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MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016 • VOL. 7 — NO. 5


Dunwoody Reporter


► Interim CEO: ‘Let’s fix DeKalb the right way’ PAGE 13

► Packed house for ‘State of the City’ address PAGE 14


Construction cranes: Who keeps them safe? BY JOHN RUCH

Several times each workday, the long blue arm of a construction crane at One City Walk swings a hundred feet above busy Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. It’s one of dozens of cranes dotting the skyline—and often working above busy streets and buildings—in this north metro Atlanta construction boom. It’s easy to imagine the destruction if one of those cranes collapsed because it happens sometimes. Two “tower,” or fixed in place, cranes like those sprouting around the Perimeter Center area fell in New York City in 2008, killing nine peo-

PUBLIC SAFETY Deadly crashes convince some local police agencies to review chase policies Page 30

ple. Mobile cranes on wheels or tracks tip over more frequently, including at a Buckhead construction site last fall and in a Manhattan accident in February that took a pedestrian’s life. Neither the state of Georgia nor any of its cities require crane operators to be licensed, and federal efforts to establish a national certification system are stalled until at least next year. But federal and private inspectors and trainers say that’s no cause to worry. Any crane operator on a major construction site almost certainly has training from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, an industry nonprofit whose work is the basis for

When spring comes, you can see all the dogwoods bloom. It’s like snow. We call it ‘spring snow.’ KAZUMI FUJISAWA THE JAPANESE EMBROIDERY CENTER IN SANDY SPRINGS PAGE 7

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the national standards underway. And the crane equipment undergoes several federally mandated inspections, ranging from daily to annual ones. In collaboration with an independent training company, Heede Southeast, the North Carolina company that operates that One City Walk tower crane, trains its own operators with written and practical tests for NCCCO certification and at least three weeks of “seat time” in a working crane with a certified operator. “We’re not just throwing any Tom, Dick or Harry into the crane as operator,” said Jason Kenna, Heede Southeast See CONSTRUCTION on page 16

OUT & ABOUT Road Trips

5 nearby gardens where you can enjoy spring flowers Pages 10-11

City remains divided over Brook Run Park theater plans BY DYANA BAGBY

Drama surrounding what to do with the theater in Brook Run Park continues to roil Dunwoody City Council and residents divided over renovating or tearing down the building, which was closed nearly two decades ago. Supporters of renovating the theater in city-owned Brook Run Park showed up in force at the Feb. 22 City Council meeting to urge the council to back a plan to renovate the shuttered building into a new community theater and meeting center for perhaps close to $20 million. But some council members continued to make clear they have doubts such a theater should be located in the park. Before the meetSee DUNWOODY on page 4

2/18/16 12:36 PM

2 | Community ■

Catching up: Center for Discovery’s federal court lawsuit proceeding against Dunwoody over denial of Manget Way facility BY DYANA BAGBY

Depositions are underway in a federal lawsuit filed by Center for Discovery against the city of Dunwoody after the company attempted in 2014 to open a residential care home for teens with eating disorders. A contentious battle broke out between residents and the city against the facility’s owners. Center for Discovery is seeking $5 mil-

lion plus attorneys’ fees in the lawsuit. A separate state lawsuit also is making its way through the Georgia Court of Appeals. In 2015, a DeKalb Superior Court judge ruled the city was wrong to deny the company permission to open the facility and the city appealed the decision. Josh Belinfante, attorney for Center for Discovery, said a ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals should be handed down by this summer. The federal lawsuit, however, filed

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July 31, 2015, in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia, is now in the discovery phase. Depositions of Dunwoody officials and residents began last month. Leonid Felgin, a city attorney, is expected to be deposed by Center for Discovery attorneys at City Hall on March 16; Community Development Director Steve Foote was deposed March 2. Scott Robichaux, who was a legal counsel for Dunwoody’s Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, was recently deposed, as was Janet Parfitt, a Manget Way resident who hired an attorney to fight Center for Discovery. The city declined to comment on pending litigation.

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Center for Discovery purchased property on Manget Way and in January 2014, the city confirmed the property would be classified as a “family personal care home,” according to the federal lawsuit. After the deadline to appeal the city’s approval of the property for such use, “a group of neighbors trespassed on plaintiff’s property and made false presump-

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tions about plaintiff’s intended use based on the statements of a sprinkler contractor,” according to the lawsuit. Neighbors quickly rallied opposition and urged support from city officials to deny the facility be allowed on Manget Way. The neighbors argued the facility had wrongly been considered a personal care home instead of a medical treatment facility, which would be prohibited in a single-family neighborhood. In June 2014, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals ruled in the neighbors’ favor. Center for Discovery sued the ZBA, leading to its victory last year in DeKalb Superior Court. The federal lawsuit states the debate surrounding the Manget Way home grew from a misunderstanding. Before the company opens a new facility, it usually holds a public meeting with nearby residents to discuss the business and address any concerns. But, in this case, there wasn’t time. “A neighbor walked over and talked to the sprinkler guy about what is going on,” Belinfante said in an interview last year, and questions about and opposition to the project spread “like wildfire.” The “wildfire” spread to city officials who wanted to appease constituents, even if it meant breaking the law, the lawsuit alleges. “The city appeared to support the neighbors’ opposition, and established and executed a plan to exclude from their neighborhood the disabled minors to be served by plaintiffs. The plan itself was articulated in an email by the city’s [former] mayor, Mike Davis, who wrote to a constituent and the City Council [on April 1, 2014]: ‘We are working on a solution to [the] issue. None of us wants this in our neighborhood either,’” according to the lawsuit. “Mayor Davis’ solution appears to have included: allowing the neighbors to submit an untimely appeal to the ZBA, and allowing the ZBA, over the instruction of the city attorney, to vote on a question well outside of its jurisdiction,” according to the lawsuit. City laws require a zoning appeal to be filed within 30 days, but the zoning appeal of the Center for Discovery facility was filed at least 98 days after the zoning decision was initially made, according to the lawsuit.

Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act, part of the 1968 Civil Rights Acts, protects people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children when they are renting, buying or securing financing for any housing. By excluding the Center for Discovery, the lawsuit says, the city discriminated against the center’s patients. DUN

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Community | 3

“Choosing this community was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I never would have imagined the joy and relief I feel everytime I walk into Phoenix at Dunwoody to visit my mother. She is at home, surrounded by people who genuinely love her and care about her entire well-being.” – Daughter of a resident Phoenix at Dunwoody Dunwoody City Council recently rezoned property near Dunwoody Village to allow a 79-unit townhome development depicted in this rendering.


City Council approves townhome project near Dunwoody Village BY DYANA BAGBY

the units have master bedrooms on the main floor, also known as “master on main.” This number shrunk significantly Dunwoody City Council voted Feb. from the 20 percent mandate debated at 22 to approve a rezoning ordinance for length at the last council meeting. property near Dunwoody Village to make Councilman Terry Nall amended room for a townhome development. the ordinance to have no “master on The council rezoned 8.38 acres of main” requirements, but his amendproperty on the eastment failed with Mayern side of Dunwoody or Denis Shortal and Village Parkway, just Councilors Pam Tallnorth of its intersecmadge, Jim Ritichtion with Mount Verer, Lynn Deutsch and non Road, from busiJohn Heneghan votness to residential so ing against the amenda developer can build ment. 14 multi-unit buildings Nall then revised for a 79-unit townthe amendment to rehome development. quire the 10 percent While no specific “master on main” cost for the project was units, which was filed with the city, de- LYNN DEUTSCH passed unanimously. veloper Woody Snell, DUNWOODY CITY COUNCIL Another point of president of Lynwood conflict from the last Development, estimatcouncil meeting was ed the units would sell the variance the developer was seeking for perhaps $650,000 each. Seventeen to keep the sidewalks 6 feet wide rathunits would bring the total to approxier than add on 6 more feet of sidewalk mately $51.4 million. to create a 12-foot sidewalk. The 12-foot The ordinance to rezone was apsidewalk is part of the Dunwoody master proved 6 to 1 with Councilwoman Lynn plan, argued city planners, and shouldn’t Deutsch casting the lone vote against the be tampered with. project. The city planners agreed to compro“I’m struggling mightily with your mise at Monday’s meeting by allowing project because we don’t have renderings an 8-foot sidewalk; however the developof what is going to be there,” she said. er held steadfast to keeping the sidewalk Deutsch explained another development at 6 feet. In a 4-3 vote, the council agreed approved by council and located in her to grant the variance and keep the sidedistrict is nothing like what they believed walks at 6 feet. it would be, adding she felt “burned” by Voting in favor of 6-feet sidewalks that developer. were Shortal, Nall, Tallmadge and RitichAs part of the rezoning, the couner; voting against were Councilmen Doug cil agreed to require that 10 percent of Thompson, Deutsch and Heneghan.

