03-16-18 Dunwoody

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MARCH 16 - 29, 2018 • VOL. 9 — NO. 6


Dunwoody Reporter


► Community survey: Should teachers be armed? PAGE 12


March 24-25 | See pages 16-18

► Battling hunger, one backpack at a time PAGE 21

Communities of Faith Pages 24-25

Dunwoody High students join national gun protest

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

Hundreds of Dunwoody High School students and staff streamed out of school on March 14 as part of a nationwide walkout to call for stricter gun control. Above, sophomores Jack Warshal and Madison Pankey hold signs at the protest, which was inspired by the recent Parkland, Fla. school shooting that left 17 dead. Read story page 30.►


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 scales. The See DEKALB on page 19

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 ►

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 ended March 9 with several races to be decided affecting Dunwoody and Brookhaven. Sally Harrell, a former state represenSee DEMOCRATS on page 20

2 | Community

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City Council considers DeLido Apartments rezoning request


A conceptual site rendering of the renovated DeLido Apartments, including more landscaping and improved parking.


cerned about future redevelopment of the


site as well as potential displacement of cur-

The proposed rezoning of the DeLido Apartments at the corner of ChambleeDunwoody Road and North Shallowford Road has some City Council members con-

rent residents. The owner of the DeLido Apartments is seeking to rezone the 8-acre parcel where the apartments are located from RM-100 to

RM-75 to allow for more units. RM-100 allows 12 units per acre while RM-75 allows for 18 units per acre. “If we rezone this are not opening ourselves up for a future developer … to scrape the land and start over?” Councilmember

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Terry Nall asked at the council’s March 12 meeting during first read of the rezoning request. Second and final read is slated for two weeks. The DeLido complex currently has 12 two-story apartment buildings with a total of 102 residential units. Of the 102 units, 20 of them have four bedrooms. The owner is proposing eliminating the four-bedroom units and replacing them with reconfigured one- and two-bedroom units, raising the total number of units to 120. The total number of bedrooms would go from 295 to 264. Because the complex would then be over the 12 units per acre allowed in RM-100, the rezoning is needed. David Kirk, attorney for DeLido, said the property owner would agree to ensuring the RM-100 zoning would be tied only to the DeLido development. A condition of the rezoning is that it is site specific to what DeLido’s owner is proposing, city staff explained. “We are happy to add another condition to limit the number of units to what we are building … to limit future density and to no more than what we are proposing,” Kirk said. Council reached a consensus that another condition be added to cap the number of residential units on the property at 122 units. Councilmember Lynn Deutsch also raised the issue of affordability at DeLido Apartments. With the new renovations DeLido has planned to the interior as well as the exterior of the buildings and to landscaping and other amenities, rental rates are going to increase, she said. “Historically, [these apartments] have been a place for residents to live a long time, such as retirees. I’m curious what the impact will be on your current residents,” she said. Deutsch added she knows of two families that have already moved out because they cannot afford the rent increase. Sue Mied of Madison Property Management, which manages the DeLido Apartments, said there are two different rate structures being used — one a market rate and another a below-market rate available to current residents. “We do try to keep our current residents in place,” she said. The discount rates for current residents will eventually be raised, she added. Mied noted that rents at DeLido have been below market rates for a number of years, but no estimated rents for the renovated complex were provided. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment at DeLido runs about $1,600 a month now. As part of the rezoning request, the property owner will also donate right of way along Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and North Shallowford Road to be used for the Georgetown area multimodal improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as to provide connectivity to shopping centers and parks.


