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MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016 • VOL. 8 — NO. 10


Brookhaven Reporter


► New city manager will ‘live the job’ PAGE 2 ► Cranes carrying loads over streets covered by different rules PAGE 10

Watching the parade go by


City to sell Skyland Park to DeKalb for new public school BY DYANA BAGBY The Brookhaven City Council voted May 10 to approve an agreement allowing the DeKalb County Board of Education to purchase Skyland Park for $4.7 million. The school system would use the property as the location for a new elementary school as part of the district’s efforts to alleviate overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster. As part of the deal, the school system will turn over 4 acres and the Skyland Center building to the city for use as a future park. See CITY on page 12

Justin Carpenter, and his son Logan, 2, take in the sights and sounds of the 43rd annual Lynwood Days Parade and Festival on May 7. See another photo on page 10.

Time to get out and vote!

Georgians head to the polls May 24 to cast ballots in local party primaries and non-partisan elections. Sandy Springs has a five-candidate election for City Council, and Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs all have partisan primaries to choose nominees for the state Legislature. To see if you’re properly registered, where to vote or to view a sample ballot, check the My Voter Page on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, Learn more about local candidates by going to the Voters Guide on page 13. Find the complete versions at ReporterNewspapers. net. Check our website on Election Night for the results in local races.

Hard work, persistence and resilience are more important than raw ability. What you decide to study is more important than where you go to school. Think about growth opportunities when you make your education choices. Gary A. Piligian Math and statistic teacher, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School See Exceptional Educator Page 6


MAKING A DIFFERENCE Program assists Latino children

Page 4

Bus tour moves Buford Highway ideas forward BY JOHN RUCH

More than a hundred MARTA-riding tourists got a taste of Buford Highway’s famed multicultural restaurants—seasoned with expert takes on the corridor’s safety and gentrification challenges—on an April 27 “bus crawl” staged by We Love BuHi and the MARTA Army. The bus tour and similar programs by We Love BuHi are exposing strong tensions about the highly diverse immigrant community’s future, and stirring some big ideas for supporting it. The property manager of the Latino mall Plaza Fiesta, a bus tour stop, in an interview after the tour, blasted Brookhaven for “drivSee BUS on page 14

2 | Community ■

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will ‘live the job’ BY DYANA BAGBY

Banks Project. Specifically, Sigman raised concerns about developers Christian M. SigCarter and The Dawman says he’s ready son Co.’s slow progto hit the ground runress in building a ning as Brookhaven’s hotel. Carter is the new city manager. master developer “What drew me and program manhere is [the council] ager for the $287 milhas great visions and lion Sandy Springs really wants to imCity Center project. plement them,” he Certain milesaid during a short stones weren’t met, break while attendSigman said when ing the council work visiting Brookhaven, session and City and the pace of the Council meeting on project was not goDYANA BAGBY May 10. ing as fast as he beChristian M. Sigman “They want aclieved it was to be gotion … with parks and ing, according to the paving, they want to get things done,” he contract. said. “They have the means and the will — “This was a city/county project … and I let’s get things done.” pushed pretty hard,” Sigman said. “Part of The council will vote May 24 to formalmy job was to hold the developer accountly approve Sigman as the new city managable, whether schedule or quality of coner. His official start date is June 6. He was struction and tenants.” the sole finalist of four candidates interSigman said Brookhaven, as a new city, viewed by council last month. is not burdened by “legacy issues” and dealSigman is moving to Brookhaven from ing with a long history of policies and precOhio, where was the administrator of edents of how things have always been Hamilton County. Cincinnati is the county done. Helping shape a new city is part of seat. He held the post for five years. the allure of the job, he said. As the county administrator, he helped “This is like starting with a clean slate, lead the $338 million development of the starting from scratch … everything is blue high-profile “Banks Project,” creating a ressky here,” he said. “The city is seeking to be idential, work and entertainment district the best in class.” surrounding the stadiums for the two CinSigman said his first days on the job cinnati professional sports franchises — would be assessing the city and its makethe Reds of Major League Baseball and the up. But he does know that the first thing Bengals of the National Football League — he will focus on is communication — layalong the banks of the Ohio River. ing out protocols on how staff will commuNews reports from Ohio say Sigman nicate with each other as well as with the was nearly fired from his job last year afcouncil. ter some county commissioners became “I’m excited, I’m loyal and I want to be upset when he suggested the possibility an active part of the city,” he said. “As city of hiring a new developer for the Banks manager I will be available 24/7. You live Project. Instead of firing him, the commisthe job,” he said. “You represent the organision stripped him of handling the economzation and I look forward to representing ic development duties and oversight of the this community.”


MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

Community | 3

Community Briefs SECO N D A N N UA L C H ERRY B LO S S OM F ESTI VA L ATT R A C T S 2 0 , 0 0 0 P EOP LE

Former Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams, and founder of the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival, updated the City Council May 10 on the festival’s second annual event. She said it was estimated 20,000 people visited Blackburn Park over the two days of the festival. According to state numbers, the event also had a $500,000 financial impact on the city. “This is a good, compelling reason … to continue doing festivals,” she said. Expenses for the festival totaled $93,000, while the city had raised more than $106,000 to cover costs, meaning the city did not lose any money. Williams said she understands the city may no longer want to “be in the festival business” and she is currently exploring nonprofit opportunities. She said she still hopes the city and festival can have a cooperative relationship, including an agreement to allow Blackburn Park to be used. Council members discussed the possibility of implementing a policy to guide the city when it comes to supporting festivals.


The City Council recently approved to pay $25,000 to be used toward a last mile connectivity study in the Perime-

ter Community Improvement Districts. The council approved the funding April 26 and was the final municipality to do so. Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, as well as the PCID, also agreed to pitch in $25,000 for the study that will look at options to cover the “last mile” between MARTA and riders’ final destinations, such as offices, homes or stores. Councilmember Joe Gebbia has expressed interest, along with Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, of the possibility of monorails being utilized as part of a last mile connectivity plan. The PCID study is to include those options as well as traditional models, such as bike paths and walking trails.


The City Council voted May 10 to award Integrated Construction and Nobility Inc. its bid to replace Murphey Candler Bridge for $241,421.31. The pedestrian bridge has been closed to the public since November when a tree fell on it, causing heavy damage. The council has approved more than $309,000 for the construction of the new bridge and Brian Borden, director of Parks & Recreation, said the city is saving approximately $67,000 with the low bid. Borden said he hopes the project will be completed by mid-July.


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4 | Making a Difference


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Where the Extraordinary Happens Every Day ■

With Saturday School, Los Ninos Primero helps Latino children feel at home in Sandy Springs BY DONNA WILLIAMS LEWIS In one classroom, 3-year-old yoga students on blue mats shifted like pros into their “downward dog” and “warrior” positions. In another, 4-year-olds tapped beats on drums to practice counting. Down the hall, other preschoolers created paper pyramids and squares to be tossed in a game. Each side of the figures revealed a direction such as “Count to 50” or “Do something nice for someone.” This was Saturday School at Los Ninos Primero, now in its 16th year of serving Latino children in a year-round educational program at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in Sandy Springs. For the little ones, the morning was all about fun. For their teachers, fun is a power tool for building a passion for learning, and for nipping in the bud the inhibitors to kindergarten readiness that can arise from language and cultural differences and socioeconomic situations. Every activity had a role in that mission — even yoga, which they teach to prepare the children to deal with stress. Executive Director Maritza Morelli, a child psychologist, is very sensitive to that need. “The school and the church are very open and protective and embracing,” Morelli said, “but this is a very different environment than we see in some other ways.” Veronica Toscano de Leger, director of the Georgia Liaison Office of the state government of Guanajuato in Mexico, said Los Ninos Primero is helping children who may have difficult home lives flourish with confidence in a loving, welcoming environment. “That makes a difference in a child. It makes them start working harder to succeed,” she said. “You can see the passion when they play an instrument, the passion when people care for them.” A church bus picks the children up from across Sandy Springs, where 14 percent of the population is Hispanic or Latino. Ninety-nine percent of the program’s children were born in the U.S. and their first language is Spanish. Most of them are from low-income families. Steve Whisenant, CEO of Haven Campus Communities, was the founding chairman of Los Ninos Primero’s board of directors. He said the nonprofit program was born out of Mount Vernon’s research on the needs of the area’s growing Latino population. “We found out very quickly that to say it was underserved was an understate-

ment,” he said. Los Ninos Primero began as a twoweek summer program that served 17

Making A Difference


Volunteer Carmen Morales, 15, started with Los Ninos Primero as a 3-year-old preschooler. The Riverwood International Charter School student plans a future in medicine, education or criminal justice.

