03-31-17 Brookhaven Reporter

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MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017 • VOL. 9 — NO. 7


Brookhaven Reporter


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


Dog days at Blackburn Park


Communities of Faith


Walkers, drivers react to intersection redesign plan BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net


Led by trainer Gail Mirabella, a dog leaps through a hoop in the “Dynamo Dog Show” at the third annual Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival. More than 10,000 took part in the two-day event, held March 25-26 at Blackburn Park. Read story, page 15.►

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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

OUT & ABOUT Author talks early aviation in Georgia Page 8

The weekend of the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival at Blackburn Park meant more cars and more pedestrians than usual at the busy intersection of Ashford-Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry roads, which the city has controversial plans to redesign. Police halted traffic to let festival-goers cross the street from Cambridge Square, anchored by a Kroger. Motorists inched their cars into the “Y” shape of the intersection, trying to merge and squeeze onto Ashford-Dunwoody or Johnson Ferry, depending the direction, before the traffic signal turned red. Horns honked as drivers failed to make it through the light, blocking the box and backing up traffic even more. To a casual observer, the scene was a bit of a mess. “It’s the worst intersection in Atlanta,” said Andrew Lundstrom as he and his See WALKERS on page 22

Mayor Ernst reflects on his first year in office BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

John Ernst loves being mayor. “I’m loving this,” he said with a broad smile during a recent interview at City Hall. “If I hit the lottery tomorrow, I’d still be mayor. My wife knows this and she laughs. It’s fun to shape the conversation in the city and the region ... and, in small ways, at the state.” Elected to office in November 2015 and sworn in in January 2016, Ernst has See MAYOR on page 12

2 | Community

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Funding for Peachtree Creek Greenway approved by state, City Council BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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A design for the first phase of the Peachtree Creek Greenway is underway and money will come at the start of 2018 to help pay for the much-talkedabout linear park and multi-use path that will eventually tie into the Atlanta BeltLine. The Georgia General Assembly on March 24 approved the City Council’s recent request to raise its hotel/motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent. The extra revenue will be used to kick start the Greenway project between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature. “Now we’ll be able to leverage those funds to acquire property and easements and start building the Greenway,” Ernst said. “This will be a signature item, something the city has planned for.” Councilmember John Park said the money from the hotel/motel tax increase would go a long way toward paying for the city’s own version of the BeltLine. “The money is supposed to go to-

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ward building something that will attract people and help the tourism industry,” he said. “We’ll use this for our version of the BeltLine.” Councilmember Linley Jones said she appreciated the Legislature’s approval and was excited to see the Greenway CITY OF BROOKHAVEN A rendering of what the Peachtree Creek Greenway may get underway. look like, with development and the multiuse path. Following the Generfaith and credit of the city, City Managal Assembly’s vote, the City Council er Christian Sigman has said. on March 28 approved entering into a State law requires the hotel/motel $325,276 contract with PATH Foundatax revenue be divided, with half going tion for the design of the first phase to the city for “creation and expansion” of the Greenway. PATH Foundation of a project to drive tourism to the city is working to create a trail network and region — in this case the Greenway throughout metro Atlanta and has been — and the other half going to Discovinvolved with trails such as PATH 400 er DeKalb, the county’s tourism agency, in Buckhead and the Atlanta Beltline. which has agreed to use money to proThe city will focus initial construcmote and advertise the Greenway. State tion on a base trail along the Greenlaw prohibits the money to be used for way between North Druid Hills Road improvements of existing parks, said and Briarwood Road estimated to cost City Attorney Chris Balch in February. about $9 million. The Peachtree Creek Greenway plan Assistant City Manager Steve Chapis a 12-mile multi-use path and linman said in February it’s estimated ear park that is designed, in the long the city’s half of the 3 percent will add term, to connect the Atlanta BeltLine to $650,000 annually to the city’s coffers. Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville. The $650,000 will then be used by the Three miles of the Greenway is located city to finance a $9 million loan, or revin Brookhaven. enue bond, over 20 years at 3.93 percent The North Fork of Peachtree Creek principal and interest. begins outside I-285 and mostly flows The revenue stream from the hotel/ along I-85 until it joins the South Fork of motel tax will pay for the revenue bond. Peachtree Creek near the Lindbergh MARRevenue bonds don’t require a public TA station and Path400 in Buckhead. vote because they don’t rely on the full