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The City Council voted March 12 to approve adding $20,500 to the contract for consultant TSW, which is conducting the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard/ Winters Chapel area study. The money will be used to study the future market demand in the area for different types of properties. Money will also go toward holding a third community meeting, according to Community Development Director Richard McLeod. The study originally called for only two community meetings. A third meeting is priced at $3,000. City Councilmember Lynn Deutsch asked McLeod and City Manager Eric Linton to negotiate a smaller price because she and others thought the first meeting held in December on the study went poorly. A second meeting was held in February. “I’m not thrilled to spend $3,000 for a third meeting,” Deutsch said. The council last year awarded a $40,000 contract to TSW, an Atlantabased planning firm, to develop a smallarea study for the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard area between I-285 and Winters Chapel Road. The study area includes parts of Dunwoody, Doraville and Peachtree Corners. The area includes several apartment complexes housing 1,900 families. The purpose of the study is to determine redevelopment opportunities, landscaping improvements, urban design guidelines and transportation improvements.


Mayor Denis Shortal wrote letters to state Sen. Fran Millar and state Rep. Tom Taylor urging them to oppose a House bill that would eliminate restrictions on constructing wood-frame apartments while also threatening local control. In 2014, Dunwoody approved an ordinance requiring commercial, office, apartment or condominium buildings more than three stories tall or more than 200,000 square feet to be framed with noncombustible materials, such as metal and/or concrete. But House Bill 876, sponsored by state Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park), would wipe out Dunwoody’s ordinance, as well as a similar ordinance in Sandy Springs. “This bill would preempt local governments from regulating wood as a construction material if state minimum standards are met,” Shortal said DUN

in letters to Millar and Taylor. Both are Republicans from Dunwoody. “HB 876 strips the Dunwoody City Council from considering the welfare of our citizens in respect to the quality of products used in construction; specifically, multi-level residential housing,” Shortal stated. “Holding contractors to higher standards and requiring better materials in construction just makes common sense when lives are at risk.” The bill has become a battleground between the timber and concrete industries. Corbett has said that wood construction does not jeopardize fire safety, as state fire codes would still apply to all buildings. Sandy Springs held a March 2 press conference at a fire station to denounce House Bill 876. The press conference was organized by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, whose Georgia chapter is based in Sandy Springs. “This bill promotes higher corporate profits at the risk of public safety,” Shortal stated in his letters to Taylor and Millar. “Those supporting this bill have the voice to speak out on its advantages while those affected the most do not have that same voice.” Councilmember Terry Nall has also spoken out against the bill. “In Dunwoody, we choose life safety first and do not put a price on people’s lives,” Nall said. “In Dunwoody, we desire a higher standard of life safety and quality for our community. Local control is a basic tenet of Dunwoody being the government that is closest to its citizens.”


The new Dunwoody Farmers Market opens Saturday, May 5 at Brook Run Park with financial backing from the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. The DHA board voted March 4 to donate $4,500 to the Dunwoody Farmers Market that is being organized by a 12-member volunteer committee, including three City Council members. Northside Hospital is also donating $2,500 to the Farmers Market. More sponsors are being sought, said Marian Adeimy Avise, organizer for the new event. More than 40 vendors have been signed on already, Avise said. Because the market will be run as an affiliate of the nonprofit DHA, the individual businesses will not need to get business permits from the city, she said. The farmers market is slated to run through Oct. 27.

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4 | Community

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‘A Wrinkle in Time’ star visits Chesnut Elementary School BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Hollywood came to Dunwoody’s Chesnut Elementary School March 2 when former student and now movie star Storm Reid visited to talk to students, donate books to the school library and promote her new movie, “A Wrinkle in Time,” that opened March 9. Reid stars in the movie as Meg Murry, a young girl who must travel through space and time to find her father. The film is directed by Ava DuVernay of “Selma” fame and stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. The movie is based on the award-winning classic children’s novel of the same name written by Madeleine L’Engle. Reid, now in the 9th grade, attended Chesnut Elementary from kindergarten through second grade. She now lives in Los Angeles. She still has family in metro Atlanta, including cousins who attend Chesnut Elementary School. Chesnut Principal Veronica Williams was the assistant principal when Reid attended the school. She said Reid was “bubbly, she was bright, she was very, very energetic. During her talk with the students in the school’s cafeteria, Reid spoke of the importance of being a young woman of color and

