Brookhaven Reporter- March 2021

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MARCH 2021 • VOL. 13 — NO. 3

Brookhaven Reporter COMMENTARY

Lessons learned as pandemic anniversary arrives

SUMMER CAMPS P25 through 28 1


City unveils pedestrian bridge design for North Druid Hills



Inside an authentic Cuban sandwich shop P8


Hear DIY songs named for local towns



A conceptual drawing of the North Druid Hills Road pedestrian bridge from a street-level view.

“It’s almost like a cookie-cutter response,” Brown said. “It drives me nuts.” The 21 acres of Brookhaven Park are partly owned by both the city of Brookhaven and DeKalb County. The city owns the western portion, located at 4518 Peachtree Road. The county owns the eastern part, located at 2660 Osborne Road.

Brookhaven residents may see a new pedestrian bridge over North Druid Hills Road near the intersection with Tullie Drive. The City Council approved a conceptual design for the bridge, which includes bus stations, at a Feb. 9 meeting. The concept for the bridge was presented to the council at a Jan. 29 work session as a way to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow and integrate with other proposed transportation improvements and developments in the area. In the conceptual designs, ends of the bridge fall on properties the city does not own. Director of Economic Development Shirlynn Brownell said the city has not yet selected an official design and construction firm yet, but she has reached out to property owners who would be affected by the con-

See AS on page 29

See CITY on page 29

As officials fight over park land, residents ask who fills the potholes



The Brookhaven Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30319 For information:

“We understand your concern and appreciate your patience as we work towards resolving this issue.” Brookhaven resident Carey Brown is no stranger to responses like this. Over the past year, he has sent numerous emails to DeKalb County regarding the lack of upkeep on the county-owned portion of Brookhaven Park.


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2 | Community ■

City’s 2021 agenda may include affordable housing, pedestrian crossing, history map BY SAMMIE PURCELL

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Redevelopment on Buford Highway, affordable housing, walkability and cataloging historical sites in the city were all set as important issues for the city to take notice of in 2021, according to discussions at the Brookhaven City Council’s Feb. 22 retreat. The retreat, or “Council Advance” as the city calls it, takes place annually to set council priorities for the upcoming year. The meeting was held virtually this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Councilmember Joe Gebbia announced recommendations for ways the city can protect Buford Highway residents in the event of redevelopment as well as ways to promote affordable housing. One of Gebbia’s main recommendations was the creation of a redevelopment authority, which would allow the city to buy land and redevelop that land for less money, allowing for more affordable housing. Gebbia said the benefits of having such an authority will be valuable if the city pushes forward with redevelopment along Buford Highway. In addition to the redevelopment authority, he said, it would be important to formalize a city policy that would protect the rights of residents and businesses along Buford Highway during the redevelopment. “The objective is to take a true humanitarian approach to relocation if and when that should become the case, as [Buford Highway] redevelops,” Gebbia said. For residents in that area, Gebbia suggested a 120-day rent protection period for those affected by redevelopment. He also suggested that businesses located in buildings that are torn down for redevelopment should be offered the opportunity to occupy the new buildings with a five-year protected rent program to be paid for by abatements. “This I think is essential for us as we look towards the redevelopment of Buford Highway,” Gebbia said. “That we have a plan in place that is effective in helping to protect our residents and our businesses.” Gebbia also suggested the creation of “opportunity zones” -- economically distressed areas where private individuals can invest, receiving tax benefits while also helping spur economic growth -- to help create more affordable and workforce housing in Brookhaven. Gebbia said this idea for affordable and workforce housing is paired with the city of Atlanta’s efforts to consolidate bus routes between multiple counties. Some of the new stations for proposed consolidated routes would be built in Brookhaven, he said. “If city-led abatements are used to secure that land that will end up being used for bus hubs, the city should be able to position and negotiate for the right to use a portion of that land … to build workforce and affordable housing,” he said. Gebbia also suggested updating Brookhaven’s affordable housing requirements for developers by allowing them the opportunity to contribute to a workforce/affordable housing fund. Gebbia said that would operate similarly to the city’s sidewalk fund, where if builders do not want to build a sidewalk in front of a new home, they are required to pay a fee. That money goes into a fund that is used by the city to fill in sidewalk gaps.


Ashford Park pedestrian crossing Emory Clinic


Councilmember John Park, whose District 2 contains the neighborhoods of Ashford Park and Drew Valley, proposed adding a pedestrian crossing between the two areas to increase walkability and bikeability. The proposed pedestrian walkway would cross Dresden Drive close to John Lewis Elementary School. Dresden Drive separates the two neighborhoods, with Ashford Park to the north and Drew Valley to the south. Park said he has seen the amount of children riding bicycles increase in Brookhaven over the years and wanted to increase safety for pedestrians in the area. “[There’s] really nothing in the middle of the district to provide connectivity between the two neighborhoods as well as the rest of Brookhaven,” Park said. The image Park used to show what the crossing might look like, which was a stock image, showed a pedestrian/bike tunnel moving under a bridge. “Rather than having to cross the street, we could have something like this at Dresden [Drive] to connect the neighborhoods and put a pedestrian and bicycle artery through the heart of the district,” Park said.

Historic site map Conveniently located on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University.

Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin introduced plans for a historic resources story map, an interactive online map that will show residents all of Brookhaven’s historic sites. Historical sites in Brookhaven include Lynwood Park -- the first Black neighborhood in DeKalb County -- and Fischer Mansion, which was built in the 1920s. Ruffin said residents will be able to click through items on the map, pulling up pictures and information about each specific site. “Once it is completed and finalized, we would like to have it go live on the city’s website,” Ruffin said. “And also include resources such as the DeKalb Historical Society and Georgia Historical Society for information for the public to be able to access.” Ruffin also said the Community Development Department would like to consider asking a professional historian during the 2022 budget year to chronicle the first 10 years of Brookhaven’s history. Brookhaven was incorporated as a city in 2012. BK


MARCH 2021 ■

Live Work Play The City of Brookhaven invites you to share its vision of smart growth, collaboration, inclusiveness, sustainability and community engagement, from the Buford Highway corridor to the Peachtree Creek Greenway and beyond. WWW.BROOKHAVENGA.GOV BK

4 | Community ■

LaVista Park and ‘Innovation District’ get development protections BY SAMMIE PURCELL Brookhaven’s booming new medical area has a new name — Briar Hills Innovation District — and is joining newly annexed LaVista Park under the protection of development standards intended to preserve their unique characters. On Jan. 26, the City Council adopted the “Gateway South” character area study for both areas. The Innovation District, at North Druid Hills Road and I-85, includes Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s hospital center and Emory Healthcare’s massive mixed-use redevelopment of Executive Park. The neighborhood of LaVista Park, just to the south, requested annexation into Brookhaven in late 2019, mainly in response to the Children’s Healthcare and Emory developments and expansions. The community was annexed in December of that same year, adding around 601 single-family residences to the city. The Gateway South project team asked community members to help

name the two areas. The community supported keeping the name LaVista Park. “Briar Hills Innovation District” was put for as an option and ultimately decided on after online discussion showed disagreement around using the words “healthcare” or “medical” in the name. Public engagement meetings were held, starting last summer, to get a sense of what residents’ needs were and what sort of development they were looking for in the community. Allison Stewart-Harris, community planning manager for the civil engineering company VHB, presented the council with the character area study, which featured development recommendations and proposed visions. The analysis recommended LaVista Park maintain its residential, community feel, consisting mainly of single-family homes and parks with some commercial buildings in transitional areas only. “People love the trees, the quietness, the nature, the greenery, the convenience,” she said. “Wanting to protect

“People love the trees, the quietness, the nature, the greenery, the convenience. Wanting to protect that character seemed like the top priority.” Allison Stewart-Harris Community Planning Manager

that character seemed like the top priority.” The study included implementation strategies for the city to help maintain









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LaVista Park’s residential vision. These included ensuring proper zoning protections are in place, such as buffers to non-residential uses, light reduction and sensitive noise controls. Other strategies included considering creative solutions to reduce cut-through traffic, making sure the area has plenty of trees, and making the area bikefriendly. The study also suggested the city work closely with the LaVista Park Civic Association and Brookhaven Police Department to mitigate safety concerns. For Briar Hills Innovation District, the main concerns stemmed from traffic congestion and finding a sense of community, Stewart-Harris said. The analysis recommended a mixed-use destination for working and living that could serve as a welcoming southern entrypoint into the city. “There’s excitement about the development happening there, but concerns about congestion,” Stewart-Harris said. “There were a couple of folks who were very adamant about [saying], ‘This is all great, but we really need an identity. We need a sense of place here.’” The study included implementation strategies, such as removing the area from the Buford Highway Overlay and adding a new overlay more in line with the area’s desired character. Other strategies included talking with Children’s Healthcare and Emory regarding development plans, improving pedestrian walkways that connect to neighboring areas, encouraging workforce housing in the new development, and integrating public art into the design. Councilmember Joe Gebbia, whose District 4 includes LaVista Park, thanked the Gateway South team for their work and stressed the importance of character area analysis in protecting neighborhoods from unwanted development. “We originally established the whole concept of the neighborhood character area analysis to send a clear message to developers about what they could do when they wanted to come in and do development,” Gebbia said. “I applaud you for this effort. Good work.” Neither of the new areas includes the most recently annexed part of the city, a group of Briarcliff Road commercial properties just across the street from the Innovation District. BK

Community | 5

MARCH 2021 ■

Brookhaven has a ‘racial caste system,’ some residents say We call it home.

BY SAMMIE PURCELL Some residents believe a “racial caste system” exists in their community, according to small group conversations had during a Feb. 18 Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission meeting. The commission was established in September to address issues of diversity and race following months of protests against racial injustice and police brutality. The commission is charged with reviewing the city’s vision and mission statement, and with recommending improvements to city practices of hiring and retention, procurement and contracting, and policing. In the Feb. 18 meeting, conversation centered around “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” a book by journalist Isabel Wilkerson. Participants were asked to consider whether they thought a racial caste system exists in Brookhaven. Wilkerson has defined a caste system as an artificial system used to determine an individual’s standing in society. Race is used as a metric to determine someone’s place in the system, she said in an

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interview with NPR. The commission was asked to discuss how the SJREC can acknowledge the racial caste system when considering recommendations for the city. The commission broke out into private sessions that were not viewable on Facebook Live before rejoining to recap their discussion to the entire group.


