02-16-18 Dunwoody Reporter

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FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 9— NO. 4


Dunwoody Reporter


Bowhunting in the ’burbs: Backyard deer-stalking draws fans and foes PAGE 18

► ‘Safest cities’ rankings don’t mean much, expert says PAGE 20

A night to shine


Perimeter Business

Hotel industry booms P 4-9

Traffic signal, roundabout proposed for Dunwoody Club and Jett Ferry BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net


Sheila Taylor, center, enjoys the red-carpet welcome at the “Night to Shine,” a prom for people with special needs, Feb. 9 at First Baptist Church Atlanta. The prom was one of many around the country organized by the foundation of former pro football player Tim Tebow. Anyone aged 14 or older with special needs was welcome for dinner, dancing and karaoke, with volunteers providing such services as hair-styling and shoe-shining, plus entertainment activities such as facepainting. At the evening’s end, all guests were crowned as kings or queens of the prom. More photos page 22. ►

AROUND TOWN A ‘family photographer’ for refugees


Plans to install traffic lights or build a roundabout at the Dunwoody Club Drive/Jett Ferry Road intersection received a mixed reaction from residents who attended a Feb. 8 public meeting. The cities of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody presented those two plans that they hope would curb the amount of wrecks at the intersection, which is on the cities’ border and is currently a fourway stop. About 100 residents attended the open house meeting at Dunwoody Community Church. There wasn’t a clear favorite proposal from the crowd. Several residents’ concerns centered on making sure this project is necessary by doing a traffic study on the effectiveness of recently-installed flashing lights on the See TRAFFIC on page 14

Peachtree Middle draws criticism for handling of bullying incident BY EVELYN ANDREWS

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


Peachtree Charter Middle School administration is drawing criticism for its late response to allegations that a teacher bullied and assaulted a student. The incident is the latest for a school that was previously under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to curb discrimination and bullying. A teacher who reportedly tripped a student and used anti-Semitic comments against Jewish students was not removed See PEACHTREE on page 13

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Dunwoody Green sold for $900K to Crim Development

New renderings of the Dunwoody Green project show the expected layout of the project.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The city’s Urban Renewal Agency has approved an agreement to sell the Dunwoody Green property for $900,000 to Crim Development, moving forward a plan for unique restaurants to be built there. Crim Development is seeking to construct 20,000 square feet of restaurant and retail on 2.5 acres in what’s designated at the city’s Project Renaissance urban redevelopment plan. A small park space at the center of the project is included in preliminary plans. The site is now dubbed The Park at Georgetown. The acreage, at the intersection of North Shallowford Road and Dunwoody Park, is part of the Dunwoody Green commercial site within the larger Project Renaissance development. The URA owns the property and the site is an extension of a public purpose of Project Renaissance, which includes the creation of parks, new residential units and a multiuse trail system, according to Starling. Economic Development Director Michael Starling said the sale is expected to close in the

You’ re Invited ! City of Dunwoody

2018 State of the City


next few months. A construction date or timeline has not been determined. Crim Development, based in Sandy Springs, is currently developing a 5,900-square-foot retail building at the corner of Mount Vernon Road and Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, the site of a former car wash. Early plans for that site included a Rize Artisan Pizza, but according to reports that lease was broken last year. The Dunwoody Green part of Project Renaissance is intended to be a catalyst for additional development activity in the Georgetown area and North Shallowford Road Corridor, while also creating a sense of place for the community, he said. Project Renaissance goes back to 2012, when 35 acres were purchased by the city. The property now is owned by the URA. One parcel is the 16-acre property known as the “PVC Farm” — for its previously half-developed state with pipes sticking out of the ground — that City Council purchased for $5 million. The other is the 19-acre site of the former Emory Dunwoody Hospital. The city selected John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods as its development partner after an invitation for proposals. Wieland purchased some 13 acres and is nearly finished building more than 110 homes.