I’m struggling mightily with your project because we don’t have renderings of what is going to be there.

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4 | Community ■

Dunwoody’s divide over Brook Run Park’s theater continues Continued from page 1 ing ended, one councilman asked city staff members to bring cost estimates to demolish the building to the council’s next meeting. The theater building is the last remaining structure of the 17 buildings in the park that were once part of the Georgia Retardation Center. The Georgia Retardation Center was closed in the late 1990s. John Graham of the Tomlinson-Graham Group, which conducted a Brook Run Theater feasibility study for the Brook Run Conservancy, said his group determined there was very little theater space in Dunwoody. The Stage Door Players perform in a one-room “marginally acceptable performance site” while others performances typically take place in religious institutions or Jewish community centers. There is also a lack of gathering space in the city for community meetings, town halls and for senior citizens, Graham explained. “We believe the theater can be renovated to meet those needs,” he said. “This has to be an extremely flexible theater; it must be multi-purpose. It has to be properly managed and staffed.” The study estimates rehabilitating and equipping the theater would cost, on the low end, about $7.5 million, and on the

high end, approximately $18 million. Councilman Terry Nall asked how many people were interviewed as part of the feasibility study. “We conducted 48 one-on-one interviews. We saw some of them two or three times and also held small group meetings,” Graham said. “Who made up the 48?” Nall asked. “I know the council was included. But it seems you are double-counting.” “There was not a lot of double-counting,” Graham said. “In a study like this, we usually have 25-30 interviews. This is considerably larger.” “I didn’t see any interviews with the Dunwoody Nature Center. How did you decide who to interview?” Nall asked. Names were given to him by the Brook Run Conservancy steering committee, Graham said. “I think what I’m hearing is was this a legitimate sample group. We believe it is,” Graham said. “Many people question its location. It is where it is. The location has the opportunity to liven that park at night, and activity turns away crime,” Graham added. Danny Ross, president of the Brook Run Conservancy, told council members he has experience as a fundraiser and the project has the potential to receive funding from wealthy donors, grants and tax credits.

Renovating would also be significantly less than the estimated $25 million to build a new facility, he added. “If we are interested in a theater being part of our community, this is the most economical way to do that. We think this is a worthwhile project. But it is up to you,” Ross said to applause from attendees.

Georgia Retardation Center and especially of the theater are very interesting, McOmber noted. But the feasibility study did not take into account the city’s updating of its park plan. “[M]ost important, is the theater compatible with the new park plan, or vice versa,” he added.

City study on theater building

‘Think outside the box’

City Engineer Kevin McOmber reiterated what he told the council last year – that it would cost up to $7 million to renovate the theater. “Back in June last year I estimated renovations of the building would be $150 to $200 per square feet. That’s still a good number,” he said. But total renovations to include such things as a sprinkler system and improved accessibility to meet American with Disability Act (ADA) guidelines, would bring the total closer to $10 million to $12 million, he said. “That’s a good bit more than we discussed,” he said. “My review of the [feasibility] report is that there are a number of people in the community who are very supportive of the arts and having a theater in the community,” he added. The history and background of the



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In making his presentation to the council, Ross touched on the feasibility study the conservancy gave to council members in January. “We worked diligently over six to eight months to put together the feasibility study,” Ross said. “But this is not our decision; it’s your decision because it belongs to the city.” Dunwoody resident Don Boykin told the council he believed the theater question facing the city is about vision. “Our vision for what we wanted for our city is far greater than what the obstacles would tell us,” he said. “We need to think outside the box. The building has good bones. The real question is what kind of city does Dunwoody want to be?” Boykin said. “I encourage we start thinking of vision instead of looking at obstacles and thinking short term.” A 40-year resident, who said he is a supporter of Brook Run and the theater, expressed frustration with the council. “I’m not feeling the love. It concerns me the council can’t wait to make a resolution and kill it. We are the citizens of this city. This is not a kingdom,” he said. Debbie Fuse of Stage Door Players also urged City Council to support the theater, saying the theater company would be able to put on larger performances and also offer more training and education to children. “To me, it’s really about providing theater and arts to the community,” she said.

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Nall then wanted to poll the council to see how members felt about the theater. However, Mayor Denis Shortal denied his request. Council members discussed the issue at its Feb. 5 retreat and said it was time to move on and put the theater discussion behind them. “Are we going to do something on this? We have a park plan on the way. I think we should take a poll of council and see if we have consensus,” said Nall. “All it is is a presentation tonight. That’s all there is. You can put that on the next agenda,” Shortal responded. “Gathering consensus does not take a vote,” Nall said. “We’ll do it at the next meeting,” Shortal said. Right before the more than three-hour meeting adjourned, however, Nall directed city staff to add another agenda item to the next council meeting – what is the estimated cost to demolish the theater building. DUN

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Out & About | 5

Local indigo and glass artists create unique pieces for American Craft Council Show BY DYANA BAGBY

completely controlled technique where everything is planned before sitting down to the loom and requires great patience to a craft with immediate results and magical serendipity,” she said. Serendipity plays a key role in her indigo landscapes, but there are also careful measures taken to ensure a piece is worthy to be sold. “While I have control of many aspects of this work, one small slip can ruin an entire piece,” Pollard said. For example, dropping a piece while hanging it up to dry or having two pieces clap together and mar one another “or a

Lynn Pollard has woven textiles most of her creative life. The craft requires a keen sense of aesthetics but also a high level of technical knowledge. “And infinite patience,” she said. For years, she said, she accepted and needed the challenges of weaving. But a few years ago she realized she needed to rid her dye studio of unsafe chemicals and switch to natural dyes.

An example of a Kathleen Plate light fixture.

Kathleen Plate’s green chandelier.

Gat U R



“I also began more mindful weaving with paper, making tapestry-like pieces,” she said. During a class in Japanese papermaking, she turned to indigo dyes and to the natural indigo vat in her studio. “When I dipped my first piece of paper into the vat, it was magical and I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to explore,” Pollard said. She knew of no one else who was dyeing paper with indigo to make landscapes and so began a new path. “I went from a

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Plate’s glass artwork.


dip just goes awry because the dip was the wrong scale,” she said. “And then there are the moments when I’ve made a number of dips which have had to dry in between over several days and the piece is good. I can take the good or I can make one more dip that takes it over-thetop wonderful or can completely ruin it,” she said. “I try to be brave.”

American Craft Council Show Pollard, of Buckhead, is just one of numerous artists showcasing their work at the American Craft Council Show March 11 through 13 at Cobb Galleria Centre. More than 225 artists will feature their handmade creations in everything from clothing, jewelry, furniture and home décor, said Susan Summers, spokesperson for the show. Also appearing at this year American Craft Council Show is Kathleen Plate of Brookhaven, the founder of Smart Glass Art. Recycled glass is her medium, and obContinued on page 6



6 | Out & About ■

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Above, Kathleen Plate’s glass in an interior. Plate, a Brookhaven resident, is founder of Smart Glass Art. Recycled glass is her medium, using thousands of bottles from bars, restaurants and friends to create her pieces.

taining the thousands of glass bottles she needs means asking bars, restaurants and friends to save their throwaways. “I’ve also been known to do a little dumpster diving,” she said with a laugh. Plate’s use of recycled glass to create works of beauty is part of a lifestyle where preserving and conserving the environment were instilled in her as a child growing up in a solar-powered home in a small fishing and logging village in Washington state. She has been commissioned by Coca-Cola and the Guggenheim Museum and many others to create pieces such as glass chandeliers and glass curtains. Chick-fil-A also commissioned her to handcraft chandeliers of Coca-Cola bottles for select restaurants. Of course, glass doesn’t arrive at Plate’s studio ready to be cut and shaped. “The bottles are dirty, gross, used bottles – like a frat party blew up,” she said.

So hours of scraping off labels and soaking the bottles until clean and shiny are the first steps before the arduous process of cutting the glass into circles and other shapes begins. Then the glass is put into kilns “and that’s where the magic happens,” she said. The pieces become smooth and stronger. “I just think glass is a magical thing. The way it feels, looks – it’s a fun medium,” she said.


An example of a Lynn Pollard indigo landscape.

