APRIL 2020 - Brookhaven Reporter

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APRIL 2020 • VOL. 12— NO. 4

Brookhaven Reporter WORTH KNOWING

Neighbors start helping neighbors P5

Mountain Living PAGE 12


COVID-19 pandemic changes local life


Life in Brookhaven changed fast. For how long and how much remain questions as the city joins the world in responding to a global pandemic of a new coronavirus and its potentially deadly COVID-19 disease. As March began, the city was planning its massive annual Cherry Blossom Festival with such performers as Better Than Ezra. The big public safety news was progress on a new Buford Highway ambulance station. By March 14, City Hall was shut down

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

A note to our readers

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.


Teleworking may stick around P10

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PAGES 16-19


Customers wear latex gloves while stocking up at the Publix grocery store at Town Brookhaven on Peachtree Road on March 14 as the pandemic shutdowns began in earnest.

Life under self-quarantine A city staffer and a journalist describe their experiences City Hall abruptly shut down March 14 with the news that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Mayor John Ernst said he was going into self-quarantine or self-mon-

itoring, and urged anyone who had been at City Hall to do the same. 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. See LIFE on page 22

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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Former Mayor Williams remembered as an ABC News ‘superstar’ BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Rebecca Chase Williams, a former mayor of Brookhaven who died March 11 from cancer at age 70, is being remembered for her career as a TV journalist. She worked for several years at Atlanta’s WXIA-TV station where she won three regional Emmys and went on to a 20-year career with ABC News as a national correspondent. “[M]y colleague, my mentor, my good friend … was so lucky to have such a wonderful partner for those years at ABC News. She made my world a better place,” said Kayce Freed Jennings, wife of the late ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, in a Facebook post. Her stories on everything from the Georgia General Assembly to a deathpenalty trial of serial killer Ted Bundy earned her a reputation as a “professional, straightforward journalist,” said her husband, Dick Williams. He is the former owner and publisher of the Dunwoody Crier and former host of the “Georgia Gang” on FOX 5 Atlanta. Her Facebook page – open to friends only — is filled with tributes from local reporters and from numerous ABC News colleagues about her work on “ABC World News Tonight with Peter

Jennings,” “Nightline” and “Good Morning America.” “Becky was an ABC News legend,” said Steve Osunsami, an ABC News correspondent based in Atlanta. “She was a great journalist and more importantly a great person,” said Dan Woo, a former senior producer at ABC News. “Becky was one of the few journalists who touched my heart!” said Peter T. Michaelis, a former field producer. “Her generosity of spirit and collegiality and her friendship made working with her always a pleaRebecca and Dick Williams with their daughters, sure. She is and always will Clare Stevens and Chase Williams Cooper. be one of ABC’s superstars!” She and Dick Williams met each other when he was upgrade. her boss at WXIA in the 1970s. “There was no restroom for women She was one of just a few women at [on the main floor], and they couldn’t go the Capitol when Tom Murphy, the Demto the restroom without taking the elevaocratic Speaker of the House, reigned. tor,” Dick Williams said. Rebecca Chase Murphy, who held on to the Speaker post Williams conferred with the few women from 1973 to 2002, was a “curmudgeon” legislators at the time and they “forced and ruled with a heavy hand, Dick WilTom Murphy to build them a restroom,” liams said. That didn’t intimidate Rebeche said with a chuckle. ca Chase Williams, not even when she Dick and Rebecca married in 1979. decided the Gold Dome itself needed an

He went to work for the Atlanta Journal newspaper, and ABC News hired her away from WXIA.

ABC career

Her first assignment with ABC News was covering serial killer Ted Bundy’s six-week death-penalty trial in Miami, Florida, in 1979. By some accounts, it was the first murder trial to be televised in the U.S. Bundy was convicted of killing two Florida State University sorority women on July 24, 1979. He was executed in the SPECIAL electric chair at the Florida State Prison on Jan. 24, 1989. “It was a weird way to begin a marriage,” Dick Williams said. “But as a reporter, I understood.” Last year, Rebecca Chase Williams made an “accidental comeback” to TV news, he said. In February 2019, ABC’s “20/20” aired a special titled “Bundy” to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his execution. Rebecca was interviewed about what she saw during the trial.