Most groups agreed that a racial caste system does exist in Brookhaven. Commissioner Monique Hudson said her group discussed that where people live can be an indicator of that hierarchical system. “Different racial and ethnic groups are living in different, isolated areas in the city,” Hudson said. “It’s not diverse in each and every community. We see that, and we also see it as it relates to economics — the haves and the have-nots, who has more money, or who can afford to live in certain areas.” The single group that was unsure about the existence of a racial caste system in Brookhaven still pointed to inequities in parts of the city. “The majority of our group was unsure whether we actually thought Brookhaven had a racial caste system,” said Commissioner Kathy Wells. “But most of us spoke to the fact that the inequities are obvious compared to the Peachtree Road side of Brookhaven and the Buford Highway Corridor.” Much of Brookhaven’s Hispanic population — 30%, according to demographic data from the city — lives in the Buford Highway area. Wells said her group discussed the opportunity for the commission to support businesses on Buford Highway, particularly restaurants, in an effort to encourage those outside of that community to visit. One commissioner discussed the importance of first acknowledging societal norms and the dominant culture those norms may stem from. “Even as we’re on this commission and we think about what’s right and what’s wrong, or what’s acceptable – what’s our measurement? Based on what?” said Commissioner Conni Todd. Todd said her group discussed the possibility of the commission coming up with its own set of norms to govern interaction during meetings so no voice gets lost in the fray. “Even as we interact and engage, do we want to have some commission norms of how we engage in conflict? So that we can come up with the best ideas,” Todd said. “How do


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we ensure that, so that we don’t have a quiet voice that has a great idea that never gets put to the commission.” Most groups stressed the importance of including the broader public in the discussions, and proactively reaching out to make sure the commission’s recommendations work for everyone. “We’re just a representation of the broader community,” Todd said. “We don’t want to operate in a vacuum. So how do we incorporate opportunities to invite other voices in?” The SJREC meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be on March 18. Interested residents can learn more about how to join the meetings on the city website. To be involved in the breakout room discussions, participants will have to join through Zoom and not Facebook. BK

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6 | Education ■

Oglethorpe University names first vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion BY SAMMIE PURCELL Oglethorpe University has named its first vice president for “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” Laura Renée Chandler was scheduled to begin the role March 5. University President Nicholas Ladany announced the new leadership role along with the formation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force in July 2020 amid national protests against racial injustice and the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd. Chandler now serves as the director for Diversity and Community at the University of South Dakota. She is also the co-founder of the South Dakota Coalition for Justice and Equity and served as the director for the South Dakota African American History Museum. “As a first-generation college graduate, I believe strongly in the power of education to improve our lives and transform the society in which we live,” Chandler said in a press release. “It is an exciting opportunity to join an institution that not only values creating transformative student experiences, but also is actively demonstrating an appreciation for diversity, equity and inclusion.” As vice president, Chandler will report to Ladany and advise the administration on policies that “reflect the core values of the university and systemically embed diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout Oglethorpe,” according to the university’s website. She will also be in charge of reviewing current diversity programs and policies at the university. “Oglethorpe University is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion as an institutional core value,” Ladany said in the release. “Dr. Chandler brings a level of experience and expertise that will be invaluable as we work to ensure that our campus environment reflects this core value.”

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Arts & Entertainment | 7

MARCH 2021 ■

Events You Don’t Want to Miss in March The City Springs Theatre Company will present the musical “Let’s Hang On,” described as a “celebration of the meteoric rise of female voices out from the shadows of the male pop and doo-wop groups of the 1960s that dominated the industry.” It will stream on-demand March 19-28.

The Buckhead Heritage Society will have author Jonah McDonald talking about his book “More Secrets of Atlanta” on March 4 at 7 p.m. via Zoom, as part of its Speaker Series. It’s a free event.

The Atlanta Science Festival will run March 13-27, 2021 with more than 80 virtual, selfguided, and outdoor events for children and adults. Topics include environmental science, climate, healthcare, and COVID-19, with hands-on experiments, scavenger hunts, self-guided “discovery walks,” an exploration of local organisms, and other interactive adventures. View the full lineup at

The Dunwoody Nature Center is offering adult classes on health, wellness, and nature. The spring series of OWLS (Outdoor Wiser Lifelong Studies) takes place on Fridays in March and on April 2. Health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted upon arrival for each class, and social distancing and masks will be required for all participants. 5343 Roberts Drive. The Daffodil Dash is being held virtually this year. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser benefit Am Yisrael Chai, an organization in Sandy Springs created in remembrance of 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust. Additionally, funds will help plant 1.5 million daffodils worldwide in their honor. March 19 to April 18.

Georgia Audubon has organized a series of webinars for bird lovers during the month of March, covering subjects such as raptor identification, birding by ear, and equity in birding. Audubon is also hosting virtual field trips on March 12 and 26 with staff exploring their yards or “nearby birdy patches” to discuss what they’re seeing. All dates, details, and prices are at

▲The Atlanta History Center is hosting the finals of the Georgia Poetry Out Loud competition on March 13 starting at 1 p.m. Finalists then get to compete in a national event in Washington DC.

►The Latin American Association is holding its sixth annual Latina Empowerment Conference as a virtual event on March 31, featuring motivational speakers, business workshops and educational resources.

◄The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art will show the work of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo in the online presentation “Textures Of Our Lives” on March 14 at 5 p.m. The OUMA website says Tamayo “found inspiration for his work in a traditional vision of Mexico and his own Zapotec heritage.”

8 | Food & Drink ■

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Food for Thought Cuban sandwiches find a home in Sandy Springs BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN Ozzy Llanes was born in Cuba in 1982 and came to the States in 1995, at the age of 13. Living in Miami first, he moved to Atlanta in 2010 with his parents and his wife Susan Dykstra, who is the CEO of Van Michael Salon. In August 2020 they opened Cubanos ATL, a to-go Cuban sandwich shop in Sandy Springs that was an instant success. Like many such restaurants in Cuba and Miami, Cubanos ATL operates from a custom-designed, house-like building with a window for customers, set up in the parking lot of a shopping center at 6450 Roswell Road . Llanes’s focus on ingredients includes buying bread from Florida’s La Segunda Central Bakery, in operation since 1915. For more information, see Cubanos ATL is in a house that you built yourself, right? We just had this little house we were serving out of, with its own kitchen, but we’ve been going so fast that we had to get another, bigger kitchen. It’s almost two miles north on Roswell Road. My office is there. We had no choice but to open a bigger kitchen area because now we’re doing 150 to 200 sandwiches a day. How’s it been so far? It’s been incredible, since day one. We have the best neighbors in the best community in the world. The first day we opened was a Saturday which was a huge mistake. People were just ready to go. The first 40 minutes we sold 225 sandwiches. We were completely sold out, and from there it’s just been steady, so from that aspect it’s been really cool. You’ve partnered with the oldest Cuban bakery in the counSPECIAL try. Ozzy Llanes, co-owner of Cubanos ATL. Yes. The bread is so important for the Cuban sandwich. We have three sandwiches on the menu and just to keep it consistent and fresh for each is hard. We make everything in one spot so I can control who is making the sandwiches on a daily basis. There’s no playing around with those things. If we need 300 sandwiches or a thousand we can figure it out, but we can make those a thousand times the same way, every day. We have the platform now, so we can do that. You’ll be adding other items to the menu? Sandwiches are our number one thing. We don’t want to do rice yet, which people ask for, or croquetas or pastelitos… It’s important for me that we don’t drop the ball with what we have now. Have you ever tried the Cuban steak sandwich, the palomilla? You put shoestring fries with it. It’s one of my favorite sandwiches but we would need to have a hood to be able to sear the steak, so we’ll do that when we’re ready. I don’t want to push it. Those are things we want to add in the future. You have a flan on the menu -- the Llanes Family Caramel Flan. It’s the same way both my mom and my grandmother used to make it in Cuba. Flan is a weird dessert in that you can make it so many different ways. Adding half an egg changes the whole the whole way [it comes out]. There is no wrong way, which is awesome. It’s just the consistency. I had one the other day -- it was Mexican-style flan and I couldn’t finish it. The taste was unbelievably good but it was all soft and that just freaks me out. What about your coffee? It’s authentic Cuban coffee. A lot of people are doing cortaditos but using the wrong

Food & Drink | 9

MARCH 2021 ■

coffee. They use Italian-style coffee beans, and it’s not going to taste the same. I don’t care if you make it exactly the same way, it doesn’t have the same feel. We’re definitely doing pretty good with the coffee. Do you get Cubans coming in? Yes, we’ve got a pretty large Cuban community. They tend to come more on the weekends. My everyday clientele is from this area -- a mix of everybody. We’ve been going really fast but everything is working out. What music are you currently playing in your kitchen? “Buena Vista Social Club.” Cuban artists from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s reunited in 1999 and did a world tour. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend watching the documentary.


And here’s another example of my roots: “Hubo Un Lugar” (“There Was A Place”) by Diego El Cigala and Bebo Valdez. As you know, most Cuban people are a mix of Spanish and African heritage. The pianist is Valdez, one of the top Cuban pianists in the world. The singer, Diego El Cigala, is from Spain. They did a documentary called “Lagrimas Negras” (“Black Tears”). It’s one of my favorites as well. I feel they really express the Cuban passion and flavor though this collaboration.

Quick Bites | Restaurant openings and news The Red Phone Booth and Amalfi Pizza will be coming to 3242 Peachtree Road in Buckhead in the spring as a dual concept location, according to Stephen de Haan, co-owner of both places. With a 1920s speakeasy vibe, The Red Phone Booth features a walk-in humidor and a private event space known as the Mafia Kitchen. “Guests will be amazed at the great lengths we have taken for air quality and purification so they can enjoy our awardwinning craft cocktail and cigar experience,” De Haan said in a statement. Amalfi Pizza is a traditional Neapolitan pizzeria plus a retail market selling “fresh mozzarella, pasta, single serve dishes, Italian wines, aged meats and other imported items.” and ►Scoville Hot Chicken joins the chicken sandwich race with a new location at 4969 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, following their opening in Athens, Ga. The eatery is named after

an early 20th century scientist, Wilbur Scoville, who devised a system for measuring the relative heat of chili peppers. Toast On Lenox has opened its doors in the space that previously housed Adobo Tacos & Tapas in Buckhead’s Lenox Village at 2770 Lenox Road. Virgil Harper, the chef behind Roc South Cuisine and Cocktail, is in charge of the new breakfast and lunch spot.

The Betty opened on Feb. 10 as part of the new Kimpton Sylvan Hotel at 374 East Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead. The menu is described on its website as “American cuisine with a continental flair,” and the ambience “channels old Hollywood glamour.” The chef is Brandon Chavannes, whose career includes stints at Bar Boulud and the Russian Tea Room in New York, and Ford Fry’s St. CeA sandwich from Scoville Hot Chicken, cilia in Atlanta. thewhich opened a Sandy Springs location.

A shrimp dish at The Betty, a restaurant in Buckhead’s new Kimpton Sylvan Hotel.

Snooze, a Denver-based breakfast chain, made its Georgia debut on Feb. 17 in Sandy Springs at 4600 Roswell Road. “We’re serving up a twist on breakfast by starting with responsibly sourced ingredients and bringing them together in unexpected ways,” the owners explained on their website. “We want everything that goes into our breakfast to have a positive impact on people and the planet.”

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10 | Arts & Entertainment ■

From Buckhead Shaman to ‘Roswell Road,’ local towns show up in Bandcamp’s DIY tunes BY ERIC DAVIDSON

During the COVID crisis especially, Bandcamp’s “Free Fridays” -- where the company waives its cut and bands often offer all sales to a particular cause -- have come across as a kind of digital benefit concert where much of the monies raised come from fans of the band’s hometown. So here are some Bandcamp discoveries who were directly -- or misdirectly -- inspired by local towns.

