03-30-18 Sandy Springs

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MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 7


Sandy Springs Reporter



► Local police differ on responses to shoplifting calls PAGE 4 ► Assembling the worst superhero team ever Robin’s Nest PAGE 10 FARMERS MARKETS RETURN | P19

North end task force begins; mixed-income advocates get key role

On the hunt

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Nathaniel Pham, 3, and mom Amy gather a trove of prizes during the annual Easter egg hunt at Hammond Park March 24. The popular springtime event is sponsored by the city and the North Perimeter Optimist Club.


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

How a suburban mother started peddling fentanyl and became the target of federal prosecutors BY MAX BLAU


e knocked at the door with $1,400 in his pocket. Cathine Sellers welcomed her ex into the quiet of her red brick townhouse on Roswell’s Weatherburne Drive. He’d been there for drugs before. Now he was back to buy some more. The 38-year-old mother with hazel eyes offered up a selection of drugs, including counterfeit oxycodone pills full of the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl. “Customers have returned the pills because they’re too strong,” Sellers told the

man, according to federal court filings. “Try taking a quarter instead.” He bought about 100. Sellers later learned her ex was working as a confidential source for the Drug Enforcement Administration and had informed for the Sandy Springs Police Department since 2016. On June 13, 2017, DEA special agents arrested Sellers at a gas station off Ga. 400 and raided her townhouse. There, they found another 100 fentanyl pills inside a dietary supplement vial and a loaded Glock 30 in a laundry hamper. Think of a drug dealer in Atlanta; the tra-

ditional picture that probably comes to mind is someone selling heroin on the streets of English Avenue. But who deals drugs — and how they deal drugs — has expanded to include doctors running pill mills and suburban mothers like Sellers. From police to prosecutors, authorities are not only grappling with this new breed of opioid sellers — but new kinds of opioids, too. Federal authorities charged Sellers with possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, a narcotic so potent it can kill someone exposed to a dose the size of a few grains See HOW on page 8

A task force that will study ways to spur redevelopment and propose affordable housing policy in Sandy Springs’ north end is now formally in place following a March 20 City Council vote. The chair of the new “North End Revitalization Task Force” is City Councilmember Steve Soteres. And the “co-chairs” are David Couchman and Melanie Noble-Couchman, the couple advocating a previously secret mixed-income housing proposal, recently revealed by the Reporter, that has strongly influenced north end and affordable housing policy behind the scenes. As in all previous public discussions about north end planning, Mayor Rusty Paul and councilmembers again said nothing at all about that concept during the task force vote, with the Couchmans described only as residents See NORTH on page 12

Security companies sue city over new false alarm ordinance BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Security companies are suing the city of Sandy Springs over a new false-alarm ordinance, claiming it violates their constitutional rights by fining them for customers’ mistakes. The federal lawsuit was filed March 12 by the Georgia Electronic Life Safety & System Association (GELSSA) and two alarm compaSee SECURITY on page 22

2 | Community

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Community Briefs


CITY HALL ‘A I M I NG ’ T O O P EN M AY 7 Sandy Springs is “aiming” to open its new City Hall at City Springs on May 7, a city spokesperson said following reports of that date from the mayor and a City Council member. City Communications Director Sharon Kraun, who is directly involved in the massive government relocation planning, said she is still “working to confirm” a specific opening date. City employees are in the midst of packing up for the move. In recent Facebook posts, Mayor Rusty Paul reported that the plan is for the current City Hall — located in rented office park space at 7840 Roswell Road — to close at the end of business May 4. The new City Hall would open the morning of May 7 with a ceremony involving a plaque unveiling.






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“Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day,” one of the biggest volunteer events in the city, returns April 21 with activities at 20 local organizations and public schools. Sponsored by Leadership Sandy Springs, the events will run 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a kickoff at North Springs Charter High School, 7447 Roswell Road. For registration and more information, see leadershipsandysprings.org.

FAR M ER S M AR K ET T O M O V E TO C IT Y S P R I NG S The Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market will move this year to City Springs and receive city sponsorship. The concept, approved by City Council consensus for further work on March 20, would have the farmers market open its season April 14 at its longtime Century Springs office park location. Then the market would move to the new City Springs civic center starting May 12, to coincide with the opening of some city uses there. The market would operate on Mount Vernon Highway next to City Springs on Saturday mornings through December, closing the street on those mornings.

FIR EWO R KS NO I S E C O NT R O L B I L L PASSES G ENER A L A S S EM B LY Fireworks use could be controlled under city noise ordinances in a bill that passed the General Assembly today and awaits Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature. House Bill 419’s lead sponsor, state Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), said the bill’s Senate version had some compromises, but achieves its main goal: to “give local control back to city and county officials.” The restriction has been desired by many local officials since the state controversially legalized the sale and use of fireworks in 2015 with few limits on their use, regardless of the noise and fire safety differences between rural, urban and suburban areas. Current law generally allows fireworks use during the day and early evening. House Bill 419 would generally allow fireworks between 10 a.m. and midnight — but also allows cities or counties to apply any existing noise ordinance during those hours. That empowers local governments to cut back the hours or ban the use. The bill includes exemptions and extended fireworks use hours on several holidays: Jan. 1; Memorial Day in May; July 3 and 4; Labor Day in September; and Dec. 31. If Deal signs the bill, it would take effect July 1, “just in the time for the holiday,” Silcox said.

PANHAND LE FIR E STAT I O N P L A N FA LTER S O N S EP TI C IS S UE The Sandy Springs Fire Rescue Department wants to create a new panhandle-area fire station hidden within an existing house. But a proposal to create one at 7775 Jett Ferry Road has faltered due to some type of septic system issue, according to a city spokesperson. The panhandle is the northeastern arm of the city that extends between the Chattahoochee River and northern Dunwoody. Fire response times have been a longtime concern there. Sandy Springs currently has a truck housed just across the border in Roswell under a mutual aid agreement. But a new fire station within that part of the city has long been proposed. Alpharetta has two fire houses that blend into neighborhoods by using former residential structures, and Sandy Springs Fire Rescue Chief Keith Sanders previously led the department there. SS

MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Community | 3


Complaint alleges Democrat in House race is ineligible to run BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Democrat Josh McLaurin’s campaign for Sandy Springs’ House District 51 seat is legally invalid, according to a complaint filed with the state March 22 by a former Sandy Springs City Council member. McLaurin is ineligible to run under state and district residency requirements, says the complaint from Gabriel Sterling, a Republican who recently left the City Council. Sterling once announced a race for the District 51 seat himself, but changed his mind before McLaurin entered the race. Sterling is supporting his party’s candidate, Alex Kaufman, in the race. McLaurin said he is eligible to run and denied the complaint’s allegations. “For the last two decades, the Fulton GOP hasn’t had to do any work to hold onto House District 51,” McLaurin SPECIAL said in an email. “Now that the voters have a real choice, it Josh McLaurin. doesn’t surprise me that the GOP would try to find a shortcut. I attended elementary school in Sandy Springs, graduated from the same high school as my opponent, and easily meet the constitutional requirements to represent the district. I look forward to discussing the more substantive issues facing Georgia: rising health insurance premiums, quality education, and excessive commute times.” The complaint was announced by the Fulton County Republican Party, of which Sterling is a member. “Mr. McLaurin simply does not meet the constitutional standard to represent the citizens of his district,” said Fulton County Republican Party Chairman Trey Kelly in a press release. “…This is an example of a young man looking to run for office somewhere and decided HD 51 is as good of a place as any.” Asked why he filed the complaint, Sterling said in a brief phone interview, “I’m all about the rule of law.” Kaufman and McLaurin seek to replace retiring state Rep. Wendell Willard, a Republican, in the House district covering the Sandy Springs panhandle and parts of Johns Creek and Roswell. Sterling’s complaint is a petition to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office asking for McLaurin to be removed from the November ballot. McLaurin moved from New York to Georgia in recent years, and has moved within the state since then. Those moves mean McLaurin does not meet the two-year state residency requirement nor the one-year district residency requirement to run for the office, the complaint alleges. In late 2016, McLaurin announced a run for the 6th ConSPECIAL gressional District seat eventually won by Karen Handel, Gabriel Sterling. but he did not actually enter the race. At the time, he was living in Roswell. He currently lives in Sandy Springs and announced his House District 51 campaign last fall. Sterling’s complaint was written and delivered by the Robbins Firm, an Atlanta law firm specializing in litigation and regulatory law.