Community | 3

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net “It was so chilling. It was sickening,” she said of Bundy’s behavior during the “20/20” program. She was also interviewed for a “20/20” special on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker that aired last January. She had covered the bizarre story of the celebrity televangelists and their fall from grace in the 1980s amid a sex scandal and Jim Bakker’s conviction for stealing millions of dollars from viewers and donors. Dick Williams said he was glad their daughters, Chase and Clare, got to see their mother on TV during the “20/20” specials. She had retired from ABC News to become a full-time mother and they didn’t know much about that side of her, he said. “She made an accidental comeback [to TV news] last year … and now they could see an older, more glamourous Becky sitting for an interview,” he said. “It was great for the girls to see their mom as a network correspondent.”


At ABC News, she also covered stories of Cuban refugees risking their lives on crowded boats and other vessels seeking freedom in Miami; the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom; political conventions; presidential campaigns; and all the major hurricanes that struck the Southeast. Toward the end of her career at ABC News, Rebecca developed her own beat, Dick Williams said. She reported on social policy, such as welfare, taxes, poverty and housing. That made life for the family more “tolerable” because she was not always having to chase breaking news, he said.

A move into politics

Their shared love of journalism made them compatible as a couple, as parents and as business partners, he said. When they bought the Dunwoody Crier and he was editor and publisher, she revived

her reporting skills by writing about the Dunwoody cityhood movement. After Dunwoody voters approved their own city in 2008, she was inspired to help lead the successful effort to incorporate Brookhaven in 2012. She was elected to the first Brookhaven City Council and was appointed as the second mayor in 2015 after J. Max Davis stepped down to run for state office. “The skills she learned as a reporter translated nicely to public policy,” Dick Williams said. “She’s as good a reporter I’ve ever seen.” “She was tenacious, thorough and accurate,” he said. “At the heart of both of us is we were driven by our work. … We were a good team. We were both driven by that same fire bell.” Williams was diagnosed with cancer several years ago and given six months to live. She lived for more than three years and remained active in the city. She had a “passionate devotion” to city

parks, said City Councilmember Linley Jones, who was a close friend. She founded the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which now attracts major music headliners and thousands of people to the city’s Blackburn Park. The City Council named two roads in Blackburn Park for her two years ago in honor of her service to the city and to parks. Mayor John Ernst said in a text message that she was the “mother of the city.” In addition to Dick Williams, her surviving family includes her two daughters and sons-in law, Catherine Chase Cooper and Wesley, and Clare Margaret Stevens and William; her sister, Nancy Cheek Smith of Prescott, Arkansas; and her brother, John Cheek of Snellville, Georgia. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Marist School and St. Martin’s Episcopal School.

