Dunwoody Reporter - March 2021

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MARCH 2021 • VOL. 12 — NO. 3

Dunwoody Reporter COMMENTARY

Lessons learned as pandemic anniversary arrives

SUMMER CAMPS P25 through 28 1


City commissions murals for Black and women’s history months



Inside an authentic Cuban sandwich shop P8


Hear DIY songs named for local towns



Skateboarders hang out near one of the Black History Month murals displayed in February at Brook Run Park as part of a city-commissioned installation.

woody Road and Perimeter Center East, was originally approved as a 12-story hotel by the council in 2019, but has been revamped in light of the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the hospitality industry. The new proposed development would have approximately 225 age-restricted, forrent housing units and about 43,000 square

Brook Run Park is home to a display of a variety of temporary murals centered around Black and women’s history commissioned by the city for $13,000. A rotating band of regional art will be on display at the skate facility in the park at 4770 Peachtree Road. Seven Black History Month murals were on display in February and eight Women’s History Month murals will be on display throughout March. “Because of COVID, we’ve been trying to find new ways to get people active in the parks and showcase the diversity we have in the community,” said Brent Walker, director of the city Parks and Recreation Department. “We want to support Black History Month and Women’s History Month as a

See APARTMENT on page 29

See CITY on page 30

Apartment project gets $7M tax break, but no council approval



The Dunwoody Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30338 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

A proposed development including apartments for seniors received a $7 million tax break from the Dunwoody Development Authority, but the City Council balked at making a decision on zoning because of concerns age restriction would not stick. The property at 84 Perimeter Center East, which sits at the corner of Ashford-Dun-


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2 | Education

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DeKalb County Schools announces in-person return starting March 9 BY SAMMIE PURCELL Students may begin returning to DeKalb County School District classrooms on March 9 from a pandemic closure in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The DeKalb County School District announced its strategy for reopening schools at a Feb. 23 address it calls the “State of the District,” according to a press release. Schools will place students into two cohorts based on last name and instructional program in order to maintain proper social distancing. Those groups will partic-

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ipate in hybrid in-person learning based on their choice to attend school in-person or not. Students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and Grades 1, 2, 6 and 9 will begin in-person learning on March 9. Students in all other grades will begin on March 15. Before the announcement, members of the Dunwoody City Council expressed concerns over how students have been affected over the lack of in-person learning.

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Anna Hill, a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education representing District 1, attended the Feb. 22 City Coun-

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cerns. Councilmembers Stacey Harris and Joe Seconder were specifically concerned in regards to students who have special needs and may need individualized edu-



cation plans. “I don’t believe that DeKalb County is serving kids with individual education plans,” Harris said. “There’s no way they possibly can when doing it virtually. That is a huge concern in our community and

“How is the school district spending all those CARES Act funds? Do they have an open checkbook?” Joe Seconder City Councilmember

all across the county.” Hill said she sympathized with those concerns and that some accommodations for those individualized plans would not be possible in a remote environment. “I worry a lot about these students. I worry about all of the students,” she said. “But if you have a working IEP … and you can’t actually follow what it says, it leaves a situation of difficulty.” Council members also asked for more transparency with how federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds are being used by the school district during the pandemic. “How is the school district spending all those CARES Act funds?” asked Seconder. “Do they have an open checkbook?” Ç

Mayor Lynn Deutsch echoed the need for more transparency in how CARES Act funds are being spent. “I’m really concerned that we’re a year into this, and there are reports that some

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audit of how people’s time was spent.” More information on the reopening plan for schools can be found at dekalbschoolsga.org/school-reopening. Residents can watch “The State of the District” address at dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv.

