04-27-18 Buckhead

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APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018 • VOL. 12— NO. 9


Buckhead Reporter



► Staying on track with a new regional transit plan PAGE 8 ► After Atlanta cyber attack, other cities prepare defenses PAGE 20


Pine Hills residents fear townhomes would worsen flooding

Fighting cancer 5K style

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Super-dad Will Cromie, and super-daughter Madelyn, 5, cross the 5K finish line during the annual Chastain Chase on April 22. They were among more than 200 participants in the 5K and 1-mile walk, run and “tot trot” at Chastain Park, which raised money for the Cancer Support Community Atlanta.

EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATOR Unscrambling math for diverse learners


OUT & ABOUT Dunwoody Art Festival is back for 8th year Page 18

See PINE on page 14

Nonprofit formed to oversee Bobby Jones clubhouse renovation EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

You knock yourself out for 20 years, staging multiple birthday parties at recurring intervals ... and all they will remember is that Barney didn’t come to their fourth birthday party. See page 6

A proposal to build six townhomes near Peachtree Creek and Buford Highway has drawn concerns from Pine Hills residents, who say it could increase flooding and doesn’t fit the character of the neighborhood. Atlanta City Councilmember Howard Shook said the area needs special protection due to flooding concerns and held up the proposal in the April 25 zoning committee. “It’s an extraordinarily environmentally sensitive piece of property,” Shook said. Some Pine Hills residents have called for the lot to be preserved and sold to the Peachtree Creek Greenway or donated to the neighborhood to be used as greenspace. The owners wrote in the rezoning application that the site plan includes an easement for a 10-foot multiuse path for a potential connection to the Peachtree Creek Greenway, a park envisioned to run along the north fork of the Peachtree Creek and connect Brookhaven to

See ROBIN’S NEST, page 9

A nonprofit has been formed to oversee the proposed Bobby Jones Golf Course clubhouse’s renovation into a recital hall with plans to open by the end of next year if the agreement with the city moves forward. An ordinance that would sublease the historic clubhouse to the newly-formed nonprofit is working its way through Atlanta City Council. The state owns the See NONPROFIT on page 13

2 | Community

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Condo residents surprised new noise ordinance doesn’t help them BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Buckhead condo residents led the charge last year to push for a more enforceable noise ordinance, but they were surprised to learn the ordinance still does not protect condo residents from commercial noise. The ordinance was supposed to make it easier to cite violators, including noisy motorcycle-riders. But it has not increased the amount of citations written, according to the Atlanta Police Department. Only six noise citations were written in the entire city both six months before and six months after the ordinance went into effect. None of those citations were for a person or business in Buckhead, said APD spokesperson Sgt. John Chafee. City Councilmember Howard Shook, who led the noise ordinance change, said he’ll try yet another rewrite to help the condo owners. “I’ve changed this three times. I’ll change it a fourth. I’ll change it a fifth,” Shook said. “Nobody wants to enforce it. They have every weapon they need to shut it down.” Condo residents’ complaints mostly stemmed from a long-standing issue of motorcycle riders apparently violating the ordinance, but also from bars and restaurants creating late-night noise. Even though commercial entities, such

as bars and lanta Omrestaurants, budswoman are allowed to Stephanie make noise in Ramage and their normal Capt. J.D. Patcourse of busiterson of ness, the exAPD. ception to this People is that they are now in cannot disviolation if turb an area an officer that is zoned can hear a EVELYN ANDREWS Atlanta City Council member Howard Shook and city single-faminoise 100 of Atlanta Ombudswoman Stephanie Ramage speak to ly residential. feet away beresidents at an April 17 Buckhead Condo Alliance meeting. If a resident in tween 11 p.m. a single-family zoned area can hear noise and 7 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and between made by commercial entities, the noise ormidnight and 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday. dinance applies. Condo building residents During the day, people are in violafound it unfair they are not protected the tion if an officer can hear noise 300 feet same way. away between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday “That would be the biggest thing that through Thursday and between 7 a.m. needed to change,” one condo resident said. and midnight Friday and Saturday. The Atlanta City Council passed a new But the extra protections for singlenoise ordinance in October 2017 in an effort family residential areas from noise made led by Shook. The main change was that the by commercial entities is the main probnew law removes the requirement that offilem with the ordinance, said the condo cers use noise measuring equipment to cite residents and Ramage at the meeting. a resident. The equipment was often chal“That is the part that makes people’s lenged for not being correctly calibrated or blood boil,” Ramage said. used by a certified officer, said Shook at the Shook said he was not aware single-famApril 17 Buckhead Condo Alliance meeting, ily residences had more protection from held at Peachtree Road United Methodist commercial noise and said he would try to Church, where he was joined by city of Atmodify that part of the ordinance. He would look into adding a provision protecting multifamily residential zoned areas as well. “I do not accept that,” he said. “Bars and nightclubs can’t drive people crazy like that playing noise that is that audible.” “If you choose to buy a standalone home with a yard, the assumption is that this is someone who has a greater expectation of quiet,” Ramage said. One resident said condo owners also have an expectation of quiet. “That seems crazy to me,” the res-

ident said. “We are right on top of Roswell Road. Those are million-dollar condos. They’re more expensive than a lot of single family homes.” The commercial entities are excluded from the noise ordinance because they have a right to make noise in their normal course of business, Ramage said. “The city can get itself in trouble, and we have historically, when we try to protect one set of citizens at the expense of another set of citizens that [are] trying to exercise their constitutional rights,” Ramage said. A resident at the meeting pushed back, saying that bars making noise that can be heard outside of the building is not acceptable. “I’m all about commerce, but keep it inside your doors,” the resident said. Residents reported that bars on Roswell Road installing “outdoor mega speakers” and having bands play outside is the main issue. Ramage said the only recourse is to find out if the bar or restaurant has made unpermitted modifications, such as by building a deck and installing speakers. They also need a permit for outdoor noise, Ramage said. The rewrite of the noise ordinance, which Shook said is the “bane of [his] existence,” was spurred in part by residents complaining of motorcycle noise from riders gathering at a restaurant. APD was never able to come measure the noise with decibel readers before the riders left, but the new ordinance has not quelled the noise, residents said. Patterson encouraged the Buckhead Condo Alliance to make a list of the most troublesome areas and establishments so that officers can focus on those. Despite Buckhead’s ongoing problems with noise, other parts of the city are much worse, Patterson said. “Believe it or not, this occurs in other parts of the city at an infinitely worse rate,” Patterson said.

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APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018

Community | 3



A plan is in the works to replace the Powers Ferry Road bridge over Nancy Creek alongside Chastain Park. Work is slated to begin in September, with plans and detour information set to be presented at a May 15 public meeting. The city and District 8 Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit will host a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chastain Horse Park, 4371 Powers Ferry Road. The bridge crosses over the creek on the western border of Chastain Park. It was built in 1948 and needs replacing, said Jim Elgar, Matzigkeit’s policy advisor. The project timeline, including when the bridge will be removed and replaced, and the detours for vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be presented at the meeting, Elgar said. “This is a big project with lots of moving parts,” Matzigkeit said. The road is scheduled to be closed from September to April 2019. Crews will begin relocating utilities soon. About 6,000 cars use the road per day, Elgar said.

Buckhead MARTA Stations will be given, complete with information on how to access PATH400 and use the Relay Bike Share stations. Walking events will be start outside of the “Buckhead wall” on Lenox Road near the Piedmont Road intersection on Fridays. For more information, visit livablebuckhead.org.


The Blue Heron Nature Preserve celebrated the “Blueway Trail” project, which is already underway, in a ceremonial groundbreaking during its Earth Day event on April 21. Construction on the internal trails began in February and is expected to be completed this year. The trails are the first phase of a two-part plan to provide more connectivity to the preserve. The second phase would build trails that would connect the park to PATH400 and Chastain Park. Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell joined leaders from parks organizations and the preserve to celebrate the project. “Believe me, we appreciate so much operations like this,” Massell said of the


Several community and parks organizations leaders joined Blue Heron Nature Preserve for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the “Blueway Trail.” From left to right: Connie Dewberry, a board member at Blue Heron Nature Preserve; Andrea Greco, a project manager at Pond and Company; Kevin McCauley, the executive director at Blue Heron Nature Preserve; Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition; Aaron Steele from Tailored Trails; Michael Halicki, the executive director of Park Pride; Bob Threlkeld; and Clara Kwon from the city’s office of park design.

preserve. “Thank you for what you are doing.” Kevin McCauley, the executive director of the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, which is located at 4055 Roswell Road, said the organization has raised $250,000 of the $750,000 needed to complete the internal trail network.

Michael Halicki, the executive director of Park Pride, which has provided a $150,000 grant to Blue Heron for the trail network, said the organization is excited to be part of the effort. “This place is really an oasis in Buckhead. It’s really an extraordinary thing,” Halicki said.