Please join Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia on Thursday, February 22nd at 6:30 p.m. for the 2018 State of the City!

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FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 9— NO. 4



The City Council approved Feb. 12 a $100,000 contract with Wolverton & Associates to design transportation improvements for Roberts Drive in preparation for the new location of Austin Elementary School slated to open in 2019. The traffic study submitted as part of the permitting for the new location of Austin Elementary School recommended a new traffic signal at the school’s public entrance coinciding with the existing Dunwoody Nature Center driveway, Public Works Director Michael Smith explained in a memo to the City Council. A right turn lane and left turn lane into the new entrance were also recommended based on the traffic expected to be generated by the school. The project also includes completing the sidewalk on the west side of Roberts Drive between Dunwoody Knoll and Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. “The project is currently unfunded but the city needs to begin design so that the work can be completed prior to the school opening in August 2019,” Smith stated. An $80,000 surplus in the Public Works’ 2017 professional services budget will be used to finance the design project with the additional $20,000 coming from the department’s 2018 professional services budget, he said.


Georgia Development Partners was awarded a $265,000 contract at the City Council’s Feb. 12 meeting to begin construction of a sidewalk improvements project on Womack Road between Tilly Mill Road and the existing sidewalk at Berman Commons. The purpose of this project is to fill a quarter-mile gap in the existing sidewalk at Womack Road and Tilly Mill Road, according to Public Works Director Michael Smith. Prior to starting construction, Public Works staff is working to obtain two temporary easements for slopes and 150 square feet of right-of-way at Tilly Mill Road and Womack Road. “Construction is scheduled to begin as soon as these easements are obtained so that curb and drainage can be installed prior to paving Womack Road this summer,” Smith stated in a memo to the City Council.


The city will pay Lose & Associates $324,000 for design services for the recently approved Brook Run Park improvements. The first phase of the Brook Run Park master plan includes improvements to the area known as the Great Lawn to include a performance stage and pavilion; a picnic and parking area; two multiuse fields at the back of the park that will include an overlook plaza, restroom and additional parking; a new vehicular entrance at Barclay Drive; a new open play field; and a disc golf course. Assistant City Manager Jessica Guinn told the City Council at its Feb. 12 meeting that she is hopeful construction can begin by early summer. Preliminary estimates for the Brook Run Park projects included $2.5 million for the new multiuse fields and its amenities and $1.3 million for the Great Lawn improvements. Guinn told the council members newer construction costs should be available by May.


The city is hosting its second public meeting to discuss the small area study for the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard area from I-285 to Winters Chapel Road at 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Crossroads Church, 4805 Tilly Mill Road. The study is intended to establish a community-based vision and action plan to guide investments and improvements within the study area. The first meeting was held in December and conceptual plans presented to participants show a broad recommendation to replace of some older apartment complexes — home to nearly 1,900 households — with mixed-use projects. The study of the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard area includes apartment complexes that the city once controversially targeted for replacement with a sports complex. Such a use is not in the current study, but it does show those apartments replaced with single-family houses and townhomes. The City Council last year hired TSW, an Atlanta-based planning firm, for $40,000 to conduct the study, which is expected to wrap up in March. The study area includes four older apartment complexes with racially and ethnically diverse residents. They are the Peachtree Place North with 309 units; Dunwoody Glen with 520 units; Lacota apartments with 266 units; and Dunwoody Village apartments with 794 apartments. There are 1,889 apartments in the study area.There are also dozens of single-family homes as well as commercial land use included in the study area that borders the cities of Peachtree Corners, Doraville and Chamblee. DUN

Community | 3

4 | Perimeter Business

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Perimeter Business

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 johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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

Stacy McClouse.


BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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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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.








