03-02-18 Sandy Springs Reporters

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MARCH 2 - 15, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 5


Sandy Springs Reporter



► Democratic candidates for governor stake out positions PAGE 4 ► City to require short-term rental registration, licensing PAGE 2

Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs EXCLUSIVE SERIES

Life after death: Families turn obituaries into protests against the stigma of addiction


New highway toll lanes could have major neighborhood impacts BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net New toll lanes on I-285 and Ga. 400 could tower 30 feet or higher over neighborhoods on elevated ramps, eat into back yards, and plug major interchanges into such local streets as Mount Vernon Highway and Raider Drive in a state conceptual design that could start construction within five years. The “managed lanes” could have massive impacts on neighborhood character, local traffic and mass transit options, but the concepts remain largely unknown to the general public. The city of Sandy Springs is protesting parts of the concepts and suggesting some alternatives, but mostly behind the scenes. The Georgia Department of Transportation’s first public meetings for the Ga. 400 lanes are expected to be held late this year after the conceptual designs are more solid. A rare public display of the behind-theSee NEW on page 14


Larry and Peggy Lord display a childhood photo of their sons Ashby and Hunter. Ashby, at right, died of a heroin overdose last year.



n a Sunday afternoon last April, the moment Larry Lord had dreaded for roughly two decades finally happened. His wife, Peggy, found their 35-year-old son Ashby no longer breathing in the basement of their ranch home on Sandy Springs’ Mount Paran Road. She tried performing CPR and called 911. But nothing the paramedics did could revive Ashby after a heroin overdose. Larry was devastated. Like many family members after a death, he faced the task of writing an obituary so that newspapers and the funeral home could inform their loved ones. Larry, an architect, considered himself a problem-solver.

First of a 4-Part Series The combination of prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids is killing people around the nation, including within Reporter Newspapers communities. In this exclusive four-part series, we will look at how local families, nurses, prosecutors, recovering addicts and others are responding to a growing epidemic that already kills more people than cars, guns or breast cancer each year. To share your thoughts and stories, email editor@reporternewspapers.net

A doctor’s overview of the opioid crisis. See Commentary, page 10 ► Usually, he could sketch out new doors or windows to make design problems disappear. He’d written obituaries, too,

most recently for his first wife and Ashby’s mother, Shannon, after she died from complications of cancer. But the circumstances of Ashby’s life posed difficult questions in how to talk about his death. Euphemisms are a tradition of sorts for overdose victims. Their obituaries say that they left this world or entered eternal rest while glossing over how it happened. The reasons vary from not speaking ill of the dead to a fear that it might reflect poorly on the living. “For many years, you never saw the word ‘addiction’ in an obit,” says Dr. Frances Levin, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University Medical Center. “That’s because of the stigma related to Continued on page 8

City fears new state laws would end local controls BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The city fears that several new state legislative proposals would undo recent local laws, from apartment construction to pet sales. One example is a proposed law that would kill Sandy Springs’ restriction on using wood to build large multifamily housing complexes. The proposal is “disastrous” and would allow “cheap apartments,” Mayor Rusty Paul is complaining. But state Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park), the bill’s lead sponsor, says the law would simply allow developers to be free to choose See CITY on page 13

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City to require short-term rental registration, licensing BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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The city will require short-term rental properties listed on such services as Airbnb to be registered and licensed with the city starting May 1 — if a state law doesn’t preempt the new regulation system. The regulations approved by the City Council Feb. 20 are intended to make sure that short-term rental spaces meet city code standards and that their operators pay the required hotel/motel taxes. The system will include a business license fee to be determined. If approved, the short-term rental operator would receive a one-year permit. Owners of short-term rentals will be required to provide detailed records of rental activity to the city and give emergency contact information to everyone living within 500 feet. Registration and compliance will be contracted to a company called Host Compliance at a cost previously estimated by city officials at $21,000 a year. The wild card is House Bill 579, which could limit local regulation of short-term rentals. Sandy Springs officials are especially concerned about a provision that would allow companies like Airbnb to pay taxes on behalf of their users without identifying them, making it difficult or impossible for the city to know whether the rental units comply with fire codes and other requirements. Jim Tolbert, the city’s top planning official, previously called the bill “frightening” and “dangerous.” State Rep. Matt Dollar (R-Marietta), the lead sponsor of the bill, represents part of Sandy Springs and has heard an earful from local officials. He says a rewrite is coming, but Sandy Springs officials remain concerned at this point. After the Feb. 20 City Council meeting, City Attorney Dan Lee said he believes the bill as written would violate Article IX of the Georgia Constitution, which gives local governments broad authority to conduct planning and zoning. Sandy Springs explicitly allowed short-term rentals for the first time in its new zoning code, which went into effect late last year. A short-term rental is any owner-occupied dwelling with space rented out for 30 days or less. The new regulations are amendments to the city’s licensing and permitting code to further tighten regulation. Tolbert has said he would like to see many of its provisions added to Dollar’s bill. The city is concerned that short-term rentals can create safety and quality-of-life problems and may alter the housing market to displace long-term tenants or homeowners. Tolbert previously said that in November, he found 211 short-term rentals offered in Sandy Springs via 10 different online companies. In 2016, a Reporter Newspapers review of the services Airbnb and Corporate Housing By Owner found dozens of local listings. Some of them were the type that concern city officials, such as a Buckhead “party house,” apartments being sub-rented against management’s rules, and a Perimeter Center condo that had served solely as a short-term rental investment property since 2010. The city has discarded one regulatory idea that Tolbert previously proposed: requiring the property owner to be present during any rental. City Council members rejected that idea, he said.


