04-14-17 Sandy Spring Reporter

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APRIL 14 - 27, 2017 • VOL. 11 — NO. 8


Sandy Springs Reporter



► 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

Picking up at Powers Island


6th District hopefuls square off in debate BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Volunteer Sharon Lemire cleans up a bank of the Chattachoochee River along Powers Island during the “Sweep the Hooch” event April 8. Organized by Chattachoochee Riverkeeper, the cleanup drew hundreds of volunteers to pick up trash on 70 miles of the river, from Gainesville to Newnan. At Powers Ferry, more than 40 volunteers filled several trash bags, though they couldn’t wade into the water as planned due to high bacteria levels.

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As the days tick down to the April 18 special election to fill the open 6th Congressional District seat, each of the 18 candidates in the large field are trying furiously to separate themselves from the pack. The latest public opportunity was at the April 9 candidate forum hosted by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and Dunwoody Crier at Dunwoody High School. Voters are already early voting in the election to fill the seat that had been held by Republican Tom Price, who resigned this year to become U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services. The entire field of candidates attended the forum — 11 Republicans, five Democrats and two Independents — filling the stage in the high school auditorium. But only three questions could be asked during the two-hour forum. That wasn’t enough to help at least two undecided voters. “There are way too many candidates… especially for the short amount of time [of the forum],” said Christopher WhitSee 6TH on page 20

As rents rise, a working-class ‘exodus’ begins BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Ayanna Souffrant moved to Sandy Springs 10 years ago for reasons many people do: to live in a safe community with good jobs and schools. Employed at the Perimeter Mall Chick-fil-A to support her two children, she’s one of the service workers who keep Perimeter Center in business. She’s also one of the many lower-income residents being priced out by skyrocketing rents and a lack of affordable housing programs. “I’m on my way out of Sandy Springs,” See AS on page 19

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BeltLine creator: City could rethink riverfront, I-285 BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

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Ryan Gravel, the urban planning guru who dreamed up the Atlanta BeltLine, says Sandy Springs can ride the “tsunami of change” to success by creatively planning a new vision for assets like the riverfront. And, speaking at the Sandy Springs Conservancy’s annual “Thought Leaders” dinner on the night I-85 burned and collapsed, Gravel also suggested a “rethinking” of I-285’s car-only uses. SPECIAL “Certainly, in Sandy Springs, Ryan Gravel. not changing is not an option,” Gravel told the audience of over 100 community leaders at the invitation-only dinner March 30 at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. He praised the city — which is redoing its zoning and land-use plans — for thinking ahead about handling metro Atlanta’s population boom and leveraging that change to “live the life that we want.” The BeltLine is a 22-mile ring of multiuse trails, parks and transit lines being built around Atlanta, mostly on old railroad beds. Long-range plans have its system connecting to Sandy Springs via MARTA and the PATH400 trail from Buckhead. Hearing from the planner who envisioned that repurposing had an impact on Mayor Rusty Paul, who told the crowd he would be changing one of his favorite sayings, “A community that’s not growing is dying.” “I need to rephrase that — a city not reinventing itself is dying,” the mayor said. Asked where Sandy Springs might do a similar reinvention, Gravel said he was impressed by one natural feature when he recently looked at the city map. “When you see the river in Sandy Springs, it’s remarkable,” he said of the 20-mile section of the Chattahoochee that forms a city boundary. “The asset that you have is ridiculous — in a good way, obviously.” Traffic and transit were also on the agenda. While Gravel showed a slide of Cleveland’s once-notorious river so polluted it caught fire, Atlanta’s I-85 in Buckhead was burning and collapsing on national news. The mayor almost missed the event due to emergency meetings. “Sandy Springs is so lucky, regionally, to have MARTA rail right now,” Gravel said. He wasn’t referring to the specific fire incident, but it underscored his point about the general need for transit expansion and one of the city’s other big assets.


APRIL 30, 2017




Every year, the Conservancy, a parks advocacy nonprofit, brings in a green-space planning expert for the dinner and a private meeting with city officials the following day. Gravel was their most prominent guest so far. A wunderkind who planned the transformative BeltLine as his Georgia Tech thesis, Gravel was recently hired to run a long-range citywide plan for Atlanta, and he’s touring the globe with his popular new book about the BeltLine’s urban planning lessons, “Where We Want to Live.” The Chamblee native is a sought-after speaker whose recent metro appearances include an influential urban-planning tour last year on Buford Highway, where he discussed ways to boost its diverse immigrant community without displacing it. Gravel’s main theme is that infrastructure — like streets or water systems — don’t just do their specific jobs; they also create a certain lifestyle that can be good, bad or both. In his Conservancy speech, Gravel covered other themes from his book: envisioning new uses for old infrastructure; harnessing the energy of changing times to local advantage; and looking at grassroots-based ideas as more important than city-made ones. Several attendees asked Gravel how his unusual, grassroots-driven way of planning could be sparked in Sandy Springs. Melody Harclerode, the Conservancy’s new executive director, asked specifically about the future of the Perimeter highway, which Gravel writes about in his book as both an economic boon and eventually today’s bane of traffic and pollution. “Y’all are so lucky to have Melody here because I’ve never heard that question ... But I love it,” Gravel said. “I love the idea of rethinking 285.” “It’s a public space,” he said, reframing the usual picture of the highway and suggesting that some of its many lanes be used for something other than cars. “Instead of thinking of it as a barrier between ITP and OTP [inside and outside the Perimeter], think of it as a place that people come to somehow.”


APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Community | 3


Two candidates seek Fulton County chair position

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ton board and expand “Republican reforms” to improve its government. In his press release announcement, The race for Fulton County chair Sterling made similar points and spoke isn’t even official yet, but candidates of “rightsizing” county government. are already throwing their hats in the “With nearly all of Fulton County inring. corporated into cities, now is the time Incumbent Chairman John Eaves to rightsize our Fulton government, reis running for mayor of Atlanta, and a duce spending, cut taxes and focus on special election for the seat is expected the core responsibilities of the counthis fall. ty,” said Sterling. “We can enhance the Robb Pitts, the former Atlanta City quality of life for everyone who lives, Council president and former Fulton works, prays and plays here.” commissioner, and Sandy Springs City In an interview, Sterling said that Councilmember Gabriel Sterling have does not mean he has particular counboth announced campaigns. ty departments in mind for cutting, but Pitts was not immediately available rather wants to look at Fulton governfor comment. ment with Sterling, the competia Republican tive approach political and of Sandy public relaSprings. tions consul“There are tant and encertain things trepreneur, cities can cited Sanband togethdy Springs’ er and do,” SPECIAL largely privaRobb Pitts, left, and Gabriel Sterling he said, citing tized city govthe collaboraernment as a model for the county. tive 911 service among Sandy Springs, “Sandy Springs is run efficiently, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Johns providing quality, responsive service, Creek. “I’m not saying I have all the anand I want to see that kind of smart swers right now, and anybody who does government and competition brought is probably lying through their teeth.” to bear in Fulton County,” Sterling said Sterling runs the public relations in a press release. “We can’t afford to go consulting firm SSH, Inc. He also serves back to the dysfunction and divisiveas vice chairman of the Sandy Springs ness that defined Fulton for so long. We Development Authority and is a board need fresh ideas like we’ve implementmember for the Phoenix Patriot Founed in Sandy Springs and a steady hand dation. in the chairmanship. I think my record Sterling has been involved in Reshows that I can help lead this large publican politics since the 1980s. In and diverse county successfully.” 1994, he ran the campaign for the late Sterling already announced last U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood of Augusta, year that he would not run for City who defeated incumbent Don Johnson Council re-election. The chairmanship in a massive upset. Sterling was a membid means he, at least for now, is giving ber of the committee that helped form up on a previously announced run to the city of Sandy Springs. As a politireplace retiring state Rep. Wendell Wilcal consultant, he worked directly on lard of District 51 in 2018. the cityhood movements of BrookhavIn an interview last month, Steren and Johns Creek. ling said he likes “the opportunity to be The Fulton chairman special elecable to affect things quickly and directtion is yet to be scheduled and is dely” on such issues as transit and homependent on Eaves formally resigning, lessness offered by the chairmanship, which isn’t required until this summer. which is the Fulton Board of CommisBut the special election likely will be sioners’ only countywide seat. He also Nov. 7, the same day as the area’s regusaid it’s an “exciting idea” to potentially lar municipal elections. join a historic GOP majority on the Fuljohnruch@reporternewspapers.net

C ORREC TION The article “With new logos, Perimeter cities join the branding boom” in the March 31 Reporter incorrectly identified an image as the city of Sandy Springs’ economic development logo. The image is intended for economic development marketing materials, but is not an official department logo. SS

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Local History►Two Sandy Springs cases that went to U.S. Supreme Court BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

When an old Sandy Springs office tower crashed down during a March 31 demolition, it took a little bit of legal history with it. The 1960s tower at 6075-6077 Roswell Road originally housed a branch bank that played a role in one of two Sandy Springs legal battles to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, both decided in 1975. One case untangled obscure Georgia banking laws. The other was a horrific rape case, the news coverage of which sparked controversy that resulted in a landmark First Amendment decision.

Part of the office tower at 6075-6077 Roswell Road collapses during the March 31 demolition.


THE BANK Now a pile of rubble on the site of a future mixed-use development, the Roswell Road tower was originally anchored by the Citizens & Southern Bank of Sandy Springs, founded in 1959. The C&S operated as a branch of the main downtown Atlanta bank, with a helicopter regularly landing on the roof to pick up cash deposits, according to Heritage Sandy Springs. But branch banks outside the mother bank’s hometown city were illegal under Georgia anti-trust laws at the time. The Sandy Springs location was among several C&S branches created under a legal loophole. When a 1970 law change allowed countywide banking systems, C&S attempted to make those branches official. The feds ended up stepping in, calling that an anti-trust violation, and the bank fought to the Supreme Court. In U.S. v. Citizens & Southern National Bank, the court ruled that C&S’s branches were A-OK, and specifically cited the Sandy Springs branch as immune to legal challenge. After several corporate mergers, the branch survives today as a Bank of America, which left the doomed tower last year for a new building next door.

