05-25-18 Brookhaven Reporter

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MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018 • VOL. 10 — NO. 11


Brookhaven Reporter



Perimeter Business ► A co-lawyering complex custom-built for attorneys hangs its shingle PAGE 5 ► Entrepreneurs take flight at PDK Airport space PAGE 4

Coworking is here to stay P 4-9

Cross Keys High School courted by city

Plane good fun at PDK airshow



The AeroShell Aerobatic Team performs in DeKalb-Peachtree Airport’s annual “Good Neighbor Day” airshow and open house on May 19. A large crowd came out to the Clairmont Road county airport for the airshow, displays, airplane and helicopter rides.

Brookhaven officials are courting the DeKalb County School District with financial incentives to try to change the school board’s mind on moving the new Cross Keys High School out of the city. At least one school board member remains hopeful it will do so. The school board voted 4-3 last month to build the new Cross Keys High School at the former Briarcliff High School site, across I-85 from the current Cross Keys site at 1626 North Druid Hills Road. Mayor John Ernst, City Manager Christian Sigman and City Councilmember Joe Gebbia met May 7 with DeKalb Schools Superintendent Stephen Green and members of his staff. At the meeting the city officials presented several financial incentives, including the city purchasing unused DeKalb Schools property, to try to lure school officials to build the new high school on Buford Highway. The school district has allocated nearSee CITY on page 22

Summer reading picks Page 10

EDUCATION Top of the Class

City buys shuttered gas station as Buford Highway foothold BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Pages 18-19

OUT & ABOUT Peachtree Peppers heat up Dunwoody concert series Page 16

The city recently purchased a vacant QuikTrip on Buford Highway as part of a new strategy to spark redevelopment along the corridor where property prices continue to rise and gentrification threatens to push out existing residents and businesses. The City Council on May 8 approved spending $1.7 million to purchase the station at 3292 Buford Highway. The lot is slightly less than 1 acre and is at the interSee CITY on page 22

2 | Community

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Eat Your Heart Out.


The Parks and Recreation Department is seeking community input on the city’s parks via an online survey through May 30. The survey is conducted in English and Spanish. On April 25, postcard notifications were mailed to nearly 25,000 Brookhaven addresses with instructions and unique access codes for an online survey. The codes are needed to prevent individuals submitting of multiple surveys, which could skew the results, according to a press release. Residents who are unable to locate their access code can contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 404-637-0562 and get their code by giving the staff member their address. With a valid access code, residents can visit surveymonkey.com/r/BrookhavenParksSurvey to take the survey. Questions in the survey include asking residents to rank the quality of parks, how often they visit parks, what prevents them from visiting the city’s parks, how far they would be willing to walk or bike to a park if multiuse paths were available. A question also asks if residents would be willing to pay higher property taxes or higher rent for increased quality of park facilities and programs.


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The city is seeking a transportation engineering firm to conduct a North Druid Hills Road corridor study to evaluate current traffic conditions and future growth as well as develop bicycle, pedestrian and transit accommodations. The main objective of the study is for “developing a future vision for the corridor to serve the projected traffic as well as provide facilities for bicycles, pedestrian and transit,” according to the request for proposal. The study area will be from the southern boundary at Briarcliff Road to the northern boundary at Peachtree Road/State Route 141. The city’s RFP describes North Druid Hills Road as a principal arterial between Briarcliff Road and Buford Highway and a minor arterial north of Buford Highway. The RFP also states the current average daily traffic volumes range from 50,000 vehicles per day between Briarcliff Road and I-85, over 35,000 vehicles per day north of I-85 to East Roxboro Road, and 15,400 vehicles per day between East Roxboro Road and Peachtree Road/SR 141. The intersection of North Druid Hills Road and Peachtree Road/SR 141 in 2016 was about 45,000 vehicles per day. As part of the study the consultants are asked to prepare a detailed traffic study for the North Druid Hills Road that will consider future growth and zoning entitlements that will impact traffic on the corridor. “The analysis must also consider the traffic conditions on North Druid Hills Road with and without planned transportation projects in and along the corridor,” according to the RFP. “It is expected that [the] corridor will be divided up into separate character areas based on traffic and adjacent land use. A vision shall be developed for each character area,” the RFP states. Community input will be part of creating a vision and comprehensive plan for the North Druid Hills Road corridor to address all forms of transportation including transit, bicycles and pedestrians. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is currently undertaking a massive redevelopment of its approximate 80-acre campus on North Druid Hills Road at the I-85 interchange at the southernmost tip of North Druid Hills Road study area. At the northern tip of North Druid Hills Road is the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station. A proposed transit-oriented development including multifamily residential and retail to be built on the mostly unused parking lot was eventually dropped by MARTA after pushback from residents and the City Council. Much of the middle area consists of residential neighborhoods.