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Community Briefs CITY T O R EVA MP F IRE TR U C K F L EET F O R $ 4. 3M

The city will spend about $4.3 million to revamp its fire truck fleet with smaller, more nimble vehicles in a combination of purchase and trade-in. Fire Rescue Chief Keith Sanders said most of the current fleet vehicles are too large to move easily through congested traffic and can’t fit in some apartment complexes. The weight of trucks also increases maintenance costs, he said. The purchase from truck-maker Pierce includes three pumpers and three “aerials,” or ladder trucks, which will take 13 months to be built and delivered. The department’s three current aerial trucks will be traded in for about $1.4 million. Two existing pumpers will remain in the fleet, and another new one is already on order and expected to start serving the panhandle area this month. That panhandle truck is currently housed at a Roswell fire station in a joint operation deal. Sanders said at the City Council’s Jan. 23 retreat that he and City Manager John McDonough are looking at purchasing a residential property somewhere in the panhandle to convert into a fire station.


A new street “grid” or a dual roundabout are the two new design options for the Mount Vernon Highway/Johnson Ferry Road intersection that the city of Sandy Springs will unveil for public comment at two meetings on March 8. City officials clearly favored the “grid” — which eliminates the intersection and makes the roads parallel — at a presentation at the City Council retreat in January, citing it as the least expensive and

most traffic-efficient option. But it also would require taking several commercial properties and, apparently, running a new cut-through street on the grounds of the Sandy Springs Branch Library. The city meetings are scheduled for Thursday, March 8, with the first running 10 a.m. to noon and the second running 6 to 8 p.m., both at Congregation B’nai Torah, 700 Mount Vernon Highway. The meetings will be in an open-house format, meaning there will be no presentation, but city officials and hired consultants will answer questions. The current intersection is an unusual X-shaped configuration complicated by Boylston Drive entering from the south. Located just a block east of busy Roswell Road, the intersection is known as dangerous and gridlocked during rush hour, though traffic can be light at most other times.


The Sandy Springs Conservancy, a nonprofit parks advocacy organization, has announced the formation of a new “Friends of the Conservancy” group. Members will get guided tours of parks and similar activities. The new group, whose membership comes at a donation of $35 or more, will debut at a March 18 “SpringMingle” event at Lost Corner Preserve. The event will include an announcement of the winners of a parks photo contest, which the Reporter Newspapers co-sponsored. The Conservancy is also continuing its annual “Thought Leaders” dinner with a high-profile parks expert. The dinner is usually held in March, but this year’s edition is being delayed until the fall in hopes of holding it in the city’s new City Springs facility, according to Executive Director Melody Harclerode.

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Stacey Abrams, right, speaks while Stacey Evans listens at the Feb. 22 forum.

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The governor’s race came to Sandy Springs Feb. 22, as Democratic contenders Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans appeared at a private candidates forum hosted by the Jewish Democrat-

ic Women’s Salon, a Facebook-based group with more than 1,000 members. The “two Staceys” are both former state representatives who hope to replace term-limited Republican incumbent Nathan Deal in this fall’s election. At the forum, held at Heritage Sandy Springs, they largely agreed on such


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issues as regional and statewide mass transit; expanding Medicaid and the HOPE Scholarship program for higher education; and supporting small businesses as well as the state currently incentivizes such big businesses as Amazon. Both Democrats would veto laws allowing firearms on college campuses. Evans added that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been “bullied out of” studying gun violence by a federal funding restriction, she would order a state-level study as governor. The candidates also agreed that “religious liberty” legislation is intended as discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. To end it once and for all, however, Evans said moderate Republican lawmakers would keep it from a vote, while Abrams called for a forceful statement that LGBT Georgians will be protected by the state. Differences emerged on the tactics Democrats should use to break their statewide office losing streak, while also being able to work with Republicans in the legislature. Abrams called for motivating disengaged Democrats, saying that “we spend millions of dollars trying to convince Republican women in the suburbs that they really meant to be Democrats [and] they were just confused. That has not worked, not once.” Evans, by contrast, said, “You can’t be afraid to persuade,” while acknowledging that still won’t flip a Republican area at the ballot box but can move policy forward. Abrams and Evans also discussed their differing votes in 2016 on a state law banning large contracts with anyone who supports the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which seeks to pressure Israel into making various policy changes seen as favorable to Palestinians. Evans voted in the favor of the ban, saying it shows a pro-Israel position, while Abrams voted against it, saying she respects the civil right of boycotting, while finding this particular version to be “wrong” and “anti-Semitic.” Among the approximately 200 people attending the forum were state Sen. Jen Jordan, a Democrat who recently won the Buckhead-area District 6 seat; Sandy Springs City Councilmember Andy Bauman; Bobby Kaple, one of the Democrats seeking to challenge U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in 6th Congressional District this year; and Mike Wilensky, a Democrat seeking to replace Republican Tom Taylor in Dunwoody’s House District 79. The primary election is scheduled for May 22. Republican contenders currently campaigning include Casey Cagle, Hunter Hill, Brian Kemp, Clay Tippin, Marc Alan Urbach and Michael Williams.

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6 | Arts & Entertainment

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Celebrate the Atlanta Science Festival [atlantasciencefestival. org] with the Blue Heron Nature Preserve by taking a naturalist-led family hike and scavenger hunt at the preserve’s Emma Wetlands. Free. 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info: bhnp.org.

Monday, March 12 to Saturday, March 17

The Sandy Springs Tennis Center, a public facility with 24 lighted courts, offers a week of free tennis activities for adults and kids in this second annual event. Tennis instruction, prizes, drawings and refreshments. 500 Abernathy Road, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringstennis.com.

Saturday, March 17, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

The festival returns for its ninth year with a diverse musical lineup of local, national and international musicians performing in locations throughout metro Atlanta including the Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Buckhead and the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody. Highlights include Grammy winner Marc Cohn, Yemenite funk group Yemen Blues, and a special presentation of Billy Joel by ATL Collective. Tickets and other info: atlantajmf.org.

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ATLANTA CONCERT BAND Sunday, March 11, 4 p.m.