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MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Out & About | 7

Embroidery center brings a touch of Japan to Sandy Springs BY JOE EARLE

Surrounded by forest, the house shows little more than a driveway to the cars rolling past on Spalding Drive. But inside, this house feels different from the suburban homes around it. This Sandy Springs home offers a little piece of Japan. Since 1989, it has housed the Japanese Embroidery Center, a nonprofit that preserves and teaches Japanese embroidery. “We have about three acres of land,” said Kazumi Fujisawa, an officer of the Japanese Embroidery Center, a school housed in the home at 2727 Spalding Drive, and daughter of the center’s founder and master, Shuji Tamura, who lives at the house. “You can see the seasons change from the classroom. When spring comes, you can see all the dogwoods bloom. It’s like snow. We call it ‘spring snow.’” Visitors to the center remove their shoes in the entryway before entering the living area, just as they would at a home in Japan. The first room visitors enter is a sparely decorated space serving as a sort of gallery and meditation area. “You step into their house, which is also their workshop, and it’s a completely Japanese world,” said Elizabeth Peterson, director of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, which mounted an exhibition of works from the center in February. The exhibit, which lasts through March 6, features pieces covered with small stitches made with silk thread that create brightly colored images of plants, abstract designs and scenes. The show ties into an exhibit the center mounted at the Oglethorpe gallery in 1990, shortly after the center opened. “There’s a longstanding relationship and they’re our neighbors,” Peterson said. Tamura established the U.S. center more than a quarter century ago. The Japanese-style house is part of what attracted him to metro Atlanta after he decided to move to the U.S. to open a branch of the Japanese center where he took up the craft of embroidery, Fujisawa said. Fujisawa said the center now has about 500 members. Tamura said he looked at locations in New York and California, but didn’t feel at home there. “In the beginning, the choice was New York or San Francisco,” Tamura said. “I knew it was not my place. When I got off the airport in New York, I felt [it was] dangerous. In L.A., I felt no nature. In San Francisco, I felt it was more a sightseeing city.” A student from Atlanta had sent him a videotape showing the Spalding Drive house, which was for sale, Fujisawa said. “This house was already Japanese style,” she said. But it wasn’t really Japanese enough. They felt the house mixed in oth-

er Asian styles. “We had to remodel a lot,” she said. They added a classroom on the rear of the house, where students come to learn embroidery skills. One of the first modifications to the house, Tamura said, was to build a new entrance. He had seen that Americans who came to his classes, which he then offered in hotels, wouldn’t stop talking. Even once class started, they would keep talking. That, he said, would never happen in Japan. “I was asking, ‘How can we make them quiet?’” So he built a Japanese-style entryway and required students and visitors to remove their shoes. It was a way to calm them. “The entrance was very important,” he said. “To take shoes off is very common in Japan. I have to ask them to take shoes off. The first step was to build a typical Japanese entrance.” Tamura, who’s now 75, said he took up embroidery when he was about 30. He grew up in Tokyo and had trained to work in the computer industry, he said, but didn’t like his job. He visited the embroidery center, located in the nearby town of Chiba, and “immediately, I realized this is my life’s work.” He was drawn to the craft’s history, which stretches back more than a millennium. And he found the craft satisfying spiritually, he said. “It was a different

world,” he said. Fujisawa, who said she coordinates about 100 embroidery teachers scattered around the world, said the work is technically difficult and requires patience. Learning the craft has taught her about herself. “For me, growing up, I was not the type of person who would do embroidery,” she said. “I would rather go outside and climb a tree. I was a tomboy. The state of your mind shows in embroidery. ... I learned how to calm myself. It shows in your embroidery. “I had to grow myself to be a good stitcher. That’s what amazed me. Embroidery is not the ultimate goal, but how much you grow inside, how much you change inside. A person becomes more patient.”

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Top, Kazumi Fujisawa, educational director of the Japanese Embroidery Center in Sandy Springs. Above and left, Shuji Tamura, founder and master of the center, in the entryway.

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8 | Out & About ■


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Saturday, March 12, 7 p.m. TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation hosts the 15th annual Pink Affair, the organization’s signature annual fundraising event, at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. Enjoy live and silent auctions, music, and food and beverages. Funds support the nonprofit’s financial assistance program and complimentary services for breast cancer patients. $100 per person. 7 Concourse Parkway, Sandy Springs, 30328. Purchase tickets: Find out more by calling 770-360-9271 or emailing:

VANDERDASH 5K Saturday, March 19, 7:30 a.m. It’s time for the eighth annual Vanderlyn Elementary School’s VanderDash 5K/1-mile fun run! 5K begins at 7:30 a.m.; fun run starts at 8:30 a.m. $21 for 5K; $18 for fun run. Funds go toward school improvements and/or student purchases. To register, visit: Email: with questions. 1877 Vanderlyn Dr., Dunwoody, 30338.

COLOR DASH Saturday, March 19, 9 a.m. The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta hosts the second annual 5K Color Dash. $40. All ages invited. Untimed race. Pets welcome on a leash. Start with a white t-shirt, then add color! Half the proceeds benefit the DSAA. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Rd., NE, Brookhaven, 30319. Find out more and register by going to:

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Concourse Parkway, Sandy Springs, 30328. Get details and buy tickets:

VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS Saturday, March 12, 8-11 p.m. Zydeco dance with accordionist Lil’ Malcolm & the Zydeco House Rockers. Free dance lesson 7:15-8 p.m. No partner necessary. All ages welcome. Cajun food for sale. $18; $5 students; $14 ACZA members and active military. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Dr., Sandy Springs, 30328. Questions? Go to: aczadance. org or call 877-338-2420.

CHORAL GUILD Sunday, March 13, 4 p.m. The Choral Guild of Atlanta presents Maurice Durufle’s “Requiem” and Louis Vierne’s “Solemn Mass.” $15 per person; $12 seniors; $5 students. Northside Drive Baptist Church, 3100 Northside Dr., Atlanta, 30305. For additional information, email: info@, call 404-223-6362 or visit:

“THE ADDAMS FAMILY” Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m. Riverwood International Charter School’s Performing Arts Department presents, “The Addams Family,” about creepy kooks in their super-spooky Central Park mansion. Tickets, $10 students; $15 adults. Additional shows: March 18 and 19, 7 p.m.; March 20, 3 p.m. 5900 Raider Dr., Sandy Springs, 30328. Find out more: http://

VOICES OF NOTE Friday, March 18, 8 p.m. The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and the Atlanta Women’s Chorus, collectively known as Voices of Note, perform together in “And Justice For All,” featuring music known for uniting people of different backgrounds and cultures. Tickets: $10-$35. Additional shows: Saturday, March 19, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta, 30305. Buy tickets and get details:



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Saturday, March 19, 7 p.m. The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs invites all to its 21st annual Spring Gala. Highlights include: international food tastings, a bazaar, fine scotch and wine/spirit pulls, raffle prizes, music and entertainment. $125/ person. Black-tie optional. Traditional dress encouraged. Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, 7

Saturday, March 19, 12 p.m. Opening for “The Art of Public Health” exhibition, where Yale public health and art students merged talents to create posters designed to provoke awareness and change behavior on issues such as obesity, breast cancer screening, self-respect, concussions, child abuse, early signs of autism and skin cancer. $5. Oglethorpe University Museum of

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Out & About | 9

Art, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, 30319. Learn more:

“FANCY NANCY” Sunday, March 20, 1 p.m. Nancy’s eager to steal the spotlight in her first dance recital. But she’s not picked to be the prima ballerina, so she’s stuck playing a tree. Nancy must become a hero by finding the flair in her new role. For all ages. Tickets, $10-$20. Additional shows: March 20, 3 and 5 p.m. Marcus Jewish Community Center, Morris & Rae Frank Theatre, 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody, 30338. Call 678-812-4002 or visit: to purchase tickets.

LET’S LEARN! FAMILY RECIPES Saturday, March 12, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Family recipes can be nostalgic and a way to learn more about your heritage, but they can also be problematic. Recipes may be faded, sketchy or even unwritten. How can you ensure recipes, stories and photos last as long as possible? This program helps preserve your family’s food traditions. Tickets, $10 for Atlanta History Center members; $15 for non-members. Reservations recommended. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., NW, Atlanta, 30305. For information, call 404-8144042 or visit:

HIGH SCHOOL PREP Wednesday, March 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Begin preparing for high school during the middle school years. Proactively think and move toward high school readiness well before your student actually begins high school. Free. Open to the community. For middle school students and parents. Buckhead Branch Library, 269 Buckhead Ave., NE, Atlanta, 30305. Email: or call 404-8143500 for further information.

WINE AND CHEESE Wednesday, March 16, 7-9 p.m. In this class you‘ll taste five different wines, paired with artisanal cheeses. Learn how each varietal underscores and complements each cheese; which wine to drink with goat cheese, which goes with cow milk cheese; and how to accompany these selections with other breads, fruits or nuts. $40 for members of the Dunwoody Nature Center; $45 non-member. 5343 Roberts Dr., Dunwoody, 30338. Call 770-394-3322 or go to: with questions.