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Community | 3

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High Street project OK’ed for $19M tax break that includes apartments BY SAMMIE PURCELL The Dunwoody Development Authority has approved a roughly $19 million tax break for the first phase of the multi-use High Street development. The tax abatement includes the development’s apartments, despite a previous arrangement leaving them out. The High Street development would be built on about 36 acres at the northwest intersection of Perimeter Center Parkway and Hammond Drive. The multi-use development would include 150,000 square feet of retail, 40,000 square feet of new office space and 598 apartments, according to their website. Approval for the tax abatement was not unanimous. Member Greg Killeen was the lone vote against the tax break. In 2019, the developer -- GID Development Group -originally requested a tax break schedule where roughly 50% of their taxes would be reduced over a 10-year period, according to Killeen. That tax break did not include apartments. Jeff Ackemann, vice chair of the Development Authority, pointed to the changing construction landscape when asked why the authority granted the abatement. “The world has changed since the time we initially started talking to GID about High Street,” said Ackemann in an email. “Retail as we know it, construction costs, the viability of office space, where and how we’re going to live in the future have changed. High Street’s latest proposal reflects those new realities. As a development authority, we concluded this was the kind of developer and the kind of transformational development that we could and should support.” At a Jan. 21 meeting, GID requested a 75% tax abatement schedule over 10 years, including the apartments, amounting to about $25 million. While the development authority deemed that amount too high, they did approve the 50% schedule with apartments. Killeen said he was concerned with the new arrangement’s inclusion of the apartments, which took up the majority of the square-footage and could bring in a significant number of new residents. “If they’re going to be using our city services, then they should pay taxes,” Killeen said. Killeen said he was concerned about overcrowding in Dunwoody, specifically in the city’s schools. “There’s a lot of overcrowding in the schools,” he said. “And as apartments are being built in Dunwoody and Chamblee … there are some [new] elementary schools, but they’re especially not keeping up with it at the high schools.” The DeKalb County School District does


not have a seat at the table when it comes to tax abatements, despite property taxes making up a significant portion of their funding. Recent legislation introduced by state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) would give school districts more say in the tax abatement process. “Along with other mayors in DeKalb County, we have begun to work with DeKalb County School Board members and DeKalb County commissioners to develop a strategy around abatements,” said Mayor Lynn Deutsch in an emailed statement. VIce Chair Ackemann said in an email that 75% of the multi-family housing planned in the development includes onebedroom and studio units. “In looking at the totality of the project, the likelihood it would stress our school system is low,” he said. Killeen also cited concerns about the effect the new development may have on other retail in the area. Phase One of the project consists of about 175,000 square feet of retail space, and Perimeter Mall is less than a half-mile away. Killeen cited Avalon, a mixed-use development in Alpharetta, which he said hurt retail in the surrounding area. Avalon sits

just two miles away from North Point Mall. The developer for Avalon, North American Properties, teamed up with GID on the High Street Development project in 2018, but left the project in 2019. “There’s only so many retail dollars that are going to be spent in a community,” Killeen said. “I’m concerned about what it potentially could do to Perimeter Mall.” The issue of apartments at the High Street development dates back to before Dunwoody became a city, almost 15 years ago. The development was originally approved for zoning by DeKalb county in 2007 -- a year before Dunwoody officially incorporated. In that same year, the Dunwoody Homeowners Association signed an agreement with GID that included zoning conditions to be part of the approval process in DeKalb County. Bill Grossman, who was the secretary of the DHA at the time, said that when the DHA was first approached by GID about High Street, they asked for 4,800 rental apartments. “We negotiated that number down and ended up finalizing at 1,500 condos, which was our preference, and 1,500 apartments, which was their preference,” he said.

The DHA was formed in the 1970s to stop apartments from going into Dunwoody Village, according to Grossman. He said GID has not violated the contract to his knowledge, but the DHA would have standing to sue if it did. The deadline for beginning construction on Phase One of the High Street Development is Dec. 31, according to a development schedule from the Jan. 21 Development Authority meeting. The deadline for completion of the first structure within the project is Oct. 1, 2023. If these deadlines are not met, the approval of the tax abatement would be void, according to a city spokesperson. GID applied for land disturbance in 2019, according to city Community Development Director Richard McLeod. He said GID also applied for several building permits, but has not paid for any permits nor picked them up. GID resubmitted the building permits application with some revised drawings in late 2020. Those applications were reviewed and approved, but have not yet been picked up by GID. GID did not respond to requests for comment.

