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APRIL 2020 • VOL. 11 — NO. 4

Dunwoody 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 Dunwoody 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 big local concern was impacts from I-285 toll lanes. New Mayor Lynn Deutsch planned a community-friendly “State of the City” event at a local church. The annual Lemonade Days festival was approaching, and, looking ahead to springtime entertainments,

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 & ENTERTAINMENT

Arts economy takes a big hit P6

See COVID-19 on page 22 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

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.

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.

See LOCALS on page 22

— Steve Levene, Publisher

COMMENTARY

Teleworking may stick around P10

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The Dunwoody Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30338 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

PAGES 16-19

PHIL MOSIER

On March 14, shoppers cleared out entire aisles at the Kroger at the Orchard Park shopping center on Dunwoody Club Drive as the pandemic shutdowns began in earnest.

Locals adjust to shutdowns, ‘distancing’ BY DYANA BAGBY AND JOHN RUCH In a blink of an eye, residents in local communities had to adjust to a new lifestyle

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2 | 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.

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. MICHAEL THURMOND DEKALB COUNTY CEO

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 pro-

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The new EMS ‘hub’ on Buford Highway in Brookhaven.

viders 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 emergency 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 personnel will offer CPR and other emergency trainings to the public from the new site, Valentin said.

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4 | Community

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Top end cities seek room for trails in state’s toll lanes plan BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs are joining other top end I-285 cities in a master plan intended to persuade the Georgia Department of Transportation to leave room for multiuse trails when it adds toll lanes to the highway. The city of Brookhaven, serving as the project management team, put out a request for proposals for a “Top End 285 Regional Trails Master Plan” with responses due by April 21. Other participating cities are Chamblee, Doraville, Smyrna and Tucker. The four self-taxing community improvement districts in the area are also involved in funding and backing the plan: Chamblee-Doraville CID, Cumberland CID, Perimeter CIDs and Tucker-Northlake CID. “This is a study by the metro mayors to do a high-level planned trails system along I-285, along the new lanes,” Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said. “We want to know how can we put in a trails system to connect the east and west, like a [Atlanta] BeltLine trail system.” Ernst said the plan’s intent is to persuade the state to leave room for trails in the toll lanes design. GDOT would not be asked to pay for the trails. “We realize funding would come mostly from a regional or city level,” Ernst said. “And with the master plan in place, developers who build along I-285 would be required to put the trails in,” he said. GDOT says it is willing to review the plan. “We are aware that the top end cities are conducting a study to assess the feasibility of a trail system adjacent the Top End 285 project,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale said in an email. “Since we have no details beyond that, we can not comment on whether GDOT would have any involvement in the proposed plan, though the department would certainly be willing to review any substantive proposals. However, we will make every effort to avoid impacting existing trail plans as our project progresses. “ Ernst led the same group of mayors in a yet-to-be-completed bus rapid transit study for the I-285 toll lanes. He said the cities agreed to also look at multiuse trails along the toll lanes project area. Doing so is one more way of taking cars off the busy interstate by offering alternative modes of transportation, he said. GDOT plans to build toll lanes along I-285 between the city of Smyrna on the west and Henderson Road on the east in what it calls its “top end” project, which is part of a large metro- and statewide system in the planning stages. Despite the top-end terminology, the project also includes toll lanes on Ga. 400 between the Glenridge Connector and the North Springs MARTA Station. GDOT said in October it delayed the project until at least 2023, though some free lanes, ramps and bridge replacements for the project would be built sooner. The cities believed the delay was a good time to work on a trail plan. The intent – at least before the coronavirus pandemic – was to issue a contract and have the plan completed by the end of the year. Some of the cities have long had trail plans in the area. Sandy Springs and the PCIDs worked with GDOT to ensure an extension of the PATH400 multiuse trail can be built along Peachtree-Dunwoody Road at the I-285 underpass as part of the current “Transform 285/400” interchange reconstruction project, which is preceding the toll lanes. The city of Dunwoody has had plans for many years to extend its Georgetown trail behind the Georgetown Recreation Club, adjacent to I-285, to connect to Perimeter Center. That plan is on hold due to the toll lanes project. Dunwoody and Brookhaven were involved in planning for a local trail network in recent years through a group called the Peachtree Gateway Partnership, which involved discussions for trails crossing I-285 on such roads as North Shallowford in Dunwoody. GDOT’s plan includes replacing the Chamblee-Dunwoody Road bridge over I-285 in Dunwoody, possibly starting in mid-2022 as part of the early, free-lane improvements. City officials hope multiuse trails could be added to the new bridge as part of the master plan efforts. The cities’ plan “should review and prioritize direct connections for people living along the corridor to vital employment, retail, and recreational destinations – providing safety, economic development, mobility, environmental, and health benefits,” according to the RFP. The RFP requires that the plan include: boundaries and acquisition costs; a conceptual list of potential right of way impacts and the estimated total cost right of way; and information on natural resources, site suitability, special assessments, and other conditions that affect acquisition of the site or location of the boundaries. Special emphasis on potential trails and methods for connecting the trails network across I-285 is requested in the RFP. A plan that addresses accessibility, affordability and other measures designed to ensure that the trails can be used by people with limited mobility is also requested in the RFP. As part of the plan, the RFP asks for recommendations on wayfinding signage and a branding plan, indicating the types of signs, general locations along the trails corridor and cost estimates, along with a plan to market the trails. The plan should include sites of potential pocket parks, scenic viewing areas, and other potential recreational opportunities along the trail, according to the RFP. The plan should include cost estimates, agency responsibilities, timelines and potential funding sources for proposed improvements. DUN