The Atlanta Concert Band presents “The British Folk Revival,” a concert featuring British composers. Free; donations accepted. Ahavath Achim Synagogue, 600 Peachtree Battle Ave. NW, Buckhead. Info: atlantaconcertband.org.

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Free screenings for adults include tests for non-fasting cholesterol and glucose, coronary risk profile, osteoporosis, cancer risk and audiology. Advance registration requested. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta at Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: 678-8124063 or atlantajcc.org/pldb-live/northside-health-screenings-37527.


Saturday, March 10, 11 a.m. Master Gardener Tielke Baker discusses planning, planting and harvesting maximum production from small space gardening in an event presented by Dunwoody Community Garden and Orchard. DCGO greenhouse complex, opposite the skate park at Brook Run Park. 4770 Georgia Way South, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.


ry Center’s Cherokee Garden Library, will speak about the state’s historic gardens at this month’s meeting of the Dunwoody Garden Club. The club meets monthly on second Wednesdays from September through May. Free. North DeKalb Cultural Center, Room 4, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. Info: dunwoodygardenclub.com.



Enjoy free admission and special programs on the second Sunday of each month.

FREE TAX FILING Ongoing through Saturday, April 14

The Community Assistance Center in Sandy Springs is offering free tax preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which is an initiative of the IRS and United Way. Certified VITA tax prep volunteers will prepare and file tax returns for low- to moderate-income households earning up to $55,000 in 2017. Appointments required. CAC also offers training for VITA volunteers. 1130 Hightower Trail, Sandy Springs. Info: 770-552-4889, ext. 260 or email vita@ourcac.org.

Thursday, March 8, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Emory scholar Dr. Jonathan Crane will discuss ethical concerns about self-driving cars at Temple Emanu-El as part of the synagogue’s TE Talks speaker series. A Q&A will follow his presentation. Crane is the Schinazi Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought at Emory University’s Center for Ethics. Free, registration required. 1580 Spalding Drive, Sandy Springs. Registration: templeemanuelatlanta.org/calendar.


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AUTHOR TALK: “UNAFRAID” Tuesday, March 13, 7 p.m.

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Bestselling author and pastor Adam Hamilton visits Dunwoody United Methodist Church to discuss and sign copies of his book, “Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times,” one of Publishers Weekly’s “Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018.” $16, includes a copy of the book. Registration required. 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyumc.org.

HISTORIC GARDENS OF GEORGIA Wednesday, March 14, 9:30 a.m.

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Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs


Life after death: Families turn obituaries into protests against the stigma of addiction

A young Ashby Lord on the beach in a family photo held by his father Larry. At right, Ashby’s obituary as it appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Continued from page 1 addictive disorders.” But with opioid deaths becoming increasingly common — roughly 50,000 people fatally overdosed in 2016 alone — more families are calling out addiction by its name to break the cycle of the stigma and shame associated with the disease. Like the well-worn tactic of holding a protest sign at a rally, the obituary has turned into a form of activism against the stigma of addiction. These obituaries include words of caution or advice. One for a 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman who died of a heroin overdose in 2016 reads: “The disease of addiction thrives in darkness and must be defeated in the light.” Another, written in 2015 for a 24-year-old Ohio man killed by heroin, offers: “They used to say it takes a community to raise a child. Today, we need to say that it takes a community to battle addiction. Someone you know is battling addiction; if your ‘gut instinct’ says something is wrong, it most likely is.” “I believe in honest expression,” Lar-

ry said in a recent interview at the family home. “You read about someone who died. You want to know. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t write about Ashby’s addiction.” Hours after Ashby died, Larry cleared off a space on his cluttered dining room table and started to write. He thought about how Ashby had grappled with the fear that myotonic dystrophy, an incurable genetic disease he’d inherited from his mother, might undercut his boldest ambitions. He started smoking pot as a student at the Galloway School in Buckhead, which later derailed his short-lived college soccer career, and spent his life cycling between using opioids and doing time in treatment. Larry wrote an opening line that went straight to the point: “Jonathan Ashby Lord, 35, died at home in Atlanta April 9, 2017, after a long struggle with myotonic dystrophy and drug addiction.” From there, Larry was faced with tougher decisions about the stark details. Do you mention the sight of Ashby’s cold, white lips on that fatal Sunday? Do you talk about the failed rehab


attempts? Do you gloss over the worst parts or mention it all to warn others? Larry’s wife, Peggy, urged him to be as candid as he felt comfortable doing. She remembered her sister’s response after learning how Ashby died: “Didn’t they go to church as children? Ashby wouldn’t have a drug problem if he’d come to church.” Peggy understood that talking about his disease as if it was a heart attack might have the power to demystify the nature of addiction. She felt the obituary might help others be more open — and if they were more open, perhaps they could work together to press for more research into the disease. Larry cranked out a first draft. He asked Peggy and his brother to give it a quick read. He’d gotten off to a good start, they told him. But what if he mentioned more about the good times to

capture Ashby’s full humanity? Larry agreed. Together, they added more details about how he loved playing with animals and talking to strangers. “Despite Ashby’s valiant struggle to overcome his drug addiction, the scourge of myotonic dystrophy coupled with addiction became a barrier to his creativity and athleticism,” Larry wrote. “Fortunately, this never interfered with Ashby’s love of animals, for which he had a special magnetism, or his particular talent for making friends with a wide variety of people.” From Brookhaven to Gainesville,

MARCH 2 - 15, 2018

Community | 9


other Georgia families have joined the Lords in acknowledging the role addiction played in a loved one’s death. Steve Ethridge hoped that writing about his younger brother’s death might lead to further research. On July 5, 2017, Timothy Ethridge was found dead in his Doraville residence. In the obituary, his family decided to write about how they had “watched in horror as his health declined” due to his alcohol and drug addiction. Steve, the author of the obituary, said the news should be out in “plain view” to show how bad addiction could get. “We decided to talk about it to help other people,” said his mother Edna, a resident of Brookhaven. “It ran in the [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. I think it definitely helped others.” That was the hope of Kathy Fowler, a former DeKalb County elementary school teacher, after discovering that her 31-year-old son Joseph overdosed on heroin this past September. Joseph, a former student at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College in Dunwoody, had stayed clean for at eight months thanks to a recovery program. He’d found a job working as a cook in north Georgia. “Due to a heroin overdose, the light of a funny, intelligent, kind-hearted spirit was taken from our lives by a senseless and relentless drug,” Kathy wrote in the