The borderless terrain of the internet has decimated lots of the ol’ charming regionalism of American pop music. The days of the Standells having a local Boston hit with “Dirty Water” before it became a national smash, or Prince dropping details about Minneapolis, are seemingly long gone. If your implied audience lives everywhere, you may be inclined to leave geography out. Who wants to write a song called “The Devil Went Down to Domain Name?” But that doesn’t mean artists have completely given up on highlighting their home base sometimes. We scoured the music site Bandcamp for songs and albums whose titles refer to local north metro towns. Then we checked with the artists about their motivations for writing a nod to someplace listeners way out in digital space may never visit. Bandcamp itself, in its own unique way, has been able to retain some of the regional flavor of the old townie musical habits. Unlike the somewhat faceless interface of Soundcloud, or the ubiquitous (and perceived shady) corporate enormity of Spotify, the clunky-fun homepages that artists create on Bandcamp often have the vibe of old album liner notes, with sidebar highlights of where they’re from, contact links, thank-yous to other local bands, and generally are chock-a-block with personal and recording info.

about my life at that time. I was in high school then. Roswell Road is a long road that passes through Sandy Springs.” ‘Buckhead Heist’ | Ian Deaton Atlanta (2013) A fizzy, techno-rock, DeLorean race of an instrumental that might’ve been floating out of one of Buckhead’s malls in 1987. “I’ve lived in Atlanta on and off since 1997, and I love crime cinema and fiction. I wrote the song ‘Buckhead Heist’ as part of a fake crime film soundtrack called ‘Atlanta Crime Wave,’” says Deaton. “I was dreaming a lot about a nonexistent 1980s action film set in Atlanta, so I wrote an album’s worth of Herbie Hancock/Harold Faltermeyer synthesizer music. ‘Buckhead Heist’ would be the scene in the film where a group of thieves steal a haul of diamonds from a high-end Buckhead jeweler and escape by helicopter.”

‘Sandy Springs’ | Al Carmichael Detroit, Michigan (2016) This nice, slide-guitarled stroll musically demonstrates this acoustic strummer’s pre-Rust Belt existence in Georgia, as his drawl and mood sure don’t feel like the Motor City. Indeed, Carmichael was a member of Radar, a band of Atlanta’s 1960s and ’70 progressive rock scene. “’Sandy Springs’ was part of my CD called ‘Roswell Road,’” said Carmichael. “The entire record is about my formative years living in Georgia. Sandy Springs was my hometown. This song was inspired by revisiting Sandy Springs and reminiscing

‘Dunwoody’ | The Well Wishers San Francisco, California (2013) This singer-songwriter, Jeff Shelton, unknowingly named a whole EP after the local town. And while he admits on his page that he has “since discovered” the existence of Dunwoody, Georgia, he somehow gathered enough of an impression to “chronicle the imaginary lives of those trapped in Southeastern suburban bliss,” via his lilting, Big Star-like jangle rock.

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‘Buckhead Betty’ | The Coathangers Atlanta (2007) A dainty, handclapped singalong respite from the Atlanta punk stalwarts’ otherwise itchy art-punk on their debut album. “‘Buckhead Betty’ was on our first LP, where we held no opinions back,” says Coathangers drummer/singer Stephanie Luke. “A Buckhead Betty was/is a term that refers to privileged women in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. Think ‘Real Housewives’-meets-Karens of the world. The type of woman who judges others ‘below’ them in status, yet are themselves miserable, pill-popping ladies.” ‘Buckhead Georgia’ | Cecil Null War, West Virginia (1963 ) We’d ask Mr. Null -- a one-time writer of country hits like “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know” -why he chose to write a tune about Buckhead, but he passed away in 2001. It’s a good bet he knew that part of town was way different and closer to the rural autoharp amble of Null’s minor fame than the upwardly mobile locale it is today. Then again, it could be named for the rival city of Buckhead in Morgan County. ‘SandySprings GA”’ | Silverfoxx ETO Atlanta (2016) The airy, electro drone of this tune sounds more like background for the image of the spaceship floating at the top of his Bandcamp page than anything that might honk or lawnmower its way through Sandy Springs. ‘Poor People’ | Buckhead Shaman Atlanta (2020) To catch up with this locally named mystery figure, we checked out “Poor People,” a slightly trippy, angelic electroyearner with a breezy gleam that matches the sheen of his artistic nomenclature, if not the song title. Mr. Shaman turned out to be a musician named Tyler Hobbs. “Buckhead Shaman was originally an online persona delivering facetious health, wellness and spiritual guidance,” said Hobbs. “I started making music, and realized it matched well with the shaman character. It started as very tonguein-cheek -- poking fun at Buckhead’s consumerism and pseudo-spiritual residents obsessed with their health. Buckhead Shaman is a total brand whore with a heart -- a beacon of healing -- repping a part of town believed to be a cut above the rest.” — John Ruch contributed

MARCH 2021 ■

Community | 11

City Council allows developer more time to gather support for lot division BY SAMMIE PURCELL A developer has received more time from the City Council to gather community support for a subdivision project on Kendrick Road. The developer and builder, Donald Neustadt, seeks to subdivide a single-family property at 1230 Kendrick Road into two lots. He told the council that, after receiving pushback from his neighbors during a Feb. 3 Planning Commission meeting, he contacted Councilmember Madeleine Simmons and asked for help organizing informational meetings for his neighbors about the property. At its Feb. 23 meeting, the council deferred the decision on rezoning until its next meeting so Neustdat could have more time to engage with the community. “Everybody’s on the same page with us giving a deferral and seeing if they can’t work things out between now and the next council meeting,” Simmons said. Neustadt said developing the 1230 Kendrick Road property as a single-family lot would diminish the value for the owners. Michelle Gray, the owner of the property, attended the meeting. She said she recently retired and moved to Virginia and was planning on splitting time between Virginia and her home on Kendrick Road until the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way. She said she was “shocked” her neighbors were so against the rezoning. Neustadt had a similar ordinance approved for a separate property at 1221 Kendrick Road last year in a plan that drew controversy from neighbors for alleged maintenance issues. At a Feb. 3 Planning Commission meeting, some residents spoke out against the subdivision and raised concerns about other properties Neustdat owns in the area. Some neighbors said Neustdat has let his properties fall into disrepair, notably the property at 1221 Kendrick Road. “You guys approved a subdivision for him just this past year, which we did not fight him on,” said Erin Mosher, a real estate agent and Brookhaven resident, at the Feb. 3 meeting. “But now we’re at the point where he’s just acquiring many, many properties and doing nothing with them and allowing them to look horrible in our neighborhood.” Neustadt said he had never received any opposition to rezoning for any of his properties before.


“This is not collecting properties and letting them go into disrepair by any means. It costs a lot of money to maintain these properties,” he said. “If there was any perceived opposition, we would have asked for a deferral the very first time so we could get people involved.” Neustadt said work on the property at 1221 Kendrick Road was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit just after the lot was approved for rezoning. “The property at 1221 that they keep calling into question, I have been working on diligently since the zoning approval last year,” he said. “It has finally, finally been given approval to build on – on Feb. 1, which was two days before the Planning Commission meeting.” Neustadt said he has already applied for his demolition permits to begin work on the property at 1221 Kendrick Road. He also said another one of his properties, located at 1229 Kendrick Road, recently sold for about $1.1 million. That was confirmed by DeKalb County Property records. “You can’t tell me my properties are derelict if a house sells for over $1 million,” Neustadt said. The Planning Commission recommended that Neustadt should not be approved for the subdivision at 1230 Kendrick Road. Commissioner Kevin Quirk said he did not see a “particularly compelling reason to change the status quo,” and that a builder could profit on the land as currently zoned. “It might not be a maximum profit,” he said. “But I’ve got to imagine that they could do pretty well.” Chairman Stan Segal agreed, and said the lot has “reasonable economic value, and can be built on today in its current zoning.” The commission stressed that while it was sensitive to the neighbors’ concerns, its recommendation was based solely on the current application. “I think it’s important for [Neustadt] and the public, everyone listening, to understand that every application is unique to itself,” said Commissioner John Funny. “We look at every application individually.” The application is scheduled to go back before the City Council at its March 16 meeting.

12 | Community ■

63-unit townhome project may replace Brookhaven hospice center BY SAMMIE PURCELL The Brookhaven City Council has approved zoning for a 63-unit townhome development, which sits close to the Buckhead border at 1234 and 1244 Park Vista Drive, the site of the former Hospice Atlanta. The council followed the advice of the Planning Commission, who unanimously recommended zoning approval for the project at a Feb. 3 meeting. However, the council approved the zoning without a recommended amendment from the Planning Commission. At its Feb. 3 meeting, the commission discussed the possibility of adding more interior sidewalks to the development so that both sides of the street have walkways for resi-

A design concept for the townhome development proposed to be built at 1234 and 1244 Park Vista Drive in Brookhaven.

dents. Commissioner Michael Diaz suggested an amendment to recommend the inclusion of sidewalks on both sides of the street within the development. The amendment was approved by a 3-2 vote. Brian Davison, managing partner for the developer Minerva USA, said adding sidewalks to one side of the road would force the townhomes on that side closer to the property line, which would compromise the privacy of abutting neighborhoods, such as Brookhaven Woods to the north. “The request from the Planning Commission … was to see if we could do sidewalks on both sides of the street,” Davison said. “We would have to pick up the extra 10 feet of the sidewalks if we put them in.” During the public comment section of the meeting, Brookhaven Woods resident Sharon Safriet said the addition of the sidewalk amendment would put Brookhaven Woods homeowners in a “fishbowl.” “It will negate weeks of negotiations between Minerva and Brookhaven Woods,” she said. “We feel that they will be a good neighbor. We’re going to hold them to what they said they would do to keep our privacy and make it as good as it can be … but the sidewalk amendment would negate all that.” Brookhaven Woods resident Paulo Pereira said the proposed amendment from the Planning Commission would allow homeowners in the new development to see into his bedroom. “They will have a view direct to my bed,” he said. “It means that I will never be

able to wake up anymore without having my shades down. This is a direct impact on my privacy.” Davison said designs for the development have been presented to many of the surrounding neighborhoods to make sure the developer’s plans are in line with residents’ desires. “I think we’ve accommodated most people,” Davison said. “Perhaps not all, but I think we’ve accommodated most things. The developer asked for approval for two variances, one changing the street setback from 50 to 35 feet and one waiving design requirements for garages at the front of the homes and minimum distances between driveways. The design requirements ordinance was approved as is by the council, but the street setback variance was changed to 31.5 feet instead of 35. “That’s based on some of the recommendations that came from the Planning Commision and the applicant’s

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“We feel that they will be a good neighbor. We’re going to hold them to what they said they would do to keep our privacy and make it as good as it can be … but the sidewalk amendment would negate all that.” Sharon Safriet Brookhaven Woods resident

ability to fit the parking spaces in,” said Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin. One of the conditions added by the Planning Commission which was approved by the City Council was a suggestion to restripe and improve the intersection of Park Vista Drive and Lenox Park Boulevard, subject to approval by the Brookhaven Public Works Department. During the Feb. 3 meeting, Davison said one issue that came up was the walkability of the area and proposed a realignment of the intersection at Park Vista Drive and Lenox Park Boulevard to make crossing the street easier and to ease congestion. “I think whether or not you approve our plan, I think this is probably a wise

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thing to do at this intersection anyway,” Davison said. The Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 3 was the last for Commissioner

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John Funny, who served as vice chair. Funny is stepping down to focus on serving as the chairman of the Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission for the city of Brookhaven. The Planning Commission voted for Commissioner Conor Sen, who is also an investment advisor and opinion columnist for Bloomberg News, to serve as the new vice chair, and re-elected Stan Segal as chair.

