03-16-18 Brookhaven

Page 1

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 • VOL. 10 — NO. 6


Brookhaven Reporter


► Community survey: Should teachers be armed? PAGE 12 ► Battling hunger, one backpack at a time PAGE 21

March 24-25 | See pages 16-18

Communities of Faith Pages 24-25

Model train enthusiast shares his love of tiny worlds


Riley O’Connor of Brookhaven uses digital controls to move trains along the tracks of his massive model train set in his basement. The set is 28-feet long and about 4-feet wide and has been an ongoing project since the mid-1990s. Read story page 30.►

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

After eight O.D.s and a prison scare, a Dunwoody resident helps others on the road to getting clean BY MAX BLAU


hris Zollman’s road to recovery started with a swift act of mercy, continued through a treatment program in Sandy Springs, and ended with him quitting drugs. Now the Dunwoody resident devotes his life to helping others walk down the same path — a path that for many is often muddied by shady operators, controversial treatments, and pricey therapies. Six years ago, Zollman was consuming $100 worth of opioids a day and sold

even more to support his habit. He’d survived eight overdoses — the last time, paramedics found him passed out behind the wheel of his car near Bobby Dodd Stadium. The streak would soon be broken: His drug charges carried a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison. “I was either going to get clean or kill myself,” Zollman thought. But a Fulton County judge offered Zollman probation as a first-time offender. “You’re very lucky to be alive,” the judge said. It came with a condition: finish treat-

ment. He was sent up to a rehab center in north Georgia. That was followed by a stay at LifeLine Atlanta, a sober living residence founded by Trey Miller, a Sandy Springs resident who was also in active recovery. Zollman stayed there for six months as he strung together drug-free days earning minimum wage at a local Jimmy John’s. For two more years, Zollman worked at LifeLine, helping out with the new clients. Inspired by LifeLine’s mission, he started thinking about starting his own facility. See AFTER on page 26

Sandy Springs prepares to join hundreds of local governments in suing the opioid industry. See story, page 27 ►


DeKalb CEO promises investigation into water main break BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond promised a “full-scale” investigation into a major water main break off Buford Highway early March 7 that resulted in school and government closings as well as many business closings throughout the county. “The DeKalb County government will initiate a full-scale investigation into the cause of [the] massive water main break. We will determine whether the break was the result of a systematic failure, improper maintenance, wear and tear or physical tampering,” Thurmond said in a statement. “I am committed to making sure our infrastructure is protected and maintained in a manner that will ensure quality service to the citizens of DeKalb County.” The 48-inch water main break added more headaches to the county’s watershed department that has struggled for years with similar breaks on smaller See DEKALB on page 19

Buford Highway group to compile residents’ stories BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

We Love BuHi is beginning an oral history project to collect the stories of people living and working on Buford Highway as one way to preserve the history of the corridor that is known regionally for its diversity and international restaurants. Marian Liou of Brookhaven, founder and executive director of We Love BuHi, said her organization is teaming up with Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives and See BUFORD on page 15

2 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Democrats challenge local Republican strongholds BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A Democratic primary for the state Senate District 40 seat will decide who will face off against longtime incumbent Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) in the historically Republican district that includes Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Sandy Springs. Candidate qualifying wrapped up March 9 with several races to be decided affecting Dunwoody and Brookhaven. Sally Harrell, a former state representative, will go against Tamara Johnson-Shealey in the May 22 Democratic primary for a

Fran Millar.

Mike Wilensky.

Ken Wright.

Meagan Hanson.

chance to oppose Millar. Johnson-Shealey has opposed Millar twice before. Harrell has picked up endorsements

Sally Harrell.

from fellow Democrats U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, state Sen. Elena Parent and state Rep. Scott Holcomb, according to her website. In his re-election campaign announcement, Millar included statements of bipartisan support from two Democratic leaders: current DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and former CEO Liane Levetan. House District 79, also a Republican stronghold which includes Dunwoody, is Tamara Johnson-Shealey. an open seat this year

The Dekalb Small Business Loan Program is a joint venture Between Dekalb Community Development and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE).

Matthew Wilson.

with state Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) stepping down after this session. Democrat Mike Wilensky, an attorney, will go against Ken Wright, a Republican and Dunwoody’s first mayor. Both live in Dunwoody. Wilensky picked up an endorsement from Jon Ossoff, who led a strong but unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House District 6 seat in a special election last year that was won by Republican Karen Handel. He is also endorsed by former Gov. Roy Barnes, former state Sen. Jason Carter, state Sen. Elena Parent and state Sen. Jen Jordan. Wright’s endosrements include Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal, state Sen. Fran Millar, DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester and Attorney General Chris Carr. Several Democrats — but not Jon Ossoff — are vying to unseat Handel this year. Democrats Bobby Kaple, Kevin Abel, Steven Knight Griffin and Lucy McBath qualified to run in the May 22 primary. Handel faces no primary opposition in another traditionally Republican district. State Rep. Meagan Hanson (RBrookhaven) faces Democratic challenger Matthew Wilson for the House District 80 seat, a seat that has been held by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Other candidates qualifying: DeKalb Board of Commissioners District 2 Democrat: Jeff Rader (incumbent) State Senate District 42 Democrat: Elena Parent (incumbent) State House District 81 Republican: Ellen Diehl Democrat: Hamid Noori, Scott Holcomb (incumbent)

Senior Life Se ni rningLife of Leaor Get fresh at farmers markets


page 8

com 5| AtlantaSeniorLIFE. MAY 2017 • Vol. 2 No.


sports & fitness

play ball at

any age Atla nta


Take a Relaxing Visit to the Renaissance page 12

page 14

A Lifetime


Yoga to Fit Your Lifestyle page 16



JUNE 2017 • Vol. 2 No. 6 | AtlantaSeniorL IFE.com

Theatre-To-Go Live Performandelivers ces

making a difference

Lewis By Donna Williams page 6

Assistance League helps rebuild lives

Methodist Dunwoody United Gil Yates, about to begin at for his classmate Coast Indians was making a beeline A class on Pacific page 10 strode into the room, Church when a man OK.” approached. “Shuffling’sbuddy, who would not front row, center. said, as the man his “No running!” Yates is a year older than all in good fun. Yates The teasing was age: 91. with Perimeter Adults but did share his classes this spring reveal his name, 175 students taking The men are among most of whom (PALS). for senior adults, Learning & Services continuing education the start. year of providing been members from PALS is in its 25th need for of Dunwoody, have takes care of the and his wife, Dot, and this kind of are 60-plus. Yates to help other people, “People our age want made lifelong friends.” 4 Yates said. “We have Continued on page fellowship,” Dot


By Kathy Dean


We hear it all rings especially the time: less is more. The phrase true for older adults who are empty nests and facing are ready to of their lives. enjoy the second Intown and north half many comfortable metro Atlanta offer options

for them. “Baby boomers have spent much working and of their lives building said Dawn Anderson, their wealth for retirement,” Realtor, Dorsey “As retirement Alston Realtors. becomes more of a reality, they plan their transition begin to to downsize. Ease and affordability of life, proximity are certainly the goals of most downsizing common boomers.” The trend of continues to grow, 55+ active adult communities Anderson said. well qualified “Baby boomers buyers and know are looking for.” exactly what they are Kim Isaacs, aged Avalon in Alpharetta58, said that her townhome in gives her and everything they her husband want. “We had home in Johns lived in our previous Creek for 19 years. left for college, When our last we child and really didn’t decided that we wanted a change need a large house of us,” she said. for just the two Continued on

page 4

Read our monthly publication for active seniors!

Pick up a copy around town or read online at atlantaseniorlife.com


Community | 3

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Debate over mayor’s firing power is part of charter review BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Does the mayor have unilateral power to fire his appointees, or is City Council approval required? That’s a question the council is now debating as part of its charter review process after the city attorney raised the issue during a recent work session. The mayor and council are reviewing recommendations made in December by the Charter Review Commission as part of a mandated five-year review. Some recommendations included term limits for council members and small pay raises for the mayor and council. While the commission did not specifically address mayoral firing powers, City Attorney Chris Balch brought up the issue at a Feb. 27 work session. The city’s charter currently states that a mayoral appointment, such as the city manager, must be approved by a majority council vote. To fire the city manager, or other mayor-appointed official, also requires approval by a majority of the council, according to the charter. Balch told council members that his advice is to remove the section in the charter stating council approval is needed to fire a mayoral appointee. He cited the 2015 Georgia Supreme Court ruling in favor of former Snellville mayor Kelly Katz. As mayor, Katz sued the city saying she had the right to fire the city attorney despite the council’s opposition. “The Snellville mayor went to war with the City Council and won a [state] Supreme Court decision in 2015,” Balch said. “Fundamentally ... that ruling includes the power to remove that appointment.” And while the Snellville case dealt with the city attorney, Balch said the ruling implies the mayor can unilaterally remove any of his or her other appointments as well. Should the council choose to keep in the city’s charter that the council must approve the termination of a mayoral appointee, Balch said he was not sure it would be enforceable by law. Other appointments made by the mayor include the city clerk and city attorney, which are then approved by the council. The city charter also states that a mayoral appointment must first be suspended by the mayor and council in a public meeting before being terminated in a majority vote in a second public meeting. Balch recommended the council do away with the suspension step. The city saw this process play out at the beginning of Mayor John Ernst’s term in January 2016. Shortly after taking office, he and the council suspended and then reached a settlement agreement with former city manager Marie Garrett to resign. Councilmember Bates Mattison questioned giving the mayor unilateral power to fire someone like the city manager BK

without council approval. “I think it’s an important safeguard to have,” he said. “I don’t think we should have one elected official be able to fire the city manager. The council should have to approve.” Councilmember Joe Gebbia agreed. “My belief is we need better checks and balances. If we have the right to approve, we should also have the right to disapprove,” he said. “I think this issue has been thoroughly litigated,” Councilmember Linley Jones said. “I think whether we like it or not ... we are legally bound to include this in our charter.” Leaving in the charter a sentence requiring City Council approval to fire a mayoral appointee could open the city to lawsuits, she said. Balch explained that by mandating city council approval of the termination of a mayoral appointee limits the authority of the mayor. The council’s attempts to limit the mayor’s authority is at the heart of the 2015 Georgia Supreme Court ruling that went in favor of then Snellville mayor Kelly Katz, Balch said. “There is language there [in the ruling] that massages the questions of that unilateral power,” he said. The charter states a vote of three council members out of five is needed to remove a mayoral appointment. “I don’t think the mayor should be able to fire someone without checks and balance,” Gebbia said. “I’ve seen this happen in the region ... You can get a rogue mayor in cahoots with the city manager in a worst-case scenario.” Councilmember John Park said the mayor is more than an at-large council member and is elected to have more power than a council member. “I’m somewhat of a traditionalist ... certain positions serve at the pleasure of mayor and that is why you elect a mayor,” Park said. That is the distinction the state Supreme Court ruled [in Katz versus Snellville] — that a mayor is different than a council member, Balch said. “I cannot tell you what the Supreme Court is going to do ... but if this gets litigated ... I think the Supreme Court will tell you that you are wrong,” he said. Mattison argued that by eliminating the council from approving a termination of a mayoral appointment from the city charter, a mayor could “come in and clean house.” “When talking about the charter, we are talking about our utmost policy guiding document,” he said. “What is the best policy? Policies are driven by the council. We have always been a weak mayor form of government in our city. I’d be fine being litigated again.” Balch said he would present to the council at a future date more information on the issue.

Celeb our 2 rating 5th Ye ar!

Soft or firm seats

Customizable furniture

Oh heck yeah, we’re way more than just chairs— and now we’re OPEN SUNDAY 12–5!

Fabric & leather

Reclining sofas

Easy-to-clean fabrics

Incredibly comfortable sleepers

Articulating headrests & adjustible lumbars

Small-scale sofas & chairs


Power LIFT chairs

30 E Crossville Rd (Hwy 92 @ Crabapple), Roswell Tues-Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5 • www.TheComfortableChairStore.com DIRECTIONS: Take Roswell Rd N & continue 1.5 mi N of Historic Roswell, OR take Exit 7B/Holcomb Br off GA400 & we’ll be 2.7 mi on the right



Medical Associates

Welcome Dr. Michael Crowe! Peachtree Dunwoody Medical Associates is proud to welcome Dr. Michael Crowe, a boardcertified gynecologist with over three decades of experience practicing in the Atlanta area. Dr. Crowe offers comprehensive gynecologic care to women of all ages, serving with the same excellent, compassionate care you are accustomed to from Peachtree Dunwoody Medical Associates. Dr. Crowe is welcoming new patients, accepts most insurance plans, and offers a convenient location

Michael Crowe, MD Gynecology

near the Northside Hospital Atlanta campus.

