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APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 • VOL. 11 — NO. 8

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► MARTA’s CEO speaks on response to I-85 disaster PAGE 5 ► ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ of 2017 legislative session PAGE 14

SPECIAL SECTION | P22-26

Buckhead adapts to life after I-85 collapse

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net The I-85 collapse has affected nearly every part of life in Buckhead, frustrating businesses that are seeing fewer customers, residents of neighborhoods used as alternative routes, and commuters stuck in traffic much longer than usual. The northbound overpass collapsed March 30, severing one of Atlanta’s main arteries, after a fire alleged to be arson burned plastic tubing state officials stored there. Many people were stuck on the overpass for hours and many more had to come of up with an The I-85 overpass near Piedmont Road under reconstruction on April 9.

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Blue Heron Nature Preserve focuses on connectivity BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s future lies in trails connecting it to other green spaces like Chastain Park and PATH400, says Executive Director Kevin McCauley. “It’s really to connect us all in a way we’ve never been connected before,” he said, referring to a trail expansion program slated to begin this year. “It changes how people perceive their neighborSee BLUE on page 18


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MIDTOWN ALLIANCE

Below, the Peachtree Street bridge will eventually resemble this illustration. Right, the bridge was close to being completed when construction was halted. The arches are the last major step to finishing the project.

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Peachtree Street bridge renovation stalled by I-85 collapse BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

A pedestrian-friendly, artistic renovation of the Peachtree Street bridge was on track to be completed by the end of April, but has been stalled by the I-85 collapse. The bridge, which connects Buckhead and Midtown, is undergoing a beautification project led by the Midtown Alliance and Central Atlanta Progress. The $3.5 million project is adding 30-foot white arches bearing the word “Peachtree.” It will also improve pedestrian safety by adding lighting and sidewalks with a wall separating the pedestrians from cars, Midtown Alliance President Kevin Green said. “We wanted to make it more comfortable for pedestrians because it is a pretty harsh environment,” Green said of the heavily-trafficked bridge. The feedback he has heard on the pedestrian improvements has been positive. Surveys the organization has done have found that Midtown residents rank pedestrian safety highly, Green said, so they wanted to address that in this project. The project was close to being completed before the collapse of I-85 drew it to a standstill. The Midtown Alliance decided to temporarily stall the project to open the lanes closed by construction and help ease traffic congestion. The group did that voluntarily in coordination with the Georgia Department of Transportation before Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed issued an executive order April 10 prohibiting all routine construction work for the same reason. Green doesn’t know yet when construction will resume or when the project will be completed. “We’re all trying to understand how to adapt,” Green said. Other than the arches, the bridge project includes other cosmetic additions, such as colored lighting and letters along the

side of the bridge that spell out “Peachtree.” The Midtown Alliance and CAP completed the Downtown Peachtree Street Bridge in October 2016, a similar project that included a pedestrian barrier, lighting and bridge fencing. The bridges were funded through a Gateway Grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Woodruff Foundation and the Downtown and Midtown Community Improvement Districts. Midtown isn’t the only area seeing their bridges change from bare industrial sights to places with artistic sculptures. Groups like the Midtown Alliance are trying to make barren urban landscapes reflect better on the city, Green said, and bridges often come to the forefront because they are seen as gateways, especially for iconic streets like Peachtree. Peachtree Corners city officials have proposed several designs for a new pedestrian bridge in a busy section of the city. Pedestrian safety is the main reason for proposing the bridge, Judy Putnam, communications director for the Gwinnett County city said. The designs are quite dramatic and artistic and some citizens have wondered why the city couldn’t save money and build a simpler bridge, which the mayor responded to on the city’s website. “By building more than just a walkway, we have the opportunity to create a distinctive landmark that will serve the community well for years to come,” Mayor Mike Mason wrote. The bridge is also seen as a way to contribute to the city’s economic development by bringing in business, the mayor said in the post. There are also three bridge beautification and traffic improvement projects in the works in Cobb County and two completed in Gwinnett County. BH


Community | 3

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Atlanta Jazz Festival to kick off in Buckhead BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Atlanta Jazz Festival will kick off its 40th year in Buckhead’s Loudermilk Park. The main portion of the annual festival will be held over Memorial Day weekend in Piedmont Park, but events will begin April 22 with a concert in Loudermilk Park. The festival is presenting “40 Days of Jazz” to celebrate the festival’s milestone anniversary and will mark the period leading up to the festival with performances in neighborhood parks, MARTA stations, restaurants and museums. The first of seven neighborhood performances, and the first performance of the 40-day program, will be held in Loudermilk Park on April 22 at 6 p.m. with Julie Dexter and Joe Gransden. Councilman Michael Julian Bond, who represents Post 1 At-Large, will host that event. The festival has collaborated with City Council members for the past 10 years to connect to the communities where performances were staged, said Camille Love, executive director of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, which produces the festival. In addition to the neighborhood concerts, there will be two-hour performances in some of the MARTA stations on Monday afternoons, including one at Lindbergh Station on May 8. The “40 Days of Jazz” series also allows the festival to celebrate International Jazz Day on April 30, Love said, which they will do with a concert at Buckhead’s Chastain Park Amphitheatre. While most events are free, including neighborhood and MARTA concerts, tickets to the Chastain show cost $40. The April 22 concert will not only be the first Atlanta Jazz Festival event, but the first major event in Loudermilk Park since the park’s renovation. There have been some smaller events such as yoga classes or a movie, but this is the most significant, Jim Durrett, the executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District said. “This is the first opportunity to dip our toes in that water and we intend to learn from this,” he said. The Buckhead CID is planning to program more events through the spring and summer, Durrett said. A 12-foot-tall abstract sculpture by architect and developer John Portman, the remaining piece to complete the park’s renovation, is on track to be installed before the jazz concert, Durrett said.

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Meeting Brief WI EUC A / PH I P P S ROUN DA BOUT P UB LIC M EETING WI L L BE H EL D A P RI L 19 The Buckhead Community Improvement District will host a public meeting April 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on a plan to construct a two-lane roundabout at the busy intersection of Wieuca Road and Phipps Boulevard. The Buckhead CID will present design options and the latest project information, as well as answer any questions from the public. The meeting will be held at Wieuca Road Baptist Church, 3626 Peachtree Road N.E., the same church that temporarily stalled the plan in October. The roundabout is at one corner of the church’s property and the church considered selling the property, but they decided against selling, and the roundabout plan moved forward. The estimated cost to build the roundabout is approximately $2 million. A consultant previously told the CID board that the roundabout will relieve traffic congestion 23 hours a day, but it won’t be enough to completely alleviate rush hour jams. A 2015 traffic study on the intersection can be found on the Buckhead CID’s website, buckheadcid.com. — Evelyn Andrews BH

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A Buckhead law firm has committed to helping for a year a nonprofit that protects and temporarily houses domestic violence victims’ pets. Morris, Manning & Martin has contributed $30,000 to Ahimsa House, provides legal help to the nonprofit and will host a fundraiser to benefit the organization in September. “They have been amazing,” Myra Rasnik, the executive director of Ahimsa House, said of the law firm. Most domestic violence shelters, fewer than 1 in 8 nationwide, Ahimsa House says, allow pets, so many victims are forced to delay seeking help or risk their abuser harming their pet. Sixty percent of victims delay seeking help because they are afraid their pet may be hurt by their abuser and 71 percent say that their abuser threatened, harmed or killed their pet, Rasnik said. “We remove that barrier so that they can get help,” Rasnik said. Ahimsa House — which says its name means “non-violence” in Sanskrit — last year assisted 137 victims of domestic violence and sheltered 255 pets, which they do through a network of veterinarians, foster homes and animal shelters that temporarily care for the pets before being reunited with their owners. Another way the law firm is assisting is by creating its own network of foster homes, Rasnik said. Morris, Manning & Martin lawyers will soon be sheltering abuse victims’ pets. The nonprofit mostly shelters dogs and cats, but has also sheltered birds, snakes, rabbits, turtles, iguanas, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, rats and horses, according to the nonprofit’s website. Ahimsa House has several layers of anonymity, Rasnik said, as representatives of the nonprofit have had abusers try to find animals to harm them as a way of retribution against an abuse victim seeking help. People who need help can reach Ahimsa House through a 24-hour crisis line at . 404-452-6248. Although the organization is based in Atlanta, it is able to assist anywhere in Georgia. The law firm commits annually to helping a local nonprofit for one year with fundraising and legal help. The firm chose Ahimsa House this year because it brings in a component “close to a lot of employee’s hearts,” said Seslee Smith, a partner at the firm, referring to pets. “The focus of the law firm’s charitable partnerships have always been on a local charity that benefits the metro area, especially women, children or veterans,” said Smith, who is also on the board of the nonprofit. The nonprofit also brings together two important causes for Smith — helping women and pets — and she said she understands why women sometimes delay seeking help out of fear for their pets. “If I were in that situation, I would never be able to leave my pet behind,” she said. For more information about Ahimsa House, see ahimsahouse.org. BH