HONEYBEE DAY Saturday, March 19, 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Honey is sweet, and so is the Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s Honeybee Day! Join a beekeeper for a peek into the lives of honeybees. See the preserve’s apiaries and learn what it takes to be a beekeeper. $10, adult; $5, child; under 3 free. RSVP to 678-315-0836. 4055 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, 30342. Get more details and register:

VISION BOARD Saturday, March 19, 2-5 p.m. Join others for a vision board party! A vision board is a representation of your dreams, goals and desires. Bring magazines, decorations and keepsakes. Posterboard, markers, scissors, glue and tape provided. Free. Open to the first 25 participants. For adults. Call 770-512-4640 or visit the Dunwoody Branch Library to register. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody, 30338.

“THE MESSENGER” Saturday, March 19, 5:30 p.m. “The Messenger” explores our connection to birds, and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own. Winner of the Jackson Hole Conservation Film Festival’s Best Conservation Film award. General admission tickets, $10. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell, 30075. Questions? Go to:

Happily Ever After! Sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida Disney Cruise Line is sailing year-round out of Port Canaveral, conveniently located near Walt Disney World ® Resort. On board, discover magic for every member of your crew. You can choose an enchanting Bahamian or Caribbean getaway—with a stop at Disney Castaway Cay, a private island paradise.

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Contact The Cruise & Vacation Authority to book your next magical voyage. 770.952.8300 • Open Saturdays 11-3 • • 678-398-0505 6780 Roswell Road, Suite D115, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 All Major Credit Cards Accepted/Financing Available

10 | Out & About

RoadTrips ■

Editor’s note: Spring soon will bloom, so for the first of our periodic Road Trips ar�icles for 2016, we’re spotligh�ing a few special places you can watch �lowers burst into color to bring in the new season. Our Road Trips focus on unusual places and spaces within about a two-hour drive of Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Brookhaven and Dunwoody.

As nature shrugs off winter, it’s time to get out of the house, load the family into the SUV and hit the road. We thought the change of seasons marked a good time to visit

places where flowers really strut their stuff. Here are five Georgia gardens where you can stop and smell the roses ... or the irises ... or the daffodils.

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Out & About | 11

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta

Efforts to create an Atlanta garden began in 1973, and the garden opened in 1976. It occupies about 30 acres and five main buildings, and operates as a nonprofit charged with developing and maintaining plant collections for display, education, research and conservation. The garden’s website promises “a tidal wave of color” as tulips, daffodils and crocus bloom in March and April.



Address:1345 Piedmont Avenue NE | Atlanta, GA 30309 Directions: The garden is next to Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Take I-85 south to Exit 84 and follow signs to 14th Street. Turn left on 14th and continue to Piedmont Avenue. Turn left on Piedmont. The garden is on the right. Hours: Tuesdays through Sundays – 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. November through March; 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. April through October; Thursdays – 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. May through October; closed Mondays, except holidays. Cost: $18.95 for adults; $12.95 for children aged 3 to 12; free for children younger than 3. Parking costs $2 an hour up to $15. What it’s known for: Orchids, roses, hydrangeas, a Japanese garden, desert plants, high elevation plants. For more information: 404-876-5859 or


Meet William. A wine enthusiast (married to a wine expert), thinks baseball is the “beautiful game,” active introvert, and world traveler. He’s the guy who gets it all started, the first to greet each client and the last to sign off on a project. He’s always wanted more than “good enough.” He wants it “just right.”

Barnsley Gardens, Adairsville

In the 1840s, Englishman Godfrey Barnsley bought acreage in northwest Georgia and began building a mansion and formal garden for his wife, Julia. She died before the project was completed. Work stopped until Barnsley dreamed that Julia appeared in the garden and told him to finish the project. Barnsley’s descendants lived at the property until 1942. In 1989, Prince Hubertus Fugger Babenhause of Germany bought the land and restored the garden. The property now is home to the Barnsley Resort, which includes cottages, restaurants, a spa and golf course.


Address: 597 Barnsley Gardens Road | Adairsville, GA 30103 Directions: Take I-75 north to Exit 306. Turn left and drive about 2.2 miles on Ga. 140. Turn left at Hall Station Road and travel south approximately 5.5 miles. Take a right at Barnsley Gardens Road (just past Mount Carmel Church). Travel 2.5 miles to the main entrance of the resort on the left. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call first on Saturdays to see if a private event is booked in the gardens. Cost: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors 55 and older; $5 for students and children aged 4 to 11; free for children younger than 4. What it’s known for: 19th century boxwood gardens, wildflower meadow, woodlands gardens. For more information: 1-877-773-2447 or 770-773-7480 or

Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain

Learn more about our successful remodeling at or give us a call at 770-670-6022.

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Cason J. Callaway, a textile magnate from LaGrange, and his wife, Virginia, conceived of these gardens in the 1930s and began working on them in the 1940s, according to the garden’s website. Open to the public since 1952 and now operated by a foundation, this 2,500-acre resort complex offers golf, water sports and restaurants. The garden features a butterfly house, and claims to be home to one of the world’s largest azalea displays. Peak azalea blooms are expected in late March and early April.


Address: 17800 U.S. Hwy. 27 | Pine Mountain, GA 31822 Directions: I-85 south to I-185 south (Exit 21). Exit at U. S. 27 (Exit 42), turn left and proceed to Pine Mountain, then turn right onto Ga. 354 west and proceed to intersection with Ga. 18. Callaway Gardens’ main entrance is on the opposite side of this intersection. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $20 to $25 (depending on type of ticket) for adults; $15 to $25 for senior citizens 65 and older; $10 to $15 for children 6 to 12; 5 and younger, free. What it’s known for: Azaleas, butterflies, cycling, seasonal special events. For more information: 1-800-4636990 or


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Smith-Gilbert Gardens, Kennesaw

The 16-acre gardens grew up around the historic Hiram Butler House, which was built in 1880. Robert Gilbert purchased the property in 1970 and over the next 35 years, Gilbert and Richard Smith added the gardens and sculpture collection. The house and gardens, owned by the city of Kennesaw, now feature more than 3,000 species of plants. Address: 2382 Pine Mountain Road | Kennesaw, GA 30152 Directions: Take I-75 north to Exit 269. Head left on Barrett Parkway and go about 1.5 miles to Cobb Parkway. Turn right on Cobb Parkway and go about 3 miles to Pine Mountain Road. Follow Pine Mountain Road and go about a mile to the garden. Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Cost: $7 for adults; $6 for senior citizens and active duty military; $5 for children aged 6 to 12. What it’s known for: The garden features 31 sculptures. For more information: 770-919-0248 or www.

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Retired landscape company founder James H. Gibbs started building a combination of 16 gardens in 1980 on 220 acres around his Cherokee County home, the gardens’ website says. He opened the house and gardens to the public in 2012. Address: 1987 Gibbs Drive | Ballground, GA 30107 Directions: Take Ga. 400 north to Ga. 369, turn left and go about 12 miles, turn right on to Yellow Creek Road, go about 6.4 miles to the gardens. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Gate closes at 4 p.m. The garden opens March 1 this year. Cost: $20 for adults; $18 for seniors 65 and older; $10 and for children aged 6 to 17; free for children 5 and younger. What it’s known for: The garden promises millions of daffodils will bloom from March to mid-April. For more information: 770-893-1880 or

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12 | Commentary ■

Oh, please! My doggone computer just died

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My computer died today. I came downstairs to give it my morning greeting, powering it awake while brewing my coffee, and waiting for us to go through our simultaneous early routine of yawning and stretching and coaxing our groggy eyes open until we face each other and I scroll through emails and daily news, mug in hand. But I went downstairs this morning, powered it awake, and nothing happened. The screen remained a blank hazy blue, with no morning greetings, no field-of-lavender screensaver, no desktop. So I rebooted it, and this time the screen was not even an eerie blue, it was solid black -- it was collapse-of-asupernova black. It had contracted the dreaded “Black Screen,” which is the bubonic plague of all things digital. So my husband and I hustled over to the computer store, as I hoped that they could fix it. My husband announced that it was time for me to buy a new laptop. I really felt like that wouldn’t be necessary, reasoning that I’ve only had the thing about 3 1/2 years, which in my mind is just long enough to get it comfortably broken in, but then it dawned on me that computer years are akin to dog years, only about four times longer, meaning that a computer ages roughly 28 times faster than the average human. I was indeed lured into buying a new laptop rather than trying to repair the old one because 1). my laptop is 98 in human years, 2). they said they could transfer all the data by tomorrow night, and 3). I am gullible. I could have been happy about getting a brand-spanking-new computer, but I like my old one; it’s comfortable and familiar, like a favorite pair of jeans. And actually, I think that buying a new PC falls somewhere between buying a new pair of jeans and buying a new house -- and the cost of it falls somewhere be-

tween the two, as well. You know that the new Robin Conte is a writer jeans will and mother of four who never fit like lives in Dunwoody. She the old ones; can be contacted at you know there will be that breaking-in period; and that something about the rise or the length or the back pockets will be “updated.” And you might be excited about a brand new home, but there’s the hassle with the move, and you know that all of your furniture won’t fit and you’ll have to replace some of it, and that there’s always the risk of something getting lost in the move. And there are some things about that old house that you’re just going to miss, like your wallpaper. I like my fields-of-lavender wallpaper. And I’m wondering if it’s been discontinued and will I ever be able to see it again? So currently I’m typing on an old ASUS notebook that I unearthed. It’s about 84 in human years. It is exactly as functional as an actual spiral-bound notebook, but not as responsive and with less storage capacity. Now if you are like me, you manage your home, your business, your finances, your social life, your children’s lives and your distractions from your personal computer. When I sit down to mine each morning, I feel like I’m in the captain’s seat of the Starship Enterprise, and it’s fitted with a cup holder. Equipped now with only my feeble notebook and my smartphone, I feel like I’m running my world from the bottom of a La Brea tar pit, armed with a walkie-talkie and a slide rule. There’s nothing left to do but put on my favorite pair of jeans and wait for moving day.