Sandy Springs

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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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. 9— NO. 4

Commentary | 11


Around Town

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

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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Council balks at density, traffic for Grubb Properties project BY DYANA BAGBY



A proposed massive mixed-use development on Perimeter Center East is raising several concerns about traffic and density from the City Council. Grubb Properties made its first presentation of its proposed project, located on the site of the former City Hall, to the City Council Feb. 12. The project includes six residential buildings ranging in height from 12 to 16 stories and totaling 1,200 units, as well as a 19-story office tower. The proposed mixed-use development also includes four parking decks, 12,000 square feet of new retail on the ground level of the buildings along with a central 2-acre park as well as trails and bike paths. Plans are for the project to be divided into several phases and completely built out over a 10- to 15-year span. Grubb is seeking to rezone the 19.5acre tract at 41, 47, 53 Perimeter Center East from office institution to a Perimeter Center 2 district as defined in the recently approved Perimeter Center overlay district. The developer is also asking for three special land use permits. John Olson, planner with the Community Development Department, said the

A rendering of the site plan for the proposed mixed-use development on Perimeter Center East that includes six residential towers.

project aligns with the city’s goal of transitioning the area from a suburban regional center to an urban, walkable and livable mixed-use environment. Grubb would extend the existing southbound left-turn lane on the northern intersection of Perimeter Center East and Ashford-Dunwoody Road to mitigate the already congested Ashford-Dunwoody Road traffic in the area.

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Councilmember Terry Nall noted that the entire project includes a total of 1.7 million square feet but with only the minimal traffic improvement of one turn lane. “State Farm is 2.2 million square feet ... and they did a lot of road improvements,” he said. “Are we asking enough of traffic improvement for a project this size? It’s a massive project. Shouldn’t we at a minimum be looking at both turn lanes?” Public Works Director Michael Smith explained that while rush-hour traffic is heavy on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, the Grubb project’s traffic is expected to be more evenly distributed throughout the day due to its mixed-use nature. Councilmember Tom Lambert said the vision outlined in the Perimeter Center overlay district states there should be “limited residential” use in the area. “We’re looking at 1,200 residential units here. By no stretch of the imagination is that limited residential,” he said. He asked if Grubb Properties would be willing to lower that number. Clay Grubb, CEO of Grubb Properties, said that the project is not coming into the city and “trying to change the neighborhood overnight,” as it would be built out over more than a decade. He said he is open to conversation about the number of units. David Kirk of Troutman Sanders, attorney for Grubb Properties, also noted that people working at the State Farm regional headquarters and other new Perimeter Center offices will need places to live. By having people live close to their work and providing amenities such as restaurants and shopping close by, more people may walk and ride bikes in the area, Kirk added. Grubb Properties is proposing to extend biking and walking trails within its development to connect its residents to

the mall and retail in the area as well as continue its office shuttle service to the Dunwoody MARTA Station. “I happen to think 1,200 units is too much for the area already inundated with residential units,” Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said. There is an 87-unit townhome development under construction to the east of the project site, and five-story apartment complexes to the north and west of the site. Grubb Properties is promising that 900 of the units will be owner-occupied and 300 will be rental. Grubb Properties is also proposing plans to renovate the 6-story office building that housed City Hall (41 Perimeter Center East) and the 6-story office building immediately to the southwest (47 Perimeter Center East) to include ground level retail. Along the south portion of the site, closer to I-285, the developer plans to demolish the 5-story office building (53 Perimeter Center East) to construct the 19-story office tower. No one from the public showed up to the meeting to speak against the proposed development. Robert Wittenstein, former Dunwoody Homeowners Association president, who worked with Grubb Properties during its planning, spoke in favor and said Dunwoody needs high-rise development in the city. “I know of empty-nesters who moved to Buckhead because they wanted highrise living. This kind of development is important,” he said. The Planning Commission unanimously approved recommending the project in December. The council is expected to discuss and vote on the development at its next meeting on Feb. 26. If the project is approved, construction could begin as soon as this summer. DUN

FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 9— NO. 4


Community | 13

Peachtree Middle draws criticism for handling of bullying incident Continued from page 1 from the classroom until weeks after students reported the incidents in December, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The school board representative for the school, Stan Jester, criticized the school for its late response to allegations and said bullying is a widespread problem at Peachtree Middle. Jester himself has been the subject of a January complaint alleging that he bullied a former Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation member. Lauren Menis, the founder of the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-Semitism, said that the teacher should not have remained in the classroom. “If a teacher accused of something like this is still in a class teaching, that’s not good,” she said. Menis said she was most concerned by the severity of the allegations and how the school responded. “This appears to go beyond hate to actual assault,” she said. The DeKalb County School District did not respond to requests for comment. SPECIAL She said it’s in- Lauren Menis, founder evitable that some of the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-Semitism. bullying will occur in schools, but schools need to be prepared to handle it and be proactive. “Bad things happen and are going to. What’s important is how the principal and administration reacts,” she said. She said school administration and district leaders need to keep communication lines open, including by sending schoolwide emails, and check in with families. “When you have an administration that doesn’t address an incident, you end up with students who feel isolated and anxious,” Menis said. “A child shouldn’t go to a school and feel unsafe.” The group held a forum on preventing anti-Semitism and other forms of bullying in schools last year, which was not attended by a representative for Peachtree Middle, Menis said. The participants, which included representatives from over 20 schools, signed a pledge at the forum that they would implement strategies to prevent bullying, she said. The Anti-Defamation League, who helped lead the AIAAS school forum, has reached out to Peachtree Middle, but does not have all the information about the incident, so Southeast Regional Director Allison Padilla-Goodman declined to comment on the specific incident. She said the organization has worked with Peachtree Middle to reduce bullying DUN

and sent materials to them in the past. “We’re always concerned when instances of discrimination and bullying hit the headlines,” Padilla-Goodman said. Jester, who represents Region 1 on the DeKalb Board of Education, said he is disappointed the school administration did not respond more quickly. “I’m disappointed with the way the leadership handled this issue. Nothing was done until the mother went to the media,” he said. He said bullying and the school leadership not being able to protect the students is a systematic problem. The DeKalb County School District signed an agreement with the Department of Justice in 2013 to take steps to reduce bullying in Peachtree Middle after a complaint alleged a student was targeted with verbal and physical harassment because of his Sikh faith. The agreement ended in 2015, but Jester said the department or school district may need to step in again to prevent bullying incidents at the school. “I would like to see the school SPECIAL district or DeDeKalb County partment of JusBoard of Education tice take whatever representative Stan Jester. steps necessary,” he said. The complaint included allegations that the student was called “Aladdin” because he wore a turban and was told by a fellow student to “go back to his country,” according to the agreement. The Department of Justice also found that the district had not investigated witness statements that the student had been called a “terrorist.” The department investigation also found that the disciplinary measures were not severe enough to stop the bullying, the agreement said. The district agreed to revise its policies and procedures that address harassment and bullying and train Peachtree Middle students and staff on religious and national origin harassment, the agreement said. Jester himself has been the subject of a complaint that he threatened and bullied the former co-chair of the Peachtree Middle foundation. She resigned because she did not feel “secure” making decisions or suggestions for the school due to Jester’s behavior in a Dec. 14 meeting, according to the complaint. Jester maintains that her allegations are unfounded, and that she was part of the bullying problem at the school. “I was complaining at the time that she was part of the bullying issue, then she accused me of being part of the problem,” Jester said.

