APRIL 2020 - Sandy Springs Reporter

Page 1


APRIL 2020 • VOL. 14 — NO. 4

Sandy Springs Reporter P5


COVID-19 pandemic changes local life


Neighbors start helping neighbors

Mountain Living

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Life in Sandy Springs 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 concerns were impacts from I-285 toll lanes and a possible widening of Hammond Drive. The latest public safety news was technology that lets fire trucks change traffic lights green. The popular City Springs Theatre Company was preparing its latest

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 22

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 line up at the Kroger at City Walk on Sandy Springs Place on March 13 as stocking up for the pandemic shutdowns began in earnest.

Locals adjust to shutdowns, ‘distancing’ BY HANNAH GRECO AND JOHN RUCH In a blink of an eye, residents had to adjust to a new lifestyle of “social distancing” and shutdowns for the coronavirus pan-

demic, with no definite end in sight. The Reporter asked some of them how their lives have changed. And Kevin C. Madigan, a freelance journalist who writes for the Reporter, describes his life under self-quarantine. See LOCALS on page 2

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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Locals adjust to shutdowns, ‘distancing’ Continued from page 1 ► Julia Bernath, president, Fulton County Board of Education “We are trying to be respectful of other people’s spaces and we hope other people are, too. We have curtailed our own activities and ordered groceries online for the first time. We also ordered dog food online and it will be delivered tomorrow. “I’m seeing people [on the social network Nextdoor] saying, ‘I’m wanting to help if you can’t leave’ with groceries, prescriptions and other things. Neighbors are helping neighbors.”


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

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Community | 3

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

◄State Rep. Josh McLaurin “Certainly it’s an adjustment for everyone, but it’s especially hard on the elderly, the immunocompromised, and people working in our service industries or anyone whose job requires being around others or in public places. I’m hopeful that everyone in our community understands the need to stay home if possible and practice good hygiene. I’m also hopeful that families and friends will be able to take care of our most vulnerable residents as we weather the worst of the virus.”

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.”



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

4 | Community

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City Council halts most ‘non-essential’ decisions


A screenshot of Sandy Springs’ first livestream City Council meeting held on March 17.

BY HANNAH GRECO hannah@reporternewspapers.net

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The Sandy Springs City Council has adopted an emergency ordinance in response to the coronavirus pandemic that halts most “non-essential” decisions of city government for 60 days. “State of emergency sounds a little ominous…but we are in unchartered waters,” Mayor Rusty Paul said March 17 at the city’s first-ever virtual council meeting. According to a document posted on the agenda, the emergency ordinance suspends much city government decision-making activity, including: ■ Closing city facilities and programming to the public. ■ Suspending all public hearings and meetings of city-affiliated boards, committees, commissions and zoning entities. ■ Suspending all zonings, plats, variances and other land-use decision-making. ■ Suspending special use permits, variances and alcohol permits requiring a public hearing. According to the city, any existing permits that require a public hearing prior to renewal will be extended until public hearings are resumed. City staff is also working with applicants to ensure financial impact is kept to a minimum, the ordinance said. The ordinance has the exception of council meetings, which may be conducted via teleconference, without the requirement of having a quorum present in person, so long as notice is provided and access is afforded to the public, the document said. All policy-making functions of the council including strategic plans; ordinances; land use planning functions; and development will be suspended while the ordinance is in effect, except for policy-making and ordinance functions directly related to addressing the coronavirus. Contract, budgeting and fiscal operations continue normally, according to the ordinance. For instance, during the meeting, it was announced that the city will issue a request for proposals for a housing assessment on March 18 — a contractual decision — and the council approved purchasing property with impact fees for future park use. The ordinance is in effect immediately for 60 days. On or before that deadline, the council can re-enact or repeal the ordinance, the city said. Otherwise, the ordinance would automatically expire after 60 days. The ordinance was originally drafted to be in effect for 30 days, but the council approved the amendment to 60 days because only one council meeting would fall within the 30-day time period, on April 7. According to David Hudson, an attorney and board member of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, under Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, emergency meetings can be held virtually if the public is allowed access. “There is no specific language addressing the members meeting in person but giving the public only audio or audiovisual access,” Hudson said in an email. “However, I believe that what the council proposes to do meets the intent of the Open Meetings Act: an emergency and the public will be given audiovisual access.” SS

