecreation Center, County and now Charter High featured comments tor Dan Rooney School. See additional as the “Lynwood known know all hymade last-minute photos on page Integrators.” Reporter Newspapers firm, tweaks to the 13.► drants have exhibit. She market research is working with point- Reporter Newspapers is working with a new mobile market research firm, Atlanta-based a new mobile a new mobile ed toward a case Continued on page been touched 1Q, to survey periodically about is working with market research holding a series 12 residents of our about communities periodically topics communities our our of fi of residents rm, of survey to of 1Q, Reporter Newspapers handwritten proposed state Atlanta-based been communities and have the residents and local interest. pages from a Reporter Newspapers periodically about we ask about 1Q, to survey In our first poll, Religious Freedom yel- topics of state and local interest. In our first poll, we ask about the proposed low legal pad LegislaAtlanta-based In our first poll, is working with inspected.” we ask about in the state Restoration Act on which the Atlanta-based and local interest. a new mobile the proposed are two ture. Nearly two-thirds Rev. Religious Freedom Restoration Act being considered in the state Legisla1Q, to survey being considered being considered Martin Luther topics of state market research That will mean be rejected. Here residents of our Restoration Act King Jr. had in the state topics of state of 200 respondents fi rm, two the bill should are Here Freedom rejected. be ► said communitie should bill reactions writthe 11. Legislasaid and local interest. ten the acceptance Religious on page said the bill should ture. Nearly two-thirds of 200 respondents to the law. Read s periodically “more accuracy, more Religious of 200 respondents In our first poll, about local comments speech for his more about the be rejected. Here on page 11. ► Freedom we ask about it 1964 Nobel Prize. ture. Nearly two-thirds more about the poll and said, adding poll and local Restoration Act Page 18 reactions to the law. Read more about the poll and local comments are two accountability,” Sanders ture. the proposed comments on “It’s the original law. Read being considered Nearly two-thirds page 11. ► manuscript.” reactions to the hands-on knowlin the state of 200 respondents will also give firefighters reactions Legislasaid the bill should to thein law. Read more Wilson and edge of where the city’s hydrants are be rejected. Here about the poll Rooney started Page 18 are two and local comments BY JOE EARLE Page 18work on the project case they need to find them in an emers.net on page 11. ► rternewspaper in Novemjoeearle@repoI’m so sick ber 2014. The proposal gency. a of Georgia original idea Even having beEven having a proposal off on the city’s hind the exhibit law looking I’m so sick of Georgia sound But those inspections are where the fire Even having a like – gathering The chance to backwarto BY DYANA BAGBY proposal of a religious freedom crucial objects that I’m so sick of Georgiad bufthan 120 people d bufof a religious freedom law department’s direct control moreThis foons. looking like backward bufof a religious freedom represent imporI’m ofsothe in the dyanabagby@ parks drew sick of Georgia on Jan. 12. is just reporternewspa tant themes safety devices ends. The 2,910 hydrants seems to be a step start looking like backwar library branch law pers.net seems to be a step in the or events in legalized foons. This is just seems to be a step Dunwoody’s looking by the Even having a histoto room, standdiscrimin ry – had been on city streets are actually ownedlike backward bufinto a meeting proposal ation, used in a few City officials right direction... a foons. This is just ation, right direction... to start They packed are preparing othplain legalized discrimination, right direction... in the their ideas on foons.of This Watershed er high-profi of a religious freedom voicesimple. city of Atlanta’s Department toand to look for a new city manager le museum shows is just to start If that plan. ing room only, having more considerlegalized discriminIf that having more considerlaw to replace Marie and books, such take months to isn’t city’s five-year parks plain and simple. If that having more considerManagement, which can legalized seems to be a step period. rett, who held Garas “The Smithdiscrimination, rewrite of the enough, it’sa bad bit familthe job since for sonian’s History plain and simple.bad for ation for religion, Brookhaven’s make repairs. ation for religion, period. the discussion inception. isn’t enough, it’s bad for the state plain and “chalation for religion, of America in right direction... in the Some found economically. Sanders called that situation a simple. to start If that period. isn’t enough, it’s D WOMAN A national search Continued page iar. A 34-YEAR-OL isn’t enough, the state economically. having more considerally. A 34-YEAR-OLD WOMAN went to all these of for a new city 14 not aware it’s A 44-YEAR-OL ago, we A 34-YEAR-OL lenge,” though he added he is IN SANDY SPRINGS ager was expected bad for manD WOMAN “A few years the state economic D WOMAN WHO LIVES WHO LIVES IN SANDY SPRINGS to trouThe Atlanta History ghters had firefistate ation for religion, WHO LIVES Continued on page 12 any recent fire wherethe WHO LIVES tails of a separation begin as soon as deA 44-YEAR-OLD WOMAN economic IN BROOKHAV IN SANDY SPRINGS ally. period. D WOMAN exhibition, “Atlantacenter’s between the city EN ble finding a working hydrant on a public A 44-YEAR-OL BROOKHAVEN IN Garrett in LIVES EN WHO 50 could Objects,” showcases A 44-YEAR-OL be reached. Council and A 34-YEAR-OL IN BROOKHAV unique, D WOMAN 14 D WOMAN WHO LIVES Continued on page local items like bers met behind memWHO LIVES this katana from WHO LIVES closed doors with IN BROOKHAV IN SANDY SPRINGS “The Walking and a mediation Garrett Dead” TV show. EN attorney on Jan. 20 to try to work out an agreement. Mayor John Ernst and members of City Countinued on page 14
OUT & ABOUT
law Surve om’try y: No to ‘Relig on parks Puppe ious Freed ious Freed Arts Opinions
Survey: No to ‘Relig
Center expandsvary, as under Atlanta’s they’ve been this own puppet maste e way r befor
OUT & ABOUT om’ law
Puppetry Arts Center expands under Atlanta’s own puppet master
OUTlaw Survey: No to ‘Religious Freedom’ & ABOUT
Puppetry Arts Center expand s under Atlanta’s own puppet maste r
Survey: No to ‘Relig
Nationwide search planned for new city manager