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14 | Community

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Traffic signal, roundabout proposed for Dunwoody Club and Jett Ferry Continued from page 1

One proposal by the cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs is to create a one-lane roundabout in the Dunwoody Club Drive and Jett Ferry Road intersection. The project would cost an estimated $1.5 million.


four stop signs in the intersection. The roundabout would be a one-lane roundabout with a landscaped center median. It is designed to slow down traffic, but keep traffic flowing at a constant speed of around 15 mph, said Patricia Cooley, a consultant with engineering firm CALYX. The traffic signal plan would add dedicated left turn lanes to every side of the intersection. Each light would also have a left turn arrow, said Joe Gillis, the traffic manager for Sandy Springs projects funded under a transportation special local option sales tax. Crosswalks would also be added to the two sides that don’t currently have them. The roundabout is estimated to cost $1.5 million. The traffic light proposal would cost an estimated $1.2 million. The two cities plan to split the cost, Gillis said. The project was mostly prompted by the amount of accidents in the intersection, Gillis said. Drivers don’t always completely stop at the signs, and they can be overlooked, he said. Between 2014 and 2017, there were 40 accidents in the intersection, according to a handout distributed at the meeting. “The big thing we have to look at is safety,” Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal said at the meeting. Sandy Springs Councilmember John Paulson, like many residents, said he wants a study done to determine if the flashing, solar-powered lights that were installed last December have been effective at alerting drivers to the stop sign. The intersection is neighbored on the west by a residential area and immediately surrounded by a Chevron gas station, a CVS pharmacy and a Kroger supermarket. On the northwest corner of the intersection is the Dunwoody Country Club and a “butterfly garden” that is maintained by the Spalding Garden Club, which is concerned by the plans because they would destroy part of the garden. The cities would have to negotiate with those commercial property owners for right of way they would need for both projects. However, neither project would need to take any property from residential owners, according to the designs. Barbara Meehan, the chair of the Spalding Garden Club, which has maintained the garden between the Dunwoody Country Club and the intersection since 1989, said she is concerned by how much of the garden could be lost if the plans move forward. DUN

FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 9— NO. 4

Community | 15


Another proposal is to add traffic signals and left turn lanes to the intersection. This option is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

“We think it should be considered when they are making decisions,” Meehan said. Sixty feet of the front of the garden and 12 feet on the sides of the garden

would be removed in either plan, Cooley said. Paulson said he will wait to review resident feedback before choosing a preferred proposal, but said he is not

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Lucy Lansky, said she thought a roundabout could not handle the high traffic in that area. She feared a roundabout would cause more accidents due the amount of cars that travel through the intersection. “I am not an expert, but I think a roundabout is better for light traffic,” she said. But she said she supports the plan to add traffic signals, saying the stop signs do not move traffic through quickly enough and can be dangerous. “The stop signs are not good enough,” she said. Gillis could not provide exact numbers on how each plan would improve traffic compared to the current conditions, but said both proposals would provide enough of an improvement to be considered viable solutions. Another Sandy Springs resident, Bob Barnaby, said he favors the roundabout proposal because it would keep traffic flowing and would not be subject to signal timing issues. The proposals can be viewed at spr. gs/dunwoodyclub. Comments on the proposals can be emailed to traffic@ sandyspringsga.gov.

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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.




Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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




“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.



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.

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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.


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.

Call 404-497-1020 for an appointment!


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18 | Community

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Bowhunting in the ’burbs: Backyard deer-stalking draws fans and foes BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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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.

Perimeter North Family Medicine Welcoming new patients! Perimeter North Family Medicine is proud to serve the families throughout the Atlanta area. Dr. Mithun Daniel provides comprehensive, patient-centered care to patients of all ages, and offers a full range of medical services, including chronic disease management, preventative care, acute illness care, mental health services and specialized care for men and women’s health. We accept most insurance plans and offer a convenient location for the families of the Greater Atlanta area.

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20 | Public Safety

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‘Safest cities’ website rankings don’t mean much, expert says BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

“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


Reporter Classifieds


Affordable Senior Condo for Sale/Lease – Affordable Senior Living Condos. Purchase or Rent - Mount Vernon Village in Sandy Springs HOA includes: All Utilities, 1 Meal/Day, Housekeeping, Laundry, + lots more. Call today Kim at Dunwoody Brokers 404-414-8307 or kim@dunwoodybrokers.com

PETS FOR SALE 3 male registered Shih Tzu’s 7 months old. Call 404-386-3282.