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Community | 5

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MARTA CEO won’t ‘gloat,’ will help after I-85 disaster BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

MARTA is gaining lots of praise — and new riders — for stepping up service after the I-85 highway collapse that is snarling metro traffic. But Keith Parker, the transit agency’s CEO, says he’s not patting himself on the back or cheering the silver lining. “By no means do we gloat or bask in this,” Parker said of the I-85 disaster at an April 11 Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce luncheon. That’s not to say he was shy about touting his own speedy Red Line commute time, which drew several exclamations of “wow!” from the crowd. “I got on the train at 8:48 this morning and was at my office at 9:01,” said Parker, a Roswell resident who rides from Sandy Springs’ North Springs Station to MARTA headquarters at Buckhead’s Lindbergh Center Station. Parker’s long-scheduled appearance at the luncheon at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North hotel was intended to highlight the now familiar story of MARTA’s dramatic turnaround since he became its CEO and general manager in 2012. Parker presented his standard financial and customer charts laden with upward-tilting arrows, and touched on such other hotbutton issues as the Braves stadium and the Atlanta Streetcar. But the March 30 fire-triggered collapse of the I-85 overpass, which happened within smoke-smelling distance of MARTA’s HQ, has become a watershed moment for Atlanta public transit. It earned its own slide in Parker’s updated presentation. “And then there was a little bridge collapse,” he said. Parker noted the disaster site near Piedmont Road is about a third of a mile from MARTA’s Lindbergh Center headquarters and the Armour Yard, a railyard where the agency keeps many off-duty trains. He said he saw the smoke from his office. “As soon as we saw it, we sprang into action,” he said. That meant increasing service capacity by about 20 percent and extending service frequency and hours. Currently, he said, train frequency from North Springs is about 7 to 10 minutes, and in downtown Atlanta, about 5 minutes. The agency also leveraged existing partnerships with car rental services Uber and Lyft to offer discount rates to people going to and front MARTA stations. Internally, MARTA staff are urged to help first-time riders who may be confused and irritated. “They can be as rude as they need to be to us. We want to give them a dignified ride,” Parker said. While MARTA is seeing big ridership boosts, that also creates new challenges. Paying for extra service is a major one that the state and federal governments have pledged to assist. Another is “enormous pressure” on station parking, with garages filling up quickly.

After the “We view ourluncheon, selves as part of the Parker said transportation netthat specifwork,” he said. “All ic plans to of us are part of the borrow oversolution. ... In this flow parking case, one part of our near North family solution has Springs taken a hit.” and Sandy BRAVES AND THE Springs StaSTREETCAR JOHN RUCH tions are in Audience memKeith Parker, MARTA’s CEO and general the works manager, speaks at the April 11 Sandy Springs bers asked Parkand will be Perimeter Chamber of Commerce luncheon. er about anothannounced er looming traffic concern, the Atlanta soon. The agency also launched a web Braves’ new SunTrust Park in MARTApage showing real-time information on free Cobb County, and a public transit station parking availability. service that hasn’t been so well-received, While running trains, Parker also had the Atlanta Streetcar. to derail rumors “that I had started the fire On the Braves, Parker had a brief but — I’m not kidding.” He said reporters and pointed comment: “We’ve not been formalTwitter users asked about a conspiracy thely contacted by the Braves to provide serory that MARTA had set the blaze to boost vice. So when they’re ready, we’ll be ready.” ridership. (An avid social media user himOn the troubled Atlanta Streetcar, he self, Parker said in an admittedly unusual said the “critical safety issues” that led to a introduction that he planned to live-Tweet brief service stoppage have been resolved, his upcoming colonoscopy to be a good and predicted the streetcar, which currenthealthcare example to his children.) ly runs a circulator route in downtown AtMore seriously, Parker described lanta, will be a success once it plugs into MARTA as a family member of, not planned transit service on the BeltLine. a rival to, the Georgia Department of “When that [BeltLine connection] Transportation and the Georgia Regionhappens, I think it changes the game… al Transportation Authority. When you’re in a circle, you got limited

appeal,” Parker said. That transit is coming, as Atlanta voters recently approved a 0.5 percent sales tax boost devoted to MARTA funding. The agency expects that to raise billions over the next three decades for major citywide transit expansion. “For their half-penny, they’re going to get a tremendous return on their investment,” he said. TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT AND HQS Parker said he’s pleased with MARTA’s role in attracting major corporations to sites near rail stations, including State Farm in Dunwoody and WestRock and Mercedes-Benz USA in Sandy Springs. “That’s something we feel very proud about,” he said. It’s also among the reasons MARTA still intends to push for extending the Red Line further into North Fulton. Parker playfully asked for support from Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, who replied, “I’m trying.” Parker also noted the agency’s recent successes in bidding out some station parking lots for transit-oriented developments, including a project about to break ground at Chamblee Station. However, he did not mention the recent failure, amid community opposition, of another TOD proposed at Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station.

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BROOKHAVEN

BUCKHEAD

DUNWOODY

SANDY SPRINGS

EARTH DAY EVENTS ELECTRONICS RECYCLING DRIVE

Monday, April 17 to Sunday, April 23, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Marist School will host an electronics recycling drive that’s open to the public. Free, with the exception of a $10 fee to recycle televisions. All hard drives from computers will be shredded to protect information. 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info on accepted items: ewasteeplanet.com.

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Free nocturnal hike through Dunwoody Park and stargazing with the Atlanta Astronomy Club at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Free community yoga program led by Sweet Escape Yoga at 10 a.m. Saturday. The annual paintrecycling event runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there’s an overnight campout Saturday through Sunday. $20 per campsite for members; $25 for non-members. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

BLUE HERON NATURE PRESERVE

Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Events include a Park Pride Restoration Workday, activities for children in the garden, a build your wildlife sanctuary workshop, native plant sale and Green Theater performances. Free admission. 4055 Roswell Road, N.E., Buckhead. Info: bhnp.org.


APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Out & About | 7

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A MOUNTAIN, LAKE, GOLFING COMMUNITY.

PERFORMANCES

LAKE ARROWHEAD. LIVE THE DREAM.

OGLETHORPE UNIVERSITY CONCERTS Singers & Chorale Friday, April 21, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

WINDS ENSEMBLE Saturday, April 29, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Spring concerts for the singers and the winds ensemble are open to the public and will be held at Oglethorpe’s Conant Performing Arts Center. Free. 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: calendar. oglethorpe.edu.

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DUNWOODY’S LEMONADE DAYS

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Wednesday, April 19 to Sunday, April 23. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

More than 30 full-scale carnival rides, food vendors, a 5K run, three days of stage performances and the “Dunwoody Idol” contest are among the planned events. Hosted by Dunwoody Preservation trust, the annual Lemonade Days event is now in its 19th year. Free admission; carnival rides purchased separately. Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodylemonadedays.org.

CHASTAIN CHASE Sunday, April 23, 8 a.m.

The Chastain Chase 5K benefits the programs of Cancer Support Community, a nonprofit that offers more than 120 free, professionally led support programs to cancer patients, survivors, and their families each month. The event includes a 5K, a 1-mile walk/run and a Tot Trot through Chastain Park. Preregister online for a discount. Registration opens at 7 a.m. at Galloway School, 215 West Wieuca Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: cancersupportcommunity.org.

Perimeter North Family Medicine is proud to serve the families throughout the Atlanta area. Offering a full range of adult and pediatric services, our physicians, Dr. Charles Taylor, Dr. Shetal Patel and Dr. Mithun Daniel offer the highest standard of care to keep you and your family happy and healthy. We accept most insurance plans and offer same-day appointments for sick visits.

