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APRIL 13 - 26, 2018 • VOL. 12 — NO. 8

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After years of friendship, a Gold Girl Scout troop winds down Around Town PAGE 13

► New flavors on City Springs restaurant menu PAGE 2

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Cool weather didn’t stop Libby Labrot, 4, from enjoying some ice cream at the third annual Rhythm & Brews event at Heritage Sandy Springs on Saturday, April 7. The festival featured live music, plus craft beer for grown-ups from the local Pontoon Brewing and others, and family games from Atlanta Sport and Social Club.

PHIL MOSIER

Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs EXCLUSIVE SERIES

Opioid ODs are deadlier than mass shootings, but some high schools don’t stock the antidote

I

n the spring of 2014, a student fell out of his chair in a 10th-grade classroom at Buckhead’s North Atlanta High School. A teacher quickly noticed he was unconscious and hardly breathing. After someone called 911, a paramedic arrived and, suspecting an overdose, administered an opioid antidote in hopes of saving the kid’s life. The antidote, known as naloxone, worked. In reviving the student, Atlanta Public Schools staffers suddenly found themselves on the front line of the opioid

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crisis. Nurses realized they could either shake it off as an isolated incident — or prepare for future overdoses to come. Imagine a school without a plan for an active shooter in 2018. Yet there were four times as many fatal opioid overdoses than gun homicides in 2016. Those deaths have

Listen to our special podcast or watch the video of a deeper discussion about the opioid epidemic’s local impact. See page 11

left a haunting trail of news reports across the country that include students finding classmates sprawled out on school bathroom floors and paramedics responding to the overdoses of teachers. In recent years, the rash of in-school overdoses nationwide hasn’t spared Atlanta, as the NAHS incident showed. And graduates of local public and private high schools have died from overdoses to opioids that they first tried as students. Yet many schools — including ones in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven – have chosen not to stock the life-saving opioid antidote. See OPIOID on page 10

The city’s battle with security companies over false burglar alarms went to the nuclear option April 3, with police saying they won’t respond to automated calls from dozens of publicly named firms. The move is drawing public confusion and anger — some at the city for alerting potential burglars and collectively punishing alarm customers, and some at companies for failing to comply with an ordinance intend to reduce more than 11,000 false alarms a year. A national alarm industry official says the city’s move helps “the bad guys.” Police Chief Ken DeSimone says it makes the city safer by freeing officers from alarm calls that are nearly 100 percent false. It’s all part of a battle over a new city law that puts alarm companies, rather than individual customers, on the hook for false alarms — a concept that is shaking the industry and is already the See FALSE on page 30

Dispute over backyard swim lessons makes a splash in City Hall BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

A dispute over a backyard swim lesson business is making a splash in City Hall, dividing the City Council and neighbors, and raising the ire of more than 900 angry parents. Some supporters say that helpless children will drown if Swim With Allison can’t stay in business to teach them swimming. Despite such backyard lessons being illegal See BACKYARD on page 20


2 | Community

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Vietnamese, veggies and familiar names are on City Springs restaurant menu

PHOTOS BY JOHN RUCH

Above, banners unfurl to reveal Café Vendôme and Vida-Flo as tenants in City Springs’ Market Square on April 11.

Inset, Mayor Rusty Paul, joined by JoAnn Chitty, Selig Enterprises’ chief operating officer, welcomes local leaders to the April 11 City Springs unveiling.

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Health food, Vietnamese cuisine and spin-offs of the popular Café Vendôme and Paces & Vine are among the first restaurants announced as tenants in City Springs. “We had high expectations” for restaurant tenants, said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul at the April 11 unveiling of the restaurants at his city’s massive new civic center. “We wanted this to be a place where people would come and linger.”

The restaurants are still being built out and more may be named by Selig Enterprises, the private partner on City Springs’ retail side. The restaurants are going into storefronts along City Springs’ Market Square section at Blue Stone and Johnson Ferry roads. The new restaurants include: Café Vendôme: The French pastries, bread, sandwiches and quiches shop currently operates at 4696 Roswell Road in southern Sandy Springs; this is a sister location. Flower Child: A health food restaurant with “bowls, wraps, grains and greens.” Nam Kitchen: A Vietnamese restaurant from Alex Kinjo of Atlanta’s MF Sushi featuring a full-service bar with craft cocktails. The executive chef is Thuy Bich, who will use recipes from her mother, Ahn Hoang, previously of Nam Midtown.

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Community | 3

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Selig’s JoAnn Chitty, joined by Mayor Rusty Paul, speaks to a group of local officials and business leaders at the April 11 unveiling.

The Select: From the team behind the Paces & Vine restaurant in Vinings, this will offer “a light interpretation of contemporary American comfort food with an outstanding wine list. Think comfort food with a slight French accent — light, bright and casually dressy.” Paul said that one of The Select’s owners has moved into City Springs’ Aston apartments, a sign of how seriously they are taking the restaurant launch and a vote of confidence in the site’s mixed-use approach. The April 11 event also unveiled some retail tenants, including the “hydration” clinic Vida-Flo, which also has a Buckhead location, and the previously announced fitness centers SculptHouse and TURN Studio. City Springs is a 14-acre mixed-use civic center bounded by Roswell Road, Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs Circle and Johnson Ferry Road. Besides the housing and retail, it features a new City Hall, a large park and a large Performing Arts Center. It is opening in phases this year, with City Hall expected to open May 7 and the Performing Arts Center in August. Speaking at a fountain in the heart of Market Square, Paul described the City Springs site’s history as the former site of a long-shuttered big-box store. In some of his trademark phrases, he said the city “tore down a parking lot and built paradise,” with the aim of creating “connective tissue” and “everybody’s neighborhood.” Paul noted City Springs’ mixed-use strategy and said the city hopes it will attract every resident to visit at least once per year. “I grew up in rural Alabama and they got a saying over there: ‘We’re gonna treat you in so many ways, you’re bound to like one of them,’” Paul said. In an interview afterward, Paul said the city wanted to see that type of diversity within the restaurant mix as well. He said negotiations with Selig over suggested tenants had some back-and-forth: “We said, ‘You’re getting closer. Keep looking.’” The final list, he said, meets the city’s expectation of high-quality, family-friendly businesses with variety.

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4 | Community

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The city has set a license fee and neighbor notification requirement for shortterm rentals. The license fee is $50, and people renting out homes under such services as Airbnb will have to notify adjacent property owners and homeowners associations. The ordinance tweaks were approved by the City Council April 3. The fee and notification are part of the city’s new short-term rental regulatory system, which goes into effect May 1. The regulations are intended to make sure that short-term rental spaces meet city code standards and that their operators pay the required hotel/motel taxes. The system will include a business license fee to be determined. If approved, the short-term rental operator would receive a one-year permit. Owners of short-term rentals will be required to provide detailed records of rental activity to the city and give emergency contact information to everyone living within 500 feet. Registration and compliance will be contracted to a company called Host Compliance at a cost previously estimated by city officials at $21,000 a year. At the April 3 council meeting, Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert said that the $50 fee is “nominal” and “about as low as we go.” The notification requirement was questioned in a previous council discussion by Councilmember Andy Bauman. He noted that other types of businesses are not required to give notification to their neighbors. However, Bauman did not attend the April 3 meeting where the ordinance change passed. Tolbert noted that the notification does not give neighbors any approval or disapproval authority; it is meant to avoid surprises if they see strangers visiting the rental property.

FU LTO N C O UNT Y C HA I R M A N O K AFTER LO C A L C A R A C C I DENT

Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts says he was involved in a Sandy Springs car accident April 5. Pitts said in a phone interview that he was not injured and that another driver involved in the accident was charged with driving under the influence and other offenses. The Sandy Springs Police Department confirmed the accident and said the other driver was charged with DUI, open container, no seat belt and failure to yield right of way. “I am grateful to the Sandy Springs Police Department and first responders for their incredible professionalism and quick response,” said Pitts wrote in a press release. “They handled the situation with great care and concern. I am very proud of the work they did this morning. The city of Sandy Springs is in great hands.” In the phone interview, Pitts said the accident occurred after he and an employee left the Glenridge Drive post office around 10 a.m., headed to a personal meeting. Pitts said the employee driving him in her family car — a Mercedes sedan — turned from Glenridge Drive onto northbound Roswell Road. That is widely considered one of the city’s most dangerous intersections, with plans in the works to redesign it. A man in a Kia sedan traveling southbound on Roswell Road suddenly cut in front of their car near the area of the Prado shopping center, according to Pitts and the police department. He said that the air bags went off and window glass shattered, while the other driver’s car spun and hit a tree. Pitts said that the woman driving him was uninjured and that his only injury is a sore knee from hitting the dashboard. He said he feels lucky he was in the employee’s “well-built” Mercedes rather than his personal vehicle, a Honda Accord, and that the crash wasn’t worse. “Just think, man, one way or the other, things could have been really different,” Pitts said. “…Thank God for seat belts and air bags.”

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6 | Food & Drink

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From an Iowa farm to a Dunwoody kitchen, an award-winning preserves business rises BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Regina Nekola Hild’s upbringing on an Iowa farm instilled in her a love and appreciation of food. After a career in real estate, Hild went back to her roots in 2016. She founded Regina’s Farm Kitchen, a jam and preserves business, in her Dunwoody home when a farmer friend didn’t know what to do with a batch of accidentally-grown jalapeño peppers. Her strawberry blueberry jalapeño jam went on to win in the “Preserves” category at this year’s Good Food Awards in San Francisco in January. Hild says she is planning to expand her product line and hopes to sell her preserves in retail stores and restaurants.

Q: What was it it like growing up on a farm in Iowa?

A:

I was born and raised on a 200-acre, centuries-old farm in the heart of Iowa. My upbringing was in a typical, rural Iowa fam-

ily that grew their own vegetables, fruit orchards and gardens. My mom cared for us kids while my dad tended to the fields. We grew soybeans, corn and had a large herd of beef cattle and pigs. My dad farmed the acreage with his dad when he was young. It was not easy life growing up in the middle of the country in a four-bedroom, one-bath house. As one of the five kids, you were expected to help and roll up your sleeves. There always seemed to be more than enough chores to go around. I am forever grateful for my parents, who sacrificed to teach all about growing up in simple times. We always had more than enough food and love to go around. I feel very lucky that my work ethic is strong because my dad and mom instilled the same in us. At an early age I was independent, driven and always a natural in the kitchen. My parents were all about the gardens, strawberry patches, the apple grove and the animals. My mom loved growing strawberries. Hence, summers were spent picking fresh strawberries, selling the berries on the fam-

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ily’s roadside pop-up shop, and making jam. Being in the kitchen cooking, baking and creating has always been an influence along with my rural, Iowa upbringing. It seemed natural that I would always be involved with having my own product line. I felt comfortable Chef Regina Nekola Hild in the kitchen and the oversees the fruit selected rules I could break could to use in her preserves, be my own. Perhaps that made from locally grown is why the corporate job food from Georgia farmers. did not please me. ERIC VALENTIN

Q: Do you remember the first meal your mother taught you to cook?