Personal & Professional Services Directory

Yoga Teacher Training March 31st 2018

Certify to Teach all adult populations: Comprehensive mind/ body/spirit curriculum, Yoga Alliance, 200 hr. certification, CEUs

Personal & Professional Growth Opportunity in Atlanta, GA


Bob Saye Tutoring Experienced Tutor for High and Middle School, Marist References


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CEMETERY PLOT Arlington Memorial – 3 lots for sale in the Calvary Section located in lot 276D, spaces 2, 3 & 4. Asking $5,900 each or $17,000 for all. This section is almost sold out and prices through the cemetery would be $,6,900 each. Beautiful views and the most desirable section. will assist inad showing. PlaceCemetery your SERVICES here!

Health Instructors

Pet Sitters



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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House Cleaners


FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 4

Hair Stylists

Life Coaches

Insurance Agents

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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A night to shine

An informational meeting will be held Wednesday, February 21, 2018. Public hearings will be held: Planning Commission – Tuesday, February 27 Mayor and Council on Tuesday, March 20 All meetings will be held at

6:00 pm at City Hall Council Chambers 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500

Documents will be available at spr.gs/developmentcode





“Night to Shine,” a prom for people with special needs, was held Feb. 9 at First Baptist Church Atlanta. The prom was one of many around the country organized by the foundation of former pro football player Tim Tebow. Anyone aged 14 or older with special needs was welcome. At the evening’s end, all guests were crowned as kings or queens of the prom Top, Enjoying the dance are, from left, John Gross; Devvall Johnson, sporting Batman facepaint; and Dameon Robinson. Middle, Volunteer Abigail Gentry helps a guest apply makeup. Above, Junia Irvin, right, escorted by volunteer Lisa Hokett, is welcomed to the prom on the red carpet. DUN

FEB. 16 - MAR. 1, 2018 • VOL. 9— NO. 4

Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Dunwoody From Dunwoody Police reports dated Feb. 4 through Feb. 10. The following information was pulled from Dunwoody’s Police-2-Citizen website.

B U R G L A RY 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 6, in the early morning, a burglary incident was reported at a coffee shop. Suspects were arrested. Among their belongings included an electrical saw, blow torch, pry bar and a wrench. 5400 block of Peachtree Road — On

Feb. 7, a woman reported her home had been burglarized after she left for the day. Missing from her dresser was a jewelry box containing more than $1,000 worth of jewelry. Other drawers around the house had been rummaged through.


block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 4, in the evening, a man said $200 worth of gift cards and $100 cash were missing from his car. 4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 4, in the evening, a man reported computer hardware stolen from his car. The window was forced.

ing clothes from a department store.

stolen from a car.

man was arrested on a charge for fraud.

1200 block of Hammond Drive — On


block of Ashford-Dunwoody Drive — On Feb. 7, at night, a man was arrested and charged with stealing groceries from a discount superstore.

100 block of Perimeter Center West —


— On Feb. 9, after midnight, a woman was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Feb. 5, in the evening, a man reported his cellphone missing. 1200 block of Hammond Drive —

On Feb. 5, in the evening, a man stole $25,000 worth of fragrance from a discount retailer. A warrant is out for his arrest. 100 block of Perimeter

Center Place — On Feb. 6, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with stealing $200 worth of household goods from a superstore. Road — On Feb. 6, in the afternoon, an unknown suspect entered the victim’s landscaping truck parked on the street and took more than $2,000 worth of tools. block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 6, in the evening, a woman was arrested after a store employee saw her place jewelry in her purse. She was also found in possession of marijuana. 100 block of Perimeter Center East — On Feb. 6, in the evening, a Ford Fusion was reported stolen. An officer observed the car entering the highway but was unable to pursue it due to heavy traffic.