Commentary | 5

APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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

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

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



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6 | Art & Entertainment

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Shutdowns to have ‘huge impact’ on local arts economy




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

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

Art & Entertainment | 7

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

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

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

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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

Hammond Drive widening could displace several businesses

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Above, the Gramma B’s home, garden and gift boutique at 300 and 310 Hammond Drive. Bottom, the shops at 155 Hammond Drive, a building marked for possible displacement in the road-widening.

BY HANNAH GRECO hannah@reporternewspapers.net

Several businesses around the intersection of Roswell Road and Hammond Drive – ranging from a gas station to a barber shop — could be displaced by a Hammond widening project recently unveiled by the city. The design concepts were revealed at a Feb. 26 meeting and have 18 commercial and residential locations marked for possible displacement. The City Council has yet to review the concepts and decided whether to continue the planning, which could result in changes to the design and its possible property impacts. The planning likely will be hold for a time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Owners, operators and brokers of the businesses marked on the conceptual design for possible displacement could not be reached for comment. Among the businesses and commercial properties marked for potential displacement are the following: ■ A BP gas station at 5995 Roswell Road at Hammond. ■ A Verizon Wireless store at 6000 Roswell Road at Hammond. ■ Gramma B’s, a home, garden and gift boutique at 300 and 310 Hammond. ■ A building at 155 Hammond that is home to an alteration shop; Twin Brothers Gallery, an African art and jewelry store; a Good Nutrition health food store; a barbershop; and a locksmith. ■ The very end of a strip of stores, where a cleaner is located, in the Hammond Springs shopping center at 5975 Roswell Road. ■ International Visa Service at 316 Hammond, which has a for-sale sign posted in the yard. ■ A former lawn ornament dealer’s location at 336 Hammond, where an Antico Pizza Napoletana restaurant was slated to go in a plan that fell through last year. Possible residential displacements in the design concept include: 424, 504, 514, 534, 544 and 576 Hammond Drive; 509 Hilderbrand Ave.; 6026 and 6029 Kayron Drive; and 636 and 643 Lorell Terrace. The conceptual designs, created by Gresham Smith and Partners, run between Hammond’s intersections with Roswell Road and Barfield Road. The design would make Hammond four lanes, adding a lane in each direction. The design would also create two large roundabouts at the intersections with Hilderbrand Drive and Brookgreen Road/ Lorell Terrace. The intersection with Glenridge Drive would be widened and improved. The designs propose six new cul-de-sacs and private access roads along Hammond to give some residents easy access to their neighborhoods as well as protect them from cut-through traffic. The design also proposes a pedestrian underpass that would run underneath Hammond at Kayron and multiuse bicycle and pedestrian paths along Hammond, as well as green space.

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10 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers

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

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

Many local organizations have al-

us expected. Anxiety is high and social

ready been encouraging telework. Mer-

distancing restricts much of what we

cedes-Benz USA and Cox Enterprises

rely on. But I have some good news: The

both use part-time remote work to re-

way we work may never be the same.

cruit and retain the best people. Howev-

Recent efforts to fight the spread

er, many companies worry about mak-

of the coronavirus means the number

ing such a big shift in their cultures.

of people working from home—also

Even experienced managers need train-

known as “telecommuting” or “remote

ing to connect their teams from a dis-

work”—has skyrocketed.

tance. The transition to remote work is

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

not about technology. It’s about leadership.

Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

people (76% , according to 2019 Atlanta

This is why 2020 could change ev-

Regional Commission commute data)

erything. Organizations that were once


were driving alone to work every day.

slow to change now face a choice: tele-

Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net

Despite advances in technology, the

work or shut down. Employees are be-

9-to-5 office “workweek” remains the

ing trained and IT systems tested. This

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

isn’t an ideal situation to start telework-

tapped into the power of virtual con-

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

nectivity on a large scale yet. Until now,

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

of course.

settle down and people see what’s pos-

out. Build a formal policy based on

sible, the workweek could finally step

what works for your company. Use vid-

into a new era.

eo calls just to let team members catch

Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

And while this may feel like a forced


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

INtown Editor: Collin Kelley

experiment, it is also a tremendous op-

Editor-at-Large Joe Earle

portunity. Imagine what could happen

To telework well, meetings need

if working from home just one day a

clear agendas. Managers need to set

The most important thing for every-

week becomes the new normal.

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

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2018 © 2020 with all rights reserved

up and socialize.

clear expectations. Employees need to

one to remember: This is not an opti-

Of course, not everyone can or will

be responsible for their performance.

mal situation. Be patient with each oth-

choose to telework. Service and indus-

These are business practice improve-

er. You or your colleagues may be stuck

trial jobs don’t have the luxury. But

ments companies would love to see

balancing work and taking care of chil-

everyone who does will benefit both

happen regardless of work locations.

dren. Everyone is stressed that they

themselves and everyone else.

Businesses are having growing pains

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

People who work from home will

as they transition to teleworking. It’s

the ordinary “rules” for good telework

save 168 hours every year. That’s seven

hard to put into place quality, sustain-

practice are going to be bent or broken.

full days every year to spend with fam-

able systems. But there are a lot of great

The hours that people will be available

ily, work or relax, rather than drive a

resources out there to help you and

may change day-to-day.

car. That change could decrease traffic

your colleagues. Businesses and man-

But if we do this teleworking thing

deaths and congestion. Lead to reduced

agers must make expectations clear,

right, it will improve our jobs and our

carbon emissions directly and from

and teams must communicate effec-

quality of life. Less stress. Less pollu-

less traffic. Save businesses and fami-

tively. This is a crucible by conference

tion. More time with family. Better em-

lies money.


ployee productivity.

But will companies keep their em-

Take the time to build buy-in, make

ployees teleworking once this crisis is

this the new normal, and equip manag-

over? Yes, though It probably won’t be

ers for success. Hold dedicated training

for five days a week for weeks at a time.

sessions. Bring in experts. Try things


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




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 SS

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

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

mist ycr eekchurch.org


*Offer valid for new Goddard families at the above location only. Some program restrictions apply. Not valid with any other offer. Offer limited to first 50 families. The Goddard Schools are operated by independent franchisees under a license agreement with Goddard Systems, Inc. Programs and ages may vary. Goddard Systems, Inc. program is AdvancED accredited. CCLC-29790 © Goddard Systems, Inc. 2020