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obituary. “Our family asks that you realize that no one is immune to the epidemic of opioid and heroin addiction that encumbers our culture.” When Larry finished Ashby’s obituary, he spoke with a minister to make sure the same sort of message would be conveyed at Ashby’s memorial service. Later that week, everyone from childhood friends to fellow former drug users in recovery traveled to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta to say one last goodbye to Ashby. They heard his story for better and worse. Some offered Larry condolences. Others thanked him for being honest. In talking about his son’s life, they said, he might somehow save the lives of other sons and daughters still in the throes of opioid addiction. Throughout that week, Larry says, several people had asked him, “What would you do differently?” “That’s the one that’s the hardest to answer,” he said. But one thing he wouldn’t change is those words in the obituary.

Max Blau is an Atlantabased journalist who has written about healthcare, drugs and addiction for such outlets as the Boston Globe and CNN.

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Commentary / The opioid epidemic: An American problem Editor’s Note: In this issue, Reporter Newspapers launches the special four-part series “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid Addiction in the Suburbs,” about local responses to an epidemic that is killing people nationwide and right here in our communities. Opioids are a class of addictive, often easily lethal drugs that include opium and morphine as well as substances with similar effects. Many opioids have legitimate medical uses for painkilling, but also can produce physical addiction and a sense of euphoria that attracts recreational drug users. National con-

troversy has raged over opioids available as prescription pills, such as oxycodone, while illegal varieties such as heroin and fentanyl now kill the most people through overdoses. Together, these opioids present complex problems to solve in both supply and demand. Hospital emergency rooms are a front line where opioids can be administered and where overdoses can be treated. The Reporter asked one local ER doctor to discuss the scope of the opioid crisis and what it brings through his doors every day.

A doctor’s overview of the opioid crisis

became requirements with ramifications An opioid epidemic is sweeping this for financial reimbursements to healthcountry. The National Institutes of Health’s care entities. This led to the near univer(NIH) Institute on Drug Abuse currently essal adoption of pain as the fifth vital sign timates that 115 Americans die daily from in U.S. hospitals. So, when you come to opioid overdose. The NIH reports that 25 the Emergency Department with bronpercent of “chronic pain patients” misuse chitis or to have an insect reopioids, and 10 percent of those moved from your ear canal, patients develop an “opioid use you will be asked, “What is disorder.” Five percent of those your Pain Score?” patients will eventually move This did not go unnoticed on to heroin. Eighty percent of by the pharmaceutical comheroin users misused prescrippanies. OxyContin, a longtion opioids first. acting narcotic, was first marThis is primarily an Ameriketed in 1996. Big Pharma can problem, with a staggering has benefitted significantly 80 percent of the global supply Dr. Alan A. from opioids, over-exaggeratof opioids being consumed in Farabaugh ing the benefits while downthe United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Preven- is an emergency medicine playing the addiction risks. physician at Emory This has currently prompted tion (CDC) estimated in 2013 that Saint Joseph’s Hospital New York City to file lawsuits the economic cost of the opioid in Sandy Springs. against the pharmaceutical epidemic in the U.S. approximatcompanies for the manufaced $78 billion dollars annually. turing and distribution of the opioids. The epidemic has taken a while to beHowever, today the majority of opicome this prevalent, and many believe the oids in this country are illegally obproblem dates back to the 1990s. That’s tained and distributed. The amount of when the American Pain Society began to narcotics being received from Emerput forth the idea that pain was being ungency Department prescriptions are in dertreated. This eventually led to the conthe minority. cept of pain being “the fifth vital sign.” ViOpioid overdoses and fatalities have, tal signs traditionally are objective pieces unfortunately, become commonplace. of data used in medicine. Pain, however, is They are seen in the Emergency Departa completely subjective piece of data. ment on a daily basis. The Emergency The regulatory agencies of healthDepartment providers get lied to by pacare, The Joint Commission, a healthcare tients every single day, as patients ataccreditation organization, and the Centempt to receive narcotics. Drug dealters for Medicare and Medicaid Services ers are known to pay patients to come to (CMS) latched onto the concept of the “unthe Emergency Departments with fake der-treatment” of pain. In 2001, the Joint illnesses to get prescriptions. The most Commission put standards in place reccommon methods employed are faking ommending that all patients in a healthkidney stones, back pain or abdominal care setting must have their pain aspain. These patients know to list their sessed, as well as a documented response allergies to aspirin, NSAIDs and Tylenol, to the pain assessment. These eventually

so as to ensure that narcotics are all that can be used to treat their “pain.” There are patients who actually inflict injuries upon themselves to receive prescriptions. Patients will go from Emory Saint Joseph’s Emergency Department directly across the street to Northside Hospital’s Emergency Department to try to receive another prescription, and vice versa. Patients are known to go from provider to provider, place to place, “doctor-shopping.” This has ramifications on the suffering patients that actually have pain. The Joint Commission, CMS, the CDC, NIH, and federal and state legislatures, along with healthcare providers, have all gotten together to try to remedy this situation. Emergency Department providers have been clamoring for years to get a centralized prescription drug monitoring system in place. Georgia and other states recently have provided this capability. The first patient I ever looked up in the Georgia prescription database had 28 prescriptions for narcotics from 21 different providers and 15 different pharmacies in a 12-month period! The effort may be starting to make a difference. Prescriptions for opiates have actually declined since 2013, although overdoses and fatalities have not. Most Emergency Departments now rarely prescribe “long-acting” narcotics. Most only prescribe narcotics for the shortest time period possible. Other non-narcotic means of pain relief are being recommended. These steps should help eventually as the volume of prescription opiates decline. However, pharmaceutical companies will need to be regulated and held accountable, and the illegal opioid market will need to be curtailed, if long-lasting change will ever have the hope of taking place.