Livable Buckhead will host walking tours highlighting transit next month as a part of a walking competition. This monthlong competition challenges people to take as many steps as they can during the month of May, and gives extra credit for commuting on foot or for attending a “BuckheadWALKS!” event. “We want people to discover just how walkable Buckhead is by getting out on two feet and giving it a try,” said Executive Director Denise Starling in a press release. The organization will host the walking events every Tuesday and Friday in May. On Tuesdays, tours of the Lenox or


CORRECTION The article titled “Buckhead legislators applaud transit expansion, tax relief approvals” that appeared in the April 13 issue incorrectly stated the amount of the current exemption and effect SB 485 would have on Atlanta Public Schools. The correct current exemption is $30,000 and it is estimated to cost APS up to $25 million per year. BH


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4 | Education

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Cross Keys High to move to former Briarcliff High site BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The new Cross Keys High School is slated to be built at the former Briarcliff High, despite objections from the three board members closest to the area who said traffic will make access a challenge. The district appraised and considered purchasing several apartment complexes and houses for the new school site. The school board voted April 16 to build the new Cross Keys High at the former Briarcliff High site, located at 2415 North Druid Hills Road in DeKalb County. The site is about two miles south of the current Cross Keys High, which is located at 1626 North Druid Hills Road and is set to become a middle school. Several Buford Highway apartment complexes and the single-family houses along Brookhaven’s Bramblewood Drive were among the sites considered by the DeKalb County School District for the new Cross Keys High School, according to an appraisal document obtained through an open records request. The district said buying a new property would have been too expensive and would displace hundreds of students from their homes. The vote was 4-3. Board members Marshall Orson, Stan Jester and James McMahan, who represent the area, voted no.

“Thousands live on the north and west side of I-85. We’d be pushing them through what has historically been ranked one of the 10 worst transportation corridors in metro Atlanta,” Orson said. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said he was disappointed that the school will now be outside of the community it serves. “All indications were that [the new school] would be along Buford Highway and then all of a sudden it wasn’t,” Ernst said. The city has had a good relationship with the school system, but the school board “pulled the rug out” from under the city, Ernst said. The Brookhaven City Council urged the school district in an April 24 resolution to build the school in the city. “The city of Brookhaven has made improving the life of Buford Highway residents a top priority,” the resolution said. “The mayor and city council believe there are strategies and tools to collaborate with the [Board of Education] to construct a new Brookhaven High School along the Buford Highway corridor.” Rebekah Morris, a former Cross Keys High teacher who founded the Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, an organization seeking to empower apartment residents living along the corridor, supported the decision to move to Briarcliff. In a recent blog, Morris wrote, “It can-

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A site plans shows a possible configuration of the former Briarcliff High site.

not be a best practice to tear down student homes in order to build schools.” The apartment complexes appraised by the district were Esquire, Brookstone Crossing, Regency Woods, Epic Gardens, Northeast Plaza Apartments and Terraces at Brookhaven. The former Briarcliff High site, which would be sold by the district if it had decided to buy a different property, was appraised at $21 million. The Adams Stadium and parking are not included in that appraisal. Purchasing a new site would have been more expensive, costing $19 million to $38 million more than using the Briarcliff site, according to the DeKalb Schools document. Purchase costs for the candidate sites ranged from $36 million to $53.5 million. The school district has allocated nearly $85 million in ESPLOST funding for the new 2,500-seat school. It is needed to alleviate overcrowding at the current Cross Keys High. The sites were grouped into several different plans that included combinations of apartment complexes and the 32 single-family residences on Bramblewood Drive, a street that is adjacent to the current Cross Keys school and intersects with Buford Highway. Variations of the “Marquis Crossing” plan included different combinations of Brookstone Crossing, Esquire, Regency Woods and the Bramblewood Drive houses. The Marquis Crossing name is an apparent reference to a former name of Brookstone Crossing. The plan that grouped Esquire, Brookstone Crossing and Regency Woods apartments, which included about 400 units and would have displaced 523 students, was appraised for $45 million, including relocation costs. The two plans that included Bramblewood Drive properties would have displaced 265 or 400 students. They were appraised for $45 or $53.5 million, including relocation costs. The Bramblewood houses are already proposed for a townhome redevelopment and considered by the city of Brookhaven for a new police headquarters.

All three “Marquis Crossing” plans noted that, due to an unwilling seller, the district could have needed to take the property by eminent domain. Another plan, called “Epic Gardens,” included Epic Gardens, Northeast Plaza Apartments and Terraces at Brookhaven, which includes 456 units and would have displaced 391 students. The properties were appraised at $50 million. A variation of the plan that excluded Epic Gardens would have included 321 units and displaced 344 students. That plan was appraised at $36 million. Orson, who represents Cross Keys High, said he is concerned the school district is only thinking of the budget and not what would be best for the students that attend the school. The location is too far for many students and is outside of Cross Keys’ current attendance zone, Orson said. The community has concerns that there were not enough opportunities for public input, and those concerns are valid, Orson said in an interview. The decision can still change, Orson said. The board could vote again to instead purchase a new property if that is what the community says that it wants, he said. The school is in area with a historically high Hispanic and immigrant population, which often has more difficulties with transportation, sometimes due to not having the legal status necessary to acquire a driver’s license, he said at the meeting. The board members expressed concern about the increased traffic that upcoming developments, including the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospital at the I-85 and North Druid Hills Road interchange, could bring. In addition to the traffic and access issues, Orson said he is concerned that the school district would be again underserving a historically underserved community. “We know that we’ve had a historic inequity in this community,” Orson said. “I’m concerned that as we work to address some of that inequity, that we’re not going to do a job that is complete and fair.” – Dyana Bagby contributed

Education | 5

APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

North Springs Charter High School recommendations come in over budget BY EVELYN ANDREWS

port, and Klein said, in an interview, they wish the district would have been more transparent throughout the process. She would like for the community and teachers at the school to also be able to see the report. “For them to be the final judge and jury on it makes no sense. If we could see, at least we would be able to put our comments in,” she said. Although CFANNS will push for improvements it feels are vital, getting a completely new school is still the main goal, said Sandy Springs City Council member Jody Reichel, who is also a member of CFANNS, in an interview. “Any investment that isn’t a new school is a deal breaker,” Reichel said. The district has said that an expansion and renovation is what was approved by voters in the E-SPLOST referendum and that is what the district is legally bound to do. CFANNS argues that not building a new school is a waste of taxpayer money because all the improvements cannot be made with the current budget, leading to building a new school or making more renovations in the near future. “We’re not asking them to build a Taj Mahal,” Klein said. “We have been a team player. We’re not asking for anything glorious.”



The entrance of North Springs Charter High School, located at 7447 Roswell Road.

After they got past the initial confusion, Klein said CFANNS supported the engagement process and thought it was useful. “Once we understood the process, we were all on board,” Klein said. CFANNS now doesn’t understand why the district would not keep all the consultants’ recommendations that they determined are needed through the engagement process, Klein said. CFANNS has also not seen the re-












meetings and interviews with students and school faculty. The engagement process got off to a rocky start due to miscommunication about what the first meeting would discuss. Residents attending the meeting believed the meeting would discuss the possibility of building a new school, but instead it was meant to be a “visioning” meeting about what type of school the community wants to have.


After recommendations for North Springs Charter High School renovations came in millions over budget, the district said it will cut them back to reduce costs. The announcement prompted advocates to ask why the district is not heeding all the consultants’ recommendations. Consultants with architecture firm CDH Partners recommended in a draft report that North Springs High receive $32 million in renovations, exceeding the district’s budget of $19 million, according to a statement made by Superintendent Jeff Rose at the April 12 school board meeting, as seen in a video of the meeting. The district will make changes to reduce the cost, Rose said at the meeting. “This design is a work in progress. As always, to be fiscally responsible to all taxpayers in Fulton County, we are exploring ways to manage costs through additional design solutions. Once the concepts are final, and cost estimates are complete, our staff will be able to evaluate options and present a recommendation to the Board of Education in June,” Rose said in a later statement. The district’s Capital Plan 2022, funded by the E-SPLOST, includes a major renovation and addition at North Springs. The project addresses deficiencies at the school in areas like fine arts, labs, performing arts, music, physical education and parking, according to the statement. The draft report was not presented at the meeting and has not been released. An open records request for the document was estimated to take two weeks to fulfill. The original plan was to present preliminary designs in June, but at the request of the school board, the architects accelerated their work and completed a draft report and initial concept in April, according to a press release about the draft report. Betty Klein, a member of Citizens for a New North Springs, said in a public statement at the meeting that she doesn’t understand why the district wouldn’t try to use all the recommendations, according to the video. CFANNS has been advocating for a new school because they don’t believe renovations will solve all of the schools’ problems. “I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to hear that statement from you,” Klein said. “Why would you reduce what they tell you we need?” Julia Abes, the co-president of Spartan Nation, the school’s PTO, said she is disappointed the recommendations will be cut back. “Nineteen million dollars barely cuts the surface of what needs to be done,” Abes said. Julia Bernath, the school board member for the area, directed questions to the board president and press office. The community engagement process for the school improvements was completed in March after months of public