A: My mom taught me how to fry

chicken in a cast-iron skillet. Each spring, my mom would load us kids in the car and go to the Toledo Feed Store where we picked up baby chicks. These cute, little fuzzy creatures once fattened up would become our lunch and sometimes supper. If only I had Ina Garten’s creativity when I began. I would have made chicken 14 ways in a week, not just Friday! It was simple for Mom. All you needed was farm fresh lard, a cast-iron skillet, flour, salt and pepper, apron and tongs. From a young age, Mom started with her same recipe. She started with her mise en place which means “put in place.” Mise en place is deceptively simple but being organized and prepared in the kitchen saves time and frustration. I learned by doing it the old-fashioned way.

Q:

and more of the good stuff. We do not produce jelly. Jelly by definition does not have any pieces of fruit in it. Jelly is gelled fruit juice with added sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Marmalades are a combination of one or up to three different kinds of citrus. They are made with chopped, pureed or sliced citrus cooked with sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Our marmalades have lots of citrus peel in the jar and you will be delighted when you open a jar of Regina’s Farm Kitchen Orange Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

Q: Why did you choose to focus on making preserves?

A: I am really a baker by heart. My younger sister is a master pastry chef. I had always

What are the differences between jams, preserves, jelly and marmalades?

A:

Everyone has their description of what make a jam and a jelly the other. The [Food and Drug Administration] really puts strict guidelines on sugar because it is the preserve in making a jam have a “governing” shelf life. That’s why our preserves are differSPECIAL Regina’s Farm Kitchen’s strawberry blueberry ent. Because we only put the jalapeño jam won in the “Preserves” category at good stuff in -- a bushel of this year’s Good Food Awards in San Francisco. fruit, and an apron full of love. Preserves are whole piecwanted to own my own business. es of fruit suspended in the mixture. Fruits The crafting and bottling of preserves that lend themselves best to be preserved happened by accident in my Dunwoody are those with little natural pectin and are kitchen. A friend who owns a farm in North best preserved whole due to time consumCarolina accidently planted jalapeño peping processing. When I first began makpers. Being around Depression-era parents, ing jam, I tasted everything commercially I learned from my mom she would never made. I liked our product the best because throw anything out. we people-tested our formulas and flavors. I The chef and the farmer in me couldn’t believe low sugar and more fruit is the right find a reason to throw these perfect, green, combination. I think the products you find spicy morsels out, so I decided to make a saon the store shelf are ridiculously sweet. vory-sweet preserve that could be served Our product is made free of the bad stuff with cheese, or turn into a lovely glaze for


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

hot wings, or even spread over a Chick-filA chicken biscuit. My motto is, “Made from scratch by a farm-raised chef.” You would never throw away a perfectly, beautiful, petite, green jalapeño out when something exciting could become of it!

Q: Your business came after years of work-

ing in entirely different careers —marketing and real estate. What prompted you to decide to try your hand at the food industry?

A: In 2008, when real estate tanked, I came

to the fork in the road and decided it was time to do what I have always loved, food. I enrolled in culinary school in 2010. Sadly, I lost my father in March 2010, and my mom in March of the following year. These life events called me to return to my roots and the kitchen. Our acreage is still in Iowa and being cared for by a family farmer.

Q: How do you decide flavors when creating preserves?

A:

Our customers come to us with their wish list and we are always learning what is happening around the restaurant and bar scene. I found if you use simple ingredients and taste your end product, it doesn’t take a too long to formulate the next flavor. Savory and sweet have always been a part of my palate. And people crave heat — the hotter the better. My customers ask for a “kick” and that’s what we will continue to do! We also make peach habanero preserves, and we are working on crafting other flavors to use in savory ways. Burger toppings, grilled cheese, anything on the grill like seafood, pork, chicken and beef work with our preserves. Winning the 2018 Good Food Award for the Strawberry Blueberry Jalapeno Jam was something of an “aha” moment.

Q:

Food & Drink | 7

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What do you love about being in the kitchen?

A:

It’s my place to plan, create, cook and serve whatever is in season. It’s a place of creativity for me and one of my favorite places to sow the seeds of creativity. More than anything, it makes me giddy with joy when the passion comes out in food. You know you’re in the right field when it doesn’t feel like a job. We have all had those, and I have stories. Perhaps the book will tell?

Q: Where do you sell your goods? A: Selling to restaurants are in the plans

as part of our expansion along with retail channels. You can find us at Kennesaw State University near the Commons area on campus every Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. until May 2. We are also at the Alpharetta Farmers Market from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. And we will be at the [new] Dunwoody Farmers Market at Brook Run Park beginning May 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Q: Any surprising twists to opening your own business?

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Caramelized bacon Brussel sprouts with RFK’s Orange Meyer Lemon Marmalade Serves 6-8 1 jar of Regina’s Farm Kitchen Orange Meyer Lemon Marmalade Olive Oil, use local Georgia-grown and as needed 20 ounces Brussel sprouts, blanched 8 ounces local bacon, diced Salt and pepper, to taste Cast-iron skillet Wash and trim the ends of your Brussel sprouts. In a pot of boiling water with a dash of salt drop your Brussel sprouts for 3-4 minutes. Drain the Brussel sprouts. Next, submerge in a bowl of icy cold water to shock and stop the cooking. Let them cool for 3 minutes and drain again. Place them on a sheet pan lined with a kitchen towel and let dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dice the bacon. Take a piece of bacon and drop into the cast iron skillet. If it sizzles, throw the remaining bacon into the skillet and place into the oven. Let the bacon render until crispy, stirring occasionally. Once crisp to your liking remove from the oven and place on top of a low flame. Make sure the water is absorbed from Brussel sprouts. Remember water and hot bacon grease don’t mix. Raise the heat to medium-high and slowly place all the Brussel sprouts into the cast iron skillet with the bacon. Let the Brussel sprouts caramelize and char slightly in the pan on all sides, adjusting heat as necessary. This will take 6-10 minutes. Lastly, add several spoonfuls of Regina’s Farm Kitchen Orange Meyer Lemon Marmalade, swirl it around the crispy bacon lardons and Brussel sprouts, and then add salt and pepper to taste.

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8 | Art & Entertainment

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GET ACTIVE LEMONADE DAYS FESTIVAL

Wednesday, April 18 to Sunday, April 22, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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This 19th annual event hosted by Dunwoody Preservation Trust at Brook Run Park will feature more than 30 full-scale carnival rides, food and beverage vendors, a 5K Run, three days of center stage performances and the Dunwoody Idol contest. No pets allowed. 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodylemonadedays.org.

SANDY SPRINGS

EARTH DAY EVENTS ELECTRONICS RECYCLING DRIVE

Friday, April 20 to Friday, April 27, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Since 2012, Marist School has diverted more than 58,338 pounds of old electronics from landfills with its e-waste drives. The 2018 event is free and open to the public, with the exception of a $10 fee (cash or check) to recycle televisions. Hard drives from computers will be safely shredded off-site. 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info on accepted electronics: ewasteeplanet.com.

BLUE HERON NATURE PRESERVE OPEN HOUSE Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As part of Atlanta Bird Fest (ongoing through May 20), the Atlanta Audubon Society will host an open house, art show, guided bird walk, native plant sale and other activities at the organization’s home base, the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Free, registration requested. 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info: atlantaaudubon.org/abf-events.

SPRING SOCIAL AT MURPHEY CANDLER PARK Friday, April 20, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Murphey Candler Park Conservancy will host this third annual event on the east side of the lake in the new open field space at the corner of Candler Lake East and West Nancy Creek Drive. Live music, food trucks, cash bar. 1551 West Nancy Creek Drive N.E., Brookhaven. Info: murpheycandlerpark.org.

EPIC EARTH DAY

Friday, April 20, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Reconnect with nature at the Dunwoody Nature Center in a night full of activities including a poetry scavenger hunt, silent auction, and the ongoing Friday Night Hike and Hike Campfire. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info and registration: dunwoodynature.org/activities/earth-day-weekend-events.

DUNWOODY STREAM CLEAN-UP Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The city of Dunwoody is hosting a stream clean-up along a portion of the Nancy Creek tributary. Gloves and trash bags will be provided. Event kicks off at Pernoshal Park, 4575 North Shallowford Road, Dunwoody. Info and volunteer registration: Cody Dallas at cody.dallas@dunwoodyga.gov.

PAINT RECYCLING

Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Recycle your old paint at the Dunwoody Nature Center. For a fee of $1 per gallon (cash only), residents can drop off unwanted paint at the Nature Center to help promote healthier air and water quality. More than 15,000 gallons of paint have been recycled over the years of this event. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: 770-394-3322 or dunwoodynature.org/earth-day-paint-recycling.

TAKE IT TO THE RIVER LANTERN PARADE Saturday, April 21, 7:30 p.m.

Sandy Springs lights up the night and the Chattahoochee River once again at its third annual lantern parade. Attendees of the family friendly event are asked to gather at the Steel Canyon Golf Club starting at 7:30 p.m. The parade steps off at 8:30 p.m. and heads down an easy path along Morgan Falls Road to Morgan Falls Overlook Park. As the parade arrives at the park around 9:15 p.m., paddlers from High Country Outfitters will take to the river to animate the floating lanterns. Event also features live performances. Parking will be available at the former WorldPay building, 600 Morgan Falls Road, Suite 260; North Springs United Methodist Church, 7770 Roswell Road; and Sandy Springs City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road. Info: visitsandysprings.org/lanternparade.

CHASTAIN CHASE 5K

Sunday, April 22, 8 a.m. race start.

The Chastain Chase is the annual springtime fundraiser for Cancer Support Community Atlanta. The Chastain Park event includes a 5K race, 1-mile walk/ run and a Tot Trot. 215 West Wieuca Road N.W., Buckhead. Registration: active.com/atlanta-ga/running/ distance-running-races/chastain-chase-5k-2018.

Featuring the “Best” food and drinks from our restaurants!

Best of EATS • DRINKS • LIVE MUSIC •

Saturday, April 28th 3-7pm To purchase tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com and search Best Of Town Brookhaven. Conveniently located on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University.

BENEFITING


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 9

www.ReporterNewspapers.net

PERFORMANCES “A HIGH LONESOME BLUEGRASS MASS”

TOUR OF HOMES AND MARKETPLACE

Thursday, April 19, 8 p.m.

The Oglethorpe University Singers, joined by the Chuck Nation Bluegrass Band, present a set of folkhymn arrangements, “Come Away to the Skies: A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass.” $10; free for students. Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Brookhaven. Tickets: oglethorpeuniversity.thundertix.com.

BAM PERCUSSION

Saturday, April 28, 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 29, 4:30 p.m.

This percussion group is known for its pulsating energy, powerful rhythms and funny sketches. $13-$36. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, Zaban Park campus, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Tickets: 678-8124002 or atlantajcc.org/boxoffice.