Letter to the Editor Ban barbaric back yard b owhuntin g of de e r Thank you for your great report, “Bowhunting in the ’burbs: Backyard deer-stalking draws fans and foes” (Feb. 16). Hunting with bow and arrow is called a “sport”? Killing and wounding poor animals is a “sport” in America! When I came

to this country 59 years ago, I was horrified! Animals running around with an arrow in their bodies, how horrific! I’ve lived in Dunwoody for 38 years. I am an old lady that has seen it all. I do not want this in my back yard! You have to be heartless to do such so-called hunting. We invaded those animals’ territory. There is hardly room for them anymore, I understand. This


should be done in a humane way. We have to ban bow-and-arrow “hunting.” This is a barbaric way to hunt. I would like for one of these so-called hunters to have an arrow stick in his body just for them to see how it feels! You can call me cruel! Caroline Jakob Dunwoody

Send letters to editor@reporternewspapers.net SS

MARCH 2 - 15, 2018

Commentary | 11


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My high school social studies teacher once led a class on types of government and explained a theory posed by someRobin Conte is a writer one (Aristotle? Machiavelli? Elton John?) that the potentially and mother of four who most perfect form of government, when corrupted, could belives in Dunwoody. She come the worst form. I’m fuzzy on the details, and I’m not getcan be contacted at ting political (step away from your keyboards!). I only want to robinjm@earthlink.net. say that this is exactly the way I feel about coffee. It’s the best of drinks and the worst of drinks. When it’s good, it’s very, very good, and when it’s bad, it’s awful. You get my drift. In the right hands, a fistful of roasted beans can become a most excellent beverage, a smooth and deep pool of refuge, especially when sipped from a solid mug on a chilly morning while watching the sunrise and hearing the birds sing. The mere fragrance of it has the power to lift you out of bed and coax you to begin another day. They don’t say “wake up and smell the coffee” for nothing. Yet this same beverage, when left to languish for hours on a dirty burner — say, in a gas station or in the galley of an airplane — turns into caffeinated radiator fluid, with the power to melt granite and an odor foul enough to cause pigs to cry. Bleh! Likewise, if the brew is so weak that you can see through it to the crumbs floating on the bottom of the cup, forget it. It is not fit to drink. Maybe you can use it to polish furniture, but for heaven’s sake, don’t drink it. And then there’s the temperature of the stuff. Just as beer is at its best when it’s properly chilled, coffee is best when it’s piping hot. If it cools down to tepid, I’d rather bathe in it than drink it. It’s got to be strong, but not rancidly strong, and hot, but not lawsuithot. And like fine chocolate, it must be smooth, not bitter. Give me some strong, hot sips, and eventually I’ll be able to form complete sentences. Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn, but let it be known that I do make a darn good cup of coffee. In fact, that’s the only thing that keeps my kids coming home from college. I don’t do their laundry, but every morning I will make a pot of coffee. I take heart in that, because when it comes to breakfast, a pot of coffee is about all I’m going to make. Sometimes I sprinkle some cinnamon over the grounds, but that’s the extent of my effort in the a.m. Pajama-clothed bodies will lumber in and out of our kitchen, lured by the aroma of morning, and through half-closed eyes I will point at a box of Cheerios and the French press as I take my hot sips, while visions of waffles dance through our heads. My kids have learned to respect the brew. And though I have failed in other areas of child-rearing and have not taught them what many people would call “the basics,” I have taught them what makes a good cup of coffee. Sewing on a button, making a pot roast, balancing a checkbook — those are particular life-skills that they will have to pick up on the streets. As for coffee: Start with good, dark coffee, because quality matters. Don’t skimp on the amount, because quantity matters. Add a dash of cinnamon if you want a nuance of flavor. Drink it hot and fresh, unless you move up to Boston one day and morph into someone (like your relatives) who enjoys drinking old coffee over ice. Make it strong, make it dark, drink it hot, drink it now, and maybe spice it up a bit. It may not be the secret to life (although there may be a life lesson hiding in there somewhere), and it has nothing to do with governing bodies, but it is the key to the perfect cup of coffee. I think it will take them far.

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Commentary / A new way to be a friend to city parks

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A group of civic leaders from Sandy Springs gathered at historic Glenridge Hall in 2000 with the goal of preserving rapidly disappearing greenspace and recreation areas in the city. The Sandy Springs cityhood movement’s outcome was still uncertain; yet, these local leaders were certain about the importance of parks, greenspace and trails to promote health, civic pride, economic growth and the preservation of natural landscapes for the vitality of communities. The initial meetings of these community leaders spurred the establishment of the nonprofit Sandy Springs Conservancy in 2001 with a mission to create, connect and conserve parks and greenspace in Sandy Springs. Through partnerships with public and private entities, the Conservancy has provided vision, expertise and support to create some of the signature parks, greenspace and trails in Sandy Springs and the region. In 2007, this group worked with the city of Sandy Springs for the development of Morgan Falls Overlook Park, the new city’s first park after incorporation. Taking advantage of the breathtaking views along the Chattahoochee River, the Conservancy funded the design and construction of the popular Morgan Falls Overlook Trail at this 28-acre recreational