The Brookhaven Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB) has launched its search for its first executive director. Funding for the city’s own CVB comes from the new revenue stream created last year by an increase in hotel/motel taxes to 8 percent from 5 percent, which was initiated to fund the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The city previously had a CVB that was closed but not officially dissolved. The money collected from the hotel/motel tax was handed over to Discover DeKalb, the county tourism agency, for promotion and marketing of such events as the Cherry Blossom Festival. While the city now has its own CVB, it will continue its relationship with Discover DeKalb by paying it $575,000 a year. The city has also set a sunset clause on the additional 3 percent in hotel/motel tax that will expire when the Greenway is completed. BK

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018




Pediatric urgent care right in your neighborhood Children’s at Chamblee-Brookhaven You now have convenient access to pediatric urgent care in the Chamblee-Brookhaven neighborhood. So the next time your child’s doctor is unavailable, ours will be standing by, including evenings and holidays.


©2018 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.



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4 | Perimeter Business

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Perimeter Business

Focusing on business in the Reporter Newspapers communities

Spring 2018 | Coworking is here to stay

The coworking craze is here to stay BY JOHN RUCH


The coworking craze is coming to town on an epic scale, from WeWork’s basketball court turned offices in Buckhead to Industrious leasing the entire 11th floor of a Sandy Springs skyscraper. And Continued on page 8


The WeWork Tower Place location repurposed a former basketball court for its “hot desk” area, which is the least-expensive plan that allows members to use a temporary desk.

Entrepreneurs take flight at PDK Airport coworking space BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Three years ago, Santiago Rojas and Diego Sabogal were sitting in various Starbucks or Caribou Coffee shops in Atlanta and dreaming up plans they had for their marketing company, 3pod. The two would each spend about $20 a night at the coffee shop, seven days a week, for about $1,200 a month. “And then we said, ‘We spend too much money on coffee,’” Sabogal, 34, said. Like many startup leaders today, the two decided to rent a “hot desk” — a shared desk space — at a membership-based coworking space, including at TechSquare Labs near Georgia Tech. About a year ago, they relocated to The Globe Hub coworking space located at the PDK Airport in Chamblee near the Brookhaven border. Here the coffee is free and rent for a tiny office is about $800 a month. “I like to work at Starbucks. They have good coffee. But Continued on page 6


1954 Airport Road, Chamblee theglobehub.com

Peter Giraldo, at left, Diego Sabogal, Santiago Rojas, Mauricio Munoz and Lucy Salazara take a break from working at the Globe Hub coworking space at PDK Airport to moment to enjoy a meal from the café in the building’s atrium.


MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Perimeter Business | 5


A co-lawyering complex custom-built for attorneys hangs its shingle BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

When attorney Jason Graham left a big firm to hang his own shingle about a dozen years ago, he tried setting up shop in one of the big coworking spaces in a thenemerging market. “I hated it,” he recalls. “They nickeland-dime you on everything.” After 18 months of paying for every cup of coworking coffee and waiting out a lease, he tried the traditional office route, renting space in Brookhaven’s Executive Park. It turned out to be more space than he needed, so he subleased to other attorneys. “The idea came up — I should do this on purpose,” Graham says. And so was born SynerG Law Complex, SPECIAL Jason Graham, CEO of the a custom-built co-lawyering space in the SynerG Law Complex. heart of Perimeter Center that combines traditional managed offices with some of today’s coworking and business incubator concepts. Graham, who created the complex with a developer client, is its CEO. Located at 6075 Barfield Road in Sandy Springs, just off Hammond Drive at Ga. 400, the two-story, brick-and-glass complex opened eight months ago and is rapidly filling up with lawyers drawn to what Graham calls the “plug and practice” model. The monthly rental rate includes everything from office furniture to cleaning services, from parking to conference rooms, from utilities to reception desk service, from the mix-your-own Coke Freestyle soda machine in the café to use of the legal research service Westlaw. The rates start at $1,750 a month for a basic office. They ramp up to a maximum of three offices and two cubicles for $5,700. Various discounts are available, and SynerG works to get group-purchase discounts for tenants for such outside services as bookkeeping. Lower-price “virtual offices” are also available for attorneys who want to use the basic amenities but only stop in occasionally.

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“If I tell people the rent, they get sticker shock,” says Graham, “but if I tell them [everything is included], they’re like, ‘How can you afford it?’” On a recent tour, Graham showed off the sleek, modern interior design that is intended to give every tenant a sense of workplace prestige and authority clients may expect from lawyers. In a large conference room, he raised the blinds to show off a big selling point — a view of the landmark King and Queen skyscrapers on the other side of Ga. 400. There are some practical amenities designed just for lawyers, such as a secure document shredder and a printer controlled by a key card so that others won’t see confidential documents popping out. Part of Graham’s pitch is that tenants know their space is overseen by a fellow attorney — he specializes in complex commercial litigation — and not just a property manager. Robin Lourie, a personal injury and product liability attorney, is one of the happy tenants.