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Physical examinations & wellness care for men, women & children General and chronic care for geriatric patients Immunizations Acute illness treatment for colds, fevers, flu & more

LEARN SOMETHING LADIES NIGHT OUT WITH MASTER CHEF CYNTHIA GRAUBERT Thursday, April 20, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cook alongside Master Chef Cynthia Graubart as she creates tapas and easy-to-prepare appetizers at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Advance registration required. $65 for the community; $50 for MJCCA members. Kuniansky Family Center, MJCCA Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: Sandra Bass at sandra. bass@atlantajcc.org, or 678-812-3798. Continued on page 8

Mithun Daniel, D.O.

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8 | Out WE & About HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US AND SIGN UP FOR OUR UPCOMING PROGRAMS SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACE !

Continued from page 7

LOST CORNER PRESERVE POLLINATION MONTHLY HISTORY LECTURES : Saturday, April 22, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. th

LOST CORNER PRESERVE

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Located at the corner of Brandon Mill Road where Riverside Drive turns in to Dalrymple Road. CELEBRATION

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Learn how7:30-8:30 to bringpm on$5the bees and butterflies suggested donation to FOLCin an educational experience for all OF ages including SECRET HISTORY LOST CORNERspeakers, LECTURE exhib&O PEN HOUSE : its and kids’ activities. Friends of Lost Corner will also have Sunday February 5, March 5 and April 2 plants for 3-5:00 sale. No Suggested donation: $5 per person, pmpets. $5 suggested donation to FOLC $10 per family. Mill Road, Sandy Springs. PreHOW 730 TO GBrandon ROW HERBS INDOORS AND OUT : April 1 SaturdayInfo: 10 am-12:00 pm $10 FOLC donation registration requested. friendsoflostcorner.org. POLLINATION CELEBRATION:

April 22 Saturday 11 am-3:00 pm $10 FOLC donation

HOW TO BUILD A WORM BIN: DRAW CITYSCAPES

LOST CORNER PRESERVE

is located on 24+ acres of beautiful woodlands with nature trails, a Draw cityscapes with Barbara Frieberg, based on the style of artist John Marin, who winding creek, community gardens, was known for his abstract landscapes and use of watercolor. to first 15assortment particihistoric Open buildings, and an of wildlife, trees and native plants. It pants, agesD18+. Free. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. ISCOVER NATURE SATURDAY SERIES: has a rich and unique history dating Info: 770-512-4640. Mar 11 & 18, April 8 & 15 May 6 & 13 back to the settlement of the area in Saturday 10-10:45 am (Ages 4-6) 11-11:45 am (Ages 7-9) the mid-1800’s and the Civil War. $5/class or $25/series of 6 May 22, 20 Saturday am-12:00 pm $10 FOLC donation Saturday, April 1 p.m. to10 2 p.m.

MENTAL HEALTH FAIR BIRDS OF ATLANTA: THE 10 COMMON

Programs are provided by FOLC as an independent contractor and the Sandy Springs Recreation and Parks Department.

Saturday, April 29,25 10Saturday a.m. to 2 10 p.m. March am-12:00 pm $12 LL ABOUTAlliance BLUEBIRDS The NAMIA(National on :Mental Illness) Northside Atlanta Mental Health Fair

April 8 Saturday 10 am-12:00 $12 will feature about 40 exhibitors whopmprovide mental health services. A speaker panel NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP: follows a lunch free registered attendees. Free. Peachtree Presbyterian Church May 6 that’s Saturday 10to am-1:00 pm $25 friendsoflostcorner.org sandyspringsga.gov FellowshipNHall, 3434 Roswell Road ATURE PHOTOGRAPHY WN.E., ALK: Buckhead. Info: naminorthsideatlanta.org. May 6 Saturday 2-4:00 pm $20

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May 13 Saturday 10 am-12:00 pm $12

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Friday, April 28, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 30, noon to 5 p.m.

The 11th annual Spruill Center Pottery & Art Sale, a fundraiser for the Ceramics Department, features ceramics, glass, jewelry and other items created by Spruill Arts students and instructors. Free admission. Spruill Arts Education Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.

PARTIES FOR A CAUSE NIGHT VISIONS

BROOK RUN PLANT SALE

Wednesday, April 19 to Sunday, April 23, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Dunwoody Community Garden & Orchard plant sale features organically grown vegetables as well as colorful annual flowers and perennials priced from $1. Free admission. Find the sale at the greenhouse complex opposite the skate park at Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.

34TH ANNUAL SA MPLE SALE

MAY 5 –7, 2017

Take advantage of discounted pricing on designer brand, high-end indoor and outdoor home furnishings, rugs, lighting & accessories.

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SPRUILL CENTER POTTERY & ART SALE

Friday, May 5: 9 AM – 6 PM Saturday, May 6: 9 AM – 6 PM Sunday, May 7: 10 AM – 2 PM

351 Peachtree Hills Ave, Atlanta Monday – Friday | Open to the Trade & Public More info at adacatlanta.com

Thursday, April 27, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The Center for the Visually Impaired hosts its annual fundraiser “Night Visions” in a circusthemed evening at The Stave at American Spirit Works. Carnival-inspired cuisine, cocktails, silent and live auctions, roving entertainment and carnival games. 199 Armour Drive, Buckhead. Ticket info: cviga.ejoinme.org or 404-602-4279.


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CARS AND ’Q FOR THE CAUSE Saturday, April 29, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Choate Construction Company holds its 8th annual Cars and ’Q for the Cause, featuring 100-plus classic, muscle and exotic cars; barbecue from Jim ‘N Nicks; beer from Lagunitas, The Unknown Brewing Company and Second Self Beer Company; a silent auction; and live music. Benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Advance tickets: $20 for event entry and dinner; $40 for entry, dinner and access to the bar. Tickets rise to $30 and $50 at the door. 8200 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: carsnq.passioncff.org.

MONARCHS & MARGARITAS & MOJITOS

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Saturday, April 29, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Dunwoody Nature Center’s annual gala is an upscale casual party in the meadow featuring live music by singer/songwriter Wesley Cook, catering from Alon’s, and a live auction. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Ticket info: monarchsandmargaritas.org.

VOLUNTEER CAC FOOD ’N FUN CHALLENGE

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The Community Assistance Center’s Food ’n Fun Challenge aims to collect 60,000 pounds of food to help meet families’ increased need during summer months. Enter a team and complete food drives by Friday, April 21. Groups of volunteers are encouraged to schedule “Food Sorting Service Days” at CAC. 1130 Hightower Trail, Sandy Springs. Info: www.ourcac.org/food-n-fun-challenge.

VOLUNTEER FOR A BETTER SANDY SPRINGS DAY Saturday, April 22, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine.

More than 500 community volunteers will partner with more than 20 parks, schools and nonprofit organizations to landscape, plant, paint and do light cleanup of their grounds and facilities in the 15th year of this event. Site info and registration: leadershipsandysprings.org.

BUCKHEAD NORTHSIDE CIVITAN

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The nation’s Civitan community service clubs mark a century of service this year. The Buckhead Northside Civitan has been operating continuously since 1940, conducting numerous civic activities monthly and raising funds for mentally and physically challenged young adults throughout Georgia. The group announces its new lunch meeting location, The Southern Bistro, at Fountain Oaks Shopping Center, 4920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Info: Jim Montgomery at 404-408-5849 or jmontyspartan@gmail.com.

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10 | Dining Out

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Everybody Eats: Bert Weiss

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BY MEGAN VOLPERT Editor’s note: In this new series, Atlanta INtown dining reviewer Megan Volpert discusses food with citizens of Atlanta who are prominent for non-food-related reasons. For this installment, she spoke to Bert Weiss, namesake radio jockey for morning funny business on Q100 FM’s “The Bert Show,” which broadcasts from Sandy Springs. How do you like your eggs cooked? ► Well, I ate egg whites each and every morning for about 10 years until I just found out I have a food sensitivity to ... egg whites! And a sensitivity to yolks as well. So ... none. What are your two favorite things to put in mac and cheese, other than the mac and the cheese? ► Hot dogs. Sausage. Where’s a good place to go for a business lunch? ► Superica. Wine and beer, or the hard stuff, or none at all? ► Vodka! Tito’s specifically. Or tequila, Casa Dragones. A lot of people with stomach sensitivities have to eat the same stuff at the same time every day. Could we set a clock by what you’re eating? ► Oh, yeah. It’s so boring. I have had stomach problems for the better part of 20 years. I had food allergy tests done and I tested allergic or sensitive for 42 different foods. So, I’m learning to eat totally differently now. It’s super boring. I have never enjoyed the theater of eating so the adjustments haven’t been that big a deal.