Sophia Monje, 4, gives a goodbye hug to Maritza Morelli, executive director of Los Ninos Primero, as she leaves the program’s Saturday School.

Los Ninos Primero art teacher Alison Calefati helps Emiliano Salas, 4, left, and Edwin Esteva, 5, create an educational game.

children on the preschool campus of Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. Today, 250 children participate in its free programs: the three-hour plus lunch Saturday School for 3- and 4-year-olds; a month-long summer pro-

APR. 01 - APR. 14, 2016

gram for ages 3 to 6; and weekday exMorales, 15, is headed that way. The Rivtracurricular activities for ages 5 and erwood International Charter School up. Orchestra, soccer, karate and chostudent plans a future in medicine, edrus are offered. ucation or criminal justice. All of the program’s 15 teachers are She grew up with Los Ninos Primecertified and paid, except for a volunro, starting in the program as a 3-yearteer retired teacher. They are assistold and staying connected through her ed by dozens of volunteers, including family’s participation and her volunmany former Los Ninos Primero stuteer work as the program’s assistant dents. soccer coach. “I think we’ve had about 1,000 chil“They gave me fond memories of my dren come through this program,” said childhood and I want to give that back Whisenant, who now serves on the proto them,” Carmen said. gram’s development committee. “I’ve She said the program is like a small been pleased with the ability to stay vicommunity for its families. able and to grow, and to have a lot of Carmen’s parents came to the U.S. people who feel like we’ve done the from Mexico 20 years ago. She rareright thing, for ly sees her the right reafather, exsons.” cept on weekSummer proends, because gram teacher he works Katrina Verde two jobs. Her sees first-hand mother works the difference nights cleanLos Ninos Priming three ero makes in floors of an school preparedoffice buildMARITZA MORELLI ness. She is a ing. kindergarten “You learn teacher at Sandy Springs’ Lake Forest about people who might have the Elementary School, a school where 94 same story as us,” Carmen said, “like percent of students are Hispanic and the struggle of getting here and then 59 percent of students receive language wanting their children to have a betservices. ter future than them. … I wish there “Programs like Los Ninos are pretwere more people like Ms. Maritza.” ty vital for these kids,” Verde said. “We want to bridge the academic gap so that nobody would notice a difference between kids who come from Lake Forest and the kids who come from other schools in our cluster.” Morelli was lead bilingual community liaison for the Fulton County school system when she was asked to create and lead Los Ninos Primero. The Venezuelan native was a perfect fit. “Being an immigrant myself, I understand how difficult it is for the parents to understand the school’s expectations,” Morelli said. Parent involvement is not only key here, it is required. “I want parents to feel that that they have something valuable to offer, to help and to feel proud of their own culture,” she said. “Building their self-confidence will help the children.” Morelli said parents help with fundraising, go on cultural field trips, and must attend at least 50 percent of the classes offered to them, such as school system expectations, their “rights as human beings” and stress management. “I’m planting hope in these parents that their children can go to college, because they were born here and they have more opportunity,” Morelli said. “They have to believe that. And they will learn, little by little, the steps they need to to make sure the kids are on track.” Fifty percent of the program’s first 17 students are in college, and Carmen

The school and the church are very open and protective and embracing.

Making a Difference | 5

6 | Education ■



Editor’s note: Through our “Exceptional Educator” series, Reporter Newspapers is showcasing the work of some outstanding teachers and administrators at our local schools. If you would like to recommend an Exceptional Educator, please email

Gary Piligian

teaches Advanced Placement statistics, statistics and other math classes, including pre-calculus and algebra 2, at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Sandy Springs. He’s been a teacher for four years. Before teaching, he was trained as an engineer and worked on Wall Street as a financial investment banker. He’s also the school’s crosscountry coach and runs marathons.

ter I went to graduate school for an MBA, worked in the institutional fixed-income business for 25 years - 11 years for Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup), and 14 years for Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. I’ve always been interested in education, as it played a huge role in my own career, and was at the stage of my life when I had the financial flexibility to teach. Like many non-teacher parents, I was a critic of how kids are taught, and I decided that instead of simply being a critic, I should try and do something about it. Teaching, done right, is definitely more difficult than most critics think it is. I have tremendous respect for my colleagues at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, and I’ve learned a great deal from them.

Q: What attracted you to teaching at first? Q: Has the appeal A: My path was difchanged? DAN CARMODY ferent than that of most A: I love working with Gary Piligian teachers - I was an enthe kids and with their pargineer by training who ents, so from that perspecworked at a management consulting firm tive, the appeal hasn’t changed at all. I draw after getting my bachelor’s degree, and, afenergy from seeing the students learn challenging concepts, and from helping them connect the dots between the skills they learn in class and the opportunities that are open to them in the business world.



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Q: What keeps you going year after year? A: Honestly, it’s the notes you get every now and then from a student, a parent of a student, or a former student telling you about the personal impact that you’ve made on the student. That’s the key. I want our students to be successful and then to pay it back when they are in a position to do so. I’m also fortunate that I work at Mount Vernon, where teachers have the flexibility to experiment with new ideas and technologies to keep things fresh. All teachers at Mount Vernon have learning outcomes that drive our instruction, but we have tremendous latitude in how to get our students to best achieve the learning outcomes. We can tailor our instruction and style to our special expertise. As an example, the school has let me create a two-semester elective for next year - introduction to personal finance, and introduction to investments. These are life-worthy topics, they are right up my power alley and I can involve our parent community as resources. I’m excited to see how this class unfolds next year. Q: What do you think makes a great teacher? A: I used to think subject matter expertise was the end-all and be-all, and, obviously, that is hugely important. In fact, it’s a given - it’s the price of admission to the ball game. But, after that, what really matters

Education | 7

MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016 ■ is something quite simple: Does the teacher care about the students and about the subject matter? If a teacher cares, students pick up on that. And likewise if they sense the teacher doesn’t care. Q: What do you want to see in your students? A: I want to see students who are ready to tackle difficult problems; I value resiliency and persistence. I try to put the growth mindset into all students - the idea that anyone can learn anything if they put the effort into it. Q: How do you engage your students? A: The biggest thing students are looking for is relevance. Our Head of School, Dr. Brett Jacobsen, suggested all of our staff read a book called “Future Wise” by David Perkins. The book emphasizes that educators need to make sure the concepts they teach are “life worthy” to students - in other words, is what we are teaching likely to matter to the lives that students are likely to live? That’s a great lens through which to build engagement: Is it relevant, and does it have real-world applicability? I always link what we learn in the classroom to what I actually applied in my role in the investment business; students are clamoring for that type of relevance. Q: Do you have a project or special program you use year after year? A: No. I change up my projects from year to year. You have to keep it fresh - refine what you’ve done before that worked well to make it better, and don’t be afraid to jettison things you did in the past that just weren’t that effective. Q: Is there a “trick” that works to get students involved? A: Candy. All students will work for candy. Seriously, there’s no trick - students can tell if you are working hard on their behalf. They can sense that you care, and they

respond in kind. Now, if you can only tell me the key to keeping graduating seniors involved. That’s a tough one, because, quite understandably, they’re starting to put high school in the rear-view mirror as they look forward to college. I love teaching seniors, because they are mature, they are thinking about their future, and they want to know what it’s like out there in the real world. But it does get challenging to keep them involved as you move toward Graduation Day. Also, I’m totally honest with my students. I tell them that I never had the occasion to use imaginary numbers in my work experience, but I used the concepts of compound growth almost daily. I build trust with my students, and don’t take that trust for granted. If you can expand your role from being a teacher to being a life coach, students appreciate it. Q: What do you hope your students take away from your class? A: Hard work, persistence and resilience are more important than raw ability. What you decide to study is more important than where you go to school. Think about growth opportunities when you make your education choices - if I were 18 years old today, I’d make sure I’d closely investigate technology, energy, health care and data science. Effort matters. Luck matters. Ethics matter. Skills matter. Some jobs pay more than others because of supply and demand; make sure you get the skills that will put you in high demand, and make sure you protect your reputation. You are the master of your own destiny.