Call 404-497-1020 for an appointment! 875 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30342 PeachtreeDunwoodyMed.com

4 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Peachtree Creek Greenway hastening gentrification, some say BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewsapers.net

As the Peachtree Creek Greenway nears a date to break ground this year, concerns about the linear park contributing to gentrification along Buford Highway remain a concern for some community activists who have watched issues such as affordable housing affect the renowned Atlanta BeltLine. City Councilmember Joe Gebbia says gentrification is already happening along the corridor famous for its multicultural residents and businesses, including many restaurants. “Even if we don’t do anything, the trend [of rising property costs] will continue,” Gebbia said. “The Greenway has psychologically added to that process and the momentum will pick up.” But Rebekah Morris, a founder of Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, an organization created to advocate for those living in apartments along Buford Highway, said the Greenway board and city officials should be more proactive in addressing issues such as affordability. “We, as the community, just want the cities and the Peachtree Creek Greenway board ... to take a more proactive policy stance on how to create green

Irvin J. Johnson DeKalb County Tax Commissioner

STOP BY TODAY North Office 1358 Dresden Dr. Atlanta, GA 30319 Questions? Call (404) 298-4000 or email us at


space that our current residents will be able to enjoy,” she said. “We need to realize none of us are working in silos, and all of our actions impact one another,” Morris added. “We need to work together to develop policies that will protect our residents from displacement. We can’t think that just because we aren’t in the housing business that we can’t also take measures to protect our current, naturally occurring affordable housing.” The Greenway, sometimes referred to as the “Brookhaven BeltLine,” is an approximate 12-mile linear park envisioned to run along the north fork of the Peachtree Creek and connect Brookhaven to Chamblee and Doraville as well as to Buckhead’s PATH 400 and eventually to the Atlanta BeltLine. The north fork of the Peachtree Creek runs from Mercer University in unincorporated DeKalb County to near the PATH400 trail. Brookhaven officials expect to break ground this year on the Greenway’s first mile. Ryan Gravel, the visionary behind the Atlanta BeltLine, brought the pilot program for his new nonprofit urban design organization, Generator Studio, to Buford Highway last year to seek ways to mitigate negative impacts

on the people living and working along the rapidly redeveloping corridor. The Atlanta BeltLine is also facing concerns about affordable housing. Any comparison to the Atlanta BeltLine is not really accurate, however, Gebbia said, because the Greenway is running along a creek and does not include commercial or residential developments. Gravel agreed. “I don’t see a comparison with the BeltLine. It’s very different,” he said. “The thing is, of course [the Greenway] is a great thing,” Gravel added. “We shouldn’t be afraid to make a community better. We shouldn’t hold down progress to just keep things affordable.”

Concerns raised with officials Betsy Eggers, chair of the nonprofit Peachtree Creek Greenway board of directors, said Brookhaven will have to deal with affordability. She said the Greenway will address some of the equity issues that people living in apartments on Buford Highway and near the I-85 access road face because it will provide them a nearby green space to ac-

ATTENTION DEKALB COUNTY HOMEOWNERS... HOMESTEAD DEADLINE IS April 2nd! If you own and reside in your home on January 1st, you may apply for a Homestead Exemption by April 2nd of this year. The home must be your primary and legal residence. Applications received after April 2nd will be processed for 2019. In addition to the basic homestead exemption, there are special exemptions for residents 62 and older, disabled veterans or their un-remarried surviving spouse, and other disabled residents. Eligibility is based upon age or disability, total household income, and must be applied for in-person. Bring your Federal and State income tax forms by the deadline to apply.

We are pleased to offer “An Introduction to Homestead Exemption.” This is a fr ee pr esentation informing homeowners & senior citizens on how they can save money on annual property taxes. If your Senior Center, HOA or other organization is interested in this free presentation, please contact the Tax Commissioner’s Office to schedule with us.

We also offer on-site exemption processing after the presentation. Attendees are encouraged to bring their driver’s license and State & Federal income tax forms, Social Security 1099, and any other forms of income you may receive for qualification requirements.


cess for fun or as an alternative means of transportation. “People who live in apartments do not have access to parks and backyards like homeowners do,” Eggers said. The plan to connect Brookhaven to Chamblee, Doraville and Atlanta through the Greenway also provides an alternative means of transportation for people who may currently take the MARTA 39 bus, the most utilized bus in MARTA’s system, but want to ride a bicycle on a safe path to work, she said. “We are serving underserved people,” she said. Marco Palma, also a founder of Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, said concerns about potential negative impacts of the Peachtree Creek Greenway on residents living along Buford Highway have been raised with Brookhaven officials. “We made it clear that the people who live along Buford Highway would be negatively affected by the construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway,” he said. “The rising housing costs along Buford Highway will cause people to move out of the city.” Gebbia acknowledged that rising property values along Buford Highway will result in displacement. He is hoping the City Council will institute a policy that mandates developers who buy an apartment complex be required to give tenants a 120-day notice of having to move out. Gebbia said he’d also like to make it mandatory that their last 60 days be rent free to give people time to save money for deposits for a new place to live. “It’s a proven fact that if you give lower-income people a short time to move, their situation only worsens,” he said. Brookhaven is undergoing a citywide zoning rewrite and plans to take into account recommendations made by its Affordable Housing Task Force, such as offering incentives to developers who provide affordable housing. “City staff, working with our consultants and public input, are building upon the recommendations of the Affordable Housing Task Force,” said Burke Brennan, city spokesperson. “They are working together for policy recommendations to be included in the zoning rewrite for approval by City Council. This is expected to be presented to council this summer.” Gravel said the best way to help people living and working along Buford Highway from being priced out of their neighborhoods as it continues to evolve is for residents who care about the corridor’s history and diversity to continue to speak to elected officials. “It all requires political will,” he said. “The people in the community and the leaders have to be willing to do the hard work.” BK

Community | 5

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Sexual harassment cases hit home in local government, business BY DYANA BAGBY AND JOHN RUCH The news of sexual harassment and assault allegations against movie moguls, elected officials and even celebrated architects continue to make headlines as part of a national “#MeToo” movement led by women to not be silent on the issue anymore. But the issue is happening in local communities as well, including a Brookhaven Police officer who was fired four years ago after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him by a woman officer under his supervision. Tamara Holder, a former Fox News contributor who sued her employer for sexual assault, recently represented a woman in a federal lawsuit alleging an executive at Church’s Chicken based in Sandy Springs sexually harassed her for nearly a year before she quit. Holder says that sexual harassment and sexual assault cases are often discussed in terms of settlements. But that focus misses the lasting impact on the victims, she said. “Not only is it [that] money doesn’t compensate you for life, when a woman is out of work ... it affects her ability to get a [new] job.” That creates a “vicious cycle” that needs more attention, Holder said. Since the founding of Brookhaven in 2012, an open records search revealed, the city has settled one sexual harassment complaint: a 2014 case against a police officer who was later fired as a result. A woman officer filed the formal complaint with the city in August 2014, alleging a male sergeant and her supervisor sent her several sexually explicit text messages. She also alleged the sergeant sexually harassed her between November 2014 and May 2014. The city settled the complaint — which was never publicized — on May 12, 2015, for $10,000, which was covered by the city’s insurance, according to city documents. The officers who made the complaint resigned from her job in November 2014, according to documents obtained through an open records request. In November 2014, the woman filed an official complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also alleging sexual harassment on the job at the police department before finally agreeing to a settlement agreement with the city. The $10,000 settlement meant the woman officer who filed the complaint would “withdraw or dismiss her claim and would enter into a general release and waiver of all claims against the city as well as all current and former officials and employees of the city,” states the minutes of the settlement agreement. The complainant received $5,000 and her attorney received $5,000, according to the city’s minutes. Chief Gary Yandura fired the male officer, saying in a Sept. 16, 2014, letter that the sergeant violated several departmental policies, including standards of conduct opportunity and the sexual harassment/discrimi-

nation policy. “It is quite evident that you violated the allegations listed, which cannot be tolerated by a supervisory member of our police department,” Yandura wrote. The male officer appealed his firing to the city manager and representatives from the Human Resources Department. At an Oct. 17, 2014, hearing, the male officer said text messages “could be easily manipulated” and denied sending the woman any inappropriate text messages. His firing was upheld by the city manager. Following the case, all employees with the Brookhaven Police Department began mandatory annual training on how to prevent sexual harassment. The current spotlight on sexual harassment has now spurred the city to mandate such training for all city employees. This month, Brookhaven employees began their first preventing sexual harassment trainings that will continue through May. At a recent City Council work session, City Manager Christian Sigman explained that the current “national climate” led administrators to implement the mandatory training each year. Former Brookhaven mayor J. Max Davis also got swept up in sexual harassment allegations in 2015 when an employee accused him of spraying an aerosol can at her buttocks. He apologized for the incident, but

the result was a breakdown in city transparency policies including the city’s attorney at the time trying to keep the sexual harassment complaint secret. Davis denied he meant to harm the woman. In 2015, a Brookhaven city employee filed an EEOC complaint against Davis, alleging he threatened to fire her if she did not change her story to be in his favor on the sexual harassment allegations. The complaint was dismissed in 2016. Davis said the complaint was “spurious” and “baseless.” Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Atlanta all have policies against sexual harassment on record that are provided to employees. In Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, no sexual harassment complaints or settlements have been filed in the past five years, according to city spokespersons and open records requests. The city of Atlanta did not respond to requests for comment.

News. Holder and her client were able to reach an undisclosed settlement agreement with Church’s Chicken. Holder said a mistake in discussing the issue of sexual harassment is focusing on the settlement amount and not what happens to the woman afterwards, especially if she was forced to leave her job anyway. People need to ask, “Where is she now?” Holder said. “People look and say, ‘You got $50,000, you got $50 million...What are you complaining about?’” But, according to Holder, “It’s not over once the woman gets money. It’s really the beginning.” The woman loses the income of the job and may have trouble getting another one. Victims often are left with mental health issues and lose health coverage with the job, she said. “Personally, I’m without a job in TV because I spoke out,” she said. Holder said men also need to take responsibility for their role in preventing sexual harassment. “I think there needs to be a spotlight on men and what they can do,” she said. This can include not blowing off harassment as “flirting,” she said, or that complaints are lies or involve consensual situations. “It’s not rocket science,” but it is a cultural decision, she said.

Settlement as ‘the beginning’

Last year, a woman filed a federal lawsuit against Church’s Chicken alleging sexual harassment by an executive at its Sandy Springs headquarters. Church’s Chicken said it investigated the allegation and fired the person responsible. The woman was represented by Holder, who was in the news last year for the $2.5 million settlement she reached following her own sexual assault complaint at Fox

Visit us Today to see how you may qualify for a

1,000 Rebate


Valid thru 6/30/18.

Sub-Zero, the preservation specialist. Wolf, the cooking specialist. You’ll find them at your local kitchen specialist.


7455 Trowbridge Rd, NE | Sandy Springs, GA 30328 404-255-0640 | www.sewellappliance.com

6 | Education

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Laura Miltner Ashford Park Elementary School Laura Miltner, who teaches Georgia’s first German dual immersion program at Ashford Park Elementary School, was honored as the Georgia Department of Education’s World Language Educator of the Month in January. “Truly, without the selfless and dedicated service of teachers like [Miltner], children would not be complete,” said Patrick Wallace, a department representative, according to a press release. In Georgia dual language programs, the students spend at least half of their school day in the target language and the other half-day in English, according to the Georgia Department of Education website. “Frau Miltner has the herculean task of getting 52 kindergartners to begin understanding and speaking German,” a parent said in a letter nominating Miltner for the award. “… While all of our teachers are fantastic, the work Frau Miltner takes on to get these children ready for a more demanding academic load should be recognized.” Miltner has been teaching at Ashford Park in Brookhaven for five years and has been a teacher for over 20 years.

Q: How does teaching a new language to such young students change the process?

A: I believe in starting young and giving

these children a real chance to master a second language. Teaching immersion German in kindergarten has demanded a whole new restructuring of my teaching skills. Let’s just say not every lesson I have taught was a complete success. I am always learning. I enjoy the challenge tremendously. Where else can you see such massive growth and development? The hugs are nice too!


What are you most proud of in your career?

A: I am very proud

of being part of the German Immersion Program at Ashford Park. I believe that immersion language learning is a great way to develop flexibility in the brain, promote cultural understanding, as well as seamlessly learn a second language. I have also felt very proud when former students

Your summer. Your adventure.





write me a letter in German from Germany!


What do you want to see in your students?

A: I want them to feel comfortable ex-

perimenting with language. I want them to be inquisitive, open to other cultures, ask lots of questions, listen, think, work hard and love learning! I would, of course, love to see them all go on to visit, study in, and/or live in a German-speaking country. I would like for them to establish relationships with native speakers. My time in Germany and the friendships I have made there have been such an important part of my life.

Laura Miltner, a teacher at Ashford Park Elementary School in Brookhaven, using hand motions to help teach German to her kindergarten students.


What is your favorite memory at your school?

A: It always thrills me when a student

starts to put together his or her own sentences in German. The parents are also so supportive and kind here. There have been many times when they overwhelmed me with their kindness.


Why are you most interested in German?

A: German-speaking

countries play a huge part in world economics, science, technology, the arts and politics. I recently saw very impressive statistics in how much learning German can increase earning potential. The GerDo you have man community any special prois growing in Georgrams you use? gia. The number of German compaI have crenies here is always ated many magrowing. Chamterials because SPECIAL blee Middle School, Laura Miltner was honored as the Georgia teaching kinderDepartment of Education’s World Language Kittredge [Magnet garten math and Educator of the Month in January. School] and Chamscience in Gerblee [Charter High man to non-native speakers is so speSchool] have award-winning German cialized. What we do here is so differprograms preparing a place for our stuent than traditional language learning dents. classes and also the students are young-

Q: A:

Customize your summer camp experience. Galloway’s g360 Summer Camp is open to all children ages 3 and up and is held on our campus in beautiful Chastain Park.

Register now at gallowayschool.org/camp

er than most second language learners, so I haven’t been able to find the content I need in German. The German Immersion teachers all work very hard creating materials and piecing the curriculum together from many sources.

Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” articles, Reporter Newspapers showcases the work of some of the outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend a teacher or administrator to be the subject of an Exceptional Educator article, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net.

Education | 7

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Education Briefs

The Alfred & Adele Davis Academy


State Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) has proposed a Senate committee that would study ways to improve school safety and recommend legislation. A similar House study committee was proposed this week. The resolution, which is SR 935, follows a Florida school shooting that has spurred a national conversation on school safety and gun control. “Based on current events, we feel that [it is] necessary to place a focus on school safety,” Albers said in a press release. After the 2018 legislative session ends, the committee would travel across the state meeting with teachers, students, parents, first responders, community leaders and experts to get input and learn how to best improve safety in different communities. The study committee would then make legislative recommendations to the Senate, the release said. “Right now we have some specific policies in mind, but are going into the process of evaluating school safety with an open mind,” he said in an email. He said “numerous” meetings would be held to get input from all parts of the state before any final policy decisions are made. A similar House resolution, HR 1414, was introduced March 5 by Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) that would study problems and needs related to mental health concerns, infrastructure designs, equipment, personnel training and the availability of resources, according to the legislation.


