APRIL 2020 - Buckhead Reporter

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APRIL 2020 • VOL. 14 — NO. 4

Buckhead Reporter WORTH KNOWING

Neighbors start helping neighbors P5

Mountain Living PAGE 12

COVID-19 pandemic changes local life

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Life in Buckhead changed fast. For how long and how much remain questions as Atlanta joins the world in responding to a global pandemic of a new coronavirus and its potentially deadly COVID-19 disease. As March began, one of the biggest local concerns was work on a new Tree Protection Ordinance. The big public safety news was a string of shootings at Lenox Square mall. By March 18, City Hall and Atlanta Public Schools were shut down, and

Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com.


Arts economy takes a big hit P6

See COVID-19 on page 23 Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the DunwoodySandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com.

A note to our readers


Teleworking may stick around P10

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PAGES 16-19


A sign outside a Collier Road entrance to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital on March 16 alerts visitors that they must be screened for the coronavirus.

Locals adjust to shutdowns, ‘distancing’ BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

In a blink of an eye, residents had to adjust to a new lifestyle of “social distancing” and shutdowns for the coronavirus pandemic, with no definite end in sight. The Reporter asked some of them how their lives have changed.

Sally Silver, aide to Councilmember Howard Shook

“It’s taken me several days for this to kind of sink in. … You look out the window and it looks like the same place you were yesterday.” She has one socializing idea she’d like to run past a doctor friend. “Just for fun, I’m See LIFE on page 23

As this issue went to press, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic was affecting all aspects of life in the Reporter communities. Residents and local officials—as well as our editorial team—are dealing with fast-moving developments. As a result, the news and stories in this issue reflect a snapshot of the early moments of this extraordinary time. Our writers and editors are covering events on a daily basis, posting breaking news and updates on our website, ReporterNewspapers.net. Check the website often for new stories and announcements and sign up for daily emails with community news. It is our ongoing mission to provide hyperlocal news and information that connect our readers to their neighborhoods and communities. To that end, please share your stories and experiences with us, or let us know of others who deserve recognition, by emailing editor@reporternewspapers.net. Thank you to our readers and advertisers for continuing to rely on Reporter Newspapers for their community connection. — Steve Levene, Publisher


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2 | Community

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Fulton Superior Court chief judge talks crime and mental health BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN Christopher Brasher, chief judge of Fulton County Superior Court, told a Buckhead audience on March 12 that criminals with mental health issues are one of the biggest and costliest problems in the state’s justice system. Appearing at a meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Brasher said that troubled inmates in Georgia’s prisons would be better off with alternative programs to incarceration. “Here is a sad truth: 40 years ago we had places in our society where people with chronic mental health problems went to. Those were terrible places – they were mental hospitals. We don’t have those anymore, but we do have prisons and jails,” he said. The prison budget in Georgia is $1.3 billion this year, according to Brasher, and $200 million of that is spent on mental health treatment and psychotropic medications for an imprisoned population of 53,000. “Next to personnel, the biggest cost to prisons and jails is mental health treatment, a problem exacerbated by substance abuse and poor choices,” Brasher said. “If we proactively try to get people out of the system who are suffering from a mental health problem, give them incentives to get better, be compliant with medication, go to group [therapy], and take their [drug] tests, then we’re going to have better outcomes.” Brasher, a Sandy Springs resident, hailed a Fulton County program called Pre-Arrest Diversion that aims to “reduce the number of people in jails who would be better served by social and behavioral health services,” according to the county’s description. It allows police officers to identify candidates for the service instead of arresting and putting them in jail. The county also has a number of special treatment courts that cater to individuals with mental health and substance disorders. “The biggest is Drug Court,” Brasher said. “It’s for someone who has a demonstrated history of drug addiction and is willing to subject himself to a treatment group, testing, etcetera. If we put them in prison, statistics show they’ll be an addict in dormancy while they’re inside. They’ll get out and go right back to it again.” Another is a court specifically for documented veterans with similar issues. “We’ve got room to grow each of those programs. I hope that we do, because they are successful, but the reality is that every time we try to put someone in, we’re taking a chance on them that they’re going to do their part.” Brasher has a theory about repeat offenders. “People who get caught a lot are really bad at what they do, because they engage in concrete thinking: ‘I see, I want, I take.’ These are not high thinkers. Whatever is causing that — obstinacy, drug abuse, or mental health problems — that cycle has to be broken. If it’s obstinacy then they go to prison. If it’s drug abuse or mental health, they need treatment.” The BCN and other local organizations have expressed concern that local crime is driven by repeated offenders released on bond. Asked about the continuing number of repeat offenders caught in Buckhead, Brasher responded, “Repeat offenders used to be defined by how many times they had been

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arrested. In the criminal justice system that doesn’t really have an impact, because we now count how many times people have been convicted.” He added a caveat: “That’s not to say there aren’t people on that list who weren’t previously convicted.” Addressing the 60 people in the room, Brasher said, “There’s no doubt that you all want better outcomes from public safety in Fulton County. I’ve told you some of the things that we’ve done to try and address that and they’re continuing efforts, and they’re not perfect, but one of them is to try and transfer more and more repeat offenders out of the non-complex system and into our courts. These are people who need to be in front of Superior Court judges and not in front of magistrates. That’s why we’ve doubled this [number] in the last three years.”

Atlanta releases draft tree ordinance BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The city of Atlanta has issued a long-delayed draft of a new Tree Protection Ordinance. But it came the day that major coronavirus pandemic shutdowns began and it now remains to be seen whether it can be vetted and formalized in line with its original late-August schedule. The draft is the first step in reviving a rewrite process that abruptly stalled last fall amid complaints from residents and City Council members about various problems, including a lack of details in the presentations. Details are plentiful in the draft as previously promised by Tim Keane, commissioner of the Department of City Planning. “It is the intent of the city to protect all trees, and especially mature trees, to the extent feasible and to ensure that when trees must be removed, trees that will yield the same quality of canopy shall be replanted wherever conditions permit,” reads part of the basic mission statement in the draft. Significant concerns among tree advocates have centered on clear-cutting of lots, allowances for optional removal of healthy trees, and insufficient enforcements. Developers also have expressed concerns on burdensome or unclear standards. The draft appears to attempt to balance out those interests. A key provision is requiring a permit for removing healthy, non-hazardous trees on private property if they are pines 12 or more inches in diameter at breast height, or all other species 6 inches DBH or greater. Permits may be given for certain types of construction and landscaping, among other reasons. The draft also suggests possible permit exemptions for such projects as affordable housing, mass transit and “green” buildings. The draft proposes that appeals can be filed by any resident or business-owner within 500 feet or within the same Neighborhood Planning Unit. The draft has minimum tree density requires for various lot sizes and retains a system for replanting or paying into the Tree Fund to compensate for removing mature trees. It includes a provision that no single-family residential development would be approved without a minimum of three trees saved or planted. It also requires Tree Commission approval for clear-cutting a lot. The draft ordinance makes an allowance for removing some trees without replanting or compensation. It would allow for one tree or 5% of the total DBH of trees on the site – whichever is greater – to be removed from a parcel every three years without replanting or compensation, as long as the site meets or exceed 150% of the tree-density requirements. The draft ordinance addresses some of the enforcement and protection provisions of the current ordinance that have drawn criticism. Among other provisions, it requires a “pre-demolition” inspection of trees marked for removal and says trees at construction sites must be protected by a fenced area sufficient to protect its root zone. The city may require greater than minimum protections in certain cases, the draft ordinance says. To read the full draft ordinance, including a Word document that can be marked in red with specific suggested changes, see the “Urban Ecology Framework” page on the city’s website at atlantaga.gov.


Community | 3

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Developer wants to build 61 for-sale townhomes in Brookhaven’s Lenox Park

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A developer hoping to avoid the controversy of past rezoning requests to build apartments in Brookhaven’s Lenox Park on the Buckhead border is proposing to build 61 for-sale townhomes it says would be the “best fit” for the currently vacant property. Atlanta-based Minerva Homes seeks to rezoning the approximately 5-acre grassy field at 1035-1065 Lenox Park Blvd. from “office institutional” to a residential townhouse district. The developer was scheduled to go before the Brookhaven Planning Commission on April 1, though the coronavirus pandemic may change that timeline. The developer’s application, filed with the city in February, notes that past attempts to build apartments on the site have failed due to community backlash. “The site has been zoned for 6-8 story office buildings for almost 20 years, and those plans have failed to materialize,” the developer said in the application. “Of the other potential uses, the community has been strongly opposed to rentCITY OF BROOKHAVEN al units. We feel The area where the new townhomes would townhomes are go is currently a grassy field. the best fit and are a perfect balance between the nearby residential uses and the dense commercial uses.” In a letter to the city, representatives from the developer said they held meetings with a group of homeowners and leaders from nearby neighborhoods and “have received feedback that our proposed high-quality for-sale townhomes will be a welcome addition to the community.” The property is owned by AT&T, which has not been able to find a developer to build anything other than residential on the site. Two previous attempts by different developers to build apartments on the site were soundly rejected following organized opposition by single-family homeowners in the area. The homeowners said apartments would increase traffic and their property values would sink if the city approved them. The Planning Commission rejected last year recommending approval of a 199-unit apartment building for those 55 and older after the developer sought a waiver to the city’s workforce housing mandate. The city requires new apartments to include at least 10% of their units as workforce housing. The developer withdrew its rezoning request after learning it would not receive the waiver. In 2017, another developer withdrew its $65 million plans to build more than 200 apartments on the site following community backlash. BH