It’s graduation season. To find out when and where your local high school holds its graduation ceremony, check

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8 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers 

Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 ■

Community Survey Question: What is the minimum post-high school education that you think is necessary today to get a good job? Do you think it is worth taking on debt to get more education? Total Respondents (200)


Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter

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Education HS 5%

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Age 40 & OVER 30%

“No, work experience is more important.” 61-year-old Sandy Springs man with a college degree “No, not unless you are in a specific field that requires it (aka doctor, lawyer, etc.).” 31-year-old Sandy Springs woman with a bachelor’s degree “Yes, but you need to be strategic and have a career in mind. A degree is only valuable if employers think it is.” 31-year-old Brookhaven man with a master’s degree

Associate Editor: John Ruch Staff Writer: Dyana Bagby

“Only if that debt can quickly be paid off. The education needs to lead to a job in a field where there is need.” 47-year-old Sandy Springs woman with a master’s degree

29 & YOUNGER 41% 30-39 29%

Despite the cost, a college degree remains the key to a good job, according to the people who answered our most recent 1Q survey. Two-thirds of the 200 respondents in the cellphone-based survey consider a college degree the minimum post-high school education needed to find a comfortable spot in the workplace. “Continuing education increases the chances of getting a better job and consequently, making more money,” a 36-year-old Atlanta woman said when asked whether it was worth going into debt to secure a college degree. “It is an investment that is likely to pay off.” And during this graduation season, when local colleges and high schools award degrees and diplomas to hundreds of new graduates, others echoed her belief that the extra years of schooling were worth the cost. “In today’s world, it is worth the debt to receive higher education,” a 23-year-old Brookhaven woman with a highschool diploma said. Not everyone saw it that way, however. About 23 percent of the respondents to the survey of adults across the communities served by Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta INtown thought high school graduates could do well with only two years of college education, a few college courses or no college at all. “As an executive for a 200-employee company,” a 41-year-old Buckhead man with a high-school education said, “I’ve found that some of the best people have no degree, but rather a great understanding of the subject matter for a given position.” Then again, about 10 percent thought college wasn’t enough. New graduates, they said, needed at least a master’s degree. Others questioned the high cost of college, which often requires students or their families to go deeply into debt. “I have recently graduated with my bachelor’s degree,” a 23-year-old Atlanta woman commented. “I think it is crazy how much we have to spend and put ourselves in debt to find a job just to make it. It’s insane that there are no other options than to put ourselves in debt in order to get a job, because to get any decent job today you need at least a bachelor’s degree. I am all about the education, but not being punished financially for receiving it.”

“Only if it (debt) is flexible and low interest!” 51-year-old Buckhead man with a bachelor’s degree “Depends on how much the job you expect to get will pay.” 24-year-old Dunwoody woman with a master’s degree “No. Success is based on effort, determination and focus, not financial background. Plenty of rich kids who have access to a college education make nothing of it.” 40-year-old Atlanta woman with a master’s degree “It’s an investment, but only to get a job that can pay it off.” 27-year-old Atlanta man with a graduate degree

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 or by texting REPORTER to 86312.

MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

Commentary | 9

We carry our children I carried them to term, thirty-eight weeks. They were 6.5 lbs. and 6.7 lbs. and each measured 19.5 inches, a remarkable dual heft for a 5’1 me. I carried them, hip on hip, side to side, front and back, for the first year. I carried them one at a time -- on a Boppy pillow in my lap and draped across my shoulder. I carried them tandem--strapped into strollers and car seats, in a backpack, and in a front sling. I carried them through colicky days and feverish nights, through Chuck E. Cheese bouncy-ball pits and Chick-fil-A slides. I shuttled them to school, karate lessons, swim meets, soccer practice, baseball games, campouts and Scout meetings. I hauled them to shoe shopping and suit fittings, and countless times to REI. I drove them to doctors’ offices and school dances, to birthday party days and movie meet-up nights. I drove them to airports for departure to grandparent vacations and summer adventures. I carried them to college visits and spring breaks and school dance picture parties. This month as I watch my twin boys carry their high school diplomas across the stage, I will continue to feel their weight in my arms. They may not know it, they may not like it, but they are a part of me and I carry them with me as completely and naturally as I carry my own heart. And after graduation, I will carry them still. We all carry our children. They are there in our minds and our guts, our hopes and our fears. We carry them through sickness, disappointments and breakups. When they don’t make the team, when their friends move away, we feel the loss and we share in the sadness. We carry them through health, accomplishments and satisfaction.

When their team wins, when they made the cut, we feel the elation and we share in the thrill. And through all the ups and downs, we carry them… with love and prayer and wringing hands and gleeful hugs. We teach them to stand and to walk and to be independent; raising selfsufficient adults is, after all, our ulRobin Conte is a writer timate goal. and mother of four who (And yes, you lives in Dunwoody. She can throwcan be contacted at in “happy,” “well-adjusted,” “contributing member of society,” and any number of enriching adjectives, but you get my point). Yet our children are irrevocably connected to us through the bonds of parenthood, and it is within those parental bonds that we carry them. We carry them with joy and pride and utter astonishment that these beings grew up before our very eyes and developed into strong and capable adults. We will carry them still, through dorm move-in day and college football games, through interviews and job searches, through engagements and weddings and births, through new lives and new dreams and new families emerging. It is the way of the world. Once we carry our tiny miracles as helpless infants, they become ours, and we carry them with us, forever.

Robin’s Nest Robin Conte


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10 | Community ■

Local rules differ on construction cranes hoisting loads over busy streets BY JOHN RUCH

A heavy load of wooden building frames dangled from a crane over traffic on a Sandy Springs street April 29. Hoisting a load over an open street is a move the crane’s owner says should not happen, and various construction industry guidelines discourage it. But in the patchwork world of localized construction codes, officials say, that lumber lift broke no legal rules in that specific spot, the One City Walk project’s side facing Sandy Springs Place. But the same lift might violate city or state rules if it happened just a few miles away in Buckhead—or even just a few feet away on Roswell Road. In the April 29 incident, workers had placed the load of wood in a travel lane of Sandy Springs Place without any special traffic control. As vehicles drove around the load, two workers connected it to the crane, which then lifted it over moving traffic and onto the job site. The crane is a rental from North Carolina-based Heede Southeast. “I was like, ‘Holy…’ It’s not the best feeling,” said Heede General Manager Jason Kenna about seeing a photo of the lift. “Hoisting loads over occupied streets is not a common practice,” he added, saying workers usually will stop traffic “so no one’s under the load.” Kenna said it appeared the crane operator was working “in the blind,” meaning he could not see the load directly due to the angle and relied on “flaggers,” or ground workers, to direct him. Heede provides only the crane and the operator, not the flaggers, who are general contractor CW Construction’s responsibility, Kenna said. “We’ll probably do a site visit and talk to the contractor to figure out what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,”