Sunday, March 25, 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 26, 6:30 p.m. Rosenberg Performing Arts Theatre The Davis Academy Lower School 8105 Roberts Drive, Atlanta, GA 30350

For tickets and info visit us at www.davisacademy.org/musical


Students from Riverwood International Charter School and Ridgeview Middle School in Sandy Springs will visit Japan in a program sponsored by the Japanese government. The program is called the Kakehashi Project, which invites 200 American students on a nine-day study tour of Japan, Tomoko Ohyama, the consulate general of Japan in Atlanta said. The students will visit Japan from March 19 to March 27. The students will visit a number of historical and educational sites, experience traditional and cultural activities and participate in lectures and workshops, according to the program website.

W E ’ R E


Music by: Stephen Flaherty. Lyrics by: Lynn Ahrens. Book by: Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Co-Conceived by: Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle. Based on the works of Dr. Seuss. Music Supervised, Adapted and Produced by: Bryan Louiselle. Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI (mtishows.com).


E VERYDAY HEROES You may not see yourself as the hero type – but we do. We’re looking for adults who can spare a few hours each week. To a hero, it probably doesn’t seem like much. To our patients and families, your assistance means the world. Everyday heroes can do anything they set their hearts to. Set your heart on Grady, become a Grady volunteer.

Visit gradyhealth.org/volunteer

8 | Food & Drink

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Breadwinner’s Geoff Melkonian on baking and family BY DYANA BAGBY



During Thanksgiving 2005, Geoff and Katie Melkonian and Geoff’s sister Wendy were not sure what to do with the dozens of eggs left over from holiday cooking. After a few minutes, they had the answer — make pumpkin bread using Katie’s grandmother’s recipe. Wendy, who worked for the Souper Jenny restaurant at the time, sold the bread there and had a hit. The Melkonians decided to open their own shop in their hometown of Sandy Springs. Breadwinner Café and Bakery has operated for over 10 years across the street from what is now the new City Springs civic center. Now Melkonian has two new restaurants, both named Farm to Ladle, located at Ponce City Market and Avalon in Alpharetta.


Is there a long history in your family of running bakeries?

A: There is zero

history of baking in our famGeoff Melkonian owns Breadwinner Café and ily other than Bakery with his wife, Katie. The Sandy Springs our mothers and business has been open for 10 years. grandmothers baking for us at Geoff Melkonian has lived in Sandy home. However, my paternal grandparSprings since 1984 and is a 1988 Riverents and great-grandparents owned and wood International School graduate. He operated a deli/grocery store in Brooksaid his business is looking forward to lyn for two generations. The photos [on City Springs fully opening later this year. Breadwinner’s walls] are from the Brook“We want to stay in Sandy Springs,” lyn store. My great-grandparents eshe says. “In our way, it’s an investment in caped Armenia and Turkey around 1914. the city. We believe in They came to America and started a new what they are doing.” life. In the early 1920s, they opened their We asked Geoff store and lived in the apartment above. to tell us more about how Breadwinner came to be here. What is the process for making bread at the store in Sandy Springs? Early hours, lots of kneading? How did you decide on the name Our breads are quick breads. No Breadwinner? need for kneading. They are baked and packaged daily for sale and shipping for I wish I had a the next day. We still have a very active clever answer. We mail order business. wanted a positivesounding name. It fit our personalities. Of Do you remember eating loaves of course, within a year yummy bread as a child? What was it like of starting Breadwinfor you and your sister growing up and ner, the “no carb” fad being in the home kitchen? took off. Fortunately, it didn’t hurt us too SPECIAL Our mom made the best lemon blueSPECIAL





Party at My Place Pumpkin Bread.

make? What bread did you try but was unsuccessful and had to be taken of the shelf?


My favorite bread changes with the seasons. In the warmer months it is “Be Still My Beating Tart” and lemon blueberry. But the rest of the year it’s a toss-up between “Papa Don’t Peach” and “Party At My Place Pumpkin.” For a short while, we had a bread called “Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli.” It was delicious. It’s not that it didn’t sell. We just could not get it to bake consistently. After a while we put it on the back burner and haven’t yet gone back to it. But it was so good. Maybe we will try it again this year.

Q: A:

Breadwinner Café & Bakery offers customers a range of menu items, including sandwiches and soups.

berry bread, which is one of our flavors. Katie’s mom and grandmother made what is our pumpkin bread. It was the product that Breadwinner was created from. To this day, we still bake both of their recipes for these flavors.


Are you willing to share the recipe for the pumpkin bread that apparently got this entire business started?


I wish I had a dime for every time someone asked for our pumpkin bread recipe. MICHAEL JONES

All local, all wonderful.

Voted AJC’s #1 “Best of Atlanta” art gallery!

Wed-Sat 12-6, or by appointment | info@ideagallerychamblee.com 5346A Peachtree Rd. Chamblee, GA 30341 (404)-308-0794


Katie and Geoff Melkonian, owners of Breadwinner Cafe, won the Sandy Springs/ Perimeter Chamber’s 2013 ‘Sandy’ award for restaurant of the year. They are pictured above with that year’s SSPC Chairman Cory Jackson, left.


What was Katie’s grandmother like, whose recipe you followed for that first mass production of pumpkin bread?

A: Katie’s grandmother was a fiery and

small but mighty woman from Tulsa. She was very Midwestern. She shot squirrels in her backyard with a BB gun. You didn’t cross her.


What is your favorite bread you

220 Sandy Springs Circle Sandy Springs 30328 breadwinnercafe.com

Food & Drink | 9

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Quick Bites

Ranked by U.S. Dept. of Education in

Top 20 Schools Nationwide for Tuition Value (in two-year private sector)


Brendan Keenan recently was named the new executive chef at il Giallo, an Italian restaurant in Sandy Springs. He previous served in that role at the Marietta restaurants Drift, Seed and Stem. Il Giallo is located at 5920 Roswell Road, Suite B-188, Sandy Springs. Info: 1992sharetea.com.

An education you can afford for a future you can depend on! Call today to schedule tour and complimentary lesson!


Hal’s Kitchen, an event space that provides corporate team-building through culinary lessons and competitions, recently opened in Sandy Springs’ Belle Isle Square. The 1,600-square-foot space can hold up to 65 guests and features professional equipment and a pizza oven. It is located at 4969 Roswell Road, Suite 220, Sandy Springs. Info: halskitchen.com.


Dunwoody-based Regina’s Farm Kitchen, owned by Regina Nekola Hild, was among the winners in the “Preserves” category at the Good Food Awards in San Francisco in January. Her winning entry was her strawberry blueberry jalapeño jam. Info: reginasfarmkitchen.com.


The fast-casual restaurant Tin Drum Asian Kitchen opened a Sandy Springs location with a ribbon-cutting March 1. The restaurant is at 5840 Roswell Road, Suite 1200, Sandy Springs. Info: tindrumasiankitchen.com.


• Financial Assistance • Certifications • Accredited Curriculum • Job Placement Assistance • Day & Night Classes • English as a Second Language Program • GED Preparation

Associate of Science Degrees & Short-term Diploma programs in Accounting, Medical Office Administration, Human Resource Management, HVAC, Information Technology, Business Management

The tea and flavored drink franchise Sharetea opened a Sandy Springs location with a Feb. 26 ribbon-cutting. It is located at 5975 Roswell Road, Suite 209. Info: 1992sharetea.com.

5303 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee, GA 30341


www.ict.edu | Campuses in Chamblee, Morrow and Gainesville


The Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant at 8433 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs reopened in February after a complete reconstruction. Info: cfanorthridge.com.


Pour Kitchen + Bar, a wine bar at 1418 Dresden Drive in Brookhaven, is now offering coffee service and breakfast and lunch menus. The coffee is from Smyrna-based Rev Coffee Roasters. Info: pourbrookhaven.com.


The Atlanta History Center in Buckhead recently became home to a new location for BRASH Coffee, which joins a Souper Jenny restaurant as the museum’s in-house dining and coffee options. The museum is at 130 West Paces Ferry Road. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.


A Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria opened in January at Perimeter Mall, 4400 AshfordDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: maxsatl.com.

Got local food or drink news?

Submit your tips at editor@reporternewspapers.net



purchase of $25 or more Sandy Springs 5975 Roswell Rd, Suite A-103 (404) 236-2114 NothingBundtCakes.com

NEW ‘Bunny Bundt’ Decorated Cake now available.

Expires 4/1/18. Coupon must be presented at time of purchase. $5 off $25 before tax. Valid only at the bakery listed. Not valid for online orders. Valid only on baked goods; not valid on retail items. 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 with any other offer.

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

Mithun Daniel, DO

Call (770) 395-1130 for an appointment

Our services include: • Physical examinations and wellness care for men, women and children • General and chronic care for geriatric patients • Immunizations • Acute illness treatment for colds, fevers, flu and more • Comprehensive women’s health services

960 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 300, Atlanta, GA 30342


10 | Art & Entertainment

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News





EGG HUNTS SANDY SPRINGS EGG HUNT Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m. to noon

With so many things to do, we suggest getting an early start on your want-to-do list. There’s a lot to do at The Piedmont Retirement Community — clubs, events, socializing, and more. So, go ahead and make your want-to-do list. But please don’t include a bunch of chores. We’ll take care of most of those for you. We invite you to see all that The Piedmont has to offer (including assisted living services if needed) at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.

Guitar Under the Stars Wednesday, March 28th • 5:30pm Join us for dinner and a classical guitar performance on our terrace. Please RSVP to 404.381.1743.

Sandy Springs Recreation and Parks and the North Perimeter Optimist Club are teaming up for the annual Egg Hunt at Hammond Park. Egg hunting schedule: 10:30 a.m. for children ages 1-3; 10:45 a.m. for children ages 4-6; and 11 a.m. for children ages 7-9. The rain date is Saturday, March 31. Free. 705 Hammond Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: 770-730-5600 or sandyspringsga.gov.


Saturday, March 31, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The City of Brookhaven’s Parks and Recreation Department hosts its annual Easter Egg Scramble. The event includes light breakfast snacks and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Egg hunters will be split into age groups (3 and under; 4-6, and 7+) with separate areas for each. The egg hunt begins at 10 a.m. sharp. Free. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov.

Tattoo Removal The Premier Alternative to Traditional Laser Tattoo Removal ®

I n de p e n de n t & A s s i s t e d L i v i ng

650 Phipps Boulevard NE • Atlanta, GA www.ThePiedmontatBuckhead.com • 404.381.1743

PicoWay is a high power laser with ultra short pulses that shatters tattoo ink, but leaves the outer layer of the skin intact. Before

The PicoWay



• Minimal discomfort • Better clearance • Treats a broad range of tattoo colors & types • Can be used on different skin types

Post 3 treatments Photos: Eric Bernstein, MD

5505 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Ste 412, Atl, GA 30342 (404) 459-9177 Office | (404) 389-0400 Fax www.perimeterdermatology.com

Art & Entertainment | 11

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net





Thursday, March 22, 7 p.m.

Join the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Nature Club for a monthly potluck. At 7:30 p.m., hear Julie Hollingsworth Hogg, CNC’s Manager of Horticulture and Gardens, speak about the mysteries of plants. The Nature Club meets monthly on fourth Thursdays from January to October. Ages 16 to adult, $10; $5 CNC members. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This fourth annual event features live entertainment with nationally known acts, an artist market featuring 100 regional artisans, a classic car show, 5K race, Kidz Zone, and a food court. Free. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookcherryfest.org.





Friday, March 23, 8 p.m.

Under the light of the stars and armed with flashlights, Dunwoody Nature Center educators will guide groups through the hike, offering a chance to hear the nighttime sounds of owls, bats, and other nocturnal creatures as well as the gentle flow of Wildcat Creek. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.


Friday, March 23 to Sunday, April 15 Stage Door Players presents “Mass Appeal.” Father Tim Farley is highly popular with his parishioners due to his charm, wit, easy-going manner, and entertaining, if unchallenging sermons. Seminary student Mark Dolson is a young, passionate firebrand eager to change the church. North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Tickets and other info: stagedoorplayers.net.


Friday and Saturday, March 23-24, 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 25, 3 p.m.

The timeless story of Camille is retold in Verdi’s classic of a Parisian courtesan who surrenders to love. $40; $30 for seniors, students and military with IDs. Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road NE, Brookhaven. Info: ccityopera.org.


Friends of Lost Corner hosts a presentation on sustainable vegetable gardening as part of the North Fulton Master Gardeners’ Lecture Series. Classes are conducted by the North Fulton Master Gardeners and the UGA Extension in Fulton County. $5. Lost Corner Nature Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. Info: friendsoflostcorner.org.

NE, Buckhead. Info: 404-814-3500.


Saturday, March 24, 6:30 p.m.

The 32nd annual Artistic Affair, a benefit for the Spruill Center for the Arts, is a festive evening of dinner, dancing and auctions with items donated by Spruill Center instructors and community supporters. Since its inception in 1986, Artistic Affair has raised over $1 million for art education and operating expenses for the Spruill Center for the Arts. $140. Atlanta Athletic Club, 1930 Bobby Jones Drive, Johns Creek. Info: spruillarts.org.


Wednesday, March 21, 4 p.m.

Kids ages 7-12 will compete for a prize in a spelling bee at the Buckhead Library. Kids can pick up a list of the spelling words to study prior to the spelling bee at the library’s Information Desk. Free; registration required. 269 Buckhead Ave.


Friday, March 23, 8:30 p.m.

Grab your flashlight and join the Heritage Sandy Springs Outdoors Club for a 3-mile hike through the sidewalks surrounding Abernathy Greenway Park. Advance registration is highly recommended. Info: heritagesandysprings.org. Click on Attend.



Saturday, March 24, 7 a.m. registration

The hospital hosts its second annual Run for Mercy 5K Run/Walk, a family-friendly Peachtree Road Race qualifier event. Beginning at 8 a.m., the race benefits Emory Saint Joseph’s and Mercy Care Atlanta. Dillard’s at Perimeter Mall, 4400 AshfordDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Fees and other info: runformercy5k.emory.edu.