4 | Community

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North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center may have aesthetic changes in its future



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The North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center may be getting a makeover. The Public Facilities Authority, made up of members of the city council, will allow the Spruill Center for the Arts to make aesthetic improvements to its center at 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, which may include painting murals and putting in sculptures. “We’re trying to improve the facility,” said Alan Mothner, CEO of the Spruill Center, at a Feb. 8 Public Facilities Authority meeting. “To transform this antiquated school building into a true community center. And that’s really important for us, making this a community center. But it should also be pretty obvious that this is an arts center, and not an old municipal building.” As the property owner of the North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, the Public Facilities Authority needs to approve any alterations made to the building. Any changes would still be subject to approval by the Art Commission and the City Council on an individual basis be-


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fore work could begin. Mothner said these alterations could occur sporadically throughout the year. “The idea of presenting these in one broad brushstroke was to avoid multiple presentations for each one of these improvements before the Facilities Authority, so we don’t have to come back to you all each month,” Mothner said. “And that will also streamline the process and the timeline for getting a lot of these projects from conception to implementation. The proposed changes include painting murals in different parts of the property, such as on the front facade of the building and a retaining wall that separates the center from an AT&T building next door. “The front of the building is beige stucco. And nothing says ‘arts center’ like beige stucco,” Mothner joked. “So we’d like to paint.” Mothner said there were ideas to place sculptures in the grassy area in front of the building, as well as to partner with the Atlanta Knitting Guild and place yarn bombs, a type of street art made up of knitted or crocheted yarn, in the trees. Mothner also discussed plans to make the center’s plaza — where painting was recently finished during Dunwoody’s MLK Jr. Day of Service — more of a community gathering area. He said there are post-pandemic plans to host “monthly meet-ups” in the plaza in conjunction with other groups in the city, such as the Dunwoody Library or the Stage Door Players, a local theater company. Both organizations share the building with the Spruill Arts Center. A representative of the library declined to comment. “We’d love to put up lights in there and picnic tables, and really make [the plaza] the heart of the community of the North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center,” Mothner said. City Councilmember Stacey Harris asked how permanent the changes to the building would be and if there were any plans to have temporary installments. “The great thing about paint is that it can always be painted over,” Mothner said in response. “So none of these are intended to necessarily be permanent. I would love to have rotating exhibits, murals, displays throughout the building. That’s the intent.” Mothner said the Spruill Center board has already approved a front mural entry, but did not share the design as it has not been approved by the Art Commission. DUN

Community | 5

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Council considers pedestrian safety, right of way impacts of Mount Vernon Road project BY SAMMIE PURCELL Proposed design changes to Mount Vernon Road between Corners Drive and Mount Vernon Place are raising concerns about pedestrian safety and right of way issues for property owners along the road. The City Council heard three possible options for the design at a Feb. 8 meeting. That section of Mount Vernon Road does not have a sidewalk on the south side and has an older, 4-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side, said Public Works Director Michael Smith. The three design proposals each include adding a 12-foot-wide multiuse path on the north side of the street and a sidewalk to the south. The three designs also include an on-street bike lane. The first proposal would have left-turn lanes added at Vernon Lake Drive, Stratham Drive and Meadowlake Drive. A center turn lane and pedestrian island would be added between Vernon Lake Drive and Forest Springs Drive, and an existing extra westbound lane at Forest Springs Drive would be changed to a shorter right-turn lane. The second proposal would be similar to the first, but two existing westbound lanes between Forest Springs Drive and Mount Vernon Place would be converted to a through lane and center turn lane with a landscaped median. That proposal would not only provide left-turn lanes for side streets, but also space for cars turning left into residences along Mount Vernon Road. The third proposal would keep the existing lane set-up as it is and widen the shoulder on the north and south side of the road to accommodate the path and sidewalk. That design proposal would not allow for improved pedestrian island crossings. At a virtual public input meeting for the project held in October of last year, residents who attended ranked proposals one and two more favorably than proposal three. “Options one and two received strong support, with two-thirds of the responses either supporting or partially supporting one of those alternatives,” Smith said. “And then about two-thirds of the responses were either neutral or not supportive of alternative three.”