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Community | 13

MARCH 2021 ■

Community Briefs


The City Council raised the minimum wage for part-time city employees to $15 an hour, passing a resolution at its Jan. 26 meeting. The pay raise went into effect Jan. 30. Mayor John Ernst said the city raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour for full-time employees about three years ago, but he realized recently a small amount of part-time employees — about five or six, he said — were making less than that amount. Ernst credited Councilmember Linley Jones with identifying the problem. “I thank Linley for raising this to my attention,” he said. “Thank you staff for quickly moving on this.” The decision came during an ongoing national movement to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. Legislation called the Raise the Wage Act was introduced in 2019 and passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but was not taken up by the then Republican-controlled Senate. A new Raise the Wage Act was introduced into Congress on Jan. 26, looking to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next four years. That legislation is supported by both of Georgia’s newly-elected Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Georgia’s state minimum wage sits at $5.15 per hour, one of only two states with a minimum wage below the federal amount. The city of Atlanta raised its minimum wage for city workers to $15 per hour in 2017. “I believe we need to pay a living wage, an accepted wage, for everyone,” Ernst said. “And make this resolution so we can make that happen.”


Brookhaven has canceled the annual Lynwood Park Community Day planned for May 1 because of ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. The day is meant to celebrate and reflect on the history of the neighborhood, which was created in the 1930s and is the oldest Black neighborhood in DeKalb County. In October of last year, the city approved a historical designation for Lynwood Park. The decision came in wake of protests against racism and police brutality. “For over 40 years, Lynwood Park Community Day has been an annual day of celebration when the community gathers and remembers the historic importance of Lynwood,” said Councilmember Linley Jones, whose District 1 includes Lynwood Park, in a press release. “That is why canceling this year’s event was such a difficult decision, but the committee must prioritize the health and safety of all.” Lynwood Park is also usually the home of Brookhaven’s MLK Day Dinner, but in light of the pandemic, this year’s dinner was held as a drive-in event in the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station parking lot. Although the Lynwood Park Community Day is canceled, Jones encouraged residents to enjoy the amenities of the neighborhood’s park at 3360 Osborne Road. Residents can find local COVID-19 statistics and guidelines for the city’s coronavirus response website.

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14 | Community ■

Bill would allow mayor to fill vacant council seats BY SAMMIE PURCELL

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The Georgia General Assembly will consider legislation which would allow the mayor to fill City Council vacancies by appointment. Currently, if there’s a vacancy in the City Council, a special election will be held. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Matthew Wilson (D-Brookhaven), would allow the mayor -- currently John Ernst -- to appoint council members in the interim until that special election. If there were more than 12 months left in a term, the mayor would be able to appoint a replacement until the special election. If there were less than 12 months left in the term, the mayor would still be able to appoint someone, but there would be no special election and that person would serve until the next regular election. Those appointments would be subject to the approval of the rest of the council. In the event the mayoral seat is vacant, the City Council could appoint someone. This legislation was introduced last year in HB 695. Along with filling city council vacancies, that bill also addressed the possibility of unlimited term limits for the mayor. The General Assembly passed that bill, but state Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) made a last-minute change to include the mayoral term limit issue as a referendum so citizens could vote on the issue in November’s election. About 55.1% of voters went against the referendum during November’s election, according to county data. Due to a drafting error in the bill, when the referendum was voted down so were the proposed rules for filling City Council vacancies. Due to that drafting error, Wilson is re-introducing the vacancies legislation. Wilson said the bill would be helpful for a smaller City Council such as Brookhaven, which only has four council members, to make sure a quorum can always be reached for a meeting. “This bill is part of the city charter review commission’s recommendations to ensure we have continuity in city government, letting the council continue to meet and consider business in the event of more than one vacancy,” Wilson said in an email. The original bill, HB 341, was abandoned because it did not go through the proper procedural process through the DeKalb County delegation. According to Wilson, an identical bill was expected to be introduced and vetted by the DeKalb delegation.

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Community | 15

MARCH 2021 ■

Veteran journalist has seen the changes in Georgia politics up close BY MARK WOOLSEY

last 20 years as a political columnist and that has gotten more and more interesting every year. The other big one I did was in 2006, when Ralph Reed was mak-

It’s more and more unusual for a print journalist to make almost an entire career from working at one publication, but Jim Galloway is that rare bird. The 1977 University of Georgia graduate spent about 18 months at a South Carolina paper before jumping to the AJC and has been there ever since. Galloway was hired as editor for the Atlanta paper’s North Fulton Extra, a weekly suburban edition. He next jumped to the Journal to cover religion. Stints at Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and as a foreign correspondent – among others – followed. He became a political columnist about 20 years ago, a position he Jim Galloway planned to retire from after the Jan. 5 runoffs for the U.S. Senate seats representing a play for governor of Georgia, and ing Georgia.. that’s when the [Jack] Abramoff scandal Q. What influences drew you to jourwas breaking. It turned out that Reed nalism? had taken a good bit of money that had A. I would guess probably reading the paper when I was growing up. We took the Journal, the evening paper. Then there’s this: Remember the movie “Teachers Pet” with Clark Gable and Doris Day? He was a feisty old city editor. Also, Art Buchwald, the humor columnist of the day, influenced me. Q. How has covering politics changed? A. My first presidential candidate is an example. He was Florida Governor Ruben Askew. I think it was 1984. At that point you were assigned to a specific candidate. I remember he had this interesting tic. Every so often his voice would stop and his eyes would roll to the back of his head. Nobody ever wrote about it. Fast forward to today, can you imagine that happening? Then, there’s the immediacy. The rhythm of the business has changed so much. Usually I finish the Sunday column at around 5 p.m. on Thursday. It goes up at about 6 p.m. and then into the Sunday paper. So, the internet presence gets priority over print. And you’re competing with all these social media outlets, trying to combat all the disinformation that’s out there. Q. What were highlights of your career? A. I thought my stuff out of Beijing during all the [Tiananmen Square] unrest was pretty good. I have spent about the


been laundered through another organization to stop the state of Alabama from establishing a lottery and [halt] gambling initiatives in other states. It was one of those cases where it paid to have covered religion for a while. Q. What will you miss? A. It’s something I already miss: Talking to people face to face. I always did my best stuff when I could look someone in the eye. Now you don’t see their faces…everybody is masked up. The other thing is that I have gone through life half deaf and you don’t realize in a situation like that how much you depend on lip reading, Q. What’s ahead for politics in Georgia? A. I don’t know if it will happen this cycle or the cycle after that or the cycle after that, but Georgia is changing demographically, and by 2030 we’ll be a majority-minority state. White voters will be outnumbered by everybody else. The question is how are we going to react to that? The arc has been coming to grips with the progression of the US into a multiracial democracy. Q, Were you surprised by the recent election and runoff?

A. November surprised me in that Democrats did well at the top of the ticket – in the presidential, Senate and congressional contests, but not down-ticket. They made minimal gains in the state Legislature, which bodes ill for them during a special session to redraw political boundaries later this year. The results of the two Senate runoffs on Jan. 5 surprised me less and less as we moved closer to final voting. With Trump insisting that he won, against all evidence, he made sure that the election was about him, and not about putting a check on Democrats. In essence, he asked Georgia whether we were really sure about how we voted on Nov. 3. And on Jan. 5, we said yes. Q. What’s next for you? A. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do next. I have a lot of woodworking tools I want to play with. I’ll have to buy a new laptop. I don’t know what I’ll write but I’ll keep writing. Q. The great American novel perhaps? A. Naw, I don’t know how I’d write fiction.

16 | Commentary

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C O N TAC T US Publisher Emeritus Steve Levene Publisher Keith Pepper Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch Intown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Bob Pepalis, Sammie Purcell Contributors Eric Davidson, Kevin C. Madigan, Phil Mosier, Carol Niemi, Isadora Pennington, Mark Woolsey Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini Graphic Designer Quinn Bookalam Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno Sales Executives Rob Lee, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter Office Manager Deborah Davis ■

Commentary / Less traffic, more green space: Lessons from a pandemic year What a year! Everything got turned on its ear, to be sure, but That’s where we all need to shift our attention at this point. the creativity that has come out of life in a pandemic has been Employers need to plan their return to the office in a way that inspiring. Livable Buckhead has embodied that creativity since locks in the benefits of telework while minimizing its drawMarch 2020, stepping up to support employer partners as they backs. Workers have saved thousands of dollars, not to mention scrambled to set up telework programs, moving our in-person hundreds of hours, by teleworking during the past year. They’ve walk challenge events to a virtual format, and making countalso remained productive despite multi-tasking as full-time emless other adjustments throughout the year to match the needs ployees and part-time virtual school instructors. In fact, one reof the moment. Two of our major program areas -- green space cent report from the online survey company Typeform showed and alternative commute options -- became more relevant to life that 81% of workers report being at least as productive at home in Buckhead than they had ever been. as they were in the office. How much time have you spent outdoors during the past On the flip side, employers have struggled with effectively year? I can honestly say that I enjoyed more onboarding new employees and maintaining hours outside in 2020 than in any previous year company culture, while employees have had of my adult life, and anecdotal evidence indidifficulty staying energized amid days filled cates that is true for many of us. In Buckhead, with Zoom meetings. we saw noticeable increases in the number of So how can we maximize the positives and people on PATH400, even on a section of the minimize the negatives? Be strategic. After a trail that wasn’t quite complete. In a pandemyear of working remotely, it is apparent which ic, there’s nothing more inviting than a beautiportions of a job can be done from home and ful new trail at your back door. which are better accomplished in person. LikeAcross the city, public parks and trails have wise, some employees may have demonstratbeen more than just venues for outdoor exered they are better suited for work in the office cise or relaxation. They have become our places while others have thrived from home. Employto safely meet friends, to maintain some sense ers should use that data to structure a program of a normal social life, and to reconnect to nathat meets everyone’s needs. ture. They’ve been especially important in AtWe surveyed Buckhead residents and comlanta’s more commercial areas where public muters to find out how often they would like parks are the only readily accessible option for to telework after the pandemic. Over half of Denise Starling is executive director of Livable Buckhead, a getting outdoors. The city is poised to build on the respondents said they want to telework bethe newfound enthusiasm for parks through its nonprofit organization focused on tween one and four days each week, and 22% sustainability efforts, including ActivateATL master planning effort, and I hope want to be remote full-time. In the “new norparks and trails, alternative that the people who have gained new apprecimal,” companies would be smart to structure commuting, long-range planning efforts and community events. ation for parks and trails will continue to suptheir workplaces for in-person communicaport them in the future. tion and culture-building complemented by Just as parks and trails were our lifelines regular teleworking. to sanity during the pandemic, effective teleworking strategies One last bit of advice: use the “broken habit” of driving alone were the key to keeping business running in a work-from-home as an opportunity to create new commute patterns. The panworld. I’ve been part of a region-wide effort to encourage teledemic has made it easy to see the traffic impact of having a sigworking for almost 20 years, and even I was surprised by some nificant reduction in the number of cars on local roads. We of the benefits and challenges of working from home full-time should all aim to keep as much of that reduction in place as posfor an extended period. sible, while recognizing that a return to “normal” requires opThe Livable Buckhead staff has learned a lot from our pantions beyond teleworking. Livable Buckhead is working with demic work experiences and from the ways our employer partemployers on flexible workplace strategies that integrate multiners have adapted to remote work. The companies that investple options -- telework, transit, carpooling -- and incentives to reed years ago in technological and human resources to support duce the number of people who drive alone to work. a distributed workforce continued operations with very little Wouldn’t it be great if one of the lasting impacts of the pandisruption. Others stumbled a bit at the outset, but have since demic -- in addition to better hand hygiene -- was far fewer cars found their footing and are now looking ahead to what comes on the roads? Let’s make it happen. next.