Robin’s Nest Robin Conte

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Commentary | 13

Reporter Newspapers Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging informa�ion about life in their communi�ies. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter Atlanta INtown

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene Editorial Managing Editor Joe Earle Associate Editor: John Ruch Intown Editor: Collin Kelley Sta�f Writer: Dyana Bagby Copy Editor: Diane L. Wynocker Crea�ive and Produc�ion Crea�ive Director: Rico Figliolini Graphic Designer: Harry J. Pinkney Jr. Adver�ising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno Senior Account Execu�ives Jeff Kremer Janet Porter Account Execu�ives Susan Lesesne Jim Speakman O�fice Manager Deborah Davis Contributors

Opinion/Let’s Fix DeKalb the Right Way As a commissioner, I strongly advocated for the elimination of the office of the CEO for DeKalb County. DeKalb is the only county in Georgia that is governed in this manner, thanks to the political maneuvering by state lawmakers in the 1980s. Then, ironically, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed me to the very position I was trying to eradicate. As Interim CEO, I have lobbied state lawmakers and appointed citizen committees to review DeKalb’s unique structure and get the ball rolling on changing the form of government. One might assume that I would be inclined to favor the legislation introduced in the General Assembly this year by Democrat Rep. Scott Holcomb and Republican Sen. Fran Millar to change the form of government. While Rep. Holcomb’s bill is a step in the right direction, Sen. Millar’s bill takes us backward. The devil is always in the details, and that can make the difference between a good solution and a bad mandate. Rep. Holcomb’s bill, authored as “local legislation” under the long-supported promise of home rule, is the appropriate mechanism to address our form of government. By definition, home rule is the power of a local government to set up its own system of self-government. “Local legislation” would be advanced only by those who represent DeKalb County and only voted on by consent when the full Legislature votes. Therefore, the bill offered by Rep. Holcomb has promise to truly help DeKalb move forward. The other bill, authored by Sen. Millarl, is untenable to me for more than a few reasons. One is that it is authored as “general legislation,” meaning all legislators across the state will determine how DeKalb County is governed, which goes against both the letter and the spirit of the law. Legislators from Albany, Bainbridge, Milledgeville and Valdosta will tell DeKalb residents

what’s best for them. This is wrong and it’s a slippery slope. Remember, nothing in politics is permanent and what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Sen. Millar’s version of the bill goes as far as to draw five commissioners into two commission districts. This will have the net result of getting rid of a minimum of three commissioners at one time. Now regardless of your personal thoughts about the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, this reeks of backroom, dirty politics and goes against everything a democratic and just society stands for in America. I don’t believe that was Sen. Millar’s intention, but it has the affect nonetheless and it does more to divide this county than to bring it together. It’s legislation like this that has been approved over the years which has hamstrung DeKalb, placing our county at a disadvantage to the other 158 counties in the state of Georgia. All of my efforts regarding our form of government have been singularly focused on letting the voters determine through an election whether changing the form of our government is the most appropriate thing to do. Whether voters say yes or no is irrelevant; allowing the voters to have a say is the critical thing. However, the legislation offered by Sen. Millar is not the most appropriate way to accomplish this much-needed task and has too many undisclosed and harmful ramifications to it.

I call for our local DeKalb legislators to seriously consider Rep. Holcomb’s legislation before something is created that kills all of our efforts to move this county forward and truly see reform in Lee May DeKalb County. Lee May is the I recently an- Interim Chief Execu�ive nounced that I O�ficer of DeKalb County would not be running for office this year as I plan to pursue my calling to serve in the ministry. In my short time as Interim CEO, I am proud of the many accomplishments that we have made. Some of our accomplishments include improving the county’s bond rating, increasing the county’s budgetary reserves to more than one month’s balance, overhauling purchasing and contracting policies, getting rid of the P-cards, ethics reform, giving employees the first raise since 2008 and giving the first property tax cut in a decade. I plan to leave this house to my successor in a better place than I found it. As it pertains to the position of the CEO and the form of DeKalb County’s government, I am in exactly the same place where I started. It needs to go, but it should not be handled carelessly.

Panel discussion on county manager planned

A panel of county officials from Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties is scheduled to discuss how a county manager form of government might operate in DeKalb County, the county announced. The discussion is scheduled for the Maloof Auditorium, Commerce Drive, Decatur, on March 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. Blueprints2, a group of DeKalb citizens who are studying forms of government in the region, is sponsoring the meeting.

Robin Conte, Phil Mosier, Megan Volpert

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Sen. Fran Millar responds to DeKalb CEO Lee May We have waited 10 years for the Democrats to deal with abolishing the CEO position in DeKalb, and I dropped my version of the Holcomb local bill as general legislation after Senate Democratic Minority Leader Steve Henson said verbally – and then in print – that Holcomb’s local bill was going nowhere. It is time to let the people vote. Also, Gov. Nathan Deal supports elimination of the position he had to fill when the prior CEO went to prison. Sen. Fran Millar

14 | Community ■

No clear answer for new location of Austin Elementary School BY DYANA BAGBY

Drive,” said spokesperson Bob Mullen. “Exact determination on a site for a new school has not been announced by DeKalb DeKalb County school officials say County Schools. The city anticipates more there is no doubt the new Austin Elemeninformation from DeKalb County Schools tary School will be located on Roberts forthcoming.” Drive. Proposals to put the school on the base“We are exploring options for sites on ball fields at Dunwoody Park have long Roberts Drive in close proximity to the exbeen part of the community’s discussions isting school,” said DeKalb schools spokesof where Austin Elementary should go. person Quinn Hudson. Mayor Denis Shortal said at his Feb. 25 Because finding a new location deals State of the City address said that if it were with real estate, the system is not allowed up to city officials, Austin Elementary to comment further, he said. would expand at its present location. “If we had control of our schools there would be no debate. That school would be rebuilt right where it’s at. End of story,” he said. The new Austin elementary, currently proposed to be a 900-student building, is expected to open in August 2018. The new school is being fundDYANA BAGBY ed with taxes raised when The current Austin Elementary School building on Roberts Drive. voters approved a 2011 ESpecial Purpose Local OpDeKalb Superintendent Stephen Green tion Sales Tax. has stated publicly several times the school In 2011, Dan Drake, director of planwill be located on Roberts Drive, near its ning and forecasting for the DeKalb Councurrent location. But where that site will ty School System, said state guidelines be exactly remains unknown. could mean that Austin may not be rebuilt The city of Dunwoody has been in talks on its current site. with the school system, but is also keeping “There were really kind of three issues mum on where the school may be located. with that site. One is the size — 14 acres is “The city has previously spoken with what the state likes to see as a minimum,” representatives from DeKalb CounDrake said at the time. “The second is the ty Schools and offered assistance as the high tension power lines. And under the school system tries to fulfill their comhigh tension power lines, there is a high mitment for keeping Austin on Roberts pressure petroleum pipeline.”

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Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal addresses a full house at the “State of the City” event on Feb. 25.

Packed house for Mayor Shortal’s first ‘State of the City’ address BY DYANA BAGBY

Hundreds of people packed the Crowne Plaza Ravinia Hotel on Feb. 25 for the seventh annual Dunwoody “State of the City” address, this year given by newly elected Mayor Denis Shortal. “We’re a family,” Shortal said of Dunwoody’s residents, adding that he is here to serve the residents and not himself. Some key points from Shortal’s speech: ► The city has 82 volunteers serving on boards and committees. “You can’t talk about our city without talking about our volunteers. That’s what makes our city special,” Shortal said. ► “We have to make sure we are fiscally prudent … to ensure long-term financial stability for our city,” Shortal said. ► The city’s 2016 paving budget is essentially the same as 2010, Shortal said. “On March 14, I’m going to ask the council to add an additional quarter-million dollars for our paving budget,” he said. The city is also receiving another $100,000 in state and federal funding to go toward paving, he added. Ten miles of sidewalks have also been paved since the city was founded. ► The I-285/Ga. 400 project by the Georgia Department of Transpor-

tation and State Road and Tollway Authority is expected to break ground in late 2016 or perhaps early 2017, Shortal said. The 48- to 51-month project will cause traffic inconvenience, Shortal said, but will ease congestion in the long term. ► Shortal said he supported renovating the theater building in Brook Run Park for a community theater and meeting space. His statement was greeted with applause. Shortal added that the perhaps $20 million project would need a “massive amount of private funding” — perhaps up to 90 percent. “We’ll see what happens with that.” ► The city’s commercial occupancy is now 87 percent, when just five years ago it was approximately 60 percent. “We need to protect our residential area with buffering. We continue to say we are a residential community that is business friendly.” Shortal closed by recalling John F. Kennedy, saying, “Tonight, my fellow citizens of Dunwoody, ask not what your city can do for you, but what you can do for your city.”