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You’re a pretty healthy eater, but what is your guilty pleasure snack food? Favorite food for a football tailgate? ► Pizza! My kids kill me. I do so well then they come in the house and it’s always pizza. It’s my food kryptonite. What are your feelings about red velvet cake? ► Meh.

Bert Weiss eating goat cheese.

Q100

Is there any food so disgusting to you that you just won’t eat it? ► Goat cheese is my nemesis food. (See awkward photo.) Who does most of the cooking in your house? Who cooked while you were growing up, and are you teaching your sons to cook? ► Cooking has never been a priority in my life. My mom was an awful cook. My dad was terrible. When I moved out I ate mostly frozen foods. I’ve just signed up with Blue Apron to force me into learning how to follow a recipe. For as healthy as I eat, it’s terrible how I don’t make my kids eat healthier. Is Atlanta’s cuisine scene missing anything you loved to eat in San Diego? ► Well, those little dive Mexican restaurants are great in Atlanta, they just aren’t as abundant as they are back home. Taco Veloz, Cuernavaca and Taquito Express at the BP on Peachtree in Chamblee are my faves. What is the most memorable food-related story you’ve got from your time on The Bert Show? ► We have food challenges every time a famous chef comes in. Everybody works so hard on them. I didn’t come in last place when I simply used the contents inside a ham and cheese Hot Pocket. The Bert Show member that came in last was so hurt that she couldn’t talk about it for years.


APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Dining Out | 11

www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Good news for street foodies Weekly food truck events are back in season, offering entertainment, activities and plenty of reasons to abandon your kitchen for a night. Here’s a sampling of local happenings:

BROOKHAVEN’S FOOD TRUCK ROUNDUP

Wednesdays through the end of October, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Summer break from the end of June through Aug. 15.)

Food trucks are up and running on Wednesdays at Blackburn Park, with live entertainment, activities for children, a beer and wine tent and at least eight food truck dining options. Limited seating is available. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs. Parking is free. The Food Truck Roundup is hosted by the city in conjunction with Fork in the Road, a joint venture between food truck provider Happy Belly and the Atlanta Street Food Coalition. Info: atlantastreetfood.com.

DUNWOODY FOOD TRUCK THURSDAYS

Thursdays from April 27 to Oct. 26, 5 p.m. until dark.

This annual event at Brook Run Park kicks off April 27 with local beer and a performance by Banks & Shane on the lawn beyond the playground at 7 p.m. Food trucks will be back every Thursday evening, and on May 4, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta will sponsor live music, a DJ, and kosher food vendors for the event. Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays is a partnership between the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, Redbird Events and the city of Dunwoody. 4770 N. Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyga. org/Dunwoody-Food-Truck-Thursdays.

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12 | Community

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As the Atlanta Braves play their first regular season games in SunTrust Park, local business owners and homeowners are watching game-day traffic to see how best to respond. Two trial runs offered by pre-season games didn’t provide enough information for them to make the call just yet. The season ticket holder exhibition game and a public college game that tested SunTrust Park and its extensive traffic plan seemed to go well, but it remains to be seen in the home opener game April 14 and in subsequent games what traffic will be like during regular season games that compete with weekday rush hours. Traffic results also were complicated by the I-85 collapse that snarled many of metro Atlanta’s commutes and closed DeKalb County schools. “I believe last Friday [the March 31 game] was an inappropriate day to gauge Braves traffic,” said Reed Haggard, the president of Riverside Homeowners Association, which is in Sandy Springs near the Cobb County border. Haggard said he didn’t trust the March 31 traffic results to be typical because they came during Spring Break and aftershocks to the bridge collapse, including DeKalb schools closing for the day and downtown workers telecommuting. Businesses in the Perimeter Center area are waiting to see what traffic conditions are like during weekday games before committing to a traffic plan or determining if one will be necessary, said Emily Haar, the director of Perimeter Connects, an alternative commuting program of the Perimeter Center Community Improvement Districts. They will have to adjust quickly after their first taste of a home game on a weekday, as the week following the April 14 game will have a game every day Monday through Thursday at 7:35 p.m. One of the Cobb Chamber’s and the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber’s responses to the traffic angst was to launch a website, cobbgameday.com, that hosts information on game days and commuting options. The website also suggests businesses ease traffic congestion by allowing employees to telecommute on game days and work flexible hours. The Atlanta Braves’ traffic plan was put to the first public test on April 8, when two college teams took over SunTrust Park for a game to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which the University of Georgia has now done for 14 years. The UGA baseball team played the University of Missouri in what was the first public game at the Braves’ new field in Cobb County. Traffic didn’t seem to be a problem for most who attended the college game, but

this game was already expected by some city officials to not be an issue. Sandy Springs city officials said at a meeting after the March 31 exhibition game that they expect the UGA game to be “much more low-key” and police will reduce their staffing in the area for it, Bryant Poole, the assistant city manager overseeing traffic and streets, said. For the exhibition game, Sandy Springs Police officers were stationed at key intersections, and signs were posted in the Powers Ferry Landing area on the Cobb County border — about 1.5 miles away from the stadium — to direct drivers off side streets and onto I-285. Sandy Springs’ officials called the exhibition game a problem-free “success.” But they also noted it was a restricted-attendance exhibition game held amid the I-85 collapse disaster that made all traffic go haywire anyway. “There were no issues we were aware of,” Poole said in an informal report to the council after the exhibition game. “We deem it a success.” The Braves staff will continue to learn from these “trial runs,” Beth Marshall, the senior director for public relations said. Everyone involved with the team and operations was surprised by how well traffic went during the exhibition game, she said. The collapse of I-85 likely played a role in lessening traffic, Marshall said, as many people decided to work from home or leave work early. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said he attended the game and the biggest problems he saw were inside the ballpark, with light and concession check-out malfunctions. “It’s a great facility,” he said. Those were the main lessons Braves officials learned from the exhibition game, Marshall said, and it was reported that all issues in the game were fixed, including a rain tarp that blocked view for the first two rows of seats and a malfunction with the video board. Sandy Springs has rolled out a program of traffic-counting at various intersections on game days and non-game days to get hard data on the stadium’s effects. Separating freak effects like the I-85 collapse from stadium impacts is one reason for the data collection. The I-85 situation will continue to be an X-factor long after Opening Day and the stadium’s first rock concert, as construction on the bridge won’t be complete until June 15. Paul said attendance at the exhibition game reached about 21,000 — about half the stadium’s capacity and roughly the attendance expected for a typical ballgame. “I felt very good about what I saw,” the mayor said of traffic, adding it passed the ultimate test: “I didn’t get a single email about it.”


Community | 13

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Two seek Fulton chairman position BY JOHN RUCH