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4 | Community

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Atlanta floats new historic preservation rules, offers public survey BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Should Atlanta review the proposed demolition of any building dating back 40 years or more? Could city hotel taxes be directed to saving local history? Those were some of the possible new historic preservation rules floated in a Feb. 27 meeting in Buckhead. And residents who couldn’t make it can weigh in through an online survey. Officials also said they plan to do informal, drive-through reviews of areas of the city where they lack historic site information, including three significant sections of Buckhead: Peachtree Hills, North Buckhead and the Chastain Park area. Underwood Hills in Northwest Atlanta is on the list, too, along with many other neighborhoods citywide. Under the name “Future Places Project,” the city is revamping its Historic Preservation Ordinance, which is roughly three decades old. The update eventually will part of a new city zoning code. Currently, the city’s Urban Design Commission reviews zoning-related pro-

tections for 23 historic districts and 63 structures or other landmarks. But it’s considering broader ways to save history, and more popular definitions of “historic” to include sites that shape “community identity.” The Feb. 27 meeting at the Cathedral of St. Philip, which drew about 25 residents, was part of a second round of public input, following an initial round last fall. Doug Young, the city’s assistant director of Historic Preservation and executive director of the Urban Design Commission, said the final recommendations were to be unveiled May 19 at the High Museum during the commission’s Design Awards ceremony. That was before the coronavirus pandemic hit the nation, so that timeline may change. Young presented an overview of recommendations for possible new rules and methods borrowed from practices in other cities considered similar to Atlanta, including Denver, Tampa, New Orleans and Austin, Texas. Some of the recommendations were the following: ■ A “Structure of Merit” list, giving certain sites an informal designation as

important. Proposed demolition or major alteration could trigger a review for possible formal historic status designation. ■ Directing part of the hotel tax to historic preservation. ■ Better public engagement through social media and other formats. ■ Letting anyone submit a nomination for historic designation. ■ Review of the proposed demolition or major alternation of any structure aged 40 years or older. ■ Tighter regulation of “demolition by neglect,” meaning a structure that is allowed to decay. ■ Regulation of how properties are demolished, such as requiring the salvage of some materials. The city is already attempting to be innovative in its public engagement on the “Future Places Project,” with feedback methods at the meeting including both sticky notes on boards and surveys on tablet computers. The process also a has a promotional branding element, with giveaways of stickers and T-shirts. Beyond rules and regulations, the

city has several other approaches for rethinking and reviewing historic protections. One is an extensive survey of the city’s parks and an inventory of historic resources within them. That work is done, Young said. Another is to establish “The Story of Atlanta” – a set of generally agreed themes of what makes the city special and though which historic sites can be considered and identified. Young said the themes are boiling down to “Struggle and Imperfection,” “Hustle and Hard Work,” “Legacy of Inclusion/Creating Opportunity” and “Upward Movement,” meaning transportation, mobility and accessibility. Yet another part of the review is special consideration of restricting the size of infill housing as a way to preserve the character of neighborhoods. That idea was a big topic of discussion at the first local meeting in October. At the Feb. 27 meeting, Young provided no material updates, just an overview of some public comments about it. For more information about the “Future Places Project” and to take the survey, see the city’s website at bit.ly/FuturePlacesProject.

Former KGB spy talks about his switch to the American Dream BY HANNAH GRECO

and birthname behind and picked up the name Jack Barsky, which was on his new birth certificate. “Jack Barsky was a young man who passed away at the age of Jack Barsky, 70, was born in East Germany and recruited to 11,” Barsky said. “This is how KGB stole identities -- from people be a KGB agent at just 23 years old. Now, he resides in Covington who passed away at a young age.” with his wife and daughter and is living out what he considers Barsky never met with his bosses, known as handlers, on U.S. the American Dream. ground. All communication was done by handwritten letters and “Just because you were in the KGB doesn’t mean you were Sudecoding Morse code through shortwave radio. He did not say perman,” Barsky said at a Feb. 10 Rotary Club of Sandy Springs who he spied on. meeting. “I’m one of the best-trained agents that they ever sent After a decade-long career with the agency, Barsky resigned out into the world and I’m just quite normal.” from the KBG in 1988 because his first daughter was born. GradThe KGB was a security and secret-police agency of the Soviet ually, he converted to the American way of life. Union from 1954 until the country’s collapse in 1991. “I just didn’t want to do the spying anymore,” Barksy said. “I “Jack Barsky” is not his given name – it’s one he started using just wanted to stay here, so I did.” as a false identity but now has become his own. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation tracked down Barsky Barsky was recruited by the KBG to gather political intelliin 1995 after he had been trying to integrate into American socigence on the U.S. government at the age of 23 when he was teachety for the last seven years. ing chemistry at a university in Germany. He says his childhood “I was just going to live out my life undetected and start workshaped the “lone wolf” mentality the agency looked for in reing on my version of the American Dream,” Barsky said. “But cruiters. somehow the FBI eventually got wind of me and 9 years later, “The KGB was really looking for people like me,” Barsky said. they introduced themselves.” “They were looking for people in the ages of 20 to 30 who had He said the FBI let him stay in the U.S. HANNAH GRECO certain character traits that would qualify somebody to do this “I cooperated with the FBI. I told them everything I knew, and Jack Barsky, a former KGB spy, speaks to kind of work.” the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs Feb. 10. at that time I had no loyalties and I had fundamentally pretty Some of the traits included focus, hardiness to stress, intelmuch become an American in many ways,” Barsky said. ligence, adaptation, emotional stability and bravery, according In 2008, Barsky was baptized at a Baptist church and in 2015, to Barksy. he received his U.S. citizenship. “I own that list. That’s me,” Barksy said. “These traits are some of the tools you can After he resigned from the KGB, Barsky worked in several upper-management roles use for good or for bad.” for large corporations such as United Healthcare, Prudential and NRG Energy. Barsky Among the parts of his background that were useful for KGB service, he said, were a attributes his success in these roles to the skills he acquired during his time as an agent. tough-love childhood and a breakup that left him heartbroken in his teen years. “The ability to make decisions in high-pressure situations without second-guessing “I started to develop this idea that I’m going to be pretty much on my own,” Barsky yourself,” Barsky said. “I had to do this during my spy career and I operated in corposaid. “That is how I got put into the attention of the KGB.” rate America primarily to fix crisis situations.” The decision to join the KGB was an obvious choice, Barsky said. Now, Barsky and his wife have a second daughter, 9, and are settled into American “I needed to have a bigger purpose. I needed to be attached to a bigger cause,” Barsky life. said. “When people grow up, at a certain age, they need to attach themselves to some“I am legally, intellectually and emotionally an American more so than I am a Gerthing bigger than them, and to me, it was the communist cause. There was no doubt.” man,” Barsky said. “I’ve lived here for 40 years...and I really like it here.” In 1978, Barsky began his new career of spying in New York. He left his hometown hannah@reporternewspapers.net


Commentary | 5

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com.

Almost overnight, our world has changed. But in the midst of our dystopian nightmare, examples of compassion are all around us - proof that that caring for one another is in our American DNA. Here are but a few examples. In Dunwoody, a group of moms, one of whom is Mayor Lynn Deutsch, have formed “Lunch-4-Our Bunch” to feed Dunwoody school children who might go hungry while not in school. Every Tuesday through the end of the month, the moms come together Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoodyto make 1,000 bag lunches for distribution on Wednesdays outside at Malachi’s StoreSandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire house at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church at 4755 North Peachtree Road in Dunwoody. others. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com. Malachi’s Storehouse also accepts donations. You can drop off groceries and pantry items on Tuesdays, 4:00-7:00 pm, or donate them without leaving home by ordering them and having them shipped directly to Malachi’s. Details are on Deutsch’s Facebook page. You can also donate money at “Lunch-4-Our Bunch” at gofundme. com. Teens in Dunwoody are helping too. Recently, Jackson Moore, a Dunwoody High School sophomore who runs Rent-a-Teen Dunwoody, received a desperate request to move an elderly man and his furniture into an assisted living facility before visitation was shut down. He and fellow DHS sophomore, Matthew Moss, immediately got their team together, moved the man and all of his possessions and beat the deadline. That same day, another Dunwoody resident, Lynn Johnston, a school teacher, posted on Nextdoor.com under the simple headline “Here to Help,” volunteering to run errands “for anyone who needs help.” “I wanted to volunteer because I am hearing too much negativity in the media,” she said. “You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.” At press time, her post had received 53 likes and 30 comments from others offering their support.

In pandemic nightmare, acts of kindness abound One of those comments was from Chrysé Wayman, a healthcare IT consultant, who started a Nextdoor.com group called Project Dunwoody Food Delivery to enable neighbors to shop for groceries and necessities and deliver them to people who can’t leave home. “Literally, an hour after I created the group,” Wayman said, “more than 50 people had signed up.” For those who don’t access social media, where the group is hosted, Wayman plans to get the word out by creating a digital flyer volunteers can download and print out for local teens to distribute to neighbors’ mailboxes. To join, go to nextdoor.com, then to the Groups tab, select Project Dunwoody Food Delivery and request an invitation. What I saw while writing this article were people fighting fear and anxiety with kindness. They came from every walk of life - from business and education to the TV and film industry. One of them, Miles Henley, a film location manager, attracted my attention with his sense of humor. “I will put on my bio hazardous chemical warfare suit and pick up and deliver your supplies to your door step,” he wrote, adding that he had plenty of time to help because his wife was stranded in Vietnam and his profession, TV and film production in Georgia, had shut down. Of course, I had to hear his story. During our phone call, I learned his wife had gone to visit her parents in Ho Chi Minh City, where he said COVID-19 had become rampant. She wanted to come home, but since the trip required a stopover in Seoul, Korea, with a two-week quarantine, they opted instead for her to go stay with an aunt in the countryside. While we were discussing the scarcity of everything from hand sanitizer to rubbing alcohol, neither of which I could find, he said he had an extra bottle of alcohol to give me. Later that night, there it was, all neatly wrapped, on my doorstep. A seemingly small gesture, but very much appreciated.