oasis in the city. The Conservancy has subsequently played a vital role in the development of Abernathy Greenway North and Melody Harclerode is the executive director the Playable of the Sandy Springs Art Park, a pubConservancy. lic park lauded for its exquisite greenery and enchanting playable sculptures. When subdivision development threatened one of the most picturesque homesteads in Sandy Springs, the Conservancy worked with allied organizations in 2016 to preserve Lost Corner as a nature preserve, donated funds for the installation of the walking trail, and provided funding to launch public programming at this community jewel. Park space in the city will grow in 2018 due to the Conservancy’s assistance and support for Windsor Meadows Park, Abernathy Greenway Park Southside and the new city park at the Ashton Woods Aria development. Since its inception, the Conservancy has hosted family events and forums to promote the value of these amenities to the public. The organization brought its expertise to the table for the green space guidelines in the City of Sandy Springs’ awardwinning “Next Ten” Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Our Thought Leader Dinner annually enlightens a huge audience of civic, political and business leaders from Sandy Springs and the region about cutting-edge practices with parks, greenspace and trail development. Cleanups at Morgan Falls Overlook Park trails make the scenic path more inviting and user-friendly. The Conservancy is excited to enhance the experience at local parks, green spaces and trails through our Friends of the Conservancy program. Participants in this program will receive guided tours of these sites, learn about the history and beauty of these places and the surrounding community and have fun with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. We will launch our Friends of the Conservancy program with SpringMingle on Sunday, March 18 at Lost Corner Preserve on Brandon Mill Road. At SpringMingle, our friends will see winning photos from our Sandy Springs Conservancy Digital Photo Contest. Friends of the Conservancy will gain insight about the photos from the winning photographers. A guided tour of Lost Corner and its grounds will help attendees to understand the life and times of green space trailblazer Peggy Miles and the history of Sandy Springs. See sandyspringsconservancy.org for more information about our Friends of the Conservancy program and SpringMingle.


MARCH 2 - 15, 2018

Community | 13


City fears new state laws would end local controls Continued from page 1 wood, which he said is safe for construction. “Nothing in this bill forces anyone to use wood. It just prevents them from prohibiting it as an option,” said Corbett about House Bill 876. City Attorney Dan Lee said he’s concerned about a pattern of the state reducing local control. Other such bills that are already filed or proposed cover regulation of short-term home rentals, penalizing security companies for their customers’ false alarms, and banning the sales of cats and dogs originating in mass-breeding facilities. Some other cities are worried, too. In Dunwoody, which has a similar apartment construction law, City Councilmember Terry Nall said that House Bill 765 is about the timber industry and “low-quality developers” placing corporate profits over safety. In a 2016 decision popular with many residents but opposed by many industry figures, the Sandy Springs City Council adopted a new building code requiring apartment buildings over three stories tall or over 100,000 square feet in size to be constructed with steel and masonry rather than wood framing. Previous code — which also includes hotels and condos — allowed wood-fram-

ing up to four stories, or five stories if the building had a fire sprinkler system, and steel and masonry for taller structures. City leaders offered several reasons for the restriction on so-called “stick-built” structures. One is better-looking and longer-lasting buildings. Another is fire safety. Steel and masonry also costs more, which Paul has said might discourage infill apartment housing in the city’s “protected neighborhoods” of old-school, suburban, single-family homes. The decision was strongly criticized by representatives from the development industry, who said it would make housing more expensive in contradiction of city affordability goals. Also in opposition was the wood industry, whose representatives said the material is a safe, sustainable, homegrown product. House Bill 876 would kill the city’s code. Its language says that “no county or municipality shall prohibit the use of wood as a construction material so long as such use conforms to all applicable state minimum standard codes and the Georgia State Fire Code.” In a message on the “Sandy Springs Zoning Coalition” Facebook group Feb. 19, Paul said the city code has “ended all cheap apartment construction in Sandy Springs.” He said that Lee and Fire Rescue

Chief Keith Sanders testified against the House bill at a committee hearing, but that it moved ahead for a possible vote. Paul wrote that the bill is “disastrous, since it prohibits local ordinances more stringent than the state’s MINIMUM code standards,” Paul wrote. “That means all construction will be affected and won’t allow us to have more common-sense, higher-quality construction … This bill will undo all we have worked to accomplish and prevent us from stopping cheap apartments going forward.” Corbett said the bill came out of recommendations from the House’s Rural Development Council, a group of legislators interested in policies that promote rural economic development. He indicated the timber farming industry was an influence on the legislation. “There are 97 sawmills in Georgia [and] most, if not all, are in rural Georgia,” Corbett said. “Atlanta is an important downstream market for our timber farmers.” Regarding Sandy Springs’ concerns, Corbett said the state already applies international building safety standards and emphasized the affordability of wood. “The bottom line [is], fires in buildings with sprinkler systems are rare, no matter what type of material is used,” Corbett said. “By excluding wood, the cost of construc-

tion is increased from 30 to 50 percent.” While Sandy Springs is concerned about the General Assembly reducing local control, Corbett suggested there’s a competing concern about municipalities affecting statewide trade. “When government puts its thumb on the scales, it interrupts free markets and hurts the consumer,” Corbett said of the Sandy Springs code’s effect on the timber industry. Nall, the Dunwoody councilmember, said there’s a different motive and goal to such laws. “In Dunwoody, we choose life safety first and do not put a price on people’s lives,” Nall said. “In Dunwoody, we desire a higher standard of life safety and quality for our community. Local control is a basic tenet of Dunwoody being the government that is closest to its citizens.” --Dyana Bagby contributed


The “Business Openings” notices in the Feb. 16 Perimeter Business section incorrectly reported the former location of Tootsies, which recently reopened in The Exchange at 3167 Peachtree Road, Buckhead. The store was formerly located in the Shops

