03-31-17 Buckhead Reporter

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MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017 • VOL. 11 — NO. 7


Buckhead Reporter


Perimeter Business ► Agents deploy drones, hire models to sell multimillion-dollar homes PAGE 5 ► Cities jump on the logo brand-wagon



Communities of Faith


Chastain Park golf course is on the upswing

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net Frequent players at Chastain Park golf course say it has mostly improved since the city took over operation of all public golf courses four months ago. “I think they’re working harder to make the course nicer,” said


Players say the Chastain Park Golf Course has improved since the city of Atlanta took over its management and that of three other public courses in November.

EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR Bringing science to life Page 20

Our streets and our neighborhoods cannot handle the volume of cars that it’s going to take to move the people to the games. Are we prepared for Braves traffic? Residents speak out. See COMMUNITY SURVEY Page 14

See CHASTAIN on page 12

OUT & ABOUT Author talks early aviation in Georgia Page 8

Master plan scraps more public input BY EVELYN ANDREWS AND JOHN RUCH evelyn@reporternewspapers.net johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Buckhead master plan process is scrapping further public input—including a promised public meeting—due to budget concerns. Instead, the final “BUCKHEAD REdeFINED” plan will be released to the media and posted on the master plan website after an April 18 meeting of an internal steering committee, according to Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, the See BUCKHEAD on page 13

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Believe in the This illustration shows what the park over Ga. 400 could look like if it continues to be approved.

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The Buckhead Community Improvement District has voted to continue moving forward with studies on the park over Ga. 400. The March 22 vote authorizes no more than $365,000 to be spent on phase three of the ongoing study by a consulting firm. The third phase will focus on funding sources. The cost of building the park has previously been estimated at $195 million to $245 million. Funding sources are still being studied, said Rob Rogers, a consultant working on the park. Grants, philanthropy, MARTA sales tax and other public sources are being considered. The consultants also are studying the balance of public and private funding that similar projects in other cities have used. The estimated annual operating cost of the park is $1,770,000, which could be paid with taxes, Buckhead CID funding, event and food profits, parking, real estate funds and corporate sponsorships, Rogers said. The board voted 4-1 to approve the funding for phase three of the study with two members abstaining. Board member Robin Suggs of Simon Property Group, who has long opposed to the plan, was the one no vote. She has previously said she believes it to be a conflict of interest for some board members because they own property that would benefit from the plan and she thinks the Buckhead CID has other needs that should be prioritized instead. In public meetings and surveys, the studies found dining and events are the most requested features, with areas to run and walk coming in second. The consulting firm worked with the Georgia Department of Transportation and found that parking and traffic will not be affected greatly. Parks typically have “relatively low impact” on traffic and parking, Rogers said. Rogers estimates construction on the park could begin in 2020 and last until 2023. The park still has many steps before construction is on the table, however. The board must continue to approve the park, funding must be acquired and the city must approve the plan. Rogers said he hopes to give a final update at the Buckhead CID’s July meeting and present the conclusions of the study. The public can see the plan’s details on the Buckhead CID’s website, buckheadcid.com. BH

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Community | 3


“The Storyteller” in its new home at the Buckhead Branch Library.


Artist isn’t happy about iconic sculpture’s move to library BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Charlie Loudermilk Park will be the home to a new sculpture in the coming weeks. The iconic sculpture that was previously there also has a new home and a new owner, a move its creator isn’t thrilled about. Darion Dunn, director of capital improvements and planning for the Buckhead Community Improvement District, said he hopes to have the 12-foot-tall steel and water sculpture by architect and developer John Portman installed before the Atlanta Jazz Festival event there on April 22. “The Storyteller,” an iconic sculpture in Buckhead that was removed from the park during a CID renovation, is now installed outside of the Buckhead Library at the recommendation of Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, which commissioned and previously owned the sculpture. The coalition has now deeded it to the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. Massell said with the additions of the Portman sculpture and a statue of Charlie Loudermilk, designers of the park probably thought there wouldn’t be enough room in the small park for all three sculptures. He also entertained the idea that it was removed because Charlie Loudermilk, who the park is now named afBH

ter, did not like the sculpture. Although he was involved in the selection process and went to Alabama with Massell and others to meet the sculptor, Massell said Loudermilk later decided he didn’t like it and that may be part of the reason it wasn’t part of the park’s renovation plans. “It just didn’t fit the scheme of the park and it made much more sense at the library being a sculpture of a storyteller,” said Robin Loudermilk, the son of the businessmen and Aaron’s Inc. founder for whom the park is named and one of the people spearheading the park’s renovation. The turtles didn’t make it to the library, however, as three of them were given as donor gifts by Robin Loudermilk. When the turtles were removed to be given away in 2010, the Buckhead Coalition wasn’t consulted. This led some coalition officials to believe the turtles had been stolen. The coalition offered a reward of $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and $500 for each returned undamaged turtle. When the sculpture was commissioned in 1998, it cost $200,000. Massell said they weren’t told about the plan to give away three of the turtles and that “there wasn’t much they could do” after they were given away. “They were gone,” he said. The sculpture originally had six turtles and a rabbit, but it’s not clear what

happened to the other animals as the only ones that remain are the three dogs. Robin Loudermilk said he doesn’t have any information on what happened to them. The artist who created the sculpture, Frank Fleming, said the sculpture doesn’t convey the storytelling scene without the animals being in a circle and that he doesn’t understand why Loudermilk thought he had a right to remove the animals. “It looks like the dogs are trying to catch the buck,” he said. The removal of the turtles makes it a completely different sculpture, Fleming said. “It’s like taking someone and cutting both their arms off,” he said. When he was commissioned by the coalition to create “The Storyteller,” Fleming said, he was not given many stipulations. It had to feature a buck, but he was able to create what kind of sculpture he wanted. Fleming decided to base it on a similar sculpture he did for downtown Birmingham, Ala., that features a ram-headed person instead of a buck.

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Perimeter Business A monthly section focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

With new logos, Perimeter cities join the branding boom BY JOHN RUCH, DYANA BAGBY AND EVELYN ANDREWS


The new Sandy Springs economic development marketing logo.