4 | Community

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No opening date set for Brookhaven EMS ‘hub’; mayor knocks Dunwoody’s quest for new zone BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A new emergency medical services “hub” in Brookhaven that is expected to improve ambulance response times in north DeKalb County was recently unveiled, but a date when it will open was unclear even before the coronavirus pandemic. The new ambulance station on Buford Highway was part of a deal brokered between Brookhaven and DeKalb County last year after some cities, particularly Dunwoody, complained about slow ambulance response times to north DeKalb. Dunwoody sought to break off from DeKalb to create its own EMS zone, but state authorities eventually denied the request. At a March 4 press conference to announce the new EMS hub at 3292 Buford Highway, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst accused Dunwoody of playing politics in its quest to separate from DeKalb County. He also implied former Dunwoody Councilmember Terry Nall, who led the effort for a new EMS zone, was using the issue as part of his unsuccessful mayoral campaign. Lynn Deutsch beat Nall in November to become mayor. “I could just tell you about Brookhaven and how I viewed it and how my council viewed it and that is we’d rather get response times than higher poll ratings and better politics,” Ernst said at the press conference to unveil the new EMS hub when asked about Dunwoody’s desire to create a new EMS zone. State authorities acknowledged DeKalb County had problems in its EMS service through its contracted ambulance provider, American Medical Response, and mandated three ambulances always be stationed in the city of Dunwoody. Dunwoody’s concerns with AMR were the backdrop for Brookhaven offering the former QuikTrip at 3292 Buford Highway to the county last year to use as an ambulance station, Ernst said. The city purchased the shuttered gas station and convenience store in 2018 for $1.7 million to gain a foothold on redevelopment along the rapidly changing corridor. But rather than side with Dunwoody to create a new EMS zone in north DeKalb, Brookhaven chose to collaborate with the county, Ernst said. The city renovated the 3,300-square-foot building for approximately $185,000 to be used as an ambulance station. The county will pay back $180,000 to the city through a three-year lease agreement. “And so, we’d rather actually solve a problem … instead of … trying to make someone win a mayorship,” Ernst said. “That person [Nall] did end up losing. So, I think it’s just good politics to actually try to accomplish something.” Deutsch denied politics played a role in their actions and said the city continues to work with the county to resolve concerns about slow response times. “Dunwoody’s interest in solving our EMS challenges is motivated by public safety concerns,” she said in a written statement. “We continue to work with DeKalb County on response times.” Nall said in a written statement he was “disappointed” to hear Ernst suggest the city of Dunwoody’s call for a separate ambulance zone and focus on response times was a political issue. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Nothing is political when lives are at stake.” “Public safety is the most basic function of local government,” Nall said. “Citizens’ lives matter. Response times of public safety providers matter. Our public safety providers must be provided adequate resources to serve properly and then be held accountable to performance standards, including response times.” The city of Dunwoody said DeKalb County and AMR were not living up to the contracted time of responding to emergencies within nine minutes for 90% of all calls. County officials argued the contract signed in 2013 with AMR was a poor contract that among other things didn’t allow for tiered response times – different times for different kinds of emer-


Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst and DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond, center, with DeKalb Fire Rescue Chief Darnell Fullum at right at a March 4 press conference announcing their partnership to open a new ambulance station on Buford Highway.

gency calls. The new five-year contract the county approved with AMR in December 2019 calls for serious emergencies, deemed priority 1-3 calls, to be responded to in under 12 minutes; priority 4 calls where a situation is under control requires a response time within 15 minutes; and non-emergency priority 5 calls must be answered within 30 minutes. All response times must be made 90% of the time. The new contract also allows for municipalities to contract for extra ambulances in their areas. Monetary penalties can be assessed for not meeting response times, according to the contract. “Only because of our call for state action, ambulance response times in Dunwoody improved from its subpar levels …,” Nall said. “Accountability must be an ongoing effort by our elected leaders.” DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said at the March 4 press conference that Dunwoody’s push for better response times resulted in creating a new model for how to respond to emergencies, including the tiered response times. He also said county Fire Rescue trucks and rapid response vehicles often arrive on the scene quicker than ambulances and personnel provide the same life-saving procedures as ambulance personnel. “We had some issues and they brought those issues forward,” Thurmond said of Dunwoody. “So out of something controversial we saw an opportunity to fix the system and we have a system now that people in Brookhaven … and all over DeKalb County can be proud of and we are going to continue to improve,” Thurmond said.

No opening date

The new station was empty except for a couch, two chairs and a table during the press conference in early March. It will eventually serve as deployment center for six new Ford Transit ambulances operated by AMR. It will also allow for shift changes for ambulance personnel to keep units closer to the north DeKalb service area, according to AMR. AMR Regional Director Chris Valentin said at the press conference he could not give an exact date when the station would be fully operational but estimated 60 days at the time. “Our goal is to open it as fast as we can,” Valentin said. The reason to hold a press conference before the new ambulance station is actually open and operating was to recognize DeKalb County and the city of Brookhaven “for their leadership and hard work to convert a service station into what will serve as an EMS hub that will provide transportation for emergency calls across the northern quadrant of DeKalb County,” AMR said in a written statement. Besides the ambulances, the station will include IT equipment to deploy them. An AMR supervisor will be stationed at the new EMS hub, which includes a break room and shower for employees for shift changes. The building includes a common area, an office and storage area. AMR DYANA BAGBY personnel will offer CPR and other emergency trainings to the public The new EMS ‘hub’ on Buford Highway in Brookhaven. from the new site, Valentin said. BK

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.