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6 | Education

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Liz Walsh The Howard School



Liz Walsh is a creative teacher of math at The Howard School, which serves children with language-based learning differences and disabilities. “Liz’s approach to teaching math concepts is amazing, compassionate and instills in our students an interest in numbers. She’s a real treasure,” said Nancy Davis, the school’s director of advancement. Liz Walsh has been a teacher at The Howard School for 19 years, and an educator for over 25, formerly serving in the Peace Corps stationed in Tunisia. The school is located in Atlanta’s Blandtown neighborhood, but over half of its students come from Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven.

erything I teach. They push me to understand even the simplest mathematics in new ways as I consider what manipulatives might represent a concept, what images might best recall it, and what words most clearly describe it. I am enriched by the collaborative, team-based approach to teaching students with learning differences. I work with speech-language pathologists, literacy specialists and psychologists, as well as gifted teachers, and I benefit constantly from their expertise as we share observations and discuss priorities.


cause we had relatively intact language, memory, and attentional systems. What we didn’t understand, we memorized; we followed steps in order and plugged numbers into formulas. For students with learning disabilities, that might not be an option. As I teach math, I try to ensure the math is meaningful, the language is clear, and that students have tools for retrieving what they know.

What drew you to teach at a school geared toward children with languagebased learning differences and disabilities?

A: I have the privilege of working in a

school where I never stop learning. I work with bright students who face challenges in language processing, memory, or executive functioning and they require me to be thoughtful about ev-

Q: How does that change your approach to how you teach math?

A: Many of us got by in math classes be-

Students who have difficulty sequencing the steps of a procedure must develop internal “self-talk” that they use to guide themselves through complex problems. I help students create consistent scripts they can use to remind themselves of how to start and what to do next.


What keeps you going year after


A: What other field is brand new ev-

ery day? Every child, every brain is different. I teach elementary mathematics, and each student I encounter pushes me to recognize that even a simple a problem like “12-4” demands a cascade of cognitive responses. For most of us, this processing happens automatically. For students with learning differences and disabilities, one or more of these understandings requires targeted instruction. Ascertaining the right approach for each child is both challenging and — when you find it — incredibly rewarding. Sharing that “ah-ha!” moment with a student brings me great joy.

Liz Walsh, a math teacher at The Howard School.



What do you hope students learn from you?

A: I want my young, neuro-diverse math-

ematicians to know that being “good” at math is not the same as being “fast” at math. I want them to learn that the correct answer, while important, is rarely the most interesting part of a math problem. More generally, I want all my students to know that their own thinking is interesting, and that there is great satisfaction to be found in learning about how others think as well. I hope I can help students develop awareness of the ways they learn best and skills to create environments — including, when appropriate, enlisting the support of friends or adults — in which they are most successful.


Do you have any special programs you use?


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At The Howard School, we draw from many sources as we attempt to support diverse learners. Research in effective interventions for students with learning differences in mathematics lags far behind that for reading interventions, and we are constantly looking for better ways to reach students.

Q: What is your favorite memory at The Howard School?


Every day there are new favorite memories. Today’s came after a 9-year-old struggled through a two-step word problem, and finally, looking at his paper covered with erased numbers and sketches, smiled and said, “I am so good at math.”

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Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” articles, Reporter Newspapers showcases the work of some of the outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend a teacher or administrator to be the subject of an Exceptional Educator article, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net.

Education | 7

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Hundreds of DeKalb County school bus drivers staged a three-day sick-out that began April 19 in an effort to get raises and better benefits. The district is working to make an agreement with the drivers. The district was able to pull together enough bus drivers from other systems to fill some of the absences from bus drivers calling in sick, but students still experienced delays getting to and from school, the district said. Seven bus drivers were fired for encouraging the protest, the district said in a release. “We have been clear from the beginning. We will keep an open dialogue with employees provided they work collaboratively and keep our children safe by reporting to work. Unfortunately, some employees chose another route, and that carries serious consequences,” said Superintendent R. Stephen Green. Sheila Bennett, one of the bus drivers leading the effort, said at the March 16 school board meeting, which is archived in video online, that the drivers deserve better raises and to be included in school district appreciation events that celebrate teachers and other staff. “Why is it that drivers are eligible for food stamps when we carry the most precious cargo of all?” Bennett said at the meeting. Green said that the district is working with the drivers to make an agreement, including by bringing in experts to review the drivers’ retirement plan. He also proposed bringing back awards for “bus driver of the year” and perfect attendance, he said. He said the drivers’ pay is comparable or better than most other neighborhood school districts, except for Cobb County. “The numbers don’t lie. The retirement plan may be another scenario, however,” he said.


The Galloway School, Atlanta Girls’ School, The Westminster Schools and North Atlanta High School were among the schools that participated in the latest walkout to call for gun control measures. The National School Walkout was held at schools across the country at 10 a.m. on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School. It is the latest in a series of protests held in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people, including a nationwide school walkout and march. Several local schools participated in the previous walkout, which were student-led. About 200 Westminster students participated in the walkout, said Justin Abraham, a spokesperson for the West Paces Ferry private school. A 17-minute moment of silence was held, followed by four student speakers, Abraham said. About 300 students at North Atlanta High participated, said Seth Coleman, an Atlanta Public Schools spokesperson. The students held a 30-minute protest on the football field, Coleman said.


Two Riverwood International Charter School students were charged with simple battery after a fight on March 7. Two students attacked one victim in an unauthorized area during lunch, said Principal Charles Gardner in a letter to parents. Steps have been taken to ensure students can no longer access that area, Gardner said.

announced April 19. The church’s volunteer service arm, the Red Dot ministry, chose Lake Forest as their focus school for tutoring in reading and math, teacher assistance, event volunteering and mentoring. The Red Dot initiative aims to link the congregants to communities across metro Atlanta. Volunteers are matched with a teacher and class for the entire school year. “We have a great partnership with Lake Forest and our goal for our PPC Red Dots is to support the school — staff, students and community. Our Room Friend program does more than just your typical room parent duties; we build relationships with the students and teachers.” said Raechel Moorhead, an elder at the church, in the release.


North Springs Charter High School students won a prom safety campaign competition sponsored by Fulton County. The competition was open to all senior classes in Atlanta and Fulton County schools. For the school’s winning campaign encouraging students to not drive impaired or while texting, it was presented with a $1,500 check on April 20 from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the American Auto Club, a press release said. The competition was sponsored by the Fulton County Youth Commission. In addition to the check, “The Voice” actor and singer Nick Hagelin performed at the school’s SPECIAL prom, which was held April 20. One of North Springs Charter “It’s exciting to have won and we thank the FulHigh School’s prom safety posters. ton County Youth Commission and all the sponsors involved,” said Principal Scott Hanson in the release.

LOCAL STUDENTS HONORED IN CONGRESSIONAL ART COMPETITION Several local students’ art was celebrated by U.S. Rep. Karen Handel’s (R-Ga.) office in the Congressional Art Competition. Each spring, high school students from around the country are asked to submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol, according to a press release. Logan Maiolo, a senior at St. Pius X Catholic High School, a school outside Brookhaven, won third place. Shannon Kang and Sophia De Lurgio, also of St. Pius, won an honorable mention, as well as Albert Zhang, a senior at The West“Rags” by Logan Maiolo minster Schools, the release said. The art was judged by Steve Penley, a local artist. The winners were recognized at an April 20 ceremony, the release said. First, second, and third place winners are awarded scholarships of $12,000, $7,500 and $3,500, respectively, according to the release.