Tour five unique homes within the Big Canoe Community including the 2018 Designer Showcase Home May 18 & 19, 2018 9am – 5 pm, Friday, 9 am – 4 pm, Saturday Tickets and information: www.bigcanoelegacy.org

“THE GLORY OF MENDELSSOHN” Sunday, April 29, 4 p.m.

Hosted by the Big Canoe Chapel Women’s Guild to benefit local charities.

The Choral Guild of Atlanta presents a program including excerpts from the oratorio “Elijah” and other sacred anthems. $15; $12 seniors; $5 students. Northside Drive Baptist Church, 3100 Northside Drive, Buckhead. Info: 404-223-6362 or info@cgatl.org.

GO SHOPPING POTTERY AND ART SALE

Friday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, April 29, noon to 5 p.m.

Shop a large selection of handcrafted ceramics, glass, jewelry and more created by Spruill Arts students and instructors. Spruill Arts Education Center, 5339 ChambleeDunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.

artéé

PARTIES WITH A PURPOSE CARS & ’Q FOR THE CAUSE

fabrics & home

Saturday, April 21, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Join Choate Construction for this ninth annual event featuring 120-plus cars, BBQ from Jim ’n Nicks, craft brews, a silent auction and live music, all to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. $30 in advance for event entry and dinner; $50 for entry, dinner and access to the bar. Free for children under 8. 8200 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: carsnq.com.

20% off in-stock ready mades with coupon through 4/30/18. 886 Huff Road Atlanta, GA 30318

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404-554-1215 Mon-Sat 10am - 5pm

MONARCHS & MARGARITAS & MARTINIS Saturday, April 28, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This third annual fundraiser for the Dunwoody Nature Center is an upscale, casual party in a tented party area featuring live jazz, catering from Brooklyn Cafe, auctions and a raffle. $75. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Tickets: monarchsndmargaritas.org.

All local, all wonderful.

HELP SOMEONE

Voted AJC’s #1 “Best of Atlanta” art gallery!

VOLUNTEER FOR A BETTER SANDY SPRINGS DAY Saturday, April 21, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Leadership Sandy Springs volunteers and the Sandy Springs community will make improvements to 20 nonprofit and civic organizations and public schools around Sandy Springs. Open to all ages. Kickoff will be at North Springs Charter High School, 7447 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-256-9091 or leadershipsandysprings.org.

5346A Peachtree Road Chamblee, GA 30341 (404)-308-0794 | Find us on info@ideagallerychamblee.com Wed-Sat 12-6, or by appointment

SUBMIT YOUR EVENT LISTING WITH US AT

calendar@ReporterNewspapers.net

MARIYAH SULTAN


10 | Community

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News

Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs

EXCLUSIVE SERIES

Opioid ODs are deadlier than mass shootings, but some high schools don’t stock the antidote

PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER

Left, Sarah Callaghan, assistant professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College Dunwoody Campus, displays an Evzio brand naloxone injection device during a recent training for her students. Above, The Evzio device with its cover removed and ready for use. RIght, Callaghan presses the Evzio device to her thigh, where an injection would be given in real use.

Continued from page 1

A life-saving antidote Naloxone, often known by the popular brand name Narcan, can revive unresponsive students before paramedics

Final Installment in a 4-Part Series The combination of prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids is killing people around the nation, including within Reporter Newspapers communities. In this exclusive four-part series, we looked at how local families, nurses, prosecutors, recovering addicts and others are responding to a growing epidemic that already kills more people than cars, guns or breast cancer each year. To share your thoughts and stories, email editor@reporternewspapers.net. To read previous stories in this series, visit ReporterNewspapers.net.

respond to a 911 call. Opioids are highly effective painkillers that bind to receptors in the brain, making users feel high. Take too much, and the drugs can force someone to become unconscious, slowing their breathing down to the point of brain damage or death. Administered as an injection or spritzed up the nose, naloxone binds to those receptors and blocks the drug from affecting the user. The antidote, as a result, has saved tens of thousands of lives over the past two decades nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While naloxone has been available since the early 1970s, the antidote was largely confined to clinical settings like hospitals and ambulances. Over the past four years, Georgia passed several laws to allow for laypeople to use naloxone outside of clinical settings. In Brookhaven and Dunwoody, police officers carry naloxone to revive overdose victims on 911 calls. And just last week, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a rare health

advisory — the first from his office in 13 years — that called for every American at risk of an opioid overdose, along with their family and friends, to carry the antidote. Now a growing number of schools, many of which have strict rules for medications kept inside their walls, are following the recommendation of the National Association of School Nurses to carry naloxone “to immediately restore breathing to a victim experiencing an opioid overdose.” A pharmaceutical company, Adapt Pharma, has offered a free carton of Narcan nasal spray to high schools and colleges — including in Georgia. The need has grown for naloxone to be on hand for teens and young adults. Two years ago, the CDC found that 5,376 people

ages 15 to 24 fatally overdosed on drugs nationwide. In 1999, only 26 Georgians of that same age group died from drugs. In 2016, those fatal overdoses rose to 106. “It’s important to have naloxone on hand because it can save a life — even if it’s the first life in a school that’s in danger of a fatal overdose,” says Laurie Fugitt, cofounder of Georgia Overdose Prevention, a volunteer group that distributes the antidote and teaches people how to use it. “It’s the same reason you have AEDs [defibrillators] on the gym wall or teach people CPR. It enables life.” Despite the growing embrace of naloxone, Georgia Overdose Prevention cofounder Robin Elliott — whose son Zack fatally overdosed after graduating from Buckhead’s Pace Academy — says the


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

Community | 11

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group has faced hurdles in getting its trainings into schools statewide. In some cases, private schools are concerned about their image. Other times, schools haven’t promoted the event, leaving only 10 people to show up to a large auditorium. “The resistance is the same as teaching sex ed in schools — [the idea] that if we teach about condoms, they’re going to want to have sex,” Elliott said. “[That] if we teach them about naloxone, they’re going to want to use drugs.”

THE O PIO ID EPID EM IC PO D CAST AND VID EO To conclude and reflect on the Reporter Newspapers’ special series of stories about the opioid epidemic’s local impacts, we have launched a new podcast called Reporter Extra. This deeper discussion, moderated by Reporter Newspapers Managing Editor John Ruch, features Max Blau, who wrote the series, and Dunwoody Police Sgt. Robert Parsons, who oversees his force’s use of the opioid antidote naloxone. To listen in, see spreaker.com/show/reporter-extra, or watch the video at facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers.

The response from local schools

Only seven of the 20 high schools in communities covered by Reporter Newspapers said they carried naloxone. Seven schools said they didn’t. Six others declined to provide information or didn’t respond to requests for comment. DeKalb and Fulton’s public high schools in the area — including Chamblee, Dunwoody, Cross Keys, North Springs and Riverwood International — don’t have the antidote on hand. “We understand the opioid crisis has reached a critical level of concern in communities across the country,” DeKalb County School District spokesperson Eileen Houston-Stewart said in a statement. “In DCSD, we have had no reported opioid overdoses in any of our schools. It is not our practice for our nurses to keep the drug naloxone on any of our school campuses.” Similarly, Fulton County Schools spokesperson Susan Hale said that administrators “presently don’t have any data suggesting that opioid use has been an issue” in its classrooms. The school district has trained some of its staffers how to identify students potentially at risk of drug abuse, she said. In addition, students have received some lessons on the risks of misusing and abusing prescription drugs. Five private high schools in the area — which either purchased naloxone or received doses through grant funding — said they saw the antidote as a way to protect students. Kevin Glass, headmaster at the Atlanta International School, said he wanted “to be prepared and hope we never have to use it.” Allison Toller, chief of external affairs at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, said that school’s nurses haven’t stocked up on the drug yet. “We are keenly aware there is a growing number of schools across the country and in regions of Georgia that do,” Toller said, adding that “…as we routinely monitor the well-roundedness of our emergency preparedness plan, we would not rule out the idea of carrying it in the future.” Some of the area’s most prestigious schools — including The Westminster Schools and St. Pius X Catholic High School — declined to answer questions. At Brandon Hall — a Sandy Springs college preparatory boarding school with

Right, Callaghan demonstrates the nasal spray version of Narcan brand naloxone on a medical training dummy.

an annual tuition that starts at $27,000 — one official requested more information about the Reporter’s naloxone story, but no one ever answered whether the school carries the antidote. “As you can imagine, image is everything,” one Brandon Hall administrator wrote in an email, “and not knowing the full context for which you’ll publish our answers and our brand name is causing a bit of hesitation.” In 2016, two years after the overdose at North Atlanta High School, APS officials decided to get naloxone for each of its high schools. School nurses took part in the “Not On My Watch” first-aid opioid training course offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The training not only shows nurses how to administer the antidote, but also other best practices in administering firstaid training to students who overdose on opioids. Every nurse’s office at an APS high school now has two doses of naloxone nasal spray. According to Valencia Hildreth, manager of comprehensive health services, APS initially received the antidote for free, but now intends to pay for it in its budget. (APS has not responded to an open records request for the exact amount of money that would cost.) In the coming years, APS intends to have other staff members, not just nurses, trained to use naloxone. That’s something they already do in case a student with diabetes or severe allergies needs life-saving medicine. “It’s being proactive,” Hildreth says. “We consider interventions to make our students and schools safe. We wanted to be prepared in case we need to use it.”

Max Blau is an Atlantabased journalist who has written about healthcare, drugs and addiction for such outlets as the Boston Globe and CNN.

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Our team of licensed and certified professionals are here to help you and your loved one take the next step to recovery.

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12 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers 

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

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

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

© 2018 with all rights reserved Publisher reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertising for any reason. Publisher assumes no responsibility for information contained in advertising. Any opinions expressed in print or online do not necessarily represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC.

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Community Survey / The opioid epidemic’s personal costs The Reporter Newspapers’ exclusive four-part series “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid Addiction in the Suburbs,” which concludes in this issue, has focused on local people dealing with a deadly drug epidemic. For many of our readers, it’s a crisis they already know all too well. Nearly a third of the 200 residents of Reporter Newspapers communities who responded to a 1Q.com survey, which is conducted via cellphone and is not scientific, said that they or someone close to them have been addicted to opioids. And the effect has been devastating on lives and relationships. “My cousin is a heroin addict,” a 35-year-old Atlanta woman wrote. “Seeing this bright, beautiful girl turn into a skeletal, deranged mess is what nightmares are made of. I worry for her daily and resent her parents and friends for enabling, although I know in my mind that condition is a disease that is difficult to control.” The “Coping with a Crisis” series looked at several responses to the opioid epidemic: combatting the silence that comes with the stigma of addiction; opening new kinds of treatment facilities; throwing the book at drugdealers; stocking a life-saving antidote in school nurses’ offices. When asked about those and other ideas — such as suing prescription opioid makers — respondents had no consensus. The largest group, including nearly a third of the respondents, thought it would help to have more open, public discussion about opioid addiction. The second most popular answer, chosen by a group nearly as large, called for better access to and regulation of drug-treatment centers. In detailed replies, respondents told stories of families and hearts broken by abuse of the drugs often initially intended to ease pain. “I had a close friend who became addicted to opioids after a bad car accident and suffering major injuries,” a 49-year-old Atlanta woman said. “It broke my heart to see him spiral downhill because [of] his addiction.” Others said they had watched families and relationships collapse because of opioid abuse. “My brother’s addiction ruined his relationship with his child, his siblings, his parents, and ultimately ended in his

8%

Which type of response to the opioid addiction epidemic do you think is most effective for your community?