Saturday, March 31, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Slip into the woods with a Blue Heron Nature Preserve naturalist and explore the sights and sounds of nature as the day animals go to rest and the night animals rise. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy outdoor shoes. Bring your favorite mug and complete the evening with hot cocoa or cold cider. $7; children 3 and under free. 4055 Roswell Road NE, Buckhead. Info: bhnp.org.


calendar@Reporter Newspapers.net

Lottery Registration Open March 15-22 at AJC.com/peachtree

12 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers

Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. 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 www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer: Soojin Yang Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Max Blau, Julie E. Bloemeke, Phil Mosier

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are delivered by carriers to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and to more than 500 business/retail locations. For locations, check “Where To Find Us” at www.ReporterNewspapers.net For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net.

© 2018 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC.

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Community Survey / Should teachers be armed? When it comes to making schools safer, arming teachers doesn’t appear to be the answer many of us are willing to embrace. Some elected officials, including President Trump, have suggested arming trained teachers or school administrators after 17 people were slain in a school shooting in Florida last month. But the idea was not popular among 250 residents of Reporter Newspapers communities who responded to our latest 1Q.com survey. Conducted via cellphone, the survey is not scientific. When asked what safety improvements should be made at our neighborhood schools from a list of six suggestions ranging from more police to better sidewalks, only 4 percent of the respondents chose to back the idea of issuing firearms to trained teachers or administrators. Just as many respondents thought no action was needed because their schools already are safe. And when survey participants were asked directly whether some properly trained teachers or administrators should be issued firearms, their responses ran about two to one against the idea. The largest group — 36 percent of the respondents — backed a proposal to provide more counseling and psychological screening for students. Suggestions to place more police officers and metal detectors in schools each drew support from 18 percent of the respondents. “I believe that teachers should not be issued firearms for a couple of reasons —

one reason being that many teachers have already come out saying that they do not want to be held responsible for their students’ lives in such a way,” a 14-year-old Sandy Springs girl wrote when responding to the survey. “I, as a student, would not feel any safer knowing that all my teachers have guns. In fact it would make me feel less secure and more anxious and on edge. The answer is gun law reform plain and simple.” And a 14-year-old Sandy Springs boy argued that guns in the classroom actually would make schools less safe. “That would actually give students a greater chance at being injured or killed,” he wrote, choosing an option of installing more metal detectors at school entrances. But others saw arming trained teachers as a direct way to curb school shootings. “They may be the only defense the kids have,” wrote a 55-year-old Sandy Springs man. Others likened the situation to providing security on airplanes. “I believe there should be some highly trained, undercover people in the school that have the ability to carry [a firearm],” a 25-year-old Atlanta man wrote, “like a flight marshal that can take over if a situation arises.” Among respondents who opposed arming teachers, some seemed horrified simply by the idea itself, while others raised practical objections. “It will not allow the police to enter as quickly knowing there

Which of the following safety improvement ideas does your neighborhood school need the most? More counseling and psychological screening available to students Metal detectors at entrances More police officers in the school Other

33.6% 18% 17.6% 16%

More sidewalks for students walking to school


None; my school is already safe


Firearms issued to trained teachers or administrators


Better playground equipment


are multiple people with guns,” a 37-yearold Atlanta man responded. Another Atlanta man argued that shootouts in schools could end up hurting more people. “I believe we should strive to eliminate the number of guns in an educational environment,” the 27-year-old man wrote.

Editor’s Note: Keeping up with our communities Local journalism has many our individual communities goals and definitions, but at and from such crucial beats as public safety, the arts, business Reporter Newspapers, we start with a simple one: Make and religion. It’s a lot easier to read on your phone, too. a newspaper that is as vibrant, And we have new kinds of smart and active as the communities we serve. stories to read there. As you can see elsewhere in this issue, Boy, is that easier said than done. In Brookhaven, Buckour editor-at-large, Joe Earle, is writing a new column. In head, Dunwoody and Sanis the managing “Around Town,” he will intrody Springs, the change and editor of the duce you to the intriguing peoexcitement is nonstop these Reporter Newspapers. ple and places who make our days. But it’s a challenge that we love as neighborhoods tick. Joe’s column will run every other issue, trading off with we change alongside our communities. We’ve made a number of innovations Robin Conte’s award-winning “Robin’s Nest.” Robin has been busy, too. We’re in recent weeks as part of that commithappy to finally reveal that a book of sement. We’re proud to announce the relected “Robin’s Nest” columns is coming soon. launch of our website, ReporterNewspapers.net. The old version was doing Of course, we have serious news to tackle as well, and few stories are more its job of drawing tens of thousands of serious than a drug epidemic sweeping monthly readers. The new version, however, better showcases local news from our cities and killing our neighbors. To

John Ruch

spotlight this nightmare, we brought on Max Blau, who is one of Atlanta’s best freelance journalists and a veteran of national reporting on the opioid epidemic. “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid Addiction in the Suburbs” is his four-part exclusive series for us, the second installment of which appears in this issue. The series is not only about the friends and family lost to the ravages of drugs, but also about people in our community who are facing this epidemic head-on and doing something about it. We’re proud to tell their stories. That’s a lot of change at the Reporter in the first quarter of the year. It’s only the start as we continue to evolve. As always, feel free to send me an email or give me a call at johnruch@reporternewspapers.net or 404-917-2200 ext. 113. Your ideas about what we do and how we do it are always welcome.

Have something to say?

Send letters to editor@reporternewspapers.net

Commentary | 13

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Around Town

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

Learning history, building community When Sheffield Hale open in the fall. Now that stepped into the bright sun construction on the cenoutside the Atlanta Histoter’s Buckhead campus is ry Center one recent afterwrapping up, Hale and his noon, he grinned widely staff and board are considat what he saw. A handful ering what comes next. He of people sat around long wants the organization to wooden tables on the paopen itself up in a differtio outside the center’s new ent way ☺— by looking outcoffeehouse. They drank ward, rather than inward. coffee and checked their “The next thing, in my phones. It was exactly what mind, is to do more proHale had hoped for. gramming all over Atlan“Look at these happy ta,” he said. people!” he said. “When Hale wants history cenother people figure it out, ter programs to bring new Sheffield Hale. this will be the coolest people in by focusing on subplace in Atlanta!” jects drawn from neighborhoods and ethHale, president and CEO of the Hisnic communities. He wants to go to the plactory Center, is on a mission. He wants es where people live. He pointed out that to lure more people to the Buckheadthe center’s “Party with the Past” series has based center and its programs so they popped up in places as varied as the Sweet can learn about Atlanta, and, he says, Auburn Curb Market, Oakland Cemetery figure out how to make it a better city. and Smith’s Olde Bar. To do that, the 57-year-old history-loverThe idea, Hale says, is to show Atlanturned-lawyer has overseen an opening tans how their community got to be what up of the museum on West Paces Ferry it is and to connect residents with the city’s Road. The center is being transformed, history and culture. Hale argues we should both physically and philosophically. better understand the past in order to live The goal? “To make it more relevant and together in the present and future. bigger than its footprint in Buckhead,” he Consider the Civil War. Atlanta is filled said. “To take the assets that we have and with monuments, streets and sites that carmake them even more available. … It was ry Civil War history. How their tales are told all sitting there, waiting to happen.” can make a difference. Hale, who recentOne of Hale’s first acts as president ly co-chaired a city committee tasked with was to take down a fence that blocked recommending what to do about the monuthe building from the view of drivers ments and street names, argues that it’s impassing on West Paces Ferry Road. Now portant not to elevate the myths that sprout passersby can’t ignore the place. around some historical sites like poison ivy. Hale knew his way around the history “You just talk about the truth,” he said. center long before taking over as its CEO “You talk about the facts, [about] what hapand president six years ago. He grew up in pened, to get people to look past the myths the Brookwood Hills neighborhood and his of what happened. What we try to do is take dad, a prominent Atlanta lawyer, chaired the temperature down, so we can talk about the center’s board at times. Sheffield’s colwhat happened. Yes, slavery was the cause lege thesis on longtime, powerful Georgia of the Civil War. That’s game, set, match.” politician Richard Russell Jr.’s election to Why bother to even talk about things the Senate was published in the center’s that happened generations ago? journal. He keeps a copy of the issue in his “What’s the ‘so what?’’” Hale said, “The office. “It’s on the cover,” he said after dig‘so what’ is to make a better community. ging out a copy. “I got the cover!” It’s not to preserve history in some saniThe younger Hale served on the board tized way, but to … use the history to make himself at times and raised money for the them more interested in the community. history center. Since he took over as presWhat that does is make a better Atlanta. … ident and CEO in March 2012, the center It’s by recognizing we have a common hishas made about $50 million in improvetory and we need to understand all of our ments to its 33-acre Buckhead campus. histories to move forward. New structures include a round hall vis“We need to show a holistic view of ible from West Paces where the still-beingcommunity. Your piece of it is part of a bigrestored Cyclorama painting of “The Battle ger piece.” of Atlanta” hangs; a glass-walled walkway In other words, we share the past. “We’re that houses a full-size, 19th century locoall in the soup together. Let’s understand motive called the “Texas”; a new entryway the different ingredients that make up the and atrium that are home to the coffeesoup,” Hale said. house, a new restaurant, a new bookstore, How to make a start? In Hale’s vision, and a new garden. maybe it’s enough just to sit down together The Cyclorama exhibit is projected to with a cup of coffee on a sunny afternoon. BK

Tooth Fairy certified




FREE CONSULTATION Standard Cleaning, Xrays & Dental Exam

ZoAnnA Scheinfeld, MS, dMd novy Scheinfeld, ddS hAnnA orlAnd, dMd

Right Smile Center.com

3781 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd Chamblee, GA 30341


Right Smile Ad - Tooth Fairy Campaign Reporter 1/4th Page Ad - New Patients Welcome.indd 1

11/29/17 2:14 PM

CD Rate Specials

1.00 % 1.4 0 % 1.6 0 %

6 Month


12 Month


18 Month


$500 Minimum Deposit, up to $250,000 per Customer

We also offer Free

Personal and Business Checking**to Fit Your Needs

888.248.LION (5466) • LionBank.com *Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 1.00% for six months, 1.40% for 12 months, and 1.60% for 18 months is accurate as of 2/28/2018 and is subject to change at any time. Minimum balance to open and obtain this APY is $500, with a maximum of $250,000 per customer. This offer is available for a limited time. Penalty may be imposed for early withdrawal. No public funds or managed funds are eligible. The CD must be opened with new money or monies not held at Fidelity Bank. **Minimum opening deposit for checking account is $50. Other fees, such as NSF, overdraft fees, etc. may apply. Fees subject to change. Refer to our current Schedule of Fees.

14 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Controversial Dresden Village development could break ground this year BY DYANA BAGBY

A rendering of the planned Dresden Village mixed-use development that could break ground this year.


The controversial Dresden Village mixed-use development could break ground this year after a lawsuit to try to stop the project was dismissed and a settlement reached. Steve Pepmiller, a resident living on Caldwell Road, sued the city and developer of the project last year after the City Council approved rezoning four acres of property between Caldwell Road and Dresden Drive to make way for the five-story mixed-use development that would include seven forsale townhomes, 169 apartments, more than 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a six-story parking deck. Pepmiller sued to try to stop the rezoning, but on Feb. 26 he dismissed his lawsuit against the city and developer SSP Dresden after reaching an undisclosed settlement with the developer. Pepmiller’s attorney, Lawton Jordan, of the firm Williams Teusink LLC, did not return calls seeking comment. Brian Fratesi, vice president of development and acquisitions for Connolly Investment & Development, who is affiliated with SSP Dresden, said


plans are to start building this year. “We are excited to announce that the lawsuit has been settled. While we are not at liberty to disclose the details

Bariatric Innovations of Atlanta & General Surgery

404-250-6691 BariatricInnovationsAtl.com

Don’t let GERD continue to interrupt your life... Millions of Americans suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) caused by a weakeness of the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. Symptoms could include chest pain, heartburn, regurgutation, sore throat and cough, which can impact sleep quality and interrupt daily activities. Our board-certified physician Dr. Srinivasa Gorjala and on-site dietician can help. We specialize in non-invasive, minimally-invasive and robotic techniques for general surgery that may alleviate GERD symptoms and improve quality of life. With a full spectrum of services, we provide onsite evaluations and a variety of treatment options.

of the settlement, we can confirm that it has been settled and we are moving forward with the development,” Fratesi said in an email. “We expect to start demolition and break ground later this year. We will have more to announce as we get closer to groundbreaking,” he added. The settlement was reached and lawsuit settled after the City Council in January hastily called for a 35-day zoning moratorium after City Attorney Chris Balch said the city’s zoning code did not include conditions and variances that were approved by DeKalb County before the city was incorporated. Balch said the “gap” in the zoning code was discovered as the city prepared to go to trial in the Pepmiller lawsuit. The City Council voted Feb. 27 to amend its zoning ordinance to include the conditions and variances and the moratorium was lifted Feb. 28.

Pepmiller alleged in his lawsuit, filed in DeKalb Superior Court, that the city did not follow legal procedure when it approved the Dresden Village development. Residents, including Pepmiller, against the project packed City Hall to voice their opposition. They argued the 5-story complex would create a “concrete canyon” along Dresden Drive and take away from its village appeal. The developers said their dozens of meetings with residents led to a better project that included several revisions to the site plan. Connolly lowered the density from an original plan that included 206 apartments with no forsale townhouses. There are 473 parking spots planned for the entire development. About 180 will be open to the public for shopping and for the planned Dixie Moon restaurant by renowned chef Scott Serpas. Construction is expected to begin this fall and take two years to complete. The parking garage structure will not be started until the DeKalb tag office on Dresden Drive and within the development property is relocated and a timeline for that has not been determined. A 2016 request for proposal for the design and construction of a new tag office was canceled Feb. 13 due to insufficient funding for the project, according to documents on DeKalb County’s website.