4700 block of Ashford-Dun-

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 5, in the morning, someone stole a cell phone charger from a discount superstore. 2300 block of Dunwoody Crossing —

Between the morning of Feb. 5 and late Feb. 7, someone removed the wheels from a Honda. 4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 5 in the morning, a woman was arrested and charged with stealing pet supplies from a discount superstore. 4700 block of Ashford-Dunwoody

Road — On Feb. 5, in the afternoon, two people were arrested and charged with shoplifting from a discount superstore. 4300

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 5, in the evening, a woman was arrested and charged with stealDUN

1200 block of Ashford Center Parkway — On Feb. 5, an 88-year-old woman made a complaint about a battery incident.

2300 block of Dunwoody Crossing — On Feb. 5, at night, officers responded to a stabbing incident involving multiple victims. A suspect was arrested.


Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 4, at night, a man said two iPads were stolen from his Lexus.


4, in the afternoon, a welfare check led to the arrest of a man, who was charged with simple assault.

500 block of Ball Mill

4700 block of Ashford-

woody Road — On Feb. 4, at night, a man reported his right rear window to his car busted. Missing was a bookbag containing a laptop and a tablet.

5300 block of Saffron Drive — On Feb.

2200 block of Dunwoody Crossing —

On Feb. 7, in the early morning, a Ford Econoline was reported stolen. 1400 block of Mount Vernon Road

— On Feb. 7, during the day, an iPad and paperwork were stolen from a car parked in a church parking lot. 4500

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 7, in the morning, a man was arrested and charged with stealing a pair of headphones from a department store. 4500

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 7, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting, resisting an officer and providing false representations to police. 4300

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 7, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting a North Face vest at a department store. 5500 block of Chamblee-Dunwoody

Road — On Feb. 7, at night, a laptop was


On Feb. 8, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with larceny. 100 block of Perimeter Center West


block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 9, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with violating probation. 4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 9, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with violating probation. 4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 10, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with violating probation. 4800

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 10, in the morning, a man was arrested and charged with violating probation.


WB/Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 5, a man was arrested and charged with DUI after an officer pulled him over for reckless driving and improper lane usage.

I-285 EB/ Perimeter Center Parkway —

500 block of Binghamton Drive — On


OT H E R I N C I D E N T S On Feb. 4, at midnight, officers responded to a hit-and-run.

Feb. 6, in the morning, a woman was arrested and charged with failing to properly register her vehicle. She was also driving with a suspended license and registration, as well as an expired tag.

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 4, at night, an officer attempted to stop a silver Dodge Charger. The driver refused to stop and fled, heading the wrong way. The vehicle was not pursued or located again.

I-285 WB/Peachtree Road — On Feb. 7,

1400 block of North Springs Drive —

in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license after an officer responded to an auto accident.

On Feb. 6, in the morning, the victim reported a fraud incident of impersonation.


6, in the morning, a 70-year-old man said he received marijuana gummy bears in the U.S. mail that he had no knowledge of.

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 7, at noon, a man was arrested and charged with failing to appear. 4700 block of 4700 block of Ash-

ford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 7, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with failing to appear. 100 block of Perimeter Cir-

cle — On Feb. 7, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license and failing to obey traffic control devices. 5400 block of Chamblee-Dunwoody

Road — On Feb. 8, in the morning, a

1600 block of Damon Court — On Feb.

4500 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 6, at noon, a juvenile was found trespassing inside a department store.

1800 block of Cotillion Drive — On Feb. 6, in the afternoon, a victim of credit fraud reported the situation via email.

5300 block of Manhasset Cove — On

Feb. 7, in the afternoon, a victim reported a credit fraud incident.

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

Brandon Hall

Yourong Geng Star Student

The Galloway School

The Lovett School

Abby Shlesinger Star Student

MariaPaola Jimenez Star Teacher

Marist School

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

Pace Academy

Eric Nathan Miller Star Student

Thomas Henderson Star Teacher

Harrison Lewis Star Student

Weber School

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


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