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6 | Art & Entertainment

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Shutdowns to have ‘huge impact’ on local arts economy




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BY JOHN RUCH AND JUDITH SCHONBAK The coronavirus-prevention shutdown of scores of metro Atlanta venues is already putting the pinch on artists who depend on crowds for their livelihood and on the thriving local arts economy. “It’s going to have a huge impact – a complete drag,” said jazz musician Joe Gransden, who plays many metro Atlanta venues, of the hit to the arts economy. “It’s very scary, and I’ve talked to a lot of musicians around town already and everybody’s feeling the crunch.” Organizations forced to cancel shows and postpone events are responding with a variety of tactics, from turning ticket purchases into donations to offering online performances.

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The locally based City Springs Theatre Company has been a major draw at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center in the City Springs civic center. The city on March 12 announced a suspension of all events there through March 31 – right in the midst of the theater company’s production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” The theater company is offering ticket refunds or exchanges. But spokesperson Jennifer Wilkes also suggested that patrons choose to turn the cost of the tickets into a tax-deductible donation – so the money could pay the salaries of the artists, musicians and technicians. “Musical theater is a very expensive artform to produce — from rental of the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, to royalties, scenic, costumes, lighting, sound, orchestra, technicians, musicians and staff,” said Brandt Blocker, the theater company’s executive and artistic director. “An early closure means the direct loss of well over $110,000 in ticket revenue, not to mention the anticipated sales lost this week, to help cover those expenses.

Art & Entertainment | 7

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net “While this will be quite a burden for us to overcome, through the generosity of our patrons and support of our upcoming productions, we have full faith we will weather this storm,” he said. Across Roswell Road in Sandy Springs Plaza, Act3 Productions, a semi-professional theater company, had already postponed its youth improv classes. The theater was alive with rehearsals for the upcoming April 10 opening of the iconic musical “Cabaret.” Just days later, on March 16, Act3 turned off the lights. “We shut down the space to all upcoming auditions, rehearsals and performances,” said Mary Sorrell, executive director and board chair. “The safety of our patrons, students, actors and staff is always our highest priority so on one hand, it was a difficult decision, but it was not a surprise. We play by the rules and do whatever the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] tells us. We expect to be dark for about eight weeks, given the current guidelines.” During the interim, Act3 is expanding its virtual presence. On April 3, it was scheduled to offer a virtual preview of “Cabaret” at act3productions.org. “It replaces our [in-theater] 2020/21 season preview that was supposed to take place on May 3. At this time, the release date for that is to be decided,” said Sorrell. “Today’s technology gives us options we would not have had 12 or more years ago.” Act3 will continue to pay its staff during the shutdown. Ticket holders will have several options for cancelled or postponed shows. Those with tickets for “Cabaret” may get a full refund, exchange the ticket for a future show, or make the ticket price a donation.

Musicians to take a hit “It already has hit my pocketbook,” said Gransden, the jazz musician, who has seen cancelations of corporate shows and has other regular venues considering changes. At press time, he was still planning his own major event at the Sandy Springs PAC, a Jazz Camp for Kids scheduled for May 31-June 5. Gransden said income is already uncertain for freelance musicians. “… [W] e never really know what we’re going to make each month,” he said. But the period of mid-March through early June is typically a busy time when musicians save money to make it through the slower summer – and thus also an especially terrible time for coronavirus impacts. At the same time, Gransden said, he has considered canceling some appearances himself due to his own health concerns. “I do think about that now. I didn’t think about it a week ago,” he said. “… I come home to a 10-year-old son and a JOE GRANSDEN wife, and [I have] parents who live near MUSICIAN me.” Speaking on March 13, he said he had a gig that night “and I’m a little reluctant,” but he was going to bring hand sanitizer and keep his distance from people. “You want to encourage people to continue to support the arts and continue to go out and support the venues, but at the same time if it’s a health risk to anybody involved, that’s the wrong advice to give,” he said. David Reeb is a pianist at Von Maur in Perimeter Mall and plays at the Stone Mountain Public House and Olive Bistro in Midtown for open-mic and sing-along sessions. He also plays for weddings, parties and other social events, most of which were postponed or canceled. Early in the pandemic crisis Von Maur was still open and he was still playing. He said he was taking precautions and sanitizing the piano, and people seemed to honor the social distance of six feet. “It’s wait and see and hope,” he said. But on March 18 the store closed.

You want to encourage people to continue to support the arts and continue to go out and support the venues, but at the same time if it’s a health risk to anybody involved, that’s the wrong advice to give.

Galleries move online Art galleries within city or county art centers -- like Buckhead’s Chastain Arts Center, Dunwoody’s Spruill Center for the Arts and Sandy Springs’ Abernathy Arts Continued on page 8

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Continued from page 7 Center — were closed and classes were suspended. Some private galleries were operating dayto-day. Others, like Buckhead’s Huff Harrington Fine Art, were moving into online and delivery ways of doing business. Meg Harrington and Ann Huff opened the gallery in 2005 in a former residence on Rickenbacker Drive off Roswell Road. They also operate a sister store, Huff Harrington Home, on Roswell Road. The gallery, which represents 50 French and American artists, already has a thriving online business at huffharrington.com. “Thank goodness for the technology that keeps us connected,” said Harrington. “Our clients can shop us via our website, our Instagram account or, if they need something specific, we’ll FaceTime with them. We’re also available for personal appointments, curbside pickup and even delivery. “In unsettled times like this, with so many people now at home much more, they can find solace and comfort looking at art in their homes,” said Harrington. Brandt Blocker, artistic and executive director at City Springs Theatre Company.


Public Safety | 9

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Police: Most cars stolen this year had keys inside or engine running Most of the cars reported stolen in Buckhead’s Zone 2 precinct this year — 83 of 114 — had the engine running or keys left inside, according to the Atlanta Police Department. APD cited the numbers in a March 12 social media post. “Always turn your engine off when you exit your car & never leave the keys,” the post said. The numbers and advice reflect similar comments that Zone 2 commanders have made in recent years as car break-ins and thefts have driven Buckhead crime statistics

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10 | Commentary

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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

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Commentary: How you work may never be the same 2020 is not off to the start many of

Many local organizations have al-

us expected. Anxiety is high and social

ready been encouraging telework. Mer-

distancing restricts much of what we

cedes-Benz USA and Cox Enterprises

rely on. But I have some good news: The

both use part-time remote work to re-

way we work may never be the same.

cruit and retain the best people. Howev-

Recent efforts to fight the spread

er, many companies worry about mak-

of the coronavirus means the number

ing such a big shift in their cultures.

of people working from home—also

Even experienced managers need train-

known as “telecommuting” or “remote

ing to connect their teams from a dis-

work”—has skyrocketed.

tance. The transition to remote work is

This time last year, only about 11% of employees were telecommuting. Most

not about technology. It’s about leadership.

Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

people (76% , according to 2019 Atlanta

This is why 2020 could change ev-

Regional Commission commute data)

erything. Organizations that were once


were driving alone to work every day.

slow to change now face a choice: tele-

Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net

Despite advances in technology, the

work or shut down. Employees are be-

9-to-5 office “workweek” remains the

ing trained and IT systems tested. This

same as it was in the 1960s. We haven’t

isn’t an ideal situation to start telework-

tapped into the power of virtual con-

ing, though, and it’s been bumpy so far

nectivity on a large scale yet. Until now,

(more on that in a second). But if things

of course.

settle down and people see what’s pos-

out. Build a formal policy based on

sible, the workweek could finally step

what works for your company. Use vid-

into a new era.

eo calls just to let team members catch

Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

And while this may feel like a forced


Johann Weber is the program manager for the Perimeter Connects program of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts.

INtown Editor: Collin Kelley

experiment, it is also a tremendous op-

Editor-at-Large Joe Earle

portunity. Imagine what could happen

To telework well, meetings need

if working from home just one day a

clear agendas. Managers need to set

The most important thing for every-

week becomes the new normal.

Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Hannah Greco Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer Quinn Bookalam Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Cory Anne Charles Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Robin Conte, Kathy Dean, Kevin C. Madigan, Phil Mosier, Carol Niemi, Judith Schonbak, Jaclyn Turner

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2018 © 2020 with all rights reserved

up and socialize.

clear expectations. Employees need to

one to remember: This is not an opti-

Of course, not everyone can or will

be responsible for their performance.

mal situation. Be patient with each oth-

choose to telework. Service and indus-

These are business practice improve-

er. You or your colleagues may be stuck

trial jobs don’t have the luxury. But

ments companies would love to see

balancing work and taking care of chil-

everyone who does will benefit both

happen regardless of work locations.

dren. Everyone is stressed that they

themselves and everyone else.

Businesses are having growing pains

will get sick or a loved one will. A lot of

People who work from home will

as they transition to teleworking. It’s

the ordinary “rules” for good telework

save 168 hours every year. That’s seven

hard to put into place quality, sustain-

practice are going to be bent or broken.

full days every year to spend with fam-

able systems. But there are a lot of great

The hours that people will be available

ily, work or relax, rather than drive a

resources out there to help you and

may change day-to-day.

car. That change could decrease traffic

your colleagues. Businesses and man-

But if we do this teleworking thing

deaths and congestion. Lead to reduced

agers must make expectations clear,

right, it will improve our jobs and our

carbon emissions directly and from

and teams must communicate effec-

quality of life. Less stress. Less pollu-

less traffic. Save businesses and fami-

tively. This is a crucible by conference

tion. More time with family. Better em-

lies money.


ployee productivity.

But will companies keep their em-

Take the time to build buy-in, make

ployees teleworking once this crisis is

this the new normal, and equip manag-

over? Yes, though It probably won’t be

ers for success. Hold dedicated training

for five days a week for weeks at a time.

sessions. Bring in experts. Try things


The reality of work in 2021 may be something to celebrate.