The cost to theater

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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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8 | Art & Entertainment

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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.


Community | 9

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Couple settles with landlord in court case alleging retaliatory eviction BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A couple that fought in court a threatened eviction, alleging retaliation for organizing a tenant protest, has reached a settlement with the landlord. Alejandra and Yair Hernandez agreed to settle with Fifeco Property Management, owner of the Reserve at Brookhaven apartments, for $5,000. The landlord did not admit any guilt as part of the settlement agreement, which was reached Feb. 28. The property manager threatened in DeKalb Magistrate Court to evict the couple last year for leaving children’s toys, a garbage bag and household items outside their apartment, a violation of apartment rules. The couple filed a counterclaim saying the landlord was retaliating against them for Alejandra Hernadez’s role in organizing the mostly Hispanic and Latino tenants living at the Reserve at Brookhaven to request repairs be made to caved-in ceilings, broken air conditioners and more. The apartments are just down the road from a trailhead of the city’s first mile of the Peachtree Creek Greenway. “My clients are warriors,” said Esther Graff-Radford, their attorney. “My clients refused to have a confidentiality clause because they wanted their community of vulnerable tenants to know they have rights. FILE “What was important to me about this Alejandra Hernandez, left, with her attorney, Esther Graff-Radford. case is that it was based on a tenant organizing a tenant union,” she said. “They were trying [to say] this case was about tricycles and strollers and a single bag of garbage one at a time.” A call for comment to Mike Williams, attorney for Fifeco Property Management, was not returned. The Hernandezes lived in an apartment at the Reserve at Brookhaven at 1793 Briarwood Road for more than nine years. They have five children. Last year, the couple and many other Spanish-speaking residents were ordered to pay as so-called $350 penalty for having items such as bicycles and children’s toys on their patios. Alejandra Hernandez, along with the Housing Justice League and Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, helped organize neighbors in June to protest the penalty. The $350 penalties were dismissed, but the Hernandezes started receiving notices they were violating apartment rules by leaving a garbage bag outside their door or leaving a stroller in the breezeway or a tricycle on their balcony. Alejandra Hernandez continued to organize residents during the summer of 2019, who now called themselves Residentes Unidos. They continued to protest dangerous living conditions, called city of Brookhaven officials, called and wrote to corporate management to demand repairs and also learned their rights as tenants. In October, the property manager threatened the Hernadezes with eviction alleging they were in violation of their contract by leaving household items outside their apartment. The couple, represented by Graff-Radford, filed a counterclaim citing a new Georgia law that states landlords cannot retaliate against tenants who organize against unsafe conditions. If found guilty of retaliation, the landlord would have to award the Hernandezes one month’s rent, or just over $1,000, plus $500. The landlord would also have to pay attorney’s fees. Attempts to get the eviction notice dismissed failed. The couple was able to live in their apartment until Jan. 31, 2020, when their lease expired. Although they were not evicted, the landlord can still be held liable, according to state law. The case went to court on Feb. 19 and a second hearing was set for Feb. 28. Graff-Radford said the settlement was reached shortly before the Feb. 28 hearing was to begin. The Hernandezes now live in another apartment complex off Buford Highway in Brookhaven. Residentes Unidos, the tenant organization Alejandra Hernandez helped form, continues to ask for repairs when necessary at the Reserve at Brookhaven apartments, according to Graff-Radford.


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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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Honored as a newspaper of General Excellence

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.




Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any

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

represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC.