Many of metro Atlanta’s corporate giants, from Coca-Cola to UPS, attract customers with instantly recognizable brand logos. In turn, cities marketing themselves as hometowns for such businesses are trying to stand out with

their own brands, with new city logos popping up everywhere from Perimeter Center to Peachtree City. Dunwoody and Sandy Springs are among the local cities that have recently created new city logos at considerable cost in time and money that they figure will pay off with economic development. “A city is a business,” said Sharon Kraun, communications director at the city of Sandy Springs, which recently spent more than $175,000 on a package of logos. “We are a business. We are attracting other businesses to come.” The city of Atlanta is the old-school holdout, its post-Civil War emblem of a phoenix reborn from ashes remaining essentially unchanged from its adoption in 1887. That logo appears everywhere, including on the city’s economic development handbook that tries to sweet-talk businesses into moving to Atlanta and staying. But the city also built a distinct economic development authority, Invest Atlanta, that has a modern logo of a stylized “A” in the blue-and-green color scheme that is popular in recent city logos. Atlanta also had a “New Coke” moment of a branding change gone wrong, according to former Mayor Sam Massell, who now heads the Buckhead Coalition. During his administration in

the early 1970s, he said, the city introduced a redesigned phoenix intended to look modern and cosmopolitan, as Hartsfield-Jackson airport began running its first non-stop international flights. The logo didn’t fly, he said. “We weren’t really international,” Massell said. “We were talking bigger than we deserved.” Getting a city’s brand spoton is “just a hard, hard job,” Kraun said. Indeed, the new Dunwoody and Sandy Springs brands are in part replacements for previous logos that didn’t work so well. In Dunwoody in 2010, the city and the Convention and Visitors Bureau paid a branding company $105,000 for a logo that was immediately derided as a confusing copycat. It featured a star that looked like an asterisk and became known as the “Walmart logo” for its similarity to the discount retailer’s symbol. As much as the City Council wanted to change the logo, it was even more eager to avoid spending more money on another one. This year, three Dun-



woody residents who head marketing and branding firms — Jay Kapp of Kapp Koncepts, Mike Martin of Jackson Spalding, and Heyward Wescott of Custom Signs Today — did pro bono work to produce a new logo. Their final design is the city’s name in blue with a curving green brushstroke beneath it. “We went with a very safe design,” Wescott said, while Kapp added, “We didn’t want to see the city go through another round of a logo that people didn’t like.” A big difference city logos have from corporate counterparts is that they must try to represent an entire diverse community and their costs must be justified politically to city residents. Dunwoody was able to say its new logo was free, but the design team said their volunteer effort had a market value of around $30,000. Sandy Springs took some heat for spending nearly $100,000 on its new city logo, the primary version of which is three blue-and-green brushstrokes. That was on top of $77,000 spent on Continued on page 6

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Perimeter Business | 5



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A Buckhead estate that’s been on and off the market for three years, Chestnut Hall, is still the most expensive house for sale in Georgia. Listed at $48 million, it’s among the elite properties that requires creative sales techniques. The 17,776-square-foot mansion sits on an 18.6 acre lot, but it’s not the size of the land or the amount of bedrooms that drove the price up. With seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, the size of the house isn’t much different from many other houses listed in Buckhead for half the price. Rather, it’s the meticulously decorated rooms and curated pieces of fine art. According to ChestnutHallEstate. com, a website marketing the property, he estate features a pair of 17th-century limestone lions from France, a 19th century French chandelier and an original painting by Pablo Picasso. There’s also custom seamless carpeting, Venetian plaster walls and imported Jerusalem stone floors. Almost every room features a chandelier, even the gym. The property’s owner and real estate agent declined to comment about the sale. The house has been on and off the market since 2014 and hasn’t sold, but that’s part of selling multimillion-dollar homes, real estate agents say. Blaine Palmer, a real estate agent at Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, said although homes in the luxury market have been moving quickly for the past couple of years, homes with higher prices are going

to take longer to sell. “The higher the price point, the longer it typically stays on the market, so you have to prepare the owner,” Palmer said. To sell a house like this, you have to be creative. “You’ve got reach out beyond the metro area to find a buyer for a $48 million home,” Andy Payne, a real estate agent at Sotheby’s, said. For houses with such a slim market as Chestnut Hall, real estate agents enlist creative strategies, such as getting a special on HGTV devoted to the home and pitching articles to magazines like Architectural Digest, Payne said. Debbie Sonenshine, another real estate agent at Coldwell Banker said international marketing is often vitally important in selling a luxury estate. They also target certain international markets depending on the features of the home. Sonenshine is currently selling a house owned by a landscaper who did the landscaping for Hong Kong Disneyland, so she is advertising heavily in China. Real estate agents also stage the house to appeal to target markets. When Sotheby’s real estate agent Chase Mizell sold filmmaker Tyler Perry’s house last year, he hired models to pose by the pool and in other parts of the home for photos and videos, Payne said. “You’re not selling a house, you’re selling a lifestyle,” he said. No one needs 10 bedrooms or a bowling alley in their house, but features like those are part of the lifestyle they’re looking for, he said.

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Director of Communications Bob Mullen, left, presents three concepts for a new city logo during the recent council retreat. The design on the far right was unanimously selected to be the new logo.

With new logos, Perimeter cities join the branding boom Continued from page 4


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branding its new “City Springs” downtown area anchored by a $220-million public-private development — a name that private developers are already imitating. Kraun said it’s true that various websites will design a custom logo for $500. But, she said, cities get what they pay for, including market research, vetting of designs and creation of alternatives and spin-off logos to use in other formats. Sandy Springs got six separate designs and a branding guide to using them. “If it was just to draw that one icon, yes, a hundred thousand dollars would be a lot,” Kraun said. “The cost for us was not just that icon. ... It’s not just something you put on a T-shirt.” Sandy Springs presented its branding companies with complex challenges. Its previous city logo, depicting a river and trees in shaded colors, was popular, but it was a nightmare to use in different sizes, colors and applications. The replacement had to be not only more flexible, but also had to match well with the new City Springs brand — an abstract, fountain-like image — that, in turn, has a more specialized goal of drawing residents and customers to downtown. The $100,000 included several designs integrating the new city logo with other images for such special uses as

the parks department and the city’s new performing arts center, which is set to open next year. One of the new logos is specifically for economic development marketing materials. It shows the city logo wrapped around the Concourse Center’s King and Queen skyscrapers, the icons of the city’s Perimeter Center big-business hub. The cost included “how we were able to take something so iconic and wrap it with the brand,” Kraun said. “From an economic development perspective, we’re tying all the pieces together.” Businesses ultimately base their location decisions on measurable factors such as demographics, community amenities and tax incentives. Does a city logo really matter? Are cities creating them mostly because everyone else is? Kraun likened the value of a city brand to a basic rule in the public relations business: “‘No comment’ is a comment. No logo is also a logo. ... It’s a calling card.” Kapp said the logo serves as a foundation for a city to build its brand value upon. “A logo is what you make of it, how you use it,” he said. “Of course you don’t want a logo with [the cartoon typeface] Comic Sans. But what’s in a brand? The reason Coca-Cola is as well-known as it is, is not because of a logo.”