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 10— NO. 4
Community | 15
ects outlined in the referendum,” Chapman said. An update of the Parks Master Plan presented to the council at the retreat shows costs for Ashford Park, Blackburn Park, Briarwood Park, Fernwood Park, Georgian Hills Park, Lynwood Park, Murphey Candler Park and Murphey Candler Park II (an extension of the park) is about $60 million. That number is significantly higher than the $28 million Parks Master Plan approved by the City Council in 2016. Chapman said the two estimates are not comparable. The original $28 million estimate from GreenbergFarrow, the city’s parks consultant, was “woefully lacking” because it did not include such necessary items stormwater infrastructure and sidewalks, partly due to lack of records from the DeKalb County management era, Chapman said. The new $67 million, an estimate also provided by GreenbergFarrow, is only for about 60 percent of the projects. Brookhaven residents are currently helping pay for a $230 million DeKalb County bond approved in 2005 that is set to mature in 2020, Chapman said. That accounts for about $22 million a year from city property owners. The city can take that money residents are
already paying and put it toward its own potential parks bond, Chapman said. Chapman said city officials are already in talks with Parks and Recreation Coalition (PARC) Brookhaven members about the idea of a parks bond and ways to inform and educate residents. PARC Brookhaven chair Sue Binkert said a PARC Brookhaven funding task force has met with city officials to discuss all aspects of park funding, not just a potential bond. “We are in the very initial fact-finding and gathering information position to broadly go over all funding and how to have a really good park system,” she said.
In 2016, the City Council approved a Parks Master Plan for eight city parks. The current total cost to complete just the Murphey Candler Park master plan is more than $18 million. Its design includes renovated parking near the athletic fields, a new open space and trail currently under construction, and a boardwalk bridge in the northern section of the park. CITY OF BROOKHAVEN
Arts center, affordability eyed for Buford Highway Continued from page 1 cluded, he said. Gebbia, whose district includes Buford Highway, made a presentation he titled “Controlling Our Destiny” to the City Council and city administrators at the council’s Feb. 3 retreat at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. The presentation laid out some specific ideas he’d like the city to take an initiative on this year as developers continue to eye ways to build along the corridor. “We’ve been talking about development here for years ... and I’ve continued to be disappointed with products developers have brought to Brookhaven,” he said. Gebbia said he would like to see a performing arts center built at North Druid Hills Road and Buford Highway, in the quadrant where a Chevron gas station is currently located. There are five parcels of land in this area owned by three different property owners, he said, and an assemblage of the property by the city in some way — perhaps through the Brookhaven Development Authority — could help make the performing arts center a reality. “On this plot ... a developer has asked me about putting up townhomes here,” he said. “But does that make the best use of the land? No. What do we do with Buford Highway? You set the tone for what you want. If you do townhomes, you set the bar low. Let’s put the bar high, put the message out ... and that’s why I suggest a performBK
ing arts center.” He has estimated in the past that a performing arts center could cost between $300 million and $400 million. Gebbia also wants to establish an arts commission to determine what kind of performing arts center is viable for Brookhaven and Buford Highway, should the City Council agree they want to move in that direction. Funding for an arts commission could come from the city’s recent sale of 6.27 acres of right-of-way to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for $10 million. The rightof-way for Tullie Road and Tullie Circle are to be used by CHOA as part of its massive hospital campus expansion at North Druid Hills Road and I-85. City Manager Christian Sigman is recommending to the council that of that $10 million, the city put $6 million into the city’s general fund balance to earn points toward a AAA bond rating. Of that $6 million, a restriction would be put on $2 million to serve as a something akin to a trust where an estimated $20,000 a year in interest could be used to fund an arts commission to see if a performing arts center is viable for Brookhaven, he said. The remaining $4 million would be used for the construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway that runs along Buford Highway. Gebbia said the North Druid Hills Road and Buford Highway intersection is also a great place for high-end condos “with a phenomenal view of downtown.” He also said he’d like to see the city find
a way to assemble the property, perhaps also through the Brookhaven Development Authority, from the North Druid Hills intersection along Buford Highway up to where the Lips nightclub is located, and decide what to put on the property. “My recommendation is we handle this property as MARTA attempted to handle its property [at the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station]. We put out a request for proposal and get control of our destiny,” Gebbia said. “This area is defining for our city. This is ground zero [for redevelopment],” he said. Many of the apartment complexes along and near Buford Highway are 40 and 50 years old, Gebbia noted, and will likely be sold to developers in the coming years. He said the Park Towne North apartments on North Cliff Valley Way just north of Buford Highway is for sale for about $50 million, for example. The complex, built in 1964, has 492 units and is in dilapidated condition. “It’s gonna go,” Gebbia said. And with it, the many people living there. The city can use its leverage to request developers include work force and affordable housing in any new development on this site, he said. And the city should also require developers to give residents a standard 120-day notice to move out. “The downside of a project is relocation. When you give short notice, [the residents] end up moving into worse conditions ... and that impacts education and poverty,” Gebbia said.