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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 the city just east of the northern border of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. 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


MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Community | 3


City will acquire Remington Road property for green space BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The Brookhaven City Council continues to buy up city land to use as green space, with another purchase approved at the March 28 meeting. The city is scheduled to close on the deal next month to buy 1.7 acres of residential property at 1664 Remington Road near Murphey Candler Park. DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester has pledged $353,400 from the DeKalb County 2001 Parks Bond Fund to pay for the full cost of the property. The Remington Road property is located at the end of a cul-de-sac and alongside an existing 5.4-acre wooded parcel owned by the Ashford Glen Homeowners Association. As Brookhaven continues to be developed, such sizable plots are now non-existent, Councilmember John Park said. “To fulfill our mission [of preserving green space], we will have to go after 1- or 2-acre pieces of property,” he said. “When we see something, we have to grab it.” Numerous residents living in the Dunwoody Forest and Ashford Glen neighborhoods near the Remington Road property spoke out against the land purchase at the March 28 meeting and raised concerns about a lack of transparency. Because the property is a thin strip of land, residents said the only reason the city wants to buy it is to set itself up to one day to purchase the wooded parcel belonging to the Ashford Glen HOA. Many also said they feared the city had plans to put in a parking lot for the busy Murphey Candler Park ballfields or a bridge to cross Nancy Creek to reach Murphey Candler Park, disrupting their tranquil neighborhoods with more traffic and people. Councilmember Linley Jones, who represents the Remington Road area residents, said it was the sole intention of the

city to use the area as a natural green space for the residents living in the area. “The goal isn’t to shuttle people in from other areas to go to a modest green space,” she said. The property currently has a vacant house on the site and an abandoned swimming pool and is already used by area neighbors as a park where people walk dogs and children play. Within a week after the city takes ownership of the property, the Public Works Department will demolish the house and begin removing the pool, removing the driveway and installing a curb so vehicles cannot drive onto the site, said City Manager Christian Sigman. The plan is to return the land to its “natural state” with help from the city arborist. Because the city will be using DeKalb County 2001 Parks Bond funds to pay for the land, the city will have to follow county restrictions that the property only be used for green space, explained City Attorney Chris Balch. The city also is entering into an agreement with DeKalb that includes a 50-year restriction prohibiting the construction of “any structure or space for the parking of motor vehicles.” Should the city violate the agreement, ownership of the property will revert to DeKalb County, Balch said. Jones said she insisted on the restrictions in the agreement to guarantee to neighbors the property will only be used as green space. Despite the restrictions, some residents said they fear the worst in years to come. “I trust this council wants green space; I’ve never questioned their desire to have green space,” said Linda Alexander of Ashford Glen after the vote. “What I don’t trust are the councils that come after them. As councils change, plans change, ideas change,” she said. “Murphey




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The city is purchasing 1664 Remington Road, a 1.7-acre strip that runs north-south.

Candler Park Baseball has a strong conservancy. Who is to say they won’t elect someone who will promise them parking?” Daniel Loventhal, who lives on Ashford Trail, said several of the city’s plans, such as its Bike and Pedestrian Plan and the Nancy Creek Watershed Plan, show a trail connecting Murphey Candler Park through Ashford Glen and through 1664 Remington Road and behind the properties on Remington Road and Winchester Trail. “This is purely step one in the process, regardless of what was said publicly,” he said. Laura Bieze of Colt Drive said she can’t

walk her dog to Murphey Candler Park or Blackburn Park, but with a connecting green space she will be able to do so. “I’m thrilled we’re going to have green space within walking distance of our neighborhood,” she said. “I appreciate the council being responsive to everyone.” Tom Reilly, who lives on Remington Road, said he believes the March 28 agreement to buy the land is a “historic event” for the city. “I’m always concerned about precedent; we have to do it right the first time,” he said. “We did it right the first time tonight.”



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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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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.

Introducing Three Sisters Catering “Catering to Go” Get out of your kitchen and be a guest at your own party... without the expense of service staff!