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Perimeter Business | 7


Real estate agents get creative to sell multimillion-dollar homes Continued from page 5 Real estate agents are also taking advantage of technology such as 3-D walkthroughs, virtual reality headsets, drone videos and websites dedicated to individual estates, Payne said. Those technologies not only promote the home, but also reduce intrusion into owners’ homes because people can decide if they are interested in the home without touring it. People also can’t just call and come tour houses in this price range. The seller has to arrange the showing and verify the interested buyer could actually afford to buy the house. “This isn’t a museum,” Palmer said. Occasionally, showing a home requires real estate agents and interested buyers to acquire clearances, such as

when Palmer was showing a condominium in a building where superstar comedian Will Ferrell also lives. Instances like that are becoming more common as the filming industry in Georgia continues to increase, as well as the probability that agents will show a home to a celebrity. “With the movie industry in Atlanta and around Georgia right now, showing to celebrities is becoming more and more a reality,” Palmer said.


Chestnut Hall is the most expensive home for sale in Georgia at $48 million.

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8 | Out & About

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: palsonline.org or 770-698-0801.

EARLY AVIATION IN GEORGIA Tuesday, April 4, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.









Scenes from “Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions” by Will Eno, and monologues from Leonard Cohen’s “Book of Mercy,” will be performed by the Performing Arts group at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. $10. Dunwoody UMC, 1548 Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-394-0675.

Presented by The Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, Artsapalooza brings musicians and arts and crafts participants to the streets of Sandy Springs. 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringsartsapalooza.com.

Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, 7 p.m. Sunday, April 9 at 3 p.m.


Friday, April 14, to Saturday, April 29

Act3 Productions presents “Urinetown,” a humorous musical satire set in a Gothamlike city where a severe water shortage has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that charges admission. Tickets: $15-$28. Act3 Playhouse in Sandy Springs Plaza, 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Schedule and ticket info: www. act3productions.org or 770-241-1905.


Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.to 6 p.m. through Saturday, May 6. Opening Reception: Thursday, April 6, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The work of sculptor Thomas H. Williams will be showcased in an exhibit at the Spruill Gallery. Williams teaches ceramic figure sculpting at the Spruill Center for the Arts. Free admission for exhibit and reception. 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Sandy Springs. Info: spruillarts.org/gallery or 770-3944019. THOMAS H. WILLIAMS

Saturday, Apr. 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Apr. 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

AUDUBON SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE Saturday, April 15, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Join the Atlanta Audubon Society for the kickoff event of Atlanta Bird Fest 2017 at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Guests can view the National Audubon’s 2016 Photography Awards traveling exhibit; tour the Amphibian Foundation’s new conservation laboratory; participate in a nature scavenger hunt; and meet Chris Wood, assistant director of information science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Free. Drop-ins welcome. Registration requested. 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info and registration: atlantaaudubon.org/atlanta-bird-fest.


Ongoing through Tuesday, June 13.

Senior Services North Fulton hosts Step On It!, an eight-week wellness program to help keep older adults active and independent. Any north Fulton resident age 60+ can participate. Free, and each participant gets a pedometer, while supplies last. Sandy Springs Senior Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: ssnorthfulton.org or 770-993-1906, ext. 227.


Mondays through May 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No class April 10.

The spring quarter of Perimeter Adult Learning & Services (PALS) classes is underway at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. Class topics include: the Pacific Coast Indians, the 2017 real estate market, travel, Shakespeare, state and local politics, President Harry S. Truman, “The Black Experience 1800-1900,” bridge, mahjongg and “Examining Your Funny Bone I.” Classes are held on Mondays in three time slots. $45 for the entire spring session, or visit for $8 per day. Bring a lunch or purchase a meal for $8 with advance reservations.

Heritage Sandy Springs’ Titles@Twilight program for adults continues this month with Dan A. Aldridge, Jr., author of “To Lasso the Clouds: The Beginning of Aviation in Georgia.” Aldridge, vice president of the Friends of Georgia Libraries, set the historical record straight on the first airplane flight in Georgia, which he reveals was the first flight of a monoplane in the U.S. The Garden Room at the WilliamsPayne House, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-851-9111.


Jonathan Sandys, great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill and the author of ”God and Churchill,” will be interviewed about the role spiritual beliefs played in the former British prime minister’s leadership on the world stage. Free. The Lovett School, 4075 Paces Ferry Road, N.W., Buckhead. RSVP: rsvp@ lovett.org.


Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m. to noon.

Learn about bluebirds and how to attract them to your yard, then go outside to observe Lost Corner Preserve’s resident bluebird family. Ages 6+. $12. Bluebird houses will be available for sale. 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. Registration: registration.sandyspringsga.gov. Info: friendsoflostcorner.org or 770-730-5600.


Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Friday, April 7 to Saturday, April 9, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Reception: Friday, April 7, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Dunwoody Fine Art Association and the Dunwoody Community Garden Club will host a joint art and plant sale at the barn area in Brook Run Park. The April 7 reception will include affordable art work by local artists for sale. All events free. 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: bflexner@hotmail.com.


Saturday, April 8, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Atlanta History Center guests can experience the process of making cloth with demonstrations of sheep shearing, wool dyeing, spinning and weaving. Open hearth cooking, blacksmithing, candle making, live music at Smith Family Farm. Free for members; included with general admission. Tickets: $11 to $16.50. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.


Saturday, April 8, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The seventh annual cleanup hosted by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and its partners includes North Fork Peachtree Creek in Brookhaven. Since 2011, volunteers have removed 41 tons of trash from the Chattahoochee River. Volunteers can join in as walkers, waders equipped with their own boots, or paddlers who provide their own kayaks or canoes. Register: chattahoochee.org/sweep-the-hooch. Info: tbates@chattahoochee.org.


Attract butterflies, polliThe Community Assistance Center offers nators, birds and more free help with tax returns. CAC’s team of to your garden by adding trained and certified VITA [Volunteer Innative plants. More than come Tax Assistance] volunteers can help 120 species of plants, includfilers earning up to $55,000 in 2016. Aping herbs and veggies for the edible garpointments are available now. CAC is one den, will be available at the Chattahoochof many metro area VITA sites, an initiaee Nature Center’s Annual Spring Native tive of the IRS and the United Way. 1130 Plant sale. Horticulturists and knowlHightower Trail, Sandy Springs. Info: edgeable volunteers will be available to 770-552-4889, ext. 221 or contact VITA@ give advice. Free admission to the garden ourcac.org. area. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. SUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT Info: chattnatucalendar@ReporterNewspapers.net recenter.org.

