05-11-18 Brookhaven

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MAY 11 - 24, 2018 • VOL. 10 — NO. 10


Brookhaven Reporter



► Coalition forms to address affordable housing on Buford Highway PAGE 14 ► Opioid epidemic summit explores solutions PAGE 20

Lynwood Park community comes home to celebrate history


BIA school gets failing grades in state review BY EVELYN ANDREWS AND DYANA BAGBY


The Miller Grove High School marching band from Lithonia brought their energy and music to the 40th anniversary of the Lynwood Park Community Day on May 5. Lynwood Park once had an elementary and high school on the grounds and students there were the first to desegregate DeKalb schools in the late 1960s. Read story page 15.►

STANDOUT STUDENT Collecting video games for kids in hospitals

I have always wanted to be part of a new theater in Atlanta and I was ecstatic to be able to help form an original season with a brand-new company.

See BIA on page 22

OUT & ABOUT Sky-high fun returns for ‘Good Neighbor Day’ at PDK

See story, page 8

New public safety building to be built along Greenway BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Brookhaven’s new $12 million public safety facility including the police department and municipal court will be located on the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The decision was announced at the May 8 City Council meeting following a unanimous vote to award an $800,000 contract to Rosser International, an Atlanta-based architecture and engineering

SHULER HENSLEY Associate Artistic Director of the new City Springs Theatre Company Page 4

After years of missteps during the founding of Brookhaven Innovation Academy, the school has received failing scores from a state oversight commission, ranking lower than all but one DeKalb County public school in the city. The school also recently has experienced administrative turnover and a teacher walkout over complaints about operations. “We are actively working to improve academic and financial performance to not only be on track for a renewed charter contract, but to also remain on track towards our goal of setting the standard for how all children should be educated,” said Adam Caskey, the BIA board chair, in a written statement. The state public charter school was founded in 2015 by Brookhaven leaders, but was unable to find a building in the city. It is temporarily located in Norcross and plans to permanently move to

Page 18

See NEW on page 13

2 | Community

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Proposed self-storage facility on Buford Highway met with skepticism BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A developer wanting to build a selfstorage building on Buford Highway tried to gain a rezoning approval from a skeptical Brookhaven Planning Commission by saying future plans are to build a co-working office space next door. Brookhaven Planning Commission members were not sold, and at their May 2 meeting recommended denial of the rezoning request needed for the five-story self-storage facility at 2991 Buford Highway. Commissioners said a self-storage facility does not meet the criteria outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan for mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly development along the corridor. The property at 2991 Buford Highway, currently a used car lot, is adjacent to the Stardust adult business and Lips, a venue featuring drag shows with dinners. Roger Burgin, senior vice president of development at TD Self Storage, said his company’s plans are to buy the Brookhaven Laundry property next door to the used car lot and build an IShare Space co-working office building on that property. Together, he said, the two developments make a mixed-use development. Sandra Campbell, the owner of Brookhaven Laundry, said last year that

she was selling her property for $550,000. She could not be reached for comment for this story. Burgin also mentioned plans by TD Self Storage to buy 5 acres at the corner of North Druid Hills Road and Buford Highway and build a hotel there, though he more recently said that deal won’t happen. On the properties now are single-story office buildings and the 1.4-acre Hi-Speed Car Wash property. But commissioners were not convinced. “This is our one opportunity to get it right,” Commissioner John Funny said before the vote. “All eyes are looking to how we develop Buford Highway. This creates a precedent if we approve it.” Other commissioners suggested Burgin come back with a master plan for what his company wants to do on Buford Highway. In an email days after the meeting, Burgin said his company is no longer moving forward on the 5-acre purchase. He did not answer whether his company had closed on the Brookhaven Laundry property. IShare Space was founded in 2016 and currently has offices in Mumbai, Gurgaon, Chennai and Bengalaru in India, according to its website. No U.S. offices are listed. An email seeking comment was not returned. Councilmember Joe Gebbia said in an interview that the corner of North Druid Hills Road and Buford Highway and several oth-

er parcels adjacent to it on Buford Highway are “high profile” pieces of property in Brookhaven. The properties are around the corner from the massive 80-acre Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta camCITY OF BROOKHAVEN pus redevelopment A rendering of the proposed self-storage facility on Buford Highway. at the North Drufive parcels of land that make up this strip id Hills and I-85 into build projects that would meaningfulterchange, including plans to build a $1.3 ly advance in the redevelopment of Bubillion hospital, and from Executive Park, ford Highway,” Gebbia stated in the email. purchased by Emory University two He confirmed those statements in an interyears ago and where the Atlanta Hawks view. “Why put a self-storage facility there? now have their practice facility. It doesn’t promote the economic develop“I’m proud of the Planning Commission ment of Buford Highway,” he said. He defor making a rationalized decision based clined comment on the five parcels other on vision statements and policy set by the than to say he believes available property council,” Gebbia said in an interview. “This should be assembled on Buford Highway. development doesn’t meet the criteria we At the City Council’s February retreat, he want on Buford Highway. Let this be a loud suggested that stretch of property along message to other developers.” Buford Highway from North Druid Hills Gebbia emailed residents of the Pine Road to Lips be purchased by the city, perHills community that straddles Buckhaps through the Brookhaven Develophead and Brookhaven urging them to ment Authority, to ensure the city gets speak out against the proposal at the May what it wants built on that property. 2 Planning Commission meeting. This area of Buford Highway at North “[The proposed project] would block Druid Hills Road is the entryway into the ability of a developer to assemble the Brookhaven from the tony Buckhead community. Rising property costs are following that path, too, as developers eye Buford Highway for redevelopment. Burgin told the Planning Commission his company purchased the approximately 1-acre property at 2991 Buford Highway for more than $1 million. All the property along this stretch of Buford Highway also backs up to Peachtree Creek, where the Peachtree Creek Greenway linear park is expected to break ground this year. The city is investing tens of millions of dollars into the linear park and raised its hotel-motel tax last year from five percent to eight percent to fund its construction. Speaking out against the proposed project at the Planning Commission meeting was Betsy Eggers, chair of the Peachtree Creek Greenway nonprofit and advocacy group. She said a self-storage facility was the direct opposite of what was wanted on Visit us today to see how Buford Highway and connected to the Greyou may qualify for a enway. Also speaking out against the proposed self-storage facility was Marian Liou, founder of We Love BuHi, an organization dedicated to advocating for the multicultural people who live and work on Buford Highway, known for its international communities and businesses. “This proposal runs contrary to the community vision [for Buford Highway],” she said. That community vision is an understanding to re-imagine Buford Highway 761 Miami Circle, Suite D | Atlanta, GA 30324 “for people and not for their stuff,” she said. 404.233.6131 | www.builderspecialties.net The rezoning request is slated go before the City Council at its May 22 meeting.



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MAY 11 - 24, 2018

Community | 3



DeKalb Judge Mike Jacobs, a former state representative who helped to form his home city of Brookhaven, has come out as bisexual. Jacobs made the announcement at the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia event on April 19, according to Project Q Atlanta. He also confirmed the announcement in a posting about the story on his Twitter account, @judgejacobs. The Stonewall Bar is a professional organization made up of attorneys, judges and others in the legal profession who support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Jacobs made the announcement at the public event with his wife, Evan, at his side. They have three children. “Evan and I have made this decision for the benefit of the DeKalb County citizens I serve, for our kids, and for others like me,” Jacobs said on Twitter. “Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported this choice to come out.” In his statement to Project Q, he added that DeKalb has a large LGBT population and that he sees LGBT people in his courtroom, including as prospective jurors. “DeKalb County has never had a trial judge who openly identifies as LGBTQ,” Jacobs said in the statement SPECIAL Mike Jacobs. quoted by Project Q. “This is something I can change simply by sharing this part of who I am with the public. Of course, my identity has no effect on my work as a judge. It is my solemn and absolute duty to deliver fair and impartial justice for every citizen. However, this decision to come out does help show the broader community the diversity of our bench.” Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Jacobs to the state judgeship in 2015. The appointment was made after Jacobs successfully killed a “religious freedom” bill in a General Assembly committee by adding an amendment that would have prohibited discrimination against LGBT people. As a state representative for the Brookhaven/Sandy Springs House District 80, Jacobs drafted the legislation to incorporate Brookhaven as a city. He also authored legislation in 2010 to report bullying in schools following the suicide of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrara, whose parents said he was bullied extensively at school, including being called “gay.” Jacobs, who previously worked in Sandy Springs as an attorney, was first elected to the Georgia legislature as a Democrat in 2004, narrowly beating Republican J. Max Davis. Davis was elected as Brookhaven’s first mayor in 2010. When Jacobs was appointed to be a judge in 2015, Davis again ran for the open House District 80 seat in a special election, but lost to Taylor Bennett, a Democrat. Bennett, whose mother and sisters are lesbians, campaigned on being LGBT friendly and against any “religious freedom” bills, and LGBT rights have been a political issue for the office’s holder since then. Bennett lost to Republican Meagan Hanson in the District 80 race in 2016. This year, Hanson introduced a hate crimes bill in Georgia that included protections for LGBT people. The bill failed. Hanson faces a challenge from openly gay Democrat Matthew Wilson on the November ballot.