We are now offering a variety of our specialty menu items including our “Healthy Options” for delivery* to your location or you can pick-up from ours.

• Dinner Party • Cocktail Party • Birthday Celebration • Retirement Celebration • Graduation Party

• Office Party • Bridal/Baby Shower • Game Day

*Delivery charges are based on your location and time of day. No charge if you pick-up from our kitchen. We ask for 48 hours notice - 12-15 person minimum

404-488-4565 #tsccateringtogo CaterWithThreeSisters.com

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.

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

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

10 | Community

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VOTERS GUIDE 6th Congressional District

A total of 18 candidates are competing for the 6th Congressional District seat in an April 18 special election. The district — which includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs — was formerly represented by Tom Price, who left to become the new U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services. The Reporter asked all of the candidates for a biography and the answers to questions about their political stances. Part of the answers from five candidates appear below. Also at ReporterNewspapers.net are the answers from nine other candidates who previously responded: Ragin Edwards, Keith Grawert, Alexander Hernandez, Amy Kremer, William Llop, Jon Ossoff, Andre Pollard, Ron Slotin and Kurt Wilson. The candidates who did not submit responses are Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan, Judson Hill, Richard Keatley and Dan Moody.

For their full answers, including their positions on the Affordable Care Act, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

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Kitchens. Baths. Porches & Decks. Basements. Patios. Additions.

Pony Pals Summer Camp Chastain Horse Park - convenient Buckhead location! Boys and girls ages 4-8 – Mon-Fri 8am-1pm Many weeks to choose from during Summer 2017 Camp activities for our younger riders include daily riding lessons, crafts and games!

Contact us at (404) 252-4244 or ponypals@chastainhorsepark.org or download registration form at https://www.chastainhorsepark.org/horse-camps

Occupation: CPA and energy entrepreneur

Why should the voters choose you for this position? I’m running for Congress to give the people of Georgia’s 6th District energetic, honest and conservative leadership. It’s time for conservatives to deliver on our promises and work to deliver real solutions for the American people. As your congressman, I’ll put Georgia values before Washington values, listen before I talk, and seek to understand before I disagree. I’ll bring the same work ethic and experience that allowed me to build a successful business with me to Washington to make sure your interests are represented.

BOB GRAY BobGrayGA.com Occupation: Technology Executive

Why should the voters choose you for this position?



This race is essentially between two Republicans — an establishment Republican who has been in and out of office for the past two decades, and myself, a business outsider with more than three decades of experience as an international technology executive. We can’t expect different results from Washington, D.C., if we keep electing the same kind of people. Washington, D.C. has enough politicians who enjoy the ideological debate and get nothing done. Coming from the business world, I have a successful track record of coming up with effective solutions and getting things done. That’s exactly the approach I’ll bring to Congress! BK

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017


KAREN HANDEL KarenHandel.com Occupation: Business Strategy Consultant

Why should the voters choose you for this position? There has been too much talk for far too long in Washington, and the people of the 6th District deserve a representative that they can trust to actually deliver results. As secretary of state, I successfully implemented photo ID for voting to prevent illegals from voting. As Fulton County Commission chairman, I stopped the Democrats’ proposal for a massive property tax increase and still balanced the budget. And, as CEO of the North Fulton Chamber, I led the organization out of near bankruptcy while also helping to create jobs right here in our community.

Community | 11

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BRUCE LEVELL LeVellforCongress.com Occupation: Businessman

Why should the voters choose you for this position? I am the only candidate who has been loyal to President Trump since Day One. I am the only candidate who has not and will not take PAC or special interest money. To the homeowners, small business owners and voters of the Georgia 6th Congressional District, I say this: I am the only candidate who is for the people and by the people — I will not accept any special interest or PAC money.

“Saint Anne’s Terrace has a beautiful setting with waterfalls, a fish pond and flower gardens. The staff is professional, friendly, courteous, which creates a family atmosphere. I’m very happy to be a part of this community. .”