Smith said of the responses they received from the public meeting, about 50% ranked left-turn lanes in their top two priorities for improvements to the road, while about 40% ranked adding a sidewalk on the south side of the road. Bicycle accommodations, improved pedestrian crossings, and a better north sidewalk were each ranked as a top-two priority by about 30% of responses. The council did not come to a consensus on which of the three proposals it preferred, but many members agreed the design plan should focus on the safety of pedestrians over easing travel time for commuters. “I believe that safety should be the number one overarching priority, focusing on traffic calming, slowing speeds, improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities … versus helping those motor vehicle operators getting to their destination,” said Councilmember Joe Seconder. Councilmember Stacey Harris asked how much property owners along Mount Vernon Road would be affected by the project. “Is it a temporary right of way easement, or do we actually have to go onto people’s property?” she asked. Smith said for options one and two, five properties would need to give up a “sliver” of right of way to build a new sidewalk, but the city would only need temporary easements for the 21 other properties while building the project. Option three would require two homes to give up some right of way and only require 13 temporary easements. Mayor Lynn Deutsch said she did not think the council would be ready to make a decision on the design proposals by the next presentation. She asked city staff members to come back with more knowledge about right of way issues that might arise with sidewalks and private residences along Mount Vernon Road, and to think about how the project respectfully could fit within the residential section of the corridor. “It would be interesting for us to understand … what right of way impediments are we facing,” Deustch said. “I’m a believer that you could have a multi-purpose trail that narrows in places and is as wide as you want in other places where it’s practical.” Smith did not say when the project would be back before the council for design approval.


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Arts & Entertainment | 7

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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. cityspringstheatre.com

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. buckheadheritage.com

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 2021.atlantasciencefestival.org

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. dunwoodynature.org 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. amyisraelchaiatlanta.org

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 georgiaaudubon.org

▲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. atlantahistorycenter.com

►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. Thelaa.org

◄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.” museum.oglethorpe.edu

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 cubanosatl.com. 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 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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.” redphonebooth.com and amalfipizzaatl.com ►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. scovillechicken.com 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. toastonlenoxatl.com

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. bettyatl.com

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.” snoozeeatery.com

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10 | Arts & Entertainment

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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

APR. 01 - APR. 14, 2016


Making a Difference | 11

Former volunteer to lead Community Assistance Center BY BOB PEPALIS The Community Assistance Center (CAC) has chosen volunteer Francis Horton as its next CEO to fill the position upon Tamara Carrera’s retirement. Horton plans to use his experience with international nonprofits that help to lift people out of poverty to aid neighbors in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, the CAC said in a news release. Horton and Carrera will spend the next month or so working on the transition to his leadership. Carrera was the driving force behind CAC’s growth from a small charity initially housed at a scout hut at the Vernon Presbyterian Church campus, providing food and clothing to about 280 families a year, to the go-to emergency assistance agency in the community serving more than 6,500 individuals a year from 3,000 households. Carrera joined CAC as a volunteer in 1993, and in 1997 was hired as its fourth director. Horton and his wife Angie have volunteered at the CAC food pantry and thrift shop. “He understands both the circumstances and conditions leading to poverty, and more importantly, has years of frontline experience designing and implementing models to help people recover from SPECIAL natural disasters, food insecuFrancis Horton and his wife, Angie, are rity, inadequate housing, and familiar faces at the Community Assistance poor access to education and Center’s food pantry and thrift shop. sustainable jobs,” said CAC board member Cece Webster, who led the search committee. He has worked in leadership positions in Africa, Asia and Pakistan with International Mission Board, Samaritan’s Purse and other organizations, the CAC said in a release. Those teams have included volunteers across countries diverse in race, religion and ethnicity. He earned a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law. “Francis is well positioned with the right leadership skills, values and motivation to move CAC from ‘good to great’ to achieve even further impact in service of our critical mission,” said CAC Board Chair Anne Hicks.