The city is bringing back street sweepers beginning May 15 to clean 58 miles of streets. Street cleanings will begin at 7 p.m. on May 15 and will be completed in the evenings and overnight to minimize traffic impact. Street sweepers like these were used in September 2017 for cleanup efforts following Hurricane Irma. “In addition to garbage and dirt, these trucks scoop up potential road hazards like hardware and other bits of metal that can puncture tires,” said Public Works Director Hari Karikaran in a press release. “We will only run the sweeper trucks overnight from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. to ensure we don’t cause unnecessary traffic issues.” The sweeper trucks will begin their work in the Caldwell Road and Redding Road area and transition to the route of the Brookhaven Bolt road race which takes place Saturday, May 19. For a complete list of streets, visit brookhavenga.gov. BK


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4 | Education

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I am a candidate for an open seat on the Fulton County Superior Court for the May 22, 2018 election. I decided to seek this position because the citizens of Fulton County should have a highly qualified judge to represent their interests. The citizens of Fulton County expect and deserve to be served by a judiciary that is transparent and fair. I will serve the citizens in an expeditious manner that is transparent and fair. My legal career of twenty-two years has afforded me a broad range of experience which includes private practice, Assistant Solicitor for the City of Atlanta, and most recently, supervising the largest division of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office as a Deputy District Attorney. Each of these positions were in service to Fulton County Citizens, resulting in a wealth of knowledge, understanding and respect for the great people of Fulton County. As Georgia’s laws become more complex, there is a call for judges who demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects all citizens. More importantly, all judges should serve from the moral position that every citizen who stands before the court has both a legal and constitutional right to fair and unbiased proceedings and rulings. Having served as lead counsel on a gamut of case types, I am equipped with the years and variety of legal experience to ensure my ability to serve as your next Fulton County Superior Court Judge with wisdom, fairness and a work ethic that has gone unmatched. I have included a list of professionals from various fields who serve our community and who support my candidacy for this position. I am asking you to join them and vote for me on May 22, 2018. Early voting begins on April 30, 2018.

Standout Student To help cheer up children in local hospitals, Galloway School senior Max Rubinstein started a nonprofit to collect and donate video games. Game Givers has so far collected hundreds of games and donated them through a partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This spring, Max was recognized as a top youth volunteer in Georgia in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which is awarded with $1,000, an engraved silver medal and a trip to Washington, D.C. for four days of events. Max wanted a way to continue the legacy of his grandmother, who also loved video games and died of cancer in 2015. Soon after, the local organization Giving Point, a youth development organi-


Bensonetta Tipton Lane Former Superior Court Judge

Brenda BJ Bernstein Attorney

William Boddie State Representative

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Education | 5

MAY 11 - 24, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net zation, reached out to him, asking him to join their institute. Max then completed a 10-month program by Giving Point on how to run a nonprofit. “I knew I wanted to do something to preserve my grandmother’s legacy, so in October of 2015 I started a nonprofit called Game Givers, with the goal of donating new or used video games to hospitals,” Max said. These goals are accomplished in three different ways: organizing video game drives, hosting tournaments, and by working with video game developers themselves. Through entry fees, the tournament raises money to purchase new games to donate them to hospitals that only accept new games. Since launching in 2015, Game Givers has raised over $110,000 dollars in video game donations, giving thousands of kids in Georgia, Boston, Michigan and internationally in Spain access to games during their hospital stays. James Aucoin, the director of programs at Giving Point, said he and the organization are proud of what Max achieved. “We have seen him mature and grow over the years, and we are so proud to have SPECIAL been a guiding support for him. Max has Max Rubenstein, right, accepts The Prudential Spirit of Community Award and speaks to worked tirelessly on Game Givers and, alOlympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn. though he does not seek it, he is most deserving of the recognition,” Aucoin said. Max’s journey began with his willingness to reach out to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for his first partnership. He went around to all of his friends and asked for their help by giving him their old video games that were simply collecting dust. Max compiled significant donations and hundreds of games. Scottish Rite, CHOA’s Sandy Springs campus, has become one of Game Givers’ biggest partners. Games are also frequently donated to Ronald McDonald Houses. He kept the nonprofit growing by telling absolute everybody about his work. As the student body president of Galloway, he makes sure to mention the nonprofit in their weekly town hall meeting. He organizes video game drives, works with the school’s video game club and he gives a memorized pitch at least three times a day. Max said he hopes his work starting a nonprofit inspires other youth to use their passions to make change. “I think that the biggest thing that needs to come from this is that there needs to be more kids doing this, and there needs to be more people empowering kids to lead and to do crazy things and to take big steps. If you have that passion, that’s what’s most important,” Max said. For more information about the nonprofit, visit gamegivers.org.

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Max will be attending Northeastern University this fall. He will continue to grow Game Givers as he has partnerships in Boston. However, he will be passing on the Atlanta chapter to the president of the video game club at The Galloway School. Exit 26

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Editor’s Note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases some of the outstanding students at our local schools. To recommend a “Standout Student” for our series, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with information about the student and why you think he or she should be featured.

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6 | Education

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Renderings from a consultants’ recommendation report show the proposal for the “Sandy Springs Partnership Incubator” in North Springs Charter High School.

A page from the consultants’ report shows renderings for student collaboration areas at North Springs Charter High School.


Exterior and interior renovations for North Springs Charter High School alone put the construction budget over, according to a report given to the school board. In addition to those renovations which were not detailed in the report, consultants recommended collaboration areas, a dance studio and more parking. The previously discussed ideas to build a gym and auditorium addition are also included in the report, which was obtained through an open records request. The report shows the original budget for the school, which was approved by voters in the E-PLOST, was set at $18.8 million. These proposals put the estimate at $31.6 million. Superintendent Jeff Rose at the April 12 school board meeting that the school would work with the consultants to bring down the costs. The recommendations are planned to be presented at the June board meeting. The consultants, which included an architecture firm and the “visioning” firm Wonder, by Design, proposed a “Sandy Springs Partnership Incubator,” Christian Long, the founder the visioning firm, who led community meetings and interviewed students and staff, proposed in a previous presentation that the school should build a network of local business and community connections. The Sandy Springs Partnership Incubator is part of that plan, according to the report. The plan includes a “collaboration area” to host that incubator with movable tables and chairs. Other collaboration spaces include a general area for all students, an area for seniors and a “maker space,” which would include dry erase boards and seating. Those proposals, along with new elevators at $361,040, lab and classroom additions at $3,683,789, and construction costs put the plan over budget.

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Education | 7

MAY 11 - 24, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net Parking, which has been cited as an issue by the community, was recommended to be expanded by 160 spaces, bring the total to 469. The recommendations would also address the deficiencies in square footage for classrooms, the library and most other parts of the school by bringing the space up to Fulton County standards. The only part of North Springs High that is currently big enough is the administration and guidance area, according to the report.