together and do,” he said, citing the collaborative 911 service among Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Johns Creek. The race for Fulton County chair isn’t “I’m not saying I have all the answers right even official yet, but now, and anybody candidates are already who does is probthrowing their hats in ably lying through the ring. their teeth.” Incumbent ChairSterling runs man John Eaves is runthe public relations ning for mayor of Atconsulting firm lanta, and a special SSH, Inc. He also election for the seat is SPECIAL serves as vice chairexpected this fall. man of the Sandy Robb Pitts, left, and Gabriel Sterling Robb Pitts, the Springs Developformer Atlanta City ment Authority and is a board member for Council president and former Fulton the Phoenix Patriot Foundation. commissioner, and Sandy Springs City Sterling has been involved in RepubliCouncilmember Gabriel Sterling have both can politics since the 1980s. In 1994, he ran announced campaigns. the campaign for the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Pitts was not immediately available for Norwood of Augusta, who defeated incumcomment. bent Don Johnson in a massive upset. SterSterling, a Republican political and publing was a member of the committee that lic relations consultant and entrepreneur, helped form the city of Sandy Springs. As cited Sandy Springs’ largely privatized city a political consultant, he worked directly government as a model for the county. on the cityhood movements of Brookhaven “Sandy Springs is run efficiently, proand Johns Creek. viding quality, responsive service, and I The Fulton chairman special election want to see that kind of smart government is yet to be scheduled and is dependent on and competition brought to bear in Fulton Eaves formally resigning, which isn’t reCounty,” Sterling said in a press release. “We quired until this summer. But the special can’t afford to go back to the dysfunction election likely will be Nov. 7, the same day and divisiveness that defined Fulton for as the area’s regular municipal elections. so long. We need fresh ideas like we’ve implemented in Sandy Springs and a steady hand in the chairmanship. I think my record shows that I can help lead this large and diverse county successfully.” Sterling already announced last year that he would not run for City Council reelection. The chairmanship bid means he, at least for now, is giving up on a previously announced run to replace retiring state Rep. Wendell Willard of District 51 in 2018. In an interview last month, Sterling said he likes “the opportunity to be able to affect things quickly and directly” on such issues as transit and homelessness offered by the chairmanship, which is the Fulton Board of Commissioners’ only countywide seat. He also said it’s an “exciting idea” to potentially join a historic GOP majority on the Fulton board and expand “Republican reforms” to improve its government. In his press release announcement, Sterling made similar points and spoke of “rightsizing” county government. “With nearly all of Fulton County incorporated into cities, now is the time to rightsize our Fulton government, reduce spending, cut taxes and focus on the core responsibilities of the county,” said Sterling. “We can enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives, works, prays and plays here.” In an interview, Sterling said that does not mean he has particular county departments in mind for cutting, but rather wants to look at Fulton government with the competitive approach of Sandy Springs. “There are certain things cities can band johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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14 | 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

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Commentary/Hits and misses of 2017’s General Assembly session With the General Assembly’s 2017 session in the books, Reporter Newspapers asked some local state legislators to review hits and misses of new Georgia laws. As one lawmaker put it, it was a year of “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

REP. TOM TAYLOR | HOUSE DISTRICT 79 Much of this session for me involved working on local bills for the three cities that I represent (Dunwoody, Chamblee and Doraville). I carried House bills at the request of the governments of those cities that allow them to raise their hotel/motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent. This additional revenue is required to be used for projects to attract tourist dollars to those cities. Additionally, I carried two bills (HB 449 and HB 595) that the city of Doraville urgently needed in order to move forward on the redevelopment of the former General Motors site. This site is one of the prime areas for economic development not just in Georgia, but in the entire Southeast, and I was glad to be able to move forward with bipartisan support from Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta), who also represents a portion of Doraville. I also carried one of Sen. Fran Millar’s bills in the House. SB 156 limits what county infrastructure sales tax can be used for. The rationale behind this was that DeKalb County was trying to use funds dedicated to transportation infrastructure for other purposes, such as building a new government center. I carried a second Senate bill as a companion to this, SB 143, which incorporated the language that I had in a House bill, keeping the property tax assessment freeze in place. At the request of MARTA management, I carried HB 506, which allows MARTA some flexibility in their contracting of concession services. All in all, a lot of “blocking and tackling,” getting things moved to help our cities and county. The take on the wrap up: The Good: Getting the above mentioned things accomplished to help our local governments. The Bad: Was able to advance my constitutional amendment (HR 58), which would allow cities to form independent school systems, out of committee in the House, but did not have the votes to get it passed. I will be continuing to push this issue. The Ugly: Having a faction of the DeKalb County delegation, led by former CEO and now state Rep. Vernon Jones, effectively block two very good pieces of legislation that would have reinforced ethics and standards in DeKalb County government.

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 Julie Davis, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Janet Tassitano Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Robin Conte, Phil Mosier, Isadora Pennington, Jaclyn Turner, Megan Volpert

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© 2017 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.

REP. SCOTT HOLCOMB | HOUSE DISTRICT 81 To begin, I was pleased that the 2018 budget included money to hire additional scientists and technicians to address the backlog in processing rape kits from older cases. It’s critical that we address the backlog, both in Georgia and nationally, so that rapists (to include serial offenders) can be caught and convicted. This effort was started with Senate Bill 304, which I helped to pass last year. HB 280, the latest version of the “Campus Carry” bill, is on its way to the governor. The bill is unpopular in the district that I represent and I voted against it. One bill that needed to pass but didn’t was HB 159/SB 130, a bipartisan effort to modernize adoption laws. The bill was held up in the Senate over politics and did not pass. Both Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston publicly called for the Senate to pass the bill in the same version that was passed in the House — without controversial amendments that were added in the Senate. I added my voice to this effort, but in the end the Senate failed to act before the session ended. I actively supported two bills that would have continued the process of positive reform for DeKalb County. Unfortunately, neither bill passed. The first bill dealt with changes to the Ethics Board and the second bill dealt with the establishment of a charter review commission. It has been decades since the last review and DeKalb could benefit from this effort.

REP. MEAGAN HANSON | HOUSE DISTRICT 80 It was my honor to serve the people of Georgia House District 80 as your representative in my first legislative session under the Gold Dome. In the legislative process, it is important to have a seat at the table, so I was pleased to be appointed by the Speaker of the House to important committees, including the House Transportation Committee, Judiciary Committee and Special Rules Committee. I was also honored to be appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Overview Committee (MARTOC), where I now serve as chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Safety. One of the complaints I hear most often regarding MARTA is about safety on trains and at the stations. My subcommittee will work with MARTA CEO Keith Parker and the MARTA board to create a user-friendly environment where more people feel safe taking their families to ride MARTA. I ran for this House seat because we needed a representative who could deliver results. This past session, I began to do just that. With a focus on transportation issues, I co-sponsored a House resolution that established the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding because it’s time we look at how to most efficiently and effectively fund a world-class transit system as we continue to recruit major corporations to move to Georgia. Speaking of transit, I was pleased to pass a bill to allow MARTA more flexibility with their concession bidding contracts to help create user-friendly stations where patrons could pick up a coffee and newspaper for their ride. I sponsored a transportation bonding bill that, as sometimes good bills do, got rolled into another transportation bill, and thankfully was passed by both chambers. This bill extends the ability for cities to bond transportation projects once they have been approved by the public by a referendum vote. Once signed into law by the governor, cities will now have the ability to complete their transportation projects quicker. BH


Commentary | 15

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

REP. WENDELL WILLARD HOUSE DISTRICT 51 A slow start marked the first weeks of the 2017 session of the General Assembly. Focus in both the House of Representatives and the Senate was on organizational issues, such as office and committee assignments. As I reflect on the entire session, overall it was a rather uneventful three months. The one constitutional obligation the General Assembly has is passing an annual budget, which we did in record time on the 38th day of the 40-day session. A number of good bills failed to get through this year’s legislative process. There are several possible reasons for this sad state of affairs. Some speculate that various members were focused on looking down the road, making plans to run for higher office. Others credit the failure to this year’s unusual level of rancor between the House and Senate that appeared to negatively impact the collegial cooperation that has resulted in more productive sessions in past years. Much like the common cold, every winter brings with it a gun bill, and 2017 was no exception. This year’s version of the “Campus Carry” bill was basically the 2016 version of the bill, vetoed by the governor, with some minor modifications. Because I believe the bill to have been poorly planned and drafted, I voted against it. The governor has not yet announced, as of this writing, whether he will sign or veto the 2017 version of the bill. On occasion, good bills make it through one chamber only to die in the other. The Adoption Bill is a good example. This bill modernized Georgia’s adoption procedures and streamlined the processes for the adoption of the more than 13,000 children currently in Georgia’s Foster Care program. Unfortunately, the bill fell victim to the rancorous atmosphere painfully evident in the closing days of the session. After working for two years on a complete revamping of the laws governing the Judicial Qualifications Commission, I was pleased to see the bill pass. This commission, commonly known as the JQC, oversees discipline and even removal of judges when necessary. The new bill ensures that the fairness, due process, and transparency that has at times been lacking will now be a hallmark of all activities of the critically important Judicial Qualifications Commission. 2017, a year of some good work and some missed opportunities, is in the rearview mirror. I hope the 2018 session will be more productive with a strong focus on tax reform, public safety, transportation and education.