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 SS

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 millennishe said, “and dining in the area offers als who aren’t tied to where they live for something for everyone with a variety of their job and have sought foods, including organic out this area looking for a and clean eating options.” slower pace, kind of a backThere’s also a fantastic arts to-nature thing,” she added. community—galleries, the “They want to raise their Blue Ridge Mountain Art Askids and have animals and sociation and the Blue Ridge gardens.” Community—that features Also, families are drawn great local talent. 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 is es that many families have popping up all over the area vacation homes here to enon rivers, creeks and mounjoy the lakes, mountains tains, Knutzen said. “One of and scenery,” Woody said. our newest communities is Kim Knutzen, an asOld Toccoa Farm, a guardAnnie Boland sociate broker with gated residential commuAnsley Mountain & Lake, nity that offers a mile of Blue Ridge said that Blue trout fishing on the Toccoa Ridge and the surroundRiver, 18-hole golf course, ing towns have shown a driving range and other steady increase in home planned amenities.” sales over the last five These days, there’s years, “and our mediplenty to do in Highlands an sales prices have inyear-round, Gilmore notcreased across the board. ed. No longer does everyI see it continuing as thing shut down once the more exciting architecseason is over. He said ture comes to our area.” that four new restaurants People from all ages opened last season: Tugs enjoy the area, she exProper, MidPoint Highplained. Retirees see the lands, Bridge at Mill Creek value in the small-town, Bill Gilmore and Four65 Wood Fire Bisslower pace of life while tro + Bar. These added to having easy access to the many mainstays in the healthcare, volunteer opportunities and Highlands restaurant scene that include active lifestyle options like golfing and hikLakeside Restaurant, The Ugly Dog Public ing. At the same time, millennials are findHouse and The Log Cabin. ing a place to explore, kick back, meet their According to Gilmore, one of the excitfriends and gather together for lasting ing new developments in the Highlands memories. “At any given moment, you’ll area is GlenCove by Old Edwards, a multifind families and extended families that generational community that highlights make this area their meeting point to enjoy adventure and wellness. time together,” Knutzen said. The tight-knit community will have 31 Boland noted that mountain homecottage homes and 17 five-acre estate lots. buyers look to find the setting they want, Planned features at GlenCove include whether it be near a lake, river or panoraman organic garden and farm, a fitness and ic mountain view, with a cabin that suits wellness center with spa services, and a their needs, all in their price range. For Atlighted 12-hole, par 3 golf course. There are lanta area weekenders seeking an escape mountain trails for hiking in the adjacent from the city, “Blue Ridge is a no-brainer, national forest. being such a short drive from the city, yet Gilmore, an Intown agent with a North worlds away,” she said. Carolina brokerage license, lives in the Retirees like being close to the hospitals heart of Virginia-Highland and also owns located on the I-575 corridor while staying a home in Cashiers, N.C. “One of the real in near proximity to Atlanta’s big hospibenefits about looking for a home in the tals and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Intermountains is that you can often rent one national Airport. They also look for a refirst so you can try before you buy,” he said. laxed pace with low crime, low taxes and Some clubs offer trial memberships, allowlow cost of living. ing potential residents to get a good feel for Woody said that the lakes—Lake Blue where they’d like to live.” Ridge, Lake Nottely and Lake Chatuge— “It’s amazingly beautiful and there are are a big draw. “They offer lots of outdoor four true seasons, but they aren’t extreme,” adventures, waterfalls, hiking trails and Woody said. “The spring flowers and the beautiful scenery.” fall color changes are my favorite times.” Other homebuyers want the great shopThere’s also a strong sense of communiping and restaurants. “From the mountain ty, she said, fostered by the many festivals tops to the creeks and rivers to lakefront and community events. “It’s a place where and golf course properties, there are compeople still wave when they pass you on munities that fit every lifestyle,” Woody the road.” said. SS

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!

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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.

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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

Having fun becoming better players and better people


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Register online at gallowayschool.org/summer

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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APRIL 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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

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

Sandy Springs Reporter







Spring 2019 |

Where brick-and-mortar

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

P. 36



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

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

Flying into spring

Some residents fear new burglar alarm rules P4


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Mother’s Words of Wisdom



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

Mother’s Words of Wisdom P19

Check out our podcasts at ReporterNewspapers.net

City Springs theater group prepares for another season of packed houses



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

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

mand from the community. The theater company survived major

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

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

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


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fishing regulations approved after heron’s death


rsary 25th Annive



Dunwoody Brookhaven Buckhead

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

Perimeter Business



Spring 2019 | Where

brick-and-mortar retail

The PCIDs marks 20 years of shaping Perimeter Center

still works

MAY 2019

P. 36



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

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


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



Sandy Springs/BuckheadThree GREAT locations! Emory Area 4920 Roswell Road Chamblee/Brookhaven 1815 404-255-6368

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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Holy Spirit pla spurs talk of n agreement, lawsuits

Section Two

MAY Sandy


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P. 36


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

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


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

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

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


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Take steps to pro tec urban wildlife t

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

Mother’s Words of Wisdom

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head is mail delive Reporter red on selected carrieto homes in ZIPs 30305 r routes , 30327 and 30342 For inform delivery@re porternewsp ation: apers.net

Left, John Beach, presid which repute ent dly killed the of the Buckhead Herita holds what is said to be neighborhood’s names ge Society, holds the “Buckh the same firearm ake deer in an undate in 1838. Right, Jamesead Gun,” d photo. (John Whitle Ruch/Specia y l)