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reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily

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Commentary | 11

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Waiting things out is OK – except for the missing Fitbit If you are a regular reader of this colgrown used to the zips and zings it buzzes umn, you may know that my family is me with, reminding me to stand up from fortunate enough to have a cabin in the my laptop and do a few deep-knee bends. woods. It has been our cherished haven I’ve come to enjoy the fireworks it sets off for about 20 years now, and it is here that I whenever I reach 10,000 steps in a day and have sequestered myself for a few weeks, in the celebratory bursts of color it causes to the company of my extraorexplode on my phone when dinarily patient and capable I best myself for the week. husband. I don’t even mind when it We packed up the car with springs to life when I roll over a few boxes of food, a bottle of in bed and casts a piercing wine (there was more where blue glow that wakes me mowe were going), computers mentarily. It’s the pet I never and power cords, notebooks had, the pet that is loyal and and books (I’m analog), a sixencouraging and always glad pack of toilet paper, and an to see me, yet does not need to ample supply of chocolate. be fed or watered and is hyI have been known to run po-allergenic. What, I wonout of toilet paper, but I have der, will happen to that peppy never run out of chocolate. wrist-bound pet once he runs Anyhow, as I was unpackout of charge and stops waging my goods, I realized with ging his tail? What will hapmounting dismay that I could Robin Conte lives with her pen to me? not find the charger to my Fit- husband in an empty nest How will I know if my cabit. loric output exceeds my inin Dunwoody. To contact This was a disappointput? What will motivate me her or to buy her column ment to me because I wear to march while brushing my collection, “The Best of the teeth at night, just so I can my Fitbit all the time, so much Nest,” see robinconte.com. log those last 435 steps? How so that, to borrow a line from Henry Higgins, I’ve grown will I ever know how many accustomed to its face. I’ve miles I’ve traveled in a day by

Robin’s Nest

Communities of Faith

merely going back and forth to the laundry room? For the benefit of those of you who don’t know and haven’t figured out by now what a Fitbit is, I’ll explain that it is a tool disguised as a watch that tracks steps and calories burned, and it links to your smartphone so that you can log exactly what you eat per day and the calories therein. It can even monitor sleep and sleep quality, and the fancy models can track blood pressure and heart rate. I got a base model, compliments of my son, who got it by surprise when the Fitbit people erroneously sent it to him and a score of other students at his university. To his credit, my boy tried to return it to the sender, but the company was gracious enough to let the kids keep it. My son, though, is a well-toned rock-climber and is not an obsessive-compulsive weight-watcher like his mom, so I snatched it with glee and have been trying to figure it out ever since. I’ll continue fooling with it and its happy-little-dancing-person icon until it finally peters out, and then I’ll probably start gaining weight again. But I will try to continue healthy habits and hope and pray that we all get through this, wherever we are. So, do what you can for yourself and your family; drink your immune-boosting quarantinis, wash your hands, keep your distance, and whether charged or not, please, do please, stay safe and well.

April 12th - Easter Sunday

Services streamed via Facebook Live at

facebook.com/stjamesatlanta 6:45 AM Outdoor Sunrise Wordship with Communion 8:45 AM & 10:55 AM Traditional Wordship with Choir, Brass & Communion

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We will be live-streaming our Easter services at 9am and 10:30am. 590 Mt. Vernon Hwy NE, Sandy Springs 30328

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Study supports renovation Brook Run ofratin Celeb ga Theater Latin tradition


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An act of courage



TROT | P17

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‘We rose to the oc

Fire chief wants Exhibit highlights to reform hydrant Atlanta nonprofit with Humanitarian of the Year award inspections Studen ts faced hardsh City honors founder of in ips, discrimination 50 objects and many challen ges

BY DYANA BAGBY reporternewspapers.net dyanabagby@ would Run Theater Renovating Brook and fit ly $7.5 million comcost approximate city of Dunwoody’s easily into the a new feasiaccording to prehensive plan, ConserThe Brook Run bility study from

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TROT | P17

‘Lynwood Integrators’ honored for courage during desegregation

A hole in the sidewalk near a Dunkin’ Donuts at 6060 Roswell Road marks where a fire hydrant was knocked down by a veFamiliar sights hicle nearly a year ago and remains misscrowd the new exhibit ing. And for the last four months of 2015, at the Atlanta History if firefighters had needed water to battle a Center. Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ blaze there, they would have found a fire Wreck holds BY DYANA BAGBY vancy. that we center stage. hydrant across the street gone as well. to let you know A billboard-re dyanabagby@ ady “I am pleased has a reporternewspapers.net Chick-fil-A cow Such long repair times and uncertain that Dunwoody protests in one sigis are now certain corner. A few there inspections for the city’s 4,000 public and Eugenia Calloway feet away, a Varfacility and that for need for this flipped through sity car-hop’s private fire hydrants are an ongoing conpages of the 1968 in the community the tray hangs Cross Keys High nificant support President door of a ’63 Plymouth from a cern for Sandy Springs fire officials. Fire yearbook, glancing School Conservancy Valiant. over the photographs that need,” states to the counIt’s no surprise Rescue Chief Keith Sanders is now gearof many white a Jan. 15 letter that the items faces. But in Danny Ross in in this particular the back of ing up a tighter, more accountable inspecthe yearbook museum show she found first at cil. seem familiar. the boys’ basa new theater tion system. Step one: bringing hydrant ketball team They’re all part and then the The cost to construct cost $24.5 milof girls’ basketball Atlanta. Each inspections in-house instead of using priteam. size would was chosen to about the same represent some important city vate contractors, as the study states. “That’s me,” she said, pointing PHIL MOSIER lion, the feasibility PHOTOS BY the city, the exhibit’s feature of its feasibility its since done sent has smiling to the girl at the far curators say. Cutno breaks The conservancy recently right in the The exhibit, player Anjanice varsity team founding. girls’ a varsity “Atlanta in 50 Council members photo. One other court during High School basketball the study to City Objects,” which to come up at black girl At left, Dunwoody as she heads down her home Wolverines on Jan. 15. 2016 “The was on the far opened Jan. 16 pack Lady issue is expected left; all the players the School and and High away from the is to be on display and the coaches in between inspections the Miller Grove 25 meeting. through July game against were white. council’s Jan. 10, is intended to show, Nash talks that there is support will be done “That’s when Coach Angela in I had the most While Ross argues Above, Lady Wildcats with her players. what makes Atlanta its own way, Theater, he may fun, when I was playing by the SanAna Avilez, 14, renovating Brook Run over strategy basketball,” she Atlanta. for a member of PHIL MOSIER said. “I think my favorite from the council. the Danza dy Springs Calloway was battle “Dia de Losface Aztec Dance Group, uphill top, 62-37, and anfestival thing is the one of 17 students was still Reyes” came out on and family leadership, prepares for a are 8-9 King manuscript, Jamie Chatman,fire departat the Atlanta on page 22 integrated Cross a nonprofit that helps achieve financial independence, personal growth who of Every ”Woman performance The Lady Wolverines ContinuedHistory Center Tillie O’Neal-Kyles, founder The Lady Wildcats one of the “Lynwood page 15.► guest Works, Keys High School during the Day celebration at City Hall on Jan. 18. Story onwho curator a 12- 8 record. PHIL MOSIER on Jan. 10. See integrated Cross Integrators,” on page 15.► SandWilson said of the Year, at the 10th annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ly 50 years ago, 2016 Humanitarian ment,” currently have the city’sAmy nearnamed additional photos Three Kings Day or attends a Rev. Keys additional photos High School nearly on the day bepart of that by graduates on page 15.► Martin Luther this season. See fore the show 50 years ago. first group of Lynwood said. of black students ers High School, The Jan. 18 program, King Jr. Day dinner and opened, as she Cross Keys High to attend an celebration honoring PHIL MOSIER and History Center all-white School and Chamblee held at Lynwood Park school in DeKalb “That way, I the 17 students exhibitions direcRecreation Center, County and now Charter High featured comments tor Dan Rooney School. See additional as the “Lynwood known know all hymade last-minute photos on page Integrators.” Reporter Newspapers firm, tweaks to the 13.► drants have exhibit. She market research is working with point- Reporter Newspapers is working with a new mobile market research firm, Atlanta-based a new mobile a new mobile ed toward a case Continued on page been touched 1Q, to survey periodically about is working with market research holding a series 12 residents of our about communities periodically topics communities our our of fi of residents rm, of survey to of 1Q, Reporter Newspapers handwritten proposed state Atlanta-based been communities and have the residents and local interest. pages from a Reporter Newspapers periodically about we ask about 1Q, to survey In our first poll, Religious Freedom yel- topics of state and local interest. In our first poll, we ask about the proposed low legal pad LegislaAtlanta-based In our first poll, is working with inspected.” we ask about in the state Restoration Act on which the Atlanta-based and local interest. a new mobile the proposed are two ture. Nearly two-thirds Rev. Religious Freedom Restoration Act being considered in the state Legisla1Q, to survey being considered being considered Martin Luther topics of state market research That will mean be rejected. Here residents of our Restoration Act King Jr. had in the state topics of state of 200 respondents fi rm, two the bill should are Here Freedom rejected. be ► said communitie should bill reactions writthe 11. Legislasaid and local interest. ten the acceptance Religious on page said the bill should ture. Nearly two-thirds of 200 respondents to the law. Read s periodically “more accuracy, more Religious of 200 respondents In our first poll, about local comments speech for his more about the be rejected. Here on page 11. ► Freedom we ask about it 1964 Nobel Prize. ture. Nearly two-thirds more about the poll and said, adding poll and local Restoration Act Page 18 reactions to the law. Read more about the poll and local comments are two accountability,” Sanders ture. the proposed comments on “It’s the original law. Read being considered Nearly two-thirds page 11. ► manuscript.” reactions to the hands-on knowlin the state of 200 respondents will also give firefighters reactions Legislasaid the bill should to thein law. Read more Wilson and edge of where the city’s hydrants are be rejected. Here about the poll Rooney started Page 18 are two and local comments BY JOE EARLE Page 18work on the project case they need to find them in an emers.net on page 11. ► rternewspaper in Novemjoeearle@repoI’m so sick ber 2014. The proposal gency. a of Georgia original idea Even having beEven having a proposal off on the city’s hind the exhibit law looking I’m so sick of Georgia sound But those inspections are where the fire Even having a like – gathering The chance to backwarto BY DYANA BAGBY proposal of a religious freedom crucial objects that I’m so sick of Georgiad bufthan 120 people d bufof a religious freedom law department’s direct control moreThis foons. looking like backward bufof a religious freedom represent imporI’m ofsothe in the dyanabagby@ parks drew sick of Georgia on Jan. 12. is just reporternewspa tant themes safety devices ends. The 2,910 hydrants seems to be a step start looking like backwar library branch law pers.net seems to be a step in the or events in legalized foons. This is just seems to be a step Dunwoody’s looking by the Even having a histoto room, standdiscrimin ry – had been on city streets are actually ownedlike backward bufinto a meeting proposal ation, used in a few City officials right direction... a foons. This is just ation, right direction... to start They packed are preparing othplain legalized discrimination, right direction... in the their ideas on foons.of This Watershed er high-profi of a religious freedom voicesimple. city of Atlanta’s Department toand to look for a new city manager le museum shows is just to start If that plan. ing room only, having more considerlegalized discriminIf that having more considerlaw to replace Marie and books, such take months to isn’t city’s five-year parks plain and simple. If that having more considerManagement, which can legalized seems to be a step period. rett, who held Garas “The Smithdiscrimination, rewrite of the enough, it’sa bad bit familthe job since for sonian’s History plain and simple.bad for ation for religion, Brookhaven’s make repairs. ation for religion, period. the discussion inception. isn’t enough, it’s bad for the state plain and “chalation for religion, of America in right direction... in the Some found economically. Sanders called that situation a simple. to start If that period. isn’t enough, it’s D WOMAN A national search Continued page iar. A 34-YEAR-OL isn’t enough, the state economically. having more considerally. A 34-YEAR-OLD WOMAN went to all these of for a new city 14 not aware it’s A 44-YEAR-OL ago, we A 34-YEAR-OL lenge,” though he added he is IN SANDY SPRINGS ager was expected bad for manD WOMAN “A few years the state economic D WOMAN WHO LIVES WHO LIVES IN SANDY SPRINGS to trouThe Atlanta History ghters had firefistate ation for religion, WHO LIVES Continued on page 12 any recent fire wherethe WHO LIVES tails of a separation begin as soon as deA 44-YEAR-OLD WOMAN economic IN BROOKHAV IN SANDY SPRINGS ally. period. D WOMAN exhibition, “Atlantacenter’s between the city EN ble finding a working hydrant on a public A 44-YEAR-OL BROOKHAVEN IN Garrett in LIVES EN WHO 50 could Objects,” showcases A 44-YEAR-OL be reached. Council and A 34-YEAR-OL IN BROOKHAV unique, D WOMAN 14 D WOMAN WHO LIVES Continued on page local items like bers met behind memWHO LIVES this katana from WHO LIVES closed doors with IN BROOKHAV IN SANDY SPRINGS “The Walking and a mediation Garrett Dead” TV show. EN attorney on Jan. 20 to try to work out an agreement. Mayor John Ernst and members of City Countinued on page 14