Alex Wan, who previously represented south Buckhead on the Atlanta City Council, has been named the executive director of Horizons Atlanta, a nonprofit that provides academic enrichment programs to local students. Horizons provides academic enrichment programs to 800 low-income students from kindergarten into high school through summer programs and year-round support. It works from affiliate sites that include Atlanta International School in Buckhead and Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs. The HIES site sees students from Lake Forest and High Point elementary schools. Atlanta International School sees students from Garden Hills Elementary. Wan most recently served as director of development and alumni relations at Emory University. He previously served as director of development at Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s largest housing provider for low-income and homeless individuals and families affectSPECIAL ed by HIV/AIDS, according to the release. Alex Wan. He served two terms as the city council member for District 6, which is now represented by Jennifer Ide. Wan ran for the council president seat in 2016, but lost that election to Felicia Moore. Wan succeeds Emily Hawkins, who has been in this role for the past two years and is relocating to Philadelphia, Pa.

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The Davis Academy in Sandy Springs has launched a free camp for children with cancer and their siblings. The school held a ribbon-cutting for the Aurora Day Camp April 26, which includes a campsite featuring sports fields, nature center, a new playground, theatre and indoor play areas. The Davis Academy, which is located at 8105 Roberts Drive, is partnering with the Sunrise Association, an organization that runs free day camps, year-round programs and recreational activities. The day camp will begin June 11 and runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. For registration information, visit auroradaycamp.org.

Parents of a Dunwoody High School student have raised over $9,000 so far to help Jermaine Searles, a coach and teacher at the school who lost his house in an April 27 fire. “We are absolutely thrilled to see the Dunwoody community rally around Coach Searles and his family. I believe it’s times like these when community really shines,” said Katie Phillips, who started the fundraiser. The online campaign surpassed its $5,000 goal in less than 24 hours. “Well, you see how fast the word spread and we’ve been receiving donations from all over the city, even from people who have no association with Dunwoody High School or the basketball program,” Searles teaches math and coaches the ninth grade basketball team that Phillips’ son participated on this year. “He motivated these boys, poured time and encouragement into them and truly created a team that we are all so proud of,” Phillips said. For more information, visit gofundme.com/coachsearles.

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Peachtree Charter Middle School will be getting a new principal next year, replacing Scott Heptinstall, who has been the principal since 2009. Heptinstall will continue to serve as principal of the Dunwoody school through the end of the school year. He will then be reassigned to an unspecified position in the school district, according to a letter to parents from Region I Superintendent Sherry Johnson. “The purpose of this assignment is to better utilize the talents of our employees and align them with the needs of our schools and students,” Johnson wrote. Heptinstall’s reassignment follows a widely-reported bullying incident in 2017 that was criticized by organizations for the school administration’s handling of the incident. The DeKalb County School District signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2013 over a separate bullying incident at the school. A survey gathered input on a new principal from school teachers and parents of students who are currently enrolled and has now closed, according to the letter.

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8 | Art & Entertainment

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The curtain rises on City Springs Theatre Company BY JUDITH SCHONBAK

and role as a staple in the community. His question to them: “Why don’t you start your own theater organization in Sandy Springs?” They thought it was “a great idea” and asked for his help. He offered his assistance as an advisor for the venture. Hauser, an attorney retired from Co-

As the new City Springs Theatre Company prepares for what is shaping up to be a booming debut season, the story of the once-secret musical company’s origin can be told. Last year, a small group of Sandy Springs residents attempted to lure the popular Atlanta Lyric Theatre to move from Marietta Square to the new City Springs civic center. The idea shifted to creating a new company, which now has sold nearly 3,400 subscriptions for a Broadway musical season set to open in September. And now the new City Springs Theatre Company is set to join another long-established company, Act3 Productions, in jointly promoting a downtown “arts district.” The 1,070-seat Byers Theatre SPECIAL The City Springs Theatre Company’s leadership within the Performing Arts Center team includes, from left, Executive/Artistic Director is the mainstage home of the SanBrandt Blocker, Associate Artistic Director Shuler dy Springs Theatre Company, and Hensley and Managing Director Natalie Barrow. the 350-seat Studio Theatre will serve for its smaller productions and arts ca-Cola, handled all the legalities of eseducation programs. tablishing the company as a nonprofit The idea of the professional musical organization. theater company came from four Sandy Meanwhile, Blocker began assemSprings residents and long-time arts supbling a leadership team. He contactporters: Jan Collins, Steven Hauser and ed Natalie Barrow, with whom he had Peggy and Jerry Stapleton. worked and who was former director of Initially, they talked of inviting an exarts education and community outreach isting metro Atlanta theater company to for ArtsBridge Foundation at Cobb Enertake on the role of resident professional gy Performing Arts Centre. She became theater company — specifically, the Lyric an advisor and soon the company’s first Theatre. They contacted Brandt Blocker, employee as managing director. the Lyric’s recently departed managing “I leapt at the chance to be part of artistic director, who had left town for what I knew would be a highly successful Hong Kong, where his wife has a new job. arts organization in metro Atlanta and Blocker say he told the founding four doing what I love,” said Barrow. that he could not speak for the Lyric, but Bright on Barrow and Blocker’s rahe doubted the company would relocate, dar was Shuler Hensley. A Marietta nagiven its large following in Cobb County

tive, Hensley is a Broadway, film and TV actor who won a Tony Award in 2002 for his performance in a production of “Oklahoma!” He is also the namesake of the Shuler Hensley Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, which Barrow managed and produced as part of her work at the Cobb Energy Centre. They believed Hensley’s participation would give the new outfit immediate and enviable credibility. When Blocker asked him to take on the role of associate artistic director, the actor did not hesitate. “I have always wanted to be part of a new theater in Atlanta and I was ecstatic to be able to help form an original season with a brand-new company,” Hensley says. He plans to be involved in all aspects of the theater including teaching, performing and directing both young and professional local talent. “I’ve seen the level of talent we have here in Georgia and I want to promote it,” he said. His goal is to create a pathway between Broadway and Atlanta to bring top talent here and send local talent to the Big Apple to help further their careers. Meanwhile, Blocker was thinking of leaving his own theater days behind, but could not resist the call. In October, he was the last to sign on the dotted line as a founding officer – executive/artistic director for the new theater company. He still visits Hong Kong as his wife completes a final year of work there. The organization has been assembling its staff and, to date, has nine members from business manager to in-house choreographer and costumer and technical manager. The company will produce full-scale Broadway shows, beginning with its allBroadway-musical inaugural 2018-2019 season taking the stage in September. In addition to mounting top-quality professional

Broadway productions, a key element in its mission is to offer extensive arts education programming for students and educators pre-K through college, as well as community enrichment activities for all ages. On the docket are student matinees, hands-on training, master classes and summer programs. Arts education programs are in the works to be offered this fall. For more information, see cityspringstheatre.com.

‘Unbelievable’ sales

The entire Performing Arts Center, located at Johnson Ferry and Roswell roads in Sandy Springs, will host a wide variety of performances expected to be announced later this month — including special season performances by the Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Opera. A special grand opening series is scheduled for August. The City Springs Theatre Company has been selling its own season subscriptions since March 1 and has far exceeded a reported goal of 500 subscriptions. Barrow said on May 8 that almost 3,400 season subscriptions had been sold, and 197 people had become “founding patrons” at a minimum donation level of $5,000 for a total of $1 million. Blocker calls the sales “unbelievable.” In all his years in theater, he says, he has never seen anything like it. Seventy percent of the subscriptions are from Sandy Springs residents. Added to the coffers was a $500,000 founding donation from Trisha and Ken Byers, who also secured naming of the Performing Arts Center’s main theater.