THE CRIME The death of 17-year-old Sandy Springs high-school student Cynthia Cohn on a summer night in 1971 at first appeared to be a tragic case of alcohol poisoning. Months later, officials revealed that she was the victim of a gang rape and possibly murdered, and charged six local high school students. During coverage of their 1972 trial, a WSB-TV reporter revealed Cohn’s name, against standard journalistic practice of withhold sexual assault victims’ identities, sparking a precedent-setting lawsuit that pitted the right to privacy against freedom of the press. John Nuckolls, the Fulton County prosecutor on the case, said it still haunts him — especially the relatively light sentences he agreed to for the five teens who pleaded guilty to rape or attempted rape. Stephen Land, the attorney who argued for the

Cohn family against WSB’s parent company Cox before the Supreme Court, agreed it was a disturbing crime. “Cindy Cohn,” Nuckolls said with a deep sigh when asked about the crime. “It was just a dreadful case from every aspect … It was a bad, bad case.” “It was a terrible tragedy,” said Land. “It was a bad case all around, one of those cases you just hate.” According to media reports and Nuckolls, Cohn lived on River North Drive and was among the first employees of the International House of Pancakes that still operates on Roswell Road. On Aug. 18, 1971, she drank heavily at a party on Lake Island Drive and was attacked by a group of male high-schoolers, at least three of whom raped her. As she suffocated on her own vomit, some of her attackers drove to her home and left her on the ground outside. “They had rang the doorbell and ran. They didn’t have the courage to take her to the hospital,” Nuckolls said. After a skeptical medical examiner discovered vegetation inside Cohn’s clothing, police and prosecutors began investigating the case as a homicide. The community was stunned when Nuckolls charged the six teens, initially with rape and murder. “Sandy Springs was … just a little idyllic community where there was no crime,” he recalled. “It was front-page headlines.” Nuckolls soon dropped the murder charges and gained guilty pleas for the rape. The longest prison sentence, according to media reports, was seven years with four to be served and the rest on probation; the shortest was two years of probation with no prison time. Nuckolls, who had agreed to five-year sentence recommendations, said he has regretted the relatively short sentences, especially after having a daughter of his own. “It always bothered me in years since,” he said. “I always kicked myself over the leniency that I showed those boys … In today’s society, they would have ended up with a life sentence.” Another regret is how he convinced Cynthia’s father, Martin Cohn, to cooperate with the prosecution. He said the family struggled to accept that such a crime could happen to their daughter and feared her memory would be stained by a trial. Nuckolls assured them that Cynthia’s name would remain unpublished, not only because of journalistic ethics, but because Georgia then had a law criminalizing the publication of the name of a sexual assault victim. But during the trial on April 10, 1972, a clerk gave a WSB reporter, the late Tom Wassell, court documents showing Cynthia Cohn’s name, which he then reported from a broadcast on the courthouse steps. According to some media reports, the family was then subjected to ridicule and insults, and graffiti reading, “Free the Sandy Springs Six.” Nuckolls said that Martin Cohn “felt we led him down the primrose path and cut him off at the knees.” The District Attorney’s office considered prosecuting Wassell under the law, he said, but it became clear that Cohn wanted to sue WSB and Cox instead for invasion of privacy. That’s where Land came in. He said he believes Wassell’s publicizing of Cynthia’s name was “unintentional … I think he was sorry he did it.” But Martin Cohn “went berserk” over it. As a 40-year-old attorney facing a team of high-powered Cox lawyers, Land still liked his odds — at first. “I think a jury would’ve burned up Cox,” he said. But instead, Cox sought to have the suit thrown out on the basis of the First Amendment right to publish anything in a legally obtained public record. Its appeals moved up the ladder quickly, with the Supreme Court accepting the case in 1974. “When I saw that [Supreme Court acceptance], I said, ‘I’m gonna get beat,’” Land recalled. “I didn’t have any illusions about how that case was going to come out. It just reeked [of the] First Amendment.” Indeed, Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn was a landmark ruling in Cox’s favor. Still studied in media law and ethics classes today, its basic message is that publishing factual material from a public record, even if it is considered bad judgment, cannot be made a crime or a civil liability. “That was a hell of a thing … pretty intimidating,” Land said of delivering oral arguments before the Supreme Court. He recalled that Cox’s lead attorney, the late Kirk McAlpin, had similar feelings as they sat in a waiting room together before the arguments. “He said, ‘I don’t mind telling you, I’m scared to death.’” Land, who later became a Sandy Springs city solicitor and now a divorce-mediation specialist, said he’s still not happy with the court’s ruling. “It was a free speech issue, so called,” he said, adding that victim privacy is now left to, “God, I hate to say it, common decency — [the] little bit left.” But it was the privacy lawsuit that, ironically, resulted in Cynthia Cohn’s name being permanently published in a major Supreme Court ruling. “Yep,” said Nuckolls, the former prosecutor. “After I sat there and looked the father in the eye and said, ‘Her name will never get out there.’” SS

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Community | 5


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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6 | Out & About

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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.



Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22.

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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.


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





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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Perimeter North Family Medicine

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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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.

Charles Taylor, M.D.

Shetal Patel, M.D.

Call 770-395-1130 for an appointment 960 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE, Suite 300, Atlanta, Georgia 30342 PNFM.com


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


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7300 Brandon Mill Rd. 30328

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

4 Wednesday January-May

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



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.


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



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

Call 770-730-5600 for more information.

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.



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.


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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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.

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Out & About | 9


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.


How are you going to provide safety and independence for your parents?

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.


Have you noticed in your mom or dad: • Increased Forgetfulness • Messy Home • Poor Hygiene • Falls and Injuries • Changes in Personality • Social Isolation

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Ongoing through Friday, April 21.

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.


Monthly on first and third Tuesdays, 12 p.m.

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.


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


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:


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.


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.”

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Community | 13


On Our Borders News knows few borders. Here are some stories happening in other Reporter Newspapers communities that may be of local interest.

ter Connects, an alternative commuting program of the Perimeter Center Community Improvement Districts, lives in Buckhead, about a mile from the high-


way 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.