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4 | Public Safety

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woodruffcenter.org/familyfun Family Fun at The Woodruff Arts Center is sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, which is part of the family of foundations that also includes the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation is an independent private foundation that invests primarily in education, arts, and culture.

Local police differ on responses to shoplifting calls BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Officers patrolling Buckhead have been instructed to make shoplifting a low priority by commanders citing an officer shortage and an uptick in more dangerous crimes. Other local police forces — including Dunwoody’s, which deals with a lot of shoplifting at Perimeter Mall — say they are not considering a similar policy. Atlanta Police Department officers in Buckhead’s Zone 2 will not be dispatched to most shoplifting calls unless an officer is available, and retailers will be instructed to file a report over the phone, said Zone 2 commander Maj. Barry Shaw. “Our goal is to be as efficient and effective as possible with our limited resources,” Shaw said. “Keeping police officers in service and available to respond to crimes in progress involving stolen autos, theft from vehicles, and violent crimes is our priority.” One on-duty car will be designated to handle shoplifting calls and can respond if they are not preoccupied, Shaw said. If available, an overtime officer specifically assigned to handle larceny calls will be dispatched, but it may not be immediate. Police departments in Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Dunwoody said they have not considered making a similar change. A major destination in Dunwoody is Perimeter Mall and other retailers around it, which attract shoplifting, but Police Chief Billy Grogan said the department has not considered making enforcement a low priority. “In fact, we want shoplifters to know if they get arrested in Dunwoody for shoplifting, they will go to jail,” Grogan said in an email. A statement from the Atlanta Police Department said that shoplifting crimes, “which can be for something as simple as an item of clothing,” can tie up an officer for more than hour. “Chief [Erika] Shields expects that the time that officers save not responding to shoplifting calls will be better spent patrolling, which is in keeping with her priority to focus on reducing violent crime throughout the city,” the statement said. Buckhead has seen an uptick recently in crimes that pose a safety risk, including stolen vehicles, theft from vehicles and robberies, especially in south Buckhead, Shaw said. Officers’ focus will instead be on responding to those crimes and violent crime in general, he said. “Our goal is very clear, purposeful and straightforward: We must get a handle on

criminals who are comfortable engaging in straight lawlessness,” APD’s statement said. The change only applies to Buckhead’s zone, Zone 2, which is more affected by shoplifting than other areas in Atlanta due to the amount of retailers and cars in the area, Shaw said. Buckhead is also farther drive to the Atlanta City Detention Center, where officers take offenders, than most other areas, he said. Shoplifting arrest are rare because offenders normally escape before police arrive, and often result in a misSPECIAL Zone 2 Commander demeanor charge Maj. Barry Shaw. with little or no jail time, Shaw said. “There is not punishment associated with it. We’ve got make sure we’re putting the right priority on this,” he said. Police will also encourage retailers to develop a security plan so they have to rely less on the police department, the statement said. Shaw noted that big retailers, like Lenox Square mall, have their own security guards to address shoplifting. Shaw would prefer retailers try to deter shoplifting by installing cameras or hiring uniformed guards, he said. “We’re begging retailers to up security,” he said. Lenox Square and the Buckhead Business Association did not respond to requests for comment. The department has been communicating this change to retailers and has discussed it with major stores, Shaw said. “We ask retailers to be patient as we attempt to re-focus our efforts on calls that present a greater risk to safety,” the statement said. Sam Massell, the president of the Buckhead Coalition, a group of 100 CEOs and other leaders in the community, including some retailers, said he understands why the department made the change. “The bottom line is that they have to hire more officers. There is a real problem here,” Massell said. “I don’t fault them for thinking outside of the box.” Massell suggested the city look into a way to legally require retailers to take steps to curb shoplifting. “We require them to have sprinklers. Maybe we should require public safety officers or other measures,” he said.

CORRECTION The article “Sexual harassment cases hit home in local government, business” in the March 16 issue incorrectly identified the complainant who informally alleged an action by former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis was sexual harassment. The allegation, which Davis denied, was made by former City Manager Marie Garrett.

MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018



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6 | Education

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Yash Kadadi, The Westminster Schools


Out of thousands of submissions, freshteacher in middle school. Shabanowitc ofman Yash Kadadi was chosen as a finalist fered him space, equipment and props for in a competition sponsored by Bill Gates the video. for his explanation of a complex physics “He has a drive to lead and excel in anyconcept. thing he puts his mind to, and has a knack “I’ve been interested in math and scifor making concepts relatable to anyone,” ence from a very young age,” said Yash Shabanowitc said. “So when he came to me Kadadi, a freshman at The Westminster with his idea for the competition, I knew Schools in Buckhead who has been on his schools’ robotics teams since elementary school. The contest required Yash to create a short video explaining a complex physics concept in simple terms. More than 11,000 students from 178 that he was going to do a fantastic job with countries registered for the global compeit and I helped him any way I could. In the tition, Westminster said in a press release. end, he was able to take the complex conYash’s video on the Higgs Field was selectcept of the Higgs field and make it relatable ed as one of the 15 finalists. The Breakthrough Prize Foundation, which organized the STEM competition, was created by the founders of Google and Facebook. Winners were chosen based on their ability to explain SPECIAL complex scientifYash Kadadi, a freshman at The Westminster Schools, is shown in his video explaining a physics concept. ic ideas in “engaging, illuminating and imaginative ways” in a video, according to a Westminto others, and he taught me a little bit about ster press release. Harry Potter, a win-win.” Yash decided to tackle the Higgs field, a Although he did not win the competiconcept in physics, in his video. tion overall, Yash was still grateful for the “The Higgs field is basically an enerexperience, and hopes to enter it again. gy field that basically gives particles, like “If I was able to get that far once, with your electrons, your protons, mass. They this information I think it’s definitely posget their mass from interacting with it,” he sible that I could possibly win,” he said. said. Although his video demonstrated a Yash picked this concept because many physics concept, Yash said all of science is people are still largely unaware of it. Solid his passion. proof of the Higgs field was not discovered “I think all of science is very interestuntil 2013. ing, and it’s very important to see how the “I tried to think of things that were still world works,” he said. kind of new in the public’s eyes,” he said. To explain the concept, he used a Harry What’s next Potter analogy in the video. Yash is considering entering the Break“I decided on Harry Potter because it’s through Junior Challenge again and to something a lot of people know, especially continue his work on the school’s robotics kids,” Yash said. team this year. People with the competition judged the submissions based on categories including This article was written and reported by engagement, illumination, difficulty, and Sarah Kallis, a student at Holy Innocents’ creativity. Episcopal School. His video was then sent to the popular vote section, where he got enough “likes” to Editor’s Note: Through our “Standout Stumove onto the semi-finals before being sedent” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases lected as a finalist. some of the outstanding students at our local “I never thought I’d do that well,” he schools. To recommend a “Standout Student” said. for our series, please email editor@ReportAll of his filming was done in WestminerNewspapers.net with information about the ster’s STEAM Lab with the help of one of his student and why you think he or she should teachers, Tim Shabanowitc, who coached be featured. Yash in robotics and was his architecture