Act3 collaboration

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Art & Entertainment | 9


fans of local theater wondered whether it would be competition for Act3, a community theater mainstay for over 15 years. Mary Sorrel, Act3’s executive director and board chair, said many patrons have asked her whether Act3 would JOHN RUCH be pressed into closThe City Springs Performing Arts Center, where the ing its playhouse in new theater company will perform later this year. the Sandy Springs firmed that, saying the two companies Plaza shopping cenwill do “anything we can to promote each ter at 6285-R Roswell Road, virtually across other.” And they hope to work together the street from City Springs. to get restaurants and bars to offer disIn fact, Sorrel said, the two companies counts or special menus to patrons with plan to collaborate and cross-promote playbills or tickets from their shows. each other to develop an “arts district” in Act3 will continue in its playhouse — downtown Sandy Springs. a gift from the shopping center’s own“We’re very, very different,” Sorrel said. er that was just reconfigured for better “We embrace what we are, a small, seating. The new season there will be anblack-box theater” with intimate perfornounced next month. The youth performances, she said, while City Springs Themances in the PAC’s Studio Theatre is the atre Company will perform large shows. one venue change Act3 might make. “They’re going to be all about the big Enoch said Act3 has been asked to join Broadway stuff,” she said. The organithe grand opening performance lineup. zations share a key contact: Jan Collins, “We’re going to do something,” Sorrel who is on Act3’s board and is a founder of said, adding that Act3 is attempting to get the City Springs Theatre Company. rights to a certain performance that cannot “We have had great meetings with yet be revealed. “We’re very excited about it.” Act3” and hope to collaborate, Barrow --John Ruch contributed said at a May 8 Sandy Springs Perimeter

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10 | Commentary

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Community Survey / Vacations and ‘staycations’ The summer vacation season is coming and respondents to our most recent community survey appear say they plan to get away this year for a little rest-and-relaxation. They just may not go as far as they did last year. Nearly 11 percent of the 200 respondents said this year they plan to take a “staycation,” a vacation at home. That’s up from just 4 percent of the respondents to a similar survey in 2017. And 19 percent said they would travel abroad. Last year, 29 percent of the respondents said they planned international travel. The survey of residents of Reporter Newspapers communities was conducted via cellphone by 1Q.com and is not scientific. Overall, the amount of time respondents said they plan to spend on vacation this year appears to be about the same as last year. About 28 percent said this year they planned to take more than three weeks off, compared to 30 percent in 2017. In 2018, about 43 percent expected to take two to three weeks of vacation, compared to 41 percent in 2017; and 24 percent expected to take one to two weeks of vacation, as compared to 23 percent a year ago. Project: Time Off, an organization financed by the U.S. Travel Association, an industry group, found in 2017 that Americans overall had started taking more vacation days than just a few years ago. A survey published by the group last year found


that in 2016, average vacation use climbed to 16.8 days per worker, up from 16.2 days the year before. “The more than half-day shift changes the trajectory of America’s vacation trendline, with the most upward movement seen since vacation usage started its rapid decline in 2000,” the organization said. But the group says one difference it has found is that fewer vacationing employees actually disengage from work while taking time off. Instead, they read emails and keep up on memos while away from the office. “Thanks to today’s technology, face time does not mean what it used to. Email response time has replaced the last car in the

office parking lot,” the organization said after a 2017 online survey of 7,331 adult workers. “This dynamic does not change even if an employee’s location does. Nearly eight in 10 (78 percent) say they are more comfortable taking time off if they know they can access work. Most employees (46 percent) reported that they check in with work occasionally during vacation while smaller percentages (27 percent) are logging on frequently or fully unplugging.” So, summer’s near and the time is right to pack your bags and head off to someplace you can relax. Just try, once you get there, to leave your cellphone turned off.

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

Letter to the Editor AM ER ICA ALR EADY HAS ITS ECO NO M IC R EVO LU TIO N I disagree with Mr. Watkins’ assertion that America is a profoundly savage place in need of an American economic revolution. (Letter to the editor, April 27.) Mr. Watkins’ revolution would seize the entire wealth away from the evil rich. The revolution would redistribute the sized wealth to the Americans who are overwhelmingly miserable. We need to give these overwhelmed, miserable Americans free universal health coverage and paid family leave, and if enough wealth remains “from the takings,” then we should give these overwhelmed, miserable Americans free higher education. The Affordable Care Act is still law. You can get online, at your local library if needed, and purchase health insurance with the coverage you want at a premium that is based on your income. Those that earn more pay more for their policy to subsidize the

lower-income applicants. So we are taking from the evil rich and subsidizing the lower-income folks. If paid family leave is important to you, then go look for a job at a company that offers paid family leave as a benefit. Take a look around. Economic opportunity is rampant throughout this city and in many other cities across America. The construction cranes are redesigning our cities’ skylines. First Quarter Gross Domestic Product was up 2.3 percent, the unemployment rate is 3.9 percent and has been at 4.1 percent for the past six months, daunting federal regulations have been cut, and Congress recently passed tax reform, allowing working Americans to keep more of their own money. There is an economic revolution going on in America. You can get your part of it or you can watch other people get theirs while you remain overwhelmingly miserable. It’s your choice. Keith Tener Brookhaven

represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing, LLC. BK

MAY 11 - 24, 2018

Commentary | 11


Around Town

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

Designing golf courses in his dad’s footsteps


This one feels special. Bobby Cupp says he knows this project is different every time he heads out onto the expanse of scraped clay that soon will become the new Bobby Jones Golf Course. This is his dad’s final course. JOE EARLE “For me, this is dad’s last one, right? And one that Bobby Cupp on the Bobby Jones Golf Course. was so dear to his heart,” Cupp said one recent afternoon as the Ford SUV he drove bounced across the manmade hills and valleys that will embody the redesigned course in the heart of Buckhead. “[It’s important] just to be here and get it done.” Bobby Cupp’s dad was Bob Cupp, the Brookhaven golf pro turned golf course designer the Georgia State Golf Association calls “one of the most prominent golf course designers of this era.” Bob Cupp’s design career lasted more than four decades. His company’s website lists more than 75 new courses it’s designed, another two dozen it’s rebuilt, and dozens more it’s renovated or restored. In 1972, Golf World magazine named Bob Cupp its Golf Architect of the Year, according to the Cupp company’s webpage, In 2014 he became the first architect inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, the association says on its webpage. And he pursued more than the perfect golf course. “People refer to my dad as a ‘Renaissance man.’ He played guitar and was a singer,” the younger Cupp said. “He was a woodworker and loved model trains. He spent years and years building a model train. It’s part of his house.” He found time to write a novel, too. Bob Cupp died in August 2016 at age 76. His son took over as president of the Bob Cupp Inc., which meant it fell to him to continue projects he and his dad had been working on, including the redesign of the historic Bobby Jones course. “It’s a collaborative effort,” he said. “I am trying my best to include him in all I do out here. He was the one who decided the concept of the golf course.” Bobby Cupp grew up in Florida, where his dad worked as a golf pro. That was before the elder Cupp started designing courses. The younger Cupp, who’s now 54 and a busy course designer himself, remembers his introduction to golf came when he was about 5. His dad shortened a set of old clubs and took his son to the driving range. Bobby Cupp went to work with his dad in 1985. The younger Cupp was “reasonably artistic” and could help get course designs on paper. There was a time he thought about doing something else, such as going into radio, but eventually ended up back in the golf course design business. The elder Cupp worked years on his redesign of the Bobby Jones course, his son said. Once plans became public, there were heated community debates over everything from potential flood problems to Cupp’s plan to reimagine the public course as a reversible nine-hole course in place of the existing 18-hole course. The idea was that players could play nine holes, or, if they wanted to play the 18 holes usually included in a round of golf, turn around and play the course in a different direction and from a different set of tees. Cupp’s design allowed the use of some of the land for an expansion of the nearby tennis center and addition of a new driving range. Bobby Cupp said part of the idea is to attract urban players and to create a new generation of golfers. Eventually, the city of Atlanta turned the property over to the state in a land swap, and renovations began. Bobby Cupp said the renovated course should open in November. The renovations have drawn recent controversy over tree loss and stream impacts. Cupp declined to comment, saying there aren’t definitive answers yet and more than the “rumor mill” says. About a month before the elder Cupp died, father and son made a site visit to the Bobby Jones course. “We rode around and looked at everything,” Bobby Cupp recalled. The younger Cupp said he’d never tried a “reversible nine” plan before. It was his dad’s first, too. “It’s harder and more complicated than I ever thought it would be,” he said. Unlike a traditional course, “this forces you to look at every conceivable angle,” he said. One example: walking the course recently, he said, he turned around and looked back across a fairway and realized bunkers on an adjacent fairway looked, well, weird when viewed from that perspective. They were fine when viewed one way, but not so fine when encountered from the other end. As this would be a two-way course, with play going in both directions, he had to change them. Sometimes, as he walks the course under construction, there still are questions he’d like to talk over with his dad to find out how he would deal with them. It was his dad’s vision, after all. And it’s important to get this one right. “This one carries a certain weight,” he said. “unlike anything else or anywhere else I’m working or have worked, ever.”