4.5%

14%

31.5%

More open, public discussion to reduce the stigma of seeking help or support Better access to and regulation of drug treatment centers

28%

Tougher legal penalties for drug-dealing

14%

Lawsuits against prescription drug-makers to cover local costs Other Schools stocking opioid overdose antidotes

death this past October,” a 36-old Atlanta man said. “My previous boyfriend was addicted to cocaine and heroin, which lead to the end of our relationship, since his obsession was a major problem,” a 22-year-old DeKalb County woman said. “He couldn’t function without it, and the most disappointing part was that he wasn’t willing to get help and clean himself up.” A 58-year-old Sandy Springs woman said opioid abuse by someone close to her family “has been destructive to our family bond, created hardship in the person and our family and friends and left the loved ones with thoughts of fright-

ening outcomes when medical surgeries or procedures require use of the addictive drug to help alleviate pain.” And a 37-year-old Brookhaven man called his relationship with someone addicted to opioids “very scary and mentally draining. [I felt] the need to save them and constantly [was] in a state of agitation.” “Addiction affects all those in [the addict’s] circle,” wrote a 51-year-old Atlanta woman, who said she knew someone who had been addicted. “While clean and sober now, she almost died from a heroin overdose. She missed the first three years of her son’s life.”

Here’s what some other respondents had to say “I am a paramedic in Atlanta and the devastation I’ve seen is indescribable. Medical marijuana would be a safer choice.” – 28-year-old Brookhaven man “Yes, I’ve known people [who] have been addicted. Addiction is a disease that affects everyone around them. – 37-year-old Buckhead woman “It’s painful to watch.” – 43-year-old Buckhead man “[Addiction] makes it hard to function as a family. – 37-year-old Atlanta man

“I know of a few coworkers [who] are addicted to opioids. And to see them gradually deteriorate makes me sad for them because it affects the quality of work that they perform. Sad to say, they’re probably going to lose their jobs due to the drug addiction.” – 41-year-old Atlanta man “My cousin died of a heroin overdose.” – 32-year-old Atlanta man “A friend of mine was an addicted to opioids. His addiction affected our friendship negatively and now he is mostly out of my life.” – 23-year-old Atlanta man

1Q is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a technology which sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text message from businesses and organizations across the country. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity. Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting REPORTER to 86312.


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

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After years of friendship, a Gold Girl Scout troop winds down

Around Town

Joe Earle is editor-at-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

Sometimes things just work out right. There’s no real planTheir projects took months of work to complete. Why go ning or plotting involved. Things just fall together happily. to all this trouble? “It looks good on college applications,” Back in 2005, a group of girls and their moms got toone of the members joked. But after a quick laugh – and gether at Holy Spirit Preparatory School and organized Girl there was a lot of laughing going on one recent Sunday afterScout Troop 3980. They didn’t have a long-range plan, realnoon at troop mom Julie Smith’s home in Sandy Springs as ly. It simply seemed like something that would be fun and a the five scouts told scout stories — they admitted there was way to handle a bunch of energetic 5-year-olds. a bit more to it. “It’s the reason for Girl Scouts,” Jordan said. More than a dozen years later, that scout troop remains to“Why do it if you’re not going to do it fully?” gether. Five of its members, still friends but now scattered across “It’s really an extension of what we say at meetings, our various local high schools, recently won Gold Awards, meaning Girl Scout Law,” Sarah Tyner said. “With the Gold Award, they’ve reached the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. you’re old enough to lead on your own and not rely on your JOE EARLE Front row, from left, moms and Girl Scouts “A lot of people are like, ‘Why are you still in Girl Scouts?’” troop, to organize things yourself.” Julie Smith, Sarah Tyner, Jordan Daly, one of the members, 18-year-old Sarah Tyner, said recently. Still, being surrounded by a group of long-standing Natalie Smith and Michelle Sellers. Back row, “There’s just not a reason. There’s never been a lot of thought. friends made a difference. With five of them going for gold Girl Scouts Sarah Skinner and Emma Kate Sellers. It’s just something I do and I’ve always done. It just happened.” at once, they could help each other when help was needed. “It’s just really fun to see all our friends,” chimed in fellow troop member Sarah SkinThey also could push one another to stay with it. There was more than a hint of compener, who’s 18 and is known as “Sarah S” to avoid confusion with her fellow scout “Sarah T.” tition among them, they said. Now that they’re done, they feel “a sense of accomplish“We just kind of kept going,” added scout Emma Kate Sellers, who’s 17. ment that we’ve seen this all the way through,” Natalie said. Because they kept going, good things have happened in and around Troop 3980’s Over a dozen years of scouting, they’ve been to camps, sung silly songs, cooked “lots Sandy Springs home. Those five Gold Awards required five projects and those projects of” s’mores and sold “lots and lots” of Girl Scout cookies with friends they’ve known created useful things for the community. since grammar school. Natalie Smith organized a dance for intellectually disabled young adults. Jordan As they grew older and scattered to different schools, the troop helped hold them toDaly taught a class for young girls on body image and self-esteem. Emma Kate put together. Scouts became the place they saw one another and kept up contact. It was their gether an after-school program and curriculum for students of a Sandy Springs-based common ground. “The troop is why we’re still Girl Scouts,” Sarah T said. “I don’t think program for at-risk Latino preschoolers. I’d be a Girl Scout if I wasn’t in this troop.” Sarah S, an athlete, organized a program for high school athletes and their parents Now it’s run its course. In the fall, Natalie and Sarah T plan to head to Auburn University on concussion awareness after both she and her brother suffered sports-related injuries. and Sarah S intends to enroll at the U.S. Naval Academy. Emma Kate and Jordan still are deWhile babysitting, Sarah T saw how much time kids put in sitting in front of televisions ciding on college. The scouts hope the classes and events they created for their Gold Award or staring at cellphones, so she put together a program to convince parents to limit the service projects will continue without them, but for the most part, Troop 3980 will be done. amount of time their young children spend looking at screens and to provide alternatives. “It’s been a good run,” troop mom Smith said.

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14 | Community

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6th District Democratic candidates blast Trump, Handel at forum BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Three of the four Democrats seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District made their pitches at a Sandy Springs forum April 9, largely agreeing on such issues as gun control and Obamacare as they blasted President Trump. Kevin Abel, Steven Knight Griffin and Bobby Kaple distinguished themselves more by approach than major policy differences. Abel presented himself as a successful immigrant (from South Africa) and centrist businessman; Griffin as a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policy expert with a fighting spirit; and Kaple as a competitive idealist who quit his TV anchor job out of fear others could not afford the healthcare his prematurely born twins did. A fourth candidate, Lucy McBath, was unable to attend the private forum, organized by the Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon. Held at Heritage Sandy Springs, it drew more than 200 attendees. The candidates are competing in a May 22 primary election, with the winner aiming to battle Handel on the November general election ballot. Handel, a Republican, beat Democrat

Jon Ossoff in last year’s special election is “someone who is taking Trump’s for the Congressional seat, which includes marching orders.” parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and SanOn healthcare, all three supportdy Springs. Ossoff is not running again, ed the concept that it is a right and that but the Medicare tight, nashould tionally negotispotlighted ate lower race gives prescripother Demtion drug ocrats hope prices. they can On “flip” the gun conlongtime trol in the majoritywake of Republican the Parkdistrict. land, To that Fla., high end, the school JOHN RUCH three DemshootFrom left, candidates Kevin Abel, Steven Knight Griffin ocrats criting and and Bobby Kaple prepare to speak at the April 9 Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon forum at Heritage Sandy Springs. icized youth-led Trump and marches linked Handel to him. afterward, the candidates broadly agreed Abel called Trump a “con man who is on such measures as stricter background disinterested and unschooled” in basic checks. Griffin backed a particular propospolicy and who “stokes fear and dredgal to allow a court-ordered seizure of guns es up hate… He soils the idea of what it from someone deemed a threat to themmeans to be American.” selves or others. Abel was the only one to Kaple said all of Trump’s policies are explicitly call for a ban on certain military“made with reckless abandon.” Griffin style rifle sales, saying, “It is time that the echoed the sentiments and said Handel AR-15s be not available for purchase for ci-

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vilian use.” Griffin noted the CDC is now free to study gun violence as a health issue after a controversial policy change, though funding for such studies is lacking. Abel also praised the youth protesters for gun control, adding that his own son led a walkout at Fulton County’s North Springs Charter High School. All three candidates supported a path to citizenship for immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children by their parents and now working under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which Trump has moved to end. Audience members asked several questions about partisan politics. U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (DCalif.) was one topic; Abel and Griffin said they would not vote for her to return as speaker if the House flipped to Democratic control again, while Kaple said he’d vote for “a speaker that represents the district, period, the end.” A question about gerrymandering — the partisan method of drawing legislative districts to protect friendly incumbents or eliminate disfavored officials — led to discussion about the abuse of political power in general. Abel said he supports term limits. Griffin called for getting big money out of politics; alluding to a famous speech by William Jennings Bryan 120 years ago, he said, “We must not let America be crucified on a cross of gold.” He also raised, without taking a personal position on, rumors that Ossoff might actually have won last year’s election but suffered vote manipulation that could not be tracked under the current electronic system. The biggest question is how they think they can win in a majority Republican district. Ossoff came close, but that was a special election for an open seat. “The Democratic Party needs a candidate who has lived in the district, has lived in the district 26 years,” said Abel, a Sandy Springs resident, referring to Ossoff’s unusual circumstance of living outside the 6th District’s borders during his campaign. Abel also said he would be appealing to voters as a job-creator with his IT consulting firm and as a moderate who can win “center-right” votes. Kaple focused on his competitive spirit, which he said took him from a self-created sports show to anchoring the CBS46 news desk in the major Atlanta market, a job he left for the campaign. “I think we need a fighter, OK?” Kaple said. Griffin emphasized his CDC experience as a policy coordinator in a department focused on birth defects and developmental disabilities. He also said the party should reach out to voters who feel ignored or who were turned off by the massive flow of outside money into the Ossoff-Handel race, the most expensive Congressional race in history. “I think that $30 million poisoned the well,” he said.