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Education | 7

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June 4 — August 3

Fulton County Schools recently concluded its engagement process for the North Springs Charter High School addition and renovation project with a presentation to the community on themes and surveys. District 3 Board Member Gail Dean said in the release that the community’s input helped focus the project. “We appreciate everyone’s support and participation in this process,” she said. “It took several months, but every step was necessary to make sure we are investing wisely in the future of North Springs High School.” The Fulton County Board of Education is expected to review a potential preliminary design concept from CDH Partners in April, according to the release. During the engagement process, Christian Long of visioning firm Wonder, by Design received input on what should North Springs keep as a priority, what should be changed and what should be added. “The goal is to coalesce around a shared identity on what North Springs should aspire to be. These activities helped everyone voice their vision for North Springs’ future, which will drive the design for improving the school’s physical environment,” Long said in the release. Common “hold onto” themes included keeping strong relationships between students, teachers and the community; collaboration with others; innovative technology use; and education offerings that prepare students for the real world. Rigid mindsets and schedules, such as a seven-period school day, was something members of each group felt should be changed. Things that the groups felt should be added were opportunities for more unstructured time and ‘brain rest,’ flexible school furnishings, spaces that inspire creativity and real-life connection, and more partnerships with corporations, academic institutions and local municipalities, the press release said. “This process encouraged participants to put aside preconceived notions and focus on the type of educational experience our students should have, not just for today but for the future,” said Scott Hanson, principal of North Springs High School, in the release. The full report is posted on fultonschools.org.


The DeKalb County School District is asking for comments from parents and the community on the updated 2018-2019 Code of Student Conduct and student discipline. The code of conduct can be read at dekalbschoolga.org/student-relations. The Department of Student Relations will take suggestions until April 27, a press release said. The Code of Student Conduct outlines policies, rules and regulations on dress code, behavior, bus information, electronic devices, violence, threats, school personnel and more. Comments and recommendations may be sent to DCSD Student Relations Director Dr. Kishia Towns at kishia_k_towns@dekalbschoolsga.org. Suggestions can also be mailed in writing to the Department of Student Relations, 5823 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain, GA, 30083.

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8 | Community

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Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs


How a suburban mother started peddling fentanyl and became the target of federal prosecutors Continued from page 1 of sand. They also found her with several others kinds of synthetic opioids — including U-47700, a drug that was legal until late 2016, even though it makes morphine seem like aspirin — that exemplify the insidious evolution of the opioid crisis. Drug traffickers have resurrected obscure opioid recipes that were developed decades ago but never made out of a research lab. The makers of these new variants tweak drug compounds to avoid detection from law enforcement. The synthetics appear on the streets, often inside fake pain pills, like the ones Sellers sold. A legal game of cat-and-mouse ensues: Lawmakers outlaw one drug; traffickers make a new drug; cops find it on the streets; lawmakers pass a new law. Last year, synthetic opioids contributed to the deaths of two Buckhead apartmentdwellers and a Brookhaven doctor. In 2016, synthetics helped drive up fatal overdoses nationwide to a record number of 64,000, according to the Centers for Disease Con-

trol and Prevention. forcement and prosExperts believe those ecutors. We’re trying figures will rise again our best to stay ahead in 2017. it.” In recent weeks, President Trump From straight called for some drug A’s into drugs dealers selling synNothing in Sellers’ thetic opioids to face early life seems to sugthe death penalty if gest that she’d be at one of their customers the eye of this kind of fatally overdoses. It’s storm. Born in El Paso, a proposal that draws Texas, Sellers was an fierce criticism from Army brat who reloFULTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE drug policy experts, Cathine Sellers in a booking photo cated often but still and there was no evfrom a Jan. 13, 2017 arrest in Roswell. earned enough A’s to idence in court that attend college. In her early twenties, Sellany of Sellers’ customers died. But the iners moved to Georgia where she raised two tent of such a policy is to make dealers like kids largely on her own. Efforts to reach Sellers think twice about continuing to sell her family for comment were unsuccessful. synthetic opioids in metro Atlanta. But, according to letters her 14- and 11-year“It’s the perfect storm,” said Byung J. old children wrote to the court, she was a “BJay” Pak, the top federal prosecutor in doting mother. northern Georgia. “This is a fast moving [ep“She always make[s] sure we have everyidemic] presenting challenges to law en-

thing we need for school and always buys us the things we want. She always hangs out with us and take[s] us places. She plays around with us and likes to joke around with us,” wrote one of the children. Her mother, Diane Causby, wrote that Sellers “has continued her spirit of excellence with her children, in raising them to be at higher standards in their education, behavior and choice of friends.” It’s unclear, according to court records, whether the drugs, domestic violence or divorce came first. But about a decade after moving to metro Atlanta, she paid her bills by dancing as a stripper at the Cheetah, a gentleman’s club in downtown Atlanta, and sometimes used drugs. The Sellers family settled in Roswell in late 2016. On the night of Jan. 13, 2017, a Roswell cop pulled over Sellers after her white PT Cruiser allegedly drifted out of its lane. An officer who watched Sellers said she became defensive and argumentative. After noticing her glassy eyes, the officer asked her to perform a sobriety test. Eventually, the officer


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MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Community | 9


An excerpt of a letter one of Sellers’ children wrote to a federal court judge on her behalf.

found a folded $1 bill full of a white powdered substance inside her wallet. Tears streamed down her face. “[I] was exposed to a certain lifestyle,” she told the officer, according to the report. They weren’t her drugs this time, she said, but she admitted to using cocaine in the past. After getting arrested, Sellers entered a pre-trial diversion program. Four months later, though, she skipped a mandatory meeting and failed a drug test. She told her court-appointed officer she planned to vacation in New Jersey until this past August. Meanwhile, her name ended up in the news again: ajc.com published a story titled “Cops: Man with pills, syringes and $1,095 cash arrested in Alpharetta.” That man was Sellers’ fiancé, and she was in the car during the traffic stop in May 2017 that led to his arrest, though she was not charged. Then, a month later, the DEA raid happened. Her lawyers tried to get her released on bond so she could be with her children. But a federal judge denied the request, writing that, “the court can conceive of no condition or combination of conditions that would reasonably assure the safety of the community” even though there was “strong evidence from her family and friends that she is a good mother.”

New dealers, new threats to police Parents aren’t the only new target of police and prosecutors seeking to contain the suburban spread of opioids. The same month Sellers was arrested for cocaine possession, federal prosecutors charged Dr. Arnita Avery-Kelly, a licensed podiatrist, with the alleged illegal distribution of prescription opioids out of her clinic in Sandy Springs. In the nine months leading up to August 2015, she allegedly prescribed over 116,000 oxycodone pills, 41,000 hydro-

morphone pills and 400 fentanyl patches. Last year, Nisar A. Piracha, a 63-year-old former physician who ran the Piracha Wellness Clinic in Dunwoody, received a sentence of over seven years for prescribing opioids to people in exchange for cash. Some of his clients traveled up to 200 miles for his services. Keith Zgonc, deputy chief of the Sandy Springs Police Department, says the kinds of synthetic opioids found in Sellers’ home are as much of a threat to his officers as they are to residents. Because grains of synthetic opioids are so fine they can penetrate rubber gloves, narcotics officers have overdosed in some cities nationwide while investigating crime scenes — prompting some departments to call in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for assistance in handling the drugs. “We don’t open it,” Zgonc said. “We’re not going to risk an overdose of one of our people to make a case.” Despite such risks, police and prosecutors are finding ways to make cases. On May 24, Sellers, who has pleaded guilty, is scheduled to make an appearance in a 21stfloor courtroom inside the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta. Sellers will stand in her jail-issued jumpsuit accompanied by her lawyer — who didn’t respond to requests for comment — hoping the judge will spare her the maximum sentence of 20 years. But prosecutors hope this is one catch they can make in the endless cat-and-mouse chase of a deadly crisis.

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

Third of a 4-Part Series 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.