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At the intersection of art and advertisement, the collage works of artist Anderson Smith embrace sexuality and provoke the viewer’s ideas of fashion, luxury brands, advertising, and the human form. A fashion and product photographer by trade, Smith is well acquainted with commercial brands that often utilize sexuality and the female form to sell their goods. Inundated by advertisements in fashion magazines and inspired by a love for the narrative of classic cinema, he has developed a body of mixed media work that has captured the attention of celebrities and earned him representation at several local galleries. One piece on display features words cut out from magazines that command and empower their audience. “People love whatever you do, own your content. Look at me now boss,” it says. Surrounding these words are an array of body parts. An oversized woman’s face with eyes covered by metal sits atop a seated nude figure. Four legs sprout beneath the body, each sporting high heels. Peeking out behind the head is a portion of the Statue of Liberty’s green crown. “It’s beautiful chaos,” Smith says when asked what inspires his work. “There is chaos in beauty and there is beauty in chaos. And that’s the world we live in.” His collages embody a degree of controlled wildness in the way they incorporate images that were intended to depict refined culture and style. Smith’s pieces are composed not just of paper, but also acrylic paint, spray paint, pigments, resin, and gel mediums. Another piece laying nearby features a young Michael Jackson peeking out from inside a denim pocket while a nude woman’s figure opposite appears to be gazing up at the scene. The piece is mostly dark with splashes of color that shine through. Across the image are a variety of spray painted Louis Vuitton logos. “I was really never a safe photographer and I’m really not a safe artist,” Smith explains. ‘If you look at fashion labels like Louis Vuitton there is a lot of provocation in their brand and how they display their products.” He says his goal is to spark conversation for his audience and asserts that it is not for him to interpret his art, rather for his viewers to render a judgment about what the message might be. His works embrace the looseness of sexuality in European art and media while touching on the consumable quality of nudity and how it is used in fashion and marketing. These pieces bring to the forefront elements that are often intended to be used subtly. By combining different figures and blocking out body parts like eyes or exaggerating certain sexualized features, he asks the viewer to consider a deeper message behind the characters put forth in fashion and advertising. While the composition of many of Smith’s collages may at first look appear to be arranged at random, his creative process is actually much more methodical. “It’s very intentional, very methodical. It’s like putting together a puzzle. It can start with just one image, and that image just starts the whole idea,” he says. Today, Smith can often be found working in the Buckhead Art & Company Studio in Buckhead Village. He has been represented by Buckhead Art & Company for several years, and says it feels like he found a home there with owner Katie Jones. Behind the plate glass windows and in the shadow of a multitude of works by other renowned artists, Smith diligently works on his compositions. Surrounded by stacks of magazines, buckets of paint, blades and brushes, he creates his cheeky and provocative collages. DUN

Community | 13

MARCH 2021 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Fourth of July Parade may celebrate COVID-19 workers the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and the Dunwoody Reporter has been a sponsor in recent years. While no formal survey of residents has been done, Tallmadge said the attitude towards holding the parade has generally been positive. “In general discussions and dialogue with our Dunwoody citizens of all ages … people want this parade to happen,” she said in an email. But, Tallmadge said, the city will continue to follow state guidelines and cancel the parade if those guidelines do not allow for large gatherings. If the parade is inperson, she said, social distancing and other safety guidelines will be encouraged. “We are planning the parade right now as if everything was normal (or as normal as it can be),” she said. “[It’s] hard to give a set date on when we would have to cancel if necessary. We would take it month by month, going by state guidelines.” In keeping with the theme, if the parade is held the grand marshals would be frontline workers, such as nurses, policemen and grocery workers. Tallmadge said front-line workers can now sign up on the city’s website so the city would know how many volunteers to expect and could plan for space accordingly.