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APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

Community | 15

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U.S. Rep. Handel to hold May 1 opioid summit DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

SS

U.S. Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.) is planning an opioid summit May 1 in the 6th Congressional District as a way to bring together experts in the field and find common ground on how to combat the crisis affecting the entire country. Handel announced the plans for the summit during the April 4 Brookhaven Rotary Club lunch meeting held at the Capital City Club. “We all need to get on the same page about what is the opioid epidemic in the Sixth District and in Georgia,” Handel said. The district includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. The summit, to be held possibly in Alpharetta or Sandy Springs, is expected to help identify resources available to fight the epidemic through law enforcement, treatment and prevention and also to reveal gaps in resources that need to be filled. “We need to try to make sure the dollars at the federal and state level … are being leveraged in the best way,” Handel said. “Time is of the essence, for young people and for the families who are seeing the devastating impacts from opioids.” In an interview, Handel said the summit would also likely be broken up over two days, the May 1 session and then another day in June. “We as a community need to come together to understand what the opioid epidemic means … to have a common understanding,” she said. She noted The Zone in Cobb County, a recovery community organization, has produced promising outcomes and she also said Recovery Kentucky has done good work helping people recover from substance abuse and that both programs could be used as possible models. She also said working with state Attorney General Chris Carr is crucial as well in overcoming the epidemic. Plans include having a panel of teens speak about the issue. “We need to hear from their perspective,” Handel said. Reporter Newspapers launched last month a special four-part series, “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs,” about local responses to an epidemic that is killing people nationwide and in our communities. In Georgia from June of 2016 to May of 2017, the total number of opioid doses prescribed to Georgia patients surpassed 541 million, according to the state attorney general’s office. That totals approximately 54 doses for every person, including children, in Georgia. Georgia is also among the top 11 states with the most opioid overdose deaths, and 55 Georgia counties have an overdose rate higher than the national average, according to the attorney general. A member of the Brookhaven Rotary asked Handel at the April 4 meeting what was being done about large pharmaceuti-

cal companies “pill dumping” in small communities. The Energy and Commerce Committee is currently investigating four major pharmaceutical companies, Handel said, including McKessen, based in San Francisco and with an office in Atlanta. Committees were also created to address the many pieces of legislation addressing opioids to determine ways to prioritize ways to combat the crisis so “we can start getting some sanity into what we’re going to do,” she said. Other topics Handel discussed at the Brookhaven Rotary:

Tax bill

Handel praised the sweeping tax-cut bill passed in December, saying companies such as Halyard Health Companies in Alpharetta decided to bring back $40 million in investments it had overseas back into the U.S. due to the corporate tax cuts. The company works in alternative forms of pain management which will be crucial in stopping the opioid epidemic, Handel said. The bill permanently cut permanent tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent and also cut tax rates for individuals. The tax breaks for individuals are not permanent, but Handel said “in all likelihood” a second phase of the tax bill will include a provision for permanent lower individual rates as well. Handel said a family of four living in the 6th District has a median income of $132,000 a year. The tax cuts will give them a $4,500 tax reduction, she said. “This means more money in people’s paychecks,” she said. “We get calls every day from people saying they are seeing more money in their paychecks.”

Omnibus bill

Handel said she was not happy with the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill passed March 23 but voted for it because it funded the military “for the first time in years.” The 2,200-page bill also included $48 million to address the opioid crisis to be used for law enforcement as well as prevention and treatment. Handel said the entire process of passing the bill was bad policy and she supports Speaker Paul Ryan’s call for a balanced budget amendment. She said she also supports a two-year budget cycle.

Midterm election

Handel has no primary opposition, apparently the first time she has run for office without a primary opponent. Someone asked if Democrat Jon Ossoff was running for the seat again after the special election between the two last year made international headlines. Handel said she was surprised he was not. “I thought maybe he would because there was a $40 million investment in him and what’s another couple million,” she said, citing the record amount of money spent in the race.

Democrats Bobby Kaple, Kevin Abel, Steven Knight Griffin and Lucy McBath qualified to run in the May 22 primary. She acknowledged midterm elections are hard for the party that DYANA BAGBY controls the White U.S. Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.) spoke to members of the House, but she was Brookhaven Rotary Club on April 4 at the Capital City Club. “cautiously optimistic” Republicans would reHouse staffer is 14 to 16 months, even at main in control. She pointed to President the Cabinet level, she added. Bill Clinton’s ability to hold on to his major“Did anybody think [Rex] Tillerson ity in 1998 even after impeachment charges [former Secretary of State] was really gowere brought against him following a sexuing to spend the rest of his career, for the al harassment lawsuit by Paula Jones. next four or eight years, in that role? I “It was because of the economy,” she don’t think so,” she said. said of Clinton’s ability to keep control. What is unusual and something she The strength of the economy, she said, disagrees with is someone finding out will be the messaging Republicans use in they lost their job through Twitter. their campaigns up to the midterms. “I try to be focused on what needs to

White House distractions

When asked about the rapid turnover in the White House and especially among Cabinet members, Handel said this was nothing new in Washington, D.C. “It’s really not that unusual. That’s what’s fascinating to me,” she said. The average length of stay for a senior White

get done and not get too caught up in all that,” she said. Handel went on to say that a lot of what people see on TV, whether Fox News, CNBC, CNN or “what certainly flows out of Facebook” is not accurate or leaves out key pieces of information. “There’s just so much in the press that is really, really broken,” she said.

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Antico Pizza Napoletana, a prominent Atlanta-based restaurant chain with locations at the Brave’s new SunTrust Park and Alpharetta’s Avalon complex, plans to come to downtown Sandy Springs, pending approval of a redevelopment plan. The custom-built restaurant would replace 4 Seasons Pottery at Hammond Drive and Boylston Drive, according to Gerard Gunthert of Sandy Springs-based Cornerpoint Partners, which just closed a deal on the property. Greg Godwin, the owner of 4 Seasons, confirmed the real estate deal. “We’ve got a signed agreement with them” and an approved site plan, Gunthert said of Antico. Giovanni Di Palma, the founder of Antico, confirmed that he wants to bring the restaurant to town, while noting it is not guaranteed yet. “We have signed a [letter of intent], but it’s subject to working out the development issues with the city and Cornerpoint Partners,” said Di Palma in an email. “We would be building a structure and developing some land. If successful, we will be coming to Sandy Springs with nationally acclaimed and perennial best of Atlanta, Antico Pizza and Caffe.” Known for Neapolitan-style pizza, the restaurant is based on Hemphill Avenue near Georgia Tech in a complex of related co-owned businesses collectively known as Little Italia. Besides the Avalon and SunTrust Park’s Battery locations, Antico also sells foods in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, and the owners operate an Italian food business in Miami. Officially numbered as 336 Hammond Drive, 4 Seasons is a 25-year-old lawn ornament and design business that has been on the market for some time. Gunthert said his plan would demolish the existing 4 Seasons building — a former single-family house — and replace it with a new restaurant building. The site has many mature trees, and Gunthert said the plan is to save as many as possible to retain a “woodsy atmosphere” distinct from most of downtown Sandy Springs. The plan involves a one-story, brick-faced restaurant building in an industrial, warehouse style, about 4,300 square feet in size. It would have a surface parking lot of about 45 spaces, consistent with city code, Gunthert said. The city has previously discussed a possible realignment of the Hammond/ Boylston intersection. Gunthert said he is discussing that with the city and that his plan accounts for it. The plan is still in an early stage. Gunthert is still working on purchasing a small adjacent property currently used for storage. He said he anticipates the project would require some zoning variances. A lease agreement will keep 4 Seasons in business pending city approval of the deal, he said. Gunthert said he believes the proposal fits the city’s new “City Springs” downtown vision. “As Sandy Springs urbanizes itself, this should slot itself right in,” he said. Cornerpoint Partners is a real estate company that owns several notable local properties, including the SunTrust Bank branch at Roswell Road and Cliftwood Drive that will soon be vacated for a new branch near City Springs. SS


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

Making a Difference | 17

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Cars, barbecue and a very personal cause BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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When it comes down to it, every fundraiser is about helping people. But at Cars & ’Q for the Cause, a Sandy Springs tradition that raised $330,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation last year alone, the effort is downright personal. Starting in 2009 as a small car show and barbecue in the company parking lot, the event is a way for Choate Construction’s founders to try to save the life of close family friend Leann Rittenbaum Ott, who was born with CF. Attendees not only see some cool cars and enjoy food, beer and music, but they also usually meet Ott herself, whose life has been extended by the research the event helps to fund. When Cars & ’Q returns this year on April 21, it will be a little different. Ott will not be there as honorary chair. She’s at Duke University Hospital, recovering from a double lung transplant. The surgery sharpens a sense of mission for company founder Millard Choate and daughter Emily Bridges, who say the funds make a very real difference for people like Ott. “In the most tangible form, Cars & ’Q means the possibility of more tomorrows with my best friend,” says Bridges. Choate said that Ott’s transplant, while successful so far, does not cure her of the genetic disease, which makes mucus build up in the lungs and other organs, ultimately fatally. “We’re working hard to continue to look for a full cure while she has this additional time,” he said. Choate Construction is a billion-dollar national company whose projects include Buckhead’s Atlanta Tech Village. It’s also a local company at heart, where helping out a friend in need fits right in. Choate started the business in 1989 in the basement of his Sandy Springs home behind Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. Around that time, Emily, at age 2, made friends with another girl named Leann. A year later, Leann was diagnosed with CF. “And I was like, what is that?” Choate recalls. He soon found out that “it’s a very cruel disease” with a life expectancy at the time of only 13 years old. “So it was a race against time,” he said. CF affects only about 30,000 people in the U.S., Choate said. “The bad news is … Big Pharma doesn’t see a big market for it,” he said, leaving research funding mainly up to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The good news: Research has resulted in significant treatment improvements. Since Ott’s diagnosis, the typical survival age is now in the early 40s. Choate says that “it’s not one of those frustrating things where you might not see progress for 50 years.” Choate Construction has been working with the CF Foundation for years, including local fundraisers at regional branch offices, and the company works with many

other unrelated nonprofits like the Community Assistance Center. But Cars & ’Q is something special, turning the family hobby of car-collecting into a major community event and CF fundraiser. “I’m an old redneck, grew up on a cattle farm,” said Choate, explaining that he’s been around “cars and vehicles and equip-

Cars & ’Q for the Cause Saturday, April 21, 4 p.m. Choate Construction, 8200 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs Tickets $20 ($40 with bar access) advance, $30/$50 at door. Info: carsnq.passioncff.org.

Making A Difference ment my whole life.” His first post-college car was a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, and he still has it. Emily caught the car bug also. The little car show with barbecue now draws a wide variety of vehicles, from old muscle cars to exotic sports cars to military vehicles. “Everybody has a blast,” he says. “It’s casual. It’s not a competitive event.” And virtually every penny, aside from minor equipment rental, goes to the CF Foundation, he said. That’s partly thanks to major volunteerism from company employees. One executive heavily involved in the fundraising, Steve Soteres, is now publicly prominent as a new member of the Sandy Springs City Council. “Leann is an amazing girl and the re-

Top, Leann Ott in a 1969 Camaro. (CatMax Photography) Above, Emily Bridges and Millard Choate. (Ted Williams)

search funded by the CF Foundation is what has made a huge difference in her life and the lives of so many other CF patients,” said Soteres. “I’d love to see the citizens of Sandy Spring come out in force and show our support for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”

Though Ott can’t attend this year, Bridges says, she’ll know that the expected crowd of 1,200 will be cheering her own. “While there are many challenges ahead, she is making incredible strides in her recovery,” says Bridges. “She is a fighter.”