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10 | Commentary

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Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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Robin’s (Worst) X-men (Ever)

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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 Melissa Kidd, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Kate Awtrey, Max Blau, Robin Conte, Phil Mosier

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Assembling the worst superhero team ever As the superhero story goes, the XMen are a group of people with various X-gene mutations that give them EX-tra powers, and (while battling an assorted bunch of X-rivals) they endeavor to use these powers for the good of humanity. I have noticed that a bit of X-gene activity seems to have occurred in my own family, but our genes have mutated to powers of questionable worth. We are a bunch of the worst X-Men, ever. My youngest is Massive Toe-Gap Boy. You could park a car in the space between his first two toes. He uses this Massive Gap to stow his snacks and carry small appliances from room to room. If he keeps his socks on, he can smuggle a two-liter bottle of water onto an airplane. His twin also has a toe mutation. He is Lethal Toenail Boy. The nails of his big toes grow into virtual talons that will ruin floors and furniture and inflict stealth wounds when he walks around barefoot. If he ever finds himself stuck in a Moroccan prison, he can file his way out with his toenails. My daughter is Reflexio. She has the most coveted and useful ability in the family. She can knock a wine glass off a shelf and dive to the ground before it

breaks, all in less time than it takes me to finish my first curse word. She can catch any falling object from within an inch of its life — saving not only the object, but the skin of every sibling in the room. My oldest son is Viral Facial Hair Man. He has the ability to grow facial hair at superhuman speed … at viral video speed. He is very proud of this power because he thinks it’s rather manly. So, he’d prefer to be known as Virile Viral Facial Hair Man. Apparently, there is no barbershop where he lives, because he came home for Christmas looking like a small fur-bearing animal had died on his face. You could find his eyes only if you approached him slowly with a flashlight and a hand rake. I am Barometric Sinus Mom. I can predict the weather by the condition of my nasal passages. If I go through a box of Kleenex in less than eight hours, that means it’s going to rain. If I walk around all day rubbing my face and honking, a cold front is moving in. And if I’m curled up on the couch beneath a blanket, nursing a cup of hot tea, breathing through my mouth and completely miserable, you’d better bring in your pets and head to the basement because there’s a storm

Robin’s Nest

a-comin’. And my Robin Conte is a writer husband? He’s and mother of four who Obliviman, of lives in Dunwoody. She course. (Aren’t can be contacted at they all?) He robinjm@earthlink.net. has the ability to tune out an entire family dinner conversation of five people debating the lyrics of the latest Taylor Swift song by merely looking at his Android. Even more impressively, he can appear perfectly attentive and alert as I spend 15 minutes presenting a detailed rundown of our weekend schedule, while he in fact has zero idea of what I am saying and will ask me to repeat the entire thing as soon as I’ve finished. Put us all together and you will not have a team that will save the world. But in our own EX-tra mutant way, we make our little corner of it a bit more normal.

© 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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MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Community | 11


Planning Commission largely backs public in zoning code update BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

As the new Sandy Springs zoning code heads into its six-month update, the Planning Commission largely backed community concerns at its March 27 meeting. Among its recommendations to the City Council: expanding lot coverage limits on large parcels; keeping large setbacks for schools and churches; cutting a compromise on grading and retaining walls in residential setbacks; and denying more retail uses in the southern Roswell Road corridor. The commission also recommended further study of zoning to allow and ensure “higher-quality” extended-stay hotels, something the city planning staff is trying to squeeze into the code as three such hotels are looking for local spots. Ronda Smith, president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, advised the commission that the “overarching connection” among community concerns was quality of life. It’s an approach the commission stuck to in its two-and-a-half-hour discussion and votes. Besides the hot-button issues, the update to the Development Code contains dozens of other noncontroversial changes, such as fixing typos and rezoning some incorrectly zoned parcels. The code went into effect

in September and is getting a routine sixmonth update for error and anything that doesn’t appear to be working in practice. The commission makes non-binding advisory recommendations to the City Council. The council is scheduled to review the proposed changes in a non-voting “work session” on April 3, followed by a formal vote to adopt changes on April 17. For an overview of the code changes, see sandyspringsga.gov/city-services/urban-development/development-code-and-zoning. Comments on any aspect of the Development Code can be emailed to the city planning staff at pz@sandyspringsga.gov.

Lot coverage restrictions

A major point of contention has been lot coverage restrictions, which are new to the city zoning code. The idea is limiting the amount of hard surfaces that rainwater cannot penetrate to reduce runoff that damages streams and rivers — a major environmental problem in the city. The restrictions are certain percentages that vary among zoning districts. Criticism from residents focused on the restrictions for “Residential Estate” districts 1 and 2, meaning minimum lot size of 1 and 2 acres. In the new code, RE-1 is allowed 20 percent lot coverage and RE-2 is allowed 15 percent.


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In response to criticism from RE-2 owners, city staff propose increasing the limits and adding a bonus for stormwater runoff mitigation measures. RE-1 would be 25 percent and up to 30 percent with mitigations; RE-2 would be 20 percent up to 25 percent. The commission recommended — in a 5-to-1 vote — approval of the proposed lot coverage changes, but boosting RE-2 to a 30 percent maximum.

In the process of writing the zoning code, city staff and area residents worked on a new “Office Neighborhood” designation there that specifically excluded retail to avoid traffic impacts. However, the city now proposes changing that to include retail up to 2,500 square feet.

Civic uses setbacks

The code currently does not allow grading or retaining walls in residential setbacks, but the city staff wants to loosen that after finding many problems in practice with projects not having realistic room to work. The city proposes a system that would allow grading and walls within certain rear setbacks in various residential zoning districts. And grading and walls would be allowed within side setbacks in all but RE-1 and RE-2 residential districts to certain degrees. In most cases, they would require tree-plantings as mitigations. The commission approved the staff’s recommendation on a side setback system, but said the rear setbacks should stay as they are. That continued to cause some grumbling from the audience about impracticality.

A proposal to decrease the current 100foot setbacks for schools and places of worship from residential property was recommended for denial. City staff said the idea was to simplify the setback system by making it more like a “transitional buffer” section of the code. But residents thought it was influenced by various plans that could expand church and school uses. City staff said such institutions are covered by use permits and the reduced setbacks would apply only to new buildings or modifications to the permits.

Southern Roswell Road retail An effort to add “boutique retail” to zoning in southern Roswell Road’s new “Neighborhood Village Character Area” was quickly shot down by the commission.





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12 | Community

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North end task force begins; mixedincome advocates get key role Continued from page 1