BY SAMMIE PURCELL The theme and tentative date for the 2021 4th of July Parade has been announced, but whether or not it will be safe to hold the massive event remains to be seen. With the devastation the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the past year, there is the question of whether large crowds would be able to safely gather together, and if they can, whether people would feel safe doing so. Parade co-chair Pam Tallmadge, who is also a City Council member, announced the theme at the Jan. 31 Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting. If the parade is held on the tentative date of Monday, July 5, the theme would be “Celebrating Our Heroes,” paying homage to frontline workers who have faced the coronavirus pandemic head-on over the past year. “Let’s all hope for the best,” Tallmadge said. “That we will have Georgia’s largest 4th of July parade.” The annual parade, which routinely draws tens of thousands of spectators and participants, was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The parade is presented by

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14 | Community

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City Councilmember Tom Lambert plans to run for re-election in November, while Councilmembers Pam Tallmadge and Jim Riticher are undecided. The three seats up for re-election are Post 3/District 3, held by Lambert; Post 1/District 1, held by Tallmadge; and Post 2/District 2, held by Riticher. All three posts are voted on by residents from within the district the council member represents. Dunwoody holds elections every four years, staggering them so only half the council is up for re-election each cycle. Jim Riticher Pam Tallmadge Tom Lambert Lambert, formerly the vicechair of the Dunwoody Sustainability Commission, was elected in 2017, taking over the open seat left by Doug Thompson. He confirmed in an email that he plans to seek reelection. District 3 includes neighborhoods in the eastern section of Dunwoody, including the Winters Chapel coFor Tallmadge, this year concludes her first full, four-year term. She won a special election in 2015, and was then re-elected in 2017. Tallmadge said it would be an honor to serve another term, but did not confirm plans to run for re-election. “I am keeping my options open,” she said in an email. “I would like to see the projects that we have in progress, or in planning stages, started or completed.” District 1 covers the western section of Dunwoody, including the areas around Perimeter Center. Riticher — who was elected to the City Council for the second time in 2017 — indicated an intent to run again, but would not confirm it. “I have not made a formal announcement,” he said. “But, it’s quite likely.” District 2 includes central neighborhoods in Dunwoody, such as those along Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. The City Council has set the official qualifying dates for candidate hopefuls as Aug. 16-18.

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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.

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.

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.

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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

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16 | Commentary

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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 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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@ reporternewspapers.net

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. DUN

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

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

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

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 buckheadchristianministry.org/thriftique.


Community | 19

MARCH 2021 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Preservation Trust to start pandemic historical archive BY SAMMIE PURCELL

it would most likely take place there.

The Dunwoody Preservation Trust is calling for residents to send in photos and other mementos to remember the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone interested in submitting mementos for the collection can send an email to dunwoodypreservationtrust@gmail.com.

The Preservation Trust — an organization dedicated to saving and sharing Dunwoody’s history — joins the likes of the Atlanta History Center, which launched the “Corona Collective” last year as a way to preserve history of the pandemic for future generations. “In Dunwoody, we don’t know much about what happened 100 years ago with the Spanish Flu,” said Suzanne Huff, executive director and chief operating officer of the Dunwoody Preservation Trust. “We don’t know much about anything that happened here, if anything did.” Huff said the idea originally started last April, but lost a little bit of steam over the summer before she picked it back up late last year. Since October, she said she’s received about 23 mementos, including photos and stories sharing what it’s been like for residents during the pandemic. Huff said the trust has received mostly photos and stories at this point. Everything sent in so far can be viewed on the Preservation Trust’s website. Photos include masks hanging from key rings, Zoom calls between friends, a socially distanced football game, and empty grocery store shelves. Huff said the trust would be interested in receiving physical artifacts as well, such as masks, hand sanitizers, or journals from the early days of the pandemic. “I sew, so I made all my face masks,” Huff said. “So I would keep some of those in our collection, as well as the generic ones.” The items can be viewed online, but Huff said she would be interested in starting a physical exhibit post-pandemic. The Preservation Trust operates out of the Donaldson-Bannister Farm at 4831 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, and Huff said any exhib-

One of the photos from the Dunwoody Preservation Trust’s collection, showing a socially-distanced football game.