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017


Out & About | 9

Farmers markets blossom for the season Like perennial flowers, farmers markets are making their return in the spring season. The following markets are blossoming now and will remain open into the fall.

PEACHTREE ROAD FARMERS MARKET Saturdays through mid-December, 8:30 a.m. to noon. Wednesdays, April 19 through late October, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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

HERITAGE SANDY SPRINGS FARMERS MARKET Saturdays, April 15 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. Located at the Century Springs office park, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringsfarmersmarket.com or 404-851-9111, ext. 5.


Saturdays, April 22 through midNovember, 9 a.m. to noon.

The market is open rain or shine in the parking lot of the University Baptist Church, 1375 Fernwood Circle at the intersection with Dresden Drive, Brookhaven. Information: brookhavenfarmersmarket.com.

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What can you learn about senior living at our Lunch and Learn? A whole bunch. Ask questions. Take a tour. Ask more questions. Try the food. Ask even more questions. You get the idea. It’s casual, it’s complimentary and you’re invited. The Piedmont at Buckhead Senior Living Community’s next Lunch and Learn is on Saturday, April 8th from noon-2:00pm. Please call 404.381.1743 to RSVP.

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10 | Community

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Radio company wins court ruling on internet streaming BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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As the internet continues to change the music industry, the Georgia Supreme Court was tasked with determining if iHeartRadio, an internet radio service, needs permission from music owners to play music. The court unanimously decided March 20 that internet radio, like traditional radio, is not required to pay royalties to or obtain permission from music owners. The case involved iHeartRadio, which operates five stations in Buckhead, and Arthur and Barbara Sheridan, an Illinois couple who owned jazz and blues recording companies in the 1950s and 1960s. Radio 105.7, 94.9 The Bull, El Patron 105.3, 640 WGST AM and The Beat 92.3 and 96.7 are all operated by iHeartRadio in the same Peachtree Road building in Buckhead. The Sheridans accused iHeartRadio of illegally transmitting their property by playing songs they own over internet radio. They claim their songs were regularly played to Georgia listeners without their permission and they did not receive compensation. The radio company doesn’t dispute those facts, but moved to dismiss the case, claiming it is exempt under Georgia law and the company is not legally required to obtain permission. The statute in question exempts radio or television broadcasters from getting consent from owners to distribute their content. That is the question the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia asked the Supreme Court of Georgia to answer: does iHeartRadio qualify as a radio service, exempt from the Georgia statute? The couple argued that iHeartRadio is not exempt because it doesn’t only operate AM and FM stations, but also allows users to tune in using a mobile app and build their own stations based on a song or an artist. The Sheridans’ attorneys argued this is streaming and compared iHeartRadio to bootleggers. “The harm caused to the Sheridans by iHeart is no different than the harm caused by a prototypical bootlegger, i.e. the shady character on the street corner illegally copying CDs, and then selling them out of their van on the cheap – profiting from creative works without compensation,” an attorney for the Sheridan’s said. The Sheridans claim the radio service has made millions in ad revenue from playing songs they own the rights to, such as songs performed by the blues group The Flamingos, and they have not received any compensation. The court ultimately ruled iHeartRadio’s services are no different than radio and they are exempt from paying royalties and obtaining permission. Although the songs are technically streamed, the court said, they are not permanently stored on users’ devices and cannot be replayed or played on demand, so they qualify as a radio service, not a streaming service.

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D EVELO PER WITHD R AWS $6 5 M L ENO X PA R K P L A NS The developer for a proposed six-story apartment complex in Lenox Park has withdrawn its plans with the city after strong backlash from residents living in the area. Lenox Park is in Brookhaven just east of the Buckhead border. Carl Westmoreland, attorney for WSE Development, asked at the March 28 Brookhaven City Council meeting that the proposed project be withdrawn from the agenda. The council voted to do so. The $65 million proposed project included 273 apartments and a 2,000-square-foot coffee shop on the ground floor. “We’ve certainly got a lot of emails and we take them all seriously,” Councilmember Bates Mattison said. “I believe the applicant heard very clearly what the will of the community is … and I’m glad we will not have to go through a protracted process.” Numerous people who showed up at the meeting wearing red to show opposition to the proposed development filed out after the council voted to approve the withdrawal. The Planning Commission voted March 1 to recommend denial of the proposed development after several residents voiced opposition, citing concerns about increased traffic and additional apartments in the community. Residents also showed Planning Commission members a master plan for their development that does not include apartments, but rather calls for commercial development only. The vacant property is currently zoned for two office buildings with six and eight stories, according to plans filed with the city. --Dyana Bagby BH

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Community | 11



MARTA presents proposals for $2.5B expansion plan

for Dogs & Cats

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

MARTA laid out proposals for various projects to the handful of Atlanta residents who came to a public meeting March 22 at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead. The ideas focus on increasing coverage to underserved areas and reducing traffic congestion. The main projects proposed for the Buckhead area are a transit center where drivers could park buses in the Moores Mill area and frequent local bus service on Howell Mill Road. Frequent local bus service would have buses arriving every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours. Although the meeting was held in Buckhead, the topics up for input involved the entire city and questions mostly dealt with arMAR TA TESTING eas outside of Buckhead. MARTA has been hosting listening sesELECTR IC B U S sions across the city of Atlanta to gauge MARTA has unveiled a new elecwhat the public wants to see them do with tric bus it’s testing on routes in Fulthe increased funding passed by residents ton and DeKalb counties. last November. The transit organization owns The tax referendum that implementdiesel, hybrid and compressed natued an additional half-penny sales tax for 35 ral gas buses but hasn’t permanently years will raise $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion for added a completely electric bus. transit improvements in Atlanta. All the proThat could possibly change afposed projects would cost around $4 billion. ter this 30-day pilot program, which The projects being considered range started March 20. Although MARfrom station enhancements to new high caTA has done pilot programs with pacity rail systems, like the Clifton Corridor electric buses before and did not light rail and I-20 West heavy rail systems. add them to their fleet, the agenSeveral bus service expansions and adcy is exploring the idea of purchasditions are also proposed, but one challenge ing electric buses, said Erik Burton, is changing negative perceptions of bus sera spokesperson for the public transvice, said Janide Sidifall, a MARTA project portation operator. manager. Routes must be more closely synNow in final test phases, the bus chronized with other routes and they must will run on routes west of Midtown. avoid traffic delays by using dedicated bus The bus will run on route 3 from April lanes. 3-7 between the Hamilton E. Holmes MARTA is also working on a new app to station and John Wesley Dobbs Avemake it easier to pay trip fare. Sidifall said nue. From April 10-14, it will run on the app could be released within the next route 51 between the Five Points stayear. The app will basically work like an tion and Hamilton E. Holmes station. electronic Breeze card, which MARTA riders The routes have to be outfitted use to pay fares. with charging stations that will reThey are also working with ride-sharing charge the bus in about 10 minutes. services Uber and Lyft to provide discounts The buses can travel for about three or vouchers to riders so they can get to bus hours on one charge. stops or stations. The bus is on loan from ProterThe presentation and survey given at lisra, an electric bus manufacturer, for tening sessions can be found at itsmarta. about 30 days at no cost to MARTA. com/moremarta. — Evelyn Andrews