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“This is a blue-ribbon group of people,” said Paul, who privately selected the memhelpful in networking officials to policy exbers. He said most have direct experience perts. in development and housing and will serve Meanwhile, Noble-Couchman herself the city well. acknowledged the previous behind-theThere appears to be no member directly scenes work and said the task force “will representing apartment tenants, landlords start with a clean slate.” or industry leaders. “We can’t accommo“As you have reported, we have been date every property owner, but their viewconcerned about the future of the north points are at the table,” Paul later said in an end for some time,” Noble-Couchman email, without clarifying who is intended wrote in an email. “…The task force will to represent those constituencies. start with a clean slate, in its quest for findThe task force is chaired by Counciling a healthy balance that capitalizes on the member Soteres, whose District 2 include strengths of the area, makes it possible for a large part of the north end. He resides in working families to live in our city, can be its exclusive Huntcliff community, and is achieved with current also an executive at Sanmarket pressures, susdy Springs-based Chotained for a long term, ate Construction Comand fosters a robust ecopany. Soteres did not nomic and business clirespond to a request for mate. It will take all our comment. neighbors, working toFor years, city offigether, to come up with cials have proposed rea solution that is right development of the for our community.” north end’s older shopThe task force will ping centers and apartwork for the rest of the ments along Roswell year “to develop a vision Road north of Dalrymand plan for redevelopple Road. Goals have ment that are shared shifted over the years, by the residents and from early talk of esprivate interests in the sentially gentrifying area — and will benethe area to more recent MELANIE NOBLE-COUCHMAN fit the city as a whole,” concepts of mixed-inaccording to a city staff come, mixed-use redememo. “It is likely that the plan will suggest velopment that made its way into the new a role for city government, which would be land-use plan and zoning code. Middle-inframed as a set of recommendations for come and possible deeper affordability in the City Council to consider.” housing have been part of the discussion. The memo nowhere uses the term “afMore recently, Paul has spoken of redevelfordable,” but does say, “Any vision must opment goals in metaphors of rescue or diinclude a wide range of options for houssaster prevention. ing and rents to foster change, but also to “I don’t think the north end is failing … provide that families can continue to work but there are warning signs we need to get and live in Sandy Springs.” on top of,” he said during the task force disAssistant City Manager Jim Tolbert cussion. said the goal is to have a report from the Last year, the Couchmans privately pretask force ready for discussion at the City sented a mixed-income redevelopment Council’s annual retreat in January 2019, concept for a sub-area of the north end where the year’s policy goals are laid out. to the mayor, council and city staff. InterThe task force will work within a process, nal city emails show their other influence including community input meetings, proincluded: vetting a councilmember’s reposed be run by Atlanta-based consulting sponse to media questions about affordfirm Civic Strategies at an estimated cost of able housing; working with a top city plan$9,000; contract negotiations will now bening official on a multi-year program of gin, according to city spokesperson Sharon policy and public persuasion on affordable Kraun. housing; and reviewing and commenting The task force’s membership is heavy on a draft policy document written by Paul on development industry executives, as called “Realizing the Dream.” well as including current and former City Kraun said Paul considers “Realizing Council members and the head of the Santhe Dream” to be a personal document, dy Springs Council of Neighborhoods. though emails show he shared it with TolNone of the members were identified fulbert and City Manager John McDonough. ly in the City Council discussion, and one While Paul is not a member of the task was a late addition to the agenda and will force, he brings some policy expertise to have to be formally approved by the counthe overall discussion as a former official cil later, according to Kraun, who did not at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urrespond to questions about that process. ban Development.

It will take all our neighbors, working together, to come up with a solution that is right for our community.


MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Community | 13


In dam repair options, one certainty: trees will fall

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A view from the Lake Forrest Dam in 2016.

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

If the aging Lake Forrest Dam on the Atlanta-Sandy Springs border were to fail, the first place flooded would be Meadow Valley Drive, which sits along the wooded creek the dam uses as outflow. And as the two cities and upstream homeowners ponder possible dam reconstruction options, downstream residents have tree preservation on their mind. Leslie Laird’s house would be the first to go in a disaster; according to a 2009 letter from the state Safe Dams Program, a worst-case-scenario failure would send a 12-foot wall of water into her home. She’d like a repair option that saves the mature trees dotting the dam’s eastern embankment. “I don’t want them to even touch the east side,” she said. “Sandy Springs does not need to lose any more trees.” Her neighbors in the Cherokee Park Civic Association took that position after meeting with city officials about the repair options last August. But there’s one problem, according to Sharon Kraun, a spokesperson for the city of Sandy Springs. “The existing trees will be removed with both options currently under consideration,” Kraun said. “Final design will determine if any future plantings are possible, but [they] would be very limited at best. For maintenance, structural and safety reasons, trees are not permitted to grow along the slopes of a dam.” That makes for yet another complication in repair design options that have dragged on since 2009. A big factor is the dam’s location directly under the 4600 block of Lake Forrest Drive, right on the Atlanta-Sandy Springs border, which makes for complicated ownership and liability issues. Both cities, several individual homeowners, and a larger lakeowning group of homeowners called the Three Lakes Corporation all have repair responsibilities, according to the state. In recent years, Sandy Springs has takSS



en the lead on studying repair options, splitting the cost with Atlanta. The work included removing the fish from the lake and lowering its level by 12 feet. City-hired engineers say the dam has several problems that could cause collapse: those trees growing on its slope, a corroding pipe inside it, and an inability to handle the flow of water from a major rainstorm. Last fall, engineers presented the Sandy Springs City Council with two repair design options: an upgraded version of today’s dam, known as the “full pool” option for restoring the lake, or a new, smaller dam built farther upstream in a “reduced lake” option. Either option could cost roughly $7 million and take years to complete: nine to 12 months of design and permitting, and 15 to 18 months of construction, possibly including the closure of Lake Forrest Drive during work. Cherokee Park residents have favored the “reduced lake” option under the idea that it could save more trees. Neal Sweeney, the current head of Three Lakes Corporation, said in recent weeks that his group of residents strongly prefers the “full pool” option and has “momentum” in reaching agreement to move forward. Sandy Springs City Councilmember Andy Bauman, who represents his city’s side of the dam area, said there is another certainty in the process: safety comes first. Cost is the second consideration. For neighbors like those in Cherokee Park, he said, there are concerns about the many construction impacts, including “loss of trees, wildlife, aesthetic and visual considerations.” If all conditions are equal, Bauman said, he would prefer the full pool option. But, he added, “What I don’t want to do is build the lake back at the expense of downstream people.” He said he has asked city staff for an independent “peer review” of the dam repair options by outside engineers, and for the city to tell affected property owners what difference each option makes, if any, for those living downstream.

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14 | Community

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Mercedes-Benz headquarters opens with praise from governor, mayors BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Mercedes-Benz USA’s new headquarters officially opened March 15 in a ceremony where Gov. Nathan Deal marveled at the glass design and the mayors of Atlanta and Sandy Springs tooled around on a threewheeled 1886 proto-car. “It’s pretty difficult to top the seal of approval to the business community of the world than to have Mercedes-Benz decide Georgia is where they want to have their North American headquarters,” said Deal in remarks to a crowd of roughly 200 guests at the glass-walled complex at Sandy Springs’ Abernathy and Barfield roads. MBUSA is the North American branch of the German luxury automaker. Since 2015, it has been relocating from a former headquarters in New Jersey and was temporarily housed in a Dunwoody office building. The 200,000-square-foot new headquarters, built from scratch, will house about 1,000 employees in executive, sales, marketing and customer service areas. Not mentioned during the grand opening was the roughly $23 million in tax incentives, plus other assistance, offered by Georgia to lure MBUSA here. The city of Sandy Springs provided roughly $3 million in incentives and road improvements.


Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, leads a toast to the grand opening of the new headquarters in Sandy Springs.

As described on a tour last year, the headquarters is designed to be glass-walled and open to encourage collaborative work. When Deal arrived and strolled in with MBUSA president and CEO Dietmar Exler, he remarked on how “there’s glass all over.” “What a beautiful building this is… It’s a great addition to your community, Rusty,” Deal said during formal remarks. “Welcome to Sandy Springs,” said Mayor Rusty Paul to begin his formal remarks, an emphasis on the headquarters’ actual hometown that is often lost in news reports and political discussions.


Mayor Rusty Paul, left, gets a lift from MBUSA president and CEO Dietmar Exler on the 1886 PatentMotorwagen, the company’s first motor vehicle.

A point of local contention, including among City Council members, is whether the corporate letterhead will say “Sandy Springs” rather than “Atlanta,” the city name used during the event by one tour guide. One context for those concerns was the city’s agreement to rename part of Barfield as “Mercedes-Benz Drive” in a controversial branding exercise that caused friction with a neighboring Mormon temple. MBUSA is now referring to its headquarters as “1MB” — short for “One Mercedes-Benz Drive” — but the Barfield Road sign is still on the street pole.