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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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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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.

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Community | 9

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Breweries, open-container district approved by council BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Businesses within the entertainment district licensed to sell alcohol on premises can sell one 16-ounce alcoholic drink per customer in a clear plastic cup with a sticker designating it is as authorized for outside consumption, according to the new ordinance.

When the coronavirus pandemic finally abates, Dunwoody will be poised to welcome those looking to celebrate by hopping between pubs and breweries. The City Council approved March 9 permitting breweries, microbreweries and distilleries to open in the city while also giving the OK to allow residents and visitors to stroll freely within the Dunwoody Village commercial area with a cup of booze in hand. The new ordinances went into effect immediately. Before the March 9 vote, city code only permitted brew pubs, which are required to sell food. The new ordinance says microbreweries, to be allowed in certain areas of the city like Perimeter Center and Dunwoody Village, must be in buildings smaller than 15,000 square feet and can only produce fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer a year. Breweries that want to produce more than 15,000 barrels of beer would have to get a special permit from the city. A barrel is 31 gallons for brewers. Distillers have no set limit on how many barrels of liquor they can produce but are limited to buildings smaller than 15,000 square feet. Barrels for distillers are 53 gallons. The city’s new open-container entertainment district generally encompasses the store frontage of the Dunwoody Hall shopping center and The Shops at Dunwoody to the west, Dunwoody Village Parkway to the north and east and Mount Vernon Road to the south. The district also includes the parking lots to the east and west of ChambleeCITY OF DUNWOODY Dunwoody Road and all public plazas and sidewalks within the boundA map of the new open-container entertainment district that roughly encompasses the restaurant and ary. retail hub of Dunwoody Village at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads.

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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

C O N TAC T US

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

SPECIAL

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.

call.

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

YOUR LOCAL DAILY NEWS ONLINE EVERY DAY

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

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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

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.

Communities of Faith 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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DUN


12 | Special Section

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Mountain Living A SPECIAL SECTION

The Hills are Alive

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

BY KATHY DEAN

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 DUN


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14 | Special Section

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

people flocking to the Blue Ridge area for its availability of outdoor pursuits, includcash.” Homes in the area are still very afing mountain biking, road biking, kayakfordable, she continued, especially when ing, fishing and boating. compared to other “destination” areas. “Shopping in downtown Blue Ridge of“Retirees are drawn to the area because fers many boutiques and specialty shops,” of the golf, boating and relaxation,” Woody she said, “and dining in the area offers said. “I’ve worked with several millennials something for everyone with a variety of who aren’t tied to where they live for their foods, including organic and clean eating job and have sought out this area looking options.” There’s also a fantastic arts comfor a slower pace, kind of a back-to-nature munity—galleries, the Blue Ridge Mounthing,” she added. “They want to raise their tain Art Association and the Blue Ridge kids and have animals and gardens.” Community—that features great local talAlso, families are drawn ent. to the mountains as a gathNew and exciting archiering place. “It’s so easy to tecture that focuses on both get here from so many placrustic and modern accents es that many families have is popping up all over the vacation homes here to enarea on rivers, creeks and joy the lakes, mountains mountains, Knutzen said. and scenery,” Woody said. “One of our newest commuKim Knutzen, an asnities is Old Toccoa Farm, sociate broker with a guard-gated residential Ansley Mountain & Lake, community that offers a Blue Ridge said that Blue mile of trout fishing on the Ridge and the surrounding Toccoa River, 18-hole golf towns have shown a steady course, driving range and increase in home sales over other planned amenities.” the last five years, “and our These days, there’s plenAnnie Boland median sales prices have ty to do in Highlands increased across the board. year-round, Gilmore notI see it continuing as ed. No longer does everymore exciting architecture thing shut down once the comes to our area.” season is over. He said People from all ages enthat four new restaurants joy the area, she explained. opened last season: Tugs Retirees see the value in Proper, MidPoint Highthe small-town, slower lands, Bridge at Mill Creek pace of life while having and Four65 Wood Fire Biseasy access to healthcare, tro + Bar. These added to volunteer opportunities the many mainstays in and active lifestyle options the Highlands restaurant like golfing and hiking. At scene that include Lakethe same time, millenniside Restaurant, The Ugly als are finding a place to Dog Public House and The explore, kick back, meet Log Cabin. Bill Gilmore their friends and gather toAccording to Gilmore, gether for lasting memoone of the exciting new deries. “At any given moment, you’ll find famvelopments in the Highlands area is Glenilies and extended families that make this Cove by Old Edwards, a multi-generational area their meeting point to enjoy time tocommunity that highlights adventure and gether,” 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.” Knutzen also has seen an increase in