ReporterNewspapers.net BK

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

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404-261-3121 | stjamesatlanta.org 4400 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta 30342

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

mist ycr eekchurch.org


rsary 25th Annive

Please, Pick the Fruit P34 s.net


— NO. 7

Dunwoody Reporter

JUNE 2019

Atlant firstit trans lba’s DeKa moves UrbanerFood planFore mast st would need isahea bothd,publ ic parkt boos tax sales & community farm


PBS to air local singer’s documentary

• VOL. 11 —

NO. 6

Brookhaven Reporter

See pull-out section pages 15-18

GDOT chief: ‘Benefits of express lanes are proven’ P10


Piano-playing Rogers family is a YouTube hit P29

bers Local City Council mem ion sign anti-toll lanes petit

and Check out our podcasts Facebook Live Streams

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Home & Real Estate Local home sales near a peak, agents say P5

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Section Two



Dunwoody Brookhaven Buckhead

new website Wall to Wa ll Art maps metro murals, wall to wall ►Out & About ►Summer Camps


Officials seek ways to influence toll lanes projects BY DOUG


12 —


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Local actor fights Batman , ninj as and





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month to consider sioners is expected next plan designed to countywide transit master bus service and deimprove current rail and COMMENTAR new transit over the Y termine where to build next 30 years. commisAs part of that consideration,if they beto decide sioners will also have to vote for enough motivated are lieve voters pay for the proposed a sales tax increase to P10 include light rail, bus improvements, which rapid transit in rapid transit and arterial The proposed north and south DeKalb. full-penny DeKalb Atlanta Regional DeKalb County, the County transit worked with lomaster plan Commission and MARTA gathered public input scenario would cal municipalities and proposed transit masinclude four light over the past year on a goals: address the rapid transit routes; ter plan with three broad routes foster economfour bus rapid transit county’s mobility challenges, quality of life. end of I-285; P44 including along the top ic development and improve recently toured transit routes. These and eight arterial rapid Consultants with VHB presenta180 project miles. ’S NEST madeROBIN cover June would in and expansions DeKalb cities The dirt path conceptual transit on Buford tions on proposed and that is the Highway in Brookhaven and Dunsubject of front of the master plans to the a dispute about DYANA BAGBY Orchard at Both presentations a new sidewa Brookh woody City Councils. lk and landsca aven a 1 cent sales tax pe strip. spotlighted two scenarios: raise $3.65 billion over increase that would projects, and a half30 years and fund 16 raise $1.85 billion penny increase that would P11 15 projects. over 30 years and fund tax requires a vote. Increasing the sales tax is 8 percent. Springs, a member DeKalb’s current sales Kevin Abel of Sandy decimajor a is which n Board Going to a referendum BY DYANA BAGBY of the State Transportatio project manager, Department of Transsion, Grady Smith, VHB Check out our oversees the Georgia AND EVELYN ANDREWS council at its June 10 took those officials to told the Brookhaven at ReporterNews podcasts portation, however, Dunwoody and hearing DeKalb leadthe toll lanes projpapers.net Elected officials in meeting. He said he is task and said he supports out against the time to consider the and Ga. 400 because ership is wanting more Doraville are speaking ects planned on I-285 input from the cittoll lanes and have BY DYAN bus rapid transit to proposals and is seeking planned I-285 “top end” A BAGBY they promise to bring The Brook the estimated $5 dyanabagby@r signed a petition opposing See DEKALB on page 30haven Reporter the area. eporternewspape to begin construcen has some 31 rs.net billion project expected isMAY mail deliver residents See DUNWOODY on page 2019 ed • VOL. 13 —Emory NO. 5Univer living in by neighb tion in 2023. nearhomes on selecteto orhood sity’s propos through traffic s worried about a $1 billion cutcarrier routes d “health innova al to build and more in such roads over the next congestion tion distric on ZIP 30319 as Sherid t” 15 years on an, Briarcl approximatel North Druid 60 acres of iff and Executive Hills. For information: Park in Brookh y Emory officia delivery@rep avorternewspape ls say they ing to allevia rs.net are workte those ► concerns by con8 See TRAFFIC See our ad on page on .com page lauderhills 22 et

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Sidewalk dispute could set Buford Highway precedent



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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. For 2019, the Reporter’s honors include eight first place awards in its category.