However, Paul did not bring up any of those debates and instead told lighthearted stories of the company’s arrival. He described how he did not even know about MBUSA coming until the deal was done. City Economic Development Director Andrea Worthy did know, but was sworn to secrecy by a non-disclosure agreement, he said. As the deal neared closure, she told him it was a “top 10 brand” and joked, “You’re gonna love the samples.” Paul said he immediately Googled top corporations and saw one likely to provide samples in the form of household goods. “So for 10 days, I’d convinced myself Procter & Gamble was coming to Sandy Springs.” When he learned it was MBUSA, he and wife Jan went to a local dealership and bought two Mercedes cars. Paul said that Jan previously drove an Audi and he drove a 2009 Chevy Avalanche that he considered “my connection to the common people,” but they decided they had to show some loyalty to the newly local automaker.

Meanwhile, back in New Jersey

Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, MBUSA’s old headquarters is a redevelopment site, too. Along with adjacent properties, it’s becoming a massive mixed-use, mixed-income project. “We are very excited about it, as this section of town will become the new downtown for us,” Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali said in an email. According to media reports, the development will help Montvale fulfill a state requirement to have a certain amount of affordable housing. And, in the wake of MBUSA’s loss, the city has developed an effective corporate retention program. Montvale was stung by MBUSA leaving, including the awkward situation of the town hall having a mailing address on the company’s locally branded street there, Mercedes Drive. “We decided to keep it [Mercedes Drive] because there is a least one major corporation on this road and it would negatively affect their global business,” Ghassali said. “Their customers may think that they moved, so at least for now, the name is staying.” SS

MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Community | 15


Parks photo contest winners announced

“Overlook Park Summer Sunrise” by Dan Coffer was among the top prize-winners in the Digital Photo Contest.

The Sandy Springs Conservancy has announced the winners of its Digital Photo Contest, where photographers highlighted the city’s parks and green spaces. Winners of the $500 adult division prizes were Dan Coffer, a city communications staffer, in the “natural beauty” category and single-named local photographer Quavea’ in the “family fun” category. Both took photos in Morgan Falls Overlook Park. Winners of the $100 student division prizes were Virginia Fuss, a 10th-grade student at North Springs Charter High School, and Maya A. Munoz, an 11th-grade student at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. For all of the winning photos, see ReporterNewspapers. net.

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16 | Art & Entertainment

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Intermediate/advanced Zydeco dance class from 4:30-6 p.m. is $15. Free beginner’s dance lesson at 7 p.m. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.

COMMUNITY BIKE RIDE Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m.





Join the Brookhaven Bike Alliance for community rides every third Sunday at varying locations. April 15 location is Murphey Candler Park, 1551 West Nancy Creek Drive, Brookhaven. Info: Brookhaven Bike Alliance on Facebook.




Saturday, April 7, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

SWEEP THE HOOCH Saturday, April 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Back for its eighth year, Sweep the Hooch is an annual day of service to the Chattahoochee River watershed, mobilizing volunteers on foot, in waders, or kayak/canoe paddlers to remove trash at locations throughout the watershed. The 43 work locations along more than 70 miles of the river include three locations in Brookhaven’s Murphey Candler Park. To help clean those sites, use team name “MCPC” while registering. To volunteer at Morgan Falls Park, use team name “Keep Sandy Springs Beautiful.” Register: chattahoochee.org/sweep-the-hooch.

ZYDECO CONCERT AND DANCE Saturday, April 7, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association hosts the Atlanta debut of Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas at the Dorothy Benson Center. Cajun/Creole food for sale. All ages. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. $18; $14 active military; $5 students.

Heritage Sandy Springs announces the return of Rhythm & Brews, a community celebration of local bands and local beers. Food trucks, games, local artists/vendors and giveaways. Entertainment Lawn at Heritage Green, 6110 Blue Stone Road N.E., Sandy Springs. All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Heritage Sandy Springs organization. Ticket info: heritagesandysprings.org.


This community ceremony features a performance by the Atlanta Men’s Choir, readings, memorial prayers, and the lighting of torches in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. Free. Besser Holocaust Memorial Garden at Zaban Park. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org.


Saturday, April 7, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The rural craft of cloth making comes to life during the Atlanta History Center’s annual Sheep to Shawl program. Guests can participate in the process of turning freshly

Make a Lantern & Join the Parade!

The parade lines up at 7:30pm at Steel Canyon Golf Club for a magical stroll to Morgan Falls Overlook Park. Lantern Workshops are April 14th & 15th. Learn more at VisitSandySprings.org/lanternparade

MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 17


sheared wool into fabric. Other activities include open-hearth cooking, blacksmithing, and candle making at the 1860s Smith Farm and a kid-friendly zone with a petting zoo, train rides and carnival games. Included in cost of general admission. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Ticket info: atlantahistorycenter.com.


Ongoing daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Book donation boxes have been placed at three Sandy Springs fire stations to benefit the Sandy Springs Education Force Mini Libraries program. The program provides new and used books to underprivileged youth in five Sandy Springs public schools. Elementary school level books are especially needed. Fire station locations: 6025 Raider Drive, 135 Johnson Ferry Road and 1425 Spalding Drive. Info: sandyspringseducationforce.org.


Golf without attitude. • 18 hole Executive Course • Covered Driving Range • League Play • Lessons • Footgolf

THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL Thursday, April 5, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Three university choirs — the Georgia State University Singers, UGA Hodgson Singers and Emory University Concert Choir — perform together. Free. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road N.E., Buckhead. Info: eventbrite.com.

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Friday, April 13 to Saturday, April 28

Act3 Productions presents a throwback to the days when a wedding singer might just be the coolest guy in the room. Based on the Adam Sandler movie by the same name. 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Ticket info: act3productions.org. Continued on page 18

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18 | Art & Entertainment

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 17


Thursday, April 5, 6-8 p.m.

See what music looks like in paint on canvas at an opening reception for the artwork of Karen Mosbacher Clewell at Gallery 4945 at Highpoint Episcopal Community KAREN MOSBACHER CLEWELL Church, 4945 High Point Road, Sandy Springs. Info: highpointepiscopalchurch.org.

JEWISH LATINO FILM SERIES Sunday, April 8 to Saturday, April 14

Congregation Or Hadash and the Consulate General of Argentina present five films inspired by actual events in the Jewish-Latino experience: “Los Gauchos Judios/Jewish Gauchos,” “Anita,” “Los Abandonados/ The Abandoned Ones,” “Wakolda/The German Doctor,” and a dinner and a movie night featuring “Mi Primera Boda/My First Wedding.” $5-$36. 7460 Trowbridge Road, Sandy Springs. RSVP: or-hadash.org/form/jlfs-cost.html.


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


Ongoing Mondays and Wednesdays though April 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Interest Rate 2.95% 2.70% 2.46%

APY* 2.99% 2.74% 2.49%

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



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

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service for lower-income and middle-income taxpayers, with special attention to ages 60+. First-come, first served. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: dekalblibrary.org/events.


Ongoing through Saturday, April 14

The Community Assistance Center in Sandy Springs offers free tax preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an initiative of the IRS and United Way. Certified VITA volunteers will prepare and file tax returns for households earning up to $55,000 in 2017. Appointments required. CAC also offers training for VITA volunteers. 1130 Hightower Trail, Sandy Springs. Info: 770-552-4889, ext. 260 or email vita@ourcac.org.


calendar@Reporter Newspapers.net

MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 19


Farmers market season returns Clean out the fridge! Farmers market season is upon us. Some changes are in store for local markets, including a move to a new location for the Sandy Springs market. Here’s a list of area markets.

Visit us today to learn how you may qualify for up to




Saturdays, April 7 through Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to noon.

The market is open rain or shine. 1375 Fernwood Circle N.E., Brookhaven. Information: brookhavenfarmersmarket.com.

Valid thru 7/18/18.



Saturdays, May 5 through Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Newly revamped farmers market has signed more than 40 vendors. Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyfarmersmkt.com.

HERITAGE SANDY SPRINGS FARMERS MARKET Saturdays, April 14 through early December, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Nearly 50 vendors offer local and organic produce, pasture-raised meat, farm fresh eggs and dairy products, and a wide variety of specialty and prepared foods. Century Springs, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Market moves on May 12 to Mount Vernon Highway between Sandy Springs Circle and Roswell Road. Info: sandyspringsfarmersmarket.com or 404-851-9111, ext. 5.