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12 | Community

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Renovations are planned for Chastain Park Golf Course, which came under city of Atlanta management in November.


Chastain Park Golf Course is on the upswing Continued from page 1 Reagan Sutherland, who said she plays at the course every day. The city of Atlanta has been running the four public golf courses since November 2016, after the private company previously running them did not re-

new its contract. The transition was rocky at times, players said, but the quality of the course at Buckhead’s Chastain Park, previously known as the North Fulton Golf Course, has improved. During the transition, players in the North Fulton Women’s Golf Association

had to remove their belongings from the lockers, as it was thought the golf company, American Golf Corporation, would take them in the transition, but they ended up leaving them behind. “That created some confusion, but that’s part of the process,” Sandy Pardue, the president of the golf association said.

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She also said employees at the course seem to be more customer-service oriented since the city took over. Some parts of the course were not maintained as well as they could have been under the previous company, Pardue said, but city officials are planning renovations to the course and have talked about purchasing new equipment, such as golf carts. “Everything we’ve seen has been positive,” she said. “The city came into bare bones,” Pardue said, and has done well at furnishing the course again. The city sent a statement outlining details about the transition, but wouldn’t provide details on the cost of the city taking over the management of the courses. Atlanta Public Golf Conservancy trustee Whitney Crouse told the city when the city was considering managing the golf courses that it would cost $1 million to equip the courses, Reporter Newspapers previously reported. “The biggest difference is the course is in better shape,” Susan Jones, another patron at the course said. “It could be because of the early spring, but it does look better this year than in the past.” “I think there are some things they could do to make it look a little better and make playing here nicer,” said a player who would not provide his name. “They haven’t been doing it that long but I think it’s going well so far.” According to a statement provided by a city spokesperson, the city hired 50 former American Golf employees that were going to be laid off by the company. They also hired five people to manage the daily operations of the course. People have also been playing at the courses more frequently, according to the city. The average total number of rounds of golf played across all courses has increased by 28 percent since the city took over the management of the courses. The city introduced a program that makes playing cheaper for frequent players. For $30 a month, players can buy a Fore Pass that works at all the golf courses. Players will save money if they play more than three games in a month, Pardue said. District 8 City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, who represents the area where the course is located, said she believes the city’s management of the courses should be only temporary and the city should continue looking for another manager. “They have the expertise and the equipment,” she said. American Golf chose not to renew their contract after the Bobby Jones golf course was given to the state. That course will soon be renovated to have a reversible ninehole course and a building that will house the course clubhouse, several golf associations and the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. The change meant the profitable Bobby Jones course was no longer part of the city’s contract with American Golf. The city twice rejected a $15 million bid for management of the courses from the nonprofit Atlanta Public Golf Conservancy. City officials didn’t say why they rejected the bid.


MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Community | 13


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Consultant Andrew Kohr of Stantec talking with residents at a Buckhead REdeFINED public meeting in January.

organization leading the plan. The abrupt cutback in public input after three previous meetings was due to concerns of staying within the original budget, Starling said. The project budget is $219,500. In an email, Starling said the reason was “keeping within the original scope of the project — additional engagement and meetings was beyond the scope and would have resulted in a budget increase.” The organizers wanted to host another public meeting due to the amount of major projects being proposed, but the request for funding to do that was denied by the Buckhead Community Improvement District, which contributed $107,500 to the plan, Starling said in an email. “I requested that funding from the CID, however, they decided that the added cost would not result in enough return on the investment. More specifically, it wouldn’t supply any new information or recommendations,” Starling said. Jim Durrett, the executive director of the Buckhead CID, said he made the decision to not pay for more public engagement meetings and a board vote was not required. “Had I decided that spending more would yield substantial benefit for the cost and had committed more funds, the board would be required to ratify that decision,” Durrett said. Launched last October, “BUCKHEAD REdeFINED” is technically an update of an existing, 15-year-old plan for the neighborhood’s commercial core around Lenox and Peachtree roads. But it also folded in some other major planning efforts, such as the proposed park capping Ga. 400. It also began generating new, large-scale project proposals, including a new Ga. 400 interchange around East Paces Ferry Road. In that early stage, the process drew hundreds of people to meetings and gained input from online and in-person surveys. BH

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A Feb. 27 community meeting showed signs that the planning team had bitten off more than it could chew. It was supposed to be the final meeting in the process, but several plans remained sketchy, with no designs available and residents complaining about the lack of detail. Starling said that the master plan will recommend further studies for major projects. “Big ideas start in master plans and always raise a need for more detail to be discovered as projects get further developed,” she said. At the Feb. 27 meeting, Starling and consultants said that an additional public meeting would be held to finish off the concepts, and in the meantime, several major plans, like the Ga. 400 interchange, would be posted on the “BUCKHEAD REdeFINED” website at a rate of one per week for further public comment. A March 15 blog post on the Buckhead CID repeated the promise of a forthcoming meeting and said, “In order to make these projects happen, we must keep the conversation going!” But nothing from that meeting was ever posted to the website. The additional meeting has been scrapped, as has the idea of posting one project per week on the website, Starling said. Presentation materials take time to be ready to post because they need added context so people understand some projects need to be studied further, Starling said. After this article was originally posted online, the presentation materials from the last public meeting on Feb. 28 were added to the master plan website in an update to a March 3 blog post. The steering committee that will get one final look has about 40 members from the community. The meeting was pushed back to add more time for public comment and the public can continue to weigh in until the meeting on April 18, Starling said. Presentation materials are available on the master plan website at buckheadredefined.com.