LAKE FOREST ELEMENTARY PARTNERS WITH BUCKHEAD CHURCH Lake Forest Elementary School in Sandy Springs has partnered with Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Buckhead for tutoring and mentoring programs, the school district

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

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Commentary / Staying on track with a new regional transit plan Historically, the Atlanta area has played one indisputable role in the Southeast U.S. region: Because of its location, it has always been the regional transportation crossroads. Atlanta started as an 1840s rail hub and for the next 150 years, it was the regional leader in transportation innovation. In the 1920s, its airport emerged and it eventually grew into the world’s busiest. In the 1940s, it started planning an urban interstate well before President Dwight Eisenhower, after seeing the role Germany’s Autobahn played in moving its World War II troops from point to point, launched the national interstate highway system. In the 1950s and ’60s, leaders here started planning the region’s first heavy rail transit system. Atlanta’s success vis-à-vis neighbors like Birmingham, Charlotte, Nashville and others came because it capitalized on its ability to connect people, places and goods. Then, in the 1990s, we quit. We quit planning, building and innovating in surface transportation. So, for almost 30 years, the metro area continued its burgeoning population growth, but never built the infrastructure needed to support it. Until the pain of congestion got so intense, the Georgia Legislature, whether controlled by either party, was unwilling to approve the financial resources this area needed. Now, the pain has reached intolerability. So, the General Assembly has stepped up. First, it gave us House Bill 170, which generated more than $1 billion in new state transportation road funding and allowed local governments to seek voter support for resources to fix bottlenecks and other challenges at the neighborhood level. Rapid transit has been hampered by the management and reputational deficiencies of MARTA; political leaders and voters had no faith it could management what it had, much less a larger system. That problem was largely solved by the previous MARTA general manager, Keith Parker. New General Manager Jeff Parker pledges to continue the path set by his predecessor. Secondly, MARTA’s rail network was designed when people lived in the suburbs and worked downtown. Now, people live many places and are more likely to commute to the suburbs than the urban core. The system simply cannot move people efficiently to where they need to go.

This year, the Legislature gave us House Bill 930, which marks a path forward toward a true regional 13-county transit system. Under these state guidelines, the Fulton Commission and the county’s mayors have worked for three years to address the backlog of transportation needs. Together, we placed a 0.75 cent sales tax to fund community-level road improvements before voters, who approved it. Through HB 930, we’re now working on the transit piece of the transportation puzzle. We have agreement that north Fulton will extend MARTA’s current rapid rail beyond the North Springs terminus with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to offer highspeed transit using the managed Ga. 400 lanes planned by GDOT. At some point, voters will be asked for a fifth of a penny for the $300 million capital costs of building transit stations up

ing the flexibility to incorporate, over time, evolving transportation innovations such as autonomous vehicles, which make possible synchronized vehicular movement; ridesharing; smart Rusty Paul roads; satellite is the mayor traffic control of Sandy Springs. systems; maglev propulsion; and whatever other technologies emerge. Timing, however, is crucial. We must put transit in the existing Ga. 400/I-285 corridors and use the managed lanes GDOT is planning because we have no

An illustration from a 2017 presentation about the Fulton County Transit Master Plan, a partial blueprint for the type of regional transit recently authorized by the General Assembly.

Ga. 400. MARTA will pay for the operational and maintenance costs out of current revenues. Meanwhile, planners will answer questions such as how this North Fulton plan fits within the larger 13-county network. Where will the BRT stations go? What about — a crucial question for Sandy Springs — east-west connectivity between Gwinnett/Doraville and Cobb, important sources of traffic here? Fortunately, the 30-year drought in surface transportation planning and discussion has ended. We can’t recapture lost time. However, we can move now with the needed infrastructure, while retain-

other acceptable locations. GDOT is designing those projects right now, planning to place them under construction in the next five years; to integrate transit into those plans, we need fast decisions, or we may lose the opportunity — possibly forever. This process is on a fast track, but not so fast that we won’t take the time necessary to make wise decisions about the best, most cost-efficient process for moving a growing metro population more effectively. The future success of our region and our community depends on getting this process done and done right.

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APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018

Commentary | 9


On Mother’s Day, remembering what your kids will forget Robin’s Nest

To all you mothers of youngsters out there — you they will quash me with what I forgot. brave women in the trenches — a word from a veteran: I will remember singing them a lullaby every Robin Conte is a writer night; I will have forgotten that it was “Tears of You won’t remember a darn thing. You might recall a few snippets from your child- and mother of four who a Clown.” rearing years, but what you remember and what your lives in Dunwoody. She And thus evolves in our house a distinct, “What I can be contacted at remember/What I forgot” pattern. children remember will be entirely different. Because memory is a fickle thing … so fickle, in fact, that Barba- robinjm@earthlink.net. What I remember: We played inside games. ra Streisand sang a song essentially glorifying its fickWhat I forgot: Our favorite one was “Name that leness way back in the ’70s. A tattered old cat had a Smell.” long run on Broadway singing about it, too. What I remember: I always fed them healthy Alas, the curious tenet of memory is that you food. will remember a thing one way, and others will reWhat I forgot: Except when I wanted a few member it another. This paradigm applies most aptminutes to myself — that’s when I’d hand them a ly to child-rearing. carton of ice cream and a spoon. Years from now you will be scrolling through phoWhat I remember: I watched my language. tos, quietly reminiscing with yourself and rememberWhat I forgot: They caught me using an expletive ing what a great mom you were, pausing every now while driving them to preschool, and I told them that and then to form a congratulatory grin at how wonderI only cuss when I’m turning left. fully attentive, creative and energetic your younger self What I remember: We played “Hide and Seek.” was, that she was constantly doling out pearls of wisWhat I forgot: My regular hiding place was under a dom whilst kissing boo-boos and whipping up healthy dinners. blanket on the couch. When it was my turn to “seek,” I stayed there Your kids, however, will remember you at your worst. Like a … and took a very, very long time to find them. nosey hiker peering under wayside rocks to discover the nesting What I remember: Spending quality time with each of my maggots there, your kids will pry beneath the glossy memories children. and reveal the unflattering bits nestled beneath. What I forgot: It was typically in the waiting room of the ER. For instance, you knock yourself out for 20 years, staging mulThe moral here is that you can’t win. You will flip through tiple birthday parties at recurring intervals, careful to evenly bal- the photo albums, happily recalling your fall family outing to ance the themes and expenses among your offspring and to choose the pumpkin patch when your little darlings were all dressed parties which are relevant to the interests of each child and yet up in gingham and overalls and played gleefully amongst pertinent to the time of year and the social milieu of the day, and chrysanthemums and orange gourds, and they will remember all they will remember is that Barney didn’t come to their fourth that you didn’t let them have a funnel cake. birthday party. You, naturally, will have forgotten that. Cheer up, moms, and happy Mother’s Day. You’re doing a great Lately, when my kids catch me reveling in what I remember, job … no matter how your kids will remember it.

Check out Robin’s debut book, ‘The Best of the Nest’ Robin Conte’s “Robin’s Nest” column is one of the best features in the Reporter, readers often tell us. Now we’re pleased to offer you the best of the best — a book gathering Robin’s selected columns. “The Best of the Nest” offers 49 of Robin’s witty essays on suburban family life, organized by seasons. They include some of the pieces that won Robin the first-place Lifestyle/Features Column award in the 2017 Georgia Press Association contest. Robin, a Dunwoody resident, is a mother of four children who may or may not be aware of how frequently their adventures show up in her columns. If you’re looking for a great Mother’s Day gift, or just a good bedside or beach book with a warm and humorous take on family life, this is the collection for you. To order the book and to follow updates on Robin’s bookrelated appearances, see her website at bestofthenest.net – John Ruch, Managing Editor

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Letter to the Editor


These are desperate times for Americans, who are overwhelmingly miserable. Meanwhile, the happiest people in the world are found, according to worldwide polling, in Scandinavia. It is time for Americans to confront the fact that America is a profoundly savage place compared to the much more humane Scandinavia. Compared to America, Scandinavia is an absolute paradise with free, universal health care, paid family leave, free education and five weeks vacation. It is time for a second American Revolution. The grim reality is that the top 10 percent of Americans own 90 percent of America’s wealth. That is an absolute scandal. In America, so few own so much and so many Americans have very little. That is why Americans are miserable. One of the most obscene things about America is this repulsive deference that many Americans show the rich. The rich have turned America into an oligarchy of, by and for the rich. It is time for Americans to rise up and overthrow the tyranny of the rich. Wouldn’t it be great to see Donald Trump and his family forced to apply for food stamps? The money seized from the evil rich should be used to provide universal health care coverage for all Americans. Paid family leave should, also, be covered with the proceeds from the takings of the 1-percenters. Depending on how much money is raised from the takings, free, higher education for all should be offered. As a result of the first American Revolution, America achieved political democracy. The goal of the second American Revolution should be to achieve economic democracy. America can no longer continue to be such an unequal society. Actually, America is growing more unequal by the day with growing economic inequality. Remember, the Bible condemns the rich. The Bible says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Throughout the Bible, the rich are condemned. Yet many Americans seem to worship the rich and show shameful deference to the rich in the expectation that they may become rich themselves. The reality is that very few Americans will become rich. There is very little economic mobility in America, certainly less than in Europe. Thus, the goal of the second American Revolution should be to bring about a much more equal society for the vast majority of Americans and ensure that America no longer caters to the few. The only way to end the misery of Americans, in contrast to the happiness of the Scandinavians, is to make America more like Scandinavia. It is especially the duty of America’s college students to overthrow the tyranny of the 1-percenters and bring about economic democracy. College students should organize, hold rallies and demonstrate. College students are the vanguard of American society. As such, they should be in the lead in addressing the widespread misery that is rampant in America. Redistributing the ill-gotten gains from the 1 percent and making America more economically equal is the moral issue of our time. The American people are miserable in today’s inequality. It is time to make the American people happy by restructuring the America financial structure. No longer should so few own so much while the vast majority live in misery. The 1 percent pose the greatest threat to America. Their vicious tyranny must be ended. It is time to end the misery of the American people. Rise up, America! Keith Watkins Brookhaven


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APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018

Community | 11



to key May 22 primary races For full answers from the candidates, see ReporterNewspapers.net.