“We owe it to [the city] to try to take steps to protect the people staying there and also to make it possible for the owner to sell,” he said. Gebbia estimates Buford Highway will see up to $3 billion in investments in the next decade. CHOA’s construction of its Center for Advanced Pediatrics and recently approved plans to build a $1.3 billion hospital at its North Druid Hills campus will bring investments and redevelopment along Buford Highway, he said. More development will also come with the future development of Executive Park, he said. In 2016, Emory University purchased 60 acres of Executive Park but has not revealed to the public what it plans to do with the property. Emory Healthcare and the Atlanta Hawks teamed up to build a new 90,000-square-foot sports medicine and practice facility in Executive Park that opened in February. Corporate Square will also see new development, he predicted, and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planning a massive expansion on its Chamblee campus on Buford Highway, more development will come. “What is setting this whole thing ablaze ... is the Peachtree Creek Greenway,” he said. Plans are to break ground perhaps as soon as April on the first mile of the Greenway between the Salvation Army headquarters property at Corporate Boulevard to the REI at Briarwood Road.
16 | Art & Entertainment
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$15 ages 12 and under. $25 and $10 ages 12 and under for MJCCA members. Morris & Rae Frank Theatre at MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Tickets: 678-8124002, or atlantajcc.org/habima.
TOSSED OUT TREASURES
Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
GET ACTIVE ATLANTA AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRD WALK
“THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR”
Thursday, Feb. 22, 8 a.m.
Join Mary Kimberly, an Audubon Society Leader, to look for raptors, waterfowl, waders and perching birds on this Audubon Society field trip at Murphey Candler Park. Suitable for adults and children over 14 years old. No dogs. Plan footwear accordingly for steep spots, uneven surfaces and possibly muddy or slippery trail. Free. 1551 West Nancy Creek Drive NE, Brookhaven. Info: atlantaaudubon. org/field-trips. Cell contact on morning of walk: 404-308-6279.
WINTER OWL PROWL
Saturday, Feb. 24, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Join the National Park Service for a campfire, guided night hike and live owl programs presented on the upper deck of the lodge at the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center. Wear comfortable shoes, dress in layers and bring a flashlight. Free. 8615 Barnwell Road, Johns Creek. Reservations required: 678538-1200. Directions: nps.govchat.
Through Sunday, Feb. 25
FAMILY FLASHLIGHT FUN RUN Sunday, Feb. 25, 6 to 9 p.m.
This third annual event featuring a nearly 1-mile course in Buckhead’s Garden Hills Park benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. After the run, there’s a pizza celebration donated by Blue Moon Pizza in the Garden Hills Recreation Center. The event is organized by Garden Hills/ Peachtree Park Friends volunteers. $20 in advance; $25 on run day. 335 Pine Tree Drive NE, Buckhead. Register: choa.org/flashlightfunrun.
“SANKOFA — A SALUTE TO THE MUSIC OF BLACK COMPOSERS” Sunday, Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Capitol City Opera Company presents a concert at Highpoint Episcopal Community Church. “Sankofa” is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana that translates to “Go back and get it.” Free. 4945 High Point Road NE, Sandy Springs. Info: ccityopera.org/performances.
FAMILY NIGHT HIKE AND CAMPFIRE
Saturday, Feb. 24, 7 to 9 p.m.
Take a journey with a Chattahoochee Nature Center naturalist along the river boardwalk or hike into the forest. A campfire wraps up the evening. $12; $10 nature center members. Register by Feb. 22 to save $2. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.
STRIDES FOR SURVIVORS Saturday, Feb. 24, 11:30 a.m.
This 2.7-mile walk around Chastain Park’s PATH benefits Turning Point Breast Cancer Rehabilitation, a Sandy Springs-based nonprofit. The event is hosted by sisters Lauren, Samantha, and Emilie Scalise, in honor of their mother Stephanie Scalise, a breast cancer survivor. Walk day registration opens at 10:30 a.m. Fee: $40. Opening/closing ceremonies are at The Galloway School, 215 West Wieuca Road NW, Buckhead. Registration: stridesforsurvivors.org.
Act3 Productions presents “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” a comedy set in the 1950s that channels iconic sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy.” Two women have been receiving love letters and their husbands are determined to find out what’s going on. $15-$23. 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Tickets: act3productions.org or 770-241-1905.