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Special Section | 15


16 |

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Creative Arts, Ages 5 & 6

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Studio Arts, Ages 11-14

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DUN


| 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!

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

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

www.trinityatl.org/summercamp

4301 Northside Parkway NW | Atlanta, Georgia 30327 404-231-8117 | kwhitmer@trinityatl.org


18 |

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CAM

SUMMER CAMPS PS

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

STARTI NG

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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

Learn more at registration.sandyspringsga.gov.

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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Register online at gallowayschool.org/summer

Send your child to the OVERNIGHT SUMMER CAMP kids love!

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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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CampChatuga.com


Education | 19

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Education Brief

H IG H

HIGH MUSEUM OF ART ATLANTA | HIGH.ORG

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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APRIL 2020 â– www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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22 | Community

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COVID-19 pandemic changes local life

Continued from page 1

the city approved strolling around Dunwoody Village with beer in hand. By St. Patrick’s Day, city buildings, DeKalb County schools and virtually every major cultural institution were shut down or closed to the public. The Lemonade Days festival was postponed. Shoppers cleaned out grocery store shelves. Like much of the country, the City Council found itself declaring an emergency, pledging to focus most of its attention on preparing for COVID-19. The council meeting, for safety reasons, could only be viewed by the public on video. “Dunwoody’s greatest strength is our community, and I know that working together we can make everyone feel supported during these uncertain times,” said Deutsch in a press release that announced a temporary closure of City Hall. A city where residents regularly gather for meetings on public issues and for grassroots parades and 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 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. Dunwoody was faster to shut down city facilities than some neighboring cities and to bar restaurants from serving dine-in customers. At press time, it was considering the closure of some 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.

Locals adjust to shutdowns, ‘distancing’ Continued from page 1

Mayor Lynn Deutsch Deutsch’s son, Michael, was recently told to work from home. Her daughter, Rebecca, a student at Texas A&M, came home for spring break. While here, the campus shut down and implemented online learning. She’s not sure when she will be able to return classes. The mayor’s husband, Barry, has worked from home for many years. The mayor, who once reported to City Hall every day, is now also staying at home most of the time to work. “We’re very fortunate to have the ability to make this work,” she said. “But this is not normal. We’re all working to get to get in some kind of routine just like all families.” The big “winner” with everyone staying at home, she said, is their dog, Boomer. He will now get plenty of attention from everyone being at home. “He’ll have people he can bother on every floor of the house,” she said.

Travis Reid, resident and business-owner Reid owns the 20-year-old Square 1 Art in Norcross. Started by his art-teacher mother, the company works with schools nationwide to make products with student art in a sales-sharing deal. It has 44 regular and 300 seasonal employees. “We’re in survival mode,” said Reid of his business as schools close nationwide. “I’m facing some of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. How long can I pay employees? I have employees who have worked for me for 20 years and they are family. It’s unavoidable. The company has to survive this. Labor is the first place to save. “It’s not about profit but about keeping the lights on.” At home, he and wife Ann discussed the situation over dinner with sons Travis, 17; Connor, 14; and Tyler, 10. “We talked with our sons to prepare them for what is coming. There’s going to be a hit to our lifestyle.. … These are historic times we are living through. And Americans always rise to the occasion. I give it to them straight and try to stay positive that this will all be over at some point. They took it well. They didn’t panic. They understand there will be no summer vacation this year. Life is on hold right now.”

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul “I’m not in personal lockdown. In fact, I’m out and about monitoring what’s going on in the community. This morning [March 15] I visited a couple of grocery stores to watch what was going on, whether shortages are occurring and how people are reacting. I was quite proud of the calm, business-as-usual attitude I saw among those shopping here in town.”

Bridget Nabors, Buckhead 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.” “It’s been a really drastic change, I will say that. Being constantly around all my friends in college and being now essentially in quarantine.... So yeah, it’s been a really big change, especially for somebody who’s in college and used to being super-social.”

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Community | 23

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

LIFE UNDER SELF-QUARANTINE

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 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. 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 DUN

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.

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