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An art fan maps street murals in and beyondAtlanta






The Orchar d at Brookh sisted living aven, an asfacility that caring for specializes those with in dementia, opened on recently Buford Highw ay, a large, low “pre-le yelasing” banne r still hangin over its front g entrance. Just yards from that front entran a dirt path ce is that runs along Buford way, created Highover many reporternewsp apers.net years by people walking along the busy thorou spite a lack ghfare deof sidewa lks. That is supposed dirt path to become a 10-foot Perim and a 5-foot landscape eter Businsidewa ess Springlk strip, a condit 2019 | the city put PCIDs mark ion Where brick-and-mortar retail still works on theThe ofdeveloper s 20 years property when was rezone shaping Perim the d two years eter Cente r ago to See SIDEWA LK on page 23 MAY 2019

Section Two

Sandy Springs Dunwoody






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



P. 36



Main photo, the diverging at Ashford-Dunwoody

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



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

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It took — and cial media, a harmonic everything convergence an unmet an engineer’s A tribute changed “It was of soan eye-opening for Rudick. to the former recalls. ping more need to launch retirement and IMAGE in Buckhead, “This Limelight COURTESY experience,” maps covering ro Atlanta. than 500 street a website mappainted disco behind ART RUDICK On the was amazing he by Dr. stuff.” same trip, murals 14 neighborhoods outlying Binder’s duced Dax and in metFittingly, Rudick’s him to cities as Art Supplies The Loss a guy named Instagram, niece introand Sandy and such home Dunwoody, to locate Prevention. to Springs. all of Art was walking six self-guided hood full his Old Fourth and he returned The site Brookhaven the one “I’ve alwaysthe art. tour. Ward of curiosity. also and includes walking photos “It’s partially had Rudick tours of provides He wantedneighborof Atlanta’s says, “but an interest ing that because street art on his in art,” myself. Rudick, bios of 16 muralists. I’ve never street murals to take cartoon,” I grew new Instagram I once an engineer the attraction. up watchbeen an Art end of Rudick did woodworking were the by, making to post 2016 after artist who retired account, says, explaining murals? custom ca-Cola, but where a He says How could as a hobat the Necessity furniture.” The design finds most 32-year career his favorite he find ro, who ing local tion when became the of a new with Cofor Rudick, artists them? uses a artists on of his content mother hobby are Yoyo Rudick technique 61, about contour contact by followmap of Instagram. he and Ferdrawing, three yearstook shape page known the city’s realized that of invenhis He also of a collective times reach on his site, as blind and five with no street art a decent City. While wife visited ago when and artists has a who are him that didn’t exist. Club, which known there, the family in New website, previous experience a guided Twice somepart way. York So, Atlanta he does “a as the Lotus tour amazing to check a year, he says, in doing couple an online took it upon class Bushwickof street lot of interestingEaters work.” took on he drives art in the a himself of Donna He sure that every mural, and the guide to Atlanta’s neighborhood to create around workingand Howells, also admires as the artists her seventies new work site is current. part of making of Brooklyn a Cabbagetownthe work The result who put them street murals while making He’ll often SIGN UP only recently. who began is the Atlanta up. artist in at StreetArtMap.org, Rudick spot TO RECEIVE the creating Street Art the artist says his favorite rounds. murals Rudick DAILY & which Map keeps his mural is has interactive in suburban Tom and known as Jerkface, WEEKLY eyes open one by Jerry cartoon EMAILS cities, based pears on ral is the too. Ferro’s for murals WITH LOCAL characters. on the Brookhaven’s first stop School, work The on the NEWS @ and the Cross Keys apLittle Five musuch locations REPORTERNEWS website High Points notes artwork as the PAPERS.NET/SI parking in garage CONTINUED GNUP of

Proposal for Wieuca roundabout is back






Take steps to protect urban wildlife

Naturalist keeps his eye on water and wildlife P12





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building The Georgia Department of Transportation is considering flyover toll lanes atop the Northridge Road overpass.