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12 | Community

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Tour of Peachtree Creek Greenway path attracts supporters BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A recent sunny Sunday afternoon brought more than a dozen people together on Briarwood Road, just down the street from Northeast Plaza, to take a walking tour of where the new Peachtree Creek Greenway is planned to be built. The city must still acquire one more piece of land before construction on the “model mile” between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road can begin, but its recent purchase of 17 acres of undeveloped land on Briarwood Road brings the reality one step closer. The land was purchased for more than $2 million after the city lost its attempt to take the land using eminent domain, and is now pegged for a new city police and court headquarters. “This is the eminent domain property,” Betsy Eggers, chair of the Peachtree Creek Greenway advocacy group, said at the beginning of the tour. Lush greenery surrounded the path area, including large patches of bamboo. At different portions of the walk, the back of Northeast Plaza and Jackson Square Condominiums could be seen from the trail. Eggers explained a 14-foot wide paved path is to be built over a mostly gravel and dirt path used by DeKalb County trucks and crews to check on the sanitary sewer pipe that runs under the property. Several large, circular cement aboveground structures with “sewer” marking the manhole covers dot the path. The paved multiuse path will travel from two acres the Salvation Army donated to the city from its Northeast Expressway property to a parcel near the Pink Pony on Corporate Boulevard and


Above, a man on a recent Greenway tour stands atop one of several cement structures that mark a sanitary sewer line on the Briarwood Road property. The Greenway’s 14-foot paved path is expected to run along the gravel and dirt paths used by trucks to access the sewer lines. Inset, from left, Sayali Birari and Bharya Bhandari talk with Peachtree Creek Greenway chair Betsy Eggers during the walking tour.

then to Briarwood Road. As part of its legal settlement with the city in 2014 to remain open until 2020, the Pink Pony donated a small parcel of its land for the Greenway. Another 2.6 acres of property at 3119 Buford Highway behind Corporate Square was also purchased by the city this year for $142,000. This parcel will serve as the launching area for the Greenway bridge as well as provide over two acres of community green space that is currently a flood plain. Eggers said after the last piece of land is acquired from the city and a few tweaks to the design of the Greenway are completed, the groundbreaking could happen as soon

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as this fall and possibly be completed in six months. The Path Foundation is handling the design of the first mile of the Greenway. The multiuse path is in part designed to help employees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offices in Corporate Square or Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta out of cars and off roads and onto bicycles as part of their commute, Eggers said. Because the Greenway is designed as a transportation modality the city is able to receive federal funding for the project, she added. One woman raised concerns about the Greenway becoming popular and crowded like the Atlanta BeltLine even though its original intent was also to provide alternative modes of transportation. Now it’s a “tourist attraction,” she said. The city is hoping the Greenway becomes a tourist attraction, with major funding for its construction coming from hotel-motel taxes. Last year, the state legislature gave Brookhaven the OK to raise its hotel-motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent specifically to fund the Greenway and bring tourism to the city. Eggers said building more trails all over Atlanta metro would help ease congestion on popular trails. Regional connectivity is a larger goal of the Greenway plan. While the Greenway is getting a start in Brookhaven, the ultimate goal is a park and trail along the entire north fork of Peachtree Creek, which runs from Mercer University in unincorporated DeKalb County to near the

PATH400 trail in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood and eventually connect to the Atlanta BeltLine. Brookhaven residents Stephanie Kahn and her husband, Jonathan, walked along the path with their two children, Alex, age five months, and Isabelle, almost three. “It’s important to support the Peachtree Creek Greenway because we want more green space in our community,” Stephanie Kahn said. “It’s good for people’s health.” Jonathan Kahn recently opened a veterinary clinic on Lindbergh Drive in the former Varsity Junior site and named it Peachtree Creek Animal Hospital. “We expect this project to do well and we want to be part of it,” he said. “Look at the success of the Atlanta BeltLine. This can replicate that.” Sayali Birari and Bharya Bhandari are soon moving into the Pine Hills neighborhood — on the Buckhead side, not the Brookhaven side. “Great!” Eggers said when they asked Eggers to show them a map of where the Greenway will go. “We need people in Atlanta to advocate for this,” Eggers told them. Birari said she wanted to see the Greenway come to fruition “badly” because every weekend she enjoys walking on trails and looks forward to another option close to home. She also said she looked forward to the development the Greenway could bring to Buford Highway. “We are rooting for this,” she said. BK

MAY 11 - 24, 2018

Community | 13


New public safety building to be built along Greenway Continued from page 1

the site while the city tried to acquire it through eminent domain. As part of the SPLOST vote approved by voters in November, the city stated it would spend up to $15 million on public safety. The city in April stated publicly it was seeking a site for a new public safety building. The new public safety building will provide state-of-the-art amenities and room to grow for Brookhaven Police, which is now crowded into a rented building near the Atlanta city limits. The current facility at 2665 Buford Highway only has 55 parking places for a department with 85 employees and a busy municipal court. “We are busting at the seams, with very little room for police officers, cars or equipment,” said Police Chief Gary Yandura in a press release. “The building we are in now doesn’t even have adequate backup electricity when the power goes out. The new facility will address all of these issues and give us a little room to grow over the next 20-30 years.” The total cost of the new building will be no more than the $12 million limit on the SPLOST proceeds, and construction is expected to be complete in the summer of 2020.

firm. Rosser will design the new facility for the city’s police station and municipal court. Money to build the new facility is coming from SPLOST funds approved by voters in November. The council also voted to spend $1.7 million to buy the abandoned QT station on Buford Highway as part of a new landbanking strategy to guide economic development along the corridor. This is the newest action the city is taking on how to redevelop Buford Highway. The council last month asked the DeKalb County Board of Education to reconsider its decision to relocate the new Cross Keys High School at the old Briarcliff High School site and put it on Buford Highway. Last year, city officials also considered pitching Northeast Plaza as a location for the new Amazon headquarters. There was no discussion May 8 by the council of where the new public safety building was going during the vote to award the Rosser contract. At the end of the meeting, however, Mayor John Ernst announced the new building GOOGLE MAP would be located on the 19 acres of propThe city’s new public safety building will be built behind Northeast Plaza erty at 1793 Briarwood Road recently on the recently purchased 19-acre tract on Briarwood Road that was purchased by the city for the Peachtree originally to be used only for the Peachtree Creek Greenway. Creek Greenway. The city paid some $2 million for the 19-acre tract on Briarwood Road. The city first tried to seize the land using eminent domain, but a judge ruled against the city, saying it violated the law. “With the approval of the contract with Rosser we did forget to mention where we were going to build [the public safety building],” Ernst said. “We’re going to build it on land we just acquired on Briarwood Road. This is an extremely great use of the land,” he said. “We thought we were just getting land for the Greenway but now we are able to use it for our public safety building. This is a great use of city resources … otherwise we would have to spend another $3 million [for property] on Buford Highway. Basically, we have two for one.” Councilmember Joe Gebbia also praised the decision to locate the public safety facility along the Greenway and said it will provide safety along the linear park. “This is a strategic move for us,” he said. “This is a good move at a good time.” Part of Rosser’s job will be to find the approximate 4 acres needed for the building and parking lot. Most of the Briarwood Road property cannot be built on due to power lines, flood plains and stream buffers. The most likely spot for the new building and parking lot will be behind Northeast Plaza overlooking the Greenway and adjacent to where the linear park’s signature trailhead is to be located. No one from the Peachtree Creek Greenway advocacy group attended the meeting. Betsy Eggers, chair of the group, said in a prepared statement released by the city that the new public safety building will be a benefit to Greenway visitors. “A trail with its own public safety building is incredible,” she said. “Additionally, having a trailhead with restrooms, water fountains and plenty of parking is a tremendous asset for the ‘miracle mile’ of the Greenway.” The $2 million to buy the land came from a deal between the city and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The city sold CHOA about 5 acres of right of way on Tullie Circle and Tullie Road for nearly $10 million. CHOA is using that land to close off the streets to public use as part of its massive 80-acre campus redevelopment at I-85 and North Druid Hills Road. No public input on putting the public safety building on what has been dubbed the “Brookhaven Beltline” was sought. Council members said following the meeting public input was not needed because municipal real estate deals are exempt from the state open meetings law. But the city originally tried to acquire the 19 acres through eminent domain. City Early Voting Is Now Through May 18th Manager Christian Sigman said after the meeting had the city acquired the land through eminent domain, it would not have been able to legally build the public safety building on the property. Because the city purchased the land, he said, the city is able to do what it wants with judgecourtneyjohnson.com the property. Sigman said there were no plans to build the public safety building on