making sure people like her are represented in film. She spoke highly of Ava DuVernay’s commitment to that as well. “She was so amazing and she’s not just a director in my eyes,” Reid said. “She puts all of her creative input and passion into the film and she makes sure she has a representative and inclusive set, not only with cast but with the crew. I feel like she is an amazing person.” Reid began acting and modeling and acting at age three and her elementary school teachers knew she was pursuing an acting career at a young age. “She was expressive and articulate and she was the type of student we all loved,” Williams said. “She was special.”


Left, Storm Reid with Chesnut Elementary School Principal Veronica Williams. Right, Storm Reid, who stars as Meg Murry in ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ takes a selfie with students at Chesnut Elementary School.

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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

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6 | Education

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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

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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:

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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.

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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.


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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.

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8 | Food & Drink

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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

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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

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Quick Bites

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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



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10 | Art & Entertainment

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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.

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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.

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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. DUN

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Chuck Wing’s Porsche Turbo 911 in action.

BY JULIE E. BLOEMEKE When Chuck Wing, 75, founded the Dunwoody Driving Club in 2011, he had one mission in mind: “We are in it for the fun.” The club got its start in 2011, when Wing and some of his friends in Dunwoody with an interest in sports cars and exotic cars got together to socialize and to talk about things automotive. “We were a bunch of guys sitting around saying, ‘Why don’t we have a car club where we can talk about what cars we had, what cars we wish we still had, what car we’d like to have?’” The others turned to Wing and said, “Charlie, why don’t you do it?” Seven years later, the club boasts more than 75 members and is continually growing. A membership form is available at the Dunwoody Driving Club website; dues are $25 a year. Since the start of the new year, Wing has already received a number of new applications. While the club does have mostly male members, Wing is quick to note that there’s a growing number of female car enthusiasts as well. Some women have joined solo and others have encouraged their husbands to join, or they’ve joined as a couple. Wing says the club encourages membership from a range of car enthusiasts and the types of cars owned by members are all over the lot. There’s a 1903 Oldsmobile and a 1935 Auburn Supercharged Boattail Speedster. Newer cars include Lamborghinis, Porsches, Austin-Healeys, Mercedes and even a rare Panoz, a high-performance sports car built in Braselton, Ga. While many members gravitate toward a certain make, model or manufacturer, others are more intrigued by engineering, design or racing capacity. “Some cars are to drive, some are to show, some are an investment, especially older cars,” he said. The members that have a penchant for engineering — often affectionately called “gearheads” — discuss things like “swapping engines, turbochargers, blowers, ways to increase horsepower.” Some choose to drive their vehicles at venues such as Motorsport Park in Douglasville, while others are more invested in short track racing and own vehicles, often

modified, in the spirit of California street rods. For this contingent, the main area of interest is exploring how much “power and speed you can get in a quarter of a mile.” One member in particular takes great care in modifying and rebuilding Jeeps for specific classes of racing. Wing has been an admirer of cars since his youth. His first car was a black 1956 Chevy 210. This led to an interest in sports cars, and his first purchase was a 1968 blue Triumph. Living in Germany ignited and further fueled Wing’s interest in Porsches, which eventually led to the purchase of a 1988 Porsche 911. Wing was particularly drawn to Porsche and Lamborghini because he could “relate to them; they’re cars you often see on the street.” And when he caught sight of the changes in the 911 design in 2001, he invested in a silver Porsche turbo 911. Wing also collects model cars, remotecontrol cars and Daytona International Speedway memorabilia. His interest in automobiles has even cascaded into art appreciation. He owns a number of Glenn Appleman pieces, signed by the artist, including a ceramic taxi sculpture and white Packard convertible cookie jar. Normally, members find out about the Dunwoody Country Club through the website, word of mouth or by seeing the club exhibit their cars at events, but Wing has been known to do some recruiting, too. After spotting a dark green Austin-Healey at the Dunwoody Country Club a few years back, Wing placed a flyer on the windshield, which led to a new member joining the club. The Dunwoody Driving Club usually coordinates about four events a year. Plans are in the works to showcase the club’s cars April 18-22 at Brook Run Park during Lemonade Days, an annual festival hosted by Dunwoody Preservation Trust. Wing is also planning a member trip in the spring to Streetside Classics, a showroom in Lithia Springs where members can take a peek at cars that are sold on consignment. Previous years have brought great experiences with Cars and Q for the Cause, an event sponsored by Choate Construction and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, DUN