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14 | Commentary

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Community Survey / Bracing for Braves stadium traffic Question: Do you think the Atlanta Braves and local governments have done enough to prepare for the traffic that will go to the new Cobb County stadium? Many of us believe a traffic tsunami is coming our way, and we don’t think we’re ready for it. The Atlanta Braves play their official Opening Day game in new SunTrust Park in Cobb County on April 14, and respondents to a recent Reporter Newspapers survey think local roads will be choked by cars filled with fans. “Our streets and our neighborhoods cannot handle the volume of cars that it’s going to take to move the people to the games,” a resident of the Buckhead/Sandy Springs border area commented. “We must develop a better and more efficient system of public transportation that covers a wider range of ‘home bases.’ ” The cellphone survey of 200 residents of the Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown communities was conducted about a week before the stadium’s first event, a March 31 limited-attendance exhibition game between the Braves and New York Yankees. More than half – about 52 percent – of the respondents said that the Braves and local officials had poorly prepared for the coming waves of traffic headed to and from the stadium near the intersection of I-285 and I-75. Only about 4 percent thought they’d done enough. “What I know is they should’ve done a lot more than what they have done,” a 50-year-old man from the Sandy Springs/Buckhead area commented. “I’ve driven around the new stadium and there is no way the area is going to be able to handle all the traffic as currently configured.” But a 43-year-old resident of the same

3.5% 9.5% 21.5%

14% 51.5%

They’re well-prepared to handle traffic 7 (3.5%) They’ve done the basics, but could improve 19 (9.5%) They’re poorly prepared to handle traffic 103 (51.5%) I haven’t heard enough details to know 28 (14%) We won’t know until Opening Day 43 (21.5%) area felt things were going swimmingly. “The Braves traffic plan has been well stated and they have done a great job. I have been using Braves.com/parking to figure out my best options,” he wrote. “Uber will be my first choice.” Survey respondents selected their responses from among five choices, including that local officials “could have done more” (about 10 percent) and “I haven’t heard enough details to know” (14 percent). About 22 percent said they’d wait until Opening Day to decide. Fears of game-day traffic jams have raised protests from Sandy Springs residents and members of Sandy Springs City Council for months.

1Q is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a technology which sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text message from businesses and organizations across the country. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity.

The Braves have argued that the road network around SunTrust Park is better able to handle game traffic than the one around their old home, Turner Field in downtown Atlanta. The team is offering advance sales of reserved parking and has made changes to try to stagger fans’ arrivals and departures in order to avoid massive traffic tie-ups. Games will start later, at 7:30 p.m., in an attempt to avoid rushhour traffic, and the team believes many fans will delay their departure from the new park after the game to check out restaurants and other businesses in the surrounding mixed-use development. But many responding to the survey said nothing would be better than more and better mass transit to the stadium. “I cannot believe the lack of public transportation to the stadium. The roads aren’t even ready,” a 31-year-old Brookhaven woman wrote. And a 27-year-old Dunwoody woman’s comment was simply, “MARTA.” MARTA, of course, doesn’t go into Cobb, where voters in the past rejected plans to make the county part of the transit system. Other proposals for improving transportation to the stadium ranged from better pedestrian access, to more shuttle buses and parking decks, to never having built the new ballpark in the first place. “Move the stadium,” one 26-year-old Atlanta man said. Whatever is needed to handle traffic around the stadiums, many respondents sounded frustrated that it hasn’t been done yet. “Prepare for the worst,” a 29-year-old Buckhead woman said.

Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting REPORTER to 86312.

Voices from the community I want to move! They should have taken time to plan the stadium, they threw it together so quickly. There needs to be more public transportation. I saw in the AJC that they recommend people coming from Alpharetta should cut through Sandy Springs streets, which will make things worse where I live, too. ← Lisa Graffagnino

Probably not, but there’s really no way around Atlanta traffic. I don’t think they have a devoted exit for the stadium. That would be nice. It doesn’t matter to me. I just have to plan. I’ll still go to the games. ← Marty Hutchinson

I think there should be more media about the new stadium, like make more people aware of the peak hours for I-285, parking information ... and some of the lanes created aren’t open yet. People don’t really know what’s going to happen and the local community will also suffer. ← Javier Pascual BH

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Community | 15


Sandy Springs annexes Buckhead estate BY JOHN RUCH


Buckhead is getting about 12 acres smaller as Sandy Springs annexes the estate of a former Home Depot CEO from the city of Atlanta. The annexation of 1250 and 1290 West Garmon Road in Buckhead includes the multimillion-dollar mansion of Robert Nardelli, the former CEO of Home Depot and Chrysler Corporation. Nardelli requested the annexation so that various properties he owns would all be in one city, according to Sandy Springs officials. Moving the city border required an act of the state Legislature, accomplished in this session’s House Bill 440, which has been approved by both houses of the General Assembly. One of the bill’s cosponsors was state Rep. Wendell Willard, who is also the Sandy Springs city attorney. Willard said that among the reasons for Nardelli’s annexation request was that one of his properties, for unclear reasons, was split between the cities of Atlanta and Sandy Springs. All other parcels fronting on West Garmon are already in Sandy Springs. “His reasoning is understandable,” Willard said in an email. “If there were a fire, need for police services or medical emergency, there would be confusion over who is to respond to the property. This will, hopefully, clear up this problem.” Nardelli, who now runs an investment and consulting firm called XLR-8, did not respond to requests for comment. According to Fulton County property records, the two properties have a combined tax assessment value of about $4 million. With the formation of new cities in DeKalb and Fulton counties, Atlanta has been involved in some annexation disputes and attempts. The city of Atlanta did not respond to a comment request about the West Garmon annexation, but Willard said Atlanta officials were “amenable to the idea.” Buckhead prides itself as the only Atlanta neighborhood with official boundaries recognized by the state House of Representatives via a 1990 resolution. According to the Buckhead Coalition, the city limit is the northern boundary. “If it meets with approval of Atlanta’s mayor and council, we’ll have no objection,” Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell said in an email about Buckhead getting a little smaller. The annexation will become effective the month after Gov. Nathan Deal either signs it into law or allows it to become a law without vetoing it.

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16 | Faith Dining Out

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Communities of Faith

Rev. Lang Lowrey, center, shares a laugh with congregants and Rev. Ruth Pattison, left, after Sunday service.