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REP. BETH BESKIN HOUSE DISTRICT 54 I sponsored two bills this year that passed the General Assembly. The first, the “Business Judgment Rule” bill (HB 192), would restore the legal presumption that corporate and bank officers and directors acted in good faith and within the ordinary care standard in their process of making business decisions. This bill is very important in order to reinstate the deferential standard of review such officers and directors were accorded prior to a recent court decision, FDIC v. Loudermilk, a case that involved directors of Buckhead Community Bank. Also, as a member of the Georgia Child Support Commission, I sponsored this year’s legislation to clarify and modify certain child support provisions. That bill, HB 308, was incorporated into SB 137, which also passed the General Assembly. I think the most important legislation to pass the General Assembly this year is that related to K-12 education. As a member of the House Education Committee, I voted in support of HB 338, which will address underperforming schools. This bill will facilitate the appointment of a chief turnaround officer, as part of the State Board of Education, who will work with underperforming schools to improve student outcomes. We also passed HB 237, allowing the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement to authorize the Public Education Innovation Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, to accept and administer private donations to benefit public schools. Additionally, we passed HB 139 to require the State Department of Education to publish on its website school-specific and per-pupil expenditures, which will increase financial transparency. I supported each of these educational initiatives, which each await consideration by Gov. Deal. BH

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16 | Commentary

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Into the Grand Canyon of the kitchen drawer The other day, in honor of spring, I decided to clean something. Not wanting to overwhelm myself, I resolved to start small and set an attainable goal; after all, I did want to set myself up for success. So I cleaned out a drawer. But it wasn’t an ordinary drawer, it was THE Drawer. You know the one — it’s the black hole of the kitchen, the catch-all place for Things That You’ll Get To Later. It’s The Drawer of Misfit Junk. Cleaning it out is like hiking down the Grand Canyon. You pass layers of time as you go, and you stop along the way to excavate and reminisce when you hit the lower levels. You start at the most negotiable outcroppings — the piles of take-out menus and Band-Aids. You continue, trekking past a new address card for an old friend; a dead bouRobin Conte is a writer tonniere from last year’s senior prom; and a mini-fan that and mother of four hangs around your neck and sprays water, which was purwho lives in Dunwoody. chased for a summer concert at Chastain Park. And then She can be contacted at you reach the birthday card that you bought for your neighrobinjm@earthlink.net. bor and put where you were sure you’d find it, but when her birthday rolled around you couldn’t, and so were finally compelled to run out and get another one (which was not nearly as perfect as this one that you just found). Next, you hit the Layer of Random Photos. You find a picture from a homecoming tailgate, photos that your mother sent you of the Mother’s Day roses you sent her, proofs from your oldest child’s elementary school yearbook shoot, and a few photos of people you are sure you never knew. You stop for rest and nourishment, because you have now arrived at the Mesozoic deposits. After fully rehydrating, you dig in again. You pass an envelope full of school Boxtops for Education that you never turned in; a stack of receipts, neatly paper-clipped together, from Christmas 2005; warranties that have just expired for appliances that have just broken; a tiny box of wax strips for your

Robin’s Nest Robin Conte

daughter’s braces; and a clipon bow tie. You find earbuds in cases, earbuds out of cases, empty cases where earbuds used to be — until you reach, at the bottom of the drawer, the time before earbuds even existed in your house (let’s call it “B.E.”), where there lies a black foam disk that once covered the earpiece to a headset and a half-burnt candle in the shape of a 1. And you are stunned to realize that you have lived here this long and that enough time has passed for children to have become fully grown and for extraordinary and life-changing SPECIAL inventions to have occurred in Robin travels through time in her kitchen drawer. the world since you moved-in. Time has a funny way of warping and folding over onto itself again. I have a rule of thumb regarding time: I estimate how long ago I think something happened, and then I multiply that by three. Because however long ago I think something happened, it actually took place far longer ago than that. But digging through the drawer inverts that rule. Those things you unearthed that are now scattered all over the kitchen counter — they came from last week, last year, last decade. They are from a time that was both yesterday and a lifetime ago. Somehow, it’s all the same. And then you view your little junk drawer as what it really is: a time capsule of your family. So you pause, and then you put it all back again.

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APR. 01 - APR. 14, 2016

Making a Difference | 17

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Buckhead resident named first leader of Andee’s Army BY JACLYN TURNER

ment, and basic home modifications. Cheney most recently served as execAndee’s Army, an organization deutive director of the nsoro Foundation, voted to helping pay medical costs for which supports education and mentorchildren with brain and spinal cord ining for foster children. “Nina did a realjuries, recently hired Buckhead resily great job at nsoro, and we wanted her dent Nina Cheney as the foundation’s to move [Andee’s Army] forward to the first executive director. next level,” Carlos said. “Working full “At this point in our developtime will really allow her to have an opment, we needed somebody full-time portunity to do that, and put her heart to make sure the and soul into it.” money goes to Cheney has an the right placactive philanthropes and programs ic track record with get planned,” said the Atlanta commuJohn Carlos, presinity, holding posident and chief options on the Savanerating officer of nah College of Art Republic National and Design board Distributing Comof visitors and the pany and chairboard of directors man of Andee’s of the contempoArmy. rary arts organizaAndee’s Army tion WonderRoot. began in 2011 after She chaired the a teenager, Andee “Amuseum” fundPoulos, suffered raising event last a severe brain inyear at the Chiljury and received dren’s Museum of treatment at the Atlanta. She serves Shepherd Cenon the museum’s ter in Buckhead. JOHN CARLOS advisory board. A group of family CHAIRMAN OF ANDEE’S ARMY For the past six and friends came years, she has detogether to help voted her energies pool resources, resulting in the formato the Emory Neurology Department’s tion of Andee’s Army. Now recovered Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, from her injuries, Andee will graduate working to raise funds as well as crehigh school this year at Holy Innocents’ ating awareness of the disease through Episcopal School in Sandy Springs. outreach programs. Once Andee’s recovery was underApproximately five weeks into her way, the organization expanded to role, Cheney said she enhelp other children and joys meeting the children young adults in similar and hearing their stories. situations. Her primary goals are to Cheney came to be inspread the word of Anvolved with Andee’s Army dee’s Army and help as after attending its annumany children as possial fundraising event, “An ble. “Everyone’s recovery Evening of Hope,” last time is different, which year. The charity raised is why it is so important $1 million at that event, to have an organization the organization said in a like Andee’s Army that press release. picks up where insurance Patient grant proleaves off,” Cheney said. grams funded through Cheney said brain and Andee’s Army helped spinal cord injuries are more than 150 patient increasing among young families throughout the people and can occur country with expensfrom activities such as es not covered by insurSPECIAL soccer or football. Nina Cheney. ance for critical therapy “The brain is everyat the Shepherd Center thing. It is central to living and Children’s Healtha full life,” Cheney said. care of Atlanta. She hopes to create an educational Eligible expenses for patient considercampaign and partner with schools about ation include therapies, doctor and spebrain and spinal cord function and to concialist visits, home health aids, durable tinue working side by side with CHOA and equipment, assistive technology equipThe Shepherd Center.

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Blue Heron Nature Preserve focuses on connectivity Continued from page 1 hoods.” McCauley took over as executive director at the end of 2016 after a cofounder of the preserve, Nancy Jones, stepped down. He said giving people access to nature preserves like Blue Heron makes them more aware of why nature is worth protecting. “We find that when people have a first-hand experience with nature, they become more committed to finding ways to protect and preserve it,” he said, during a recent visit to the Roswell Road preserve. The first phase of the planned trail expansion, scheduled to start later this year with a planned June 2018 completion, will cost $600,000. It will add three miles of “soft trails,” which can be used by walkers and runners, within the preserve’s grounds. Soft trails are less harmful to the environment than trails with concrete foundations, McCauley said. Many trails in the preserve are incomplete or lack wayfinding signs, McCauley said. The preserve also will make them accessible for people with disabilities where possible, he said. The second phase will be to build trails connecting the preserve to Chastain Park, a $3 million project. No start time has been set, but completion is scheduled for 2021. Once those trails are completed,

people could bike or walk from Buckhead to Blue Heron and from the preserve to Chastain Park. “You could spend your day visiting all these amenities without having to get into your car,” McCauley said. The paths will also connect Sarah Smith Elementary to the preserve, allowing students to use the preserve as an outdoor classroom. A third phase, connecting to PATH400, is still in the early stages, McCauley said, and definite plans have not been laid out. McCauley did acknowledge that some reactions to plans have been negative. “The initial response is resistance,” McCauley said, but he is working with homeowners and apartment complexes in the area that the trails would affect, and said he so far has been able to dissuade their fears. McCauley said their main concerns are about security, safety and proper lighting. These are the same concerns most pathway construction projects, such as PATH400, have to overcome, he said. The apartment complex the trails would affect, Post Chastain, declined to comment. The preserve received a $150,000 grant from Park Pride, a nonprofit organization, to help it build the trails. The preserve will raise most of $3.6 million needed for the first two phases through fundraising and transpor-