Incumbent Fulton County Commission Chair Robb Pitts is being challenged in the May 22 primary by fellow Democrat Keisha Waites. Pitts defeated Waites last year in a special election for the office. The winner faces no challenger on the November ballot. Waites did not respond to questions.

In state Senate District 6, Republicans Leah Aldridge and John Gordon are vying for the right to challenge Democratic incumbent Jen Jordan in the fall. Another Republican, Jamie Parrish, filed to run but said he is out of the race. Gordon did not respond to questions.



RobbPitts.com Occupation: RLP Corporation, Financial Representative and international business consultant Previous experience holding elected offices: Member of the Atlanta City Council, Post 1 AtLarge (1977-1996); President, Atlanta City Council (1997-2001); Member of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, District 2 At-Large (2003-2014); Chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners (December 2017 – Present)

LeahforGeorgia.com Occupation: I am the owner of Atlanta Breastfeeding Consultants, LLC, a clinic serving new mothers and babies. I am also a corporate attorney formerly with the firm of Morris, Manning and Martin, LLP. Previous experience holding elected offices: None Other community service experience: I have served as a Board Member of the non-profit Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, Inc. for over a decade including serving as its Board President from 2014-2016. I have served as a La Leche League Leader for more than 10 years, and I am a sustaining member of the Junior League of Atlanta. I have been a speaker at various professional conferences including at Emory University’s School of Medicine in 2016. I have received numerous national and state community service awards, including from the United States Lactation Consultants Association and the Junior League of Atlanta, Inc.

Both you and the other candidate were in a runoff race for this office less than five months ago. What is something you have accomplished that should convince voters to keep you in the office? I have tackled several priorities — transportation improvements, criminal justice reform, a new animal shelter, funding for seniors and youth, and property tax reform. I have also established task forces on homestead exemptions, the hospitality industry and sex trafficking.

Why should voters choose you for this position?

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? One of the biggest issues facing Fulton County is fixing the broken property tax appraisal system. Since being elected as chair, the county has allocated $3.4 million in the budget to hire more appraisers, provide better training, improve technology and enhance our communication strategy to keep our residents informed. Each property that received a 50 percent increase will be reviewed.

What should Fulton County do next on mass transit policy now that the General Assembly has passed legislation authorizing a new regional system?

Because experience matters. I am a small business woman (I run a small healthcare business in Fulton County), and I am a corporate attorney who has closed multimillion-dollar public company deals. I am a consensus builder, a principled conservative, and I know when government gets out of the way, families and businesses thrive. I have the endorsement of many of my future Senate colleagues and can hit the ground running come January 2019 to lead for this district on the issues we most care about — lowering taxes, neighborhood safety, education, traffic and lowering healthcare costs.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?

HB 930 creates the ATL Authority, which is the entity that coordinates and plans the disbursement of federal and state funding for transit within 13 counties. Fulton County should continue to work with the 15 cities in Fulton County to ensure that they have a full understanding of the ATL’s regional governance structure, its regional transit plan, and its powers so that they can keep their residents educated.

The overreach of government is my biggest concern. As senator, my first priority is tax relief — property taxes and state income taxes. Surprise property tax bills hurt our families and put seniors at risk. To keep Georgia competitive and money in our checkbooks, I will work to lower the state income tax. We must not wait on Washington, but implement state-based solutions to our rising healthcare costs and loss of access to the doctors and hospitals of our choice. I pledge to partner with law enforcement to keep our neighborhoods safe from the growing crime epidemic.

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VOTERS GUIDE HOUSE DISTRICT 52 In House District 52, incumbent Deborah Silcox is being challenged in the May 22 primary by fellow Republican Gavi Shapiro. The winner will face Democrat Shea Roberts in the fall.

GAVI SHAPIRO GaviShapiro.com Occupation: IT entrepreneur, Expediation Technologies

Why should voters choose you for this position? I believe that the highest priority of a representative should be honestly to represent the fiscal and political interests of their constituents, while maintaining transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, our current representative has succumbed to the pressure to prioritize special interests over the well-being of Georgians. In fact, she has consistently voted to increase the per capita sales tax burden while offering tax breaks to yacht owners, among other favored groups. I pledge only to vote in favor of conservative and fiscally responsible legislation that represents the interests of my district.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? For years now, Georgians have been petitioning for school choice. A well-designed school choice bill will allow families more resources to educate their children effectively. This will improve the prospects of children from lower-income families who are not thriving in their local public schools. It will also promote efficiency, since many public schools (especially those whose students cannot afford private education) do not provide sufficient individualized attention and even misuse much of their allocated funding. I will cosponsor a school choice bill because the people want it and because it will help our kids.

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HOUSE DISTRICT 54 In House District 54, three Democrats — Dan Berschinski, Betsy Holland and Robert Gibeling — seek to challenge Republican incumbent Beth Beskin in the fall. Gibeling did not respond to questions.

DAN BERSCHINSKI DanforGeorgia.com Occupation: Founder and operator of Two-Six Industries, a supplier to The Home Depot and a federal contractor. Previous experience holding elected offices: None Other community service experience: After graduating from West Point in 2007 I served as an Army infantry officer until I was wounded in Afghanistan in 2009. From 2012 to 2018 I served on the board of the Amputee Coalition, America’s largest amputee-focused nonprofit.

Why should voters choose you for this position? I’m a proud graduate of West Point and Stanford business school. I’m a wounded veteran that became the Army’s first patient with my injury to walk on a daily basis. I am a small business owner, a husband and a native Georgian. You should vote for me because I think we can rise above party labels and work towards common goals — good schools, safe neighborhoods, a strong economy.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? Education. Buckhead parents pay outrageous amounts for child care. We don’t support families sending kids to college as we used to. We can tackle both by rethinking and reinvesting in HOPE. Safety. APD has stopped policing shoplifting. It ignores numerous car break-ins. We pay high taxes but don’t get basic services back. The state delegation should demand better. Property taxes. The cap that was passed is incomplete. Buckhead homeowners will continue paying the lion’s share of Atlanta’s budget. I would push for taxes that ease pressure on our district while making sure that our school system is not harmed.

BETSY HOLLAND DEBORAH SILCOX SilcoxforGeorgia.com Occupation: Attorney, employed by the State of Georgia as State Representative for House District 52

Why should voters choose you for this position? I have a proven track record now in the General Assembly and work at this position full time. I helped to cut personal income taxes, moderate the growth of Fulton County property taxes, and voted to fully fund QBE for our public schools for the first time since 2002. With the help of the Sandy Springs City Council, I passed a bill to give local officials control of the use of fireworks through our noise ordinance, successfully passed the sex trafficking bill for the Attorney General Chris Carr, and also passed a bill to improve prenatal and maternal health.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? I believe the biggest issue facing our area is transportation. I helped to pass the transit bill in the General Assembly to create a single “ATL” system of transit for the 13 metro counties. I am hopeful that the voter referendum mandated by this legislation will pass in all the counties this November, so the General Assembly can continue to pursue more options for citizens to ride but not drive. I also fought and drafted some of the language for the distracted driving bill that, if signed by the governor, will save approximately 300 lives a year on Georgia roads.

BetsyforGeorgia.com Occupation: Director, Culture & Engagement for Turner Previous experience holding elected offices: None Other community service experience: I served on the boards of Atlanta Community ToolBank, ToolBank USA, Communities in Schools and Fugees Family, a nonprofit serving child survivors of war. For three years, I sat on the Board of Governors for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and chaired the Creative Economy Committee. I currently serve on the ChooseATL committee with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Why should voters choose you for this position? I bring years of business and community experience to the role of representing House District 54. More importantly, I am a collaborative leader who has spent my career bringing people of diverse backgrounds and positions together to develop solutions to problems facing our company and our community. My familiarity with policy, my experiences of living in the district and my commitment to a forward-thinking legislative agenda contribute to my ability to shape the Georgia of the future. The district needs someone committed to economic development and quality of life for all Georgians.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it? My district needs modern infrastructure improvements as well as innovative transit solutions. It’s not enough to widen roads; Georgia must invest in light rail, in bike lanes, in work-live-play communities and in progressive work policies that take commuters off the roads at peak times. The General Assembly approved a significant expansion of transit during the last session; the work that lies ahead is investing those funds in effective, innovative and inclusive solutions. BH

APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018

Community | 13


Nonprofit formed to oversee Bobby Jones clubhouse renovation

A site plan for the main floor of the clubhouse shows the renovation plan to turn the space into a recital hall.