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Commentary | 17

MARCH 2021 ■

Around Town

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

As Abe Schear tells it, his introduction to major league baseball bears the classic marks of a 1950s boyhood. Schear grew up in a small Ohio city and cheered the Cincinnati Reds. He collected baseball and put extra cards into the spokes of his bike wheels to create that special rattle and roar as he rolled along. He read about baseball every day in his hometown newspapers and stayed up at night listening to games on a transistor radio he’d snuck into bed. “I was listening to games when I was supposed to be asleep, with the radio under my pillow,” Schear recalled recently. “Baseball took me to faraway cities. Baseball was my view into the rest of the world when I was a little boy.” Schear, now 69, is a real estate lawyer with the Atlanta firm of Arnall Golden Gregory. After graduating from Emory University and its law school, he stayed in Atlanta, where he discovered, and got interested in, a new and different kind of baseball story. For the past two decades, he’s recorded Atlanta’s baseball history through a series of one-on-one interviews with players, politicians, league officials and fans. He circulates them in a newsletter called “Baseball Digest.” During many of the years Schear was listening to ball games on that radio beneath his pillow, Atlanta was a minor-league town. The Atlanta Crackers (and the Black Crackers) played at Ponce de Leon Stadium, a romantic old ballpark across from the huge Sears, Roebuck & Co. building (now Ponce City Market). Freight trains rolled past (on tracks where people now stroll the BeltLine). A magnolia tree grew in the outfield. (Although the park is gone, the tree’s still there.) Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, Atlanta, like a base-stealer headed to second, kicked it into a higher gear and raced to become a new kind of city. Atlanta didn’t just get bigger, it got better known and became a place people wanted to be. Sports played a big part in Atlanta’s new image. In the middle 1960s, the football Falcons and basketball Hawks set up shop in Atlanta. The Braves moved to town (after years in Boston and Milwaukee) and in 1966 played their first game in a Abe Schear, the author of the new stadium that the city’s pro“Baseball Digest” newsletter. moters had dreamed up to lure a team. Things didn’t end there. In 1970, Mohammad Ali made his comeback in Atlanta after years of boxing exile. The Braves showcased Henry Aaron, one of the greatest players of all time and who, in 1974, would break Babe Ruth’s homerun record during a game in Atlanta. In the years since, Atlanta has hosted Super Bowls, the World Series, Major League Baseball’s and the NBA’s all-star games, and the NCAA’s Final Four. In 1996, the Olympics raised its flag over the town. Atlanta’s evolution into a big city wasn’t an accident. As Schear and others have written, the city’s changes followed a plan conjured by local boosters who sought to raise the city’s business profile internationally. Sports played a big part. Those early boosters wanted to lure major league teams to Atlanta so their city’s name would appear every day in the sports sections of other cities’ newspapers. Schear thought it would make an interesting project to learn about and record Atlanta’s baseball history. “I knew that my friends would much rather read about baseball than about real estate leasing,” he wrote recently in what he says may be among his last articles. Over two decades, he interviewed about 80 local community and baseball leaders. He shared his Q-and-A’s with friends and law partners and self-published a book containing about 30 pieces called “I Remember When: A Collection of Memories from Baseball’s Biggest Fans.” Some articles are posted on law firm webpage at agg. BK

A baseball fan’s newsletter recalls how Atlanta became a major league city com/professionals/abe-schear. His subjects ranged from Atlanta business and political leaders such as Jimmy Carter, John Lewis, Judge Griffin Bell and Herman Russell, to great ballplayers such as Phil Niekro and Tom Glavine. “The story of baseball in Atlanta is told by so many people. You come up with so many answers,” Schear said. “I’ll never forget that when I asked President Carter what was the best thing about going to see the Crackers, he said the best thing was going to Sears after the game to buy something. In Plains, you could only get stuff in the mail.” Big-league baseball is set to return April 1. Last season, of course, we fans were stuck at home because of the pandemic and watched and listened from our couches as our major league teams took us to faraway cities. And we bought stuff online that was delivered to our doorsteps. Perhaps, unlike Atlanta, some things really haven’t changed all that much.

“I was listening to games when I was supposed to be asleep, with the radio under my pillow. Baseball took me to faraway cities. Baseball was my view into the rest of the world when I was a little boy.” Abe Schear University of Georgia

18 | Commentary ■

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

Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the DunwoodySandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at

The storefront of the THRIFTique thrift store on Miami Circle.

With Atlanta unemployment at a historically low 2.8 percent, 1 out of 5 residents in 2019 still lived below the federal poverty line of $26,172 annual income for a four-person household, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even with at least one adult employed full-time, these families struggled to cover rent, food, utilities and other basic expenses. Then came COVID-19. On March 13, 2020, the economy shut down. Families already struggling were clobbered. And even as the economy showed signs of recovery at the end of 2020, those living in poverty remained in crisis. But they were not abandoned, thanks to a number of concerned nonprofits. One of them was Buckhead Christian Ministry, whose mission is to “keep people from becoming homeless and work to elevate their possibilities for economic empowerment.” “These families were already stressed out before the pandemic, working for wages insufficient to meet their expenses,” said BCM President and CEO Keeva Kase. “The pandemic complicated every-

How shopping can help to prevent homelessness in the pandemic crisis prehensive, lasting 12 to 18 months during which time families build a foundation for economic stability by finding more appropriate housing and receiving weekly case management, bi-weekly coaching on key issues, money-management education, debt remediation and savings matches of up to $1,000. And, of course, there’s the issue of simply making more money. “Warehouses need forklift drivers, HVAC needs repair people, and there are many customer-assistance positions available,” said Kase. “So, we pay for professional training for people to do these higher-wage jobs. We also teach resume writing and interviewing skills.” For BCM, like all of us, surviving the pandemic required major changes. Everyone immediately began working remotely, but with less disruption than expected thanks to already having moved many functions online. The totally renovated and expanded thrift store closed just two months after its grand reopening. The food pantry closed. And the scramble began for funding to meet the growing need. According to Kase, some of these changes have had unexpectedly positive consequences.

thing for them.” It also complicated everything for the non-profits that help them. In the year leading up to the shutdown, BCM spent $902,134 on direct client benefit. A year later, that number is $2,567,859 -- requiring more funding during a time when major fundraisers are not happening. In response, BCM has streamlined its services to focus on the greatest need and offers both one-time emergency financial assistance and longer-term support and education. Some of the clothing on sale Emergency assistance at the THRIFTique store. helps families with the sudden inability to pay rent, “We recognized that what we do best mortgage or utilities because of illness is direct financial assistance,” he said. or death in the family, loss of job, reduc“So, we closed our food pantry and dotion in work hours or pay, or major unnated 5,000 pounds of food to anothexpected expenses. er nonprofit. Now we focus entirely on Longer-term assistance is more com-

rent, mortgages and utilities.” And by interviewing applicants virtually rather than in person, BCM case managers can handle significantly more appointments a day. “We were already overwhelmed before the pandemic,” said Kase. “Now we’re spending more money than ever in our history by a factor of three.” The good news is that the nonprofits that are helping people are also helping one another. “It’s a truism [that] we can’t do this alone. We’re coming together while we’re apart,” said Kase. When I asked him what our readers could do to help besides donating money, he replied simply: “Shop.” He was referring to BCM’s now-reopened thrift store called Buckhead THRIFTique. To see for myself, I visited THRIFTique, where Director of Retail Operations Michelle Krompegal gave me a tour. What I saw looked more like a highend consignment store than a thrift store. The front section was full of quality furniture, lamps, china, silver and crystal, plus jewelry and an ample book section. Beyond that was an expanse of clothing for men, women and children -- with business suits for men, copious amounts of denim and all manner of other garments displayed by style and color. My biggest surprise was the selection of dreamy, likenew wedding dresses -- a definite wow. “We have great donors,” said Krompegal, who accepts only the best items and sells or donates the rest to other charities. THRIFTique is located at 800 Miami Circle, Suite 160, in Buckhead. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. The store follows strict Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pandemic safety guidelines, accepts credit cards, and provides delivery for a fee. For information, call 404365-8811 or go to