Enjoy retirement by living your way at Saint Anne’s Terrace in the heart of Buckhead! Call us to schedule your visit 3100 Northside Parkway, NW Atlanta 30327 www.saintannesterrace.org • 404-238-9200

REBECCA QUIGG QuiggforCongress.com Occupation: Physician; Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases; Subspecialty in Heart

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One Hundred West Paces Ferry Road | Atlanta, Ga 30305 | dorseyalston.com Information believed accurate but not warranted. Equal Housing Opportunity.


12 | Community

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Congratulations BARBARA OLIVER

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Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said his first year in office has been a great experience.


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Mayor Ernst reflects on his first year in office Continued from page 1 wrapped up his first year as the city’s mayor – the city’s third mayor in its fouryear history. Campaigning on promises to bring transparency and confidence back to city government after several scandals at the city level as well as the county level, Ernst said he believes the council has been effective in listening to residents and making decisions to benefit the city as a whole. “Most of our [votes] have been a 4-0 vote ... and that makes my job a lot easier,” said Ernst, who doesn’t vote except in cases of a tie or when needed to make a quorum. “Because we have a strong council that has stayed away from poisoning the well or throwing each other under the bus, we are able to keep government moving.” To date, perhaps the most surprising thing Ernst has learned is what people will say in public versus private. Residents have packed numerous City Council meetings to speak out, sometimes angrily, against proposed developments in the city, specifically against mixed-use developments including hundreds of apartments along thriving Dresden Drive. The council rejected one proposed development while another, dubbed Dresden Village and slated to go where the DeKalb tag office is located, was approved unanimously. Ernst said he had to quickly understand that the people who show up at a City Council meeting to oppose projects are not necessarily speaking for the majority of residents. “It’s amazing how much difference between vocal opposition and private sup-

port there can be,” he said. “While we [elected officials] may hear in the greater civic arena that people are saying I’m against it, people privately are saying they don’t oppose it — that’s what shocking. Well, not shocking — that’s what’s surprising,” he said. He said he had an “aha” moment about the public versus private citizenry early on in his first term, but doesn’t recall the particular issue. He does remember asking people to speak out in favor of projects or issues and people declining because their friends are on the other side of the issue. “They’ll say they don’t want to do that because they don’t want to rile up their friends,” he said. He also likes to point out that since the city was incorporated four years ago, 470 apartment units have been lost to redevelopment and 310 apartment units have been built thanks to city rezoning. Ernst started his tenure with a bang when, at his first meeting, members voted to fire former City Manager Marie Garrett at his behest. The city later entered into an amicable separation agreement. And if Ernst were to characterize his first year in office, it may include the word “planning” somewhere. The city has adopted some $122 million in projects, including the $28 million Parks Master Plan last February, the $9.2 million shortterm Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan in April, and then the $35 million Peachtree Creek Greenway Plan and $19.4 million Nancy Creek Watershed Plan in August. “We got a lot of plans completed ... which will all lead to greater things in the future,” he said. “The money is budgeted. But I’m not interested in just budgeting money … I’m looking forward to a BK

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017


lot more dirt flying this year ... to transitioning from plans to actual action.” Ernst praised the recent completion of Clack’s Corner, a 0.2-acre site in the Brookhaven Fields neighborhood. Park monument signs have been installed in front of numerous parks in recent months as well. Plans are good, but their costs continue to rise as time goes by. “We’re also learning, too, that as the plans get older, the inflation increases … and it costs us more if we wait and do it year after year,” he said. At its leadership retreat in January, the council discussed with city staff the possibility of going into debt, including bond referendums, to help pay for projects. Ernst boasts the council’s recent decision to take out a $5.7 million Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan to purchase 33 acres of wooded property adjacent to PDK Airport with the promise to keep the land as an undeveloped green space. The 20-year loan with a 0.89 interest rate means the city, over two decades, will actually be paying $5.6 million – a savings of $100,000 – Ernst said. “Taking 33 acres of forested land inside the perimeter and saving it is no small feat,” he said. “There have been developers … and plans all along for people to do something with that land.” Ernst is proud of building bridges, too – literally. The city replaced pedestrian bridges at Murphey Candler Park and Briarwood Park last year. “I wanted to build bridges as mayor, but didn’t think I would be building as many actual bridges,” he said. This year, the city is finishing up repairs to a foot bridge in Ashford Park. Ernst promised that bridge would be ready for the hundreds of runners to cross in this year’s Brookhaven Bolt, which is scheduled for May 20. The city is about to undergo its zoning rewrite, a plan approved by the previous council, but the mayor postponed the rewrite until after residents could participate in studies of smaller areas, called Character Areas, to say what they want to see in their neighborhoods. And, of course, there’s the controversial transit-oriented development proposed around MARTA’s station located on Peachtree Road. The project died in February after a year of contentious public meetings and months of rezoning delays. The city and developers could never agree on what kind of development would go into essentially a mostly empty parking lot, but Ernst has confidence something will eventually happen at the site. “It’s not dead,” he said. “That property is never going away ... Everyone expects at some point that something is going to happen there. We’ll always be talking ... we’re open to talking to MARTA.” Ernst was quick to say the issues he and the city had with the proposed redevelopment was not with MARTA. “There were lots of issues that were not MARTABK