Continued from page 1 clubhouse, located at 384 Woodward Way in Atlanta Memorial Park, and leases it to the city. A group proposed last year to renovate the now-vacant clubhouse into a recital hall for use by music groups and private lessons. That group is now an official nonprofit with the name Haynes Manor Recital Hall Foundation of Atlanta. But that won’t be the name of the clubhouse, said Alex Simmons, a resident leading the effort. The name of the foundation comes from the nearby Haynes Manor neighborhood, which was developed by Eugene Haynes, Simmons said. The foundation hopes to give naming rights to a contributor, which is allowed in the lease agreement, Simmons said. There has been some interest by a few people, but nothing definite, yet, he said.


The lease would last until Oct. 31, 2037 at a cost of $10 per year, according to the ordinance. The nonprofit is working with contractors to get more detailed plans and cost estimates for the renovation, Simmons said. After the projected costs are finalized, which is expected to be done by October, the foundation will begin the process to seek donations, he said. The renovation would begin in November and be completed by the end of 2019. “If the stars align, the hope is that we would have performances and be using the space by September 2019,” Simmons said. The renovation plan has not changed since originally presented to the public in October 2017, he said. The renovations would include knocking out walls on the main level of the clubhouse to build a stage and ex-

pand seating. A patio and bar would also ensure the building had a tenant and crebe built behind the seating area. On the ate a new recital hall in Atlanta, which he lower level, several rooms would be built believes is needed. Several music compato host private lessons and public meetnies have expressed interest in the using ings. A rehearsal studio and lobby would the space, but the names cannot be realso be created on the lower level. leased yet because they aren’t formally The proposed terms would also allow committed to using it, he said. the nonprofit to sell liquor and charge for “We’ve certainly been talking to a lot parking during events at the clubhouse. of companies,” he said. The lease would also require the nonprofThe foundation is in the process of it to make “reasonable” efforts to reduce finding an executive director, which will noise heard outside of the clubhouse. not be Simmons, although he will still be The lease would also require the noninvolved, he said. profit to send half the proceeds from Catherine Spillman, the executive dievents to the city and put the other half rector of the Atlanta Memorial Park Conback into the facility. However, Simmons servancy, which has been helping with doesn’t expect the foundation to make the clubhouse plans, said it will continmuch money from the events other than ue to be involved through helping create to keep the operation funded. a green space near the clubhouse. Underlying the plan is a concern that “We’re just excited that this idea has the historic clubhouse could be demolblossomed into what I think is going to ished as it loses its current golf uses. The be an amazing amenity,” Spillman said. formerly city-owned golf course was “I look forward to seeing the renovation transferred to the state in a 2016 land swap of the building and bringing it back to its and is undergoing its own renovation. A former glory.” new clubhouse is being built as part of the renovation, so the state had no use for the existing clubhouse, and it is now leased to the city for 30 years. The golf operator moved out of the clubhouse in early November, so it is now vacant. That led some to fear that the clubhouse would be demolished. Simmons saw EVELYN ANDREWS The historic Bobby Jones clubhouse at 384 Woodward Way. an opportunity to


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Pine Hills residents fear townhomes would worsen flooding Continued from page 1 Chamblee and Doraville as well as to Buckhead’s PATH 400 and eventually to the Atlanta BeltLine. Construction on the first mile of the path, within Brookhaven, is expected to start this year. “In all honesty, the property deserves to be rezoned,” Cheryl Faerber said. The 1.6-acre property is located at 2621 Shady Valley Drive near Buford Highway. The developers are requesting the property be rezoned from single-family residential to multifamily to build the townhomes. There is a large townhome development across the street from the proposed development site, but most of the Pine Hills neighborhood, which is partly in the city of Brookhaven, is single-family houses. A liquor store and storage building are also nearby. Nelson Faerber, the developer, said the proposed townhome development would provide a “nice transition” between the commercial and single-family uses. “We believe we actually would improve and be consistent with the character of the neighborhood,” said Nelson Faerber at the April 12 Atlanta zoning review board meeting. The property is currently undeveloped with many overgrown trees, which would have to be removed for the development. Shook said that it would be a “substantial loss” of trees. Melanie Bass Pollard, a resident on the Brookhaven side of the neighborhood, said, “These are the last remaining trees to the entrance to our neighborhood that provide riparian buffers, light, noise and air pollution protection and stormwater mitigation.” The site is near the southern entrance to the neighborhood, and the residents say the development would change the entire area.

“The proposal, as currently drawn, dramatically increases the risk of flooding in the area and stands to dramatically alter the gateway to Pine Hills,” Pollard said. City planning staff and the developer, which is Chattahoochee Home Company, say in the application that the proposal fits the character of the neighborhood. The developer did not respond to an interview request. “Given that the lot is at the corner of a local street emptying into a major artery, Buford Highway, the townhomes will allow for the continuing growth along the Buford Highway and Cheshire Bridge corridors,” the Department of City Planning wrote in its recommendation that the city boards approve the proposal. The six townhomes would each have three bedrooms. They are estimated to sell in the range of $500,000 to $800,000 each, according to the application documents. Shook said he would ask for the case to be deferred at the Atlanta City Council zoning committee April 25 so the proposal could continue to be tweaked. Both the applicant and the neighborhood say they are open to compromise, he said. “We are a single-family neighborhood. But we’ve supported development all along Lenox Road. We like the mix,” said Nancy Bliwise, the chair of NPU-B and a Pine Hills resident, at the April 12 zoning review board meeting. Atlanta’s NPU-B voted to recommend the city deny the application due to the concerns about flooding and changing the character of the neighborhood, said Bliwise, who is also a member of the neighborhood association. “Pine Hills Neighborhood Association has worked for many, many years on the development of that corridor. We don’t oppose development, but want to preserve the character coming into our neighborhood


The proposed townhome development would be at 2621 Shady Valley Drive near Buford Highway. The site is shown in red.

welcoming into Shady Valley Drive,” Bliwise said. The developers are asking for a 20-foot setback, which the neighborhood association opposes because other developments on Shady Valley Drive within the city of Atlanta have a 40-foot setback, said Jerry Cooper, chair of the PHNA zoning committee. Residents are concerned the proposal would worsen flooding in the neighborhood by creating more impervious surface, removing trees and being close to the creek. The developers are asking to encroach on the Peachtree Creek stream buffer. The neighborhood already experiences frequent flooding that is sometimes several inches, residents said. “Pine Hills has a major flooding problem,” Shook said. The city is preparing to conduct a study of the flooding to find the problems and recommend fixes, Shook said. Arthur Freeman, a Brookhaven resi-

dent, said he believes there are enough regulatory bodies to control and protect the creek, and is not concerned flooding will increase. He supports the development, he said at the meeting. The site is currently undeveloped and attracts homeless encampments and littering, Nelson Faerber said. Pollard is concerned the flooding will soon be worse as the large, nearby Isakson Living and Ashton Woods developments are built. The two developments have been noted for their clear-cutting of the land and Ashton Woods’ easement into the city-owned Peachtree Hills Park for a private drainpipe. “This case, like the Peachtree Hills case, is important as it continues to set precedents throughout the metro area that it is ‘OK’ for developers to build out areas that are not feasible for sustainability,” Pollard said.