The Dunwoody High School Air Force ROTC displayed the colors. DUN

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Community | 15

Northside Atlanta

Mercedes unveils the look of its planned office campus

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine 5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 101, Atlanta, GA 30342 Northside Atlanta Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is a full-service practice that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and management of disorders of the bones and joints.


Mercedes-Benz USA released the first drawings of its forthcoming new headquarters building at Abernathy and Barfield roads in Sandy Springs. The glass-walled, 225,000-square-foot building reflects the company’s new collaborative workspace style. MBUSA says construction will begin this spring and continue into early 2018.

Our board-certified physician, Dr. David Fowler has been recognized as one of the top orthopedic surgeons in Atlanta, and utilizes conservative and alternative methods care, opting for surgery only if needed. We proudly offer the latest minimallyinvasive procedures to restore your quality of life and return you to a high functional level.

We offer a full range of services, including: • Total hip and knee arthoplasty • Arthritis care • Arthroscopy of the upper & lower extremities • Sports medicine and general orthopedics • Tenex tendon repair • Trauma and fracture treatment • Alternative methods of care

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16 | Community ■

Construction cranes: Who keeps them safe?

A crane in action at the Three Alliance Center Development at Pharr Road and Maple Drive in Buckhead on Feb. 26.

Continued from page 1 general manager. At Crane Safety Associates of America, a crane inspection and operator training business in McDonough, Ga., president and CEO Shane Adams has seen it all. He displays one scary inspection souvenir used in training—a


crane’s pulley wheel, or sheave, with the pattern of a steel rope imprinted into the metal by the massive pressure of an improperly handled load. But Adams said that giant construction cranes don’t make him nervous. It’s the truck cranes operated by small, local businesses that give him worries, he

said. “I have more concern with a guy going out there pulling a tree off your house,” Adams said. Benjamin Ross, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s deputy regional administrator for Enforcement Programs in the Southeast, agrees. “I see a lot of things that should not happen,” Ross said, but most of those violations are on small homedelivery truck cranes, he said. In his 38 years on the job, Ross said, he has not seen a fatal tower crane accident in the Southeast. But he also knows the stakes are high, because he did see a fatal crane accident early in his career in Cincinnati, Ohio. He said an overloaded crane’s arm collapsed onto a street, crushing cars and killing four, including a 5-year-old child. “Any failure in a crane itself—there’s no return,” Ross said. “It’s kind of like an airplane.”

‘You inspect every nook and cranny’

The airplane comparison comes up often in industry talk about cranes.

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Both are complex machines under enormous stresses and with high stakes for failure. And like airplanes, cranes undergo regular and complex inspections for structural or mechanical problems. There’s a daily spot inspection for any obvious problems, usually performed by the crane’s operator. “That’s their butt up in the seat,” said Kenna. “They want to go over it top to bottom and make sure it’s safe.” Then there are formal inspections done roughly once a month, usually by in-house inspectors who keep a file of their findings. Heede does theirs every six weeks. “We go over our crane with a very fine-tooth comb,” Kenna said. OSHA requires a formal inspection at least annually, sometimes more often if a crane is heavily used, and that is often performed by an NCCCO-accredited independent company like Crane Safety Associates. OSHA may perform its own inspection, too, but usually only arrives if there’s a complaint or accident. “You inspect every nook and cranny of the crane,” said Adams, whose company currently focuses on mobile cranes. Any issues are written up and given to the crane owner to return with a signed note about whether repairs were made, Adams said. Sometimes a crane owner tries to bully the inspectors into getting a result he or she wants, Adams said. On a recent inspection in Tennessee, Adams said, the owner “ended up running [the inspector] off because the list of deficiencies was too long.” But when a crane does fail, it’s usually not a pure equipment failure, the experts said. “The majority of the time, it’s human error,” Adams said. Kenna said a tower crane is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and is anchored to the ground with a concrete cube so massive it often is left there as a permanent part of the building’s foundation. But it could come down if someone overloaded it or made a mistake while erecting it. “We feel a tower crane is probably the most overengineered piece of equipment on a construction site,” he said. “But the human element…that’s the wild card.”

‘A driver’s license for crane operators’

That’s why a movement toward professional operator training has been underway since NCCCO’s founding 20 years ago amid concerns about outdated rules and accidents. Today, only 17 states and six American cities require crane operators to be licensed. And OSHA’s attempt to establish a national certification has stalled over debates about “qualified” (experienced) versus “certiDUN

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Community | 17


Above, Shane Adams, president and CEO of Crane Safety Associates of America in McDonough, Ga., on a training course. Below, a tower crane working on the City Springs site near Roswell Road and Mount Vernon Highway.

fied” (classroom-tested) operators. Technically speaking, virtually any adult in Georgia could operate a crane without any training. But in practice, any major company will require NCCCO certification, which has become “like a driver’s license for crane operators,” Kenna said. Workers who give signals to the operator or hook loads onto the crane typically also must be certified. NCCCO requires both classroom and practical tests, as well as physicals. It has a substance abuse policy and code of ethics, and operators must recertify every five years. The written test includes math, crane jargon and calculation of how much loads a crane can carry. At his McDonough facility, Adams explained the practical test—a zigzag course between poles that have tennis balls mounted on them. Operators must maneuver a chain and a heavy weight through the course, losing points for knocking a ball down or bumping a pole. Adams notes that, much like with a regular driver’s license, testing is not the same as training or experience. The industry prizes “seat time”— the hours of real-world experience operators get over the years. But, Adams said, “no employer in his right mind is going to give you a million-dollar crane” based on a certification card alone; they’ll require a display of the operator’s skills on-site, too. “We think certification has proved itself,” said Graham Brent, the CEO of NCCCO. “It’s been demonstrated to save lives.” It works for Heede, according to Kenna, who said his company has never had a significant crane accident, a claim partly backed by recent OSHA records. “Knock on wood,” he added with a rap on his desk. DUN

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18 | Community ■

Friday night means a fish fry PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

The Knights of Columbus have been holding their annual Fish Fry event at All Saints Catholic Church at 2443 Mount Vernon Road this Lenten season. Fish dinners are served in the church’s gym every Friday through March 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. Below, a large crowd enjoys the menu of fried and broiled fish, fried shrimp, French fries, roasted potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, hush puppies and clam chowder.

All Saints member and volunteer Jocelyn Driscoll, center, plays with Lewie Chapman, 5, left, and Rachel Murray, 8. All profits from the Fish Fry go to Knights of Columbus charities.

Dinner goer Conner Flynn, 3, left, plays with Lucy June, 4, after he finishes up his meal. Gary Plunkett ambles through the crowd selling $2 raffle tickets that will net the winner $200.

Danny Ross has his hands full serving up plates of French fries, hush puppies and fried shrimp.

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Educa�ion | 19

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016 ■

Battling in Buckhead

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The second annual Adidas West Stride Buckhead Invitational took place on Feb. 27 at North Atlanta High School, with over 600 athletes from 14 local high schools competing in track and field events. Above, Dunwoody High School sophomore Samantha Cameron, front center, runs in the second heat of the girl’s 1-mile race.

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Right, Ansley Heavern, a Dunwoody High School senior, breaks free of the pack during the 1-mile race.