or Brookhaven-related, and I’ll just leave it at that,” he said. Only one other entity was involved, however — the developers, Brookhaven City Center Partners, a joint effort of Transwestern Development Company and Integral. “This property is probably the most important for the image and future of the city because it is our front door on Peachtree, but also because it’s on a transit line,” he said. “We will have to live with that decision for the next 50 to 100 years and I’m not going to short-term gain.” Other accomplishments Ernst touts range from luring the Atlanta Hawks to Executive Park to open their state-of-theart practice facility to revising the city’s stormwater management ordinance to lower the impervious surface threshold to 3,000 square feet from 5,000 square feet. Ernst said the stormwater ordinance will greatly improve runoff coming from infill single-family residential development. The Hawks deal last year went handin-hand with Emory University’s purchase of about 60 acres of Executive Park, across the street from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s 45-acre office park at North Druid Hills Road and I-85. CHOA is now building an eight-story Center for Advanced Pediatrics medical building on the property and announced in February it will be building an approximately $1.5-billion hospital on the site. “Emory University coming into Brookhaven is a big deal that I think people are missing,” Ernst said. “Couple that with CHOA ... how big that is for the city and the region. Them coming to Executive Park and then CHOA across the street — that is extremely big and important.” Ernst said he foresees federal and state dollars coming to the area for infrastructure needs as CHOA and Emory continue to develop their property. “They are huge economic engines that get a lot of love from the state and federal [government] — I can see money going to streets and sidewalks, the things we have to take care of,” he said. Plans for Emory’s 60-some acre property in Executive Park are not known exactly, Ernst said. Original plans were for an Atlantic Station-type development, he said, but Emory has indicated to the city it may not be as intensive. We don’t know what they are planning ... but all indications are they are going down in size ... and it will be a less intensive development,” he said. The city’s own internal infrastructure is finally complete, something Ernst said is essential to the city completing its numerous projects and plans for growth into the future. City Manager Christian Sigman has been on the job for nearly a year and the city recently hired a new communications director and economic development director. “The city is finally complete,” he said.

Community | 13

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14 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers

Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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

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

© 2017 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC.

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Community Survey / 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 BK

MARCH 31 - APRIL 13, 2017

Community | 15


Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival attracts thousands The third annual Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival attracted thousands to Blackburn Park over the weekend as people enjoyed warm weather, live music, arts and crafts vendors, dogs in costumes and food fare from funnel cakes to barbecued ribs. “The police were estimating there were 10,000 to 12,000 people out here just yesterday,” festival founder and former Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams said March 26, the festival’s second day. “[The festival] is doing what we always hoped it would do — bring our families and the community together. What’s not to like?” Zahrah Shabazz and Manny Diaz of Smyrna said they heard about the festival online and brought children Zen, age 3 months, and Kingston. “We came out with the kids for some food and music … and the shuttle part is awesome,” Shabazz said of the festival’s shuttle service running visitors from nearby parking lots to the Blackburn Park entrance. “It’s a beautiful day and we love being out in nature,” Diaz said. Hundreds of children packed the Children’s Village on March 26 while hundreds of people spread out on the lawn to hear music from local bands such as The Breeze Kings, Gurufish and festival closer Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project. A pet parade and costume contest also attracted hundreds of people on March 26. Police Chief Gary Yandura and Councilmembers Linley Jones and Bates Mattison judged the costume contest.