Mexican Restaurant 2042 Johnson Ferry Rd NE



6135 Barfield Road, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30328

(at the corner of Ashford-Dunwoody Rd. in Brookhaven)

(770) 452-9896

Hours: 11am to 10:30pm

$5 OFF

Lunch or dinner

Minimum $20 purchase Not valid with any other offers. Not valid on Fridays, must present newspaper ad to redeem. Expires 4/30/18 BK

Community | 15

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Buford Highway group to compile residents’ stories Continued from page 1

tended to raise awareness around the cultural imthe Asian American Journalists Associportance of Buford Highation of Atlanta to “collect, record and way, Liou said. As commupreserve the stories of Buford Highnities change and evolve way’s immigrants, refugees, and their without a clear underdescendants.” standing of their origins, “We’re not looking for answers. We it is easy to forget their just want to listen,” Liou said in an inimportance, she said. terview. “We want to listen to their life “Knowledge is the first stories. We want to know the individstep to understand what ual stories of how Buford Highway bea community is,” she said. came what it is now ... from those on “If people know the histhe front lines of change.” tory of their neighbor or The Buford Highway Oral History the restaurant they eat at Project is expected to last several years weekly, then they can unwith a goal of collecting 120 to 150 derstand what needs prooral history interviews from people tection and care.” who arrived in or were raised in and “If we don’t know what around the Buford Highway Corridor we have, we don’t know from 1950 through today. The interwhat we lost,” Liou added. views will be recorded and transcribed The idea of encouragand then permanently archived at the ing people to tell their stoGeorgia State Library, Liou said. ries also means “activatThe project is just beginning and ining” people to exercise terviewees and volunteers to conduct their voice, she said. interviews are now being sought. In“It is really affirming terviewers will be trained by a GSU arSPECIAL to be heard. When you rechivist, Liou said. Working on the Buford Highway Oral History Project kicking off this year are, from left, Marian alize you’re of value, you Liou, founder and executive director of We Love BuHi; Willoughby Mariano, Atlanta JournalThe mission of the project is “to deare better able to advocate Constitution investigative reporter and president of the Asian American Journalists Association velop a strong, inclusive sense of Bufor yourself and see what’s (Atlanta); and Katherine Fisher, social change archivist at the Library of Georgia State University. ford Highway’s community heritage, universal of the human exa comprehensive understanding of perience,” she said. “This is the heart of the past, and an inventory of current what this organization is about ... this needs, challenges, and strengths, with is the heartbeat of the desire to genthe organization. erate a shared vi“We want to acsion for the futivate people to ture,” Liou said in start speaking and press release. to keep on speakThe interviews ing,” she said. will take place at Another goal the DeKalb Counof the oral history ty Public Library’s project is to have Chamblee branch. a historical record The project will that will infuse rely on volunteer and inform cominterviewers who munity planning can make at least efforts, especially a year-long comfor those currently mitment to the not represented in project and the those efforts, Liou ideal interviewer said. will have speak“This is not a Join our sales team! ing, reading and historical exercise. We’re looking for high energy people with writing fluency in This is a commua passion for selling, proven experience a language other nity-building exerthan English. and measurable success in any type of cise,” she said. The first inoutside sales. The position offers excellent By transcribterviews, howevcompensation (salary + commission) and ing, recording er, will be done in benefits. and archiving stoEnglish, Liou said. ries of people who For information, call publisher Steve Levene at “We are try- MARIAN LIOU have lived or do (404) 917-2200, ext. 111 or email ing to do this very FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE live around BuDIRECTOR OF WE LOVE BUHI publisher@reporternewspapers.net. slowly, to find out ford Highway, the who are we missGSU library will ing. We are cognizant that we need to become a centralized location for peoget representation from different deple seeking information about Buford cades, country or region of origin,” she Highway, she said. Published by Springs Publishing LLC said. For more information, visit weloveThe collected stories are also inbuhi.com/oralhistory.

It is really affirming to be heard. When you realize you’re of value, you are better able to advocate for yourself and see what’s universal of the human experience.


We’re hiring another great


16 |

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

What do you get when you mix

incredible live entertainment on a large, beautiful stage, a whimsical artist market featuring 100 regional artisans, a large Kidz Zone loaded with fun, the popular “Pet World,” a classic car show, a 5k race and a delicious food court – all set in a beautiful park? Of course, you get the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival, which ushers in the springtime on March 24 from 10 am to 6pm and March 25 from 10am to 6pm in Blackburn Park, a true landmark of the hopping City of Brookhaven.

Don’t miss

the incredible talent lineup at the FREE concert in Blackburn Park. The stage is set at the base of the natural amphitheater nestled into the park’s perfect hillside. Check out the lineup and be sure to come early to shop, eat, drink and soak up the spring sunshine! Get ready for hot new rocking guitars, country legends and internationally known stars—all right here in Blackburn Park!

The 2018 Festival has increased the number of parking spaces at shuttle lots and added larger, more frequent bus runs, so please take note of stops on the next page. There is no Festival parking at Blackburn Park or the surrounding retail areas, with the exception of ADA-designated spaces. Our shuttles are free and easy, so sit back and enjoy the ride on us!

Make sure to mark your calendars now for the exciting event, and tell your friends and neighbors!


2:00 PM

3:00 PM


1:00 PM

4:45 PM

4:30 PM

100 Whimsical Artisans in the New Artist Market

The wonderful, whimsical and new artist market opens Saturday & Sunday,10am – 6pm. Artisans will line the picturesque street which runs through Blackburn Park, and shoppers will truly enjoy the colorful booths and lively arts and crafts displays.




This event is Rain or Shine unless weather conditions present an unsafe environment.



www.SplashFestivals.com Go to SplashFestivals.com to volunteer.


| 17

■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net XXX. xx -16 MARCH XXX. - 29, xx, 2018 2016 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

What to Know Before You Go


Free Parking and Shuttle Available at These Convenient Lots

Blossom Shuttle

(ADA Parking only at Blackburn Park) Montgomery Marist School 3790 Ashford Dunwoody Rd Elementary School

Ashford Green

Brookhaven Marta Station

YMCA - For 5K race only Runners walk to Park.

Brookhaven, GA 30319

3995 Ashford Dunwoody Rd Brookhaven, GA 30319

Follow signs for parking & dedicated buses. 4047 Peachtree Rd NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319

FREE Admission! Hours

Saturday, March 24, 10:00a.m. – 6:00p.m. Sunday, March 25, 10:00a.m. – 6:00p.m.


From I-285, take the Ashford Dunwoody Road exit and head south to Blackburn Park, 3501 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Brookhaven, Georgia, 30319.

5K/1K Race

Runners (and walkers too) get ready to show the “spring” in your step. For more details and registration information, please visit www.BrookCherryFest.org.

4170 Ashford Dunwoody Rd Brookhaven, GA 30319

2002 Summit Blvd. Brookhaven, GA 30319

3693 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Brookhaven, GA 30319

Kidz Zone

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hosts the incredible Kidz Zone for inflatables, face painting, sand art, and much more!


Perimeter Summit

Pet World Returns! Dahlonega Action Dogs are back and ready for shows both Saturday and Sunday for a barking good time. Be sure to line up at 1:30 on Sunday for the ever-popular Cherry Blossom Pet Parade. There will be fabulous prizes for Best Costume and Fan Favorites. The Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival is proud to be a pet-friendly Festival! All pets must remain on a leash at all times.

Classic Car Show

Car lovers will certainly enjoy the classic car show on Saturday only. Don’t miss it!

Festival Cuisine

Make sure to come hungry, as foodie fans will find gyros, BBQ, gourmet corn dogs, Jerk chicken and lots more!

Adult Beverages

Beer, wine and vodka lemonade may be purchased by those 21 years of age and older with a valid ID. Soft drinks and bottled water are also available for purchase. No outside food or beverages may be brought into the Festival.

Discover DeKalb Stone Mountain Park Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Emory Healthcare Regency Centers LeafFilter Perimeter Summit Oglethorpe University Atlanta Braves


www.facebook.com/brookhavenblossomfest2018 BK

www.SplashFestivals.com Go to SplashFestivals.com to volunteer.

18 |

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers â– twitter.com/Reporter_News




Sunday, March 25, Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. FEES








6:30-7:15 AM 5K START

7:30 AM 1K START


Register at www.BrookCherryFest.org Convention & Visitors Bureau

This 5K is a certified 2019 Peachtree Road Race qualifier.


Community | 19

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

DeKalb CEO promises investigation into water main break Continued from page 1 scales. The county is also nearing the end of an eight-year federal consent decree to overhaul its sewer system after numerous sewage spills raised concerns about public health from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. And just days before the water main break occurred, the county’s watershed director, Scott Towler, quit. In Towler’s resignation letter published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he accused Thurmond and Ted Rhinehart, the county’s deputy chief operating officer, of telling him to violate state and federal environmental laws. Thurmond denied the allegations and in a statement said Towler was a “disgruntled employee that has made a series of slanderous, baseless accusation against county leadership.” The 48-inch water main break resulted in water outages and low water pressure for many hours throughout DeKalb County on March 7. A boil water advisory implemented March 7 was not lifted until March 9 after repairs were made, forcing many local restaurants and businesses to close. “Other than for weather-related issues, this has never happened during my three years as general manager [of Perimeter Mall],” said Bill Baker, senior general manager at Perimeter Mall. “The safety and well-being are always of the utmost importance for our guests and retailers. We had no water pressure which meant that we were not able to properly operate the food court and restaurants or flush toilets,” Baker said. “Additionally, the lack of water pressure would have compromised our sprinkler system in the event of a fire emergency.” The mall did reopen the next day when water pressure was returned. DeKalb Schools also closed early on March 7 but reopened the next day after DeKalb County Emergency Management coordinated with Walmart Emergency Management to donate more than 72,000 bottles of water for distribution to the approximately 130 schools of DeKalb County School District and three campuses of DeKalb Medical. Dunwoody and Brookhaven closed their City Halls on the day of the break because of no water. Brookhaven City Hall is now stocked with plenty of bottled water should something similar happen in the future, according to city spokesperson Burke Brennan. In Dunwoody, the police department purchased bottled water and jugs of drinking water to be placed throughout City Hall. “It was almost an instinctive reaction for our first responders,” said Bob Mullen, city spokesperson. Doug McKendrick, owner of McKendrick’s Steak House in Dunwoody, said he was forced to close lunch and dinner service on March 7 and estimated the business BK

lost probably $20,000 in business that day. “This [was] absolutely very, very hurtful,” he said. Hourly employees who showed up to work on March 7 got $20 from McKendrick to compensate somewhat for not being able to work. “They did show up. A lot of them don’t have cars, or take MARTA, so this was just something to help cover transportation to get home,” McKendrick said. “They deserved it. This hurts the owner, but also the staff.” “You don’t really have an option. You have to do it,” McKendrick said of shutting down the business due to the boil water advisory. At There Gastropub in Town Brookhaven, a man answered the phone March 7 and said the water main break “slowed business tremendously.” The business was only serving bottled beer and mixed drinks using bottled sodas and bottled tonic water. No food was being served, he said. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst had no water at his home on March 7 to take a shower. “We had no water like everyone else,” he said. “It’s a DeKalb issue,” he added. “We want a working system at all times, of course.” The 48-inch water main broke early the morning of March 7 in the 5700 block of Buford Highway in Doraville, flooding the

road near the I-285 interchange and forced its closure for most of the day. The county called on the help of eight water tankers to be stationed DEKALB COUNTY throughout DeKalb County was forced to repair a 48-inch water main just the counoff Buford Highway in Doraville after the pipe broke. ty to assist with fire protection the repairs from Cobb County-Marietand to fill chillers at hospitals. ta Water Authority and DeKalb County After the repairs were made and wainventory, as well as from an Alabama ter service returned to normal after company, according to DeKalb officials. nearly three days, Thurmond also isWorkers took 36 hours to complete sues and apology. the installation of four sections of 46“I apologize for the inconvenience, inch pipe, totaling 90 linear feet, accordunderstand the frustration and thank ing to DeKalb County. Remediation conour citizens and business owners for tractors are now working with affected their support and encouragement while businesses that suffered structural and we worked to restore our water system,” property damage caused by water that he said in a statement. escaped from the broken main. DeKalb County got pipe sections for




sign up for fr toda ee y!

20 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Progress continues on Skyland Park

Above, dirt is being dug out to make room for two sand volleyball courts. Below, a large granite wall is being built to enclose the sand volleyball courts.


The frame of the new restroom is up at the city’s new Skyland Park.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Construction of the city’s new Skyland Park has been hampered by rain and more rain in recent months, but the park is slowly shaping up with sand volleyball pits being dug out and a huge granite wall surrounding them going up. Plans were to complete the 4-acre park in January, but rain delays and other inclement weather has slowed the process, moving a completion and open date closer to May, according to city officials. The park, designed by GreenbergFarrow, is already being touted by Skyland

Brookhaven, a townhome development next door to the park. Recent TV ads for the townhomes feature renderings of the new park as an amenity for those living there. The townhomes are priced in the high $400,000 range. A recent walk-through of the park construction site showed many paved sidewalks throughout the area, several pieces of playground equipment already installed, and the frame of a new restroom. A shade structure that includes a solar panel to be used as a charging station is already standing. The main features of the park include the two sand volleyball courts, two pic-

nic shelters, the new restroom facility, an open field, a large and small dog park and a natural playground area under a canopy of trees in the northeast corner of the park. Adjacent to the park, construction of the new 900-seat John Lewis Elementary School is also ongoing. Plans are to open the school in fall of 2019. The school is being built to help alleviate overcrowding at nearby schools in the Cross Keys Cluster, including Dresden, Montclair and

Woodward elementary schools. The city and the DeKalb County School District worked out a land deal in 2016 to make way for the new park and new school. DeKalb Schools purchased the 10-acre Skyland Park site from the city for $4.7 million for its new John Lewis Elementary School. DeKalb Schools also purchased the vital records building from the state for $2.8 million and then deeded that 4-acre property over to the city for a new Skyland Park.

Above, a playground is shaping up. Below, a paved path to the back of the park where dog parks are to be located.