As Easter arrives, a church attempts its own resurrection BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

At a church in the wooded Sandy Springs neighborhood known as High Point, it’s Easter season in more ways than one. As the congregation celebrates its members’ belief in the mystery of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the Church of the Atonement is undergoing one of its own.

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After dwindling to a dozen worshipers in a near-death experience a year ago, the 50-year-old church is attempting a comeback under a new name, Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, and new leadership that puts community above rule-making. “We’re having a great rebirth,” said Ralph Edwards, a 40-year church member, after a recent Sunday service. “We got roots and we also have buds.”

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DiningFaith Out | 17


Communities of Faith peachtreechurch.org

Point Road. Duffy Hickey, a church member for more than 20 years, recalls the days when the church had up to 250 members and a full-time priest. “Over time, and probably through demographics … we dwindled. We dwindled way down,” Hickey said. By late 2015, Atonement was in crisis mode and essentially leaderless, with longtime pastor Rev. Chris Starr moving to an out-of-state church. In early 2016, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta sent Lowrey in. His official title there is “Canon for Christian Enterprise,” but he described the hat he was wearing in simpler terms: “I’m the real estate guy for the church.” “Most bishops would close it down, mow it down [and] sell the land,” he said of Atonement. “We thought it was going to be a lights-out situation.” From his business career, Lowrey recalled first seeing Atonement from the air as he flew out of DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in a corporate jet and wondering why it was located on a side street, hidden behind trees. In the sheer business point of view, that location helped save the church, because rights of way for a fuel pipeline and Ga. 400 limit its redevelopment potential. But Lowrey also saw potential in those strong community connections. Pattison noted the diversity of those ties, from a popular men’s supper club to the Capital City Opera performing regularly in the church hall. There’s also the responsibility of hosting Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Hispanic mission congregation with an active membership larger than Atonement’s. The two congregations sometimes host joint services in Spanish and English, and Guadalupe members provide many of the volunteers keeping the church running.

Palm Sunday: April 9

Sanctuary Services | 8:45, 10:00, 11:15 am Summit Services | 8:45, 11:15 am Preaching: Dr. Richard Kannwischer

Maundy Thursday: April 13

Communion Service | 7:00 pm

Good Friday: April 14

Buckhead Community Service Peachtree Presbyterian Sanctuary | 12:00 pm

Easter Egg Hunt: April 15

Cates Center: 110 East Andrews Drive Po w er sF er ry

Powers Ferry Square

Easter Services: April 15 & 16

Sat. Sanctuary Service | 5:00 pm Sun. Sanctuary Services | 8:45, 10:00, 11:15 am Summit Services | 8:45, 11:15 am Preaching: Dr. Richard Kannwischer

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Peachtree Presbyterian Church | 3434 Roswell Rd. | Atlanta, Ga 30305 | 404.842.5800

Northwest Presbyterian Church JOHN RUCH

Powers Ferry Square: 0.5 mile north of the church on the west side of Roswell Road between BB&T Bank & bartaco

Chastain Park | 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Continued on page 18

Rev. Ruth Pattison in her pop-up art studio, where people explored religious and personal themes through painting.

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Part of that optimism comes from the church’s energetic — if still only parttime — leaders. Rev. Ruth Pattison, the day-to-day pastor, has added pop-up art classes to standard Sunday fare. And Rev. Lang Lowrey, the new vicar, is a professor of church leadership at Emory’s Candler School of Theology and recently launched a thousand-member congregation in Smyrna with a start-up sensibility he honed in a long career as a corporate investor. “When I walked in, it was like that old [novel and movie] ‘The Land That Time Forgot,’” said Lowrey of his first visit to the church at 4945 High Point Road. “The light had not gone out, but it had definitely diminished.” Atonement is hardly the only church struggling in an era of increasing secularism. But, Lowrey said, it has avoided some real church-killers like debt or religious schism. While the remaining congregation is small, it’s growing again — to more than 40 members —with a closeness that Pattison likens to the Christian church’s early days. “It has that feel to it … that sense of spiritual energy,” she said. The church has a big asset, too, that’s reflected in its new name: significant connections to the larger community. It hosts everything from government meetings to a popular community garden. “We are the High Point community center. We are their town hall,” said Lowrey. “I’m really glad it’s going to stay as a church,” said City Councilmember Tibby DeJulio, who represents the neighborhood. “It’s a real asset to the community.” The church came to the community more than a half-century ago, in 1962, as a mission of Holy Innocents’, a church that remains a powerful Sandy Springs institution today. In 1967, the congregation broke ground for its own building on a nearly 8-acre site on High

Roswell Road


MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

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18 | Faith Community

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As Easter arrives, a church attempts its own resurrection Continued from page 17 Bishop Rob Wright, who heads the Atlanta Diocese, agreed to save the church. While the church was stripped of its parish status, it was allowed to survive as a “worshiping community,” which essentially means it operates with a start-up’s lack of hierarchy and usual rules. Pattison that makes the church appealing for people who want something more family-like than “modeling on corporate America,” while Lowrey says, “We’re just a bohemian church.” Part of the rebirth is shedding the old “Atonement” name. Internal church history says the name was chosen partly as a pun suggesting unity — “At-One-Ment.” But in Christian theology, “atonement” refers to Jesus suffering on the cross for all of humanity’s sins. Pattison and Lowrey call that a “dark” interpretation and would rather have the revived church focus on love and community. “I think the doctrine of atonement is just too dark, especially for a church going through a post-World War II … era of secularity,” said Lowrey, adding that some of his Candler School students say the name is off-putting. “Sometimes a rebranding is necessary.” The name change is still in the works.

Meanwhile, the church is playfully advertising its new initials with a street sign reading, “What the HECC?” While the church is getting a second chance, it’s not an unlimited one. Lowrey said the diocese has set certain benchmarks and expectations, including a goal of reaching 75 to 100 members by year’s end. “I don’t know where we are in five years,” said Dickey, the longtime church member. “We may close shop. We may have a hundred members and a full-time priest.” But, he added, “There is a blessing to [the challenge], in that we’re tighter together.” Lowrey said that sense of community helps to support the congregation’s faith and hope. “These are Easter people,” he said.


The congregation of Highpoint Episcopal Community Church gathers for the Sunday service on March 19.