470-602-9693 Grace.Battle@evrealestate.com



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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.” DUN

Community | 21

MARCH 2021 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Renovation Boom

Local contractors and designers say pandemic has spurred desire for improved space

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).

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 (hammersmith.net) 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. DUN

“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 (levelcraftatlanta.com) 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.

Level Craft added a second level and large outdoor porch to this home.

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.

(moonbros.com) 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 Continued on page 22

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Continued from page 21 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 (CRHomeUSA.com) said outdoor living has been a running theme for the past year and 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 are wanting sustainable materials that will not be affected by the weather and want to bring their kitchen experience outside.” CR’s custom home coordinator Taylor Gann said now, more than ever, consumers are looking for functional and efficient spaces. “A kitchen is not just a kitchen anymore,” Gann said. “On Monday it could be your office, on Tuesday

This indoor lap pool and workout area designed by Moon Bros. can easily adapt to a more outside environment with large sliding doors.

your kid’s classroom, etc. It is important that every inch is well thought out and planned so you can make the most of the space that you have. I believe that homeowners and designers will share this mindset for many years to come.” Outdoor living space and porches, like this one from Level Craft, are in big demand.

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

www.judeatl.com Easter Sunday, April 4 7:00 am Sunrise Service, 10:00 am, and 11:30 am

7171 Glenridge Drive Sandy Springs 770-394-3896


Arts & Entertainment | 23

MARCH 2021 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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 atlantajcc.org.

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 www.linscomb-williams.com

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

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



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with the purchase of 2 Bundtlets

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Expires 3/31/2021. Limit one (1) coupon per guest. Coupon must be presented at time of purchase. Valid only at the bakery(ies) listed. No cash value. Coupon may not be reproduced, transferred or sold. Internet distribution strictly prohibited. Must be claimed in bakery during normal business hours. Not valid for online orders. Not valid with any other offer.

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 nshss.org, and for Knoyo, and want, exactly when you need it most. see knoyo.com. 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.

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Apartment project gets $7M tax break, but no council approval Continued from page 1 feet of retail and commercial space. The Council previously saw initial renderings of the development at a Jan. 14 meeting. At the Jan. 14 meeting, the council took issue with a special land-use permit request from the developer, JSJ Perimeter LLC, to increase the limit of impervious surfaces, like concrete or pavement. Limits on impervious coverage exist to reduce surfaces that prevent the absorption of rainwater, which can damage the environment. The request to increase the limit of impervious space was still brought before the city council at a Feb. 22 meeting, but John Digiovanni -- a representative of JSJ Perimeter LLC -- said they had worked with city planning staff to try and reduce impervious coverage, specifically replacing some parking with greenspace, and moving the proposed pool to the roof of the property to decrease impervious space on the ground. Some council members said they appreciated the effort to make changes, but were still skeptical of the project, and worried the developer wouldn’t stick to the age-restricted component of the development. “One of the fears in the community about this project or any project is that magically overnight it won’t be 55-plus anymore,” said Mayor Lynn Deustch. Deustch asked if the project would be obligated by the Department of Hous-