CHATTAHOOCHEE 5K/10K ROAD RACE
BROOKHAVEN COMMUNITY YARD SALE Saturday, March 3, 9 a.m. to noon.
Find deals and sell your unwanted items at the Brookhaven Parks and Recreation Department’s annual Community Yard Sale. Free. Cost to vendors is $20 for one 8-foot table or $30 for two tables. Briarwood Park Gym, 2235 Briarwood Way, Brookhaven. Info: 404-637-0512 or email Philip Mitchell at philip.mitchell@ brookhavenga.gov.
AUTHOR LECTURE: MAURICE J. HOBSON, “BLACK MECCA”
Saturday, March 3, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Register through the Community Assistance Center (CAC) for a 15 percent discount on this 35th annual event that serves as a Peachtree Road Race qualifier. CAC assists people with basic needs and developing self-reliance in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. The race also benefits Riverwood High School athletics and the Chattahoochee Road Runners social club. More than 1,100 runners participated last year. 5585 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Fees and registration info: ourcac.org.
This 27th annual upscale resale event presented by the Sandy Springs Society returns in a new space, offering deep bargains on gently used home decor, jewelry, silver, crystal, sports equipment, art, furniture, clothing, and more. Free. $10 for Early Bird Sale on Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. 6450 Powers Ferry Road NW, Sandy Springs. Tickets: sandyspringssociety.org.
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m.
“THE ADDAMS FAMILY”
Thursday, March 1 through Sunday, March 11
Jerry’s Habima Theatre, a theatrical company directed and produced by professionals that features actors with special needs, presents its 25th annual production. Jerry’s Habima Theatre is an award-winning program of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Based on the characters from the ‘60s television series, “The Addams Family” is suitable for all ages. $35;
Maurice J. Hobson discusses his book “Black Mecca,” which portrays a schism between Atlanta’s black political elite and poor city-dwellers, complicating the view of Atlanta as a mecca for black people. Hobson is assistant professor of African American studies and history at Georgia State University. $10; $5 for History Center members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Buckhead. Info: 404-814-4150 or atlantahistorycenter.com/lectures.
ZYDECO CONCERT AND DANCE Saturday, March 3, 8 to 11 p.m.
Hailing from the Carolinas, Zydeco Ya Ya brings a Louisiana dance hall sound to the Dorothy Benson Center. Authentic Cajun/Creole food for sale. Ticket covers beginner’s dance lesson at 7 p.m. No partner necessary. Sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. $18; $14 active military; $5 students. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org.
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 4
Art & Entertainment | 17
“PHOENIX FLIES: A CELEBRATION OF ATLANTA’S HISTORIC SITES” Saturday, March 3 through Sunday, March 25
“ADDY CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH” Saturday, Feb. 24, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
This month’s meeting of Heritage Sandy Springs’ American Girl and Boy Club focuses on the Underground Railroad and the story of a girl who grew up in the South after the Civil War and risks her safety for the safety of others. Each monthly club meeting includes an activity, craft and snack. Kids are invited to bring their favorite doll. Best suited for ages 5 to 12. Advance registration recommended. $8 Heritage Sandy Springs members; $10 nonmembers; $15 at the door. 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org. Click the education tab.
“VOTING IN A POLARIZED ERA”
The Atlanta Preservation Center presents its 15th annual monthlong festival celebrating Atlanta’s cultural and historical resources. The festival showcases 99 Preservation Partners offering 200 free events across the city, including guided walking tours, lectures, storytelling and open houses. One of this year’s highlights is a focus on Atlanta’s iconic architects Neel Reid and Philip Schutze, including tours of Buckhead’s Goodrum House and the Andrew Calhoun Estate. Info: preserveatlanta.com or 404-688-3353.
Welcome Dr. Michael Crowe! Peachtree Dunwoody Medical Associates is proud to welcome Dr. Michael Crowe, a boardcertified gynecologist with over three decades of experience practicing in the Atlanta area. Dr. Crowe offers comprehensive gynecologic care to women of all ages, serving with the same excellent, compassionate care you are accustomed to from Peachtree Dunwoody Medical Associates. Dr. Crowe is welcoming new patients, accepts most insurance plans, and offers a convenient location
Michael Crowe, MD Gynecology
near the Northside Hospital Atlanta campus.
Thursday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Noted political analyst Alan Abramowitz delivers his forecast on the nation’s 2018 midterm elections year as part of Temple Emanu-El’s annual “TE TALKS” series. Abramowitz, an Emory University political science professor, is author of “The Polarized Public: Why American Government is So Dysfunctional.” His 30-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A with the audience. Free. 1580 Spalding Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: templeemanuelatlanta.org.
AUTHOR LECTURE: STEVEN PINKER, “ENLIGHTENMENT NOW”
Friday, March 2, 7 p.m.
Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker discusses his book “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress” at the Atlanta History Center. Pinker has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and one of Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 Global Thinkers. $10; $5 for History Center members. Reservations suggested. 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Buckhead. Info: 404-814-4150 or atlantahistorycenter.com/lectures.