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After over 30 years of practice and looking ahead to retirement, Lourie wanted a smaller office. “I was just looking for an all-in-one shop,” she said. She looked at renting a regular office, but found SynerG “more cost-efficient and nice.” And the specialized clientele was more appealing. “I like the idea of just lawyers,” says Lourie, adding that it has paid off with referrals from others in the building. Continued on page 7


Attorney Robin Lourie works at her new office at SynerG, which came complete with the furniture.

Jason Graham shows off the view of the King and Queen buildings from SynerG’s top-floor conference room.

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6 | Perimeter Business

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Eat Your Heart Out. DYANA BAGBY

Santiago Rojas, left, and his business partner Diego Sabogal, owners of 3pod, go over a marketing campaign at their office in the Globe Hub coworking space at PDK Airport. Their office looks out over a parking area filled with small airplanes.

Entrepreneurs take flight at PDK Airport coworking space Continued from page 4

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I’m saving money now,” Sabogal said with a laugh. The entire coworking space includes 30 offices, 20 dedicated desks and 100 hot desks. There are a few training facilities and meeting rooms that can be reserved by non-members. Special events can also be booked in the building’s atrium and patio area for non-members. Costs for these spaces range from $125 a month for a hot desk to $300 a month for a private desk to nearly $900 for a private office. But it’s more than free coffee. The Globe Hub creates an atmosphere of community, Rojas, 27, said. “We love ... the community here,” he said. “You come here, everyone is welcoming. They are willing to learn more about you. You see successful, humble people here. We love that about this place. Everyone wants to help you.” There is also the convenient location — and convenient parking. Asking a client to meet them at TechSquare Labs, for instance, meant dealing with traffic, Rojas said. Finding parking was also difficult and expensive. “This place is convenient for us and our clients,” Rojas said. He lives in Atlantic Station and Sabogal lives in Candler Park. The PDK Airport is a middle point for them, their clients in Midtown and for clients they have in Gwinnett County. Rojas and Sabogal work in a corner office with big windows that looks out on a patio area sitting just a few feet away from an area where dozens of airplanes are parked, with two large hangars in the distance. Their company develops websites, mobile apps, branding and social media campaigns for clients. They also handle all of these aspects for The Globe Hub business. The Globe Hub space is located in about 14,000 square feet — nearly the entire ground floor — of the 1954 Airport Road building. Aviation-themed furniture and paintings are located throughout the space. Framed photographs commemorating the airport’s history as the original site of Naval Air Station Atlanta line the building’s

entrance and the walls of the atrium. The Cloud 9 café in the building’s atrium, where sandwiches and sodas are available for purchase, is owned by Denise and Mark Cox-Taylor. Over their counter is a striking 50-by-30-foot mural of a Corsair plane flying over Camp Gordon painted by Atlanta artist Chris Allio. The owners of The Globe Hub, Kevin Henao and Vishay Singh, are also entrepreneurs and have offices onsite. “This was a traditional, old-style office space with everyone behind a door,” Singh said from his spacious glass-enclosed office across from 3pod. Singh said Henao saw a way to bring the building alive by creating a space where people could get to know each other, feed ideas off each other, network with each other. And with the airplanes and aviation surrounding them, a one-of-a-kind coworking space could be designed. “The building owner liked the idea. It was a no-brainer ... because of the uniqueness. The cool-factor,” Singh said. The two looked at other spaces in Buckhead, downtown and Midtown. But Chamblee is booming as a suburb and with the growth and lack of office space in Brookhaven next door, opening such a space here made sense, Singh said. The Globe Hub’s name was selected purposefully, Singh said. While the building was already named the Globe Building, it was incorporated into the coworking business name to represent the international clients and members, Singh said. Rojas was born in Bolivia and Sabogal was born in Colombia. Singh is from South Africa and Henao is also from Colombia. The Globe Hub also this month sponsored the 2018 InnoSTARS Competition with the U.S. China Innovation Alliance, which provides U.S.-based tech companies the chance to learn more about opportunities in China. “We are not your typical tech space,” Singh said. “We have entrepreneurs from all walks of life. We are one big community. We are having a bit of fun, but also enjoying the process of being entrepreneurs together.”