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20 | Educa�ion ■

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Editor’s note: With this issue, Reporter Newspapers starts a new regular feature to showcase the work of outstanding teachers and school o�ficials in our communi�ies. Like our recurring Standout Student features, these Excep�ional Educator profiles will focus on people who have been iden�ified by their schools as in�luen�ial teachers and administrators. We start with Jill Stedman, a history and government instructor at Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Sandy Springs, who has been teaching for 19 years. If you would like to recommend an Excep�ional Educator, please email

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Q: What attracted you to teaching at first? A: During my first two years of college, I competed on my university’s competitive speech and debate team. As my coursework became more intense, I decided I needed to give up competition because it required so much travel. However, I did not want to give up my involvement in competitive public speaking. I was invited to serve as volunteer speech and debate coach at Georgetown Prep. I had recently completed an internship on Capitol Hill, and though I have always loved politics, I did not feel the same sense of fulfillment in my work for my congressman as I did when I was coaching. Soon after, I decided I would be happiest teaching the subject about which I was most passionate – government and politics. Q: Has the appeal of teaching changed for you over 19 years? What keeps you going year a�ter year? A: Not at all. There are moments when teaching where everyone is so intensely engaged in the story of U.S. history, wanting to know the outcome of the event, that the desire “to know” is almost palpable. Those are the best moments. When a teacher can craft lessons in such a way as to generate that strong desire for knowledge, the teacher has the ability to get students to really dig deeply into a subject. It is those cliffhanger moments in a lesson when the students are on the edge of their seats with that desire “to know” that keep me in the classroom. Q: What do you think makes a great teacher? A: Great teachers love the subject area that they teach, but even more so, they are passionate about sharing their content expertise with their students. Enthusiasm is contagious, but that enthusiasm must be channeled into growth. Beyond enthusiasm, a great teacher knows how to share their knowledge in a way that makes learning accessible, manageable and attainable for students. A great teacher is eager to find ways to support and promote each student’s learning potential. Q: What do you want to see in your students? A: I want my students to be well informed, engaged citizens. I hope they will seek knowledge and truth, and I hope they are courageous enough to stand up for that which they believe to be right. I hope they will actively serve those who are in need and that they will use their voices to promote polices that create a fair, just society. I believe my role is to help my students develop the skills that they will need to fulfill this potential. Q: How do you engage your students? A: I try to be very cognizant of the fact that students have different preferred means of learning, so I use a variety of learning strategies and activities within each lesson. I also make a very conscious effort to use a variety teaching materials (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) with the goal of addressing multiple learning modalities within each lesson. Q: What do you hope your students take away from your class? A: The day after the Iowa Caucus, my AP Government class reviewed the caucus results. My students were remarking on the closeness of the results between Clinton and Sanders when one of my student’s exclaimed, “and people say that one vote doesn’t matter!” This same student is so excited to cast her first vote on Super Tuesday; she plans to be present when her precinct opens. On my classroom bookshelf, I keep a framed quote from President Kennedy that reads, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” I hope my students take away the belief that their civic actions matter, that they know that they can make a difference, and that they are inspired to try. Note: This ar�icle was edited for space. For a full version of the ques�ions and responses, go to DUN

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

Dining Out | 21

With Beatles tunes and smoked trout beignets, Venkman’s rocks off to a strong start t

Dining Out Megan Volpert

Megan Volpert lives in Decatur, teaches in Roswell and writes books about popular culture.



non Klee, formerly the bookie at Eddie’s Attic, entrusted with engineering success behind the scenes. Despite a less-than-stellar table far from the stage, we nevertheless got psyched for the menu, on which nearly everything is suitable for sharing, and more than half the items are either vegetarian or gluten-free. We dug in on two starters, the mushroom lettuce cups and smoked trout beignets. The former involves a heaping pile of crushed peanuts under which is a bowl of mushrooms treated like bacon with a tangy BBQ vinaigrette. Playful, crunchy, and even sort of refreshing because of the little gem lettuce now fashionably circulating everywhere. But those beignets were the best dish of the night, no question. A good beignet of any kind is often hard to find in Atlanta, and a seafood beignet even more so. The best I’ve had is Anne Quatrano’s crab beignet at Fish Camp in Ponce City Market. But Melvin is a New Orleans native,

rant Re



Where does a 30-something go for food and music now? I’ve been on the lookout for a place that can cover all my bases: above average bar, food that I would eat even if there were no music, and good music. Venkman’s is going to be a huge success for the Old Fourth Ward and Atlanta at large, if it can keep its heads on straight. One head is Chef Nick Melvin, who did great things at Serenbe, then Parish, then Empire State South, then Rosebud all in the blink of an eye. Another head belongs to Nick Niaspodziani and Peter Olson, better known as the bandleader and bassist of Yacht Rock Revue, the Venkman’s house band and unquestionably Atlanta’s reigning cover band. The triumvirate rounds out with Rhian-

Continued on page 22

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22 | Dining Out ■

With music and food, Venkman’s rocks off to a strong start Continued from page 21 and Venkman’s is consequently doing it better with a fishier fish and a fearlessly creamy center. The star of the dish is an apple ketchup. It’s not apple butter; it’s got some cider vinegar in there for a smoother sauce and a polite little kick at the end. For entrees, we had the chili shrimp and burger with fries. Both showcased Melvin’s refined, precise sense of sours: one of his overall best assets. The chili shrimp was a Chinese-Southern fusion that displayed surprising balance, while the burger’s fancy combo of pickle slaw, dill mustard and tomato jam added loads of flavor and variety without a palate burnout. When a manager stopped by to see how we were doing, I asked him to cough up the secret to getting a table. If walking in 30 minutes before doors open with tickets purchased 30 days beforehand doesn’t get me to the front row, what does it take? He checked for cancellations and immediately moved us to a table, notably skirting my question. As it turns out, the tables aren’t front row anyway because there will be a gaggle of 30-somethings danc-

ing in front of the stage as soon as the band gets going. The crowd here is more classy than at Andrews Upstairs and less attentive than at Eddie’s Attic. On this night, the band was doing the Beatles. If you shut your eyes, the fidelity of sound is incredible. Yacht Rock Revue has several extra players beyond the Fab Four and several extra instruments (theremin, surprise!), but they replicate the original work thoroughly enough that a sing-along quickly ensues. There was a definite good time vibe floating over the crowd. Venkman’s, located at 740 Ralph McGill Blvd., reallly does seem poised to be the best of all possible worlds, though they need some time to work out the ticketing and service kinks. That’s not a reason to stay home, however. The place has gotten a strong start and I’m going back momentarily myself, to drill down into their extensive wine list while seeing the world’s greatest Fleetwood Mac cover band for $8. For more information on Venkman’s: 470-2256162 or


Left, chili shrimp, a Chinese-Southern dish, displaying a “surprising balance.” Above, smoked trout beignets with apple ketchup. Previous page, the burger with pickle slaw, dill mustard and tomato jam.


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Quick Bites Castellucci Hospitality Group will move its Italian restaurant concept Double Zero from Sandy Springs to the former Ink & Elm space in Emory Village in June 2016. For more information, visit Sprouts Farmers Market has opened in Morningside at 1845 Piedmont Ave. The 30,000-square-foot store offers fresh, natural and organic foods. For more information, visit SproutsAtlantaMorningside. Chris Edwards has been named executive chef of Restaurant Eugene in Buckhead. Leaving his post helming the kitchen at Holeman and Finch Public House, Edwards heads home to Restaurant Eugene where he originally became sous chef in March 2014. Pe�ite Auberge Restaurant, 2935 North Druid Hills Road, is offering a New Orleans Food Festival menu every Offering you: evening, from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. through March 12. This special dining event of• Compassionate and fers acremation Cajun appetizer, soup, entrees and burial services • Same day cremation services available • Comfortable private visitation “BecauseOffering Your Pet Isyou: a Member of the Family” rooms • Compassionate

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Dining Out | 23

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MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016 ■

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Educa�ion | 27

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016 ■





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ACTIVITIES Horseback Riding Swimming (Heated Pool) Ropes Course Climbing Tower Tennis Canoeing Golf Gymnastics Dance Cheerleading Flag Twirling Archery Arts and Cras Knitting Chorus and Drama Outdoor Living Skills Basketball Volleyball Soccer Riflery Trip Day River Water Blob Campfire every night Counselor-In-Training Christian Leadership

We l c o m e t o R i v e r v i e w C a m p f o r G i r l s ! Yo u r Aw a r d Wi n n i n g C a m p E x p e r i e n c e ! C o n fi d e n c e , C h a r a c t e r, Ad v e n tu r e , In s p i r at i o n ! When you attend our summer camp or our mother-daughter weekends, you will have an amazing time on a mountain top, sharing moments of fun, faith, and adventure! Recognized as one of the South’s favorite private summer camp for girls, Riverview’s exciting programs are appreciated by both campers and parents! Girls from the South and International campers as well, are among our camp families!