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Community | 15


Allowing ‘tiny houses’ among proposed Atlanta zoning changes BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

A proposal to allow “tiny houses” in all residential lots in the city was among several zoning changes proposed at an April 11 meeting. The proposal would be an expansion of last year’s change that allowed tiny houses on R-5 lots, which are zoned for duplexes. The proposed change is part of phase two of “quick fixes” the city wants to make to the zoning ordinance. Phase one zoning changes, which included new bicycle and sidewalk requirements, were presented last year and are being considered by the Atlanta City Council. The changes are easy fixes the city can make to improve the ordinance while it waits for a full rewrite that will come in three to five years, consultants said. The units, which would be less than 750 square feet, can provide extra income for a homeowner, new housing options and more affordable rents than large apartment buildings, the consultants leading the meeting said. “Tiny houses are a national conversation that is really happening all over the country,” said Aaron Fortner, a consultant at Canvas Planning, a firm working with the city on the changes. The change would allow much more of Buckhead to build an accessory dwelling unit on their property. The previous ordinance only allowed them in R-5 zoning districts, which are more prevalent in other areas of the city like Grant Park and Old Fourth Ward, although they are in some neighborhoods in Buckhead, including Pine Hills and Peachtree Park. “This will be a great help in promoting diversity on many levels,” said one of about 50 residents who attended the meeting at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Another applauded the idea for being a way to add additional housing while maintaining the character of the neighborhood. However, some residents expressed some concern that the change could increase the amount of Airbnb and other short-term rentals. “Can you make sure accessory structures do not become “secret” commercial units, where owners rent them out surreptitiously?” one resident said. Fortner said that is unlikely. “Guest houses,” which are similar to the accessory dwelling units, are already permitted. The only difference is they can’t have a kitchen, so if people want to rent small houses on their property, they already can use guest houses, he said. Airbnb rentals and other rentals like it are already prohibited in city code, but they are still prevalent in some neighborhoods. The city wants to find a better way to enforce the laws against them, Fortner said. “Every city in the country is trying to figure that out,” he said. Other changes proposed are meant to protect neighborhood character.

One would establish some design codes in R-4 and R-5 districts, which have smaller lots, including requiring new houses to have porches and stoops when they exist on 50 percent or more existing houses on the block. It would also require street-facing doors and windows. The only design controls neighborhoods have now are establishing a historic district, said Caleb Racicot, a consultant. Another would strengthen the transitional height plane requirements, which require that a new building not be an extreme amount taller than the building next to it. The requirements protect low-density areas from new high-density construction, Racicot said. “Love this. Transitional height plane is very important to protecting existing historic homes,” one resident said. Another change would lower the amount of parking developers are required to build. It would also cap the amount of parking allowed near MARTA stations to encourage other types of development, Racicot said. However, the changes are the same or similar to the Buckhead Parking Overlay District that was passed last year, so nothing would change in Buckhead, Racicot said. Consultants presented a change that would stop developers from building big box retail and hotels in industrial zoned lots, which is currently allowed. “That type of development A slide from the April 11 can destabilize industrial areas,” Racicot said. presentation shows some examples The city will host open houses on the of accessory dwelling units, or changes over the next month, including one “tiny houses,” that would be allowed if the proposal passes. in Buckhead at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3003 Howell Mill Road, on May 7 from 4:30 DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING to 7 p.m. For more information, visit zoningatl.com.

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Thursday, May 3 through Saturday, May 5, 7 p.m; Sunday, May 6, 3 p.m.

Dunwoody United Methodist Church Performing Arts delivers a staged concert version of the award-winning musical “My Fair Lady,” which tells the tale of a cockney flower girl transformed into an elegant lady. $15 online or at the door. 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyumc.org/parts.



Thursday, May 3, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Through May 6

Orbit Arts Academy and Orbit Theatrical students present the musical “Big Fish,” the tale of a man who leads an extraordinary life — according to the stories he tells his son. $25. Providence Place, 590 Mount Vernon Highway N.E., Sandy Springs. Schedule info: orbitartsacademy.com.

Comedian Benji Lovitt presents a hilarious picture of Israel at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta by deconstructing cultural differences and the immigrant experience in his home country. $18 members; $24 nonmembers. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org.


The finale concert of this program for talented string students features 22 middle-school and high-school musicians coached by a faculty from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Opera. Free. Kellett Chapel of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, 3434 Roswell Road, Buckhead. Info: franklinpond.org.

SUMMER CONCERT SERIES - SUNSET RIDE Saturday, May 12, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Dunwoody Nature Center launches its summer concert series with the band Sunset Ride and its mix of retro and current hits. Seating available on a first-come, first-served basis in the meadow or on the back porch. Outside food and drink welcome. $5 adults; $3 students; free for members and for children 3 and under. Craft beers, sodas and water available. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 17




Sunday, May 13, 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The 1920s style Dixieland jazz band Blair Crimmins and the Hookers performs at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Take a blanket or chairs and have a picnic. Cash bar available. Sundays on the River concerts take place on second Sundays monthly from May to September. $12-$16. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

Continued on page 18

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Tour five unique homes within the Big Canoe Community including the 2018 Designer Showcase Home May 18 & 19, 2018 9am – 5 pm, Friday, 9 am – 4 pm, Saturday Tickets and information: www.bigcanoelegacy.org Hosted by the Big Canoe Chapel Women’s Guild to benefit local charities.


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Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 17


Sunday, May 13, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m.

Heritage Sandy Springs launches its 22nd series of free summer concerts on Mother’s Day with the band Banks & Shane. The concerts are held one Sunday evening each month in May through September on the Sandy Springs Society Entertainment Lawn at Heritage Green. Arrive early to picnic. Blankets, lawn chairs and coolers welcome. No outside tables permitted. Additional food, beer, wine and sodas available for purchase. No pets, except for special assist animals. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.


Saturdays, May 5 and May 19, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Get an introduction to canoeing with tips on paddling techniques and equipment and a canoe trip at the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Beaver Pond. All equipment provided. Races and games included. Ages 5+. $15 general public; $10 nature center members. Register by the Thursday before each class. (Limited spaces.) 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

With so many things to do, we suggest getting an early start on your want-to-do list. There’s a lot to do at The Piedmont Retirement Community — clubs, events, socializing, and more. So, go ahead and make your want-to-do list. But please don’t include a bunch of chores. We’ll take care of most of those for you. We invite you to see all that The Piedmont has to offer (including assisted living services if needed) at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.


Saturday, May 5, noon to 6 p.m.

The Lynwood Park community hosts its 40th annual community heritage celebration in partnership with the city of Brookhaven with a parade featuring the Miller Grove High School marching band and with live music, horses, a Corvette Club and a variety of activities and vendors at the Lynwood Park Community Center. Free food, free drinks, free admission. The parade starts at noon at the Lynwood United Church of God in Christ, 1424 Windsor Parkway, and ends at the community center, 3360 Osborne Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov.

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Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This Mother’s Day tradition in Dunwoody is back for its eighth show, rain or shine, in Dunwoody Village. Artist market, live music, food court and “Kidz Zone” with activities and rides. Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody. Info: splashfestivals.com.

APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 19


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Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with this annual self-guided tour featuring private home gardens, from tranquil woodland settings to intimate urban oases, throughout metro Atlanta, including Buckhead and Sandy Springs. Rain or shine. Benefits the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Tickets and info: atlantabg.org.

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Saturday, May 5 through Saturday, June 16.

In celebration of National Barbecue Month, the Atlanta History Center opens an exhibition that reveals the complexities of one of America’s favorite foods with artifacts, images, and oral histories from across the country. Related special programs include an opening celebration on May 5 and a screening of the Southern Foodways Alliance film “Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ” with a barbecue panel discussion on May 23. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Schedule and ticket info: atlantahistorycenter.com.


Saturday, May 5, 11 a.m. to noon.

Get gardening tips ranging from growing herbs to squash and explore the benefits of composting kitchen scraps in a free session at the Dunwoody Nature Center. Make miniature pots from newspaper and take some seeds home to get your garden started. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

“BLOOD MOON: AN AMERICAN EPIC OF WAR AND SPLENDOR” Monday, May 7, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Author John Sedgwick discusses his book, “Blood Moon,” the story of the century-long blood feud between two rival Cherokee chiefs from the early years of the U.S. through the infamous Trail of Tears and into the Civil War. $10 public; $5 members. 30 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

VOLUNTEER HOST A FRENCH STUDENT Friday, July 6 to Thursday, July 26

Paris-based LEC (Loisirs Culturels A l’Etranger), a French organization offering international cultural experiences, seeks host families in the Atlanta area for 20 French teens who speak English. Hosts are compensated for providing room and board, hospitality and friendship. Retired French teacher Linda Farmer and a French chaperone will oversee the program. Info: Linda Farmer at lgfarmer@aol.com or 770-973-2452. Also see lec-usa.com.



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20 | Community

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After Atlanta cyber attack, other cities prepare defenses Dunwoody

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

In the wake of a March 22 cyber attack that caused chaos on city of Atlanta computer systems, other local cities say they are prepared for similar threats, which occur almost constantly. Dunwoody says it has seen a “marked increase” in one type of suspicious computer activity since the Atlanta incident. In the Atlanta attack, unknown criminals penetrated city computer systems, encrypted various files, and demanded a ransom in exchange for the key to unlock them, in what is known as “ransomware.” It remains unclear whether the criminals directly hacked into the system or used “phishing” — a deceptive email containing a link that, when clicked, installed the ransomware on the computer. The ransomware shut down systems for paying water bills and handling city court cases, and rendered useless the computer files of some City Council members, among other impacts. Most of the systems are back in operation, but some files may never be recovered, and water bills still can’t be paid online. The city has declined to say whether it paid the ransom.