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Perimeter Business | 7


A co-lawyering complex custombuilt for attorneys hangs its shingle Continued from page 5

For Kanner Baker LLC, a new firm focused on estate planning and tax law, SynerG’s services gave the ability to start practicing immediately instead of spending a month setting up a regular, independent office, said partner Paige Baker. “I can’t say enough great things about it,” said Baker. Besides the appeal of turnkey offices, SynerG has some social elements as well. Attorneys gather for regular “lunch and learn” programs to hear from professionals in other fields and chat with each other. During the tour, a lunch-and-learn with accountants about tax law changes was setting up. The complex has also hosted social events and meetings for such groups as the Sandy Springs Bar Association — partly for the atmosphere, partly to drum up business. The incubator element — helping to nurture new attorneys — is a mentoring program. More experienced attorneys can get discount rates for being available “kind of like college professor hours” to advise others in the building for free, said Graham, who also does such mentoring himself. He has one tenant fresh out of law school who could not otherwise get that help so easily. SynerG isn’t for every lawyer. Graham’s own commercial and corporate firm, Graham Legal LLC, is the largest there, with five attorneys, and he says that’s probably the biggest SynerG can handle. For the solo practitioners and small firms who make it home, Graham says he’s surprised at their diversity of experience and fields, from divorce to criminal defense. He’s also found that “location matters” — many of the tenants live nearby, though he lives in Lilburn. SynerG is nearing 50 percent occupancy, and Graham is already thinking about a second location, maybe in Decatur or the Cumberland area. And he’s pleased to see many of the current tenants paying a month or two in rent with referral fees from their coworkers in SynerG. “There’s a camaraderie that’s building,” he said. For more about SynerG, see synerglawcomplex.com.

Business Openings The following are some of the new businesses that recently opened in Reporter Newspapers communities.

Celebrating the opening of a new Sage Woodfire Tavern location May 7 at 3379 Peachtree Road in Buckhead were, from left, former Buckhead Business Association President Barry Hundley; owner James Liakakos; and current BBA President Chris Godfrey. Info: sagewoodfiretavern.com. SPECIAL

Grub Burger Bar, 1110 Hammond Drive, Suite 35, Sandy Springs. Grubburgerbar.com. GYN Surgical Specialists, gynecology practice, Northside Hospital Doctors’ Centre, 980 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 910, Sandy Springs. gynsurgicalspecialists.com. JP Morgan Chase & Co., bank, 4453 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Chase.com. Medical & Sports Massage, 220 Sandy Springs Circle, Suite 157-B, Sandy Springs. Livelifepainfree.com. Teamo Tea Café, 5920 Roswell Road, #A107, Sandy Springs. Teamoteacafe.com.


To learn more about how we improve the quality of life in Central Perimeter, visit PerimeterCID.org or call 770-390-1780.

8 | Perimeter Business

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The coworking craze is here to stay Continued from page 4






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it’s only the beginning. “I think coworking space in buildings is here to stay and it’s definitely going to increase going forward, says Scott Amoson, director of research at the Atlanta office of the real estate firm Colliers International. Stereotyped as hipster hangouts for startup kids, the coworking model of (almost) everything-included, short-term rent in cool, hangout-friendly workspaces is proving popular among big corporations, too. It ties into national trends of smaller corporate headquarters, flexible strategies in unpredictable times, and office complexes embracing the “live-work-play” approach to attracting and pleasing tenants. “Coworking” is a fuzzy term. Amoson boils it down to any complex that rents a short-term desk or office open to all. A bit different are “incubators” like Buckhead’s Atlanta Tech Village, which are focused on a particular industry and have a mentorship aspect. A coworking trademark is a nice building with “hot desks” for laptop use and amenities that range from free coffee to massages or, in one recent case, Mother’s Day bouquet-making classes. The basic idea: “flexible workspace,” Amoson says. With the typical commercial lease running three years, coworking can be attractive for everything “from a one-man shop to the Coca-Colas that might need a short-term solution to something they’re working on,” he said. The fee is more akin to a membership than a sublease, as most multi-location coworking businesses let clients use any facility. According to Collier’s count, there are 11 coworking businesses in or coming soon to Buckhead and seven in Perimeter Center. They’re among roughly 75 in the metro Atlanta market so far in what Amoson calls a “pretty crazy” boom time.

Cutting the commute

In Atlanta, there’s naturally a traffic angle to the craze — employees can pop into a nearby coworking space with a laptop instead of battling for hours on Ga. 400 or the Downtown Connector. That kind of satellite office use is one reason big coworking companies are creeping up from Midtown to Buckhead and now Perimeter Center, and soon outward into north Fulton and other suburban hubs. Valerie Jaffee, Industrious’ Southeast regional manager, says her company’s real business is making “happy, productive employees,” and a shorter commute can’t hurt. At the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, self-taxing business districts that conduct traffic and streetscape projects, Executive Director Ann Hanlon said that coworking is booming enough to factor into the group’s forthcoming master plan. “Coworking can offer Perimeter’s commuters yet another option, in addition to traditional office space, to adapt their life-