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18 | Perimeter Business

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KSU to offer ‘mini MBA’ program at City Springs BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Kennesaw State University will begin holding “mini MBA” program classes at City Springs later this year, a first step to Mayor Rusty Paul’s dream of having a university located in Sandy Springs. “I’ve been hearing great things about City Springs,” said interim KSU President Ken Harmon at the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce April 10 luncheon, where he announced the business education program. “It’s a novel idea and it’s the way to go.” During the lunch, Harmon also addressed KSU’s recent free-speech controversies, saying the school takes them seriously. “We are a place that all voices should be heard. Nothing should be silenced because it is considered on one side or the other,” Harmon said.

‘Mini MBA’ program

City Springs is the city’s massive new mixed-use civic center, which is opening in stages this year. The first cohort at City Springs of the nine-month program, officially

known as the Executive Certificate Program in Business Strategy, will begin in September and end in July. Classes will be held once a month at the city’s new civic center with supplemental online coursework. A program participant will earn a certificate, not a full degree, upon completion. And the hours earned completing the program cannot be applied toward getting a degree, Harmon said. A full master of business administration degree at KSU costs about $22,000, said Harmon, who previously headed the university’s Coles College of Business. The program will cost $3,895. Chamber members will receive a 20 percent discount, according to a flyer handed out at the luncheon. “It’s just as much of a dream for us as well,” Harmon said. “We’re just excited to be part of the journey with you.” KSU is a state university based in Kennesaw and operates a Marietta campus. “We really wanted to offer an MBA because of the large concentration of business here,” Paul said. The city began working with KSU to bring a program here about 18 months ago. Paul chose KSU in part because of

EVELYN ANDREWS

Kennesaw State University interim President Ken Harmon listens to a question from an audience member at the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce April 10 luncheon.

his long friendship with former KSU President Sam Olens, who resigned late last year after a series of controversies. “We are the largest city in the state with no institute for higher learning

and the largest business center with no access to business education,” he said. Paul said this is the first step needed to work toward eventually opening a full university in Sandy Springs, a dream long held by Sandy Springs officials that started with founding Mayor Eva Galambos. “We’ll take it one step at a time,” Paul said. The classes will be held once a month on a Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. To register or get more information, visit colescollege.com/execed or contact dstoz@kennesaw.edu.

Free speech controversies

Harmon, who previously served as KSU’s provost and dean of business college, became president after Olens’ resignation took effect in February. Olens announced his resignation in December 2017 after he caused controversy by not allowing football cheerleaders to protest the national anthem before games. Olens is being sued by a Christian student organization who said the university during Olens’ tenure made it harder for it to hold demonstrations than other groups. In response to a question from the audience, Harmon said he takes the lawsuit seriously and the university is conducting an internal investigation. “It did look like some groups were given different treatment, which is not right,” he said. “I think we have to do better.” Harmon and university officials are meeting with consultants on ways to reorganize or do more training on how to handle speech issues, he said.

SS


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

Community | 19

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Local control, taxes among this year’s state legislative wins BY JOHN RUCH, EVELYN ANDREWS AND DYANA BAGBY As the General Assembly wrapped up this session’s lawmaking last month, local legislators saw some wins and a few losses.

Local control on codes

In a session that Mayor Rusty Paul described as an “assault” on local governments’ powers, the city took a big hit on wood-frame apartment construction regulations, but dodged bullets on other bills that leaders had feared. House Bill 876 will wipe out ordinances in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody that require certain large buildings, especially multifamily housing over three stories tall, to be built of concrete and steel rather than wood for fire safety and quality reasons. The bill became a battleground between the concrete and timber industries, with the latter winning. The cities may yet sue. State Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) is among those who were not fans. “The unknown consequences are yet to be known from this directive,” Willard said, “but it is a further erosion of the state constitutional directive of granting local control to the cities and counties to determine what is best for their community, and not to have state interference on the powers granting these local controls.”

Senate Bill 426 was another muchfeared proposal that Sandy Springs officials said would strip local review of small-scale wireless antennas on public streets. The bill passed in a heavily altered substitute form without any of the bits that the city feared. And House Bill 579, which could have wiped out the city’s new regulations on short-term rental services like Airbnb, stalled and did not get a vote.

Sales tax review

Senate Bill 371 will give cities the power to double-check whether they are getting the correct share of sales tax from local businesses. With a recent transportation special local option sales tax bringing in about 15 percent less revenue than projected, Sandy Springs has been concerned that it is losing revenue from businesses that share ZIP codes with Atlanta and may accidentally be making payments to the wrong city. But the state Department of Revenue has been less than cooperative about payment transparency with cities and the media. “This bill is intended to provide a privilege to all local governments in the state that was already granted to the city of Atlanta,” said state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Cobb County), who represents part of Sandy Springs.

Northside

Property tax relief

In the wake of concerns about sudden jumps in Fulton County property assessments, three bills have proposals that could go before voters. HB 820, authored by state Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Buckhead), would provide a new homestead exemption that caps annual property tax increases at 2.6 percent for the city of Atlanta portion. Jordan’s, which is SB 485 would exempt residents from paying taxes to the school district on $50,000 of their property value. The current exemption is $15,000. Jordan has estimated the general bill to cost Atlanta Public Schools up to $10 million per year. Both proposals would need to be voted on by residents in the Nov. 6 election, and neither would take effect before the 2018 assessments go out. State Sen. Fran Millar was a co-sponsor of SB 317, a Fulton County homestead exemption, that goes to the voters in November. If approved, it will give Fulton County residents some relief on school taxes and caps home value assessments by the lesser of 3 percent or the inflation rate.

Fireworks noise control

State Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) secured passage of House Bill

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419, which allows fireworks use to be controlled under city noise ordinances. The restriction has been desired by many local officials since the state controversially legalized the sale and use of fireworks in 2015 with few limits on their use, regardless of the noise and fire safety differences between rural, urban and suburban areas.

Brunch-time alcohol

A bill to allow restaurants to begin serving alcohol on Sundays at 11 a.m. instead of waiting until 12:30 p.m. easily passed this year. Local municipalities are now able to put a referendum on the ballot to see if their voters want to do so. State Rep. Meagan Hanson (RBrookhaven) carried the bill in the House.

Hate crimes

Hanson’s hate crimes law bill failed to get out of committee this year despite new language introduced by co-sponsor state Rep. Willard that excluded specific protections for transgender people. Similar hate crime bills have failed for the past decade. “It was very disappointing,” Hanson said. “But we had some really great conversations about the rising numbers of hate crimes. The current environment won’t let this bill go away.”

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Backyard swim lessons dispute makes a splash in City Hall Continued from page 1 in residential areas, the city accidentally gave it a license for four years. Against the advice of the mayor and the city attorney, a special code designed to legalize the business is headed to the city Planning Commission — where commissioner Reed Haggard is also the neighbor whose complaint about noise and traffic threw cold water on the business. Allison Dubovsky operated the business in the pool behind her house at 640 Weatherly Lane, in a cul-de-sac in the exclusive Riverside neighborhood. At the March 20 City Council meeting, she said she got the proper business license, paid taxes and secured liability insurance. Then she got an email from the city “out of the blue, late one night in January.” It said there had been a complaint and a review found that an outdoor business was prohibited in her area. The city yanked her license two days before student registration began. Her attempt to find another location or build screening to turn it into a legal indoor business failed, she said. Dubovsky was joined by a large contingent of residents and customers who said her business caused no problems and trained children in swimming safety. She also had a petition with more than 900 signatures. That swayed City Councilmember Tibby DeJulio into what he said was a rare call for new legal action. “This is a problem,” DeJulio said. “If the kids are not getting swimming lessons somewhere, they’re in danger, because there’s a great number of pools in our community.” Haggard said in a phone interview that the real question is zoning. RUSTY PAUL MAYOR “Everybody keeps trying to make this into something it’s not. This is not about swim lessons,” he said. “It’s a decision about whether the city of Sandy Springs should allow very large, very noisy” and traffic-generating businesses in areas that are zoned residential. Haggard, whose back yard abuts the Swim With Allison pool, said he first got involved with complaints years ago as former president of the Riverside Homeowners Association. He said they were unable to resolve the situation. More recently, his work on the city’s new zoning code made him realize the business is not legal there. He asked city staff, who reviewed it and later pulled the license, he said. It remains unclear why the city never noticed the business should not have been licensed. Also unclear are numbers of students and other traffic. Haggard said the business enrolled 300 students a summer. Dubovsky — who later declined further comment — spoke before the council only in terms of six children per hour and

an “average” of four cars per hour, and said Haggard’s complaint was off by “thousands.” The business’s website, which does not give a street address, says that firsttime child swimmers often cry, and it “strongly encouraged” spectators, including extended family members and nannies. Other residents said there were no issues, including neighbor Ross Perloe, who is also a former Riverside HOA president. “There’s not a problem,” he told the council. Following DeJulio’s request, city planning staff brought a possible zoning ordinance to the council on April 3. It aimed to legalize backyard businesses involving athletic classes with tightly limited numbers of students and hours of operation, plus fencing and off-street parking requirements. City Attorney Dan Lee and Mayor Rusty Paul opposed the idea as a Pandora’s box for such businesses as an air rifle range or batting cages with noisy aluminum bats. “I think you make a huge public policy mistake when you try to legislate for one specific situation,” Paul said. Councilmember Chris Burnett suggested tightening the hours or naming other types of unwanted businesses. But Jody Reichel, who backed giving Swim with Allison a second chance, said that would hurt the business, while Paul said it is impossible to list all the other businesses that could use it as a loophole. Lee suggested one possible out: allowing only businesses certified as life safety classes by the American Red Cross. However, that does not appear to be part of the suggested ordinance. Meanwhile, other neighbors and customers continued to push the safety angle in a public comment period. One said he prefers Dubovsky’s backyard classes to Buckhead’s Garden Hills pool, where “it’s a bit rough.” Another said that without the business, “And really, children could drown and where would the onus be?” At Reichel’s suggestion, the council informally agreed to send the proposed ordinance to the Planning Commission for an advisory opinion. That’s the body where Haggard sits as one of seven members. Perloe said Haggard should recuse himself from the discussion. Haggard said he’ll decide that when the time comes. For now, his opinion of the business under current code was clear. “This is not a mom-and-pop business,” he said, citing its size. “It’s an inappropriate location. … I hope she can find an appropriate location,” or seek a rezoning, he said. Even if the proposed ordinance were to pass, city staff said, it likely could not approved until this fall. That means for at least this season, no customers will be swimming with Allison in the controversial business.