3887 Peachtree Road, Buckhead/Brookhaven • Delivery (Limited Area, Min.$12) Tel: 404-816-2229 • Fax: 404-816-5929 • www.ChinChinGa.com BK

Making a Difference | 21

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Battling hunger, one backpack at a time Backpack Buddies provides weekend meals for elementary school students BY DONNA WILLIAMS LEWIS Ice and snow had paralyzed Atlanta for two straight days, but at the first sign of thawing, Ronald and Samra Robbins headed out on their weekly mission. They were off to a former storage room at Dunwoody’s Congregation Beth Shalom, a room filled with shelves of food and work tables. This space has become operations central for Backpack Buddies, a program launched by Ronald and Samra in November. Backpack Buddies provides six weekend meals for 50 children at Kingsley Elementary School, where 55 percent of 500 students qualify for free and reducedprice breakfast and lunch. “Twenty percent of all children in America go to sleep hungry at night. That’s an incredible number when you think of all the money sent overseas,” Ronald said. Kingsley Principal Melanie Pearch said Backpack Buddies has been “a great example of the community and school working together.” “Ronald reached out to us, and it’s just been awesome,” Pearch said. She says the program has helped show families that their school is a resource for them. She’s also happy with the way students have responded to the program. “What’s so cool is there’s like no stigma attached to it at all,” Pearch said. “There’s such a level of respect.”

‘It’s a wonderful feeling’

At 10 a.m. on that frosty Friday, Ronald and Samra were in position at Congregation Beth Shalom, greeting nine volunteers, some familiar, most new. Some of the program’s volunteers come from the synagogue. Others have come from the community, hearing about the pro-

Making A Difference gram through neighborhood networks. The heavy lifting had been done before any of them got there. At least once a month, Ronald, 70, and Samra, 67, visit the Atlanta Food Bank to pick up 600 to 800 pounds of nonperishable food. They load the food into their SUV, then drive to the synagogue and unload it all. Today’s weekly task, normally done on Wednesday mornings, was to sort 16 specific foods into each of 50 small bins: four protein products, two vegetable items, two cereals, two fruits, two milks, two juices and two snacks. Once a month, a jar of peanut butter and crackers is added to the mix. This was the week. Carla Wertheimer, a self-employed landscape architect, was one of the newbie volunteers that day. “I’m not working so much anymore, and I like to volunteer,” she said. “I grew up volunteering, and that’s what we teach our kids — to give back.”

A Backpack Buddies bin of food.

Lidet Yilma packed food with her sons, Nebiyou, 7, and Henok, 6, who attend Vanderlyn Elementary School. “We just wanted to help out in the community, and this was a perfect opportunity,” Yilma said. “It’s cool,” Nebiyou said, “packing up food for kids who don’t have it.” Beth Shalom Rabbi Mark Zimmerman said people want to help each other, but they often need a structure in which to participate and channel their efforts. Backpack Buddies provides such a structure, he said. “It’s an awesome idea, and it affords


us a wonderful opportunity to do good works in the community and help families out in this way,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a wonderful feeling.” By 10:45 a.m., the bins were filled and volunteers were bagging up their contents for delivery to Kingsley, where school personnel would place them in backpacks provided by Backpack Buddies. Students are called to pick them up from the office on Fridays and they return the backpacks on Mondays, so the Continued on page 22

IRA BUMP-UP CD Term 60 Month IRA CD 48 Month IRA CD 36 Month IRA CD

Interest Rate 2.95% 2.70% 2.46%

APY* 2.99% 2.74% 2.49%

Invest in an IRA Bump-Up Certificate of Deposit with Georgia Primary Bank. You may "Bump Up" or increase your interest rate twice during the term of the CD to our current rate for the same product and term. Minimum opening deposit $5,000.


www.georgiaprimarybank.com Volunteer Carla Wertheimer loads nutrition bars into bins for the Backpack Buddies program at Dunwoody’s Congregation Beth Shalom, as program co-founder Ronald Robbins looks on.

3880 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342 *Annual percentage yield (APY) is accurate as of 2-16-2018. All CDs are single maturity. Product offering may be withdrawn at any time. Fees and other conditions may reduce earnings on accounts; ask for details. For other terms and conditions, please refer to account disclosures available at account opening and upon request. A penalty may be imposed for early withdrawals.

22 | Making a Difference

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Battling hunger, one backpack at a time Continued from page 21 cycle can begin again.

Filling the food gap

One in every four children in Georgia struggles with hunger, according to Feeding America, a national hunger-relief network of 200 food banks, including the Atlanta Food Bank. Backpack Buddies is far from alone in its efforts to fill the weekend food gap. Through Feeding America’s “BackPack Program,” bags of food are assembled at more than 160 food banks around the country and distributed to more than 450,000 children at the end of the week, according to the program’s website. The Atlanta Food Bank works to fill kids’ weekend food gap by partnering with

groups such as the one launched by Ronald and Samra and a Coweta County nonprofit organization, Backpack Buddies of Georgia. Launched in 2011, that group currently serves about 550 children “at risk” for hunger in 23 elementary, middle and high schools in the Coweta County School System, according to April Anderson, its founder and president. Ronald and Samra also have done Backpack Buddies since 2011, when Ronald initiated a program at their synagogue in Savannah, Ga. More than 25 similar programs are in operation there, they said. Childhood sweethearts at Atlanta’s Grady High School who married in 1969, Ronald and Samra moved around the country during Ronald’s 32 years with the Ford Motor Company, settling in Savannah after he retired.


Whatever you have in mind for your next adventure, take advantage of our travel experts to get you there. We’ll get to know and understand you, then do all the research and booking based on your expectations, personal preferences and lifestyle. Whether it’s a safari, cruise, a trip across Europe, a seaplane adventure in Alaska, or a getaway to a remote region of the world, our staff will plan a trip that will surpass your every expectation. And the best part...knowing we’ll handle every detail.

So come on, take advantage of us.

Above, Backpack Buddies cofounder Samra Robbins gives volunteers an orientation. Left, volunteers Jack Linder and Lidet Yilma bag sorted food for delivery to Kingsley Elementary.

Fabulous Offers! Avalon Waterways is a leading river cruise line with innovative ship designs, an upscale yet relaxed onboard atmosphere and an assortment of creative onshore activities that allow you to customize your experience. SAVE $2500 per couple on select 2018 or 2019 European river cruises OR 2018 Vietnam & Camboida Mekong river cruises OR Save $1000 per couple on 2018 Galapagos cruises. Must book by 4/24/18.

Time to plan your Summer ‘18 getaway on an AmaWaterways river cruise! You’ll sail past tranquil landscapes and cozy villages, green terraced vineyards and turreted castles. Plus, we’ve designed specially guided hikes and bike tours that will take you a bit off the beaten path and out into nature. An AmaWaterways river cruise offers a luxurious and relaxing way to sail through multiple countries in just one week.

ANNIVERSARY SALE Up to $600 PER STATEROOM FREE Onboard Spending Money PLUS - Free Specialy Dining Experience New Bookings Only. Book by 3/31/18.

The World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line™ SPECIAL SAVINGS up to $1200 per stateroom on River or Ocean Cruises Danube • Rhine • Rhone • Seine • Elbe Baltics • Med • Holy Land • Panama Canal Must book by March 31, 2018

770.952.8300 | Mon-Fri 9-6 • Sat 11-3 | tcava.com

Our Exclusive! Free roundtrip ATL airport limo for any Alaska CruiseTour or European Cruise.

Making a Difference | 23

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net They moved back ed for the program beto Atlanta last April to cause it was close. Stuhelp one of their three dents were prioritized, daughters with her medparents signed releasical needs. They joined es, and on Nov. 1, BackBeth Shalom in June and pack Buddies was up right away set to work and running, serving proposing a Backpack 25 children. By JanuBuddies program. ary, they were up to 50, Quickly winning apand they hope to serve proval from the syn75 children by April. agogue’s board of di“We’ve had to move a rectors, they got busy Volunteer Richard Luftig fills bins. lot of boulders along the raising money, securing way,” Robert said. “We storage space and getting approved by the really don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” Atlanta Food Bank, which charges a small Their goals are to serve 100 students handling fee per pound of food received. at Kingsley next year, increase volunBackpack Buddies also accepts food teer participation from their synagogue, donations, and Samra usually shops sevand to encourage others across the meteral times a month at grocery and dollar ro area to start similar programs. stores for items they need when the Food “I think people are surprised,” Samra Bank doesn’t have them. said, “at how little time it takes to do someKingsley Elementary was selectthing so important for so many children.”

I am a candidate for an open seat on the Fulton County Superior Court for the May 22, 2018 election. I decided to seek this position because the citizens of Fulton County should have a highly qualified judge to represent their interests. The citizens of Fulton County expect and deserve to be served by a judiciary that is transparent and fair. I will serve the citizens in an expeditious manner that is transparent and fair. My legal career of twenty-two years has afforded me a broad range of experience which includes private practice, Assistant Solicitor for the City of Atlanta, and most recently, supervising the largest division of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office as a Deputy District Attorney. Each of these positions were in service to Fulton County Citizens, resulting in a wealth of knowledge, understanding and respect for the great people of Fulton County. As Georgia’s laws become more complex, there is a call for judges who demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects all citizens. More importantly, all judges should serve from the moral position that every citizen who stands before the court has both a legal and constitutional right to fair and unbiased proceedings and rulings. Having served as lead counsel on a gamut of case types, I am equipped with the years and variety of legal experience to ensure my ability to serve as your next Fulton County Superior Court Judge with wisdom, fairness and a work ethic that has gone unmatched. I have included a list of professionals from various fields who serve our community and who support my candidacy for this position. I am asking you to join them and vote for me on May 22, 2018. Early voting begins on April 30, 2018.

safe • gentle • thorough

ORIENTAL & AREA RUG HAND WASHING Atlanta's Only Unique Submersion Wash & Compressed Air Cleaning Serving Atlanta Over 30 years MicroSealfor of Atlanta A DIVISION OF S&S RUG CLEANERS

Restoration & Repair • Pet Urine Removal Pickup & Delivery Available EPA

Stoney Green & Steve Arroll, Owners 1710 Chattahoochee Ave., Atl, GA 30318 RATED NON-TOXIC & NON-ALLERGENIC

404.355.2126 | TheRugCleaners.com


Bensonetta Tipton Lane Former Superior Court Judge

Brenda BJ Bernstein Attorney

William Boddie State Representative

Rev. Dr. Anton Rowe,

Fani Willis

Sherry Boston Dekalb County District Attorney

Page Pate Partner Pate & Johnson, Adjunct Professor University of Georgia School of Law, Legal Analyst for CNN and WABE

Keith Meadows Chief

John E. Floyd Dr. Reverend William Edward Flippin, Jr. Partner, Bondurant, Mixson, and Elmore Pastor LLP, Author Rico State Emmanuel Lutheran By State a Guide to Church ECLA Litigation Under the State Racketeering Statutes

L. David Wolfe Criminal Defense Attorney

Sam Park State Representative

Renee Rockwell Byron Amos Attorney Board Member Atlanta Licensed to practice in Public Schools Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, Legal Analyst for CNN, HLN, MSNBC, FOX

Sara Becker Trial Attorney Arora & LaScala

Marcia Mack Director of Accounting Southeast Region for a Fortune 500 Company

Judicial Candidate Fulton County Superior Court EDUCATION, MEMBERSHIPS, & PROFESSIONAL ACCOLADES • Lewis R. Slaton Award, 2005, 2006, and • Howard University, Bachelor of Arts, 2011(only three time winner in history) Cum Laude, December 1992 • Member, Georgia Bar Association • Emory University School of Law, 1996 • Member, Georgia Association of • Law and Justice Award, Woman of The Year, Women Lawyers Georgia's Most Powerful and Influential • Member, We All Value Excellence (WAVE) Attorneys 2017- 2018

Senior Pastor

Greater Solid Rock Baptist Church Attorney

ELECTION: MAY 22, 2018 - EARLY VOTING BEGINS APRIL 30, 2018 Visit us at: www.faniwillis.com




24 | Faith

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

New book makes ‘Case for Life’ against the death penalty BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

At the heart of the Christian story of Easter is an execution followed by a resurrection. It’s a story that Rev. Robert Wright, bishop of the Buckhead-based Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, says tells us a lot about Georgia’s modern-day death penalty. The execution of Jesus involved, he says, “an indifferent governor, in collusion with religious people, put to death. There’s something about that collusion …

And they did it in a hurry so they could all get to church on time … We can’t trust the government to make this decision.” Wright was speaking at a Feb. 15 event unveiling “A Case for Life,” a slim book of essays arguing against the death penalty. He arranged the publication and wrote one of the pieces in it. Held at Sandy Springs’ Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, the event included a panel discussion featuring Sister Helen Prejean, the famed author of “Dead Man

Communities of Faith Celebrate with us! Sunday April 1

9:15 AM Complimentary breakfast buffet & professional family photos 10:30 AM Worship Service Reporter Easter 2018.pdf 1 2/27/2018 4:05:52 PM

Dunwoody Community Church • 2250 Dunwoody Club Drive • www.dunwoodychurch.org




Holy Week

Palm Sunday

9:30am Sunday School 11:00am Worship

Maundy Thursday

7:00pm Communion Service



Easter Sunday




Northwest Presbyterian Church 4300 Northside Drive Drive,NW, NW 30327 404-237-5539  nwpcatlanta.org

EASTER SUNDAY April 1, 2018

8:45 AM

Traditional worship with choir, brass, and Holy Communion

9:45 AM

Modern worship with Holy Communion

All are welcome!

4400 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd. Atlanta, GA 30342 | 404.261.3121

10:55 AM

Traditional worship with choir and brass

stjamesatlanta.org thetableatlanta.org

Good Friday

7:00pm Choral Tenebrae Service 11:00am Easter Celebration 12:15pm Easter Egg Hunt

Childcare Provided.

Everyone Welcome!

Faith | 25

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net




Atlanta Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory and Sister Helen Prejean sit among the audience for a portion of the Feb. 15 event.