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tation sales tax funding. Another recent change at the preserve is the arrival of the Amphibian Foundation. Founded by Mark Mandica, the foundation researches endangered species, such as the nearly extinct flatwoods salamander, and breeds them in captivity. In addition to the frogs and other amphibians, four beavers call the preserve home. Two mated in 2014 and have had two babies since then. The beavers have built a dam in one of the ponds on the property, and McCauley said preserve officials are committed to protecting the animals. “We’re not naive to think that in an urban environment a beaver can be successful on its own because there’s a lot of factors we have caused

that makes it hard for them,” he said. Those factors include runoff rain from parking lots and roads causing large amounts of water to flood into the stream. Beavers are sometimes considered nuisance animals because they destroy trees, McCauley said, but they also create habitats that are rare, especially for urban environments. The beavers’ dam holds water and has made the area suitable for other animals, such as birds, turtles and frogs. The preserve will host several Earth Day events on April 22, including working to restore the preserve, a “critter celebration” hosted by the Amphibian Foundation, live music and a workshop on building a wildlife sanctuary. For more information, see bhnp.org.

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Buckhead adapts to life after I-85 collapse Continued from page 1 alternative route for the next day. Georgia Department of Transportation officials scrambled to put together plans to rebuild the overpass, announcing a few days later that they expect to complete the repairs by June 15. “It is a very aggressive, but attainable date,” Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said at a press conference announcing the schedule. Until then, however, residents in Atlanta and the metro area will have to learn to adapt. Some think this could lead to positive long-term changes for the city. A wider acceptance of MARTA could be one positive change for the city, said Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition and former Atlanta mayor. “If people would try it, they would like it,” Massell said, repeating a mantra he has believed since the 1970s. Emily Haar, the director of Perimeter Connects, an alternative commuting program of the Perimeter Center Community Improvement Districts, lives in Buckhead, about a mile from the highway collapse, and has altered her travel schedule to use MARTA. She said she is glad she chose to live near a station. “Going back to MARTA was like a homecoming, just because it’s so easy to use,” Haar said. During a recent walk home from the Lindbergh Center Station, she said she noticed not one car she walked by arrived before she did. “There was a lot of honking and a lot of opportunities for road rage,” Haar said, adding that her MARTA rides are normally much different from the frustrating experiences drivers seem to be having. “You’re not the enemy of the person next to you. You’re all in this together,” she said. MARTA, which has been experiencing higher ridership since the collapse of I-85, announced 1,200 new parking spaces have been added to deal with parking lots filling up quickly at many stations. Additional

parking has been added to the Chamblee, King Memorial, Brookhaven/Oglethorpe, Kensington and East Point stations. MARTA CEO Keith Parker said after a luncheon April 12 that plans are in the works to borrow overflow parking near North Springs and Sandy Springs stations and will be announced soon. The mass transit service also introduced a website to monitor parking availability in real time. It can be accessed at itsmarta.com/parking. The collapse is also affecting Buckhead businesses, especially along Piedmont Road near where the fire began. The owner of GT Auto Repair, Menge Gizachew, said although the road has reopened after being closed for a few days, business is still much slower than usual. Most of his customers come from near the Hartsfield-Jackson airport, and Gizachew said they are having difficulty getting to him. Since it is an auto repair business, people don’t have the option of walking to the business or using mass transit. The Goodwill Piedmont Road branch had to close temporarily and transfer employees to another facility while Piedmont Road was closed. Business has picked back up since it reopened, a spokesperson said. Massell said he believes the collapse will have a negative effect on Buckhead’s business, a community that does nearly $3 billion a year in sales, but he hopes people will come back to the businesses when the situation has calmed. “This will slow the normal buying habits,” he said. “But we hope it won’t lose commerce, just delay purchases.” The collapse is forcing people to take alternative routes, sometimes through neighborhoods, causing the city to put up signs prohibiting all but local traffic to enter some neighborhoods. The city says it is committed to providing easy access for first responders and to hospitals, and part

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of that includes prohibiting any non-local traffic from entering some local streets, according to a press release. Some Buckhead neighborhoods are also concerned about safety and intense traffic. Some have considered hiring offduty police officers to help control traffic flows, which Nancy Bliwise of Pine Hills brought up at the April 4 NPU-B meeting.

Crews demolish the damaged overpass on April 1.

However, there are no concrete plans to hire the officers. Atlanta Police Capt. Michael Butler addressed these concerns at the NPU-B meeting and said that police are going to be stricter with people speeding through neighborhoods. “You can’t just fly down through because you’re late for work,” he said. Alex McGee, a board member for the Brookwood Hills Neighborhood Association, said he experienced much more traffic than normal on Peachtree Road and around Buckhead, but doesn’t expect a large increase within his neighborhood. Brookwood Hills only connects to Peachtree Road, and McGee said residents

GDOT Commissioner McMurry has said storing materials under overpasses is common nationwide and that this will be “a learning opportunity for the nation.” McMurry has also triggered formal reviews of GDOT policies and practices for storing construction materials, especially for materials stored near bridges and transportation infrastructure. Three people were arrested in connection with the fire. One of them, Basil Eleby, is accused of directly setting the fire that spread to the conduit stored under the bridge and eventually led to its collapse. His attorneys did not respond to questions.

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APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Community | 21

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U.S. Sen. David Perdue speaks at the April 11 luncheon.

EVELYN ANDREWS

Sen. Perdue speaks to business leaders; protesters want town halls BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

While U.S. Sen. David Perdue spoke to local Chambers of Commerce about Congressional issues at a Chamblee hotel on April 11, protesters outside called for him to stage town halls as part of their opposition to President Trump. In his speech to about 260 members of the Brookhaven and DeKalb Chambers, Perdue didn’t mention the protesters. But he did support Trump. Perdue joked that Trump is not “a choirboy and doesn’t claim to be.” But, Perdue said, he believes Trump can provide the push Congress needs to get momentum on important issues. “I believe he’s strong enough to force Congress to break through this nonsense and get something done. We cannot waste this opportunity because of partisan pol-

itics,” Perdue said. About 30 protesters outside the Marriott hotel in the Century Center office park said they wanted Perdue to appear in a public town hall forum, not a ticketed private event. “It doesn’t seem like you should have to be a big contributor or pay $50 to hear what he has planned for Georgia’s future,” protestor Sharmila Nambiar said. Nambiar said she has also tried to meet with the Republican senator in person, but has only been able to get a meeting with his policy director. The protesters, some from a group called Resist Trump Tuesdays Atlanta, are part of a nationwide movement of liberal activists who want Republican members of Congress to hold town halls and address criticisms of Trump. A similar activist group recently protested a private event attended by Georgia’s other U.S. senator, Johnny Isakson, and staged an anti-Trump march in Buckhead. For Perdue’s Century Center appearance, the protesters stayed on Clairmont Road, nearly a half-mile from the hotel, to avoid trespassing at the private office park. They had left before the luncheon ended. Perdue spoke about his role as a senator and several federal political issues.. “I’m charged to represent everybody, so that means [I] have to listen,” he said. On several issues, Perdue emphasized that Republicans and Democrats must work together to achieve progress, especially on healthcare laws. The Republicans’ Obamacare replacement law was stalled in late March after top party officials decided to not call a vote on it, as they feared not enough Republicans would support it. Perdue said he hopes the issue will remain a top priority and be brought up again in the next few weeks, but cautioned Republicans have to be willing to work with Democrats. “I think we’ve already seen Republicans have committed mistakes not asking for help from the other side,” Perdue said. “No supermajority has produced a decent law. Now its time to sober up.” More than 90 Georgia counties are down to a single healthcare provider and those may soon be out of business, Perdue said. Perdue also spoke about his support for strengthening the military and reducing the national debt, as well as his support for Trump. Michelle Eason, a Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce member, said she enjoyed Perdue’s speech and, unlike the protesters, she wasn’t bothered that she had to pay to hear him speak. “I think he spoke a lot of truth. We need to work together to address things,” Eason said, adding “I’m glad that he is in the Senate.”