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

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


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

*Source: independent reader survey

Published monthly by Springs Publishing LLC SS

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

NO. 5


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

• VOL. 13 —

Buckhead Reporter

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


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


Sandy Springs

Section Two



Take steps to protect urban wildlife

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NO. 5



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

P. 36

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MAY 2019 • VOL. 11 —

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johnruch@reporternew spapers.net

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 – Brookhavand not yet exist. 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 and transit That’s in on Ga. 400 future of 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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Celebrate Memorial Congratula Day and tions to all the 2019 graduates! Let us feed your family & friends



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Spring 2019



Dunwoody Brookhaven

Perimeter Busines

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






PRSRT STD ECRWSS US Postag e PAID Monroe, GA Permit #15

Sandy Springs

Section Two


The PCID of shapings marks 20 year s Perimeter Center


MAY 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 5

Sandy Springs

Brookhaven Buckhead


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


reporternewspapers.net MAY 2019


MAY 2019

Section Two




johnruch@repo rternewspapers .net

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


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More affordable Intown condos and townhomes are in demand P24

22 | Community

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COVID-19 pandemic changes local life Continued from page 1 musical at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. By St. Patrick’s Day, city facilities, Fulton County schools, the PAC and virtually every major cultural institution were shut down or closed to the public. 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. “State of emergency sounds a little ominous…but we are in unchartered waters,” said Mayor Rusty Paul at a council meeting that, for safety reasons, the public could view only by video, watching him and the councilmember sit a distance apart from each other. A city where residents regularly gather for meetings on public issues and for concerts at parks 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. Sandy Springs was slower to shut down city facilities than some neighboring cities, and at press time, was moving to restrict restaurants from serving dinein customers and to close some types of businesses. Businesses and nonprofit organizations are already taking financial hits. The Medical Center area -- 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 re-

solve, 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.


The bread shelves were empty at the Costco warehouse club on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road on March 13.

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The local parks advocacy organization Sandy Springs Conservancy has named a new executive director. Graydon Boyd Leake replaces Melody Harclerode, who resigned from the conservancy in January to assume the role of director at Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Buckhead. “We are thrilled to have Boyd joining the Sandy Springs Conservancy,” Conservancy Board Chair Jack Misiura said in the release. “We have made great strides in our mission to add greenspace and trails in Sandy Springs by teeing up some exciting initiatives, and feel that Boyd has the skill set to take us to the next level.” Leake is an environmental consultant who focuses on institutional and municipal solid waste management and sustainable development, according to a press release, and has SPECIAL been the Managing Partner of Community Environmental Graydon Boyd Leake. Management consulting firm since 1996. Leake recently served as senior policy advisor in the city of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Re-


Community | 23 silience, working on zero waste, sustainability issues and the acquisition of green space, the release said. Leake has also served as co-chair of Atlanta Recycles and is currently on the board of Keep Atlanta Beautiful, the release said. Leake grew up in Sandy Springs and Buckhead and is a graduate of the Lovett School, Emory University and Georgia State University.


Raquel Gonzalez was named the new city clerk at a March 3 City Council meeting. Gonzalez was previously the city clerk of the city of Doraville, where she has held the position since 2018. Gonzalez replaces Coty Thigpen, who resigned in January to assume the role of assistant city manager in Woodstock. As city clerk, Gonzalez is the official record keeper for the city, charged with recording minutes of city council meetings and maintaining contracts, ordinances, resolutions and agreements. The city clerk’s office also oversees all open records requests. Before joining Doraville, Gonzalez served as the executive assistant to the city manager. She also served in coordinator positions in Clayton County Superior Court and the city of Atlanta’s Administrative Office of the Courts. At the councl meeting, City Manager Andrewa Surratt announced the promotion of Dave Wells to deputy city manager and Kristin Smith as assistant city manager. Wells previously served as the city’s director of facilities and as senior project manager for numerous city projects, including the City Springs civic center. Smith previously served as the assistant to the city manager, focused on research and special project management. Prior to that, she served as a long-range planner for Sandy Springs, focused on the creation of the “Next Ten,” a 10-year vision for the city that informed a new Comprehensive Plan and zoning code.

| 24

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