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18 | Community
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“Ten years ago, we discovered a secret, a secret that was hidden in plain sight in the suburbs of Atlanta,” says the narrator of a deer-hunting video from a Brookhaven-based outfit called Seek One Productions. The secret: Backyard bow-and-arrow killing of supersized suburban bucks that is perfectly legal in such cities as Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. “They call it urban archery,” says Sgt. Eric Brown, the supervisor of state game wardens for Fulton County. “They’ll hunt virtually a quarter-acre tract.” Thanks to publicity on social media and in Georgia’s hunting press, the long-camouflaged practice of suburban bowhunting is growing in popularity, game wardens and hunters say. Like all hunting, it sparks some disputes, but they can flame hotter due to the close quarters of cul-de-sacs and office parks. Some people like hunting; some people hate it. Some people like deer; some people consider them pests. Arrow-wounded deer often run onto property where hunting is not allowed. Poachers trespass in yards and roam in parks. Marie Brumbach is among those who aren’t fans. “By word of mouth, this area has been targeted by poachers and bowhunters,” she says of her cul-de-sac off Spalding Drive in the wooded panhandle of Sandy Springs along the Chattahoochee River. She has stories about arrows and wounded deer found in yards and hunters lurking in tree stands. She thinks bowhunting is “disgusting and appalling.” The deer bowhunting season in DeKalb and Fulton counties ended Jan. 31, and Brumbach would like to see it gone from Sandy Springs before the next season arrives in September. “How can we be a progressive city while allowing bowhunters in our back yard?” she asked. “I don’t want to sit on my deck and watch a bowhunter next to me try and kill deer with arrows. I encourage all citizens of Sandy Springs to put pressure on [the city] council members and get this stopped immediately. We live in a city!” State law broadly allows licensed hunters to stalk deer on private property with the owner’s permission. In the northern suburbs, firearm deerhunting is banned for safety reasons, but bowhunting is allowed, and there’s no limit on getting close to houses, game wardens say. Some cities say they have found ways to indirectly ban bowhunting. Buckhead may have been named for a deerhunter’s trophy, but shoot an arrow in Atlanta today anywhere outside of an archery range and the cops may lock you up. Brookhaven bans shooting a bow except in defense of life or property. Roswell requires a permit, weapons training and safety requirements for bow use. Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, on the other hand, don’t restrict private-property bowhunting. Illegal hunting can be a problem, both on private land and in such parks as the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. “We have several [poaching] incidents that are in the investigation stage,” said Bill Cox, the national park’s supervisor. Brown said state game wardens are also investigating a poaching incident this season near the park, though he could not say which city it was in. Cpl. Chad Cox, a state game warden responsible for the Sandy Springs area, said he made no citations or arrests in the 2017-18 season. The lack of legal hunting in some northern suburban cities means more and bigger deer. That means more hunters attracted to the neighboring cities that do allow it. Hunters can find really big deer – a buck that “doesn’t look real, it’s so huge,” says Brown. “In my opinion, the biggest deer in the state of Georgia are within [Interstate] 285,” said Brown. “They’re well-fed. They eat everybody’s pansies. People feed them. Among the hunters attracted to the big bucks is Lee Ellis, who makes videos of his hunts under that Seek One Productions banner. According to state records, Seek One is registered at an address is Brookhaven and Ellis’s address is given as a Sandy Springs cul-de-sac off Johnson Ferry Road. Ellis did not respond to an interview request.
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 4
Community | 19
Opposite page, The logo of Seek One Productions’ “Suburban Bowhunter” series. Above, A buck brought down by an arrow in an image from Seek One Production’s series on the 2016-17 suburban bowhunting season.
Last fall, Ellis took possibly the biggest buck killed with a bow in state history somewhere in the northern suburbs, an enormous 15-pointer he had nicknamed Zeus. As reported by Georgia Outdoor News, controversy followed, as Zeus was a beloved visitor to the back yard of a resident who fed the buck and who denied Ellis permission to hunt on his property. Ellis killed the deer elsewhere and the resident claimed, apparently falsely, to have raised the buck as a baby and at one point given it a bell collar. Ellis’s parade of big-buck kills also drew scorn from some rural hunters who suggested that suburban hunting is like shooting fish in a barrel. Some of the Seek One videos are available on the company’s Facebook page. The page describes suburban bowhunting as a “lifestyle,” and the videos show it is certainly complex, time-consuming and challenging. “It’s opening day of bow season 2016 and we are headed to the ’burbs, baby!” Ellis proclaims at the start of a series of videos about the 2016-17 hunting season. The videos never reveal exactly where the hunting happens, though Ellis says it is around the Chattachoochee River and its tributaries, which the deer follow. Ellis and friend Drew Carroll are shown laboriously knocking on doors to gain permission to hunt the “giants of the suburbs” and strapping cameras to trees to track targeted bucks, sometimes for years. The videos suggest that a special challenge of suburban hunting is the relatively small chance that the buck will pass through yards and lots where the hunters have permission to be. The videos depict some of the controversial points about suburban hunting. On opening day, the hunters encounter an apparent poacher in a lot behind an office building. In one episode, Ellis shoots a deer, which then flees the property, leaving Ellis to wait for hours to see if it reappears on property he has permission to hunt. The hunters also visit a Peachtree Corners City Council meeting to stave off a proposed weapons law that could have affected bowhunting. Suburban deer populations likely need to be controlled, including by hunting, says Brown, the game warden. For residents who don’t want to attract hunters or poachers, they may want to keep deer sightings to themselves. “Even people taking pictures [of deer] in parks and putting it on Facebook – people see that and they want to go hunt,” said Cox, the game warden.