law Surve om’try y: No to ‘Relig on parks Puppe ious Freed ious Freed Arts Opinions

Survey: No to ‘Relig

some feel

Center expandsvary, as under Atlanta’s they’ve been this own puppet maste e way r befor

OUT & ABOUT om’ law

Puppetry Arts Center expands under Atlanta’s own puppet master

OUTlaw Survey: No to ‘Religious Freedom’ & ABOUT

Puppetry Arts Center expand s under Atlanta’s own puppet maste r

Survey: No to ‘Relig

ious Freedom’


Nationwide search planned for new city manager

12 | Special Section

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The Hills are Alive

Atlanta residents are among the homebuyers drawn to the North Georgia & North Carolina mountains


Did you know your local

Virginia-Highland neighbor is a licensed North Carolina Real Estate broker?

I specialize in luxury mountain homes,

breathtaking homesites, condominiums,

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As a 10-year resident and member of Old Edwards Club (in Highlands, NC), I am

very familiar with the area and nearby clubs. I have helped many discerning clients find their vacation home, new club lifestyle or

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create memories and make it your own – for a weekend or forever – give me a call.

cabins and put them into the vacation rental program We’re all looking for a right away,” said Boland, little peace and relaxation. adding that they enjoy their Many Atlanta residents mountain homes when have found it in the mountheir schedules permit and tains of north Georgia and eventually see a nice return North Carolina. Places like on their investment. Ellijay, Ga. and Highlands, Bill Gilmore, a broker asN.C. offer small-town vibes sociate at Highlands Cove with big city amenities Realty at Old Edwards Club, and a variety of recreation, said he has sold to couples shopping and dining expefrom Atlanta who want a diriences. verse community and enjoy Karyn Woody Annie Boland, North the small town feel of HighGeorgia Real Estate Speciallands. “There are also folks ist, Atlanta Fine Homes Sowho love golf, some of them theby’s, said that she sees from Florida, and are look“tons of interest” in the area. ing for cooler summers to “Every year, our area seems extend their golf games into to become more and more the summer.” He added that popular...and the increasing while he has sold to all ages, values represent that.” his typical homebuyer’s age She noted that Blue is between 50 and 68. Ridge is continually ranked According to Karyn among the top towns in the Woody, a Realtor with HarU.S. for retirement. “This ry Norman Realtors, she brings lots of baby boomexpects the interest in the ers looking to secure their north Georgia and Blue retirement home in the Ridge mountains region to Kim Knutzen mountains, even if they increase. “Many people still aren’t ready to retire right want an escape—a place to now,” Boland said. “They enjoy the home as relax and recharge—and the mountain ara vacation property and move in full-time eas certainly provide that environment,” after retirement.” she said. “Right now, the very low interest In addition, younger generation buyers rates help to make mortgages more affordpurchase mountain homes to generate inable and even make it more attractive for come and as an alternative or complementhose who don’t want to hold on to their tary investment to their stock holdings. “They usually buy fully furnished, turnkey Continued on page 14 BH

APRIL 2020 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Special Section | 13

14 | Special Section

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 12

Knutzen also has seen an increase in people flocking to the Blue Ridge area for cash.” Homes in the area are still very afits availability of outdoor pursuits, includfordable, she continued, especially when ing mountain biking, road biking, kayakcompared to other “destination” areas. ing, fishing and boating. “Retirees are drawn to the area because “Shopping in downtown Blue Ridge ofof the golf, boating and relaxation,” Woody fers many boutiques and specialty shops,” said. “I’ve worked with several millennials she said, “and dining in the area offers who aren’t tied to where they live for their something for everyone with a variety of job and have sought out this area looking foods, including organic and clean eating for a slower pace, kind of a back-to-nature options.” There’s also a fantastic arts comthing,” she added. “They want to raise their munity—galleries, the Blue Ridge Mounkids and have animals and gardens.” tain Art Association and the Blue Ridge Also, families are drawn to the mounCommunity—that features great local taltains as a gathering place. ent. “It’s so easy to get here from New and exciting archiso many places that many tecture that focuses on both families have vacation rustic and modern accents is homes here to enjoy the popping up all over the area lakes, mountains and scenon rivers, creeks and mounery,” Woody said. tains, Knutzen said. “One of Kim Knutzen, an asour newest communities is sociate broker with Old Toccoa Farm, a guardAnsley Mountain & Lake, gated residential communiBlue Ridge said that Blue ty that offers a mile of trout Ridge and the surrounding fishing on the Toccoa Rivtowns have shown a steady er, 18-hole golf course, drivincrease in home sales over ing range and other planned the last five years, “and our amenities.” median sales prices have inThese days, there’s plenAnnie Boland creased across the board. ty to do in Highlands I see it continuing as year-round, Gilmore notmore exciting architeced. No longer does everyture comes to our area.” thing shut down once the People from all ages season is over. He said enjoy the area, she exthat four new restaurants plained. Retirees see the opened last season: Tugs value in the small-town, Proper, MidPoint Highslower pace of life while lands, Bridge at Mill Creek having easy access to and Four65 Wood Fire Bishealthcare, volunteer optro + Bar. These added to portunities and active lifethe many mainstays in style options like golfing the Highlands restaurant and hiking. At the same scene that include Lakeside time, millennials are findRestaurant, The Ugly Dog ing a place to explore, kick Public House and The Log back, meet their friends Cabin. Bill Gilmore and gather together for According to Gilmore, lasting memories. “At any one of the exciting new degiven moment, you’ll find families and exvelopments in the Highlands area is Glentended families that make this area their Cove by Old Edwards, a multi-generational meeting point to enjoy time together,” community that highlights adventure and Knutzen said. wellness. Boland noted that mountain homeThe tight-knit community will have 31 buyers look to find the setting they want, cottage homes and 17 five-acre estate lots. whether it be near a lake, river or panoramPlanned features at GlenCove include ic mountain view, with a cabin that suits an organic garden and farm, a fitness and their needs, all in their price range. For Atwellness center with spa services, and a lanta area weekenders seeking an escape lighted 12-hole, par 3 golf course. There are from the city, “Blue Ridge is a no-brainer, mountain trails for hiking in the adjacent being such a short drive from the city, yet national forest. worlds away,” she said. Gilmore, an Intown agent with a North Retirees like being close to the hospitals Carolina brokerage license, lives in the located on the I-575 corridor while staying heart of Virginia-Highland and also owns in near proximity to Atlanta’s big hospia home in Cashiers, N.C. “One of the real tals and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Interbenefits about looking for a home in the national Airport. They also look for a remountains is that you can often rent one laxed pace with low crime, low taxes and first so you can try before you buy,” he said. low cost of living. Some clubs offer trial memberships, allowWoody said that the lakes—Lake Blue ing potential residents to get a good feel for Ridge, Lake Nottely and Lake Chatuge— where they’d like to live.” are a big draw. “They offer lots of outdoor “It’s amazingly beautiful and there are adventures, waterfalls, hiking trails and four true seasons, but they aren’t extreme,” beautiful scenery.” Woody said. “The spring flowers and the Other homebuyers want the great shopfall color changes are my favorite times.” ping and restaurants. “From the mountain There’s also a strong sense of communitops to the creeks and rivers to lakefront ty, she said, fostered by the many festivals and golf course properties, there are comand community events. “It’s a place where munities that fit every lifestyle,” Woody people still wave when they pass you on said. the road.” BH