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APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

Community | 21

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Trump names state Supreme Court judge with local ties to federal bench

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BY JOHN RUCH

than by judicial fiat.” “Our job is to respect what the text of the law is,” as well as jury decisions, A Georgia Supreme Court judge who she said. A big factor in her perspechails from Sandy Springs has been nomtive, she said, is her service in all three inated to sit on a federal appeals court by branches of government President Trump. at both the federal and loJustice Britt Grant cal levels, “when you’ve would sit on the Atlanbeen in the shoes of the ta-based U.S. 11th Circuit person who had to make Court of Appeals if her that decision.” nomination is approved Another big influence: by the U.S. Senate. Grant the “unnatural disaster” of appeared last fall at a SanSept. 11. “It affected me very dy Springs Bar Associadeeply based on what I saw tion lunch, where she deand heard that day,” said clined to comment on Grant, who was working rumors of the federal in the White House’s West SPECIAL judgeship nomination. Wing at the time, while Justice Britt Grant. Grant is also on Trump’s her husband Justin — also published short list of cana Sandy Springs native — didates for a potential U.S. Supreme worked at the CIA. Court nomination if a seat comes open. Grant said the attacks reinforced her Grant’s legal background includes idea that the U.S. Constitution is someclerking for a federal judge; serving in thing to defend. She said they also were Georgia’s Attorney General’s office unfollowed by a time different from today’s der Sam Olens and Chris Carr, includ“polarized politics.” ing as solicitor general, or top trial attor“Such a comparatively short time ney; and working in private practice. She ago, we all knew and believed we’re all also worked for current Gov. Nathan Deal in this together,” she said. when he was a congressman and served in President George W. Bush’s White House in domestic policy jobs. Deal appointed Grant to the state Supreme Court, where she began work last year. johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Comments from last year’s Sandy Springs appearance

At the bar association lunch last year, Grant described her conservative judicial philosophy and how it was shaped by the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, which were committed while she worked in the White House. “I remember from those days understanding our government was under threat,” as was the U.S. Constitution, she said. She said she is a descendant of the Burdett family, whose “milk house,” dating to around 1860 and preserved on the Heritage Sandy Springs site, is the city’s oldest unaltered structure. Grant was born at Buckhead’s Piedmont Hospital and attended The Westminster Schools before heading to Stanford Law School in California, which she jokingly described as a “foreign trip” from the conservative Georgia perspective. While working for Olens, she said, she had a “strong desire to sing the praises of Sandy Springs” as he talked so much about his home of Cobb County. Grant described her judicial philosophy as “separation of powers” and change by “democratic process rather

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22 | Education

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Student protest leaders took different paths into activism BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The country is seeing a new generation of gun control protesters rising from schools in the wake of a Florida massacre. Local students are part of this wave, too. Their motivations vary from personal experience to political commitment, but they say they are just starting their advocacy efforts. These three local students led some of the thousands of students at local schools who participated in a nationwide walkout March 14. The walkout was held a month after 17 people were killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. They said they weren’t able to participate in the marches that followed in downtown Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

Tali Feen, Atlanta Jewish Academy

SPECIAL

Atlanta Jewish Academy students, from left, Tali Feen, Ben Ogden and Aden Dori stand with signs before the March 14 protest.

Tali Feen, a sophomore at Atlanta Jewish Academy in Sandy Springs, said taking a stand against gun violence wasn’t unusual for her. “I’ve always taken a stand or tried to do something to make a difference,” she said. Feen said one of her main interests is volunteering activism. “I’ve always been into social action. Volunteering is something I love,” Feen said. She currently volunteers frequently with Creating Connected Communities, an organization that plans fun activities for students in poverty. During the summers, she helps with a summer school type program called Odyssey Atlanta, which works to motivate students in poverty to help them have successful careers later in life. She previously helped organize fundraising drives at her school for victims of the hurricanes that hit several countries last year, she said. She said she is inspired by her brother, who works in politics in Washington, D.C. But she sees herself staying on the activism side rather than venturing into a political career. She plans to major in science in the hopes of pursuing a medical career. She hopes to one day volunteer performing medical services in a poor country. Students who led AJA’s demonstration

said they focused on remembering the victims so they wouldn’t alienate students who do not support additional gun control measures, but they still talked about the issue, said Aden Dori, a sophomore at the school. “Where common ground lies is at the victims,” said Dori, who helped organize the protest. Feen, Dori and Ben Ogden, a senior who helped lead the demonstration, are working on organizing a campaign to write letters to students’ senators and representatives in Congress. They hope to keep people aware and interested in the movement and not forget about it, Dori said. “The march was the first step in our long journey of making change,” Feen said.

Parker Short, Dunwoody High School

Volunteering with several political campaigns led Parker Short, a sophomore at Dunwoody High, to lead his school’s protest. Last year’s special election for the local 6th Congressional District seat spurred Short’s interest in politics. He worked as an intern for Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign. Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel in a runoff election. “I have been politically involved for a little over a year now, and was inspired to get involved because of the need for change in

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Parker Short, a sophomore, leads the Dunwoody High protest with a megaphone.

our political system,” Short said. Short also founded and presides over the Young Democrats Club at Dunwoody High and has helped bring high-profile politicians to speak, including former Gov. Roy Barnes and former state Sen. Jason Carter. He is now volunteering as the youth outreach director of Michael Wilensky’s campaign for state House. “I am very passionate about a plethora of issues facing our country including socialized medicine, gun control, DACA and campaign finance reform,” he said. Short hopes to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to study political science. His other hobbies include hiking, reading and playing piano.

Adenike Makinde, North Atlanta High School

At North Atlanta High School in Buckhead, senior Adenike Makinde had a personal reaSPECIAL son to join the North Atlanta High protest. Ma- student Adenike Makinde kinde, who reads information about the victims plans to attend killed in the shooting the Universiduring the protest. ty of Southern California, wasn’t involved with gun control efforts or politics before the Florida shooting. She said she felt a personal connection to that incident because her estranged brother was at the Parkland school during the shooting, but was not injured. “This could have been a completely different story for me,” if her brother was injured or killed, she said. She said that the protest helped show adults that students are committed to trying to spur change. “To see so much action by young people is really eye-opening for a lot of adults,” she said. Makinde said she participated in and helped lead the walkout “to stand in solidarity and to respect the lives of the people that were killed.” The Student Government Association led the protest at North Atlanta, and the president asked Makinde to read the names of the victims at the walkout, she said. The protesters tried to make the walkout not about politics, but instead about having a conversation around gun control, which isn’t being had in a meaningful way by politicians, Makinde said. “There’s no conversation being had, and I think that’s what the students want,” she said.


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

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28 | Education

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Fulton County School Police made a drug bust at North Springs High School in Sandy Springs in late March. The drug sweep found three students with marijuana, police say. After obtaining a warrant, officers searched one student’s bedroom at home, finding marijuana, LSD, methamphetamines, mushrooms and cash, according to a Sandy Springs police crime report. The student will be charged with felonies, the report said. K-9 units were brought to the school to do a search for drugs as part of a periodic search, the principal of the school said. “This occurs periodically in all Fulton County high schools, as working with the K-9 units provides a training opportunity for the dogs, as well as helps us deter students from making bad decisions involving drug use or bringing drugs/drug paraphernalia into our school,” said Scott Hanson, principal of North Spring High, in a letter to parents. To conduct the search, the school conducted a lockdown drill, Hanson said. While the school was locked down, the K-9 units, accompanied by administration, visited random classrooms. The students were instructed to leave the classrooms while the K-9 units swept the classroom. Several K-9 Units also went into the student parking lot to inspect vehicles, Hanson said

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The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is opening a new preschool in Sandy Springs. The MJCCA Schiff School at Temple Emanu-El, located at 1580 Spalding Drive, will teach students from 6 weeks to pre-K. It is set to open on August 6, 2018, and registration is now available at atlantajcc.org/SchiffSchool, according to a press release. “MJCCA Preschools are a special community, one that builds lifelong learners, lasting friendships, and a lifetime of memories,” said MJCCA CEO Jared Powers in a press release. “We are thrilled with this opportunity to build another amazing preschool community at Temple Emanu-El.” The MJCCA Schiff School will be the MJCCA’s third preschool. It currently offers The Weinstein School at Zaban Park in Dunwoody, and The Sunshine School at Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb, according to the release. The MJCCA Schiff School will offer both full-day and half-day options. Half-day students attend from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Full-day students attend between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., the release said. “We are fortunate to have an organization like the MJCCA, with such a long history of cultivating a stellar preschool curriculum, enrichment opportunities, and community opening a preschool here at Temple Emanu-El,” said Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Spike Anderson in the release.

M O U NT VER NO N STU D ENTS L A UNC H V IR T UA L R EA L IT Y L A B The first project for Mount Vernon Presbyterian School students in the school’s newly-launched virtual reality lab is to create content for a new exhibit at the Center of Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. One of the main goals of the virtual reality lab, which was officially launched April 9, is to provide opportunities for students to create immersive VR content. The lab team is creating content for a new exhibit at the museum about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. SPECIAL “It is so exciting to watch our stu- Alec Johnson, Mount Vernon Upper School VR Lab Founder. dents’ ideas go from dream to reality. Our young entrepreneurs are ready to face current challenges, work with industry leaders, and make an impact in the world right now. We are helping students learn to lead in the newest fields of technology,” said teacher Marie Graham in the release.


APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

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30 | Public Safety

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False alarm battle brings public anger, confusion Continued from page 1 subject of a lawsuit in federal court. The police’s no-response decision, announced at the April 3 City Council meeting, affects only burglar alarms, not fire alarms, panic buttons or direct calls to 911. The announcement surprised even some City Council members whose systems were on the list, and DeSimone named 14 firms during testimony but a late-night press release named 39, at least one of which had a misspelled name. But the move had some rapid effect, with only 27 companies remaining out of compliance as of April 11, according to a regularly updated list at sandyspringsga.gov/alarm. “They’re using the citizens as pawns to experiment on something they think is going to work,” said Stan Martin, executive director of the Texas-based Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), which is helping to fund a lawsuit claiming the ordinance is an unconstitutional violation of due process. “…Even worse is leveraging customers’ and citizens’ systems that are totally innocent and trying to hold the entire alarm company hostage.” But DeSimone says false alarms are a public safety issue. “Any type of 911 emergency, you’re competing with 11,000… false alarms,” he said, citing a city statistic from last year. Naming the companies was a move criticized by some residents on social media. “This is really a dumb way to let criminals know which homes to target,” one resident wrote on the city’s Facebook page. Another concern was people not knowing their home systems are on a noresponse list, or being trapped without access to a phone or panic button by a burglar who triggers the main alarm. Resident Todd Hennings, in a letter to city officials, said he had been in a similar burglary situation and suggested the city is opening itself to lawsuits in the event of a violent home invasion. “How will you face the voters — the family and friends of the injured or killed — and explain that their neighbor was injured or died so that you could collect some past due fines?” he asked. Asked about such a scenario, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said, “I can’t respond to a hypothetical. However, if an alarm company is put on a non-response list for failure to comply with the ordinance, the alarm customer should look at moving to an alarm company which is able to follow the law.” State law already requires burglar alarms to be verified by phone calls to residents or neighbors. Lack of that verification step is a major cause of false alarms in the city, police have said. Other residents demanded that security systems pay their fines and fix their systems. “If [a] majority of calls are false, why

do all residents of [Sandy Springs] have to pay for a few to get a police response every time without merit?” one resident asked on the city’s Facebook page. The Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, a coalition of homeowners associations, has no comment on the situation at this time, said president Ronda Smith. Alarms are considered false when they come from devices that use automatic systems or call centers to contact 911 about a fire or crime emergency that turns out to be nonexistent. False alarms are a perennial and significant problem in the industry, especially because residents or business owners may accidentally trigger their own alarms in a variety of ways. The problem is common enough that a private company created a program — called “CryWolf” — to help cities register and track false alarms, a service that Sandy Springs uses. The city says it spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year responding to false fire and burglar alarms in terms of staff time and vehicle maintenance. However, many security companies representatives attended that council meeting last summer to say fining companies isn’t the answer and could drive them out of business.