In Buckhead, a pedestrian-friendly, artistic renovationof 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 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. 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 Perime-


Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is seeking to have 11.4 acres along the Northeast Expressway annexed into the city of Brookhaven for a proposed 8-story office building as part of a massive expansion of its new 45-acre campus at North Druid Hills Road and I-85. The expansion includes buying out a church. It’s just part of what city officials say is major medical-related redevelopment coming after years of anticipation to the Executive Park area. CHOA filed the annexation request with the city on April 5. It also is asking for a special land-use permit for some of the property in order to build the 8-story, 340,000- square-foot building on land currently zoned only for five stories. CHOA also wants to build a parking deck.


The mayor and City Council awarded $490,000 in Facilities Improvement Partnership Program grants to three nonprofits to improve the city-owned properties

they operate, but some councilmembers raised questions about the funding process. The Dunwoody Preservation Trust was awarded a $240,000 FIPP grant to go toward site lighting, hardscape plans such as sidewalks and completing the garden plans for the Donaldson-Bannister Farm in hopes of being able to open the new city-owned park this year. An additional $60,000 will be used from the Donaldson-Bannister Site Improvement capital fund, which is separate from FIPP money. The Stage Door Players were awarded a $50,000 FIPP grant for interior and exterior improvements at its theater. The mayor and City Council also approved a $200,000 FIPP grant for the Dunwoody Nature Center for the construction of a new North Woods Pavilion in the city-owned Dunwoody Park. Before the vote to approve the funding, Councilmember Lynn Deutsch raised concerns she had with how the process of determining how much money is awarded to which nonprofit. Deutsch said it made sense to her to include how many people actually use a facility as part of the criteria for funding.


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14 | Commentary

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

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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. SS

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Commentary | 15


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. SS

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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 boutonniere from last year’s senior prom; and a mini-fan that Robin Conte is a writer hangs around your neck and sprays water, which was purand mother of four chased for a summer concert at Chastain Park. And then who lives in Dunwoody. you reach the birthday card that you bought for your neighShe can be contacted at bor and put where you were sure you’d find it, but when robinjm@earthlink.net. 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

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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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APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Letter to the Editor CITY NEEDS A BETTER AFFORDABLE HOUSING POLICY Thanks to Mayor Rusty Paul and the City Council for their concern over the issue of affordable and safe housing in Sandy Springs. (“New zoning code tackles affordability,” March 31.) The burst of housing construction in our city is impressive. With all of these new, luxury, live/work/play complexes will come increased economic activity. New shops, restaurants and cultural events will benefit our community. Yet, nearly every single unit being built is unaffordable to the majority of our residents. Even the new homes being built in many older neighborhoods are unaffordable to the majority of people who already reside in those neighborhoods. This is great news for homeowners. The value of our homes climbs with every million-dollar house that replaces an older ranch or split-level. But for economic, traffic and moral considerations, we should have policies like other thriving cities — policies that encourage safe, affordable housing for those who work in retail shops or our restaurants or any job that pays less per year than the median income for Sandy Springs. If we don’t, our streets will be even more clogged as these hard-working people spend more and more time traveling in and out of our city. Currently, the city has no coherent policy and the proposal set forth in the recent study is grossly inadequate. With mayoral and City Council elections to take place later this year, now is the time for the majority of residents to support candidates who will support policies that expand the affordable housing stock.

Commentary | 17


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City spends $12K, charges $500, for affordable police housing BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The city is charging $500 monthly rent for a three-bedroom house on Hammond Drive in its first experiment in providing affordable housing to public safety employees. Preparing the 521 Hammond Drive house for rental to a Sandy Springs Police officer cost the city about $12,000 in its debut role as a landlord, according to leasing and management documents. The officer, who drives a marked patrol car home, has been renting the house since Jan. 8. The house is one of several properties the city recently purchased as placehold-

The house at 521 Hammond Drive shortly after the city bought it in 2016.


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ers for a possible widening of Hammond years from now. Faced with the question of what to do with the properties in the meantime, City Council last year proposed renting some of the houses at affordable rates to police officers or firefighters. The city has a policy of attempting to preserve and create “workforce,” or middle-income, housing as real estate prices skyrocket. Many public safety employees earn middle-income salaries, which are often not enough to buy or rent a place to live in Sandy Springs. Mayor Rusty Paul has said it is “immoral” for public safety workers to be priced out of the community they protect. The council informally agreed that if any Hammond houses it purchases cost less to repair than to demolish, those houses would be rented to public safety officers. Various councilmembers proposed widely varying “affordable” rental rates, from $500 to $1,500 a month. City Manager John McDonough chose $500 as the amount to move forward with. The 521 Hammond house is the only one so far to be deemed worth renovating and renting, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. According to Fulton County property records, the house, built in 1958, has 1,327 square feet of floor space and sits on a half-acre of lawn and trees. The $500 rent, which does not include utilities, is a major bargain. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Sandy Springs area for the week of April 10 was about $1,110 a month, according to the rent-tracking website Adobo.com, and the average three-bedroom rate was about $1,675. When Fulton County and a private developer opened a renovated public housing building for “very” and “extremely” low-income seniors on Allen Road in 2015, its two-bedroom rental rate was capped at $680. At 521 Hammond, the city spent $9,900 on repairs and $1,353 to install a fence. It’s also paying $65 a month to Mega Agent Rental Management Georgia, a Marietta firm, to manage the property and collect the rent. In becoming a landlord, city officials had several concerns about potential liabilities and abuses that have been issues in other cities with similar programs. The lease terms address some, but not all, of those concerns. The lease essentially lasts as long as the police officer works for the city, or until the city wants to do something else with the house. The lease can be ended by the city with 60 days’ notice or automatically ends within 60 days of the police officer leaving city employment. The officer can end the lease with 30 days’ notice. The city can also evict the officer for various “defaults,” which include declaring bankruptcy or being the subject of any criminal charges that aren’t dismissed within a month. The lease also bans pets and subletting.