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Affordable housing advocates who co-chaired the city’s North End Revitalization Task Force launched an initiative opposing the task force’s final report with a community meeting on Feb. 28. At that meeting, several north end residents said they feared the recommendations would lead to displacement of See TWO on page 14

scenes. For information: books for a long “I know it’s been on the delivery@reporterne wspapers.net time, but we need to mitigate it as much as we can,” said Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), who says she’s trying to arrange a large-scale meeting of state engineers, local officials and possibly the general public. “This is very upsetting.” The toll lanes, called “express lanes” or “managed lanes,” are proposed by the Geor-



The Neighborhood Planning Unit system that reviews planning, zoning and other big issues for Atlanta city government is getting a review of its own. A downtown nonprofit called the Center for Civic Innovation has begun a quiet, but

potentially influential, series of meetings and surveys that aims to have reform recommendations for the 45-year-old system on the table by March 2020. “There are things about [the NPU system] that are amazing, and things that we need to have a lot more conversation about,” said CCI Executive Director Rohit See AFTER on page 14



The wooden stock is beige and battered with age. The metal plate above the trigger is decorated with a pair of birds. The barrel is long, heavy and octagonal. It’s an old muzzleloading firearm, for sure. It might even be the one that killed the deer that gave Buckhead its curious name in 1838. John Beach, president of the Buckhead Heritage Society, is still trying to figure that For more on out, partly by tracking John Beach, see the tales surrounding Around Town, page 20. another little-known piece of area history – an 1842 log cabin that quietly survived destruction by being moved to a Buckhead back yard. In the meantime, Beach gave the Reporter an exclusive closeSee IS on page 22

See OFFICIALS on page 22


Published by Springs Publishing LLC

Two groups with opposing views on redevelopment concepts for the north end of Sandy Springs have organized to voice their opinions as city officials determine which concepts should move


As neighborhood impacts of toll lanes planned along Ga. 400 and I-285 become are clearer, city and state elected officials The Buckhead Reporter seeking ways to influence the process with is mail delivered to homes varying tactics. Some officials say they’ll on selected carrier routes fight the project, while others aim for smallin ZIPs 30305, 30327 er tweaks. Some call for community-wide meetings, while some work behind theand 30342

Two groups launch to support, oppose north end concepts

PRSRT STD ECRWSS US Postage PAID Monroe, GA Permit #15

United Methodists struggle with church’s LGBTQ decision P18

Left, John Beach, president of the Buckhead which reputedly killed the neighborhood’s Heritage Society, holds the “Buckhead Gun,” namesake deer in 1838. Right, holds what is said to be the same firearm in an undated photo. (John James Whitley Ruch/Special)

After 45 years, a nonprofit launches a review of NPU citizen input system


The #1 preferred source for local news and information!*

Mother’s Words of Wisdom

*Source: independent reader survey

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,

cottages, golf communities and vacation

rentals in the Highlands and Cashiers area.

Bill Gilmore 404-455-5712

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

homesite. When you’re ready to cool off and

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 BK

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.” BK

APRIL 2020 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Special Section | 15

16 |

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Creative Arts, Ages 5 & 6

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Register Today! Visit spruillarts.org or call 770.394.3447 for more info




| 17

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Horse Lovers Summer Camp Chastain Horse Park - convenient Buckhead location! Boys and girls ages 4-8 – Mon-Fri 8am-1pm Many weeks to choose from during Summer 2020 Camp activities for our younger riders include horsemanship instruction (grooming, safety and more), riding lessons, crafts and games! Contact us at (404) 252-4244 ext.1001 or camps@chastainhorsepark.org. More information regarding summer schedule dates and registration form can be found at chastainhorsepark.org, select Riding Services, then select Summer Camp!

Play your part!


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Trinity School Summer Camp! For children ages 4 to 13 Academic, specialty, and sports camps




June 1–26 Monday–Friday 7:30 AM–4 PM Limited Offerings July 27–31


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18 |

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• Sports • Gymnastics • Science • Technology • Engineering • Nature • Arts & Crafts • Theater • Teen Hangout Camp




CAMPS THAT ENGAGE, ENTERTAIN AND EDUCATE YOUR CHILD We offer a variety of quality summer day camps in Sandy Springs that encourage positive character development! Our staff are committed to providing a safe environment where campers can be challenged and achieve success.