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New highway toll lanes could have major neighborhood impacts Continued from page 1 scenes tensions about the managed lane plans came at the City Council’s Jan. 23 retreat, where GDOT officials presented the latest concepts and city transportation planners pushed back with counterproposals. One concept: moving the proposed managed lanes interchange from Mount Vernon to Hammond Drive. “Sometimes the greatest fear is fear of the unknown,” said City Councilmember Chris Burnett to GDOT officials, asking for community meetings, particularly about the Mount Vernon Highway interchange concept. “Can we get out in front of this early on…?” he asked. The answer was no. GDOT spokesperson Jill Goldberg said the agency will do “aggressive outreach” once it has what it considers to be a more solid plan. The Mount Vernon interchange, for example, was proposed relatively recently and is still being studied by engineers. The city officials who represent the public had some blunt expressions of concern and objection about the managed lane concepts. Mayor Rusty Paul said he is worried the Ga. 400 concept lacks “common sense” on preserving space and flexibility for a truly functional rapid-transit bus system. And as for the idea of build-

ing a highway interchange on residential Raider Drive, “That’s not going to work,” said City Manager John McDonough. Tim Matthews, a GDOT project manager, said the agency remains in discussion with MARTA and local cities, and that interchange locations and designs remain at least partly open for change. One interchange proposal that the city objected to last year — on Sandy Springs Circle — appears to be removed from the conceptual plan. GDOT is currently a year into its “Transform 285/400” project, which is essentially reorganizing and rebuilding the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange to make traffic flow faster and safer. That project, set to finish in 2020, has drawn public attention for large-scale tree removal for additional highway lanes and for the reconstruction of the Mount Vernon overpass bridge. But Transform 285/400 is only the beginning. The managed lanes are a separate project that would add even more lanes — four on each highway — in construction that could take a decade. The concept of the project is to allow toll-paying drivers to speed through the interchange in dedicated, entirely separate lanes. The Ga. 400 managed lanes are tentatively slated to come first, with a construction start in 2021 and opening in 2024. They would run between I-285 — or possibly a bit

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farther south at the Medical Center area — and Alpharetta’s McFarland Parkway. On I-285, the lanes would run between I-75 in Cobb County and I-85’s Spaghetti Junction, with other segments to the east and west extending near I-20. Construction could start in 2022 and opening could come in 2028. Squeezing even more separate lanes into the interchange has a number of effects that concern the city. At least 300 properties would lose some land SPECIAL along I-285, Matthews said, and the Ga. The new “managed lanes” run on an elevated 400 section would require acquisition ramp in this sample concept design from the Georgia Department of Transportation. of an undetermined amount of property. That is sure to be controversial as the managed lanes to have entirely sepahighways inch closer to homes. rate exits and entrances from regular, exOn stretches where there is not room isting highway interchanges. That means to add surface lanes — including Ga. 400 creating or expanding interchanges. between I-285 and Spalding Drive — the Possible Sandy Springs interchanges on lanes would be built on elevated ramps the latest GDOT map include Johnson Ferthat would be at least 30 to 40 tall and go ry Road, Mount Vernon Highway, Northeven higher over interchanges. ridge Road, Perimeter Center Parkway and That height means “you’re going to Raider Drive. Dunwoody’s Cotillion and have homes that look straight on the Savoy drives interchange along Chambleemanaged lanes,” Burnett noted. GDOT ofDunwoody Road is also on the map. ficials said sound-blocking walls could be At Mount Vernon, that could mean added to such elevated ramps, but there adding 20,000 vehicles a day to a street would be no visual screening. that currently has a lot of homes and Maintaining right of way for long-decould mean widening the overpass bridge sired mass transit is another concern and to six lanes by 2041, city planners said. It has been discussed by a new group of leadalso complicates the city’s plans for others from top-end Perimeter cities. GDOT er parts of Mount Vernon, including addofficials have said their designs will not ing “multimodal” lanes and reconfigurpreclude mass transit, but it remains uning the Johnson Ferry Road intersection. clear how that will really work in practice. Paul and McDonough suggested using An example is North Springs MARTA Hammond Drive instead, as it already Station, right on Ga. 400, which would has a half-interchange and is a bigger be a stop for a proposed bus-rapid transtreet. The city has a controversial widsit service. GDOT’s concept puts the buses ening study of its single-family residenon the highway’s express lanes, which will tial section coming soon. Matthews said be inner lanes there. Matthews said GDOT GDOT will examine the idea. is working with MARTA on a concept Sandy Springs is not only a critic. Offor having a bus platform there that ridficials suggested another interchange, at ers can access with a bridge. Even if that Northside Drive, to handle Cobb comworks, Paul noted, the plan puts buses in muter traffic. Matthews said GDOT likely regular highway traffic, meaning it may will not approve that, but said the agennot be rapid at all, defeating its purpose. cy would consider the city’s backup sugYet another concern are the additiongestion: an interchange at Powers Ferry al highway interchanges that the manRoad in nearby Cobb. aged lanes require. GDOT says it wants

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Horse Lovers Summer Camp Chastain Horse Park - convenient Buckhead location! Boys and girls ages 4-8 – Mon-Fri 8am-1pm Many weeks to choose from during Summer 2018 Camp activities for our younger riders include horsemanship instruction (grooming, safety and more), riding lessons, crafts and games!

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SPRING CAMP April 2nd – 6th Now Registering Hurry before we fill up!!!

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Center for Global Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurial Studies™

Summer Programs 2018 Brandon Hall School Featuring our Signature Program

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Global Youth Leadership in Action ELL Global Village™ Earth Science Field Studies

June 17 - July 7, 2018; July 8 - July 28, 2018 (3-Week Sessions)

Customized Summer Programs available June through August 2018 Justine McDonald, Director of Summer Programs, jmcdonald@brandonhall.org



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Find Your Path. Lead The Way.™

Creative, Visual, Performing & Studio Arts Camps for ages 5g1g

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Small camps for kids age 2-18 www.holyspiritprep.org/summer

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School Break Camps offered in the Spring!

Education | 21

MARCH 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Education Briefs Come to CAMP CHATUGA for your best summer ever!

One, Two, Three and Four Week Sessions for Boys & Girls Ages 6 to 16 To receive a $50 DISCOUNT off your 2018 registration, email us at sherry@ campchatuga.com by May 1st and mention this Reporter Newspaper advertisement!