APRIL 2020 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Special Section | 15

16 |

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APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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Education | 19

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Education Brief



LOS NIÑ O S PR I M ER O N A MES EXEMP LA RY YO U TH VO LU NTEER S Sandy Springs nonprofit Los Niños Primero has named Ari Slomka and Emily Demps as two exemplary youth volunteers for 2019. Ari Slomka is a senior at The Weber School in the Daniel Zalik Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Design. SPECIAL This year, SlomAri Slomka volunteers with children enrolled in ka partnered with the Los Niños Primero’s Early Literacy Program. teachers and administration of Los Niños Primero’s Early Literacy Program. Slomka has worked alongside both teachers and students to design, prototype, customize and manufacture hands-on activities and educational kits to introduce students at Los Niños Primero to the elements of STEM. Emily Demps is a junior at North Atlanta High School. Demps has received the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award for her 800-plus volunteer hours, which includes serving as a Transit Small Group leader at Buckhead Church/North Point Ministries, regional co-leader for Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child gift-giving and evangelism program, and as a volunteer teaching assistant at Los Niños Primero. Demps is also a math tutor at MathSPECIAL Emily Demps, North Atlanta High School nasium and an assistant coach for Tsustudent and Los Niños Primero volunteer. nami Volleyball Club. Emily plans to incorporate her volunteer opportunities at Los Niños Primero into her International Baccalaureate graduation project.

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APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

41 AWARDS FOR EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE We’re honored that Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown have won 41 awards in the Georgia Press Association’s Better Newspaper Competition over the past three years. In 2019, the Reporter’s honors included eight first place awards in its category. The annual competition is judged by newspaper professionals from around the country and represent the highest journalism standards. Thank you to our readers, advertisers and peers who support our mission of providing trusted, hyperlocal community journalism.

The #1 preferred source for local news and information!* MAY 2019 • VOL. 10 — NO. 5

Sandy Springs Reporter







Spring 2019 |

Where brick-and-mortar

The PCIDs 20 years of shaping marks Perimeter Center COMMUNITY retail still works

P. 36



After 20 years of a population increasingly boom, jammed highways scraper-sprouting and skymega-developments, it may sound quaint that people about Perimeter worried Mall traffic way 1999. back in But the Perimeter Community provement Districts, Imof business propertythe self-taxing groups out of those concerns,owners that formed are among the sons the local boom has happened reawhy the traffic and isn’t even worse. to Perimeter If you go Center today, you may well get there via one of the big projects PCIDs pushed – like the Hammond the ramps on Ga. Drive 400 or the Ashford-Dunwoody Road diverging diamond change at I-285 inter– and you’ll see smaller touches they’re responsible for, scaping and rush-hour like landtraffic cops. “They had a reputation for, one, cleaning things up, providing number those cosmetic amenities we’ve some of all become used to,” said Ann Hanlon, who watched the CIDs form as resident and now a longtime Dunwoody serves as their director. “At the executive time, that was pretty revolutionary, that a private group was willing to pay for those amenities.” Back in 1999, the day cover Perimeter three cities that toCenter – Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs not yet exist. – did As the its next 20 years, PCIDs looks ahead to it has refocused sion on transportation, its misleaving previous proposals such as park-building ies. Transportation to the these days means citerything from evhelping to build trail networks multiuse to shaping the toll lanes and future of transit on Ga. 400 and I-285. That’s in addition to some of the PCIDs currently basics the provides or coordinates, like sidewalks and crosswalks, commuter shuttles, traffic signal timing and the rimeter Connects commuter advice Pevice. serAn increasingly part of Perimeter residential sector is Center’s future, with

Who’s running for mayor? So far, just one P12

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Mother’s Words of Wisdom



Mount Paran and Powers Ferry Joe Card, the owner of this carriage house at the a plan to build a roundabout. roads intersection is calling for the city to stop

Mother’s Words of Wisdom P19

Check out our podcasts at ReporterNewspapers.net

City Springs theater group prepares for another season of packed houses



The Sandy Springs Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIPs 30327, 30328, 30342 and 30350 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

As the City Springs Theatre Company prepares the final shows of its inaugural season, it’s also prepping for what it expects to be another season of packed shows as it tries to keep up with the enthusiasm and de-

mand from the community. The theater company survived major

leadership changes at City Springs and has succeeded in implementing one of the complex’s key initiatives – educational programming. “I’ve been involved in nonprofit theatre for 33 years now. I have never, ever in my career seen anything like the level of support and desire for musical theater,” Brandt See CITY on page 12

country store. “We’d like Sandy Springs to make a priority of residential neighborhoods and not Aar- out our podcasts Check make it a bypass for commuters,” said at ReporterNewspapers.net on Gill, a homeowner at the intersection. The start of the project is quickly approaching, with utility relocation expectconstruction ed to begin in the fall andThe DunwoodybyReporter is spring 2020. The city is currently working mail delivered to on securing right of way for the round-

homes on selected about. carrier routes in The $2.5 million project is expect-ZIP 30338 ed to cost $1.2 million for construction, For information: $800,000 for right of way and $300,000 delivery@reporternewspapers.net for design. The city did not respond to


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Perimeter Business



Spring 2019 | Where

brick-and-mortar retail

The PCIDs marks 20 years of shaping Perimeter Center

still works

MAY 2019

P. 36



to remake Emory unveils $1B plan innovation district’ Executive Park as ‘health Main photo, the diverging SPECIAL at Ashford-Dunwoody diamond interchange Road and I-285 as it looked shortly after opening in 2012. Inset, the Hammond FILE Drive Ga. 400 shortly after interchange with it opened in 2011.

An increasingly residential sector is part of Perimeter Center’s future, with


Celebrate Congratulations Memorial Day and to all the 2019 graduates! Let us feed your family & friends while you



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Layla Smith, left, and Corrine Ovellette, eighth-graders at Peachtree Charter School, ride the swings during Middle the 20th edition of the Lemonade Days festival, which ran April 24-28 at Brook Run Park. The festival this year raised money for the Dunwoody Preservation Trust and the Donaldson-Bannist er Farm.

DeKalb CEO touts Dunwoody unity in ‘State of County’ address



DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond touted unity as the force behind local resurgence, and cited his “odd couple” partnership with Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal as key bridge-building, in a special “State of the County” address to

business leaders April 25. Adding to the symbolism, the event – hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the policy and lobby group the Council for Quality Growth – was not only held in Dunwoody, but in very same Crowne Plaza Ravinia hotel ballroom where the city’s own annual “state See DEKALB on page 10

Dunwoody’s old Austin Elementary School, which was expected to close once a new, 900-seat version debuts P16 open temporarily next year, may remain as DeKalb Schools searches for ways to alleviate overcrowding. Doing so would mean extending a lease agreement between the city and the school district, but officials are being tight-lipped about their discussions. COMMENTARY The city currently owns the old school at 5345 Roberts Drive, originally built in 1975, as part of a 2016 land swap deal with DeKalb Schools. The agreement included the city trading the former Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields for the school property and DeKalb Schools paying the city $3.6 million. DeKalb Schools P18 is building the new school on Roberts Drive on the site of the former baseball fields and adjacent to the NEST ROBIN’S Dunwoody Nature Center, less than a halfmile from the current AES. The city has not finalized what it wants to do with the old school property once it is vacated, but talks have generally focused on creating a park space. The new Austin Elementary School is being built using 2011 special local option salesP19 tax funding. As part of the 2016 agreement, the city agreed to lease the old school to DeKalb

our podcasts Check See OLD on pageout 22 at ReporterNewspapers.net

The Brookhaven Reporter to is mail delivered homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30319 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

See HOMEOWNERS on page 14


Holy Spirit pla spurs talk of n agreement, lawsuits

Section Two

MAY Sandy


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P. 36


RUCH johnruch@repo rternewspapers.

net After 20 years increasingly of scraper-sprou jammed a population highways boom, it may ting and skysound mega-develop about Perimeterquaint that ments, 1999. Mall trafficpeople worried But the way back provement Perimeter in Community of business Districts, property the self-taxing Imout of those concerns, owners that groups sons the why the local boom are among formed the traffic has to Perimeter isn’t even happened reaand get there worse. Center If you today, via one PCIDs of the you may go pushed ramps big projects well – like woody on Ga. 400 the Hammond the or the Drive change Road diverging Ashford-Dun touches at I-285 – diamond and you’ll interscaping they’re responsible see smaller and rush-hour for, like “They had a traffic landone, cleaning reputation cops. those for, number cosmeticthings up, providing used amenities to,” some we’ve the CIDs said Ann all becomeof Hanlon, resident form as a longtimewho watched director. and now serves Dunwoody as their lutionary,“At the time, that was executive that to pay for those a private group pretty revoamenities.” Back was willing day coverin 1999, the Perimeter three cities en, Dunwoody that toCenter not yet and – Brookhavits next exist. As the Sandy Springs – did sion on 20 years, it PCIDs looks has proposalstransportatio refocusedahead to n, leaving its missuch as ies. Transportatio park-building previous erything from n these days to the cittrail networks helping to build means evtoll lanes to multiuse and transitshaping That’s the future in PCIDs addition to on Ga. 400 and I-285.of currently some like sidewalks provides of the basics shuttles, the or coordinates, and crosswalks, rimeter traffic signal Connects timing commuter vice. commuter and the An increasingly advice Peserpart of Perimeter residential Center’s sector is CONTINU future, with ED

Main photo, the diverging at Ashford-Dunw diamond looked SPECIAL shortly oody Road interchange and Inset, after opening I-285 as the in 2012. it Ga. 400Hammond shortly Drive interchange after FILE it opened with in 2011.