Kenna said. Grant Stackhouse, CW’s executive vice president of construction, said that the tightness of the site requires lifts from the street at times, but that the company does not want loads passing over traffic. “That isn’t our policy. We want to do our best to not fly things over [the street],” he said. Stackhouse said the site supervisor informed him that traffic had been blocked during the April 29 lift, but acknowledged he had not directly witnessed it. Stackhouse said the supervisor has been instructed to emphasize the need for traffic control during crane lifts. While the crane and contracting companies are taking action, the city of Sandy Springs probably would not, because no specific rules cover the situation, said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. “Our current code does not cover ‘means and methods’ as it relates to cranes and construction within the city,” Kraun said, adding that the state code the city borrowed from doesn’t, either. “However, our JOHN RUCH building inspectors are able to take A heavy load of wooden building frames dangles action if they witness activity that over a portion of Sandy Springs Place on April 29. they believe is unsafe or presents a life safety issue.” One City Walk is also bordered And hoisting a load over the road would reby Roswell Road, a state route quire a traffic control plan involving stopwhere crane operations have different ping vehicles “until the load went from rules. “If GDOT was overseeing this work… Point A to Point B. Nothing should be unwe would not have any vehicles moving der that load.” under our crane, period,” said state DepartThe city of Atlanta has similar permit ment of Transportation spokesperson Anrequirements, said spokesperson Jewannalysce Baker. na Gaither. “Public safety is always our top On state routes, even moving the priority,” she said in an email. “All construccrane’s arm over the street requires a “right tion activity in our public right of ways, to of way encroachment” permit, said Baker. include material handling and equipment

Thank you Atlanta

therein, requires a right-of-way construction permit and any associated needed sidewalk, lane or street closure permits to ensure protection of the public.” The cities of Brookhaven and Dunwoody do not often have projects using the large tower cranes like the one at One City Walk and do not have specific crane-related construction codes, city spokespersons said. Both cities do require permits and traffic control plans for construction use of a public street’s travel lane. Dunwoody in 2014 issued special easement permits for tower cranes at the new State Farm tower under construction at Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway. Michael Smith, Dunwoody’s public works director, said those permits were not about carrying loads over the streets, but simply giving permission for the crane’s arms to pass over public right of ways. The city considered it a propertyrights issue, not a construction code issue, he said. Dunwoody city spokesperson Bob Mullen said the city does require all construction projects to follow “federal and state requirements, guidelines and best practices.” The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration, which governs employee safety issues, has a standard that broadly suggests cranes avoid lifting materials over workers, “consistent with public safety,” said Lindsay Williams, a spokesperson for OSHA’s southeastern regional office. But OSHA does not have jurisdiction over general public safety, he said. Shane Adams, president and CEO of Crane Safety Associates of America, an inspection and training firm in McDonough, Ga., said that a crane’s load-carrying path should be planned to meet voluntary industry standards from the American National Standards Institute, including one that says: “The operator should avoid carrying loads over people.”

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MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

Community | 11

Northside plans 8-story tower, 10-story garage


Northside Hospital hopes to add an 8-story tower and a 10-story parking garage to its Pill Hill campus. The tower’s height has increased from five stories to contain other services, according to a hospital spokesperson. For a larger version, go to


Northside Hospital hopes to add an 8-story tower and a 10-story parking garage to its Pill Hill campus in plans now under state and city of Sandy Springs review. Last December, Northside received state approval to build a 5-story tower— an addition to its main building at 1000 Johnson Ferry Road—to add 53 in-patient beds. That would boost the total bed count to 590. This month, the hospital filed an updated tower plan that keeps the same number of beds, but adds three more stories containing other services to the building, according to spokesperson Katherine Watson. The application for a “Certificate of Need,” includes: •Expansion and renovation of the hospital’s food services. •Four additional shared operating room suites and expansion of surgical support space. •Renovation of existing space to house a conversion of existing medical/surgical beds into critical care beds. •25 physician sleep rooms. •Refurbishment of the hospital’s Labor & Delivery area. •Renovation/conversion of existing space to house 29 additional 23-hour observation/extended recovery beds/bays.

A community meeting about the plan is slated for May 23, 6 p.m. at Sandy Springs City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500. BK

•Renovation of space being vacated in the existing hospital for other clinical and non-clinical uses. If the tower gains state approval, construction could start this fall, Watson said.

12 | Community ■

City to sell Skyland Park to DeKalb for new elementary school Continued from page 1

$2.3 million will be used to demoldeal was nixed after Ernst, who ish the state building and build the had just been elected to office, told Essentially, the city agrees to swap 10 acres new Skyland Park to include dog then-mayor Rebecca Chase Wilof city parkland for the 4 acres and the Skyareas, a multi-use field and a playliams he planned to kill the deal land building while receiving an additional ground, according to draft plans after taking office. $4.7 million cash payment, explained City drawn up by GreenbergFarrow. Ernst said he was presented Attorney Chris Balch. The estimated cost to build the the new land proposition from the The vote to approve the sale was 3-0, new Skyland Park is about $2.3 school district a month after takwith Mayor John Ernst and Councilmemmillion, according to the city. Coning office. He agreed to hear the bers Linley Jones and Joe Gebbia voting in struction is expected to begin in district out and was satisfied with favor. Councilmember Bates Mattison, exJanuary and be completed within what was offered. Being an elected ecutive director of the Brookhaven Innosix months. official also means making tough vation Academy, which last year wantThe remaining $2.4 million will decisions, he added. ed to purchase the park property for its be used specifically to purchase “This will be the first school DYANA BAGBY new charter school, recused himself from Rob Smith, seated, right, explains his concerns about more green space. The school disbuilt in Brookhaven since the the discussion to ensure there was no pera new elementary school to be build in Skyland Park trict is expected to close on the 1970s … and I believe it will be a to Mayor John Ernst, seated, left, and Community ceived conflict of interest. properties with the city and state pillar for our community,” he said. Development Director Ben Song, left. Councilmember John Park, who repreby January 2017, with the new “We have to make decisions, that’s sents the neighborhoods around Skyland Matt Ades said he was so angered by the school slated to open in three years. what we were elected to do. And I Park, was absent. Park issued a statement agreement he planned to put a “For Sale” The school system’s plans to construct know I’m going to disappoint people. I truMay 11 saying he was traveling for work sign in his yard on Wednesday and “move a new $22 million, 900-seat elementary ly understand your concerns. The advoand was unable to attend the meeting, but out of Brookhaven and say goodbye.” school on the current Skyland Park propcates … need to start speaking out publicly.” said he would have voted yes. Sunil Singh said the City Council gave erty did not sit well with those living in Gebbia said the decision to sell SkyThe city’s May 10 vote followed the the public lots of time to voice opinions neighborhoods near the park. land Park to build a new school is a regionDeKalb school board vote on May 9 apwhen other development moves in, such as al issue, not just a city one. Jones said she proving the purchase of the 10-acre park gas stations. “But for this we were not given agreed to the deal because it meant the city Residents voice complaints from Brookhaven and also agreeing to any warning,” he said. had some leverage in deciding what develRob Smith of Skyland Drive said he was buy the Skyland Center building next door Outspoken neighborhood activist Ronopment took place on the property. upset no news of the deal was made public from the state government for $2.8 million. nie Mayer was visibly upset after the vote until the day before the council vote. “I’m The building currently houses the State Viand berated council members. “Shame on really upset with the process,” he said. “It’s ‘Decisions of generational tal Records office. you all,” he said. “This just makes my blood going to be hard to get on board with projOf the $4.7 million being paid to the city, consequence’ boil. You just sold the whole city out.” ects in the future.” Several residents spoke in support of Balch said the city is allowed by state the sale and plan for the new school. law to discuss real estate matters behind Kim Gokce, president of the Cross Keys closed doors. He explained that because Foundation, praised the council for apthe school board voted on May 9 to approving the deal. “These are decisions of prove the deal and the state’s deadline of generational consequence,” he said. “I unMay 15 on the sale of its Skyland building derstand concerns raised, but we have to meant the city had to act quickly. have public schools. All current schools are Balch also said voting in favor of such over capacity. ... I think once [the communia transaction despite concerns from memty] sees the context of this decision, I think bers of the public upon learning of the deal you will win them over.” at the last minute is “part of governance.” Lissie Stahlman, a former public school “We live in a representative republic teacher, thanked the council for its deciand a representative democracy,” he said. sion to help alleviate school overcrowding. “This is not ancient Athens where we have “I guarantee you, there won’t be as direct participation. And the reason you many trailers with kids who have to hold were each elected was to provide the voice it because they can’t use the bathroom of people and to make decisions for the citand wind up with urinary tract infections; izens of this city.” that’s what’s happening right now,” she The city was on track to purchase the Whether it’s furthering your education, said. “I’m 100 percent in favor of this.” Skyland building late last year, but that buying a new car, traveling, getting married, or doing renovations, a HELOC can give you the funds you need by accessing the equity you have in your home.