Walking,” along with other religious and that of victims and their loved ones. secular death penalty opponents. “We can do both. Vengeance and jusPrejean said the death penalty violates tice are two different ideas,” said Wright. the Christian Gospel by saying “we’re goHe suggested it is death penalty supporters ing to imitate the worst kind of violence.” whose view is lopsided: “We want the grace Wright led the discussion, which inof Jesus for ourselves. But we want an eye cluded Rev. Wilton Gregory, the Roman for an eye and a tooth for a tooth to others.” Catholic archbishop for Atlanta; forPrejean, a Catholic nun from Louisimer Georgia Supreme Court Chief Jusana, earned fame and sparked internationtice Norman Fletcher; and Susan Casey, al conversation with her 1993 book “Dead a defense attorney for Kelly GissendanMan Walking” and its Oscar-winning film er, a murderer controversially executed adaptation. The book is about her counselby the state of Georgia in 2015. ing of two rapists and murderers who were A theme of the discussion was abolishexecuted and her argument that they deing Georgia’s death penalty and pushing served dignity and redemption. for a system of “restorative jusThe death penalty violates tice,” a kind of mediation involvinternational precepts of huing criminals and victims rather man rights to life and against than a system of pure punishtorture, she said, as “Torture’s ment. inherent to the death penalWright said the intent of the ty.” She complained that many forum was to spur advocacy to Catholics proclaim the right to “kill the death penalty.” The book life against abortion and the he conceived is part of that efprotection of “innocent life,” fort. but support the death penal“A Case for Life” is a slim volty. “What about the dignity of SPECIAL ume of five essays he said is inguilty life?” she asked. Atlanta Episcopal tended “to create five doorways She acknowledged that such Bishop Robert Wright. into the issue so we might wake famous Catholic theologians as up.” He, Casey and Fletcher are Thomas Aquinas supported the among the contributors, along with Bishdeath penalty in certain cases, likening it to op C. Andrew Doyle of the Episcopal Diokilling a rabid dog or cutting off a gangrecese of Texas and Stephen Bright, former nous limb. But, Prejean argued, today such director of Atlanta’s Southern Center for extremes are unnecessary. Human Rights and an attorney who has “The people of Georgia don’t need to do argued many death penalty cases, includthat anymore,” she said of the death penalty. ing before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Gregory, the Catholic archbishop, book is available on the Atlanta Diocese’s agreed. “Once you begin to justify the website at cathedralbookstore.org. taking of a human life, you really are on Wright said he, like many people, a slippery slope” that leads to loss of the did not give the death penalty serious “dignity of human life,” he said. thought for years. Then he realized that One man in the audience politely prothe state’s death row, located in a Butts tested the claim that the death penalty is County prison, is within his diocese, anti-Christian. making everyone there technically his “With all due respect, I have to object religious “neighbor.” Among the inforto the notion … that I am not a Christian, mation that convinced him of the death that my faith is challenged,” he said, addpenalty injustice is the number of exoning, “I must confess I do not possess limiterated former death row convicts — 161 less divine forgiveness in my heart.” in the U.S. since 1973, according to the Wright noted the large number of Death Penalty Information Center, a death row exonerations. “I don’t know nonprofit organization that gathers data how much more answer we need,” het largely critical of the death penalty. said, and the audience member said Wright noted a frequent criticism that that’s the most convincing counterargudeath penalty opponents focus on the ment to him. suffering of the perpetrator rather than

for local news and information! We’re honored that Reporter Newspapers won 12 awards, including three first-place selections in its division, in the Georgia Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Contest.


Business Writing First Place - Managing Editor John Ruch Lifestyle/Feature Column First Place - Robin Conte, “Robin’s Nest” Page One First Place - Designed by Creative Director Rico Figliolini


Hard News Writing Second Place - John Ruch News Photograph Second Place - Phil Mosier Special Issues: Second Place - Fall 2016 Education Guide Humorous Column: Second Place - Robin Conte


General Excellence: Third Place Local News Coverage: Third Place - Staff Writers Religion Writing: Third Place - Staff Writers Serious Column: Third Place - Robin Conte Newspaper Website: Third Place

These awards are especially meaningful to us since they are judged by professional journalists and include respected, large-circulation community newspapers across the state. However, what’s most important is that they validate what you have already told us in our readership survey: Reporter Newspapers are your preferred source for local news and information. That’s the “prize” we value most. Thank you for helping to make us the most preferred and most-awarded local newspapers in our communities.

www.ReporterNewspapers.net Published by Springs Publishing LLC

26 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs


After eight O.D.s and a prison scare, a Dunwoody resident helps others on the road to getting clean Chris Zollman visits a sober living residence he operates in Chamblee.

Continued from page 1 He got his chance in early 2015 after LifeLine closed following Miller’s relapse. Zollman, with two drug-free years under his belt, opened Stepping Stones in the likeness of LifeLine. Since then, Zollman has overseen three six-person residences in north DeKalb County. The scruffy 27-year-old spends his days visiting each facility to collect mandatory drug tests and offers counsel to residents if they’re struggling. It’s for a simple goal: survival. On a recent evening in one of Stepping Stones’ facilities, a 21-year-old aspiring photographer played chess to take his mind off of cravings for heroin, which recently landed him in trouble with the law. “A lot of places sell you this hope and dream,” the resident said. “Here, it’s all about the people in this program that charges a fair price.”

Entering the treatment minefield

Only 10 percent of the estimated 2.2 million Americans who need opioid-use disorder treatment actually get it, according to a 2016 report from the U.S. Surgeon General. The kind of treatment available across metro Atlanta varies greatly, from five-figure inpatient pro-

grams that resemble summer camps to doctors offering $1,000 monthly injections to block opioids from interacting with the brain. But the struggles faced by America’s addiction industry — from the high price tag and scarcity of evidence-based treatments — means that finding treatment that works is about as easy as walking through a minefield. Growing numbers of drug users flock to sober living residences — paying a few hundred dollars to $1,500 a month — that are quietly located in houses or apartments in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. This model of housing offers people in recovery a drug-free place to live accompanied by access to the 12step programs, a strict curfew, and work or treatment obligations. Zollman embodies one of the biggest draws of these facilities: Operators are often recovering users with success stories from the very same programs. But some critics also see it a weakness. The operators aren’t usually trained medical professionals, and such facilities sometimes embrace treatment programs based on anecdotes rather than scientific evidence. Sometimes the medicine shown to be most effective in reducing the risk of relapse is banned outright from facilities like Stepping Stones. But Zollman swears by Stepping

Stones’ hardline approach. “You’re buying time until you have a moment of clarity,” he said. After all, it worked for him. The first time Zollman tried opioids, he was a 15-year-old student at Chattahoochee High School. A doctor prescribed an opioid painkiller called Lortab after a car accident. By the time he enrolled at Georgia State, he advanced from taking pills to selling thousands each month. He graduated with a business degree even though he transitioned from pills to heroin. Three years ago, taking advantage of his second chance, Zollman rented a house from a man who lost his son to an overdose. He converted the house into a sober living residence. One residence led to two more — all within a short drive from where Zollman lives in Dunwoody. He now works with 18 men who found the program by court referrals, online searches and word of mouth. They typically pay around $800 a month. The monthly rent for one of his residences — a three-bedroom apartment in a Chamblee complex — runs about $1,400, according to the management group’s website. Zollman said he has experienced some neighbors who were irritated that a sober living residence was on the block. But he believes “we’re some of the best neighbors to have.” He says that’s because of the program’s rules, which include a 10:30 p.m.


curfew, mandatory drug testing, and a requirement to either get treatment or a job. Local cities loosely regulate sober living residences, if they do at all. To get his launched, all Zollman had to do was obtain business permits and work within the codes already on the books. That still wasn’t always easy: some cities prevent more than three people who aren’t bloodrelated from living in the same unit. But he found a loophole: If his clients perform some sort of “staff role” — from doing chores to admitting new patients — they don’t count against that three-person limit. As it is, many sober living residences already dole out housekeeping responsibilities to help clients readjust to society. “Zoning has always been an issue, and is still an issue [in some cities],” he says. “I think they should be more welcoming. If we had a house full of cancer patients, this conversation would be totally different.”

Shady operators

For every above-board provider of addiction care — whether it’s an inpatient or outpatient program — stories of shady facilities are not hard to find. Zollman’s heard of facilities that charge people “relapse fees” to stay after a major program violation. One of his clients, who asked not to be identified, said he once attended a treatment program where drug deal-

Community | 27

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net ers moved in across the street to lure former users back to using heroin. Even providers with medical credentials can pose hazards to the clients. Dr. Michael Fishman, one of the top addiction doctors at Talbott Recovery — which has several metro locations, including an outpatient program in Dunwoody — had his medical license suspended after being charged with the illegal possession of dozens of oxycodone pills in 2017. State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) has received reports of some Georgia facilities paying a referral fee to a headhunter to get patients into their facilities — in hopes of overcharging their insurers. “People are taking advantage of people struggling with addiction,” said state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, a Republican representing Marietta and Sandy Springs, who has co-sponsored Unterman’s bill to clamp down on the practice of patient brokering. “It’s a matter of finding addicts and offering them services that aren’t really services at all.” The model embraced by most sober living residences — no use of medication that includes opioids — has drawn criticism from many doctors. Scores of studies have found that opioid-based medicines such as buprenorphine, best known by the brand name Suboxone, can reduce the likelihood of relapse better than other methods of treatment. Yet Dr. Stuart Gitlow, former president of the Ameri-

can Society of Addiction Medicine, says many sober living residency operators like Zollman ban their clients from taking buprenorphine because of the longstanding misconception that those treatments “substitute one drug for another.” “If they’re taking buprenorphine as prescribed, they’re not using it for addictive reasons, so it should be fine to take there,” Gitlow says. “Instead, folks in those facilities are not allowed to take the treatment that’s most likely to lead to long-term recovery.”

Zollman cites stories of potential abuse — not science — as grounds for banning these treatments at his residences. If the 12-step program worked in his experience, it can work for his clients, he figures. Despite his confidence in his methods, he says long-term recordkeeping about relapse rates is difficult in part because some clients fall out of contact. “A year out, a majority of my clients graduate,” he said. “After that, it’s hard to keep track.” It’s been six years since Zollman got his shot to turn his life around. He

stayed clean. He’s engaged to someone he met in recovery. He now wants to expand the number people he’s helping. To do so, and to avoid zoning restrictions of DeKalb cities, he’s moving his residences to Cobb County. He believes the higher concentration of treatment options there — as documented in the latest season of the popular TV show “Intervention” — will best serve his clients as they try to improve their lives. “I see people going through living hell,” he says. “Everyone deserves a shot.”

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

Second of a 4-Part Series

A 21-year-old Stepping Stones resident, who asked not to be named, plays chess to take his mind off of cravings for heroin.

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

Sandy Springs prepares to sue opioid industry; other cities may join BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs is preparing to sue prescription drug makers and distributors over the opioid addiction epidemic. And its attorney says other local cities — including Atlanta, Brookhaven and Dunwoody — are considering suing as well. Dunwoody is “discussing” the possibility, while Brookhaven has “no plans at this time” to sue, spokespeople for the cities later said. Sandy Springs’ strategy is to join hundreds of other local governments — including DeKalb and Fulton counties — in lawsuits that are being heard by a single federal judge in Cleveland, Ohio, to speed them along. The City Council’s consensus for City Attorney Dan Lee to draft a lawsuit for formal approval came March 6, the day after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department will support such local lawsuits. “I don’t have to tell you all, it is an epidemic, especially through north Georgia,” Lee told the City Council about opioid addiction. Opioids are a class of addictive, often easily lethal drugs that include opium, morphine, heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl, among others. Together, they

are estimated to kill over 50,000 Americans a year, and addicting many others, in a crisis that is trending upward. Streetdrug versions now kill the most people through overdoses, but the gist of the lawsuits is that major drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies sparked the crisis with deceptive marketing and overuse of prescription painkillers. Lee, speaking after the City Council meeting, called the opioid addiction crisis “a social problem that was generated by bad players.” He said he’s heard the situation likened to crack and meth — if they were sold with TV ads and other mainstream industry marketing. The lawsuit, Lee said, would present the city as an “injured party” due to its costs in caring for people addicted to and overdosing on opioids. He said lawyers have created a formula to estimate the city’s cost in such areas as police and Fire Rescue Department resources. Police Chief Ken DeSimone said those costs are real and frequent, with officers responding to overdose calls “weekly.” Just days earlier, DeSimone said, police responded to a man-and-woman couple who overdosed on opioids in a home with about six children. The woman survived, he said, but the man died. The lawsuit would become one of

many bundled for review — but not literally combined, as in a class-action lawsuit — in the Cleveland federal court, where they could see possible settlement or return to local jurisdictions, according to Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The judge and the strategy of bundled lawsuits were profiled March 5 in the New York Times. Lee likened the strategy to the tobacco industry lawsuits of the 1990s, where many states sued cigarette-makers for years of false advertising and hiding data on health dangers and addiction risks. Lee, a former state senator, recalled that Georgia balanced its budget with a tobacco lawsuit settlement payment. Lee said he has discussed the lawsuit strategy with city attorneys of other jurisdictions expressing interest in doing the same, including Atlanta, Brookhaven and Dunwoody. Sandy Springs City Councilmember John Paulson said he supports suing for the financial reimbursement, and on the theory that the more cities that join up, the more likely a solution to the crisis becomes. Mayor Rusty Paul recalled a meeting of north Fulton mayors about a year ago where the scope of the opioid crisis was discussed and two heroin addicts

in recovery spoke. “I was just astonished at the story of families … upscale families in north Fulton,” who had faced addiction and dead family members, Paul said. The city of Atlanta did not immediately respond to comment requests about possible opioid lawsuits. Dunwoody’s city government “is discussing the issue, [and] the suits and actions being taken in the region, but no decision has been made,” according to spokesperson Bob Mullen, who added that the police department has saved lives with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. The city of Brookhaven is not joining the lawsuits for now, according to spokesperson Burke Brennan. “We are aware of its existence,” said Brennan about the lawsuits and the strategy. “However, Brookhaven does not provide emergency medical services in response to the crisis. There are no plans at this time to participate in this lawsuit.” Brookhaven does not have a city fire department or ambulance service, with DeKalb County providing both services. However, it does have a police department, whose officers have carried naloxone since 2015.