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Classifieds | 29

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30 | Public Safety ■

Dunwoody police say car chases considered for ‘forcible felonies’ BY DYANA BAGBY

Two people died in a head-on crash after they fled a Georgia State Patrol officer on patrol on Buford Highway in Brookhaven. Their deaths were among several recent metro Atlanta collisions that have some local law enforcement agencies rethinking their vehicle pursuit policies. At about 10 p.m. on Feb. 25, a Georgia State Patrol officer attempted to pull over a 2002 Saturn SL on Buford Highway for speeding. The Saturn driver did not stop and the trooper initiated a chase. The Saturn ended up attempting to elude the trooper by speeding away north on I-85 South at Clairmont Road. The trooper monitored the speeding Saturn from I-85

north when he witnessed the Saturn crash head-on into an Infiniti. “The trooper continued north, turned around, and located the crashed Saturn. The Saturn struck a black 2012 Infiniti G37 head-on. The driver of the Infiniti, Lisa Jackson, 52, of Alpharetta, was transported to Grady Hospital with minor injuries,” GSP reported. A woman in the back seat of the Saturn was seriously injured and transported to Grady Hospital. The male driver and front seat passenger of the Saturn were killed. Although Brookhaven Police did not take part in the Feb. 25 chase, according to a spokesperson, the department is reviewing its policies following recent metro Atlanta high-profile law enforcement pursuits that led to crashes and deaths of


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innocent people, including a grandmother a hotel near the Hartsfield-Jackson airport. and her two grandchildren. The chase ended when the SUV crashed “Our chief asked us to update our polinto another vehicle, killing a 76-year-old icy. We’re not cutting it altogether, but it grandmother and her grandchildren, ages will likely be a little more restrictive,” said 12 and 6. Brookhaven Major Brandon Gurley. An elderly couple died Jan. 28 after their The department’s current police allows vehicle was struck by a car being chased for police to chase felony suspects and seby Johns Creek Police. Police arrested the rious misdemeanors as well as hit-and-run father and son who were in the car that suspects where serious injury or deaths struck the couple. They now face drug have occurred, Gurley said. charges as well as vehicular homicide and Other caveats DUI charges. come into play when These deaths and deciding to chase a others catalyzed suspect, Gurley said, State Sen. Gail Davsuch as the time of enport (D-Jonesboro) day, traffic condito introduce legislations, weather condition Feb. 22 to protions and the pursuvide a standard for ing officer’s training. state, county and city When a chase beagencies that authogins, it is constantly rize police pursuits. monitored by the of“The public wants ficer and his or her something done,” monitoring supervi- CHIEF BILLY GROGAN Davenport said. “We sor to weigh the ne- DUNWOODY POLICE support the police, cessity of apprehenbut we want to make sion, Gurley said. sure no innocent lives are lost. We are tryDunwoody Police only allow police ing to make sure they do not endanger the chases in instances of forcible felonies, lives of the public.” such as rape, murder, robbery, assaults and But her bill did not pass out of the Pubshootings, said Chief Billy Grogan. lic Safety Committee this year. The law Sandy Springs Police Department’s would have made it standard practice that policy, developed using standards estabstate, county and city law enforcement lished by the Georgia Chiefs of Police and could only pursue those suspected of murthe Commission on Accreditation for Law der, aggravated battery, kidnapping, false Enforcement Agencies, states “vehicle purimprisonment “or any offense that creates suits may be initiated only when danger an immediate threat of death or serious to the public created by the pursuit is less bodily injury to another person or substanthan the imminent or potential danger to tial threat to the safety of another person.” the public should the suspect remain at “Things have recently gotten out of large.” SSPD officers are instructed that hand,” Davenport said. “We are not trying “the more serious or dangerous the crime, to run the police departments. But if the the greater the consideration to pursue.” chase involves something frivolous, call off For the Atlanta Police Department, vethe chase.” hicle pursuit is only allowed when one of three standards are met by the fleeing sus‘Most chases over quickly’ pect: the suspect possesses a deadly weapDunwoody chief Grogan acknowledgon or device that can cause serious bodily es most chases do not end up in captures. injury; the officer reasonably believes the “Most chases are pretty short and are over suspect poses an immediate violent threat pretty quickly,” he said. to the officer or others; or there is probable “We’ve initiated a few in the past. The cause to believe the suspect has threatened majority of them have been terminated to or seriously injured another. by the officer or the supervisor. We take Many factors come into play when deinto account many factors such as traffic, ciding to pursue a vehicle, said Brookhavweather, time of day,” he said. en’s Gurley. “It’s a constant balancing act,” In 2015, Brookhaven police were inhe said. “Is the risk worth the need to apvolved in 17 pursuits. Most were canceled prehend?” either by the supervisor or the officer. One

The rules now were not present then. Previously, all law enforcement chased everyone for any reason.

‘Public wants something done’

That risk is on many people’s minds after two police chases – one beginning in College Park and another in Johns Creek – resulted in five deaths within a few days span in January. On Jan. 31, College Park Police pursued an SUV believed to have been stolen from

involved an intoxicated juvenile driving without a license who refused to stop for police until he pulled into the driveway of his parent’s home and surrendered. “We stayed at the speed limit or below in this case; we never got over 35 miles per hour,” Gurley said. But anytime an officer flips on their blue lights to go after another car, it’s counted as a pursuit. Officers pursued several erratic and DUN

MAR. 4 - MAR. 17, 2016

reckless drivers who refused to stop for blue lights, but those chases were typically called off after just a few minutes. In another instance, an officer ran a tag number to a car that came back as stolen. The officer sped after the car and ended up in a 100-mile-per-hour chase on I-85 before the police supervisor called off the chase due to icy rain conditions. Another incident ended when the suspect vehicle being chased crashed into a utility pole. The passenger was arrested at the scene, but the driver fled on foot; he was later identified and arrested. Only one chase ended in the apprehension of the suspect – officers were able to use a “rolling roadblock,” a move in which several police cars surround the suspect to stop him. The driver was charged with DUI and was driving on sidewalks, posing a serious risk, Gurley said.

Rules changed over years

The recent incidents in metro Atlan-

Public Safety | 31

ta are “very tragic for everyone involved,” Grogan said. Grogan said he had been in “tons” of police chases himself, dating back to the 1980s. Although none of Dunwoody’s police chases have ever ended with an arrest, Grogan said, arrests have happened when an officer later recognized a suspect or gets the license plate number leading to the identification of a suspect. Over time, he said, law enforcement leaders looked at the outcomes and the rewards versus the risks of high speed chases and made the decision that more restrictions were necessary. “The rules now were not present then,” Grogan said. “Previously, all law enforcement chased everyone for any reason.” The times Grogan was involved in chases were “pretty stressful,” he said. “You don’t want to wreck, don’t want to get hurt and you don’t want to hurt anyone else,” he said. “But you don’t want to let the bad guy get away either.”

Police Blotter / Dunwoody From Dunwoody police reports dated Feb. 16 through Feb. 25 The following informa�ion was pulled from Dunwoody’s Police-2-Ci�izen website and is presumed to be accurate.  5200 block of Marston Road – A screw-

driver was used to break into the back door of a house on Feb. 16. The report came in shortly before 9 p.m. and the break-in likely took place while the resident was at work. Items taken from the home included $5,000 in cash, a $300 combination safe and a $500 wristwatch.  300 block of Perimeter Center N. – On

Feb. 23 a resident called police to report someone had broken into her home. Police found that a jimmy/pry tool or other device was used to break into the front door while the resident was at work. Taken from the home was a LG high-definition TV valued at $200, an Xbox One game console valued at $400 and a MacBook Pro valued at $1,200.  5100 block of Brooke Farm Drive – On

Feb. 24 a resident reported a “limousine driver being immovable in the complainant’s front yard.” The limousine is valued at $15,000. No value to damages to the yard was listed on the police report.  4700 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road

– On Feb. 24, shoplifting at a department store was reported. Stolen from the store: two GoPro cameras valued at $399 each; two speakers valued at $79.88 each; folding knives; and paracord rope.  1000 block of

Crowne Pointe Parkway – On DUN

Feb. 24, a report of a suspicious person in a parking garage was reported. The reporting officer “conducted an investigation and took a male into custody [in] reference [to] criminal attempt to enter an automobile.”  8400 block of Azalea Garden Drive – On

Feb. 25, a woman reported her home was broken into and valuable jewelry was stolen. Someone broke into the residence using a jimmy tool or other device and took an iPad mini valued at $300; jewelry and precious metals valued at $5,000; Tiffany jewelry valued at $600; and a Playstation3 valued at $300.  1400 block of Mount Vernon Road/Ash-

ford-Dunwoody Road – On Feb. 25, a person called 911 to make a reckless driving complaint against a driver in a white Jaguar. The person gave 911 the tag number. Police identified the address of the driver using the tag number and went to the residence. According to the report, “The registered owner was uncooperative with officers. She did not and would not tell [the] officer who was driving the vehicle. She opened and closed the door repeatedly and refused to identify herself to officers. She only said that she is one of the registered owners of the Jaguar. Based on the lack of probable cause [the] officer left the residence. Photographs were taken in order to enter them onto RMS [records management system] for a reckless driver alert in the event addition complaints are made.”


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32 | â–


03-04-2016 Dunwoody Reporter  
03-04-2016 Dunwoody Reporter