THE COST OF AFFORDABLE POLICE HOUSING Repairs and utility switch-on fees: $11,415.73 Property management: $565 for repair fund deposit and first month’s fee; $65 a month thereafter Insurance: $383 for one year of coverage, added to city’s existing policy SS

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Community | 19


As rents rise, a working-class ‘exodus’ begins Continued from page 1 Souffrant says. “I’m going back to Rockdale County.” She was speaking at an April 4 meeting where city officials sought lower-income residents’ input on housing accessibility as part of a process for renewing a federal Community Development Block Grant the city receives. Only five residents attended, but all had stories of struggling with rising rents. And, at least for now, city officials had no answers for them. CDBG funds can be used to directly support affordable housing, but the city chooses to spend it solely on building Roswell Road sidewalks. The city is working on a program to establish “workforce,” or middle-income, units in new developments, but it has no such plan for low-income housing. In fact, the city’s main workforce housing strategy involves tearing down apartment complexes like the one where Souffrant lives, and replacing them with more expensive, and largely ownership, housing. The April 4 meeting was held at the Sandy Springs headquarters of the Community Assistance Center, a nonprofit aimed at preventing hunger and homelessness. CAC Executive Director Tamara Carrera said the city needs a program of mixed-income housing or it will face an “exodus” of thousands of lower-income, blue-collar residents. “It should be mixed housing,” Carrera said at the meeting. “And the city can do it.” In a later interview, she said more than 13,000 Sandy Springs residents have incomes below the federal poverty rate, and more who are above that rate are still low-income. “That’s an awful lot of families who would have to move because they have no place to go,” Carrera said. “It’s going to be an exodus.” That exodus is already gearing up, residents said at the meeting. They complained of the lack of affordable options and the county’s 10-year wait list for federal subsidized housing vouchers. All of the residents were long-term residents — seven to 19 years — and most said they are working mothers. One resident said she just got a job in Sandy Springs and likes living near work. But she worries about her apartment complex being redeveloped into something unaffordable. “I don’t want to be pushed out,” she said. Ronnesha Wade, a 10-year resident living at the Ecco Apartments, is a food service worker at Emory who likes living here so her kids have a good school system. She said her one-bedroom unit’s rent has risen from $439 a month to over $800. “I pray to God my income increases,” she said. Souffrant said she’s being forced to move by rent that’s at $924 a month and climbing. She said she’ll look for work in Rockdale County, but meanwhile will SS

make the commute to the Chick-fil-A to hold onto her job. The meeting was led by Michelle Alexander, the city’s community development director, who is hosting various such meetings at nonprofits and apartment complexes. Such input, known as a “Fair Housing Assessment,” is required for CDBG funding, but Alexander pushed the City Council to do a larger process than mandated. As she told the residents, while the meeting was basically about sidewalk money, it was also “an opportunity to have conversations that can be kind of hard” about the city’s affordability challenges and growing diversity. But the most basic input from residents was that they want lower-income-affordable housing, and the most basic answer is that the city has no such program or plan — a tension underlying the process. At the Feb. 21 City Council meeting where Alexander got an informal thumbs-up for the additional CDBG outreach, Mayor Rusty Paul said that citizens frequently ask him about “apartments disappearing … [and] are we trying to push out poor people. And that is not the case.” He said that caring for the “least, lost and left behind” is “part of our moral and ethical code as a community.”

The mayor said he hoped more proactive outreach would assure residents of the city’s good intentions, but he and other officials made no mention of actual new programs. JOHN RUCH Paul has previously Michelle Alexander, the city’s community development director, discusses housing challenges with residents during said the city is essenthe April 4 meeting at the Community Assistance Center. tially powerless to do anything about loware that way because they’re old and some income affordability and that he expects are hazardous and need redevelopment, such residents will inevitably be priced out. Carrera said. The federal government Carrera has a different viewpoint. “It isn’t offering subsidizes for mixed-income is not a hopeless cause,” she said. housing and no one here wants segregatCarrera believes the city could use ined, low-income-only housing, she said. centives or regulations to create housAnd, she added, elected officials have ing with a mix of units affordable to all a voting base that only wants “housing income ranges, and with some handifor people who are easier to live with, capped-accessible units, as it is currentput it that way.” ly planning to do so for middle-income As with many metro Atlanta issues, units. And while the sidewalks built with another problem is the lack of a regional CDBG money are indeed a benefit to local affordable housing strategy, said Carrera. low-income communities, she said, she’d Instead, the city of Atlanta has displaced also like the city to direct some of those residents into the suburbs, which disfunds to “human services” like hers. places them even farther out, and so on. “I think, honestly, the politicians are She said political will must eventualstuck between a rock and a hard place,” ly come from “a moral question — how she said, describing practical and politifar do you push people [out] and for how cal obstacles to low-income affordability. long? … The next city, next city, next city. Most currently affordable apartments When do they stop pushing?”


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Candidates filled the Dunwoody High School stage during the forum on April 9.