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A. Kyle and Renee Felix of Smyrna and their dog Francesca dressed as characters from the movie “Three Amigos” for the pet costume contest. B. Brookhaven resident Tarkia Robinson shows off her face painting. PHOTO BY PHIL MOSIER

C. Cherry trees blooming in Blackburn Park.


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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.

EASTER SUNDAY celebration April 16 11 a.m.

2715 Peachtree Road, NE Atlanta 404.266.8111 | www.spdl.org

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.”

Saturday, April 15

Sunday, April 16

7:30 pm Easter Vigil Mass

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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.

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

Northwest Presbyterian Church JOHN RUCH

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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


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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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Walkers, drivers react to intersection redesign plan Continued from page 1

at,” Andre Kolazar, senior vice president for Cambridge Square owners wife and two friends sat in the Regency Partners, told counmeadow of Blackburn Park liscil members. “This road cuts tening to music during the festhrough the rear of our proptival. erty,” Kolazar said, adding the Lundstrom at one time lived proposed road is “the total takwith his buddy, Tyler Short, off ing of our property.” Donaldson Road; he recently “And while you may be talkrelocated to Decatur after maring in generalities, the reality is rying. simply adopting this plan will The two men said they were severely and negatively impact excited by a new proposal to our center,” he said. “We will fix the Ashford-Dunwoody Local resident lose tenants.” Nicholas Bayer corridor by essentially replacCouncilmember Linley Jones, whose ing the elongated “X” intersection with a district includes Ashford-Dunwoody Road, pair of widely separated “T” intersections. stressed these draft recommendations are The new intersections would be created not going to happen tomorrow or even in by opening new though roads behind the the next couple years. Kroger shopping center and behind the The study is a part of an overall corriPublix shopping center. dor vision to create a more walkable and “It seems like a good concept. When I bicycle-friendly Ashford-Dunwoody Road saw [the draft study] I sent it to him ... and while also addressing notorious traffic what did we say?” Lundstrom asked Short. congestion. “That Kroger is going to hate it,” Short And right now, she said, people are usanswered. ing the residential Bubbling Creek Road Last month, the property owners of the and the Sexton Woods and Hampton Hall Publix shopping center and Cambridge neighborhoods to bypass the odd intersecSquare center showed up at the City Countion. cil meeting to decry the recommendations “The cut-through traffic really is a crifor the intersection. sis ... and it’s heartbreaking,” she said of “I realize this is a vision … but I can’t with residents who say they no longer feel safe good conscience call this plan not specific – walking on their own streets. it’s pretty specific from what I’m looking

As a testament to the “cut-through crisis,” courtesy shuttles provided by the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival ferrying people from Marist School to Blackburn Park took Bubbling Creek Road and then turned right onto Donaldson Road to drop everyone off at the park entrance on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

To view the draft study, visit brookhavenga.gov/city-departments/ public-works/ashford-dunwoodyroad-corridor-study Send email to provide feedback to ADCOrridorStudy@BrookhavenGA.gov.