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14 | Community

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Coalition forms to address affordable housing on Buford Highway BY DYANA BAGBY

she said. “Elected officials cater only to voters and those are A coalition is forming to try middle-class white people,” to put pressure on city leaders Koontz added. in Brookhaven, Chamblee and Educating the public and Doraville to address affordable elected officials about what housing along Buford Highway affordable housing means is as redevelopment and gentrifia necessary part of any camcation rapidly descends along paign, Koontz said, and perthe international corridor. haps even changing language More than 20 people gathto mixed-income housing ered April 30 at the Center for may be better as part of an Pan Asian Community Services ongoing campaign, she said. in Chamblee as part of the Cross “Affordable housing is a Keys Sustainable Neighborhood lightening rod to say ... and Initiative to discuss how risit’s the quickest way to lose ing rents and ongoing developan election,” she said. ment are affecting the commuGigi Pedraza, founder nities they serve, most notably and executive director of the by forcing people to move away. Latino Community Fund, The CKSNI is one of four agreed. clusters in the DeKalb Sustain“What I hear over and able Neighborhoods Initiative over is, ‘Your people can’t DYANA BAGBY and was formed several years vote,’ ” she said. More than 20 people recently gathered at the Center for Pan Asian American Community Services to discuss ago to revitalize the Cross Keys affordable housing on Buford Highway and how to urge city leaders to address the issue through policy. Betsy Eggers, chair of the cluster. That cluster is a 10-mile Peachtree Creek Greenway, by one-mile high school encalled for gaining support at the meeting. Schaefer is the managPenaranda was also at the meeting and rollment district that includes from faith communities. ing director of advocacy at the Latin said people being forced out of the BuBrookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville and “There are many communities of American Association located on Buford Highway corridor is affecting his unincorporated DeKalb. faith in the area. Don’t underestimate ford Highway in Brookhaven. business. But what does affordable housing their impact on cities,” she said. “They Schaefer also chaired Brookhaven’s “If there are no residents, there are mean? The U.S. Department of Housare voters.” Affordable Housing Task Force. The no shoppers,” he said. “The whole area ing and Urban Development defines afTheir first step in forming a coalitask force was formed in late 2016 by is a perfect storm ... as Buckhead is exfordable as when housing expenses do tion and ensuring affordable housing the council after faith leaders in the panding out and property values are innot exceed 30 percent of household inis on the radar of city leaders is a letcity signed a letter urging something creasing.” come. ter that is going around to nonprofit be done to halt the continuing displaceDoraville City Councilmember Using recent Census figures, CPACS groups, churches, businesses and comment of people due to apartment comStephe Koontz, the only elected offiofficials determined the area median munity leaders who live, work and play plexes being torn down to make way cial at the meeting, said when the GM income (AMI) for the Cross Keys cluster on Buford Highway. The letter will then for luxury townhomes. The task force plant in her city is redeveloped, the is $24,159, according to Sarah Brechin, be presented to the councils of the three made recommendations to the council apartment complexes around it will be program coordinator CPACS. Using cities and DeKalb County officials. last year, but no policies have been set quickly torn down. She also acknowlHUD’s definition, affordable housing The letter, in part, states particito address the issue. edged most elected officials do not care costs would not need to exceed $604 a pants collaborating with CKSNI will Without more people in power and about the plight of most people living month in this area. participate in town halls, workshops or setting policy, Schaefer said, working along Buford Highway because many Average rent now for a 2-bedroom, community discussions with CKSNI. for affordable housing will continue to are immigrants, are undocumented 2-bath apartment along the Buford “The letter shows solidarity that we be a “fringe movement.” and do not vote. Highway corridor is estimated at $950 are already working on this,” CPACS “We’re on our heels already and “When you say affordable housto $1,200 a month, according to Census Vice President Victoria Huyhn said. “We that’s why we’re at this table,” he said. ing, what do they hear? They instantfigures studied by CPACS. need to be informing our city councils Plaza Fiesta property manager Julio ly think Section 8 and welfare queens,” “That’s awful,” David Schaefer said of what is happening.”

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Community | 15


Lynwood Park community comes home to celebrate history Inset, Antonio Murphy rides his horse down Osborne Road during the May 5 Lynwood Park Community Day parade. Below, a crowd of people listen to Janice Chatman sing “Amazing Grace” during the Lynwood Park Community Day program on May 5.


Virginia White, left, and Barbara Shaw, far right, attended seventh grade together at the former school in Lynwood Park. For the past three years, Shaw has invited her seventhgrade classmates to her home to watch the Lynwood Park Community Day parade.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Hundreds of people born and raised in Lynwood Park in Brookhaven and who attended Lynwood’s former elementary and high school return to their roots each year to eat, pray, sing, hug, laugh and be with each other. This year, on May 5, families and friends marked the 40th anniversary of Lynwood Park Community Day with a parade going down Osborne Road into the park area and featuring Grand Marshal Mayor John Ernst, who now lives in Lynwood Park; the Miller Grove High School marching band; men on horseback; and many Corvettes and other classic cars. “The community has changed … most [people] have moved away,” said Virginia White, while watching the parade. “But we always come back.” White grew up in Lynwood Park and attended school there, but now lives in Decatur. She was watching the parade from the front lawn of her former seventh-grade classmate at Lynwood, Barbara Shaw. Shaw still lives in Lynwood Park, her one-story blue house one of only a few small houses remaining in the gentrified community that was once filled with black residents but is now filled with large two-story houses. For the past three years, Shaw has invited her seventh-grade classmates to gather at her home for the community day event to watch the parade. About 30 people, along with their relatives and friends, come each year, she said. Shaw was one of the first 17 students from Lynwood Park to attend the formerly allwhite Cross Keys High School in the 1960s when DeKalb County schools were desegregated. The city first honored the “Lynwood Integrators” in 2016. Another ceremony celebrating the students’ roles in the civil rights movement was also held this year and featured keynote speaker DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. “I love it,” Shaw said of her former classmates coming together. “We get together because of fellowship and love. Everyone who comes here says, ‘I feel like I’m at home.’ ”

Mark Winne of WSB-TV, center, served as emcee for the Lynwood Park Community Day event on May 5. Standing at back are, from left, Mayor John Ernst and City Councilmembers Joe Gebbia and John Park. BK

16 | Art & Entertainment

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Act3 Productions presents a version of Shakespeare’s comedy that is set in the 1950’s and gives a nod to iconic sitcoms of the time. 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Show schedule, tickets: act3productions.org.


Friday, May 18 through Sunday, June 10

A demanding diva discovers that her maestro husband has become enamored with the young lady hired to ghostwrite his autobiography in this romantic comedy presented by Stage Door Players. $15-$33. North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Show schedule, tickets: stagedoorplayers. net or 770-396-1726.



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ZYDECO CONCERT AND DANCE Saturday, May 19, 8 to 11 p.m.