Dunwoody previously experienced its own, less damaging hack on Thanksgiving Day in 2016, when hackers believed to be from the county of Turkey altered the city’s website to display a photo of the Turkish president and flag. The website is hosted on a third-party server and was restored after about two days. City spokesperson Bob Mullen said that is one attack of dozens per day that are unsuccessful. Mullen said the city’s IT team “estimates hacker attempts on the website occur about 10 times per day and hacker attempts on the city’s firewall or systems occur about 40-50 times per day. The majority of these attempts are passive attempts usually from [automated software] ‘bots’ versus individual human hackers attempting to break into the systems.” “There has been a marked increase in spam received and stopped by the city’s filter safeguards since the Atlanta attack,” Mullen added. In response, the IT team has boosted its digital security, including “added protections for emails and spam, as well as reinforced antivirus and firewall protections.”


The city of Brookhaven said it also sees hacking attempts regularly, but has not noted any increase since the Atlanta attack. “The cyber attacks and ransomware attempts are fairly commonplace, and the city of Brookhaven sees them regularly, especially the phishing variety such as the email that entices the recipient to click on a link, which releases the virus [or] ransomware, etc.,” said city spokesperson Burke Brennan. “Because we have multiple preventative measures in place, it is almost impossible to ascertain the exact number of unsuccessful attempts made,” Brennan added. “Anecdotally, it does not appear that there has been any increase or decrease since March on the obvious email attempts.” As general digital defense, Brennan said, Brookhaven SPECIAL




The city of Dunwoody website as it appeared in 2016 after a hacker replaced its content with a photo of the Turkish president.

has “enlisted the resources of several IT security and services companies to perform security assessments and/or monitoring, and ensure that we maintain current anti-virus software on all of our desktop, mobile and server computers. These security firms would also assist in the restoration of programs and data, if a breach was successful.”

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Sandy Springs has not seen an increase in hacking attempts since the Atlanta attack, said spokesperson Sharon Kraun. Citing security concerns, she declined to describe the defensive measures used by the city. But she said the city is well aware of such threats. “Maintaining a secure infrastructure is a top priority, and the city uses a variety of security measures, both cloudbased and local, to ensure the safety of our data,” Kraun said. “There is an ongoing threat of being hacked, not only for Sandy Springs, but for any business or municipality which utilizes online services. Knowing this, we mitigate the risks by implementing multiple layers of protection.” The Atlanta attack had an effect on some Sandy Springs citizens, as the city’s water service is provided by Atlanta.

APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018

Classifieds | 21


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22 | Community

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Buckhead Rotary tries to raise awareness of human trafficking BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Buckhead business leaders are attempting to raise awareness about human trafficking in Atlanta. The Rotary Club of Buckhead held an April 23 seminar on human trafficking and will sponsor classes on recognizing traffickers and victims for employees at 50 companies. The seminar included heavy hitters such as former Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and representatives from Delta Air Lines, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The event was held at Flourish, an event venue on Maple Drive, and was attended by about 150 people. The seminar was co-sponsored by other local organizations, including Livable Buckhead, the Buckhead Coalition and the Buckhead Business Association. Buckhead Rotary President Sam Alston created the initiative to curb human trafficking after Rotarians at the international convention held in Seoul, South Korea kept saying that the Atlanta is the capital of human trafficking, he said. “People saw I was from Atlanta and that’s something they all mentioned,” he said. “I had never heard that from anybody.”

Afterward, Alston created a committee to fight against human trafficking, which spurred the seminar and class sponsorships, he said. “We felt like it was critical to address the issue in Buckhead and Atlanta,” said Brent Adams, the president-elect of Buckhead Rotary. John Coffin, who heads the committee, said the Buckhead Rotary’s involvement in this issue does not signal that trafficking is more prevalent in Buckhead. “It’s not that there’s more of a problem here than anywhere else,” he said. “We want to bring awareness to the issue.” Hotels and motels are commonly used venues for sex trafficking, according to the Polaris Project, which operates the national hotline for sex trafficking. Buckhead has 27 hotels, according to numbers from the Buckhead Coalition’s Buckhead Guidebook. The American Hotel and Lodging Association offers training to recognize trafficking signs, especially for hotels’ frontline employees that interact with guests most often, said Troy Flanagan, the vice president of governmental affairs. “They have the most opportunity to see something,” Flanagan said. The entrance of Airbnb has introduced new complications to fighting traf-


Sam Olens, a former Georgia attorney general who now works at Dentons, speaks at the April 23 seminar on human trafficking at Flourish.

ficking, Flanagan said. Traffickers may more increasingly use the private houses offered on Airbnb to avoid being noticed, he said. Allison Ausband, the senior vice president for in-flight service at Delta Air Lines, said it has trained pilots, flight attendants and other staff to recognize signs of trafficking. “It happens on the plane, but it also happens where our crews are laying over in hotels and restaurants,” she said. Olens, who now works at the Dentons law firm, which operates its Atlanta location in Buckhead, said he helped push through legislation to make it easier to prosecute traffickers during his time as attorney general.

Having the world’s busiest airport and numerous conventions are often cited as reasons trafficking is worse here, but Olens said not to get hung up on those arguments. “The part of that I find most interesting, is that over 40 percent of men who appear to be buying these minor children for sex live on the north side of town,” Olens said. “It’s not at the airport.” Major sporting events are often cited as another venue that draws human trafficking. The GBI has started preparing for the upcoming Super Bowl that will be held in Atlanta next year, said Brian Johnston, who heads the child exploitation and computer crimes unit. “Anytime we have a large gathering like this, it’s tremendous for our community, for sure, but it’s going to bring in the bad guys,” Johnston said. “We realize that and we’re going to step up our efforts to do things a little bit differently.” The GBI has already held several meetings to plan for the Super Bowl. It is partnering with the Atlanta Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation to coordinate activities, he said. The GBI will also host training with venue employees and other non-governmental officials, he said.

Dear Neighbor, I am Cassandra Kirk and I was appointed Chief Magistrate Judge by the Honorable Nathan Deal in December 2014. I am the first Chief Magistrate Judge to preside over Fulton County Magistrate Court since the General Assembly made the position an elected office. Now, I stand for election and humbly seek your support and vote on May 22, 2018. With your blessing, I hope to continue to build upon my 25 years of service to the citizens of Fulton County. Since 2015, it has been my mission as Chief Magistrate Judge of Fulton County to empower litigants through innovation, efficiency and accessibility. I have over 25 years of experience serving in a variety of roles: full-time judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, civil litigator and administrative director. Drawing on this experience, I guided Fulton County Magistrate Court through the transition period and achieved the goals envisioned by the General Assembly when they reformed the Court. While serving as a full-time judge on the Fulton County Juvenile Court, I spearheaded the establishment of Choices, Fulton County’s first juvenile accountability court for youth battling substance abuse, and I was the first judge in Georgia to become a certified Child Welfare Law Specialist. It is the combination of these positions and experience that uniquely qualifies me to continue to serve as Chief Magistrate Judge. Highlights of the last three years include: eliminating the Court’s 30,000 small claims case backlog, providing mediation services at the North and South Annexes, supporting the Housing Assistance Center to provide navigation services to tenants in Landlord-Tenant cases, and creating Fulton’s first Magistrate Court website. Also, during my tenure Fulton Magistrate Court was 1 of 4 courts selected for a Grant from the National Center for State Courts for a pilot project to simply our high volume calendars. I firmly believe that in order to consider the weight of rendering judgement on others, you must first serve others. I support the community through service to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., North Avenue Presbyterian Church (Elder), alumni activities with both the Regional Leadership Institute and Leadership Atlanta, and the Boards of Directors of The League of Women Voters of Atlanta-Fulton County, Star C, and Street Grace, a non-profit aimed at ending domestic minor sex trafficking. I received my B.A. from Williams College and my J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law. Included below are a few of the people who support me. I hope you will join them. I will continue to put families first and keep the Court accessible to all. On May 22, 2018, I urge you to vote to Keep Kirk Fulton County Chief Magistrate Judge. Please visit my website at www.judgecassandrakirk.com.


EARLY VOTING BEGINS APRIL 30, 2018 Chief Magistrate Judge

Former Gov. Roy Barnes

Mayor Bill Edwards

Mayor Vince R. Williams

City Councilman Amir R. Farokhi

City Councilman Matt Westmoreland

Past Council President Cathy Woolard

GA House Rep. Wendell Willard

GA House Rep. Roger Bruce

GA House Rep Meagan Hanson

GA House Rep. David Dreyer

City Councilwoman Helen Z. Willis

City Councilwoman Carmalitha Gumbs

City Councilwoman Carla Smith

City Councilwoman Jennifer N. Ide BH

APRIL 27 - MAY 10, 2018




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