Public Safety | 19

MARCH 2021 ■

Sandy Springs adopts version of controversial street-racing law BY BOB PEPALIS

one said at the Feb. 16 council meeting where the local ordinance was approved that a key purpose was to impound vehicles as a deterrent. Asked later why Sandy Springs The city of Sandy Springs has joined Atlanta, Brookhaven and other municipaladopted language that Atlanta acknowledged is in conflict with state law, city spokesities in beefing up penalties on street racing. Like Brookhaven’s, the ordinance inperson Sharon Kraun referred to existing laws that allow for property like cars to be cludes a car-impounding provision that Atlanta officials have acconfiscated as evidence of a crime. But confiscation of evidence is knowledged conflicts with state law and that legislation would be a different legal subject than impounding and relates to investirequired to legalize. gation, not punishment. Mirroring an ordinance approved by the Atlanta City CounBrookhaven also copied Atlanta’s ordinance last year with the cil last year, the new Sandy Springs law imposes state-maximum same impounding provision. penalties of a $1,000 fine and jail time of up to six months for At least two bills under consideration in the Georgia General drivers, organizers and other street racing participants who are Assembly would allow for the special impounding or seizure of convicted in municipal court. And like the Atlanta ordinance, the the vehicles of people accused in street racing. Gov. Brain Kemp Sandy Springs law calls for the impounding of street-racing vehiintroduced HB 534 in the House of Representatives with sponsorcles for up to 30 days. ing legislators on Feb. 18. The bill stiffens penalties for street racBut Atlanta city attorneys told their City Council at the time ing, making a third offense a felony. A third offense also would that the maximum period allowed by state law is always less than lead to forfeiture of the vehicle used for street racing. 30 days and cannot legally continue through the court process. Metro Atlanta has experienced increased instances of illegal Impounding can only be done for immediate safety reasons, such street racing, usually at night. Sandy Springs hasn’t matched that as the arrest of the driver, and the vehicle can be picked up at any Sgt. Salvador Ortega level of street racing, but it has increased in the city. time by any legally authorized driver, the attorneys said. AtlanSandy Springs Police Department DeSimone said the city has only had three street racing cases, ta councilmembers quietly added a qualification to the impoundbut they want to get ahead of the problem. ing clause saying it could be up to the maximum under state law, He said one large incident happened Jan. 22 at Whole Foods at essentially retaining the appearance of a threat when in fact the 5930 Roswell Road. penalty cannot be imposed. “We had over 100 vehicles doing donuts and laying drags within the parking lot,” Atlanta officials later acknowledged that the 30-day impounding is not legal and said Sgt. Salvador Ortega, Sandy Springs Police Department spokesperson. As offibegan efforts to legalize it through state legislation. cers arrived all the vehicles fled. A few arrests were made and some vehicles were imThe Atlanta ordinance caused widespread confusion, including among police offipounded. cials. Sandy Springs is having the same issue. Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSim-

“We had over 100 vehicles doing donuts and laying drags within the parking lot.”




20 | Community ■

Pandemic Anniversary: Musicians, teleworks and evangelists take stock BY JOHN RUCH AND SAMMIE PURCELL The month of March brings a very unhappy birthday for the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia. March 2, 2020 bore the discovery, in Fulton County, of the state’s first known COVID cases. By March 12, governments and school districts were shutting down. By March 23, Georgia was fully in the grip of the pandemic, with Gov. Kemp issuing the first stay-at-home order. Deadly to thousands, life-changing to millions, the apocalyptic pandemic has been transformative more than most locals guessed in those early days. To mark the grim anniversary, the Reporter caught up with some local figures who we interviewed at the pandemic’s start and others who are feeling unanticipated impacts.


Joe Gransden, one of Atlanta’s busiest and most popular jazz musicians, predicted

Jazz musician Joe Gransden.


in mid-March 2020 that the pandemic shutdowns would have a “very scary” impact on the arts economy. How right he was. “It’s extremely brutal out there,” Gransden said in a recent interview. “Some of the larger bands in town have folded, just disbanded.” For jazz and other arts that rely on smaller venues, the acts often “just can’t get people to come out and feel safe.” Granden said he was out of gigs until late August or early September, when some outdoor shows resumed and live-stream concerts became a phenomenon. Incorporated as a one-person limited liability company, Gransden was able to get loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the federal Paycheck Protection Program. But, he said, his family is still relying on the salary of his wife Charissa Gransden, an assistant director of fine arts at The Lovett School. “If I was single, I probably wouldn’t make it,” he said. With cold weather and indoor shows, Gransden said he has his own health concerns, as there are “very few really safe places to play.” One whose precautions he is comfortable with and playing at weekly is Ray’s on the River, a Sandy Springs restaurant, where the band can get a large distance away from the patrons. While the novelty of live-stream concerts seems to have worn off, Gransden said, the many fans still enjoying them should remember to take advantage of another huge convenience of the technology.

“It’s really easy from your home to throw a dollar in the kitty, or five bucks or 25 bucks,” he said. “If everybody put in a dollar to tip, those artists are going to do well again.” For opera singer Kelsey Fredriksen, the last 12 months has been a virtual adjustment as well. In April 2020, the Chamblee resident led a virtual sing-along of the national anthem organized by the city of Brookhaven as part of a “Brookhaven Strong” pandemic unity event. That was just the beginning. “I’ve only been doing virtual,” Frederiksen said about her performances over the past year. “I’m pretty cautious about staying in quarantine, and so I haven’t been taking any risks to go out.” Close to this time last year, Fredriksen was waiting “on pins and needles” to hear how the Atlanta Opera would choose to move forward with its May production of “Madame Butterfly.” Eventually, the company canceled the performance. Since then, some companies have performed outdoors, including the Atlanta Opera, which staged performances in an open-sided tent at Brookhaven’s Oglethorpe University. Frederiksen said she has been too concerned about possible spread of the virus to participate. “There’s a lot of evidence that singing spews more germs farther, and the louder you sing, the further it goes,” she said. “It’s kind of depressing.” But in the virtual world, she has remained employed as a staff singer at her church in Decatur, where individually recorded parts are put together, and she has shifted her business of piano and voice lessons online as well. In some cases, Fredriksen said, her students are even learning at a faster pace than they were during in-person lessons. “Some of the kids nowadays, they’re just so attuned to the internet,” she said. “A couple of my students, they are just so good with a computer and just melding into it, that they just roll with the punches. Some of them are 5 years old and it’s just reality -this is how it goes. They don’t have much to compare it to.”


Just a few weeks into the pandemic, Johann Weber said in a Reporter commentary that there could be a silver lining for those fortunate enough to be off the front


Opera singer Kelsey Fredriksen.

lines and able to telework. Weber, who manages the “Perimeter Connects” alternative commuting program for the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, predicted that the time- and money-saving aspects would make telework stick around for good. “The reality of work in 2021 may be something to celebrate,” he wrote at the time. While it remains to be seen what postpandemic work will be like, Weber said in a Feb. 8 presentation to the Dunwoody City Council that surveys show most workers have an appetite to continue with a permanent mix of in-person and remote work, and many large employers are planning for it. Weber said Perimeter Connects recently got survey responses from 33 businesses representing about 24,000 office employees in Perimeter Center. About 66% of employers said they would have more remote work post-pandemic. Only 3% said there would be no remote work once things return to normal. About 45% of the employers surveyed said they would have more work-from-home opportunities in the future, but did not have any formal policies or plans in place. Perimeter Connects also synthesized about 40 different global studies on remote work from over the past year, surveying responses from 175,000 respondents. According to the synthesized studies, many workers are ready to be back in an office, but 60% to 80% of employees want to work remote one or more days a week after the pandemic is over. “[Offices] serve a very social function, as well as the actual productive work function,” Weber said of the urge to an in-person return. “You don’t necessarily have to be in the same place to do your core work, but you would choose to be around people doing the same work, even if you had no need to coordinate with them.” One piece of Perimeter Connects advice that the locally surveyed companies are often not following is to create a formal teleworking plan. “[Employers] are not directly addressing how that work is expected to be done,” Weber said, which may indicate they are still thinking of teleworking as a temporary tactic.


“Did you know that the Bible foretold that soon we can look forward to a world that is free of sickness, health [issues], crime and death?” reads the handwritten note recently mailed to a Sandy Springs address. It’s a message that once would have been delivered in person by Jehovah’s Witnesses in their famous door-knocking ministry, but now is being done by snail-mail as the Christian denomination continues its complete pandemic shutdown. The suspension of the door-to-door ministry was “earth-shattering for Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says Robert Hendriks, the organization’s U.S. spokesperson. The group’s name literally means spreading the word of God, and it has fought decades of battles against religious discrimination laws worldwide for the right to conduct the door-knocking.

Johann Weber, director of Perimeter Connects.


“Now, all of sudden, it wasn’t a government telling us to stop… Now it was the organization saying, ‘You need to stop from going to door to door,’” said Hendriks. While some churches and synagogues fought for the right of exemption from shutdowns, Jehovah’s Witnesses shut down all in-person gatherings and activities early and have stayed remote. Hendriks said that is based on two principles: the sanctity of life and Jesus’s biblical command to love your neighbor. “Life is sacred. And why would you risk even one life because you have a personal preference to meet together in person?” he asks. Beyond health risks, he said, “it’s how our neighbor feels about our coming to his door now. And that -- we don’t know when that will change… If they’re not comfortable, we’re not comfortable. We’re not going to force ourselves on anyone and nor should we.” Like many secular organizations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses find the pandemic’s enforced distancing is accelerating some changes already underway and bringing some unexpected benefits. The organization’s door-knocking efforts already found fewer people at home in a mobile age, leading to experiments in telephone and letterwriting ministries that are now the highly organized new normal. Virtual meetings are often drawing more attendees than in-person versions, Hendriks said, especially for those with physical challenges. “You just wonder where this is going,” Hendricks said. “We could never have imagined a year ago being where we are, and I have a suspicion that one year from now, we also will be amazed.” For Jehovah’s Witnesses, that includes a possibility far more amazing than, say, whether teleworking will keep more people home to respond to door-knocking. The organization believes “this [pandemic] is not the work of God,” Hendriks said, but could be a sign of the return of Jesus predicted in the Bible’s book of Revelation, which comes after a rampage by the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” whose members include a personification of Pestilence. “We’ll see,” said Hendriks. “We don’t pretend to be prophets.” BK

Community | 21

MARCH 2021 ■

Insurance payout ‘resolved’ in 2019 PDK airplane crash BY JOHN RUCH Negotiations over an insurance payout to a DeKalb County resident whose home was damaged in the 2019 crash of an airplane out of DeKalb-Peachtree Airport has been “resolved” in an undisclosed manner, according to an attorney. John Patterson was one of two residents left temporarily homeless in the Oct. 30, 2019 crash of a private airplane that hit their townhomes at 2421 Peachwood Circle near I-85. The crash killed the pilot and a passenger. Debris smashed a huge hole in the roof of Patterson’s spare bedroom and fell through the floor into the kitchen below. Patterson and his attorney, Alan Armstrong, said a month after the crash that they were seeking insurance compensation but were running into a hitch about whether the pilot was covered for the instrument-based flying he was doing at the time. Insufficient insurance is a common problem in private airplane crashes, Armstrong and other experts say. There is no federal or Georgia requirement that non-commercial pilots have liability insurance at all, and some beginners have policies that pay only $100,000. Policies that pay out $1 million total per incident are common, but that amount can quickly be consumed by the scale of damage and injuries from airplane crashes. Asked for an update about the Peachwood Circle case, Armstrong in December said, “The matter is resolved,” adding that he cannot discuss the details. Patterson did not respond to a comment request.


DeKalb County Superior Court records show no filings for legal action in the matter. Located on Clairmont Road in Chamblee on the Brookhaven border, PDK has a long history of accidents, including an infamous 1973 case where a jet crashed into a Buford Highway apartment building, killing seven FILE people on the plane and Tarps covered the townhomes at 2421 Peachwood Circle in severely injuring a resi- DeKalb County that were damaged by a fatal 2019 plane crash. dent with burning fuel. The 2019 crash raised safety concerns with some nearby residents as development increases around what was once a remote, semi-rural airport. However, experts say that PDK’s accident rates are not unusual and the risk to any given property is tiny. PDK officials have said that most accidents and near-misses happen within the airport property.