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Community Education | 19

17 ■■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 20 2017 www.ReporterNewspapers.net

S TUD EN T S JOI N SA F E-C RA C K I N G CO M PETITIO N Safecracking is the unusual hobby of five Weber School students, who won fifth place on March 29 in an international science competition where they matched wits with othSPECIAL er students. From left, Safe-Cracking Club members Justin Cobb, The safes Levi Durham, Ross Williams, Eric Lieberman and in question Becky Arbiv with their confounding device. aren’t the steel-and-combination-lock variety. They’re physics experiments where students build devices with clever locking mechanisms, such as lasers, that they challenge others to unlock with only a few hints. The Safe-Cracking Club at the Sandy Springs private Jewish school includes members Becky Arbiv, Justin Cobb, Levi Durham, Eric Lieberman and Ross Williams. The team was among many, including the Atlanta Jewish Academy in Sandy Springs, invited to join an annual safe-cracking competition at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The Weber club was the top U.S. finisher. “Our team is ‘Coca-Cola’ since we’re from Atlanta,” said Spencer Roby, a math teacher who serves as the Weber club’s faculty sponsor. Likewise, he said, the treasure locked in their safe is Coke’s fabled secret formula. Spoiler: It’s actually just a document reading, “Love.” --John Ruch

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20 | Education

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Claire Marie Huff Atlanta Classical Academy Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” series, Reporter Newspapers showcase the work of some of the outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend an Exceptional Educator to be included in our series, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with information about the teacher or administration and why you think he or she should be featured. Claire Marie Huff teaches seventh grade science and Advanced Placement biology at the Atlanta Classical Academy, a public charter school located in Buckhead. She’s been teaching for seven years.


What attracted you to teaching at first?


While at Georgia Tech, my chemistry fraternity visited an Atlanta area middle school to perform some science demonstrations for the students. Their excitement and curiosity were infectious. I loved being a part of that day, guiding the students, answering questions and sharing their enthusiasm for science. After I graduated, I went to work in the adhesives industry as a chemist, which felt


fore. I want to be more thorough, more exciting, more challenging, and it is important to me to be as up-to-date as possible with what is happening in the global scientific community. Another thing that I look forward to is finding new ways to illustrate scientific concepts with demonstrations, activities and hands-on explorations. Teaching is a work in progress and I love trying to make my science classes more engaging and enriching year after year.


anti-climactic after my college career. My days were monotonous. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to teach eighth grade physical science and I left industry to become a teacher. As soon as I started, I saw that every day in the classroom is different than the day before. It was extremely rewarding. I haven’t looked back since.

Q: Has the appeal changed? A: Every year there are differ-


ent challenges, but I still love What do you think everything about teaching and makes a great teacher? feel so lucky to share every day A great teacher loves with my students. Every year, I SPECIAL the subject they teach. A try to find new ways to engage Claire Marie Huff great teacher loves learning in my school community. I have just as much as teaching. A great teachtaught and sponsored the Atlanta Classier respects their students. And, perhaps cal Academy string ensemble for the past most importantly, a great teacher does not two years as well as sponsored the ACA take herself or himself too seriously. science club. We have just begun a school-


wide service project to rehabilitate some land into an Atlanta city park.

Q: What keeps you going year after year? A: What I look forward to the most ev-

ery year is having another opportunity to make my lessons better than the year be-


What do you want to see in your students?


I want them to look at the periodic table [of elements] and think of it as the pantry in the universe’s kitchen, containing the ingredients of all matter

around them. I want them to grow into adults who have a working knowledge of different branches of science and can critically read a scientific article with understanding and insight. I want them to be smart and kind stewards of the world they live in because they understand and have great respect for life and the world around them.

Q: How do you engage your students? A: We have a new science laboratory at

ACA where my AP biology students engage in weekly scientific inquiry. Throughout the year, the seventh-graders may be found using microscopes in the lab, making their own periodic table, burning magnesium on the tennis court or classifying household acids and bases in the classroom. Bringing science to life in the classroom or lab is a guaranteed way to engage students.


Is there a “trick” that works to get students involved?

A: No, I do not have a trick. Q:

What do you hope your students take away from your class?


I hope that students leave my classroom having a respect for the breadth and depth of science, curious to learn more. I want students to see that science is all around them, present in every aspect of our lives.

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22 | Community

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Sandy Springs councilmember may run for Fulton chairman BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net


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Sandy Springs City Councilmember Gabriel Sterling is considering a run for the Fulton County chairman seat and will announce his decision soon. Sterling, a Republican, already announced last year that he will not run for re-election to the council seat he has held since 2011. His original intent was to run for the state House of Representatives District 51 seat that Wendell Willard is retiring from in 2018. But Fulton Chairman John Eaves’ recent decision to run for Atlanta mayor opened up a new possibility. Sterling said he likes “the opportunity to be able to affect things quickly and directSPECIAL ly” on such issues as transit and homelessGabriel Sterling. ness offered by the chairmanship, which is the Fulton Board of Commissioners’ only countywide seat. He said he may still run for the seat in the state House, saying that he also likes the idea of affecting statewide issues such as transportation funding and the fallout of national healthcare funding uncertainty on regional hospitals. The seat includes Sandy Springs’ panhandle area, along with parts of Johns Creek and Roswell. Sterling technically has months to decide, as Eaves has yet to resign for his mayoral run and the special election to fill the chairman’s seat likely will be called for November. Sterling said he will make his intentions known soon. “You’re going to get an announcement sooner rather than later,” he said. It may be possible for Sterling, or anyone else, to run for both seats. Primary elections for the House seat likely will come months after the special election for chairman. Both the Fulton chairmanship and the District 51 seat are of high political importance in Sandy Springs, whose leaders fear losing strong incumbents with good city relationships. In District 51, Willard, a 15-year incumbent, is also the Sandy Springs city attorney and was involved in the city’s landmark 2005 incorporation that set off a wave of metro Atlanta cityhood movements. In Fulton, Eaves, a Democrat, is among the officials credited with dramatically improved county-city relations that, among other things, produced last year’s successfully transportation-focused special local option sales tax initiative. Sterling said a post-Eaves Fulton County is among his motives for considering a chairmanship run. “I’m concerned that if the wrong person, someone from the past who was on the commission at the time it was [divisive], we could fall backwards,” Sterling said. Maintaining good relations in Fulton is key on issues like mass transit expansion, Sterling said, adding that “we have to build on that to go county to county.” He said he especially wants to see a transit line connecting Doraville and SunTrust Park in Cobb County. But Sterling also credited redistricting of Fulton’s board districts with getting a more cooperative system in place. He said it’s an “exciting idea” to potentially join a historic GOP majority on the Fulton board and expand “Republican reforms” to improve its government.


MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Buckhead From police reports between March 8 and March 16 Provided to the Buckhead Reporter by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department.

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