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APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

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Education | 27

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Elissa Oliver Riverwood International Charter School exciting. I teach ninth to 12th Educator graders, and this year I have around 180 students. This job is not monotonous by any means. We change up the lesson plans, cuisines, food and recipes according to what the students need to learn and what I feel like teaching. The culinary world changes every Elissa Oliver teaches cuday and we need to keep up linary arts at Riverwood Inwith the changes! Every year ternational Charter School. there are different challengShe joined the faculty at Rives and it is my job to overcome SPECIAL erwood in 2013, and also has them in a positive way while Elissa Oliver. taught classes at Viking Cookgetting the material they need ing School. In addition to an undergradto learn across. I believe in real-world situuate degree in recreation and leisure ations, so we cater meals in and outside of services from Middle Tennessee State the school. We do a lot of hands on in the University and a masters in health and lab and then also have classroom time for wellness education from the University discussion. I hold very high standards and of Mississippi, she earned a culinary cerI believe that students gravitate to that. Stutificate from Le Cordon Bleu. dents love structure. Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” articles, Reporter Newspapers showcases the work of some outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend an Exceptional Educator, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net.

Exceptional

Q: What attracted you to teaching at first? A: I love the interaction with my stu-

dents, one on one. I am able to see their accomplishments first-hand. I get to make personal connections and help each student achieve individual goals. The kitchen is my domain and I can show my personality and creativeness through the food. Teaching high school allows me to have family time, which is very important for balance, having nights and weekends off. I love to cook and enjoyed working at Cherokee Country Club and restaurants, but I wanted to teach to inspire others. I was able to come to Riverwood in 2013 and turn the program around and make it a new hands-on experience for the students.

Q: Has the appeal changed? A: Of course, when I started, I thought, “I

am strictly a culinary teacher. I am their ‘chef,’ ” but then I realized it is so much more than that. Not every student I teach wants to be in the culinary job field, but every student has to eat and needs life skills. I am teaching these kids life lessons, professionalism and employability skills. We go over cost control and how to manage household budgets, writing resumes, organization and how to properly interview for a job. The appeal now is to teach them to be successful and get jobs for the future while cooking and learning new things. I get to continue my learning through the teaching experience as no two days are the same.

Q: What keeps you going year after year? A: Chef/culinary teacher in a high school

setting is my dream job! Every day is different, every year with different students is

Q: What do you think makes a great teacher? A: I think a great teacher is prepared, in-

volved, supportive and concerned for the different needs of students. I believe a great teacher is firm, consistent, fair, and

provides opportunities outside the classroom. I keep all my records from a student until they graduate from the school. I want my students to be successful and I walk around the classroom and lab so I am present in all situations. I also want to be a role model for all students and by having the characteristics of a great teacher I can achieve that.

Q: What do you want to see in your students? A: I want my students to be excited, creative, and passionate, not only about culinary arts, but school and their future. I want students to be motivated, involved, become leaders and hard workers. I want my students not to be afraid to ask questions and trust their instincts. I want my students to make great decisions in and out of school. I want my students to excel in communication and professionalism. I want the students in my classes and those who finished the culinary arts pathway to be successful!

Q: How do you engage your students? A: I engage my students because I am

engaged. I am excited each day when I come in to see what today will bring. Will there be something created that we have never seen or tasted before? Will a student try a food they have never had? When I show my enthusiasm, it is contagious. My hands-on approach is also a draw to engage students. A student might

not be good at paper testing but they can be creative in the kitchen and show their personality through their food and projects. I love my job and I tell the students they need to find something they love to do and get paid for it.

Q:

Do you have a project or special program you use year after year?

A:

Each year we try to cater the same events: the Fulton County principals’ luncheon and the Sandy Springs Education Force race and VIP Breakfast. This year, we catered the Fulton County superintendent’s Holiday Luncheon and hope to keep that going. I also am starting this year to give all of my Culinary 2 students the Serv Safe Manager exam so they can walk away with a certificate that will be useful after high school. I use the foundations books from the National Restaurant Association as my teaching tools and students can also get certifications from the NRA if they would like. We also are involved in the Family Career and Community Leaders of America competition. Riverwood Culinary won Silver at the National competition in 2016 in San Diego, California.

Q:

What do you hope your students take away from your class?

A:

I hope my students take away that anything they set their minds to they can achieve.

remarkable

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28 |

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30 | Public Safety

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Residents complain about police ending detailed crime reports BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The regular release of detailed police reports from Zone 2 was discontinued in January, leaving some North Buckhead residents concerned about a lack of information creating safety and image issues. “To some, no news is good news,” said Gordon Certain, president of the North Buckhead Civic Association, which complained about the situation in its recent newsletter. “Others, uncertain about what areas are very safe and what areas aren’t, conclude that all of Buckhead is potentially risky, which is the wrong message.” Crime reports are still released

weekly and can be accessed through a public police database, but are much less detailed than the narrative reports provided by Zone 2 police before January. The reports now only list the location of the crime, type of crime and what time it occurred. In addition to the weekly emails sent to neighborhood groups, the reports provide the basis for the Buckhead Reporter’s crime coverage. Regular publication of the moredetailed reports stopped after Atlanta Police Major Barry Shaw took over as commander of Zone 2, which includes Buckhead. Shaw said earlier this year that he ended the practice of assembling de-

tailed reports because it took too much ports, such as not leaving valuables or officer time and because he thought the guns in cars. shorter report pro“To me, a key vided the informapart of what is tion that residents lost by the loss wanted. He also of narrative resaid he assigned ports is how more officers to victims’ behavstreet patrols in ior factors into response to crime our crime situaconcerns. tion,” he said. When the North If residents Buckhead Civic Aswant more insociation urged formation, Shaw to continue they can subthe reports, he said, mit open re“I cannot justify cords requests, pulling an officer but the NBCA off the street to perdoesn’t want to form this task,” the inundate the organization wrote GORDON CERTAIN police departPRESIDENT OF THE NORTH in its newsletter. ment with reBUCKHEAD CIVIC ASSOCIATION The NBCA adquests or antagdressed in their onize Shaw, they newsletter some wrote in the residents’ concerns about why the newsletter. crime reports were no longer being The NBCA is now relying on resiposted on their website and, as an exdents reporting crime to them so the ample, lamented the lack of detail in organization can distribute it to memthe reports on two assaults in North bers. Buckhead. Certain also lamented the dangers of “Were they domestic violence? Did relying on social media for crime inforthey involve someone walking down mation, which can often be inaccurate the street and being shot by terrorists and over-report crimes, he said. or robbers? We don’t know,” the NBCA “People become fearful of living in wrote in the newsletter. a crime-infested ‘big city’ and want to One of the biggest losses, Certain move to somewhere safer, unaware that said, is that residents can no longer Buckhead is an unusually safe place to learn what not to do from the crime relive, work, and shop,” Certain said.

To me, a key part of what is lost by the loss of narrative reports is how victims’ behavior factors into our crime situation.

Police Blotter / Buckhead Police incidents for Buckhead’s Zone 2 precinct for April 1-7 as reported in the Atlanta Police Department public database. RAPE „„900 block of Canterbury Road, April 5 „„1800 block of Hollywood Road, April 6

AG G R AVAT E D A S S AU LT

„„1800 Piedmont Avenue, April 6

CO M M E R C I A L B U R G L A RY „„2174 Rando Lane, April 4

R O B B E RY „„3500 block of Oak Valley Road, April 3 „„3300 Peachtree Road, April 4 „„2100 block of Defoors Ferry Road,

April 5

„„100 block of Peachtree Valley Road,

LARCENY

April 3

R E S I D E N T I A L B U R G L A RY

„„There were 28 larcenies from vehicles

„„1800 block of Hollywood Road, April 1

reported across Zone 2 and 17 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.

„„3200 block of Northside Parkway,

AU TO T H E F T

April 1 „„3000 block of Maple Drive, April 1

„„There were 4 reported incidents of

auto theft.

„„2200 block of Lenox Road, April 4 BH


| 31

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 â&#x2013; www.ReporterNewspapers.net

D N A S U N JOI E S O P R U P A H T I W Y T PAR

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FoodThatRocks.org Benefiting Sandy Springs based charities:

Must be 21 or older. Food That Rocks is a rain or shine event. BH


32 |

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BH

04-14-17 Buckhead Reporter  
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