22 | Community ■

Renovation Boom

Local contractors and designers say pandemic has spurred desire for improved space BY COLLIN KELLEY The strength of the real estate market during the pandemic has received plenty of media coverage, but home renovators and interior designers have also kept busy this past year. As a matter of fact, the desire to improve, upgrade, and add space to existing homes is going “gangbusters,” according to one contractor. Warner McConaughey of HammerSmith ( said business has been “through the roof” thanks to the pandemic. He said with people spending more time at home along with working and going to school there, too, it has meant a big demand for additional space or the creation of new space in existing structures. “People are wanting to create any kind of space anywhere they can,” McConaughey said. “We’ve made offices or places for kids to study out of closets, carriage houses, sheds, and in basements. Before the pandemic, people wanted big, open floor plans, but now they want to create nooks and corners for offices and study so they can have a quiet corner space for Zoom calls.” Revamping and creating outdoor space is also huge, McConaughey said. “People are even spending time out in the cold weather, so we’ve seen requests for more fire pits, heaters, and creating outdoor living spaces. There’s also been a big increase in the demand for swimming pools.” McConaughey said he’s also seen homes become more multigenerational, with space being created to welcome aging parents and grandparents. Virginia Van Lear with Level Craft Construction ( said business was “gangbusters” because everyone wants more space. “We’ve had customers doubling their square footage, wanting to update and upgrade everything, and in some cases completely rebuilding,” she said.

Van Lear said now that everyone has grown comfortable working and learning at home, she expects more people will continue to do so even when the pandemic passes. “People want a lot more space for home schooling and offices,” Van Lear said. “I’ve talked to homeowners and they said their kids love learning at home and they’ve been more productive working at home, so lots of people are never going back to a traditional office or classroom. Initially, Van Lear was concerned that the home renovation business would drop like a rock as the pandemic progressed. “I’ve been very surprised,” she admitted. “I thought we’d have another 2008 recession situation on our hands with people hunkering down and holding on to their money. It’s been the opposite.” Mark Fosner with Moon Bros. ( said he’s read about the hot real estate market, but it appears to him that more people are staying put and improving their current living space. Like other renovators, he’s seen a big demand for outdoor living space. “We’ve seen a massive demand for screened porches and outdoor living rooms,” Fosner said. “They want a place where people can gather in all seasons.” Finishing out basements, adding playrooms, and home offices have also been ongoing themes for Moon Bros. Fosner said with families deciding to “pod” or quarantine together, there’s been a demand for making homes more accessible, including installing elevators. “I think we’re going to see more people living and working at home even after the pandemic,” Fosner said. “People are comfortable working and spending more time at home, so they want more creature comforts.” The team at CR Home Design Center ( said outdoor living has been a running theme for the past year and

Two projects from CR Home Design Center: A renovated kitchen offers more prep room and easy-to-clean surfaces, while homeowners are craving creature comforts like a new master bathroom (inset).

expects it to continue, according to inside sale representative Kitt Webb. “I’ve seen an increase on outdoor kitchens, adding built-in grills, refrigerators and even some specialty items like pizza ovens, and cocktail centers,” Webb said. The company’s design director, Antonette Copeland, agreed. “People are ready to get back to some sort of normalcy, entertaining in small groups and outside in fresh air. They This indoor lap pool and workout area designed are wanting sustainable maby Moon Bros. can easily adapt to a more outside terials that will not be affectenvironment with large sliding doors. ed by the weather and want to bring their kitchen experience room, etc. It is important that every inch outside.” is well thought out and planned so you can CR’s custom home coordinator Taylor make the most of the space that you have. Gann said now, more than ever, consumI believe that homeowners and designers ers are looking for functional and efficient will share this mindset for many years to spaces. “A kitchen is not just a kitchen anycome.” more,” Gann said. “On Monday it could be your office, on Tuesday your kid’s class-

Communities of Faith Join us for our Outdoor Masses! Bring a chair or stay in your car. A mask is required in the Communion line. You can also celebrate with our online Mass at Easter Sunday, April 4 7:00 am Sunrise Service, 10:00 am, and 11:30 am

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Arts & Entertainment | 23

MARCH 2021 ■

MJCCA Book Festival spring series to host authors virtually Microsoft founder Bill Gates was scheduled to speak about his new book “How to Avoid Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need” at the virtual series on Feb. 24, after the Reporter’s press time. The schedule includes: March 7: Mark Gerson, “The Telling” March 11: Annabelle Gurwitch, “You’re Leaving When?” March 21: Lisa Scottoline, “Eternal” March 22: Tim Shriver, “The Call to Unite” March 25: Sue Monk Kidd, “The Book of Longings” April 7: Brooke Baldwin, “Huddle”


The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta Book Festival will host a plethora of authors and guests with its virtual “In Your Living Room Series.” The “In Your Living Room” series began in February and will have virtual events through April. Among the scheduled guests are CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, bestselling novelist Sue Monk Kidd and Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver.

April 11: Daniel Lee, “The S.S. Officer’s Armchair” April 15: Tovah Feldshuh, “Lilyville” April 25: Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm” For more details, see the MJCCA’s website at

WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS OR MAXIMUM CONFUSION? “MAXIMUM CONFUSION?” – WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE? The IRS specifies Required Minimum Distributions, or “RMDs”, that you must withdraw from IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement accounts at certain ages. People seem to know these rules exist and that penalties for mistakes are hefty, but most don’t know the details. In 50 years of talking with families, we’ve observed that many people worry significantly about this area of their planning. WHAT KIND OF DETAILS? We hear many questions…I’m turning 72 (the new updated magic age); When must I take my first required minimum distribution? Should I delay my first distribution to year 2, as allowed by the rules? Do I have to wait until the day I’m actually 72 to start my distributions? Can I wait until I’m 72 to take distributions from an inherited IRA account? I’m still working past 72 and in a 401(k) plan – do I have to withdraw money from it? Can I roll over my RMD amount into a Roth IRA after paying the required taxes? WOW, THIS IS STARTING TO SOUND LIKE A “MINEFIELD”… It CAN be complicated. The key is to do the necessary homework, because these RMDs are just one piece of the retirement puzzle, and should be part of a well-coordinated plan. Our Wealth Planning Committee is a group of attorneys, CPAs, MBAs, and other professionals who meet regularly. They discuss and analyze how to meet RMDs while maximizing a family’s aftertax cash flow. Committee Chairman, Phillip Hamman, CFA, CFP®, likes to say, “The RMD rules ARE complicated, but they offer excellent planning

Bill Kring, MaryJane LeCroy, and Phillip Hamman discuss the importance of a well-coordinated retirement plan to navigate the rules of Required Minimum Distributions and maximize after-tax cash flow. (Left to right: Phillip Hamman, CFA, CFP®; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®; and Bill Kring, CFP®)

opportunities.” Families unable to invest the time for homework should seek help. ANYTHING TO WATCH OUT FOR? Most important: Seek independent and unbiased advice from an advisor obligated to act as your fiduciary, rather than someone with an agenda to sell financial products. This fiduciary business model is what we follow at Linscomb & Williams. We are ready to sit down for a no-cost, no-obligation, exploratory conversation either virtually or at our office. Imagine the peace of mind from eliminating confusion about this and other important areas of your finances.

2727 Paces Ferry Road SE Building Two, Suite 1475 Atlanta, Georgia 30339 770 333 0113

Linscomb & Williams is not an accounting firm. Subsidiary of Cadence Bank. Investment Products: Not insured by FDIC. Not bank guaranteed. May lose value. Not insured by any Federal Government Agency. Not a bank deposit.

24 | Doing Business ■

Doing Business | An honor society spawns a virtual tutoring company BY JOHN RUCH



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ty and inclusion. NSHSS shares the same values.

A Brookhaven-based national honor society has launched a virtual tutoring platTell us about Knoyo Tutoring and what form that aims to broker business for colneed that was created to fill. lege students during the pandemic and Knoyo is an independent organization beyond. that was founded to give students easy The National Society of High School access to a pressure-free environment to Scholars, operating at 1936 North Druid learn, find community, and raise their GPA. Hills Road, offers an array of scholarships Knoyo tutors are college honor students and programs to “high-achieving” students from universities all across the country -selected by invitation only. Among the profrom junior colleges to the Ivy League -- to grams, according to NSHSS, is the chance to join “the festivities surrounding the Noensure that there’s a perfect tutor for each bel Prize awards in Stockholm, Sweden,” student. As the first tutoring platform built because a member of Nobel family is a soby students for students, the Knoyo space ciety co-founder. Partner organizations infosters invaluable connections among stuclude Brookhaven’s Oglethorpe Universidents as they build their skills, their netty. NSHSS charges a one-time fee of $75 for works and their dream fulifetime membership, fultures. ly or partly waivable for COVID-19 has brought those who can’t afford it. to light numerous chalFounded in 2002, lenges in the area of edNSHSS is incorporated as ucation. With the abrupt a for-profit company and switch to online learning describes itself as a “mislast spring and uncertain sion-driven, membertimes regarding how stubased social enterprise.” dents will learn moving It has a companion nonprofit foundation that forward, we realize some provides scholarships. supplementary study opNow NSHSS has tions are necessary. Knoyo spawned Knoyo, a platwas created with these form where college stuneeds specifically in mind. SPECIAL dents can hire themselves We’re all used to having James Lewis of Knoyo and out as tutors at prices meals, Ubers and supplies the National Society of they set, with the compaHigh School Scholars. delivered on-demand. ny taking a cut. For more Now you can order up the about the society, see academic help you need, and for Knoyo, and want, exactly when you need it most. see We asked James Lewis, co-founder of Virtual learning is very popular during NSHSS and president of Knoyo, to explain the pandemic. Do you think it will continhow both work. ue to be as popular afterward? We think that some version of virtual What is an honor society and what is the National Society of High School Scholars’ learning is here to stay, and that’s not necunique role in that world? essarily a bad thing. Schools, students and An honor society is an organization families have learned a lot about learning that recognizes students who excel acathis past year, and part of that has been the demically or as leaders among their peers. benefits of learning and studying on more Membership in an honor society is a repof a personalized basis. This has helped sturesentation of great achievements and an dents maximize their time and seek help indicator of future success. Students often for academic support in new ways. Knoyo belong to more than one honor society. fits perfectly within that model, offering The National Society of High School students personalized support offered onScholars is a distinguished academic hondemand. With virtual learning continuing or society, committed to recognizing and at some level, it will continue to provide serving the highest-achieving student employment for students who need and scholars in more than 26,000 high schools want to work, on their own schedule. across 170 countries. Since our founding in How does Knoyo make money from 2002 by James Lewis and Claes Nobel, the senior member of the Nobel Prize family, the tutoring service platform? And are subNSHSS has fostered a diverse and inclusive sidies available for students who might not organization of exceptional young leaders be able to afford the fees? of more than 1.7 million members spanKnoyo allows each tutor to set their ning high school to college to career. Our own rates, with a minimum of $21.99 for mission is to honor academic achievement 30-minute sessions and $39.99 for 60-minand provide unique resources and scholute sessions. A percentage of the fee is rearships that enrich educational journeys, tained by Knoyo. fuel career interests, and drive communiAt this time, we are working with stuty impact. dents who are unable to afford sessions on a case-by-case basis with the intent of creHow did NSHSS come to be based in ating a program in the future for those in Brookhaven? need. Knoyo offers affordable tutoring to NSHSS is proud to have its headquarstudents, while at the same time providing ters located in Brookhaven. Brookhaven is income opportunities for college students known for its community spirit, commitment to excellence and support of diversiin these uncertain times.