6th District hopefuls square off in debate Continued from page 1

fuse to do that,” he said. “I’m still having trouble making a final decision.” taker, 27, who lives in north DeKalb, at The forum was mostly civil despite the edge of the district. the heated attacks taking place in direct Whittaker said he was a “political junkmail campaigns and TV commercials. The ie” who is making an intentional effort to large crowd of about 300 people appeared educate himself about the candidates. friendly and packed with supporters. Ap“With the current political climate, plause broke out many times as people I think this is a really important elecwelcomed answers on immigration, taxes, tion,” he said. “It was a good forum. But infrastructure and climate change. I’m not particularly excited about any Numerous Jon Ossoff signs were postcandidate. … I’m still waiting for the caned outside the high didate for me to really school and many supput my support behind. porters with Ossoff TI’m expecting a little shirts and stickers sat more.” in the crowd as DemoBrad Smith, 60, of crats hope to “flip the Sandy Springs, said that 6th” from a Republican while he leans Demostronghold to a Democrat, he, too, was not cratic seat in Congress. overly impressed with Ossoff’s strong pollany one candidate. ing as he rides a wave of Many of his friends fervor against President have already voted, Trump has garnered DYANA BAGBY Smith said, but he was national media attenBrad Smith, left, and Christopher waiting so he could conWhittaker attended the April 9 tion and helped him fill tinue gathering more in- candidate forum and both say they a war chest with more are still trying to decide who to formation. than $8 million from all vote for in the special election. “Everybody just over the country. He revotes because there is a ceived the loudest applause during the in‘D’ or an ‘R’ behind someone’s name. I retroductions.

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On climate change, several Republicans acknowledged that it is real, despite Trump’s skepticism. The Republican candidates did, however, agree with Trump’s executive order slashing the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and regulations with the intention of putting that authority under control of the states. Amy Kremer, a founder of the Tea Party, said she is a “big gardener” and loves to be outside. But, she added, she is also a believer in the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and said environmental control should be local. “This is not about your garden,” said Richard Keatley, a Democrat from Tucker, to thunderous applause. “I don’t understand how local control works to control climate change.” Keatley and Ossoff noted that climate change is a national issue with data from scientists and the U.S. military and intelligence communities concluding the issue is one of national security. Ossoff said it was necessary the U.S. abide by the Paris Agreement set to begin in 2020. “If we walk away from our commitments, history will condemn us,” he said. Independent Alexander Hernandez drew a loud round of applause when he shared his story of his mother coming to the U.S. illegally in the 1980s before she became a citizen thanks to President Ronald Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. She now owns a beauty shop and “became part of what makes America great,” he said, adding that Reagan’s policy could be a model used today to create a path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants. The other independent, Andre Pollard, floated his idea — to audible laughter in the crowd — of integrating Mexico with the U.S. as a way to deal with immigration problems. Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, said, “I definitely don’t support that.” Handel also said she does not support immigration amnesty. “These individuals have come here and blatantly disregarded our laws,” she said. “I want our borders secure … after that, then we’ll have that conversation.”

6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SPECIAL ELECTION Tuesday, April 18 REPUBLICANS David Abroms, Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan, Keith Grawert, Bob Gray, Karen Handel, Judson Hill, Amy Kremer, Bruce Levell, William Llop, Dan Moody and Kurt Wilson DEMOCRATS Ragin Edwards, Richard Keatley, Jon Ossoff, Rebecca Quigg and Ron Slotin INDEPENDENTS Alexander Hernandez and Andre Pollard For candidate profiles and election updates, see ReporterNewspapers.net

STATE SENATE ELECTION IS APRIL 18, TOO Besides the big Congressional race on April 18, some Sandy Springs citizens also can vote in a special election for state Senate District 32. Eight candidates looking to fill the vacant seat, which was formerly held by Judson Hill, a Marietta Republican who resigned to run for Congress. The district includes parts of eastern and north-central Sandy Springs. THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES INCLUDE: Exton Howard, Christine Triebsch and Bob Wiskind. THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES INCLUDE: Hamilton Matthew Beck, Matt Campbell, Roy Daniels, Kay Kirkpatrick and Gus Makris. For candidate profiles and election updates, see ReporterNewspapers.net.

Bob Gray, a former Johns Creek city councilmember, said he was glad Trump raised the issue of immigration. He said the reason so many people want to move to the U.S. illegally is because of the “welfare benefits that are available.” “We have to turn off the spigot that is attracting illegal immigrants,” he said. Former state Senator Judson Hill, a Republican, also said he does not support amnesty. “I know we are a compassionate nation, but we are also a nation of laws.” People who moved to the U.S. should not get “special treatment,” Hill said. “We need to stand up for Americans and put America first,” he added, saying he wanted to make English the official language of the U.S. government. SS

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Community | 21


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


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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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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


faith ● service ● academics ● athletics ● joy At Holy Spirit Prep, we are committed to making our school a remarkable communion of joy, so that when our students graduate and enter their colleges or universities of choice across the world, they are joyful young men and women poised for a lifetime of happiness.


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After big debut, group ponders ways to fight anti-Semitism BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The Atlanta Initiative Against AntiSemitism, a new grassroots group founded by Dunwoody-area mothers, drew at least 200 attendees to its invitation-only debut meeting March 30 at Temple Emanu-El in Sandy Springs. Major topics included a push to enact a state hate crimes law and concern over a wave of anti-Semitic bullying in North Fulton schools. “Atlanta, you are an amazing example for the rest of the country to follow and I am proud to call you home,” said AIAAS co-founder Danielle Cohen, who broke into tears from the emotion of seeing such a large crowd come to support the group. Ten days after the forum, co-founder Lauren Menis said the group was “organizing the various moving parts of our grassroots effort. We also are working hard to compile and prioritize all of the incredible notes from our forum’s roundtable discussions to determine AIAAS’s best course of action to make the largest impact in the greater Atlanta community.” In just five weeks, the effort went from outraged Davis Academy moms texting each other to the major forum with representatives from about 150 organizations, including Christian and Muslim groups; such corporations as AT&T and Chick-fil-A; local governments; and such law enforcement officials as the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Cohen, and many attendees, also became emotional when she described the reason AIAAS founders were outraged: a wave of anti-Semitic bomb threats, cemetery vandalism and other incidents that caused her young daughter to say “she believed another Holocaust could happen.” The bomb threat campaign was personal, with local targets including Dunwoody’s Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and the Southeast regional office of the Anti-Defamation League, which co-sponsored the AIAAS forum. It also shows how complex battling hate and terrorism can be, with an Israeli man presently charged with making the threats.