styles to the region’s ever-changing transportation challenges,” Hanlon said in an email. “Even more, Perimeter’s coworking assets offer intown employers the opportunity to leverage an alternative work location to employees who may not always want to travel the distance intown every day.” Landlords like it, too. Amoson says giant coworking spaces often replace traditional tenants that are downsizing. He said the deals rarely involve incentives like rent discounts or build-out costs. The coworking tenants may one day become long-term tenants of other parts of the office building. Amoson said some of the brokers at Colliers hang out at WeWork just for that possibility of finding a client ready to move into their own digs. At Perimeter Summit in Brookhaven’s part of Perimeter Center, several long-term tenants have come from a Regus coworking space there, according to Randy Holmes, principal at Seven Oaks Company, the office complex’s owner. Coworking’s amenities also tie into Seven Oaks’ interest in programming — like large outdoor concerts — to attract and retain tenants. “The workforce is rapidly becoming more mobile, and it’s imperative for office owners to adapt and evolve so they don’t miss out on a fast-growing piece of the market,” says Holmes. “Prioritizing flexible workspace options and community activation that engages tenants will help build long-term asset value and ensure landlords stay relevant as our industry continues to evolve.” Employee attraction and retention are other factors, as coworking spaces offer amenities that might appeal to younger workers without capital expenses for the company.

Back to the future of ‘executive suites’

Coworking is not an entirely new concept and in many ways the trend is going back to the future. An earlier version popular in 1990s and early 2000s was “executive suites.” Also known as managed or serviced offices, they offered turnkey office rentals. Regus was the big player in the Atlanta market — and, after many economic twists and turns, still dominates local coworking. It operates 11 of the 20 coworking businesses that Colliers has counted in the Perimeter Center and Buckhead markets. The term “coworking” and the idea of offbeat amenities like a Ping-Pong conference table — an actual feature at a WeWork in Buckhead — are newer. The idea of tech workers hanging out and communally working started in San Francisco in 2005, when a software coder named Brad Neuberg started an informal group at the house of a feminist collective. His Left Coast idea of communitybuilding was quickly commercialized and subsumed into big-business coworking as we know it. That version started coming to Atlanta around 2014, Amoson says.

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018


In some ways, coworking is shifting back to the “executive suites” model and appealing to major corporations. As Industrious comes to the 7000 Central Parkway tower in Sandy Springs, it isn’t envisioning just a group of coders on laptops. “The assumption around the country [about coworking tenants] … is early-stage startups, young guys fresh out of college,” Jaffee says. But at Industrious, the average age of a client company is 12 years, she says. Such companies as Hyatt have used Industrious as a base for regional teams. Industrious has even started building custom corporate headquarters. At Atlanta’s Ponce City Market, Industrious operates its standard coworking facility on the eighth floor. But they also built out the seventh floor as a serviced headquarters for the software company Pivotal, whose employees can also use the normal coworking space. Jaffee says Industrious is also interested in taking over management and programming of all common facilities, bringing expertise in that lifestyle type of activity that the landlord might not have.

Amenity vs. annoyance

WeWork takes a different approach, emphasizing the offbeat aesthetics while diversifying into other businesses. The company has been an aggressive leader in Atlanta’s coworking market. It came to Buckhead in 2016 with an enormous, 70,000-square-foot facility in Tower Place at 3340 Peachtree Road. Another WeWork — 42,000 square feet in size — aims to open June 1 in Terminus 100 at 3280 Peachtree. As seen at Tower Place on a recent tour, the company’s “hot desks,” the cheapest rental option that gives members access to a temporary desk, are located on a renovated basketball court. For an edgy vibe, some walls have custom-designed wallpaper featuring depictions of office workouts inspired by rap lyrics. A couch bore a pillow

adorned with the phrase “thug life.” WeWork has other types of lifestyles in mind, however, as it extends its brand in New York City and Washington, D.C., with WeLive apartments, a gym called WeRise, and a for-profit school called WeGrow. Bobby Condon, WeWork’s Southeast general manager, said that bringing such spin-offs to Atlanta is in discussion, but with no timeline. “We truly believe we are transforming the ways people think about working,” he said. “Our mission is to create a life and not just a living.” Coworking isn’t for everyone and one person’s amenity can be another person’s annoyance. Yet another brand coming to town in June is Serendipity Labs, which pitches itself as a more professional alternative for people who feel underserved by other coworking places. The company is opening a 26,000-square-foot space in the prominent Three Alliance Center skyscraper at 3550 Lenox Road in Buckhead. No Ping-Pong tables shall be found at Serendipity Labs, says Paula Gomphrecht, the company’s vice president of marketing. “These are people who don’t want to feel like they are competing for space or against noise levels,” she said. “These are people who are looking for a more professional environment. What they really want is a secure phone line.” Amoson said the pace of coworking growth will continue — Colliers predicts coworking space will double globally by 2020 — but that eventually there will be a shakeout, with bigger companies acquiring smaller ones, and landlords cutting out the middlemen to run their own coworking spaces. But the idea of flexible workspace has legs, he says, predicting that some element of coworking space will be a standard feature built into future office buildings. “When the hype dies down, it’s [still] going to be a model for leasing space,” he said. --Evelyn Andrews contributed

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Perimeter Business | 9

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Commentary / Librarians recommend their summer beach reads Summer’s approaching and the time is right for reading on the beach. But, what to read? We turned to our local book experts. Go to ReporterNewspapers.net for even more of their recommendations.