4920 Roswell uckheadThree GREAT while 404-255-63Road you celebra Emory locations 68 ! Area 1815 Briarcliff te! 404-474-94 Road Chamblee 44 5071 Peachtree/Brookhav Industrial en 770-451-11 Blvd. 12


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shows future of Executive Park it owns plan for the 60 acres and Musculoskeletal Emory University’s master colored in blue, including a new hospital and industrial. office medical and office buildings to rezone the property from retail to Center. Emory is seeking

300-plus properties could be affected ect by I-285 toll lanes proj AND JOHN RUCH BY DYANA BAGBY toll lanes on the The state’s plan to build impact a minimum of top end of I-285 could the corridor, rang300 properties all along easements to full ing from construction to city of Brookhavland takings, according en officials. CouncilmemCity and Ernst Mayor John about 50 people ber Linley Jones informed community meeting at attending an April 18

number they learned City Hall that was the with a Georgia Deafter a private meeting on project manpartment of Transportati did not know how ager. They also said they would be afmany Brookhaven properties fected. affected on the properties The 300-plus located between Hentop end of I-285 are area in the east Tucker the in derson Road See 300 on page 23


apers.net dyanabagby@reporternewsp

Take steps to pro tec urban wildlife t

P18 revealed its $1 Emory University has Park, a “livebillion plan for Executive ROBIN’S that district” NEST work-play health innovation a hotel, multifamily includes a hospital, and office space. The housing and medical 15 years to build, but 60-acre plan will take center could start work on an orthopedic says. Emory this year, Park, a neighborResidents of Lavista seekare Park, hood adjacent to Executive P19 Brookhaven, posing to be annexed into year, in part because sibly as soon as this a say in the developthey want to have

Mother’s Words of Wisdom

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After 45 ye launches a ars, a nonprofit citizen inpureview of NPU t system






The Neigh borhood Plann tem that ing Unit sysreviews plann ing, zonin other big g and issues ment is gettin for Atlanta city govern g a review downtown of its own. nonprofit A called the Civic Innov Center ation has begun a quiet, for but

potentially influential, series of meetin and survey s that aims to have reform gs ommendatio recns for the 45-year-old on the table system by March 2020. “There are things about tem] that [the NPU are amazi ng, and things syswe need to that have a lot more conve about,” said rsation CCI Execu tive Direct or Rohit See AFTER on page 14


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*Source: independent reader survey

Published monthly by Springs Publishing LLC BH

MAY 2019 Vol. 25 No. 5 ■ www.At lantaINt

NO. 5


Take steps to protect urban wildlife Mother’s Words of Wisdom

• VOL. 13 —

Buckhead Reporter

After 20 years of a population boom, increasingly jammed highways and skyscraper-sprouting mega-developments, it may sound quaint that people worried about Perimeter Mall traffic way back in 1999. But the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, the self-taxing groups of business property owners that formed out of those concerns, are among the reasons the local boom has happened and why the traffic isn’t even worse. If you go to Perimeter Center today, you may well get there via one of the big projects the PCIDs pushed – like the Hammond Drive ramps on Ga. 400 or the Ashford-Dunwoody Road diverging diamond interchange at I-285 – and you’ll touches they’re responsible see smaller for, like landscaping and rush-hour traffic cops. “They had a reputation for, number one, cleaning things up, providing some of those cosmetic amenities we’ve all become used to,” said Ann Hanlon, who watched the CIDs form as a longtime Dunwoody resident and now serves as their executive director. “At the time, that was pretty revolutionary, that a private group to pay for those amenities.” was willing Back in 1999, the three cities that today cover Perimeter Center – Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs – did not yet exist. As the PCIDs looks ahead to its next 20 years, it has refocused its mission on transportation, leaving proposals such as park-building previous to the cities. Transportation these days means everything from helping to build multiuse trail networks to shaping the future of toll lanes and transit on Ga. 400 and I-285. That’s in addition to some of PCIDs currently provides the basics the or like sidewalks and crosswalks,coordinates, commuter shuttles, traffic signal timing rimeter Connects commuter and the Peadvice service.


a request for comment, but has said the roundabout would improve safety by reducing side-impact crashes and installing pedestrian improvements. It’s also expected to reduce congestion, according to the PRSRT STD ECRWSS US Postage PAID Monroe, GA Permit #15


Sandy Springs

Section Two



Take steps to protect urban wildlife

reporternewspapers.net MAY 2019

NO. 5



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CongraCelebrate Memor tulatio ial Day ns to Let us feed and your family all the 2019 gradua Sandy Springs/Buckh Three & friends while

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ROBIN’S NEST Residents near the intersection of Mount Paran and Powers Ferry roads have rallied against a roundabout expected to be built early next year. They argue the roundabout will mostly help commuters while negatively affecting their properties, including requiring demolition of a P19 once used as a nearly century-old building

P. 36

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Drive interchange FILE shortly after with it opened in 2011.

www.pignc hik.net


City agrees to extend PATH400 to Johnson Ferry Road

still works


Old Br Austin ookhaven Elementary rter Re School may po

SPECIAL diamond Road and interchange I-285 as after opening it in 2012. Hammond



MAY 2019 • VOL. 11 —

Inset, the Ga. 400



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johnruch@reporternew spapers.net

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looked shortly


Celebrate Memorial Congratula Day and tions to all the 2019 graduates! Let us feed your family & friends



| Where brick-and-mo

Main photo, the diverging at Ashford-Dunwoody

ersMill sidewalks HomeownTilly criticize spark right-of-way dispute ut roundabo threatening 1927 Take steps to protect buildingurban wildlife

Main photo, the diverging SPECIAL at Ashford-Dunwoody diamond interchange Road and I-285 looked shortly as it after opening in 2012. Inset, the Hammond FILE Ga. 400 shortly Drive interchange with after it opened in 2011.



Spring 2019



Dunwoody Brookhaven

Perimeter Busines

Business: PCIDs turns 20 ►Q+A with local couple behind Atlanta’s big anime convention






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Sandy Springs

Section Two


The PCID of shapings marks 20 year s Perimeter Center


MAY 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 5

Sandy Springs

Brookhaven Buckhead


Business: PCIDs turns 20 ►Q+A with local couple behind Atlanta’s big anime convention


reporternewspapers.net MAY 2019


MAY 2019

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johnruch@repo rternewspapers .net

The woode with age. The n stock is beige and battere metal plate decorated above the trigger d with a pair is of birds. The long, heavy barrel is and octago nal. It’s an old sure. It might muzzleloading firearm even be the , deer that gave one that killed for Buckhead the 1838. its curious name in John Beach, Heritage Society president of the Buckh ead , is still trying to figure that For more on out, partly by trackin g John Beach, see the tales surrou Around Town, nding another little-known page 20. piece of area history – an quietly surviv 1842 ed destruction log cabin that to a Buckh ead back yard. by being moved Beach gave In the meant the Report ime, er an exclus ive close-


Dunwoody Reporter

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More affordable Intown condos and townhomes are in demand P24

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Brookhaven City Hall abruptly closed March 14 after an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19. Anyone who had visited was advised to self-quarantine. That included Ann Marie Quill, the city’s communications manager, and Kevin C. Madigan, a freelance journalist who covered a City Council meeting for the Reporter.

Ann Marie Quill I readily admit I wasn’t taking the news of the emerging threat of COVID-19 all that seriously in the beginning. I’d heard it all before – SARS, Ebola, bird flu, swine flu, etc. I can’t recall any of those outbreaks ever having a direct effect on my life. It won’t get that bad here, right? I can’t remember exactly when I started taking more notice. Maybe with news coming from Italy, where I have traveled to in the past and so it started seeming a little closer to home. Maybe when the city I work for started canceling events the past week. But still, I’m in my 40s, have no health conditions, work out regularly, and try to eat healthy-ish. So, this shouldn’t be a problem for me, right? Well, I’m writing this from my sofa on Day 4 (a Tuesday) of a 14-day self-quarantine, so that tells you how much I know. I’ll also admit that five days before, on a Friday, I was out eating in a restaurant with about 15 other people. We were all certainly aware of what was going on, but still of the mindset that the health crisis might be a little over-hyped. But then, at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, I got the call. A coworker was diagnosed with COVID-19 and I was being advised to either self-monitor or self-quarantine, and to err on the side of caution. I was told that our co-worker as well as the staff had the full support of the city, and that we would be teleworking until March 30. As I had some limited contact with my co-worker, I decided to play it safe and self-quarantine, whatever that was supposed to mean. And there it was, the direct impact on my life. All of a sudden, this health crisis became very real for me. And I’m not going to lie, it shook me. For the record, as I’m writing this, I have no symptoms whatsoever and feel totally fine, but definitely have excess nervous energy. I also understand that many people who have the virus remain ANN MARIE QUILL asymptomatic, and that means something different to me than it once did. At first, I thought it was great that most people experienced no or mild symptoms. But that’s the problem, right? At the risk of sounding dramatic, right now I have this dreadful feeling that I could be carrying around a silent killer inside me. I may not ever have any symptoms, but I could go out and infect several people, who could infect several more, and someone might die. That feeling has influenced everything I’ve done for the past four days. I’ve only left my house to walk my dog, and I’m keeping my distance from anyone I see. I’ve rescheduled the exterminator to come on another day, because I don’t want him touching my fence and getting infected. I’ve placed food delivery orders with services that are promoting local restaurants, claim to be supporting their drivers, and

...right now I have this dreadful feeling that I could be carrying around a silent killer inside me. I may not ever have any symptoms, but I could go out and infect several people, who could infect several more, and someone might die.