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20 | Public Safety
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‘Safest cities’ website rankings don’t mean much, expert says BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
“Safest cities” rankings promoted by websites and often touted by local governments have little value as crime analysis, according to a Georgia State University criminologist. One site has acknowledged its ranking is made by non-expert staff as part of a marketing business driving customers to security companies and Amazon.com. Joshua Hinkle, an associate professor at GSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, said such rankings are flawed in both method and concept, because most stranger-on-stranger crime is “incredibly concentrated” in small areas of any given city. “It’s not a matter of bad neighborhoods, much less safe or unsafe cities, [but] more the idea of a bad [or] unsafe street block here and there driving crime rates,” Hinkle said. Two similarly named websites, Safehome.org and SafeWise.com, get a lot of free press around the nation for their annual lists of each state’s “safest cities.” Safe Home’s latest was issued in December and SafeWise’s in January. Brookhaven issued a press release touting its appearance in the latest list from Safe Home, describing it as a “professional organization” and quoting the police chief about crime-fighting. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul posted a Facebook message noting his city’s appearance on the list, and the Sandy Springs city website includes a 2014 SafeWise list on its “Awards and Honors” page. Typically unmentioned in news stories and press releases is that the websites offer little or no information about who operates them or creates the rankings. The primary content of both sites is security system reviews. And while they describe complex methods of calculating the rankings, each site produces significantly different lists. The Georgia top 10 on Safe Home’s latest 25-city list: Peachtree City, Johns Creek, Milton, Kennesaw, Roswell, Alpharetta, Newnan, Sandy Springs, Statesboro and Brookhaven. Dunwoody is Number 18. Meanwhile, the Georgia top 10 on SafeWise’s 50-city list: Summerville, Milton, Johns Creek, Senoia, Peachtree City, Alpharetta, Tyrone, Dallas, Flowery Branch and Grovetown. Sandy Springs was Number 15, Dunwoody was Number 28, and Brookhaven did not appear at all. Safe Home’s site lists no staff members or physical location and is registered through Domains By Proxy, a company that allows website owners to remain anonymous. The site broadly describes Safe Home as “an organization dedicated to making communities safer.” But in fine print, it also says, “We are a professional review site that receives compensation from some of the companies whose products we review.” Safe Home did not respond to questions submitted through the site. SafeWise has the same Utah office suite address as Clearlink, a marketing, sales and technology company whose clients, according to its website, include the security company ADT. According to spokesperson Sage Singleton, SafeWise makes money by earning a portion of some sales made to customers who buy from security system companies or Amazon.com via reviews on the site. The reviews cover both security brands that SafeWise is “affiliated” with and ones that do not have a sales deal, Singleton said. “It depends on the product and brand if we make money or not,” Singleton said. “We have brand relationships with different alarm companies, but we are not paid by the companies to rank or promote them on our site.” And what expertise does SafeWise bring to those “Safest Cities” rankings? “Our data team does not have an educational background in criminology or law enforcement,” Singleton said. “They simply analyzed existing data from the FBI and came up with interesting conclusions based on that data.”
Above, the homepage of Safe Home, at safehome.org, is focused on the review and sales of security systems. Below, on SafeWise.com, the company’s list of Georgia’s “Safest Cities” is paired with security system sales packages.
Hinkle said that FBI-collected crime statistics are a solid starting point, though some categories of crime, such as rape, have underreporting problems. But he questioned the weighting toward some types of violent crime. “I’d also argue that using aggravated assault, rape [and] murder isn’t necessarily the best way to measure the safety level of cities,” he said. “Assaults, rapes and murders are largely committed by people the victims know — friends, family and acquaintances —rather than being random acts in the community.” Safe Home pitches its ranking as advice on finding a safe place to live. But, Hinkle said, people making a move should be most interested in “more random crimes like street robbery and residential burglary.” The bigger problem with “safest cities” lists, Hinkle said, is that crime is not citywide. “We have tons of research evidence supporting the notion of the ‘law of crime concentrations’ — essentially we know that crime is incredibly concentrated in a few small areas,” he said. “… For instance, studies in a variety of nations and cities have consistently found that between 3 to 6 percent of addresses in a city account for 50 percent of the crimes reported to police, and 20 percent of places generate 80 percent A criminologist’s view of the crime. SPECIAL “Thus, comparing cities isn’t particularly useful,” Hinkle said, beHinkle, the GSU professor who does have that criminology expertise, Joshua Hinkle, cause living on a “bad” block in a top-ranked city could be more dangerused a different description for the Safe Home and SafeWise method: It criminology professor ous than living most places in a lower-ranked city. “isn’t particularly useful.” Hinkle said that people seeking online crime information for their city have a Both sites publish a complicated method for determining the “safest cities” rankbetter online option: the local governments’ own crime-mapping sites. He said that ing, involving crime statistics reported to the FBI, crime rate trends, population, deduring his latest move, he used the DeKalb County Police Department’s CrimeTrac mographics and, in Safe Home’s case, crime fear perceptions. Safe Home’s method site to look at crimes reported on the blocks immediately around addresses where gives more weight to murder, rape and assault than to burglary and vehicle theft. he considered moving. SafeWise says it is also focused on violent crime: “We evaluated and ranked each “That’s much more useful and informative than any rankings of safe cities or city based on its violent crime rate. If there was a tie, we also considered the numeven neighborhoods,” he said. ber of property crimes.”