Principal librarian and branch manager of the Sandy Springs Library. “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue,” Mackenzi Lee Eighteenth-century party animal Henry “Monty” Montague is all set for his Grand Tour of Europe with his best mate and unrequited crush Percy and younger sister Felicity, when his traveling party runs afoul of a conspiracy of pirates and scheming noblemen. This fast-paced, funny, LGBTQ+ young adult novel reads like “The Da Vinci Code” meets “Jane Austen.” “The Poet’s Dog,” Patricia MacLachlan This middle-grade novel packs a heavy emotional punch, as two snowbound children consider questions of family, friends and loss. Poets, children and dog-lovers alike will find talking dog Teddy particularly hard to resist. “Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia,” Jennifer McGaha McGaha’s entertaining memoir takes you through her unexpectedly disastrous situation as she lurches from one poor financial decision to another. She finds grace and peace by downsizing to a tiny rural cabin. Her solution to an empty nest is definitely unique! With her youngest off to college, and her house empty of kids, she decides to fill it up with … kids (goats, that is). “No One Is Coming to Save Us,” Stephanie Powell Watts Very loosely based on “The Great Gatsby,” this character-driven novel explores race, social class and the American Dream in an epic family saga. In a poverty-stricken African-American community in North Carolina, newly wealthy JJ returns to his small hometown to build a large home and win over his former sweetheart Ava. Ava is now married and struggling with infertility, even as her husband cheats on her.


Jared Millet is principal librarian at the Dunwoody branch of the DeKalb County Public Library. “The Book of Joy,” the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu Refreshingly different from other selfhelp books, “The Book of Joy” is a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu, two men who have witnessed hardship and tragedy and by all rights should be a pair of angry curmudgeons — and yet they’re not. “Head On,” John Scalzi One of today’s most addictive authors sets this mystery novel in the near future after a virulent disease has “locked” many people inside their own bodies with no way to interact with the outside world except through android proxies. Scalzi’s novel is fun and witty while addressing very real issues of surviving with a disability in the modern world. “The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story,” Douglas Preston This work of nonfiction from Preston is just as exciting as one of his thrillers. In 2012, the author was invited to participate in an expedition to find the legendary White City, once believed to be a myth. The journey into the wild to confirm the city’s existence was as fraught with danger and close escapes as any Indiana Jones mov-

ie, except that this time the hazards and hidden treasures were real. “No Time to Spare,” Ursula K. Le Guin The late Ursula Le Guin has been a literary giant for decades, best known for such seminal novels as “The Left Hand of Darkness” and “A Wizard of Earthsea.” In her later years she took up the fine art of online blogging, from which the essays in this collection are pulled. In this book she covers politics, the writer’s life, the problems of growing old and the adventures of living with a rambunctious cat.


Dea Anne Martin is a senior library specialist at the Brookhaven branch of the DeKalb County Public Library. The “Expanse” novels, James S. A. Corey I am not usually a fan of science fiction and, in particular, “hard” science fiction. That changed when I began watching the SyFy channel’s series based on these novels. The show is intriguing and the books even more so. “James A. Corey” is actually Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who have collaborated on this series, and the two writers really know how to keep you turning the page. Start with the first book “Leviathan Wakes.” “The High Tide Club,” Mary Kay Andrews I think that Andrews writes wonderful beach books and while I haven’t yet read this one, I have it tagged to go on my vacation books list. “Savannah Blues” and “Savannah Breeze” were both tremendously entertaining, as was “Deep Dish.” Delicious, frothy fun!