For the way it’s Made

© Copyright 2008 Signage designs and drawings are the sole property of DeNyse Signs, Inc., and may not be reproduced, published, changed or used in any way without written permission and consent. In addition, all ideas, contents of

Douglasville | Orlando | Charlotte

1.800.941.7446 www.denysesigns.com

proposals, and all specifications of any project entered into with DeNyse Signs, Inc. are all rights reserved. The described information may not be used in securing price comparisons. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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

fr ee book s Bid Number


The Griffin Company



Property Name & Address

Project Manager

Revision Date

Sewell Appliance 7455 Trowbridge Road Sandy Springs, Ga

Richard Swartz

Management Company




Customer Approval

06.24.08 08.01.08



Design Time


Survey Required




Sewell Appliance/ Pre/ Main Idv3

Change Order



Saturdays, April 7 through Dec. 15, 8:30 a.m. to noon. (Opening time shifts to 9 a.m. beginning Oct. 6.)

Located in the parking lot at The Cathedral of St. Philip, the market is open rain or shine. Each week brings chef demonstrations and live music. The market accepts SNAP (food stamps) and doubles their dollar value. 2744 Peachtree Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: peachtreeroadfarmersmarket.com.



sign up for fr toda ee y!

20 | Perimeter Business

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Ribbon-cuttings: Recent business openings The following are some of the new businesses that recently opened in Reporter Newspapers communities.


6309 Roswell Road, #2D, Sandy Springs Info: clipculturebarbershop.com or 404-458-2993


4520 Olde Perimeter Way, Suite 200, in Perimeter Place, Dunwoody Info: spasydell.com or 404-255-7727

A little help. A big difference. The assisted living services at The Piedmont at Buckhead Senior Living Community are about the whole family and the whole YOU. Of course, we can help you with your daily needs. But did you know you will also have options for fitness, socializing, healthy fine dining, and more? And services are tailored to you, so you’ll get just the right amount of help you need, when you request it. But the best part? No matter if you need a little help or a lot, the difference you’ll feel will be amazing. Please call The Piedmont at Buckhead to schedule your complimentary lunch and tour.


Cutting the ribbon at a new office of business data analysis company Axis Group at Sandy Springs’ Northpark 400 Tower March 15 were, from left, Erica Rocker-Wills, city’s Office of Economic Development; City Councilmember John Paulson; Axis CEO and founder Al Hughes; Scott Reedy, the office’s managing principal; Axis President Ranjan Sinha; Tom Mahaffey, CEO and president of Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Rusty Paul; and Chip Collins, chair of the chamber board. Info: axisgroup.com.

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

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


Cutting the ribbon of OneLife Fitness at 1181 Hammond Drive in Dunwoody on March 1 were, from left, Corey Cristiano, Onelife Fitness Manager; Robert F. Dallas, chair of the Dunwoody Planning Commission; Mayor Denis Shortal; John Cristiano and Mindy Cristiano, OneLife’s Atlanta region co-founders; Scott Gaschler, OneLife’s regional director; Stephanie Freeman, president & CEO of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce; and OneLife’s Jason Pelusi and Christin Toll. Info: onelifefitness.com.

MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Classifieds | 21


Personal & Professional Services Directory

Reporter Classifieds HELP WANTED

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

SERVICES AVAILABLE Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576. Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property…”0n market or just away”. Call Charles at 404-229-0490. Handyman Services – Moving and Delivery too! Free quotes. References Available. Local resident - call Cornell 803-608-0792.



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

LAWN CARE Landscaping, sod, maintenance, retaining walls, installation, planting and cleanup. Call 404-7872690.

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

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

We shoot on-location at your office. Fast. Efficient. Premium.


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

BUCKHEAD STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY www.thebuckheadstudio.com Peachtree Rd NE, Atl, GA 30326 • (404) 462-2385 We travel. Corporate, Group, Portrait, Environmental.

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

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

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


Home Services Directory

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110

Matthew’s Handy Services Small Jobs & Chores are My Specialties!

Shelves • Organizers • Carpentry Drywall • Painting • BBB rated

404-547-2079 Mwarren8328@gmail.com

Belco Electric



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



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Kitchen Bathroom Basement

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Spring Clean-up Special

Atlanta’s Premier • Window Cleaning since 1968 • Gutter Cleaning • Pressure Washing • Family Owned • Licensed and Insured • Free Estimates

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Call Kevin 24/7 770.885.9210

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

678-662-0767 Call Mike

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

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

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

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

22 | Public Safety

For Sale: Your House!

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460 Mossyvale Way Listings coming soon Call me for more details!

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Six Historic Homes • Six Gardens Documentary Film • Archive Display Please support our sponsors:

April 20-22, 2018

Tickets available at druidhillstour.org

Security companies sue city over new false alarm ordinance Continued from page 1

concern for a section of the ordinance that places customers on a “do not respond” list nies, A-Com and Safecom. As defendants, it of non-compliant alarm companies withnames the city, Mayor Rusty Paul, City Manout their knowledge. McDonough said a ager John McDonough and all councilmempolicy change on notification was in the bers voting at the time of the ordinance’s works. Paulson asked the broader question July 2017 passage. of whether the ordinance was having its in“If this unconstitutional ordinance is altended effect of making security companies lowed to stand, our industry will face this more responsible in general. same type of issue from other communi“I think alarm companies are in, I don’t ties who have the mistaken belief that finwant to say denial … I think in outrage ing alarm companies is an effective way to mode,” Paul said in response. “I think we deal with alarm issues,” said GELSSA Presihave their attention.” dent Dan Gordon in a press release. The city has had the industry’s attention In a written statement, the city said the since the contentious ordinance is a necesCity Council meeting sary response to the last summer that inalarm industry’s “antistituted the major lequated methodology,” gal shift to put alarm “gross negligence” and companies, rather failure to take respon- Rather than work towards than alarm-users, on sibility for “improv- a solution, the alarm the hook for registraing a very broken systion and fines. The ortem” with a 98 percent industry blames its cusdinance requires the false alarm rate. And tomers and accepts no company that installs the city blasted a secuand services the alarm rity industry press re- responsibility for improvto register it, and puts lease that satirically lik- ing a very broken system. that company on the ened the city’s appeals hook for false-alarm process to ‘The Andy CITY OF SANDY SPRINGS fines. Those fines escaGriffith Show” for its late quicker: $25 for a first offense; $250 for “audacity to insult” the police officers who the second and third; and $500 for all subhave to respond to false alarms. sequent offenses. In addition, a location will “The city has tried for a number of years go on the non-response list if it has four false to work with the alarm industry to reduce alarms within any two-year period. Direct the false alarm rate,” the city’s statement calls to 911 from those locations would still says in part. “Rather than work towards a receive a police response. solution, the alarm industry blames its cusAlarms are considered false when they tomers and accepts no responsibility for imcome from devices that use automatic sysproving a very broken system.” tems or call centers to contact 911 about a City officials also discussed the results of fire or crime emergency that turns out to the ordinance at the March 6 City Council be nonexistent. False alarms are a perenmeeting, less than a week before the lawsuit nial and significant problem in the induswas filed. Police Chief Ken DeSimone said try, especially because residents or business that since the ordinance took effect in Octoowners may accidentally trigger their own ber, false alarms were down significantly — alarms in a variety of ways. The problem is from 99 to 49 in February — and companies common enough that a private company had been fined a total of $428,000, of which created a program — called “CryWolf” — to $135,000 had been collected. help cities register and track false alarms, a At that meeting, some officials expressed service that Sandy Springs uses.