Education | 25

MARCH 2021 ■

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Registration currently open for current K-2nd graders.

Sutton Middle School on Northside Drive and Kairos Church at I-285 and Riverside


Register at

5242 Wade Green Road, Acworth, GA 30312 (678) 369-0780 (call or text)


JUNE 7 – AUG 6, 2021

AGES 5 – 17

Sports | Music Technology & Production Ceramics | Sports Medicine SAT/ACT Prep | College Essay Start-Up Fun & Games | After Camp Care

26 | Education ■

��Advertise your Camp in April

Choose your own adventure at Trinity School Summer Camp! Academic, specialty, and sports camps for children ages 4 to 13 June 7–July 2 Monday–Friday

• 7:30 AM–4 PM

July 26–30 Limited offerings


smart girls

June 14-18 & 21-25 July 12-16 & 19-23 “A unique program that creates space for girls to take risks, discover their strengths, and express their own voice.”


4301 Northside Parkway NW, Atlanta 404-231-8117 | Trinity School operates under strong health and safety guidelines.

for more information and to register visit


If you’re looking for your student to learn and grow this summer in a fun, faith-filled environment, HSP Summer Programs are for you! Our fun summer programs for preschoolers – 12th graders are designed to support the formation of each student through faith, academics, athletics, and arts.

Early registration is recommended as spaces are limited. Visit to register today!

Education | 27

MARCH 2021 ■

��Advertise your Camp in April

EXCITING SUMMER ADVENTURES June 7–July 2, 2021 Preschool Camp (2s–PK must be two by June 1) Adventure Camp (K–6th)


• All Covid Safety protocols in place

• Lunches available for purchase

• Returning favorites include Art, Drama, Sports, Circus Arts, StemQuest, Musical Theater, and more!

• Multi-week discount • Camp hours from 9 am–3:30 pm (Preschool 1:30 pm option)

• New (future favorites) include Challenge Island, Little Medical School, Magic, and more!

Registration now open at

5389 epst ESA21 SSR ad_f.indd 1

Sandy Springs, GA

2/8/21 10:53 AM

Join us for an adventurous and fun summer! Sea Gull and Seafarer’s unique North Carolina coastal location is perfect for our seamanship program and traditional camp activities. Campers make lifelong friendships, challenge themselves and succeed in the process.




28 | Education ■

��Advertise your Camp in April


YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD Sandy Springs (The Weber School):

July 6-30

Open to campers entering Kindergarten-8th Grade

Learn more about rates, COVID precautions and our culturally-Jewish program at


Open to PK- 8th Grade students in metro Atlanta. Choose from science, technology, engineering, art camps, and more!





College? Careers? They’ll be here for your kids before you know it. Summer Academy at UGA offers specialty camps to support your teen or pre-teen’s passions and boost their skills.

Recognized nationally as a strong career and college builder Convenient, live online programs


Established in 2001, this will be Summer Academy’s 21st offering

This summer is the time to start making your student’s career and college dreams a reality


Community | 29

MARCH 2021 ■

City unveils pedestrian bridge design for North Druid Hills Continued from page 1 struction. City spokesperson Burke Brennan said there would be encroachment on a Bank of America property and McDonald’s property near the bridges’s location. Those companies could not immediately be reached for comment and the city did not immediately respond to questions about the identity of the property owners it is contacting. None of the affected property owners have responded yet, said Brennan. The bridge connects Emory University’s Executive Park development and a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta campus in what the city is now calling the Briar Hills Innovation District. Executive Park is a multi-use project that would include apartments, medical buildings and a hotel. Children’s Healthcare is building a $1 billion hospital and other facilities. Conceptual drawings of the bridge and bus station show a covered pedestrian bridge running across North Druid Hills Road. A ramp leads up to the bridge from the proposed transit area, which is locat-

ed on the western side of the site. The transit station features a central roundabout where the design firm, Kimley-Horn, has proposed green features such as gardens and bioswales, which collect and filter stormwater. “Welcome to Brookhaven” can be seen written across the bridge in the conceptual drawings. “We think that this is a great opportunity to incorporate Brookhaven’s branding. We’ve looked at your standards of materials that you have for your city itself, and we wanted to incorporate that into the design,” said Jonathan Doherty of Kimley-Horn during the Jan. 29 meeting. “So … when you’re going through it, you know you’re in Brookhaven. In 2019, the City Council approved rezoning requests that would allow for the creation of the campus. That included a “Community Investment Agreement” with Emory University where approximately 825,000 square feet of the Executive Park development will be considered taxable property. The final cost of the bridge will be de-

termined after the engineering design is complete and a contract awarded to a developer after a competitive bid process, according to Brennan. “The city is paying for the bridge, and Brookhaven has already identified that property tax revenues generated by the new facilities going in at Executive Park will offset those expenditures over time,” Brennan said. “It remains possible that additional funding sources need to be identified in the future, depending on final cost estimates.” The other two proposed bridges include a vehicular flyover bridge over I-85 into Executive Park, which would provide a second entrance to the campus and is intended to reduce traffic on North Druid Hills Road. The second would be another pedestrian flyover bridge over I-85 between West Druid Hills Drive and Executive Park. In the Jan. 29 meeting, Project Manager Gavin Good from Kimley-Horn presented the conceptual drawings for the North Druid Hills bridge and discussed the importance of integrating successfully with

other transportation and development projects in the area. Good specifically mentioned projects from Brookhaven’s 2020 Comprehensive Transportation Plan Update. In an effort to lessen traffic, the Georgia Department of Transportation has proposed redesigning the North Druid Hills/I-85 interchange. Good also mentioned a proposed arterial rapid transit route, a MARTA bus that would run alongside North Druid Hills Road. Drawings of the pedestrian bridge show it connecting to a proposed transit station. “We wanted to integrate with the proposed multimodal transportation improvements along the corridor, and the significant investment in adjacent developments,” Good said, No official timeline has been set for the project, but Brennan said it will be after the Emory buildings appear on tax rolls. The first building isn’t expected to do so until late this year or in early 2022.

As officials fight over park land, residents ask who fills the potholes Continued from page 1 The city has been trying to purchase the eastern portion of the park from the county for years, but the county has said it wants to use part of the property to build a new, 12,000-square-foot Brookhaven library along Peachtree Road. Plans for the new library -- replacing one currently located at 1242 North Druid Hills Road -- have been in the works since 2005. The years-long dispute between Brookhaven and DeKalb County over the land culminated in Brookhaven filing a lawsuit against the county on Jan. 11. But while the governments continue to duke it out, land on the county’s side of the property line falls into disrepair. The parking lots are filled with potholes. Fences are broken. Green spaces are unkempt. Brown said before the city filed suit, he became so frustrated with the lack of upkeep he considered buying a billboard at the corner of Peachtree Road and Osbourne Road to show pictures of the potholes to passersby. “It’s a little silly,” he said. “But I was prepared to do that.” Amid all this back and forth, some citizens question how maintenance of the park was able to become so poor in the first place. “Since the part of the park is owned by the city of Brookhaven and the rest of the park is owned by DeKalb County, I’m not sure who is responsible for maintaining this area,” said Mike Elliot, a park user and member of the Brookhaven Park Conservancy, in an email. “No matter what, the potholes have been getting bigger over the past year and are dangerous for pedestrians” County Commissioner Rader, whose district includes Brookhaven, said stanBK

dards for parkland upkeep and non-parkland upkeep are different. The county has previously stated that although it has allowed residents to use the open space on its side, its portion of the property was not part of the park when Brookhaven incorporated as a city in 2012. Currently, the Community Service Board operates a developmental disabilities center on part of the property. “While we want all county properties properly maintained, the standard for a park is different from building grounds dedicated to non-park use,” said Rader in an email. “We look forward to patching the parking lot during the winter and repaving it when warmer weather permits later this year.” While park lovers wait for improvements, library lovers have also been waiting for quite some time. The county prefers the location in the park along Peachtree Road, but Brookhaven City Councilmember Madeleine Simmons proposed an alternative site, 1623 North Druid Hills Road, during one of her monthly town halls in September of last year. Rader said in an email that the Library Board of Trustees are in the process of evaluating the North Druid Hills Road site as a viable alternative. Jaymee Morris, president of the Friends of Brookhaven Library group, said the library won’t be able to do anything with any funds they raise until they have a new building. “We’ve kind of been in a holding pattern for so long that we just can’t wait until it actually happens,” Morris said. “Since we haven’t been able to have any of the typical programs that we’d run pre-COVID, that dollar amount tends to just go up as we’re not really allowed to continue to invest in our community or the building itself.”

Morris said to her knowledge, no one access easement to begin improvements, from the city or county had reached out but the county has not responded. The only to the Friends of the Brookhaven Library way to get into the Brookhaven-owned side group for their perspective on where the of the park for construction is through the new library building should be located. DeKalb-owned side, and an access easeThe dispute between the city and county has halted progress on park upkeep, a new Brookhaven library, and also prevented Brookhaven from moving forward with planned park improvements. In 2018, the city passed a $40 billion park bond with 60% voter approval and set $6 million aside for updates to Brookhaven Park. “[The plan] includes such things as running water, a new children’s playground, new pavilSPECIAL ions, bathrooms,” The driveway of Brookhaven Park had potholes and said Lisa Pintozzi, cracked pavement in late January, as seen in a photo president of the taken by resident Carey Brown, who has called on DeKalb Brookhaven Park AsCounty officials to improve the maintenance. sociation. “Just things that a park that hunment would allow Brookhaven the right to dreds and hundreds of people visit on a pass over DeKalb’s side of the park. weekly basis should expect and require.” While master plans exist for BrookhavDeKalb County did not respond to reen Park, updates have yet to begin in part quests for comment about the status of the because of access issues, said Pintozzi. easements or permits. “Brookhaven cannot start the park im“The citizens of Brookhaven voted on provements because of the fact that they that park bond. Money is there to make have no access to that land,” Pintozzi said. those park improvements,” Pintozzi said. “That land right now, the access to the park is all through DeKalb County.” “And the fact that the money is just sitting In an emailed statement, Councilmemthere waiting, cannot be used to improve ber Simmons said that last year the city the park and the lifestyle of Brookhaven submitted permits for construction and an citizens is a shame.”

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Bubolo Medical Improving Lives For 20 Years

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