The city’s move

To worried residents, Police Chief Ken DeSimone offered cold comfort at the April 3 council meeting: He said virtually all alarms from old-school systems wired to call 911 are false and that in 30 years as a police officer, he has never caught a burglar due to an alarm call. The real danger, he said, is that police will be tied up with a false alarm and be unable to respond to a real emergency. Councilmember Tibby DeJulio said he uses one of the no-response list companies, ADT, for his home security and asked whether this means he is now paying the company for nothing. “That’s the beauty of the free enterprise system,” replied DeSimone, saying that DeJulio could switch to a company that is not on the list. Councilmember John Paulson suggested a two-week delay in the ban to allow the public to learn more about it. “It’s kind of weird — we’re kind of punishing customers who think they’re safe,” he said. But DeSimone said immediate action is needed. “We need to do this now,” DeSimone said. “The more we wait, the more jeopardy I think we put our citizens in” due to false alarms tying up officers. He even raised the specter of a fire truck causing an accident while responding to a false alarm. “My alarm company is on the list, too,” said Councilmember Steve Soteres. He has said he has a “duress” code to call for police in a panic-type situation and asked whether it will still work. DeSimone said yes — but added that even most or all of

panic-button alarms to the Sandy Springs Police are false anyway as well. “When somebody really needs help, they don’t run across [the room] and press a keypad,” but instead pick up the phone and dial 911, DeSimone said. A major thrust of the city’s argument is that it is forcing an outdated, archaic industry to modernize. Asked recently by the Reporter what type of security system he uses himself, DeSimone pulled out his phone and showed live video of his own front doorway — via the Ring alarm system, which allows residents to directly see whether someone has broken in rather than an automated system calling police to do so. In fact, DeSimone told the council, the city aims to further tighten the alarm ordinance eventually — including by requiring alarm verification by a human being directly or by audio or video. At a March 6 City Council meeting, DeSimone said that since the ordinance took effect in October, false alarms were down significantly — from 99 to 49 in February — due largely to the no-response list and companies had been fined a total of $428,000, of which $135,000 had been collected. If the currently banned companies pay up, they can do business again; however, DeSimone said he has heard that some companies are charging customers the amount of the fine but not paying it to the city. And companies continue to produce false alarms, said DeSimone. He said that for the week ending March 30, the city received 135 burglar alarm notifications, all of which were false. The Fire Rescue Department received 20 false alarms in that period, he said, though he did not say how many valid alarms came through, if any. The industry’s lawsuit was not discussed at the council meeting, but DeSimone’s report about the ban and related items clearly was partly a response to it. One claim in the lawsuit is that the false-alarm fine appeal system is unfair, and the city was especially angered by a related industry press release that likened the Sandy Springs Police to the small-town brand of justice in “The Andy Griffith Show.” In his report, DeSimone said the city has heard many appeals, granting 135 of them and denying 117.

Alarm industry response

Martin, the head of the industry group SIAC, says the city aims to make far more in fines than it spends on false alarms. He said it also refused to negotiate on a widely accepted model ordinance that targets a small percentage of alarm customers who create the vast majority of false alarms. Instead, he said, the city focused on collective punishment and the fining of companies for customers’ actions, which the lawsuit claims is

an unconstitutional violation of the right to due process. The no-response list is just another example, said Martin, likening it to charge car dealerships for their customers’ traffic tickets. “It feels like they’re trying to poke a stick in the eye of the alarm companies. … Everything seems to be retaliatory, but they are avoiding the central issue of constitutional due process,” he said. “I guess they’d rather try this in the media instead of the courts.” And he criticized the decision to publicly name the companies whose entire customer list will be a no-response list for burglar or “intrusion” alarms. (Fire and panic-button type alarms will still get a response.) “…I’m particularly disturbed [that] … what they’ve done is provided a list of alarm companies [on the no-response list] to the bad guys,” Martin said. Martin said that the point of noisy home alarm systems is to be a deterrent to burglars, not a way to catch them in the act, and that value is reduced by creating and publicizing a no-response list. Martin acknowledged that false alarms are an industry problem, and inherent to the automated scare-factor designs of alarm systems. But, he said, about 2 to 3 percent of customers create the vast majority of false alarms. “Most [systems] are working perfectly every day as a deterrent to the bad guys,” Martin said. “It’s the small percentage that are causing those alarms, and yes, it’s a fact that of the few [alarms] you get in a city, most of them are not going to be valid. It’s the way systems are set up because they’re set up to deter burglars.” SIAC has worked with various national police organizations on a model ordinance to reduce false alarms, Martin said. It involves targeting those problem customers with better training, better equipment, and if necessary, fines and placement on a no-response list. But, Martin said, Sandy Springs officials refused to compromise in meetings with major alarm company representatives last year about the proposed ordinance. He was not in those meetings, but said he heard about them. Martin said the city’s response to concerns and counterproposals was, “‘We got the money in the bank. Come get us.’ … There was no give or take, no negotiation.” The Sandy Springs ordinance is clearly shaking the alarm industry. The city modeled the ordinance on those in a few other cities, notably including Seattle. Martin said that Seattle’s ordinance, passed about 15 years ago with industry approval, indeed puts companies on the hook, but does not involve a no-response list and that the industry would not support it now, finding it flawed in the end. “There’s no one that has an ordinance like Sandy Springs,” Martin said.

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APRIL 13 - 26, 2018

Public Safety | 31

www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Police Blotter / Sandy Springs Capt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department provided the following information which represents some of the reports filed between March 31 and April 6.

gage, which she did, leaving the $8,000 in the car.

B U R G L A RY

Think hard now and try to guess what happened.

„„100 block of Mystic Place — Sometime

between March 30 and April 4, someone entered the unoccupied home that was found unlocked with no forced entry. The sales agent confirmed the home was locked when last shown. A $2,000 Samsung stove was stolen from the home. „„6900 block of Roswell Road — On April

4, the resident reported he was away for one month and on return, found his apartment ransacked and several items including clothing and a laptop, missing. A forced glass door was the entry point. „„6500 block of Roswell Road — On April

4, an employee at an oil change shop responded to an alarm at his business and found a garage-door panel missing, big enough for a person to go through. He checked the video and saw a man coming from the area of Steak n Shake to the rear of the business at around 11:30 p.m. He entered through the panel, walked to the office, grabbed something from the desk and went to the safe, opened it and removed the contents. He then exited in the general direction from where he came in. The management believes they know the identity of the suspect as a former employee fired two months ago, and not on good terms.

R O B B E RY „„8700 block of Roswell Road — On April

2, a 90-year-old woman reported she was leaving the grocery store and in the parking lot, at her vehicle, when a male snatched her purse, then ran across the parking lot and got into a blue Mitsubishi Mirage G4 with a drive-out tag. The suspect was 25-30 years old with dark hair and wore a blue shirt and jeans.

THEFT „„6300 block of Powers Ferry Road — On

March 31, a 28-year-old woman reported to police that she met a man whose name was either Marco or Dorico on a website called “Plenty of Fish.” She said his right leg was amputated below the knee and his left leg was in a cast. He arrived to her home in a Dodge Challenger, black with red stripes. The report goes on to say, “At his request, she withdrew $8,000 from her account in order to purchase a car. Before purchasing the car, he drove her to the Wyndham Hotel and asked her if she would go to his room and get his lug-

“Plenty of Fish” is an online dating service popular in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and, of course, here.

Captain STEVE ROSE, SSPD srose@sandyspringsga.gov

„„8100 block of Roswell Road — On

March 31, a man reported his “Mongoose Hot Shot” stolen. „„1100 Hammond Drive — On April 1,

the manager of a drug store said a female, 20-30 years-old, plaid jacket, pink shirt and brown boots, took something and left without paying for it. She wasn’t sure what the woman took. „„7300 block of Roswell Road — On April

2, a caller from a drug store said a male picked up a prescription, then took a bottle of weight-loss pills from one of the aisles and then left without paying for them. „„200 block of Sandy Springs Place —

On April 3, staff at a grocery store observed a man place items in his backpack, concealed from view. He was detained and later arrested and accused of possession of $184 in store goods he did not pay for. „„7000 block of Twin Branch Drive — On

April 4, a resident said just before 3 a.m., her dog began barking, so she let the dog out, which is when she saw a young male in a dark hooded sweatshirt in her driveway. She yelled at the man, who got into her 2017 Mercedes and left, followed by a dark colored SUV. The victim’s car was tracked to I-20, then to Oakland Drive in Atlanta. The car was not at that address but an additional track led cops to Davage Street in Atlanta, where they found the car, unoccupied and apparently undamaged. The investigation thus far has not revealed suspects. „„100 block of Mystic Place — On April

6, the caller said two AC units were taken from a residential construction site.

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES „„Between March 31 and April 4, seven

thefts from vehicles were reported.

READ MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT

www.ReporterNewspapers.net SS

RECREATION AND PARKS PUBLIC MEETING PARK SYSTEM MASTER PLAN The City of Sandy Springs is in the process of developing a Recreation and Parks Master Plan to determine the potential to add more recreation and parks initiatives. The public is invited to an Open House meeting to hear findings from the Research and Analysis phase of the Park System Master Plan. Following the presentation, attendees can participate in interactive exercises to provide feedback.

Wednesday, April 18 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm City Hall, Council Chambers 7840 Roswell Road Sandy Springs, GA 30350 For more information please visit sandyspringsga.gov


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Make a Lantern & Join the Parade! The parade lines up at 7:30pm at Steel Canyon Golf Club for a magical stroll to Morgan Falls Overlook Park. Lantern Workshops are April 14th & 15th. Learn more at VisitSandySprings.org/lanternparade

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04-13-18 Sandy Springs  
04-13-18 Sandy Springs