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MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

Voters Guide State Sen. Fran Millar confronts challenger Paul Maner in the May 24 Republican Primary for the Senate seat representing District 40, which takes in much of Brookhaven. The winner will face Democrat Tamara Johnson-Shealey in the fall election. The Reporter submitted questions to the candidates, and here are selections from their responses, edited for space. To see their full answers, go to In House District 80, three Brookhaven Republicans are competing in the primary for the right to challenge the incumbent, Rep. Taylor Bennett of Brookhaven. Those candidates were featured in the April 29May 12 edition of the Brookhaven Reporter. Their responses may be found at

Paul Maner

the one passed this session and vetoed by Gov. Deal is offered again next year, how would you vote on it? A: I would vote for it. Q: If it comes up again in the legislature next year, would you support some form of new tax to expand MARTA? A: I could only make that decision if the residents of District 40 told me that they wanted it. MARTA has a huge presence in District 40, but it’s an issue that I want to address in regular town hall meetings across the communities in the District. Too many politicians are either in the pockets of big business or political machinery.

Fran Millar (I)

Marking Consultant/state Senator

Financial advisor Neighborhood: Embry Hills Past political experience: None. Other experience in the community: I have served as a missionary on both forPaul Maner eign and local missions, as well as working with the needy and indigent. Q: Why are you running for this office? A: I have always strongly believed in representative government. My opponent believes the best form of government is powerful men making decisions behind closed doors. Career politicians thinking that way have hurt our communities, but not beyond repair. I will fight to restore active representation to State Senate District 40’s residents at the Georgia Capitol. Q: Why should the voters choose you? A: I am sick and tired of the corruption and lack of results from DeKalb County. When my opponent leaves office, he will leave the county worse than he found it. I will push to end political corruption, cut taxes and improve our educational and transportation concerns. There are too many issues being ignored and I will not need on the job training to solve these problems. Q: If elected, what’s the first thing you want to accomplish in office? A: If elected, I will be the leading Taxpayer Advocate in Georgia. Georgians are paying too much in taxes every year and I will question each and every tax the citizens are being forced to pay. Q: What do you see as the biggest problem facing the state? A: Education, Transportation and Taxes. BK

Q: If a “religious freedom” bill similar to

Community: Dunwoody Past political experience: State Representative for 12 years; state Senator for six years. Other experience Fran Millar (I) in the community: Member of Dunwoody United Methodist Church; board member, Dunwoody Homeowners Association. Q: Why are you running for this office? A: To continue serving the people of the 40th Senate district Q: Why should the voters choose you? A: Experience and I get results. I focused on property tax relief, career readiness options and increased opportunities for the disabled Q: If elected, what’s the first thing you want to accomplish in office? A: Continue to control costs of higher education Q: What do you see as the biggest problem facing the state? A: Educational achievement and regional transportation Q: If a “religious freedom” bill similar to the one passed this session and vetoed by Gov. Deal is offered again next year, how would you vote on it? A: It will not be similar. I would rather focus on education, healthcare and transportation issues. Q: If it comes up again in the legislature next year, would you support some form of new tax to expand MARTA? A: I voted against just Fulton and DeKalb bearing the burden. Other counties and the state need to contribute. I=incumbent

Community | 13

14 | Community ■

A bus tour moves ideas about Buford Highway’s future Continued from page 1

businesses in the 1970s, and then a Latino mall in 1998. Now Plaza Fiesta is making sure its retailers welcome the new demographic by accepting credit cards, using bilingual signage and showing “that it’s not scary to come into a place that is mostly Hispanic.” MARTA Army founder Simon Berrebi said bus crawl organizers tried to not present Buford as exotic, but instead to highlight the good and the challenging. “That’s how people who live and work here live it every day,” he reminded the nightclub crowd. “It’s not just, ‘Let’s go eat.’ It’s, ‘Let’s go eat and learn,’” said We Love BuHi founder Marian Liou about the bus crawl’s intent.

Why they love BuHi

Many attendees did just that, enjoying exploring Buford and trying out MARTA’s 39 bus. Katie Lambert of Atlanta and Linda Niederhausen of Marietta teamed up to

join one of several groups led from stop to stop by volunteer guides. “This is one of the few parts of town [where] I haven’t gone to every restaurant,” said Lambert, while Niederhausen was impressed with MARTA’s service. “It was clean. That’s one of the myths—that the bus is dirty,” she said. Chamblee residents Katja and Joerg Lauterbach said they’ve been on We Love BuHi’s previous Buford bike tours. “We just love Buford Highway…We are adventurers, but [we attend] to be more adventurous,” Katja Lauterbach said, adding that as immigrants themselves—from Berlin, Germany—they appreciate the corridor and its people. “I really support the mission [Liou’s] taking on to celebrate Buford… We know how it is to be having certain language barriers.” At Yen Jing, a Chinese restaurant in Doraville, a dumpling-munching crowd heard about the work of the Center for Pan


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some local curiosity. As one group walked through the Plaza Fiesta parking lot, a passerby cracked, “Did y’all’s bus break down? That’s a lot of white people.” Julio Penaranda, the property manager at Plaza Fiesta, said that Brookhaven city policies are displacing the mall’s Latino customer base, even as it adapts to serve a new, upper-middle-class “white Anglo” demographic. “Brookhaven has been, hands-down, anti-low-income, anti-Latino, anti-immigrants since Day One,” said Penaranda, pointing to the city’s approval of luxury housing in place of apartments, and its licensing crackdowns on local restaurants and nightclubs. He contrasted Brookhaven with the city of Chamblee, which he characterized as more supportive. Penaranda said Plaza Fiesta’s mall has changed with local demographics over the years, starting as a Woolworth’s department store in the 1950s, shifting to Asian

and by visiting our website

Bringing busloads of mostly white, nonHispanic cultural tourists to Buford Highway was a tricky part of the bus crawl’s own displacement discussions, and sparked

gave patrons a chance to explore the Buford Highway corridor and hear about redevelopment plans.

Gentrification tensions


“Bus crawl” attendees dig in at Plaza Fiesta on April 27. The crawl, staged by We Love BuHi and the MARTA Army,


ing out families” with “million-dollar townhomes.” Meanwhile, Brookhaven City Council member Joe Gebbia revealed that he wants the city to buy Buford Highway property to ensure redevelopment includes affordable housing and local businesses. City-owned redevelopments, Gebbia said, may be the only way “to serve the community and not just maximize the profit.” Similar food for thought was served alongside food for the belly on the bus tour. While noshing on sample plates, attendees heard from such officials as MARTA planner Amanda Rhein, who set up an easel at the Plaza Fiesta mall and explained the agency’s proposed transit-oriented redevelopment around the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe station. The bus crawl ended at Brookhaven’s Royal Lounge nightclub with keynote speaker Ryan Gravel, the urban planner who dreamed up Atlanta’s BeltLine park/ transit ring. “There’s certainly the challenge of change and displacing the thing that makes [Buford Highway] special,” Gravel said in an interview at the lounge about the corridor’s immigrant culture. “Nowhere else has that sense of identity, that sense of place…There’s nothing else like it” in metro Atlanta or most other suburban corridors nationwide, he said. “What happens to it is really important.” Without a new kind of culture-focused planning, Gravel told the crowd, Buford’s main asset will be displaced for another generic strip-mall suburb. He suggested turning two lanes of the roadway into bus-rapid-transit lanes. And instead of pumping money into standard redevelopments, he called for investing in affordable housing or “a venture capital fund for immigrant businesses.”


MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

Community | 15

Asian Community Services from its vice president, Victoria Huynh. Sally Flocks of the Atlanta pedestrian advocacy group PEDS explained Buford Highway’s traffic dangers outside the Bangladeshi market and café Bismillah, where there’s a dirt path instead of a sidewalk. The star of the tour was Gravel, who grew up in Chamblee and whose 1999 grad student project of turning old railroad beds into the BeltLine is transforming Atlanta— currently as a multiuse path, but with a strong push for his original light-rail public transit vision. (Gravel said he’s “superexcited” about a transit-funding tax that goes before Atlanta voters this fall.)