Kate Whitman serves as vice president of public programs for the Atlanta History Center, which is located in Buckhead. As part of her job, Kate each year orchestrates more than 60 author programs the Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House at Atlanta History Center Midtown. “There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story,” Pamela Druckerman Truth be told, I have only read one parenting book cover to cover and it was Pamela Druckerman’s “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.” So it is no surprise that I am excited to see Druckerman take on middle age with the same humor and candor that she brought to parenting. This book is filled with hilarious essays sure to bring levity and insight into the middle-age years. “Love and Ruin,” Paula McLain Bestselling author of “The Paris Wife” returns once again to Ernest Hemingway, this time detailing the fiery love story between Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, his third wife. A beautifully written and well-researched historical novel that brings Gellhorn into sharp focus as a fiercely independent woman who would become one of America’s great war correspondents. “You Think It, I’ll Say I: Stories,” Curtis Sittenfeld This short-story collection is one of the best ones I have ever read. I was already a fan of Sittenfeld’s long-form fiction and was delighted to see her bring her same wit, sensitivity, and depth to the characters in these short stories. BK

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Commentary | 11


Packing cubes are no panacea Back in the dark ages before there was an internet, backpacking students got around by using a revered guidebook called “Let’s Go Europe.” You’d go to a youth hostel and you’d find sections on Rome or Vienna that had been ripped out and left there by travelers who had seen those cities and wanted to lighten their load or share information. The book was filled with excellent tips on cheap places to eat and sleep and how to get from point A to point B without a car and what to appreciate once you got there. But there was one tip tucked into that gem of a travel guide that has stuck with me for all these years, and it involved packing. The advice was to get all the money you planned to bring and all the clothes you wanted to pack and lay them out across your bed … and then bring half the clothes and twice the money. I’ve been following that advice pretty sincerely ever since, but I’m wearing down. Sometimes I just don’t want to decide between the gray top and the white top. I want to bring them both. My husband and I were embarking on a two-week, multi-city trip this spring to visit our kids, and since our trip fell during the most challenging packing season of the year, I solicited the advice of my travelsavvy neighbor on what to cram into my carry-on. To my surRobin Conte is a writer prise, she didn’t say “layers.” Instead, she said “packing cubes.” and mother of four who I dismissively waved off that tip, but then reconsidered as she lives in Dunwoody. She explained that with that system she can get more in her suitcan be contacted at case and keep herself organized. robinjm@earthlink.net. I reconsidered. And I consulted the internet. It was there that I came across a woman who had, strewn across her bed, what appeared to be an amount of clothes equal to half the contents of my closet. She announced that she was going on a 10-day trip and would condense the entirety of that wardrobe into a carry-on bag using the wonders of packing cubes. They’re like a trash compactor for your suitcase. I watched, enthralled, and immediately ran out to buy a set. I came home with a variety of zippered nylon bags ranging in size from an iPhone 5 to an 8 Plus to a Motorola, giddy at the prospect of being able to pack all of my clothing choices. I could bring the comfy denim jeans AND the skinny floral jeans! I could bring the gray shirt, the white shirt, AND the navy shirt! I could bring pops of color! A warmer jacket! An extra pair of shoes! A dress! I couldn’t wait to pack. I spread half the contents of my closet onto my bed and began. I started with the Motorola cube. This one I planned to fill with five pairs of pants, two sweaters, four shirts, a pullover, and a blouse. Logic and the rules of physics were not in play at this point; I was delirious with optimism. After rolling my second pair of jeans into the cube, doubt set in. Well, I consoled myself, I AM wearing one pair of jeans on the plane. At the third pair of pants, the cube was almost full, and by pair number four, I had enough room left for my hairbrush. It’s okay, I soothed myself, shirts take up much less space than pants. I rolled up the first three T-shirts and stuffed them into the iPhone 8 Plus, reevaluating my choices and eliminating all the while. How often will I really need a pop of color, anyway? The gray will go with everything. I probably don’t need two sweaters … I think it’s warming up where she lives. I rolled up, crammed in, and eliminated until all four cubes were bursting. Then we left. How much did I bring on my trip? About half of what I originally wanted to pack. But I spent twice the money.

Robin’s Nest

Check out Robin’s debut book ‘The Best of the Nest’

“The Best of the Nest” offers 49 of Robin’s witty essays on suburban family life, organized by seasons. They include some of the pieces that won Robin the firstplace Lifestyle/Features Column award in the 2017 Georgia Press Association contest. To order the book and to follow updates on Robin’s book-related appearances, see her website at bestofthenest.net. BK

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12 | Community

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City issuing general obligation bonds for public safety building BY DYANA BAGBY

We call it home. Margy Manchester

g3 celebratin 0 years in of Buckhead. t r a e h the

Resident since 2006

“I’ve been involved with the community since 1960 and I was on the very first board here at Saint Anne’s Terrace. It’s a beautiful part of town and the best part about living here is the wonderful family atmosphere in which everyone gets along.”