28 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Thousands of students join walkout protests



Thousands of students at local schools in Buckhead, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs participated in a nationwide protest on March 14 to call for gun control measures a month after 17 people were killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. At North Atlanta High School in Buckhead, students gathered in the football field held signs that “resist violence, promote peace” and “never again.” Other students played marching band drums and led chants, according to video distributed by Atlanta Public Schools. At Chamblee Charter High School near Brookhaven and Cross Keys High School in Brookhaven, students carried homemade signs demanding an end to school-related gun violence and engaged in passionate chants as they walked around campus, according to the DeKalb County School District. Students at Chamblee Middle School near Brookhaven held an assembly in the gym run by the student council president and vice president. They read a biography of each of the 17 victims from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and held a moment of silence. About 80 percent of the school’s students participated, the district said in a press release. Hundreds of Dunwoody High School students participated in the walkout, and a small subgroup of students also counter-protested, the school district said. The Atlanta Jewish Academy in Sandy Springs also planned a walkout. The walkout came a month after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Top, North Atlanta High School students hold signs while sitting on the football field bleachers during the protest. Right, North Atlanta High School students hold signs during the March 14 gun control protest. ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Northside Cardiology & C.P.N.A.



Partnering For Your Care

. Cardiovascular screening . Cardiac Ultr asound . Stress Testing

NorthsideHeart.com (404) 256-2525 or (770) 343-8565

. Cholesterol & Hypertension Management . Arrhythmia Evaluation & Treatment . Cardiac Cath/Coronary Stent

Classifieds | 29

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Personal & Professional Services Directory

Reporter Classifieds HELP WANTED

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

SERVICES AVAILABLE Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576. Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property…”0n market or just away”. Call Charles at 404-229-0490.

CEMETERY PLOT Arlington Memorial Park – 3 lots in the Calvary Section. Asking $5,900 ea. or $17,000 for all. Email: mrmccabe@hotmail.com


Plan Ahead for Fall with Summer Tutoring - ACT/SAT Prep, Several Subjects. Visit: www.bobsayetutoring.com Email: sayebob@yahoo.com 404-723-9892.

Time for new headshots?

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

(770) 993-1906 ext. 242

Administrative Assistant – Performs full administrative and general support duties to assist the manager and Board of Directors. Proficiency in MS Word, MS Excel and MS Outlook. Excellent people skills required. CINC experience a plus. Excellent starting compensation with benefits. Sandy Springs area. Email resume to: SandySpringsCondominium@gmail.com

The Quick Shot Corporate Package (Reg. $175) $145 for the month of March, in-studio


• Window Cleaning • Gutter Cleaning • Pressure Washing • Family Owned • Licensed and Insured • Free Estimates

Shelves • Organizers • Carpentry Drywall • Painting • BBB rated

since 1968

Small Jobs & Chores are My Specialties!

404-547-2079 Mwarren8328@gmail.com



Handyman Services Moving & delivery too!

Cornell Davis, Owner

Personal & Professional Growth Opportunity in Atlanta, GA


www.HydyInc.org | info@hydyinc.com Naima Lewis, Ph.d.,C-IAYT, E-RYT

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110



• Family Owned since 1972 • Fast, Dependable Service by Professional, Uniformed Electricians



We Haul Away: We Clean Out: *Furniture *Appliances *Construction *Pianos *Hot tubs *Paint cans

and follow us on

Call Kevin 24/7


*Basements *Garages *Attics *Offices *Storage units *Estate sales

(770) 314-9867 www.justTRASHit.com


Belco Electric





Appliance Repair



Comprehensive mind/ body/spirit curriculum, Yoga Alliance, 200 hr. certification, CEUs

“Serving Metro Atlanta Since 1998”


No job too small References Available

March 31st 2018

Certify to Teach all adult populations:

Check out our new website www.BelcoInc.com



Yoga Teacher Training


Showroom, Design, Build

Atlanta’s Premier


resume • letter • salary interest ceo@ourcac.org | www.ourcac.org No telephone calls please

Kitchen Bathroom Basement

Matthew’s Handy Services

We travel. Corporate, Group, Portrait, Environmental.

Customer Service / Information Coordinator Full time. Responsible for reception desk operations, supervising volunteers. Manage and maintain client records and databases.

Home Services Directory

Spring Clean-up Special

BUCKHEAD STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY www.thebuckheadstudio.com Peachtree Rd NE, Atl, GA 30326 • (404) 462-2385

Food Pantry Coordinator Full time. Oversee daily operations, manage volunteers, purchasing, inventory, deliveries, stats. Includes driving and off-loading trucks, heavy lifting.



• All Major Appliances & Brands FREE Service • Stoves, Ovens, Dishwashers • Refrigerators, Disposals Call with • Washers, Dryers Repair or $25 Service • 30 Years Experience Charge Servicing All of Metro Atlanta

Tranquil Waters Lawn Care Aeration Leaf Blowing Power Washing Free Estimates . Senior/Veteran Discount No Contract Necessary . Commercial Residential

678-662-0767 Call Mike

Come Visit us in

Chamblee! WINDOWS

• Windows • Doors • Siding and more! • BBB A+ • Free Estimates • Family Business Established in 1980 3660 North Peachtree Road - Chamblee, GA 30341

770-939-5634 • www.quinnwindows.com

With two professional in-house polishers, we can make your silver flatware, tea sets, bowls and trays more beautiful than ever before. Bring it by or call us for an estimate today!

The Handyman Can • Plumbing • Electrical • Sheetrock • Floors • Tile • Framing • Kitchens • Painting • Roofwork • Concrete • Stained Glass • Antique Door Restoration as well as many other issues...

John Salvesen • 404-453-3438 thehandymancanatlanta@gmail.com

30 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Model train enthusiast shares his love of tiny worlds


One of Riley O’Connor’s work stations includes paints and tools needed to paint some of the miniature train cars. The two gray train cars at the left were made with a 3-D printer, a newer trend in the industry.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Enclosed in a glass-covered cabinet in his basement is one of Riley O’Connor’s first model train sets, wooden block figures on a small track circling a pair of scuffed baby shoes. His love for trains — real and model — flourished over the years into O’Connor’s profession. Now, a massive, 28-foot-long model railroad, titled “Amstetten” after the station that is the centerpiece, is laid out on specialty cabinets above that tiny wooden set, a project O’Connor has worked on, and played with, since the mid-1990s. “When I was two or three, I got my first wooden Riley O’Connor. trains. And it stuck,” he said. “There is this sense of capturing something,” O’Connor said while in the basement of his home on Oostanaula Drive, near Dresden Drive. The walls were covered in shelves of model train cars, and the basement crowded with a well-used work station where he sits to complete details on the small train cars, railroad layouts still in the works, and some 800 books on all aspects of real and model trains he uses for research. He pulls out the digital controls for the Gauge 1 model railroad designed after his former employer and a favorite model train maker, Märklin, and starts up a train. (Gauge 1 is manufactured to a proportion of 1:32, meaning 3/8 of an inch on the model equals one foot on the real train, as O’Connor explains on one of his websites.) The train’s sounds are quite realistic, the engine chugging and air compression whooshing. Imagination still has to provide the shouting, the chatter and laughter of the tiny people — backpackers, business people, tourists — crowded in front of the Amstetten station waiting for their ride. “The idea is to create a scene,” he said. This particular scene that takes up most of the basement is based on German Märklin model train design and conveys a compilation of European scenes that O’Connor has enjoyed in his travels. Born in Kansas City, Mo., O’Connor moved to Georgia in 1965 and graduated from Lovett School in Buckhead in 1967. When it came time to choose a college, O’Connor packed his bags — and plenty of his model trains — to study psychology at Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Ill. “I’m not ashamed to admit my choice of college was based on there being a railroad right next to campus,” he said with a laugh. Psychology wasn’t a fit for O’Connor, though, and he returned to Georgia where his passion for model trains got him a job at Lenox Toy & Hobby in Lenox Mall in the mid-1980s where he did model train construction for customers. He also worked at Toy Trains & Things on Buford Highway in the late 1980s to mid-1990s.

He also had his own model train shop on 8th Street near Georgia Tech, along with a friend whose business was building custom cabinets and other furniture. He wasn’t making a lot of money, but he didn’t need to, he said. He had an apartment on Buford Highway for $200 a month and then later found a space on Dresden Drive for $85 a month. The rent money he saved by living on Dresden Drive would go toward fueling his love of model trains. But the love and respect for trains wasn’t just about toys. O’Connor worked at an Atlanta switchyard the summer after high school and found an even greater respect for the mode of transportation. In 1990, his book “Greenberg’s Model Railroading with Märklin Z” was published and tells the stories about the smallest commercially produced electric trains introduced by the company in the early 1970s. Then, in 1991, O’Connor landed his dream job, or as he likes to say, he “kind of drifted into the business.” After talking and working with Märklin associates over the years as a hobbyist, the toy company hired him as an American consultant where he worked for more than 20 years. He would pull from his train book library to inform the manufacturer what colors should go on the various cars, what numbers were correct to use on those cars, and write up all kinds of information and details for the company websites for other model makers to follow. “It’s been a very interesting business,” he said. “It’s a small, niche market and for so long it was mom-and-pop businesses with mom-and-pop values.” He recalled going to trade shows years ago and speaking to other model train business owners and consultants. No way could he discuss what he was working on with Märklin lest a competitor steal the idea. After he married his wife, Meredith, he had to tell her also to not talk about what he was doing with anyone. The market may have been small, but competition was significant. “Then we finally realized the competition was not each other, but rather Nintendo or the TV,” he said. “Of course, the biggest competition is that kids don’t like to collect or build anymore.” But the model train industry and those who love it aren’t completely gone. The National Model Railroad Association’s annual “Piedmont Pilgrimage” gives enthusiasts a chance to tour massive train sets in people’s homes around metro Atlanta. The National Toy Train Museum estimates there are a half million model railroaders and toy train hobbyists in the US and Canada with national and regional conventions taking place across world. Check out O’Connor’s model train musings at guidetozscale.com.

Above, the centerpiece for Riley O’Connor’s large model train set in the basement of his Brookhaven home is the Amstetten station, based on a drawing created by German model train manufacturer Märklin. Below, Riley O’Connor has kept one of the first train sets he had as a child of two or three enclosed in a cabinet in his basement and near the large “Amstetten” model train layout he created.


Public Safety | 31

MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Police Blotter / Brookhaven From Brookhaven Police reports dated Feb. 26 through March 2. The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.

March 1, a woman was arrested and charged with family violence.


3600 block Ashford-

3500 block Buford Highway — On

March 1, a robbery was reported. 3400 block Buford Highway — On

March 2, a burglary was reported.

ASSAULT 2600 block Buford Highway — On

Feb. 28, a man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. 1800 block Northeast Expressway —

On Feb. 28, a woman was arrested and charged with simple assault. 1800 block Corporate Blvd. — On

March 1, a man was arrested and charged with simple battery. 3800 block Peachtree Road — On

March 1, a suspect was arrested and charged with simple battery. 1700 block Briarwood Road — On

2600 block Buford Highway — On Feb. 28, a man was arrested and charged with theft by taking.

Dunwoody Road —On March 2, a woman was arrested and charged with simple battery.

1700 block Briarwood Road — On March 1, a man was arrested and charged with theft by taking.


block Buford Highway — On March 2, a man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

1200 block Executive Park Drive —

On Feb. 26, a man was arrested and charged with theft by taking an auto.

1200 block Reserve Drive — On Feb.

26, a woman was arrested for having an active warrant. 3400 block Buford Highway — On

3000 block Clairmont Road — On

land Drive — On Feb. 26, a man was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

March 1, a suspect was arrested and charged with stealing parts from a vehicle.


Feb. 26, a woman was arrested for theft of mislaid property.

3500 block Buford Highway — On

27, a suspect was arrested and charged with theft.

26, a man was arrested and charged with simple battery.

Feb. 26, a man was arrested and charged with having possession of a controlled substance.

2600 block Buford Highway — On

2000 block Curtis Drive — On Feb.

3800 block Peachtree Road — On Feb.

500 block Brookhaven Avenue — On March 1, a woman was arrested and charged with shoplifting.


way — On Feb. 26, a man with an active warrant was located.

Feb. 26, a man with an active warrant was arrested. 3500


block High-

2700 block Drew Valley Road/Sky-

3300 block Clairmont Road — On

Feb. 27, police stopped a man for a traffic violation. He was charged with driving without a license.




PLATINUM Eagle Rock Distributors

Kendra Scott

The HMI Foundation

Jewelry Artisans

PARTICIPATING Arrow Exterminators Ashford Advisors Barnes Young Team Beacham & Company, Realtors

Blooms of Dunwoody Kaine Law | Personal Injury Trial Attorneys Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

Regency Centers The Suits Team of Keller Williams Realty UBS Financial Services, Inc.

PARTNER The Beck Group Brook Corbett DMD Button It Up Cornerstone Mortgage Group Dunwoody Animal Medical Center Dunwoody Christian School BK

Glazer Design + Construction Gone in a Flash Photography Jenny Rolfes | Rodan + Fields Independent Consultant Julie Coward | Atlanta Fine Homes Karen Cannon Realtors

McManamy McLeod Heller, LLC Paragon Construction Services Relus Cloud Swim Atlanta The Woodhouse Day Spa, Dunwoody UMBRA Health - Lifeography

32 |

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Pediatric urgent care right in your neighborhood Children’s at Chamblee-Brookhaven opens April 2018 You’ll soon have convenient access to pediatric urgent care in the Chamblee-Brookhaven neighborhood. So the next time your child’s doctor is unavailable, ours will be standing by, including evenings and holidays.


©2018 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.



In the Parkview on Peachtree shopping center