Street Name Change: Windsor Parkway to Old Windsor Parkway Due to the re-alignment of Windsor Parkway with Roswell Road, a remnant section of Windsor Parkway remains. This section is approximately 360 feet in length and it is this segment of the street that would be renamed. Petitioner:

City of Sandy Springs


0 to 200 Block Windsor Parkway

Public Hearings:

Mayor and City Council Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

City of Sandy Springs


An Ordinance to amend the Development Code (“six-month update”), including the Zoning Map Mayor and City Council April 17, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

Public Hearing:

April 17, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Location:



Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600 SS

MARCH 30 - APRIL 12, 2018

Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Sandy Springs Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department provided the following information, which represents some of the police reports filed between March 3 and March 19.

B U R G L A RY 5600 block of Roswell Road — On March

3, an apartment resident said she has jewelry missing after she left the apartment following a fire. She was gone from the apartment several weeks. The jewelry was valued at around $8,000. 700 block of Brookwoods Trace — On

March 10, after officers responded to an alarm call, they found a kitchen window shattered by way of a baseball-size rock. The burglar pulled the alarm panel out but the wires remained intact and working. 200 block of Franklin Road — On

March 16, someone attempted to pry a sliding glass door open in order to enter the caller’s apartment. It appears they were unable to get in. 8800 block of Dunwoody Place — On

March 16, the caller said he had a female friend stay with him for three days. He told the officer that she was not allowed in the apartment while he was at work during the daytime hours. Well, it didn’t work out. He is missing his PS4 game system, controllers and 10 games. Her stuff was gone, too. The caller said he found a window and screen open. 400 block of Berkley Run— On March

16, the resident said sometime between March 17 and 18, someone entered her apartment, taking an Apple MacBook Air and charger. No forced entry was located.

THEFT 5500 block of Roswell Road — On March,

3, the victim reported her cellphone stolen, having been taken from the counter at the ice cream store. She tracked the phone to Chariot Street, off Barfield Road. The officer followed up with a visit to the townhomes on Chariot and spoke to at least two subjects in separate residences who were not familiar with the theft. The complainant said a group of people was around the phone at the time of the theft. However, she did not see the theft of the phone. 5600 block of Roswell Road — On March

3, the caller said he placed his Schwinn bike at the front door of his apartment. Within 20 minutes, someone took it. 6100 block of Roswell Road — On March

4, an employee said someone pried the exterior key box and took a U-Haul truck. 5700 block of Roswell Road — On March

4, a caller reported an Apple Watch and a set of iTouch Headphones were stolen from their hotel room while they were gone for SS

around an hour-and-a-half. 8700 block of Dunwoody

Place — On March 5, the complainant said someone broke into his rented storage space and took clothing and shoes that he valued at over $6,000. Spalding Trail — On March

5, a caller said her black 2012 Dodge Charger was stolen during the late morning or early afternoon hours from the apartment parking lot. 200 block of Glenridge Point

11, a woman reported she was inside a sports bar and at some point, someone took her phone and wallet. She said her purse was next to her in a chair. She told officers several persons were dancing next to her and she noticed a “skinny black male with a Gucci hat got close to me and possibly took my phone and Captain wallet.” The wallet contained STEVE ROSE, personal info, $350 cash, and SSPD three credit cards. The iPhone serial number was recorded and srose@sanlogged on the system. dyspringsga.gov

— On March 6, the caller said someone forced entry to a storage shed and stole a Stihl chain saw and cut-off saw. 100 block of Allen Road — On March

6, the caller said someone stole her clothes iron. The iron was stored in the late summer and discovered missing at the end of February. 6300 block of Peachtree-Dunwoody

Road — On March 6, a caller said several items were taken from her room at a hotel. They include jeans and jewelry, valued at around $5,000. 3100 block of River Exchange Drive —

On March 6, a resident at a senior living community reported that he discovered money had been taken from his bedroom dresser. He told the officer he began to pay attention to the situation and discovered several $20 bills were taken on a later date. He decided to lay $55 in bills out in his dresser and copy the bill’s numbers. They, too, were taken by a member of the cleaning crew, according to the complainant. He went to the management and gave a description of the suspect. They said the description matched that of an employee whom they fired five days past. 6500 block of Roswell Road — On March

7700 block of Spalding Drive — On March 11, a grocery store manager said three men came inside the store just after 8 p.m. They left with three boxes of chicken valued at $11 each. One of the men dropped a debit card, which was later given to the officer.

8500 block of Roswell Road — On March

12, officers were called just before 8 p.m. to Dan’s Package Store regarding a man who stole a bottle of liquor from the store. The man fit the description of the same suspect who shoplifted there the previous night. The man was described as 6 feet tall and about 165 pounds. He was clean-shaven and wore a blue sweatshirt and jeans. Paul Masson Apple Brandy, around nine bucks, was the drink of choice for the crook. Paul Masson Apple delivers notes of fresh green apple, balanced by the warm notes of the brandy. Very stealable. 2500 block of Spring Creek Lane — On March 16, the caller said she lent her 1996 Mercedes E-320 to her friend so he could drive it to Marietta to meet with his probation officer. Two days later she is still waiting for the car. She believes that he has relapsed and could have returned to his former stomping grounds of Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

front bumper, and a roof rack and ladder on the rear of the car. A neighbor said he saw a green sedan in the area around 8 p.m. the previous night. The victim’s car was unlocked and the keys were in it.

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES Between March 3 and March 7, five

thefts from vehicles were reported. Between March 12 and 19, there were nine larceny from vehicles incidents.

F R AU D 3600 block of Spring Creek Lane — On

March 5, the victim said he used his debit card at the QuikTrip on Roswell Road on January 30. He said it was either lost or stolen from that location and later used to deposit fake checks and subsequent withdrawals totaling $1,100. 6600 block of Roswell Road — On

March 5, the caller said he purchased a Rolex Submariner watch for $8,000, using his PayPal account to transfer the funds. The tracking information showed the tracking began in Hamburg, Germany, accepted by the USPS here, and sent to an address on Cole Avenue in Spring Valley, N.Y., where the package was signed for. That address is a highrise apartment building. 7300 block of Roswell Road — On

March 5, a customer provided a prescription for 84 30mg oxycodone pills. The pharmacists became suspicious and according to the report, issued only 28 pills. The pharmacists was later informed that the prescription was forged. 1100 block of Perimeter Center West

— On March 6, the caller reported he received a $9,000 check, payment for a diamond, which came back ISF. The caller’s attorney sent the certified letter demanding he funds and reported the matter to the police department. 900 block of Crestline Parkway— On

March 10, cops were called by a man from New York who said his credit card had been used fraudulently at a hotel to book a room. The officers located the room number booked by the card and spoke to a man and woman. The man said a friend, named Simeone, whom he had known for a month, offered to book the room for him, at a $50 fee. The room was booked in the name of the victim. The victim had not yet reported the crime locally, so the officers took the information on the pair in the room and turned it over to detectives. The couple was told they had to check out. The case is being investigated.

7, the complainant said an F-250 Ford pickup was stolen from a construction site overnight. The truck is a fuel truck for construction machines and contains a silver gas tanker containing 400 gallons of diesel fuel.

There are several situations one should consider when a friend or acquaintance asks to borrow your car. They include: Former cellmates; exanything; drug buddies; those you know only from street names like “Snake” or “Satan.”

6300 block of Powers Ferry Road — On

4800 block of Lake Forrest Drive — On

March 10, the victim said while he was working at the Wyndham Hotel, someone stole $1,000 cash from his bag sometime in the overnight hours of March 7-8. The victim is a security officer at the hotel.

March 19, the caller said someone took his 2008 Land Rover LR3 SE from his driveway overnight. The car READ MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT is described as having a RhinoShield on the

8600 block of Roswell Road — On March


24 |

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OPENING DAY: SATURDAY, APRIL 14 6100 Lake Forrest Drive • Century Springs East

Heritage Sandy Springs

Farmers Market Saturday Mornings April–December


www.sandyspringsfarmersmarket.com SS