The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association hosts Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys at the Dorothy Benson Center. Cajun/Creole food for sale. All ages. $18; $14 active military; $5 students. Intermediate/advanced Zydeco dance class from 4:30-6 p.m. is $15. Free beginner’s dance lesson at 7 p.m. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.

MAY 11 - 24, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 17



Saturday, May 26, 7 to 9 p.m.

The New Orleans-influenced Wasted Potential Brass Band is next up in the Dunwoody Nature Center’s lineup of concerts held every other Saturday evening through July 21. 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.

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Saturday, May 19, 8 a.m.

The 11th anniversary Brookhaven Bolt 5K, a family event that winds through the Ashford Park neighborhood, is an official AJC Peachtree Road Race qualifying event. All proceeds benefit Ashford Park Elementary School. The race begins and ends at the mixed-use development Village Place Brookhaven, 1430 Dresden Drive, Brookhaven. Registration: brookhavenbolt.com.

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NATIONAL KIDS TO PARKS DAY Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The city of Sandy Springs celebrates its ninth annual Kids to Parks Day in the city with lots of activities at Hammond Park. The event encourages residents to use local parks and recreation sites to develop more active, healthy lifestyles. Free. 705 Hammond Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: sandyspringsga.gov.


Saturday, 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 class. (Limited spaces.) 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.


Join the Brookhaven Bike Alliance for montly community rides every third Sunday at varying locations. May 20 location is Briarwood Park, 2235 Briarwood Way, Brookhaven. Info: Brookhaven Bike Alliance on Facebook.


Monday, May 14, noon to 1:30 p.m.

National Salvation Army Week, May 14-18, kicks off with a food truck event in the organization’s lower parking lot off of Corporate Boulevard. Each $5 ticket pays for food from one of four options: Charm & Jerry’s, Habanero Grill, Brooke Lynn’s, or Chick-fil-A. Music, games, free beverages, raffle, and shopping for handmade goods from Salvation Army ministries from around the world. All proceeds go toward sending 33 children to summer camp. 1424 Northeast Expressway, Brookhaven. Info: biz.brookhavencommerce.org/events. Continued on page 18

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18 | Art & Entertainment

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Saturday, May 19, noon to 5 p.m. DeKalb-Peachtree Airport [PDK] hosts its annual Good Neighbor Day Airshow and Open House. Family fun includes air shows, $40 airplane and helicopter rides, military airplane displays and kids’ activities. Free. Parking $10 per vehicle. All parking access is only through Dresden Drive via Clairmont Road. 2036 Dresden Drive, Atlanta. Info: pdkairshow.com.

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Art & Entertainment | 19


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Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m. to noon.

Meet new people, share refreshments and practice your conversational English or Spanish skills at the “International Cafe” at the Brookhaven Library on the third Saturday of each month. Free. 1242 North Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven. Registration: 404-508-7190, ext. 2257 or e-mail adultservices@dekalblibrary.org.







New York Times best-selling author Mark Bittman presents his latest cookbook, “How to Grill Everything,” including everything from the perfect steak to cedar-plank salmon to pizza, in a book talk and signing at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Books will be available for purchase. Admission: $10 MJCCA members; $15 community. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Reserve tickets: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival or 678-812-4002.


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Learn about U.S. military history and see artifacts and memorabilia on display at the Dunwoody Library. Presented by the co-founders of the American Military History Mobile Museum. Light refreshments will be served. Open to first 100 participants. Funding provided by the Friends of the Dunwoody Library. Free.5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-512-4640.




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20 | Public Safety

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Opioid epidemic summit explores solutions BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

mixed in with illegal drugs. In Georgia from June 2016 through May 2017, there were 541 million opioid prescriptions written by physicians. “That is 54 doses for every man, woman and child in the state,” Carr said. “At a minimum, these numbers have to raise eyebrows.”

U.S. Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.) convened an Opioid Summit at Dunwoody City Hall on May 1. Panelists included federal law enforcement, a CDC expert and a woman who started a drug rehabilitation facility called The Zone in Cobb County following her son’s death from an overdose. “The purpose of this is for all of us in the Sixth District and metro Atlanta to be united and understanding what is happening in our communities and our state and the impact it is having on our DYANA BAGBY families,” Handel said. U.S. Rep. Karen Handel speaks at an opioid summit “What strikes me is that May 1 including panelists, from left, Dan Salter and no one is immune. There Bill Trivelpiece of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Dr. Rita Noonan of the CDC. is no discrimination based on age, race, ZIP code or even income levels,” she added. “Behind Partners included on a Statewide Opithe numbers and statistics are real peooid Task Force begun last year include ple.” the Atlanta and Dunwoody police departOverdose deaths caused by opioids, inments, the Fulton County Commission cluding heroin and prescription drugs, conand Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. tinue to rise across the U.S. and north AtThe CDC in 2016 issued a report outlanta. Some statistics shared at the summit lining guidelines for primary care clireflected the seriousness of the crisis. nicians on when and how long to preThe Centers for Disease Control & Prescribe opioids as a way to help slow the vention has reported that between Aurapid prescription rates. gust 2016 and August 2017, 45,200 deaths Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can be were caused by opioids in the U.S., acinjected or sprayed into the nose of an overcounting for 67.1 percent of all overdose dose victim to revive them. Last year, Gov. deaths during the period. Nathan Deal signed a bill into law making In Georgia in 2016, there were 996 naloxone legal to purchase over the counter. overdose deaths caused by opioids, repreBill Trivelpiece, of the federal High senting 68.8 percent of all drug overdose Intensity Drug Trafficking Area office deaths in the state, according to a special in Atlanta, recommended parents with report from the Atlanta Regional Comchildren buy naloxone. mission. The ARC also reports that of the “If you got kids, and your kids got overdose deaths statewide in 2016, 595 infriends, please get naloxone,” he said. volved prescription opioids, a more than Other takeaways included people buytenfold increase since 1999. ing a “drug lock box” available at many The ARC also reported that the death retail stores to keep prescription drugs rate for opioid-related overdoses in metlocked up and out of the hands of people ro Atlanta is higher than that of the state not using them. of Georgia and that Cobb County has exFunding to law enforcement to fight ilperienced a dramatic increase in prelegal drugs coming in from Mexico must scription opioid deaths, rising from eight also be maintained, Handel said. But inin 2013 to 61 in 2016 — the most in the carcerating drug addicts is not always 10-county region. Fulton County had the useful, she said, and more work needs to second-highest number of deaths at 47, be done to create rehab centers in metaccording to the ARC. ro Atlanta where addicts can get the supAt the summit, Georgia Attorney port they need to stay off drugs. General Chris Carr, a Dunwoody resiA key priority also, she said, is to endent, explained how his office is worksure prescriptions for opioids are necesing to combat the deaths caused by opisary and for physicians and patients to oids, such as the illegal drug heroin and consider other ways to treat pain if poslegal prescription drugs. sible. Handel mentioned during the sum“The challenge we have is many opioids mit she had personal experience with opiare legal ... and people need them for a legitoid addiction but declined to comment imate reason. And if used with supervision, further. In a statement, she said the fight they can be useful,” he said. Legal opioids against opioid addiction must also ensure include Oxycontin, hydrocodone, codeine there are no unintended consequences for and also fentanyl, which law enforcement those who require opioid-based pain manand others say they are seeing more often agement, such as cancer patients.

MAY 11 - 24, 2018

Classifieds | 21


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22 | Community

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BIA school gets failing grades in state review Continued from page 1 Chamblee. Brookhaven City Councilmember Bates Mattison helped found the school and was its first executive director. He stepped down in 2016 after concerns he would have a conflict of interest in fundraising activities, although he was legally cleared to be the director. “I support the board in what it does to take corrective actions,” Mattison said. Mattison said he is now no longer involved in the administration of BIA and learned of its troubles with the State Charter Schools Commission like other parents, through a letter sent from the board. His son and daughter attend the school. “My kids love it and are doing well academically,” he said.