Community | 15

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

summer family membership



Chuck Wing holds a poster from his latest trip to Daytona International Speedway, a trek he tries to make each year.


two-tone green bus had been overhauled inside to include a refrigerator, carpeting and tapestries from Mexico. “It certainly got a lot of attention,” Wing said. COURTESY OF CHUCK WING AND THE DUNWOODY DRIVING CLUB For more in1935 Auburn Supercharged Boattail Speedster. formation or to fill out an application to join the Dunwoody Driving scheduled for April 21 this year. Club, please visit dunwoodydrivingThe club has also been to The Cofer Colclub.com. lection in Tucker, located behind the Cofer Brothers Lumberyard. Members were particularly excited to admire the range of classic Cadillacs and Buicks showcased. Another favorite group trip was to the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, where members had lunch at the restaurant on site and toured the museum. “We try to do things with everyone’s agreement and just have a nice day together,” Wing said. He proudly keeps a detailed scrapbook filled with photos of cars, member letters, flyers from past events, stickers and event memorabilia. The scrapbook features members and some of the more notable cars that are or have been a part of the Dunwoody Driving Club. Some of the unique cars that Wing has seen over the years include a Ford Cobra that was retrofitted for a driver with disabilities, and a Boattail Speedster that can only be shown in certain circumstances. “With no power steering or power brakes, if there’s rain, this is the kind of car you can’t bring out,” Wing said. Many cars also cannot be driven in parades, especially around the Fourth of July, because they tend to overheat so easily. Which car has gotten the most attention? Wing immediately broke into laughter and said, “I’d like to do a story on all the people who ogled over one of the cars — a restored VW bus.” Though the club member has since sold the vehicle, Wing admits it was a highlight for a lot of Volkswagen fans. “Women especially gravitated to it,” he said, adding that almost every person who made conversation had a personal VW bus story to share. Refurbished and festooned with “hippie memorabilia” the DUN

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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

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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 DUN

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

18 |

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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