Grassroots challenges

Gravel signed a copy of his new book, “Where We Want to Live,” for Rebekah Morris, a teacher at Brookhaven’s Cross Keys High, while she told him about her students’ project to design their own Buford Highway visions. That student project is partly a response to a lack of Buford community input in local plans, partly due to language or cultural barriers. Grassroots input is a big theme of Gravel’s book, he said in an interview. For the BeltLine plan, he said, Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Unit system was crucial for getting quick and easy community input from everywhere in the city. He said he is not an expert in Buford-area local governments, but that they appear not to have

the daily struggles of poverty—all of those and more are among the obstacles, Schaefer said. And with immigrants from dozens of countries, the Buford corridor’s community is not a “monolith” with an easy representative to contact, he said. “I think there’s deeper relationshipbuilding that both sides need to engage in,” Schaefer said of city-community relations. He added that Brookhaven is generally responsive, but “sometimes market forces are bigger than any of us.” State-level affordable housing policy may be the real solution, he said. “There’s also the culture of thinking about it,” he said. “Sometimes the law follows the culture.”

Rethinking redevelopment

Gravel made a similar point about broadening the definition of urban planning. With metro Atlanta’s population booming and local governments doing cleanup projects like the Peachtree Creek Greenway and shutting down strip clubs, change is coming to Buford Highway, Gravel said. With a “thoughtful” approach, it can change in ways that build wealth for the existing community, he said. And with new priorities driving the planning, it could suddenly “be very easy to take [some of] those lanes away from cars and give them to people.” “Buford Highway has to be a corridor not just for moving people in cars along,”

Highway’s workforce housing and multicultural businesses, he said, adding that the idea is under city internal review. But time may not be on the side of newfangled development ideas. Gebbia said he has talked with the Latin American Associ-

ation about a “contingency plan” in case a major apartment complex was bought out and its hundreds of residents are suddenly displaced. “Right now, there is no answer,” Gebbia said. “They’re all just ideas right now.”

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Ryan Gravel, left, signs his book for Cross Keys High School teacher Rebekah Morris at Brookhaven’s Royal Lounge.

anything like NPUs. Brookhaven created a plan for its section of Buford Highway in 2014 that is controversial, Liou and others say, for suggesting a renaming to “Buford Boulevard” and only lightly addressing diversity with such ideas as a globe sculpture. The published plan included public comments from only nine people. Local input from the diverse community is “an uphill climb for everybody,” said David Schaefer, the director of policy and advocacy at the Latin American Association, which is based on Brookhaven’s stretch of Buford Highway. Language barriers, meetings not accessible by public transit, immigrants from places without traditions of public input, BK

but also for community development, health and the arts, Gravel said. “All of those things are part of what its job is.” Gebbia, the Brookhaven City Council member who represents the area, praised Liou and Morris as leaders raising some of those new ways of thinking. He said it has helped inspire him to work for more formal, regional planning with Chamblee and Doraville on public transit advocacy and such marketing efforts as a possible “international festival” on the entire corridor. Gebbia’s biggest idea is using a potential new city agency—a Downtown Development Authority—to “take control of [a] project…assemble the land…then dictate the outcome to bidders.” One or more city-developed projects could retain Buford

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16 | Out & About ■



FOR KIDS KIDS TO PARKS DAY Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. For the sixth year, Sandy Springs participates in the National Park Trust’s “National Kids to Parks Day.” Activities for all ages include: obstacle course challenges, water slides, inflatables, face painting, balloon artist, raffles, DJ music and more. Free. Hammond Park, 705 Hammond Dr., Sandy Springs, 30328. Find out more:

A SEUSSOME TWOSOME Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m. Using the poetry of Dr. Seuss’s classic stories, “Gertrude McFuzz,” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” this children’s program is an easy to understand introduction to opera. Tickets, $10 per person. Q&A with performers follows show. Conant Performing Arts Center, Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Rd., Brookhaven, 30319. For further details and tickets, go to: ccityopera. org. Call 404-364-8555 with questions.



lanta and Jewish Family & Career Services copresent the film,” SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age.” The documentary explores challenges families face over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Authors and brain scientists discuss how to help kids navigate the digital world. Tickets, $12. To purchase, visit: 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody, 30338.

INTRO TO MEDITATION Wednesday, May 25, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Learn what meditation is and what its benefits are. Free and open to the public. Suitable for adults, elders, college and high school audiences. For more information, contact the Buckhead Branch Library at 404-814-3500 or email: 269 Buckhead Ave., NE, Atlanta, 30305.



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Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn “simple” medicinemaking skills using native and nonnative plants found at Blue Heron Nature Preserve! This class covers plant identification, and the medicinal and edible value of plants. Hike the woods, learn proper harvesting skills and discuss plant safety. Make a “pre recipe” tonic to take home. Light snacks and beverages provided. $30 per person; $15 for children under 12. 4055 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, 30342. Call 404-345-1008 for information. Register: or email:

SPRING FLORA Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Bring your canoe or kayak and join National Park Service Naturalist Jerry Hightower for a three-mile float on the Chattahoochee River, exploring plants, geology and wildlife. You will encounter three, mild class 1.5 rapids suitable for beginners. Meet at the Powers Island entrance at 10 a.m. to unload equipment. Wear warm, quick-drying clothes and good river shoes. No flip-flops! Bring lunch and water for a picnic. Reservations required by calling 678-538-1200. $3 park pass or current annual pass or America the Beautiful Pass required. 5450 Interstate North Parkway, Sandy Springs, 30328. Find out more:

SCREENAGERS Sunday, May 22, 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. The Marcus Jewish Community Center of At-

Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Atlanta History Center honors U.S. veterans of generations past as well as those of today during the family program, Military Timeline. Meet veterans sharing personal stories of wartime and memorabilia. Travel the military timeline from the Revolutionary War to current conflicts. Enjoy self-guided tours of Veterans Park using smartphones to access recordings of veterans’ stories. Free for members; included in general admission for non-members. For details or tickets, visit: or call 404-814-4000. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., NW, Atlanta, 30305.

FUNDRAISERS BROOKHAVEN BOLT Saturday, May 21, 8 a.m. Join the crowd at the Brookhaven Bolt! 5K runs through Ashford Park. Begins and ends at Village Place Brookhaven, 1418 Dresden Dr. Walkers, strollers and pets start at 8:05 a.m. Rain or shine. Post-race festivities include raffles, awards, food. $30; $35 race day. Proceeds go to Ashford Park Elementary School. Learn more and register: Caldwell Road, Brookhaven, 30319.

GEORGIA BEER FESTIVAL Saturday, May 21, 2-6 p.m. The second annual Tap into Georgia Beer Festival rolls into Brook Run Park, featuring local Georgia brewers. Live music. Rain or shine. Tickets, $30 in advance; $35 at the door. Designated driver ticket available, $10. Proceeds benefit the Dunwoody Nature Center. Ticket includes tastings, souvenir glass and access to on-


MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

site concessions. 4770 N. Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody 30338. Questions? Visit:

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS 5K Saturday, May 28, 8 a.m. Come out and honor the men and women of our armed services! This 5K provides financial support to our troops with food, rent, utilities and medical expenses. Grab your family, friends and fuzzy buddies for a run/walk around Chastain Park. Rain or shine. Strollers and walkers welcome. $30; day of $35. Children 6-18, $23. 110 W. Wieuca Rd., Atlanta, 30342. Register at or find out more:


dents, $30; free with a Petrel Pass. Additional shows: Saturday, May 21, 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 22, 3 p.m. Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Rd., Oglethorpe University, Brookhaven, 30319. For more information and tickets, go to:


Saturday, May 21, 8 p.m. Known for their smooth harmonies and Motown-era influences, this young band, Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, makes audiences want to stay on the dance floor. Free beginners dance lesson 7-8 p.m. $18; $5, students; $14, active military. No partner required. All ages welcome. Cajun food for sale. Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Dr., Sandy Springs, 30328. For further details, go to: or call 877-338-2420.