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LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS PLAN FOR PROTESTS FOLLOWING FLORIDA SHOOTING Local public school systems are preparing for nationwide student demonstrations in response to a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people and sparked a gun control debate. Organizers around the country are calling for a 17-minute school walkout on March 14, exactly one month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who said that the district will support students that participate. Participation in the approved demonstrations is optional, but any students who participate in non-sanctioned demonstrations will be punished, Carstarphen wrote. DeKalb Superintendent R. Stephen Green said in a letter to parents that the district will support students who peacefully protest as long as they do not disrupt school operations or threaten the safety of students and staff. Fulton Schools said in a press release it will support student demonstrations as long as they do not occur during instructional time. None of the school districts have plans

for major security changes in the wake of the shooting, though APS says it will resume “active shooter” drills.


Sandy Springs students will view exhibits and demonstrate projects in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics at the Sandy Springs Education Force’s eighth annual STEAM Showcase at North Springs Charter High School on March 14. The evening portion of the event is free and open to the public, which is invited to learn more about STEAM initiatives in Sandy Springs’ 11 public schools. The public will also be able to try out robotics and learn about film photography, among other exhibits, according to SSEF. The event includes students from Fulton County Schools’ two high schools and two middle schools in Sandy Springs: North Springs and Riverwood International high schools and the Ridgeview and Sandy Springs middle schools. The showcase will run 6 to 8 p.m. at North Springs, 7447 Roswell Road. For more information, visit sandyspringseducationforce.org. —Evelyn Andrews

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Have a Blast! with us this summer. Our professional staff has prepared another exciting summer of fitness and educational fun. We will encourage each child to express his or her own creativity as well as explore and discover new activities.

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22 | Classifieds

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Personal & Professional Services Directory



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

Drivers Wanted

SERVICES AVAILABLE 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.

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. Cemetery will assist in showing. Email: mrmccabe@hotmail.com

Senior Services North Fulton, a non-profit organization, has an opportunity for drivers in their transportation program. If you live in the Roswell, Alpharetta or Johns Creek area of north Fulton and would like to earn some extra money, set your own hours, like to drive, have a car, and like to be of service to seniors, please contact Mobility Manager at

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MARCH 2 - 15, 2018

Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Sandy Springs Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department provided the following information which represents some of the reports filed with Sandy Springs police between Jan. 28 and Feb. 8.

B U R G L A RY 6800 block of Brandon Mill Drive —

On Feb. 10, someone kicked in the front door to the home. 700 block of Hammond Drive— On

Feb. 12, someone broke into a storage unit and took a Talon bike and ammunition for a 9mm and a .45. 1400 block of Jefferson Drive — On Feb.

13, the victim said her baby’s daddy broke in and took stuff, including her MacBook. 5300 block of Trimble Road — On Feb.

13, a rock was thrown through a back patio door. The resident reported jewelry taken from the home. 7855 Roswell Road — On Feb. 14, a bur-

glary occurred at Elite Liquor just before 5 a.m. Someone removed glass from a lower window in order to get into the liquor store. Apparently, they did not make it in. Next to the building is a construction area where they first tried to get in. The owner said a man he knew contacted him at the same time as the burglary, telling him he saw two men breaking in. 7200 block of Duncourtney Drive

— On Feb. 17, the resident said he and his wife retired for the night around 11 p.m. The following morning just before 6 a.m., the resident discovered that both cars in his garage were gone. His wife’s purse, on the kitchen table, had been taken as well. It appears the garage door was left open, as was the door to the home from the garage.

ments maintenance shed was burglarized, but nothing was reported missing. 5500

Interstate North Parkway — On Feb. 18, burglar(s) entered from a hole Captain made in a wall STEVE ROSE, from an adjacent construction site. SSPD Video showed a srose@sanmale, wearing dyspringsga.gov hoodie, sweats and gloves, crawling around the back door around 1:30 a.m. His face was concealed. He spray-painted the cameras. 5675 Roswell Road — On Feb. 18, two

apartment burglaries were reported at Mosaic Apartments. One resident said he returned home just after 7 p.m. and found a man standing in his living room. The man fled through an open sliding glass door. Nothing was taken. 6000 Roswell Road — On Feb. 19

just before 4 a.m., cops responded to an alarm and found side windows smashed open at the Verizon store. At the time of the report, it was not known if anything was stolen. Ga. 400/Abernathy Road — On Feb.

19, construction site storage container locks were cut and several items taken from them. On Feb. 19, several HV/AC units were taken from an unsecured area at a construction site.



Petition Number:



Edward Levin (Design-Construction by Craftmaster, Inc)

Property Location:

Parcel # 17 0013 LL0703 (4795 Peachtree Dunwoody Road)

Present Zoning:



Rezoning from RE-1 to RD-18 to allow for the construction of two single-family dwellings.

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission March 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council April 17, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.




5900 block of Lake Forrest Drive —

200 block of E.

Belle Isle Road — On Feb. 17, the Waterford Place Apart-


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

The City of Sandy Springs will host two Public Information Open House meetings regarding concepts developed to improve the intersection of Johnson Ferry Road and Mt Vernon Highway. The meetings offer the community a chance to review the concepts, ask questions and provide input. Both meetings will provide the same information and displays. Thursday, March 8 10:00 am – noon

Thursday, March 8 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

B’nai Torah 700 Mount Vernon Highway Sandy Springs, GA 30242 For more information please visit sandyspringsga.gov

24 |

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CONGRATULATIONS To Our 2017 Top Sales Associates | Sandy Springs Office




#1 Individual Total Sales Volume & Closed Units

#1 Team Total Sales Volume & Closed Units









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Harry Norman, REALTORS® | Sandy Springs Office | 5290 Roswell Road, Suite A | Atlanta, GA 30342 | HarryNorman.com SS