thing similar happen in the future, according to city spokesperson Burke Brennan. county is also nearing the end of an eightIn Dunwoody, the police department puryear federal consent decree to overhaul its chased bottled water and jugs of drinking sewer system after numerous sewage spills water to be placed throughout City Hall. raised concerns about public health from “It was almost an instinctive reaction for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency our first responders,” said Bob Mullen, city and the Georgia Environmental Protection spokesperson. Division. Doug McKAnd just days endrick, ownbefore the waer of McKenter main break drick’s Steak occurred, the House in Duncounty’s waterwoody, said shed director, he was forced Scott Towler, to close lunch quit. In Towler’s and dinner serresignation letvice on March ter published by 7 and estimatthe Atlanta JourDEKALB COUNTY ed the business nal-ConstituDeKalb County was forced to repair a 48lost probably inch water main just off Buford Highway tion, he accused $20,000 in busiin Doraville after the pipe broke. Thurmond and ness that day. Ted Rhinehart, “This [was] absolutely very, very the county’s deputy chief operating offihurtful,” he said. cer, of telling him to violate state and fedHourly employees who showed up to eral environmental laws. Thurmond dework on March 7 got $20 from McKendnied the allegations and in a statement rick to compensate somewhat for not besaid Towler was a “disgruntled employing able to work. “They did show up. A lot ee that has made a series of slanderous, of them don’t have cars, or take MARTA, so baseless accusation against county leadthis was just something to help cover transership.” portation to get home,” McKendrick said. The 48-inch water main break resulted “They deserved it. This hurts the owner, but in water outages and low water pressure also the staff.” for many hours throughout DeKalb Coun“You don’t really have an option. You ty on March 7. A boil water advisory implehave to do it,” McKendrick said of shutmented March 7 was not lifted until March ting down the business due to the boil 9 after repairs were made, forcing many lowater advisory. cal restaurants and businesses to close. At There Gastropub in Town Brookhav“Other than for weather-related issues, en, a man answered the phone March 7 this has never happened during my three and said the water main break “slowed years as general manager [of Perimeter business tremendously.” The business was Mall],” said Bill Baker, senior general manonly serving bottled beer and mixed drinks ager at Perimeter Mall. using bottled sodas and bottled tonic wa“The safety and well-being are always of ter. No food was being served, he said. the utmost importance for our guests and Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst had no retailers. We had no water pressure which water at his home on March 7 to take a meant that we were not able to properly shower. “We had no water like everyone operate the food court and restaurants or else,” he said. flush toilets,” Baker said. “Additionally, the “It’s a DeKalb issue,” he added. “We want lack of water pressure would have comproa working system at all times, of course.” mised our sprinkler system in the event of The 48-inch water main broke early the a fire emergency.” morning of March 7 in the 5700 block of The mall did reopen the next day when Buford Highway in Doraville, flooding the water pressure was returned. road near the I-285 interchange and forced DeKalb Schools also closed early on its closure for most of the day. March 7 but reopened the next day afThe county called on the help of eight ter DeKalb County Emergency Managewater tankers to be stationed throughout ment coordinated with Walmart Emerthe county to assist with fire protection gency Management to donate more and to fill chillers at hospitals. than 72,000 bottles of water for distriAfter water service returned to norbution to the approximately 130 schools mal, Thurmond issued an apology. of DeKalb County School District and Workers took 36 hours to complete the inthree campuses of DeKalb Medical. stallation of four sections of 46-inch pipe, Dunwoody and Brookhaven closed according to DeKalb County. Remediation their City Halls on the day of the break becontractors are now working with busicause of no water. nesses that suffered structural and propBrookhaven City Hall is now stocked erty damage caused by water that escaped with plenty of bottled water should somefrom the broken main.


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20 | Community

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Democrats challenge local Republican strongholds

Medical Associates

Continued from page 1

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

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tative, will go against Tamara JohnsonShealey in the May 22 Democratic primary for a chance to oppose Millar. Johnson-ShealFran Millar. ey has opposed Millar twice before. Harrell has picked up endorsements 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 an open seat this year 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.


Sally Harrell.

Tamara Johnson-Shealey.

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. According to Wilensky’s website, he is also endorsed by former Gov. Roy Barnes, former state Sen. Jason Carter, state Sen. Elena Parent, state Sen. Jen Jordan, state Rep. Derrick Jackson, state Rep. Demetrius Douglas, state Rep. Sam Park and state Rep. Teri Anulewicz. Several Democrats — but not Jon Ossoff — are vying to unseat Handel this year.

Mike Wilensky.

Ken Wright.

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:

sign up for fr toda ee y! Meagan Hanson.

Matthew Wilson.

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)


jewishatlanta.org/pjlibrary DUN

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

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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.

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22 | Making a Difference

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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.


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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.

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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.