Lauren Menis, the Dunwoody homemaker and former journalist who first suggested the effort that became AIAAS, told the crowd that people have asked her whether the bomb-threat arrest undermines or lessens the need for the group. “To this I say a resounding no,” Menis said, noting the many other anti-Semitic incidents around the nation. Dov Wilker, head of the JOHN RUCH An attendee signs a banner for the new Atlanta Atlanta regional office of the Initiative Against Anti-Semitism at its March 30 debut American Jewish Commitmeeting at Temple Emanu-El in Sandy Springs. tee, another AIAAS co-sponsor, said the bomb-threat case “First of all, it’s breathtaking the shows how anti-Semitism can arise anyamount they’ve been able to get done where, “even within the Jewish communiin a short amount of time,” said Dunty.” He cautioned the crowd “not to leap to woody City Councilmember Lynn conclusions about polarizing politics” and Deutsch in an interview before the quoted President Donald Trump’s recent meeting. “I’m a big believer in building denunciation of the anti-Semitic threats relationships, so if something bad hapand hate as words that should be shared. pens, you’re ready to work together.” Asked whether there is an increase in AIAAS members say they want to form anti-Semitism or more sensitivity about more tangible goals, which was one reait, Shelley Rose, senior associate direcson for the invitation-only forum prior tor at the Southeast ADL, said, “Maybe a to future public events. The crowd gave little of both.” One factor she noted was many suggestions: lessons in being better the recent rise of the “alt-right” white role models; similar, localized forums; danationalist movement, which got attenta-gathering on anti-Semitic incidents and tion for supporting Trump’s campaign, hate crimes; a history tour of sites of local only to have him disavow it. anti-Semitic crimes like the 1958 Temple Jared Powers, the CEO of the MJCCA, synagogue bombing and the 1915 lynching said the bomb threats taught him that in of Leo Frank; a parade or march; a festival. such times, the “love and friendship of There was also a request for more clarity others begins to shine through.” about what organization would actually During the threat campaign, he said, conduct any such event. he received dozens of supportive emails One suggestion supported by many and post cards from around the metattendees is for Georgia to enact a hate ro area and the nation. “A local Muslim crimes law. Rose noted that Georgia is one leader called us and offered to have his of only five states to have no form of hate [mosque’s members] guard our gates at crimes law. Among those expressing agreenight,” even though that mosque had rement was Sonja Brown, deputy chief of the ceived its own threats, Powers said. DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. That sort of interfaith relationshipmaking was one goal of the forum and ANTI-SEMITIC SCHOOL BULLYING one feature that impressed many atThe discussion also revealed concern tendees, who sat in groups at round taabout anti-Semitism in local schools. bles and shared ideas that they report“We’ve gotten calls for the past ed back in closing remarks.




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Public Hearings:

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Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

year from a number of Fulton County schools [about] different anti-Semitic incidents,” Rose said in an interview during the meeting. At North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs, a swastika was found on a bathroom wall in November, and in February, some students handed out Valentines with such messages as, “My love for you burns like 6 million Jews,” Rose said. Fulton County Schools spokesperson Susan Hale confirmed both incidents and said the students involved in the Valentines incident were disciplined. Rose said North Springs responded well and brought the ADL in to conduct an educational program. She said the incidents appeared to be the product of ignorant bullying rather than part of an organized hate-group campaign. Among the meeting attendees was a North Springs teacher who suggested the state add an anti-hate lesson plan to the curriculum. Spike Anderson, Temple Emanu-El’s senior rabbi, said in an interview that he has heard of other incidents in “half-adozen different schools in the area” with less impressive response. “Sometimes they’re quite shocking in terms of what kids say to each other,” Anderson said, adding that “kids aren’t saying that in a vacuum. They’re getting it from somewhere.” “Some of them are superb schools — progressive, superb schools,” the rabbi said, adding that when he has asked about the schools’ responses, the answers are often underwhelming or vague. “I haven’t been blown away by the response from any schools.” Anderson said the response that does impress him is from AIAAS. He was one of several leaders of Jewish organizations in attendance who said they have not heard of any other grassroots movement like it. “Sometimes it does take hyper-concerned laypeople to make this stuff happen …This is a rallying point,” Anderson said. “This is trailblazing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others do something similar.” For more information about AIAAS, see StopAntiSemitismATL.org.




City of Sandy Springs


An Ordinance to Amend Article III (Definitions), Article IX, Section 9.1.2 (C-1 Community Business District, Use Regulations), and Article XII-B (Sandy Springs Overlay District), Section 12B.7 (Prohibited Uses) of the Sandy Springs Zoning Ordinance, revising certain provisions relating to definitions and prohibitions of convenience stores.