ing and Urban Development to maintain its age-restricted nature. According to DiGiovanni, the developer is not using HUD financing, so any obligation to maintain age-restricted housing would be tied to zoning conditions from the City Council. The council chose to defer the decision in order to make sure they could adopt HUD rules to protect the city in its zoning for age-restricted apartments. On Feb. 18, the Development Authority narrowly approved an “inducement resolution” for the proposed development at 84 Perimeter Center. The estimated value of the offered tax break for the development is $7 million over 10 years. At the Development Authority meeting, DiGiovanni said this development would cost about $15 million more than standard, market-rate apartments, partly due to higher expectations from future tenants. “When you’re 25 and you get an apartment, it might not [meet] exactly what your expectations are. That’s okay, because you might leave in a year, or get married in a year or so and move into a house,” DiGiovanni said. “When you’re 61, this is probably the last move you’re going to do. You’re going to age in place.” The approval was not unanimous. Two members, Greg Killeen and Susan Mitchell, voted against the resolution. “The developer stated that it would cost


An illustration of the apartment complex proposed as part of the 84 Perimeter Center redevelopment.

$15 million more to develop age-restricted apartments versus a traditional apartment complex,” said Killeen in an email. “That’s about $67,000 per unit. In my opinion, he did not provide the support to make that assertion credible.” During the meeting, Killeen pointed out an example of an age-restricted apartment complex in the area that was recently completed without tax breaks. “Attiva, in Chamblee, is an age-restricted apartment,” he said. “That’s getting built without tax abatements. Why are they able to do that and you’re not?” DiGiovanni said he could not speak to the Attiva development, and without the tax abatement there is a “zero chance” the 84 Perimeter Center development will happen. “I can only tell you what I’m dealing

with in Dunwoody,” he said. “Our understanding of the market is people are selling their large homes. They’re going to have a lot of cash in hand, they’re going to want to move to a product that is either the last step or next-to-last step in their lives.” Authority Chair Jonathan Sangster said if the City Council is looking favorably at the development, it “doesn’t hurt” to do an initial inducement since the Development Authority would still have to enter another agreement with the developer to issue the funds. “We’d still have to do a [memorandum of understanding], but it advances the process,” Sangster said. The proposed development was scheduled to return to the council on March 8.

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City commissions murals for Black and women’s history months Continued from page 1 city, and we thought this would be a great way for people to celebrate those months in a COVID protocols kind of way.” Walker said the city displayed murals at the skate park last October for Dunwoody’s annual “Arts and Culture” month, which serves as a way for the city to celebrate its different arts groups. Walker said the October art installation was a success, inspiring the city to do more public displays. The murals are painted on plywood provided to the artists by the city, and hung around the exterior fence of the skate park so they are easily visible. Walker said the installation was funded by money from the parks department budget. About $13,000 was spent on the project, paid directly to the artists. Walker approved the installation since this project was part of the parks department. Going forward, he said the Parks Department will bring all of their art installations to the newly formed Dunwoody Art Commission for approval. The commission had not been formed when the idea for this project came about. Walker said the city invited artists to apply to be part of the program through their social media, and a curator at Frame Worthy Gallery -- an Atlanta-based art gallery -- helped put the city in contact with Black and women artists who were interested. Fifteen artists were selected for the installation. Walker said when the murals are taken down, they will be kept by the department and used for future events. Mario Padilla, a local artist who participated in the installation, chose Martin Luther King Jr. as the subject for his mural. Padilla, who is Latin American, said listening to King’s speeches helped him learn English. “When I chose to do this, I wanted to honor his figure in my painting,” Padilla said. Padilla, who lives close to the park, said feedback from the community has been positive. One day while working on fixing a problem in his mural, he said he was stopped by a kid who had come to skate. “One of the kids playing with his skateboard … stopped and said to me, ‘You’re one of the awesome artists that painted these things for us?’” Padilla said. “That made me so happy.” Walker said that while no details have been nailed down, the parks department does have several ideas for temporary and permanent art installations. He said department staff members plan to meet with the Dunwoody Art Commission in March to go over some of the plans for 2021.

A selection of the Black History Month murals that were on display at Brook Run Park in February. Women’s History Month murals were planned for March.



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