few hours of listening to music at the festival. He relocated to Brookhaven from Charlotte, N.C., two years ago and lives in the Rock Creek at Ashford apartments off Ashford-Dunwoody Road. He and a friend walked to Blackburn Park and he said he regularly runs on the busy road, including at the PHOTOS BY DYANA BAGBY Johnson Ferry intersection. Traffic squeezed through the intersection on a recent weekend. “It’s not bad,” he said. “I never feel like I’m going to be hit. For the most part, people are observant.” Jones and others don’t know the exact He said he’s noticed school traffic on history of how the Ashford-Dunwoody Ashford-Dunwoody Road often uses merge Road and Johnson Ferry Road intersection lanes as turn lanes and that police occawas created other than the rumor is they sionally monitor the area to keep that from were once old Civil War trails. “And Civil happening. “You’ve just got to be patient,” War trails are not good traffic planning,” he said. she said. He said he was unfamiliar with the corAt the Righteous Room, a small bar in ridor study plan, but called the idea of crethe Mesh Corners shopping center adjaating more walkability along Ashfordcent to Donaldson Drive, Nicholas Bayer Dunwoody Road a great idea. was drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon after a “You already have the great asset of Blackburn Park and I think local businesses would appreciate it,” he said. “Look how it’s helping businesses along the Atlanta Beltline.” Several residents are speaking out against the proposed changes at City Council meetings and sending hundreds of emails to council members voicing their opposition to the plan. “The most controversial intersection is Ashford-Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry and that makes sense because the recommended changes are the most dramatic,” Jones said. Jones, who lives in Cambridge Park near the intersection, said she relocated her law office from Ravinia in Perimeter Center to south Buckhead due to its traffic congestion. “I was having to wait 15 minutes on Johnson Ferry Road because of the traffic Visit us today to learn how light,” she said. “I actually moved my office you may qualify for up to ... because it is faster to drive four miles to [south Buckhead] than the two miles to Ravinia. “This is impacting our community, our way of life,” she said. “It is an ineffective Consumer Demonstration: 5-way intersection.” April 8th Not all feel the same way, of course. Alton Conway told the council at its March 28 meeting that a lot of residents “feel you are messing with Mayberry.” “Take the T-intersection off the table,” he urged them, saying he regularly times 7455 Trowbridge Rd, NE | Sandy Springs, GA 30328 the intersection and he never waits more 404-255-0640 | www.sewellappliance.com than two to three minutes.

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Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Brookhaven From Brookhaven Police reports dated March 19 through March 26 The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.


3200 block of Buford


4400 block of Memorial Drive — On

March 20, a woman was arrested and accused of aggravated child molestation.

4400 block of Memo-

Highway — On March 21, a man was arrested and accused of public intoxication.

rial Drive — On March 20, a man was arrested and accused of aggravated stalking.

4600 block of Peachtree

3800 block of Buford

Road — On March 22, a man was arrested and accused of marijuana possession.

Highway — On March 20, a man was arrested and accused of driving without a license.

2700 block of Buford Highway — On

March 26, a man was arrested and accused of transactions in drug related paraphernalia within the city.

T H E F T A N D B U R G L A RY 4000 block of Peachtree Road — On

March 19, items were stolen from a car.

4000 block of Peachtree Road — On

March 21, a man was arrested and accused of following too closely. 2700 block of Buford Highway — On

3500 block of Buford Highway — On

3900 block of Peachtree Road — On

March 19, parts were taken from a vehicle.

March 22, a man was arrested and accused of robbery.

March 20, a burglary occurred.

1800 block of Corporate Boulevard —

3300 block of Buford Highway — On

On March 22, a man was arrested and accused of public indecency.

March 20, a shoplifting occurred. 3600 block of Ashford Dunwoody

Road — On March 21, there was a theft from a vehicle. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On

3000 block of Clairmont Road — On

March 22, a woman was arrested and accused of simple battery. 3200 block of Buford Highway — On

On March 19, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. 700 block of Town Boulevard — On

March 20, in the early morning, a man was arrested and accused of reckless driving. 2900 block of Buford Highway — On

March 20, a man was arrested and accused of forgery of a financial transaction card.

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March 23, two men were arrested and accused of shoplifting.

1500 block of Nancy Creek Drive — On


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March 21, a theft occurred.

March 22, a woman was arrested and accused of criminal trespass.

March 22, parts were taken from a vehicle.

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March 21, a man was arrested and accused of driving without insurance.

March 19, a burglary occurred.

3500 block of Buford Highway — On

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2300 block of N Druid Hills — On

March 22, a woman was arrested and accused of obstruction and interference.

3400 block of Peachtree Road — On


woman was arrested and accused of theft by deception.

Highway — On March 20, in the evening, a man was arrested and accused of driving without a license.

— On March 19, a woman was arrested and accused of public intoxication.

Buford Highway — On March 20, a


3000 block of Buford

3700 Buford Highway

2600 block of


March 23, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On

March 23, a man was arrested and accused of failing to maintain his lane. 2800 block of Buford Highway — On

March 24, in the morning, a man was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license.



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24 |

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