Public Hearings:

Planning Commission April 20, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor and City Council May 16, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600 SS

APRIL 14 - 27, 2017

Public Safety | 31


Police Blotter / Sandy Springs From Sandy Springs police reports March 25 through 31.

the employee of a store said two people came in and stole a bottle of Moet White Star, priced at $58.99. After he noticed the bottle missing from inventory, the employee checked CAPT. STEVE ROSE, SSPD srose@sandyspringsga.gov the video and saw a male and female, both whom he recognized, take the bottle.

The following information was provided by Capt. Steve Rose.

R O B B E RY 250 Northridge Road—On March 30,

around 8:30 p.m., a restaurant employee was cleaning inside the store when a man walked in from the rear open door. The man pulled a gun and ordered the employee to give him “the bag.” The employee replied that he didn’t have it. Another employee had a key to the safe and retrieved a bank bag with an undisclosed amount of cash. The man took it and fled. One of the employees said he thought the man sounded like one of the regulars at the restaurant.

6300 Powers Ferry Road—On March

25, a grocery store employee said two men stole a handbasket full of groceries. Later the same employee spotted a car containing the same guys. She recognized one by his distinctive mullet haircut. The tag on the car was tracked and the cops went to a Dalrymple Road address and spoke to the suspects, who had an extensive history of shoplifting. No charges were filed at the time, however.

B U R G L A RY 1900 block of Monterrey Parkway—

On March 27, the residents were asleep in the apartment when they heard a noise from the living room, described as “things being moved around.” Upon investigation, they found that someone had just aborted the effort to steal a 60inch TV by pulling it through a 58-inch hole, which resulted in abandoning the attempt. The burglar got $130 from a purse.

Willow Glen—On March 25, the vic-

tim reported that overnight, someone stole her vehicle, an Acura MDX, gray in color. 1155 Mt. Vernon Highway—On March

8100 block of Colquitt Road—On

March 28, a resident said someone entered her apartment and took a bracelet and HP laptop. There were no signs of a forced entry.

28, an employee of a mattress store said she left her iPhone and MacBook on her work desk while she went to the restroom. When she returned, both were gone.

500 block of Northridge Road—On

1155 Mt. Vernon Highway—On March

March 31, a resident said someone entered her apartment and stole a toolbox. She said she was in the process of moving out and the turnkey service was inside.

29, a 45-year old man said he locked his wallet and contents into a gym locker. Later, after returning home, he was notified by email that his credit card balances were low. He found that several of his cards were gone and used at building supply stores. He discovered his lock was damaged. It appeared had

THEFT 6623 Roswell Road—On March 25,

been struck by a heavy-duty object to open it.

several and conceal them in his pants pockets.

4800 block of Roswell Road—On


March 29, a 29-year old woman said someone stole packages from her door. Amazon placed them there just after 3 p.m. I would try and figure out another lo-

cation for delivery — maybe a P.O. Box. 7800 block of Colquitt Road 30350—

On March 31, a 45-year-old woman loaned her car to her boyfriend so that he could go to work. She hasn’t seen him since. 6690 Roswell Road—On March 31, a

71-year-old man said his locker at the gym was entered. A .22-caliber gun and $50 in cash were taken. 7000 Central Parkway—On March 31,

a woman reported her red Honda CRV was stolen from a covered garage area between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

THEFTS FROM VEHICLES Between March 25 and March 30,

there were 14 thefts from vehicles.


Johnson Ferry Road—On March 25, an off-duty officer working at Northside Hospital, arrested a man and accused him of making threats to a medical professional administering treatment to an acquaintance. The man allegedly threatened to kill the person and make his family pay. The suspect was jailed. 5570 Roswell Road—On March 28,

Petition Number:

V17-0025 Russell & Karen Goldman


6850 Heathfield Drive


One (1) Variance from the Zoning Ordinance R-3 (Single Family Dwelling District), 6.4.3. C. Minimum Side Yard. The variance would allow a reduction in the minimum side yard setback from 10 feet to 8 feet.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals May 11, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600


March 25, a 25-year-old man said he received about 40 text messages in Spanish saying that he owed a woman $300, and that if he didn’t pay, the sender(s) would do things similar to the photos that were attached. The photos were of dead bodies, probably taken off the internet, and a photo of the victim, taken from his Facebook profile. He does not know who sent the text messages. Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital reported

that on March 25, a patient who had an IV inserted said he had to leave to close his store for the night. Later, they discovered that he did in fact leave with the IV intact. The hospital wants the IV back. 450 Morgan Falls Road—On March

26, a man reported that he was walking his dog in the athletic complex at Morgan Falls Park just before 9 p.m. The park was empty. He observed an older gray sedan pull up near where his car was parked. A man got out, walked over to the car and looked inside. The man returned to the gray sedan. The witness saw two other men inside the car. A second car, a red two-door, pulled up. The two cars appeared to be leaving the area when the witness heard yelling back and forth between the two cars. The same man got out of the sedan, walked around near the red car, and fired a weapon three or four times at the red car. He re-entered his gray car and both cars fled the area. No later reports were received of persons injured or a red vehicle damaged.

a juvenile was arrested after employees at a discount department store said they watched him open a box READ MORE OF THE POLICE BLOTTER ONLINE AT of Trojan condoms, remove



1000 block of Sandalwood Drive—On




Allison Resnick


471 Johnson Ferry Rd


Variance from Section 103-73(c) of the Zoning Ordinance, to allow a recently constructed second curb cut to remain on a Collector street.

Public Hearings:

Board of Appeals May 11, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.


Sandy Springs City Hall Morgan Falls Office Park 7840 Roswell Road Building 500 Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350 770-730-5600

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