will agree to leave the food at my door. I’ve even thought through the logistics of receiving deliveries in strange detail. Items can be left at my door and I don’t have steps or handrails so the delivery driver doesn’t have to touch anything and probably won’t get sick. Is it a mistake to put my garbage out, or could that hurt somebody? When I first heard that we were advised to self-quarantine or self-monitor, I paced for two straight days that weekend. On Monday, I tried to establish a routine. Get up with the alarm clock, fix coffee, work and eat lunch at a reasonable hour. Work some more. Feed the dog. Walk her. Do my treadmill since I can’t go to the gym, cook dinner, relax, go to bed. I’m kind of doing OK with that plan. Better today than yesterday. I’ll avoid the grocery store unless I absolutely have to go. But I’m no stranger to online shopping, so that really hasn’t been an issue for me. I haven’t hoarded anything – I didn’t want to deal with the crowds. But I did make a conscious effort when I did my grocery shopping last weekend to see what I was low on, so I’m good on supplies right now. Since I’m confined to my house, it’s odd to see people post on social media when they’ve been out. I keep forgetting I’m experiencing this from a different view. I see people walk by my window on the street and wonder what they are going through right now. Do they do this every day, or are they stuck at home too? I’ve learned that my dog pretty much barks and patrols all day, so maybe she’s keeping intruders away. Since my workplace’s quarantine has been in the news, I am touched by how many people have reached out to me to offer to bring me anything I might need. I think most people have the impulse to help when things are bad, and that is showing. I’ve read in my neighborhood’s NextDoor feed how folks are arranging running errands for elderly people or fixing lunches for children stuck at home who might not have access to healthy food. My impulse has been to help, but then I remember that I can’t, because I’m stuck inside. For now, I have the better part of two weeks to go. I know I’m lucky that I feel good, have supportive family, friends and workplace, and am not in need of anything immediate. I’m hoping that this experience is just a blip in history. Like everyone else, I wonder how this is going to play out and how it’s going to change our lives in the long term. I keep hearing the phrase “the new normal,” and I hope like hell that’s not the case. Right now getting up before sunrise (I’m not a morning person), sitting in rush hour traffic and going into the office sounds like a little bit of heaven, and I hope that I’m back to listening to traffic reports very soon.

Kevin C. Madigan

I remember saying to a friend a couple of weeks ago that I couldn’t get too worked up about all this virus stuff. Never mind that I’m in the so-called “highrisk” category, as are many of my friends. We go to bars, restaurants and concerts on a regular basis, enjoying the pleasures and amenities of urban life. But not anymore. That denial phase, albeit a brief one, is over. My job as a freelance writer allows me to work wherever and whenever I like, but it does have its pitfalls. I covered a meeting at Brookhaven’s city hall on March 10 only to find out the next day that a staff member had been diagnosed with COVID-19. I feel fine -- so far. I just hope this person will be OK. So I’m staying inside this smallish house, which even at the best of times is difficult, with my wife and adult son. He has Asperger’s syndrome and all kinds of concomitant issues. I’m not sure he understands what a virus like this one can do to a human being, and insists on being taken out to eat. My long-suffering wife does her best to appease him, though I am less indulgent, so there is always a lurking tension in the household. Just this afternoon he was taken to Emory Hospital with atrial fibrillation, but he’s better after emergency treatment. The recent loss of our daughter to heart disease hangs over everything in our lives like a black cloud. Grief, at least to me, partly means you don’t really care about much else, and the looming onslaught of a deadly virus at first left me nonplussed. Now I’m taking a bit of comfort in Italians singing to each other from their balconies and Spaniards applauding their healthcare workers from the same vantage point. I feel badly for workers in food and drink service who will suffer unduly from the effects of this pandemic. We must help anyone who needs it however we can. BH

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Locals adjust to shutdowns

COVID-19 pandemic changes local life

Continued from page 1

Continued from page 1

thinking maybe we should institute at least once a week we meet out in the street with a lawn chair, appropriately spaced, and have a happy hour so that we can just talk and see somebody else’s face.”

Ann and John Beach

Ann Beach is a pediatrist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. John Beach is owner of Paces Construction and is a board member of the Buckhead Heritage Society. They both have been reading the history of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Atlanta and similarities with COVID-19. “Some things are just the same,” said Ann. “Should we wear masks? Should we close things? What’s safe? What’s not safe? And people disagreeing about how important it is to isolate, and the struggle between business and public health. A lot of it seems like a rerun.” In October 1918, they said, Atlanta’s health officer ordered shutdowns of the schools and businesses to halt the pandemic. Two weeks later, the mayor ordered them open – and deaths spiked again, with 14 in Buckhead that week, John said. “I think it is a cautionary tale. Don’t get comfortable,” Ann said. As for how they will live when Ann is working at the hospital as COVID-19 cases increase, it largely matches her habit of not bringing work clothing home. “Ann does not bring white coats into the house” and washes “before she kisses me hello,” John said. But it remains to be seen how hospitals will cope. “Who knows what’s going to happen in a few weeks,” said Ann, echoing concerns of hospitals across the nation. “I know we are all concerned about our capacity as far as ICU beds and ventilators. … One of our big concerns is we’re pretty sure we’re going to run out of protective equipment.”

Gordon Certain, North Buckhead Civic Association president

“People are being told they have to stay home for everyone’s good. Most would say, ‘Of course!’ But there are fun options that also keep everyone safe. For example, Blue Heron Nature Preserve just opened up three miles of beautiful trails. Sue and I explored parts of those trails last Sunday afternoon, umbrellas in hand. It was wonderful and healthy. Of course, we could sometimes see other people, usually far away. Occasionally, a small friendly group would walk by and say hi. But mainly we were alone and it was wonderful to get some exercise. Importantly, the sense of being with nature was such a profound change from these troubled times. Don’t just stay stuck at home.”

Sheffield Hale, president and CEO, Atlanta History Center

“Like other nonprofit organizations across the country, we’re trying to figure out how we can advance our mission in the face of this nationwide crisis. HistoBH

ry reminds that we’ve confronted opaque, daunting obstacles in the past but have worked together with limited information to overcome them. ...”

Nancy Bliwise, NPU-B chair

“I am very grateful that I work for Emory [as a vice provost and psychology professor]. Our Public Health and School of Medicine faculty kept us very well informed early on so that we understood the risks and the idea of ‘flattening the curve.’ Emory has a great technology infrastructure so moving to telecommuting has not been too difficult. “I love the extra time that I save from my commute. I get extra time to walk the dog in the morning and to start dinner in the evening. I also like being able to work in my slippers and to spend lunch time doing spring preparations in the garden. I am happy to see families playing outside and greeting neighbors walking their dogs. It gives a wonderful sense of community, especially because it means that everyone is taking care of themselves and others. “I really miss my colleagues. … I have to remember to move around. It is too easy to stay glued to the laptop.”

Rosa McHugh, executive director, Chastain Park Conservancy

“The daily uncertainty of what lies ahead is the cause of much anxiety. The reality is that worry will not solve the problem, only action. At home, we have chosen to focus on the things we can control, such as our health, family and daily schedule. We are eating smaller, healthier meals, walking the park daily and actively seeking opportunities to learn new skills.... “At the Chastain Park Conservancy, we are coping by serving others. ... We take it upon ourselves to make their experience the best possible, which in turn helps us keep some stability during uncertain times. “My sincere hope is that we come out of this episode with a renewed sense of community and a reality check. Perhaps we will be able answer these questions: What do we truly enjoy? Can we do it better? How can I best serve?”

Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza announced closures as well. The Final Four college basketball championship was canceled in the first serious blow to Buckhead’s hospitality industry. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms banned public gatherings of 250 or more people, then tightened that to 50 or more. She enacted a similar limit on occupancy of various businesses, ranging from bars to theaters to gyms. “This is an unprecedented health crisis and social distancing is critical,” Bottoms said in a press release. “We are following the latest CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance and we will continue to follow the recommendations of our public health experts.” Beyond City Hall, such major institutions as the Atlanta History Center also temporarily closed. Shoppers cleaned out grocery store shelves. A neighborhood where residents regularly gather for meetings on public issues, for youth sports at local parks, and for shopping at some of the state’s top outlets suddenly became a place of “social distancing” separation and supply-stocking. While COVID-19 began in China in December and has spread rapidly around the world with serious consquences in many countries, its severity and speed appeared to take much of the U.S. by surprise. The local response escalated dramatically from early warning signs to declarations of emergency. On March 2, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first two COVID-19 cases, both in

Bridget Nabors, resident

Nabors is a third-year political science major at the University of Georgia. The school’s shutdown has her living with her mother in North Buckhead. She said calls for social distancing have not been followed by some of her friends, “I guess since we’re young and they assume we’ll be OK if we get it, but the way they have handled has come across as really irresponsible. It’s been a source of conflict for me [and] a few of my friends who understand the severity of it... I had a few friends ask me to go out this weekend to the Buckhead bars and I was like, you know, ‘No.’ I would feel uncomfortable doing that for my own health and I feel uncomfortable with them doing that, and I expressed that.”

Fulton County. On March 7, DPH was still saying the risk to the public was “low.” On March 9, a teacher in a South Fulton school tested positive for COVID-19. By March 12, Gov. Brian Kemp was suggesting school system shutdowns. A gradual constriction of public life began, though most of it remained voluntary. With rapidly changing and sometimes conflicting advice coming down from federal officials and experts, the early responses from local governments varied as well. Atlanta was slower at shutting City Hall than some other local cities while leading on restricting the size of public gatherings. At press time, it had prohibited dine-in service at restaurants and shuttered many other types of businesses. Businesses and nonprofit organizations are already taking financial hits. Piemont Atlanta Hospital on Peachtree Road is already a center of COVID-19 preparation. On March 15, the hospital announced it was limiting the number of visitors and requiring them to be screened for COVID-19, with those approved required to wear arm bands or stickers. The future remains unclear, except that the pandemic will take time to resolve, and that more change is on the way. To read the latest local news, see the daily coverage on our website at ReporterNewspapers.net. For the latest information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, see cdc.gov.

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