ATLANTA CONCERT BAND Sunday, May 22, 4 p.m. The Atlanta Concert Band continues its 2015-2016 season with a free performance of “Take the High Road: A Musical Tribute to the Fallen” at The Galloway School. No tickets required. In the Chaddick Performing Arts Center, 215 West Wieuca Rd., NW, Atlanta, 30342. For more information, call 404358-1966 or visit www.atlantaconcertband.

SOULHOUND Thursday, May 19, 6-8 p.m. Reception for the 17th annual international juried exhibition, featuring 100 submitted paintings from the Southeastern Pastel Society. Show runs through June 26. $5 for adults; free for OUMA members; children under 12, free. Free parking. Lowry Hall, Third Floor, Oglethorpe Museum of Art, 4484 Peachtree Rd., NE, Brookhaven, 30319. Call 404-364-8555 or go to: museum.

THE MIKADO Friday, May 20, 8 p.m. Capitol City Opera Company presents Gilbert and Sullivan’s light-hearted comic operetta production, “The Mikado,” set in Japan. General admission: adults, $40; seniors/stu-

Saturday, May 28, 7-9 p.m. The Dunwoody Nature Center’s Concerts in the Park series welcomes Soulhound, who play groove-oriented R&B, as well as soul and greasy funk of the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Grab a chair, blanket and picnic dinner. Beverages available for purchase. Seating on first-come, first-served basis. Free for DNC members; adults, $5; students, $3; children 3 and under, free. 5343 Roberts Dr., Dunwoody, 30338. For further details, call 770-394-3322 or go to: Find out about the band:

Out & About | 17 ■




should get the tickets. Don’t argue with me about the merits of ticketing; trust Smith to deliver you an amazing feast that is twice as large as you exMegan Volpert lives in pect. The tickDecatur, teaches in Roets are for a swell and writes books five-course about popular culture. menu, but there were four surprise courses threaded between those and one of them had four completely different bites on it. It’s dynamite bang for your buck. Trust in Smith, whose tastes, techniques and plating will all prove themselves to you as worthy of the ridiculous amount of praise already bestowed upon them. This brings me to my only point of disagreement with Kummer’s review. He says that the food “is of a seriousness that suggests, perhaps even demands, white tablecloths and a hint of formality.” Noooo! I would say instead, “welcome to Atlanta, where the very best chefs have no need of white tablecloths.” Fine dining establishments in New York or Los Angeles are free to serve you expensively boring four-star food, resting assured that you can sweep your disillusionment under their white tablecloths. That is not how we do it in the South. Not only is Staplehouse free of white tablecloths, it doesn’t even require servers to wear standardized uniforms and it also features – gasp! – an open kitchen floor plan. We are unfussy and we have soul, and we should not make concessions or apologize for it. One other thing: we like to drink in the South. The long line of glowing Staplehouse reviews often neglects to mention its

Dining Out Megan Volpert



In the April edition of Atlanta Magazine, Corby Kummer gave four stars to Staplehouse—the first four-star rating given by that magazine since 2010. Within the same 24 hours as that incredible review, news also broke that Staplehouse is a James Beard Finalist for Best New Restaurant. After I ate there, I immediately posted on social media: “Don’t wait for my review, ATLiens, get tickets to eat at Staplehouse now, before they’re the hardest table to get in this city. I’m not a sentimental person, so when I say you won’t regret it…” and then posted a photo of the slogan painted over their kitchen. It’s a quotation from Ryan Hidinger that reads, “Anything long lasting or worthwhile takes time and complete surrender.” Everyone knows the late Hidinger’s story by now. In short, he was a talented chef with plans to open a restaurant, but instead he died after the industry raised quite a lot of money to aggressively but unsuccessfully treat his gallbladder cancer. What remains is the small but fiercely determined clan of his wife, Jen; his sister, Kara; and Kara’s husband, Chef Ryan Smith. What remains is The Giving Kitchen, a means of raising charitable funds for members of the industry who are in need of help with expensive medical bills. All of the after-tax profits from Staplehouse go to The Giving Kitchen. So to begin with, this is an easy way to give back to the chefs and servers who literally put food on your table. And it is incredible food. I have had the pleasure of experiencing the majority of fine dining offerings in Atlanta, and without hyperbole of any kind, I want to state unequivocally that I have never been so impressed with a meal in our fair city as I was with the one at Staplehouse. Kummer said it’s a meal worth a plane ticket and I agree. There are many dishes worthy of analysis, but little point in detailing them because you should not order them. Staplehouse offers an a la carte menu, but you

rant Re


18 | Dining Out

MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

Dining Out | 19

At Senior Helpers, we know that life is busy and caring for an elderly parent or loved one is hard work. Our loving team is here to assist you and give you the break you deserve. From left, Kara Hidinger, Chef Ryan Smith and Jen Hidinger.

bar program, directed by Stephen James. James is not a formally trained sommelier. He is a glam band rocker from Athens with little patience for some other expert’s idea of good taste. A self-taught connoisseur, he paired a superb set of wines to go with the tasting menu. Every pour was a generous one and he personally chatted us up tableside when, after having very much enjoyed not making any choices for the past two

and a half hours, we struggled to decide on a simple aperitif. Get tickets to Staplehouse. Completely surrender to it, as Ryan Hidinger wanted. Traditionalist fine diners and the James Beard Awards should find it worthwhile, too. Staplehouse is located at 541 Edgewood Ave. in the Old Fourth Ward. For more information, visit

Quick Bites Create Your Cupcake is open in Sandy Springs at 203 Hilderbrand Drive. The shop allows customers to personalize their own cupcake creations in person for delivery or for group and corporate meetings and events. For more information, visit

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Jamba Juice is now open at 6623 Roswell Road, Suite J, in Sandy Springs, offering up fresh juices, all-natural baked goods, sandwiches and more. For more information, visit Brookhaven Provisions is now open in Brookleigh Marketplace. The combination restaurant and shop features sandwiches and salads from both Café at Pharr and Hungry Peach as well as items like olive oils, honey, jams, jellies and more. For details, visit facebook. com/BrookhavenProvisions.

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Above, Lost Corner Preserve, Sandy Springs’ newest park, was recently transformed into a classroom for 103 first graders from Dunwoody Springs Elementary School. The students learned about nature, gardening, history and beekeeping. At right, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, a third-generation beekeeper, shows off his skills handling the insects. Austin Elementary School in Dunwoody held its annual International STEM celebration on May 5, providing an opportunity to learn about other nationalities. At left, second-graders Erik Johansson, left, and Viggo Klint, dressed in the colors of Sweden, have a snack.

Published by Springs Publishing, LLC, 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

The celebration gave students a chance to showcase their implementation of STEM practices and principles as well as their use of engineering and design concepts.

Emma Kate Sellers, a student at the Atlanta Girls’ School and a member of Youth Leadership Sandy Springs, spent part of her final day in the program studying the biodiversity of a creek at Island Ford, headquarters of the Chattachoochee River National Recreation Area. Students found a variety of wildlife including frogs, invertebrates, dragonfly larva, water bugs and crawfish.

MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

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22 | Public Safety ■

Local police departments training public on active shooter events BY DYANA BAGBY

ly engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” The Sandy Springs Police Department has offered three C.R.A.S.E. seminars to the public so far this year, and also 11 private classes, said Sgt. Forrest Bohannon. “We have a lot of private requests. We do lockdown drills at schools. Schools have different policies than what we teach with C.R.A.S.E. Some of the principles are the same, but some are not because of the younger children,” Bohannon said. “Some of the classes we have done are for medical offices, business offices, private school parents, citizen police academy.” The Brookhaven Police Department will be scheduling more classes after the summer and the APD has held several successful classes this year. Carlson told the Dunwoody crowd that there have been 160 “active shooter incidents” in the U.S. from 2000 through 2013. ► That’s an average of 11.4 incidents per year. However, since 2006, that number has jumped to 16.4 incidents per year.