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24 | Faith

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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Dunwoody High students join national gun protest Hundreds of Dunwoody High School students and staff joined a nationwide walkout protest on March 14 to call for stricter gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. Similar walkouts were planned at other local schools, including North Atlanta High in Buckhead and Atlanta Jewish Academy in Sandy Springs. At Dunwoody High, students carried signs with such slogans as, “Protect kids, not guns” and “NRA = B.S., Gun control = Not B.S.” The walkout came exactly one month after a gun-using killer massacred 17 people and wounded many others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Many surviving students at that school launched a gun control campaign and sparked national debate over the sale of the military-style rifle used by the killer. The nationwide walkouts were generally inspired by the Women’s March, a liberal movement organized in Washington, D.C. that conducted a high-profile protest of President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. The Women’s March offers an online protest “toolkit” and suggested the walkouts.


Above, Hundreds of students walk out of Dunwoody High School during the protest. Top right inset, Junior Denise Melendrez holds a sign criticizing the National Rifle Association. Left, Parker Short, a sophomore, leads the protest with a megaphone. He was the student organizer of the walkout.

For a roundup of protests at other local schools, see p. 28.


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Public Safety | 31

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

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

B U R G L A RY 1700 block Potomac Road — On

March 1, at night, a suspect broke into a home taking three laptops, two banking cards and a book bag. Partial prints were recovered from the scene.

LARCENY/SHOPLIFTING 4300 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Feb. 26, a man was arrested and charged with violating probation by shoplifting. 4400 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Feb. 26, a woman was arrested and charged with stealing several watches. 4700 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Feb. 27, a man was arrested and charged with stealing clothes.

charged with battery and theft of services. 100 block Perimeter Center Place —

On Feb. 26, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and charged with obscenity and simple assaults.

1100 block Hammond

2200 block Dunwoody

Crossing — On Feb. 27, a victim reported being held at gunpoint by her boyfriend and struck with the gun. She was able to escape by taking the gun and firing a shot at him. 6800 block Peachtree Industrial Blvd.

ARRESTS 4800 block Winters Chapel Road/Win-

terhaven Court — On Feb. 26, a man was

4800 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

-- On Feb. 28, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting. 4700 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Feb. 28, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting. — On Feb. 28, an employee was arrested and charged with shoplifting at a department store and having less than an ounce of marijuana in his possession.

Irvin J. Johnson DeKalb County Tax Commissioner

4500 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On Feb. 28, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting. 4300 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On March 2, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting. 4700 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On March 2, a man was arrested and charged with stealing two speakers and charging cables. 4700 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

— On March 2, a man was arrested and charged with shoplifting from a discount store. There were 4 reports of larceny to motor

1, a woman was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence.

block AshfordDunwoody Road — On Feb. 26, a man was arrested and charged with simple assault at a department store.

— On Feb. 27, a woman was arrested and charged with stealing at a discount store.

4500 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

4700 block Ashford-


4700 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

-- On Feb. 27, a man was arrested and charged with stealing clothes.

night, a man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

Dunwoody Road — On Feb. 27, a man was arrested during a traffic stop for having an active warrant.

— On Feb. 27, a woman reported being struck in the face by a man.

4400 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road

pulled over in a traffic stop and arrested and charged with driving with an active warrant.

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


I-285/N. Peachtree Road — On March

1200 block Meadow Lane/Ridgeview

Road — On March 1, a man was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license and tag.

Drive — On Feb. 27, a woman was arrested and charged with violating her probation.

100 block Perimeter Circle Place — On

100 block Perimeter

On March 1, a man was pulled over during a traffic stop and arrested and charged with failing to appear in court.

Circle East — On Feb. 27, during a traffic stop, a man was arrested and charged with having an active warrant. 3300 block Ashbury Square — On

Feb. 28, a man was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. block I285/N. Peachtree Road — On March 1, at

March 1, a man was arrested and charged with violating probation. 4800 block Ashford-Dunwoody Road —

I-285/Chamblee-Dunwoody Road —

On March 1, during a traffic stop, a woman was arrested and charged with driving with an expired license and driving under the influence of alcohol.




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.

vehicles during Feb. 26 through March 2.

A S S AU LT 4600 block Peachtree Place Parkway

— On Feb. 26, a man was arrested and



32 |

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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.



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