Failing grades

The State Charter Schools Commission, which decides whether a school is renewed to continue operating, in a March 21 report gave BIA failing scores on academic and financial sections. BIA passed the operations section, which includes complying with laws, protecting the rights of disabled students and reporting education data, among others. The commission guidelines require schools to meet the standards of all three categories for three out of the first four years of a charter term. The standard term is five years. However, the commission provides some leeway

Brookhaven City Councilmember Joe Gebbia.

Brookhaven City Councilmember Bates Mattison.

for new schools, said Lauren Holcomb, the commission’s spokesperson. If the school meets the standards in its fourth year, it can be renewed for an abbreviated three-year term to give it a chance to make improvements, she said. “Research tells us there’s a little bit of learning curve,” Holcomb said. Caskey said that although BIA will get some flexibility as a new school, it is not satisfied with the failing scores it received in the 2016-2017 school year. “While our initial performance may be in lockstep with the performance of other new charter schools, we do not find that answer to be acceptable,” he said. “Of particular importance will be improving the individualized learning and computer coding components of our academic model.” BIA was dinged for not earning a College and Career Ready Performance Index, or CCRPI, score that was higher than the district it serves, the entire state. BIA also scored lower than

most DeKalb County public schools in Brookhaven. BIA’s elementary grades scored 54.5, putting it lower than all but one DeKalb elementary school, Montclair Elementary. Woodward, Montgomery and Ashford Park all scored higher with scores of 59.2, 85.2 and 97.5, respectively. BIA’s middle grades scored 54.1, lower than both public middle schools in Brookhaven. Chamblee earned a score of 82.6 and Sequoyah earned 64.4. In the financial section, the commission found the school has less than 15 days cash on hand and not enough money to cover financial obligations. City Councilmember Joe Gebbia, who helped to establish BIA and once sat on its board of directors, said he doesn’t think the problems are “insurmountable.” BIA was once touted as how a state charter should be run, he said. “These are growing pains they are going through,” he said. “The board needs to get more aggressive to make sure requirements are met.”

Leadership changes

The school has undergone several leadership changes since opening in 2016. The first head of school, Laurie Kimbrel, was caught up in a controversy about her husband’s social media posts during her previous out-of-state post. She resigned from BIA after a year. She was replaced with an interim

head of school, Terri Potter. The BIA board announced in a letter to the board on April 27 that it has hired Julie Tolbert, who was previously at Oconee County Schools, to fill the position permanently. Gebbia said he no longer follows the school closely. He heard the school has recently hired a new head of school and said management turnover frequently causes problems. “I’m not surprised they are having trouble right now,” he said. Whenever you have management shifts, there are always issues that arise. That’s been my experience.”

The frequent leadership turnover was one reason the teachers held a walkout on April 19, Caskey said. But he said he is confident Tolbert is “devoted to BIA and will guide us through the charter renewal period and beyond.” “With that stability in place, concerns rooted in uncertainty and change will evaporate,” Caskey said. Addressing other concerns, including a lack of teacher raises and classroom materials, is an “ongoing process,” Caskey said.

Council promises ‘sidewalks to everywhere’ BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

City Council members are praising the revamped sidewalk ordinance as one that promises “sidewalks to everywhere.” But some builders complain requiring them to construct sidewalks in front of new homes only leads to “sidewalks to nowhere.” Last month the council approved the revised sidewalk ordinance including a brand new and comprehensive map that outlines where sidewalks are in the city and where they are planned to go. “The vision for the city has long been sidewalks to everywhere and this is a terrific step in the right direction,” Councilmember Linley Jones said after the April 24 vote approving the revised sidewalk ordinance. The new map incorporates the city’s comprehensive plan, the Ashford-Dunwoody corridor study, the bike and pedestrian plan and last mile connectivity plan to show how the city plans to connect neighborhoods together. “The update ties all those planning documents together,” Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin said in an interview. As part of the revised ordinance, builders are required to pay $50 per linear foot to avoid building a sidewalk. Funds from this sidewalk fund will be used by the city to fill in sidewalk gaps. No variances are allowed under the new ordinance as well. Two home builders are threatening possible legal action against the city, though, after they purchased an abandoned home at 1899 Dresden Drive and learned they would have to build a 10-foot wide sidewalk in front of the home as part of the bike-pedestrian plan along the road in the middle of a busy retail and restaurant area. “They say we have to put in a 10-foot path and a 2-foot grass strip, and in order to do that we have to put in a retaining wall,” said Bradley Hall, a general contractor with Southern Pines Homes out of North Carolina.

They also say the revised ordinance would make them cut down a heritage oak tree in the front yard. “I’ve researched this with all the council and city staff and they all confirmed we also have to take down the tree. It’s going to definitely make the yard look odd,” he said. Ruffin said this was not the case. These particular builders submitted plans to the city before the revised ordinance was adopted and can pay into the sidewalk fund to not build the sidewalk. Ruffin said they can also build the sidewalk around the tree. If they elect to build the sidewalk, there is some administrative flexibility to navigate around obstacles, such as a tree, as long as the sidewalk is still built to code specifications, she said. But Hall said paying $50 a linear foot into the sidewalk fund would cost him $30,000 for the 80 linear feet in front of this house. Sidewalks can be built for considerably less than $30,000, he said, but in this instance a retaining wall is needed as well as a guardrail because of the steep slope of the yard. The builders are also upset because they say they cannot appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals under the revised ordinance and say they haven’t ruled out taking legal action against the city. “This is literally a worthless sidewalk to nowhere,” said Brad Snellings, also with Southern Pines Homes. “All options are on the table.” At the April 24 meeting, Councilmember Bates Mattison voted against the revised ordinance, saying he had a difficult time agreeing to require builders pay into a sidewalk fund without an appeals process. “While we all agree sidewalks are important, this ordinance puts a burden on businesses. It’s a pass-through tax,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to fund construction of our sidewalk system by just taxing people.” “We can’t do it all,” Councilmember Joe Gebbia said. “This benefits Brookhaven overall.” Mayor John Ernst said he heard the concerns raised by home builders but said this plan is fair and “allows us to build sidewalks to everywhere.” BK

MAY 11 - 24, 2018

Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Brookhaven From Brookhaven Police reports dated April 29 through May 6. The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.

April 30, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with simple battery.


May 1, at night, a man was arrested and charged with family violence.

1400 block of Northeast Expressway

3800 block of Peachtree Road — On

— On April 29, in the morning, a woman was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

1900 block of North Druid Hills Road

1400 block of Epping Forest Drive —

1400 block of Keys Crossing — On May

On April 30, in the morning, a forced-entry burglary to a residence was reported. block of Buford Highway — On May 1, after midnight, a man was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

— On May 2, at night, a simple battery was reported. 5, in the early morning, a woman was arrested and charged with simple assault.


2000 block of Bramble-

wood Drive — On May 1, a forced-entry burglary to a residence was reported. 3500 block of Telfair Way — On May 1,

at night, items were stolen from a vehicle. 100 block of Windmont Drive — On May

1, at night, parts were taken from a vehicle. 1200 block of Lindenwood Lane — On

ARRESTS 1100 block of Ashton Trace — On April 29, in the morning, two people were arrested and charged with marijuana possession.

3100 block of Buford Highway — On April 29, at night, a man was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

3100 block of Buford Highway — On

April 29, at night, a man was arrested and charged with marijuana possession of less than one ounce.

May 1, at night, items were stolen from a car. 3300 block of Buford Highway — On May

2, in the afternoon, a theft was reported. 2900 block of Peachtree Road — On

May 3, in the evening, a shoplifting incident was reported. 1100 block of Town Boulevard — On

May 3, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a car. 4000 block of Peachtree Road — On

May 3, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a car. 700 block of Brookhaven Avenue —

On May 3, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a car. 3900 block of Peachtree Road — On

May 3, at night, items were reported stolen from a car. 3700 block of Buford Highway — On

May 4, in the early morning, a street robbery involving a gun was reported.


A S S AU LT 3500 block of Buford Highway — On

April 29, in the afternoon, a battery incident was reported. 3400 block of Buford Highway — On

April 29, in the evening, a simple assault was reported. BK

2900 block of Clairmont Road — On




24 |

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