Enroll today at elitestudiosatl.com/summer-camp THE EXCHANGE AT HAMMOND 5962 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 ELITESTUDIOSATL.COM 404.500.1738 © 2020 Elite Studios, LLC

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2020 AGAPE TENNIS ACADEMY SUMMER CAMPS To register, email: info@agapetennisacademy.com, call (404) 636-5628, or sign up online at www.agapetennisacademy.com

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Send your child to the OVERNIGHT SUMMER CAMP kids love!

“The 2019 Organization of the Year” Camps are located at DeKalb Tennis Center: 1400 McConnell Drive Decatur, GA 30033



May 26–July 31

Things are heating up outside—and inside—the studio. This summer, we’ll explore dance from ballet and tap to jazz and hip hop. Plus, arts, crafts and dance-themed games. Camps run from June through July for dancers of all ages and skill levels. Come dance with us!

May 26-29 June 1-5 June 1-5 June 8-12 June 15-19 June 15-19 June 23-26 June 23-26 June 29-3 June 29-3 July 6-10 July 13-16 July 13-16 July 20-24 July 20-24 July 27-31

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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.

Enjoy free admission and special programs on the second Sunday of each month.

April 12 – May 10 Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and rotating exhibitions. Generous support for Second Sundays is provided by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

SUMMER CAMP MAY 27-AUGUST 7 Have a Blast! with us this summer.

Our professional staff has prepared another exciting summer of fitness and educational fun. We will encourage each child to express his or her own creativity as well as explore and discover new activities.

Choose from 2 exciting and amazing camps! :: Sports Camp

:: Tennis Camp

Space is limited. Register today!!

20 | Classifieds

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| 21

APRIL 2020 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net

I am asking for your VOTE ON MAY 19,2020 for your next DeKalb County Superior Court Judge E ARLY VOTING APR IL 27, 2020

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22 | Community

Life under self-quarantine Continued from page 1

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 selfquarantine, 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 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 will agree to leave the food at my door. I’ve even thought through the logistics of receiving deliveries in strange detail.

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News 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 “high-risk” 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.


Community | 23

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

COVID-19 pandemic changes local life Continued from page 1

We call it home. “Saint Anne’s Terrace has a beautiful

VELMA FARMER Resident since 2014

family atmosphere. I’m very happy to be a part of this community.”

• Serving Buckhead community for over 30 years • Minutes from OK Café • Quiet residential neighborhood • Apartments tailored to personal needs

CALL US TO SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT 3100 Northside Parkway, NW Atlanta 30327 www.saintannesterrace.org • 404-238-9200


Northside Hospital, in Sandy Springs on the Brookhaven border, was setting up a contained patient testing entrance for the COVID-19 pandemic on March 16.

and Mayor John Ernst and other officials were in self-imposed quarantine after a city employee was diagnosed with COVID-19. The Cherry Blossom Festival was canceled. The City Council became perhaps the first city in Georgia to ban dine-in service at restaurants and bars and attendance at entertainment venues. The meeting, for safety reasons, was held by teleconference. “These are unprecedented times and require unprecedented measures,” Ernst said. Beyond City Hall, DeKalb County schools and other major institutions shut down. Shoppers cleaned out grocery store shelves. A city where residents regularly gather for meetings on public issues and for local festivals 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 Fulton County. On March 7, DPH was still saying the risk to the public was “low.” On March 9, a teacher in a South BK

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. Brookhaven was faster with shutdowns of city facilities than some other local cities. At press time, it had not joined Atlanta in restricting the size of public gatherings or occupancy of other types of businesses. Businesses and nonprofit organizations are already taking financial hits. The Medical Center area on the Sandy Springs border -- home to Emory Saint Joseph’s, Northside and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite hospitals -- is already a center of COVID-19 preparation. 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.

| 24

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Your Trusted Advisor In Blue Ridge

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404.480.HOME | ANSLEYMOUNTAINS.COM | 116 WEST MAIN ST. UNIT 1C, BLUE RIDGE, GA 30513 Equal Housing Opportunity | Christopher Burell, Principal Broker and Chief Motivation Officer | All information believed accurate but not guaranteed. If your home is currently listed, this is not a solicitation. BK