The class began with the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, Dunwoody Police Department’s Lt. Mike Carlson asked the crowd, “Why do you think you are here tonight?” A woman from the audience volunteered, “To learn how to react when there’s an active shooter.” “I couldn’t think of a better response,” Carlson said. “Give her a round of applause.” The audience did just that. Carlson was teaching a recent Civilian Reaction to an Active Shooter Event (C.R.A.S.E.) at the Dunwoody United Methodist Church, one of several Dunwoody police have put on in the past couple of years. A crowd of nearly 100 people sat in folding chairs in the Fellowship Hall listening to Carlson’s presentation, part of a growing number of people in metro Atlanta seeking answers for what to do if they somehow are caught in the middle of a shooting. In addition to Dunwoody, police departments in Sandy Springs, Brookhaven and Atlanta also have offered such classes, all free and open to the public, as news of “active shooters” continue to make national headlines. An active shooter as defined by the FBI is “an individual active-

► There were 486 people killed in these incidents and 557 wounded. ► 70 percent of the incidents occurred in either a business/com-


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Lt. Mike Carlson of the Dunwoody Police Department addresses a crowd of people attending a recent Civilian Reaction to Active Shooter Event (C.R.A.S.E.) at Dunwoody United Methodist Church.

merce or school environment. ► 60 percent of the incidents ended before police arrived.

Avoiding ‘normalcy bias’

Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, last year’s San Bernandino attack – these are all well-known active shooter events, Carlson said. Carlson played a recording of Columbine teacher Patty Nielson calling 911 from the library as students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris could be heard in the hallway shooting. “Just stay down!” she shouts at students. Audible gasps could be heard from the crowd listening to the tape. A video re-enactment of the shooting, with actors portraying Klebold and Harris as well as injured and terrified students, is then played for the crowd. More gasps from those watching could be heard. Carlson said most people have a “normalcy bias” and don’t believe anything bad, such as being in the midst of an active shooter situation, could happen to them. Classes such as this are meant to jar people into realizing they need to get out of that bias toward normalcy. The number of deaths at an active shooter event depends on how fast police arrive and the “target availability” – how easy people are for the shooter to actually kill. It takes police an average of three minutes to respond to an active shooter event, which is like an “eternity” for those at the scene trying to survive, Carlson said. The best way to save lives is to teach civilians how to respond themselves, he

said. Playing dead doesn’t work, he said. Nor does hiding behind desks, he said, because desks aren’t bulletproof. “Those are two bad strategies,” Carlson said. Instead, people are urged to “avoid, deny, defend,” he explained. Avoid: Make sure you have “situational awareness” when walking into a room. Know where all the exits are and consider secondary exits, such as windows. This gives options to escape. Deny: If in a school or office building, close the door to your office or room and use a belt or other strap to lock up the handle so the shooter cannot enter. Also, barricade the room shut by pushing desks and other furniture in front of the door so the shooter cannot open the door. Defend: If all else fails, be ready at the doorway for the shooter to come and surprise the shooter by positioning yourself to attack and take the gun away. “It’s you or them,” Carlson said. “Remember, you are not helpless. What you do matters.” Barbara Pryor attended the presentation with her husband, Jay Pryor. “I feel it is of utmost importance for everyone to be aware … to practice in your mind this situation,” she said. “It is especially important for schools and for teachers, because it will all come as a shock and surprise when and if it happens.” “Unfortunately this is something we all need to know about these days,” he said. “You want to be prepared. The takeaway I have is … don’t deny what’s going on. If it sounds like gunshots, act like it is gunshots. And if you think you need the police, call the police.”



MAY 13 - MAY 26, 2016

Public Safety | 23

Police Blotter / Brookhaven Brookhaven police reports date April 24 through May 5 The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website and is presumed to be accurate.

ARRESTS „„3100 block of Buford Highway – On

April 24, arrest for no drivers license.

May 3, arrest for forgery in the third degree. „„3500 block of Buford

Highway – On May 3, arrest for no drivers license. „„2400 block of Briar-

April 24, arrest for battery-family violence.

cliff Road – On May 3, arrest for forgery of financial transaction card.

„„1800 block of Corporate Blvd – On

„„2900 block of Buford

April 24, arrest for wanted person located.

Highway – On May 3, arrest for wanted person located.

„„3300 block of Peachtree Road – On

„„3200 block of Buford Highway – On

April 24, arrest for public intoxication and consumption.

„„3300 block of Buford

„„3900 block of Peachtree Road – On

„„3500 block of Buford Highway – On

May 5, arrest for forgery in the first degree.

april 28, report of burglary-forced entryresidence.

„„2600 block of Dresden

„„1500 block of Dresden Drive – On

Place/Dabin Lane – On May 5, arrest for DUI.

April 29, report of burglary-no forced entry-residence.

„„3600 block of Buford


Highway – On May 6, arrest for no drivers license. „„3100 block of Buford

„„2400 block of E. Club Drive – On April

„„1400 block of Sylvan

„„2200 block of Lake Blvd – On May 4,

„„3600 block of Buford Highway – On

„„3100 block of Buford Highway – On

Road – On May 4, arrest for operating vehicle without tag.

April 24, arrest for marijuana possession.

„„3300 block of Buford Highway – On

April 25, arrest for disorderly conduct.

May 4, arrest for suspended/revoked drivers license.

„„3500 block of Buford Highway/Afton

„„3300 block of Buford Highway – On

Lane – On April 28, arrest for overtaking and passing school bus.

May 4, arrest for loitering violation.

„„4200 block of Peachtree Road – On

May 4, arrest for shoplifting.

April 30, arrest for loitering and prowling.

„„3000 block of Clairmont Road – On

„„2700 block of Buford Highway – On

„„3200 block of Buford Highway – On

April 30, arrest for loitering. „„3300 block of Buford Highway – On

May 1, arrest for no drivers license. „„3800 block of Peachtree Road – On

May 1, arrest for expired tag. „„2600 block of Buford Highway – On

May 2, arrest for failure to appear. „„3200 block of Buford Highway – On

May 2, arrest for public drunkenness.

„„3300 block of Buford Highway – On

May 4, arrest for no drivers license. „„3300 block of Buford Highway – On

May 4, arrest for shoplifting. „„3500

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road – On May 4, arrest for reckless driving. „„4400 block of Memorial Drive – On

May 4, arrest for failure to appear. „„3700 block of Buford Highway – On

May 5, arrest for no drivers license. „„1200 block of Reserve Drive – On May

„„3500 block Buford Highway/Lenox

5, arrest for wanted person located.

Overlook Road – On May 2, arrest for no drivers license.

„„2900 block of Clairmont Road – On

„„3300 block of Buford Highway – On

May 2, arrest for disorderly conduct.

May 5, arrest for no drivers license. „„North Druid Hills Road ramp – On

May 2, arrest for burglary.

May 5, arrest for violation of prohibition against littering in public or private water.

„„3200 block of Buford Highway – On

„„2600 block of Buford Highway – On

May 2, arrest for wanted person located.

May 5, arrest for failure to appear.

„„1600 block of North Druid Hills Road

„„3100 block of Buford Highway/Bram-

– On May 3, arrest for failure to appear.

blewood Drive – On May 5, arrest for suspended/revoked drivers license.

„„1500 block of Briardwood Road – On



North Druid Hills Road – On April 24, arrest for simple battery/family violence.

„„North Druid Hills Road/Peachtree

April 27, report of armed robbery of a business.

„„2600 block of Buford Highway – On

Circle – On April 25, report of burglaryforced entry-residence.

arrest for wanted person located.

„„1900 block of N Druid Hills Road – On

Hwy/Bramblewood Drive – On May 1, arrest for no drivers license.

Highway/Briarwood Road – On May 3, arrest for no drivers license.

„„1200 block of Apple Valley Road/


„„2400 block of Briarcliff Road – On

April 26, report of burglary-forced entry-residence. „„3600 block of Buford Highway – On

April 28, report of burglary-forced entry-residence.

April 26, report of fraud-impersonation. 26, report of fraudulent activity. „„2200 block of Limehurst Drive – On

April 28, report of financial identity fraud. „„3100 block of Buford Highway – On

April 29, report of financial identity fraud. „„4300 block of Gables Drive – On May 1,

report of fraudulent activity.

10.0 in.

24 | ■


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