Classifieds | 21
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Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576. Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property…”0n market or just away”. Call Charles at 404-229-0490.
REAL ESTATE Midtown Prime Ansley Golf Course Area - 2 BR/ 2 BA 1300 sq. ft. Apartment includes Storeroom & Off-Street Pkg. Ideal room-mate layout. street level classic Apt in multi-family house has High vaulted/beamed ceilings, crown molding, windows galore, gas starter FPLC, huge built-In bookshelf, W/D, deck w Atl skyline view. Few steps to Ansley Mall. Walk to Shops/Attractions/ Beltline. Close to I-85/I-75. Available now. 404-874-4642 for details/ No texts pls.
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FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 4
404-917-2200, ext 110 Affordable. Display. Frequency.
HELP WANTED Innovation Developer for Cotiviti in Atlanta, GA Work w/global team to create scalable solutions, dvlpmnt processes & conceptual frameworks. Research, review, improve & write code; search for new technologies, & identify opps to accelerate dvlpmnt process & deployment. Peer review work. Document solutions. Req: Master’s degree in Comp Sci +2 yrs software dvlpmnt exp in adv dvlpmnt environment. Must have exp w/ Scala, Java, Bash, Git, Maven, dbase systems (MySql, Oracle), testing frameworks (JUnit), Hadoop, Pig, MapReduce, Hive, Sqoop, Control-M, Jenkins, HBase, Ruby & w/Agile dvlpmnt practice (Scrum). Mail resume to: Cotiviti USA, LLC, Att: S. Chandler-Lint, 50 Danbury Rd, Wilton, CT 06897 Management – Financial Services Business is Booming and I need help. Six figure potential! Complete training program, Flexible hours, No experience necessary. Please fax resume to 404-920-2702.
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22 | Community
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Dancing with Daddy PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER
Girls enjoyed a special night with their fathers and father figures at the Brookhaven Parks & Recreation Department’s Daddy Daughter Valentine’s Dance. The evening included dinner, giveaways and keepsakes.
A. Lily Penn, 6, jumps with help from dad Matt.
B. Blake and McLean
Lyons, 7, cut the rug.
C. Scott Reckamp dances
with his daughters Sarafina Reckamp (right), 9, and Sloan Reckamp, 7.
D. Some of the girls form a dancing line.
FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 10— NO. 4
Public Safety | 23
Police Blotter / Brookhaven 3500
block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 4, in the evening, items were stolen from a car. 3200 block of Buford Highway — On
Feb. 4, in the evening, items were stolen from a car. 3600 block of Clairmont Road — On
Feb. 4, at night, a car was stolen. 1000 block of Saint James Crossing —
On Feb. 5, in the afternoon, a forced entry burglary to a home was reported. 700 block of Brookhaven Avenue —
On Feb. 5, in the afternoon, items were stolen from a car. 2600 block of Buford Highway — On
Feb. 6, in the morning, a man was arrested and charged with theft by taking. 4100 block of Peachtree Road — On
Feb. 6, in the afternoon, an entering auto incident was reported. 4200 block of Peachtree
1300 block of North Cliff Valley Way
— On Feb. 5, in the afternoon, a simple assault was reported.
— On Feb. 7, at night, a man was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed.
2600 block of
Buford Highway — On Feb. 6, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with aggravated child molestation.
3900 block of Peachtree Road — On
Feb. 4, in the morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license. 100 block of Lincoln Court Av-
Road — On Feb. 6, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting. 2100 block of Millenni-
um Way — On Feb. 6, in the evening, a theft was reported. 200 block of Peachtree Road —
On Feb. 7, in the afternoon, items were stolen from a car. 3900 block of Buford Highway — On
Feb. 8, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property.
Ashford-Dunwoody Road —
Feb. 9, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with burglary.
A S S AU LT 3500 block of Buford Highway — On
Feb. 5, in the morning, a man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
1800 block of Northeast Expressway
1500 block of W. Nancy Creek Drive —
On Feb. 10, at night, a woman was arrested and charged with the reckless operation of a vehicle on private property. 1800 block of Corporate Boulevard
— On Feb. 11, in the early morning, two people were arrested and charged with failing to check IDs and serving alcohol to minors. Another person was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
2000 block of North Druid Hills Road
3000 block of Buford Highway — On
— On Feb. 9, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with not having his driver’s license with him.
2800 block of Buford Highway — On Feb. 9, at night, a woman was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.
Feb. 10, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with begging and soliciting alms.
Buford Highway — On Feb. 9, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed.
2300 block of North Druid Hills Road
— On Feb. 5, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.
4000 block of Peachtree Road — On
2900 block of
2800 block of Buford Highway — On
2600 block of Buford Highway — On
1300 block of Dresden Drive — On
— On Feb. 10, at night, a man was arrested and charged with following too closely.
3600 block of Buford Highway — On Feb. 5, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
9, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property. Feb. 9, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting.
3600 block of
4000 block of Peachtree Road — On
block of Buford Highway — On Feb. 5, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed.
1900 block of Roxboro Road — On Feb.
Feb. 10, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed.
enue — On Feb. 4, at night, a man was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license.
3800 block of Buford Highway — On
block of Town Boulevard — On Feb. 8, in the afternoon, three people were arrested and charged with marijuana possession. Peachtree Road — On Feb. 8, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.
ARRESTS 4100 block of D’youville Trace — On Feb. 4, after midnight, a man was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, with intent to distribute.
charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Feb. 11, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed. 3200 block of Buford Highway — On
Feb. 9, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with driving without insurance. Feb.
Feb. 11, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. 3800 block of Clairmont Road — On
Feb. 11, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed.
9, at night, a man was arrested and charged with driving without insurance.
OT H E R I N C I D E N T S 3500 block of Ashford-Dunwoody
Road — On Feb. 4, in the afternoon, officers opened a death investigation. 3600 block of Ashford-Dunwoody
Road — On Feb. 4, in the evening, an arson was reported. 1300 block of Briarwood Road — On
4000 block of Peachtree Road
Feb. 5, a juvenile was reported as a runaway.
— On Feb. 10, in the early morning, a man was arrested and
On Feb. 5, at night, a man was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license.
M AY 2 0 1 7 Vo l . 2 3 N o . 5
s Page 40
a p e r. co m
3300 block of Buford Highway — On
Feb. 6, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with failing to register his vehicle within 7 days.
Condo High Dema
On Feb. 7, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed.
Your monthly guide to the city’s vibrant INtown community!
Pick up a copy or read it online at atlantaintownpaper.com
nd Page 46
1900 block of Bramblewood Drive —
Building the BeltL
PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID Atlanta, GA Permit NO. 3592
T H E F T A N D B U R G L A RY
2100 block of North Druid Hills Road
ATLANTA INTOWN 6065 ROSWELL ROAD, SUITE SANDY SPRINGS, 225 GA 30328
From Brookhaven Police reports dated Feb. 4 through Feb. 11. The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.
ine Page 6
City Bike Shar e Expands Page 8 Bowling at Come t Pub & Lanes Page 18 May Arts & Ente rtainment Page 30
24 | Education
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very year, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation, known as the PAGE Foundation, identifies top students at public and private high schools across Georgia. The foundation says its Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program, or STAR student and teacher honors, has highlighted the achievements of more than 25,000 students since it started in 1958. The program identifies high school seniors who post the highest SAT scores for their schools and rank among the top 10 percent or top 10 students in their class in grade-point average. Each STAR student then chooses her or his STAR teacher. Once school winners are selected, regional STAR students and teachers are chosen to compete for the state title.
Atlanta International School
Emil Zakarian Star Student
Timothy McMahon Star Teacher
Dunwoody High School
Alex Joshua Eldridge Star Student
Mary Dee Sturken Star Teacher
Yourong Geng Star Student
The Galloway School
The Lovett School
Abby Shlesinger Star Student
MariaPaola Jimenez Star Teacher
Heidi Gray Star Teacher
Jack Maley Star Student
Rahim Ghassemian Star Teacher
St. Pius X Catholic High School
Nicholas Poulos Star Student
Maria Kepler Star Teacher
Brian Kang Star Student
Larisa Tulchinsky Star Teacher
Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School
Jack Patterson Star Student
Jerry Aull Star Teacher
Meredith Many Star Teacher
Arial Strode Star Student
Sam Baroody Star Teacher
Eric Nathan Miller Star Student
Thomas Henderson Star Teacher
Harrison Lewis Star Student
Kevin Goldberg Star Teacher
Rosa Brown Star Student
Jenny Cockrill Star Teacher
Cross Keys High School
Yuyan Ke Star Student
Christina Holtzman Star Teacher
Holy Spirit Preparatory School
David Sullivan Star Student
Paulina Faraj Star Teacher
North Atlanta High School
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School
North Springs Charter High School
Jared Matthew Coffsky Star Student
Julia Platt Star Student
Chamblee Charter High School
Michael Elenbaas Star Teacher
Max Palisoc Star Student
Atlanta Girls’ School
Richard Hill Star Student
David Ehrman Star Teacher
Riverwood International Charter School
Jason Smith Star Teacher
Saya Abney Star Student
Daniel Gribble Star Teacher
The Westminster Schools
Phoebe Liu Star Student
Nurfatimah Merchant Star Teacher
Alan Xu Star Student
Jennifer Dracos-Tice Star Teacher