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to STI Institutional and Government Inc, a.k.a. SunTrust Bank, which maintains offices in Brookhaven, Chapman said. The city secured a rate of 2.75 percent, which beat the current U.S. Treasury 5-year bond yield of 2.9 percent, he added. At the same meeting, the council also approved the newly formed Brookhaven Facilities Authority, made up of City Council members. The Facilities Authority will now be able to issue bonds between $6 million to $9 million to construct the first mile of the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The city is borrowing against the hotel-motel tax increase approved by the state legislature last year to fund the Greenway. Construction bids for the Greenway could go out as soon as 60 days, said City Manager Christian Sigman. Plans are to break ground on the first mile between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road this year. In a prepared statement, Ernst said clearing the way to issue general obligation bonds ensures “an aggressive and expeditious construction schedule in support of Brookhaven’s entire public safety function, including our police, municipal court and emergency management.” “Furthermore, it supports the general public in another way, as it provides a crucial access point to another of Brookhaven’s prestigious initiatives, the Peachtree Creek Greenway,” he said. The city has awarded an $800,000 contract to Rosser International, Inc., for architecture and engineering of the new public safety headquarters. Following that step, it will be put out to a competitive bid process for the actual construction. When complete, 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 on Buford Highway 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.


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The city made a bit of history at its May 22 meeting when the City Council unanimously approved to issue $12 million general obligation bonds to pay for its new public safety building. The building will be built on the city’s 19-acre parcel on Briarwood Road and along the Peachtree Creek Greenway. This is the first time the city has issued general obligation debt. Voters approved a special local option sales tax in November and as part of the referendum they also voted to allow Brookhaven to issue general obligation bonds with SPLOST proceeds used as repayment. “This is the first general obligation debt we are doing as a city and I want to thank the voters,” Mayor John Ernst said after the vote. “I’m looking forward to getting the [new building] up and on the Greenway.” Groundbreaking is expected in the fall of 2018 and construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020. City Councilmember Bates Mattison asked why the city was issuing general obligation bonds to build the public safety headquarters rather than using SPLOST revenues as they are paid to the city’s coffers. The city is expected to collect $47 million over six years through the SPLOST. When buying a house, Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman said, people are expected to pay for it up front. This is the same kind or process, he said. Chapman also explained the process for finding a company to issue the bonds. On April 23, the city published a request for proposal for the SPLOST bond. This RFP was posted on the internet and sent to 34 firms for consideration. Seven firms responded with bids for a $12 million bond with an annual interest rate cap of 2.8 percent. After an analysis of all the bids by a review committee, the recommendation was to award the bond

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MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Community | 13


Venues reach agreements with city to avoid alcohol license suspensions BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net


Six businesses targeted to have their alcohol license suspended have instead worked out agreements with the city to bring them into compliance with the new alcohol ordinance. The agreements, which had not been finalized by press time, state the venues will remove their DJ booths, stages and dance floors, according to city officials. By doing so, they will no longer be classified as “entertainment venues” and subject to the hefty $100,000 alcohol license fees mandated under the revised alcohol ordinance that went into effect this year. Entertainment venues are also prohibited from selling booze on Sundays. The agreements also state that if the businesses are later found to have any of the three items, their alcohol licenses will be immediately revoked, according to Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman. The agreements were discussed at the May 14 Alcohol Board hearing where the businesses were set to appeal their suspensions. Another hearing is set for May 29 where the agreements are expected to be finalized by the board. The owners of Acapulco Tropical, El Ocho Billiards and La Casa Restaurant & Bar talked with the city attorney before the May 14 hearing and said they would remove the three items. German Barreda, owner of El Ocho, said there was no way to fight the city. “Even if you win, they will come back and amend the ordinance next year,” he said. Pedro Cordova, owner of La Casa Restaurant & Bar, agreed. “I know I am not going to win against the city,” he said. Dany Acosta, the owner of Confetis Restaurant & Bar, spoke at the Alcohol Board hearing through a friend who translated English and Spanish after the board could not get a certified translator at the last minute. Acosta said he shouldn’t have his alcohol license suspended and disagreed he had a dance floor. After some discussion with Balch, however, Acosta and the owner of Pegasus, seated in the room awaiting her turn to appeal, agreed to talk with Chapman in a back room, away from the board, to work out the agreement to come into compliance. The owner of Nina’s Bar & Grill attended the May 14 hearing but had not submitted a written appeal before the meeting. She said she thought she was just supposed to show up at the May 14 hearing and had closed her business for a month awaiting the date. Balch sat with her and discussed her options to come into compliance, which she agreed to. Balch also told the board that the city would begin sending out its alcohol license renewals and other information in English and Spanish.

The owners of the other venues did not speak at all at the hearing and had apparently reached an agreement with the city beforehand. “These clubs misinterpreted or unintentionally violated their renewals ... and we are accepting they did this on an unintentional level,” Chapman said in an interview. “We are waiving all penalties because we want to make sure we are working with businesses in the city.” Attorney Cary Wiggins, representing Arif Lounge, will appeal its suspension at the May 29 hearing. Wiggins is the lawyer for the owners of Medusa Restaurant & Lounge, XS Restaurant & Lounge and Josephine’s in their alcohol license suspension appeals. Wiggins is also representing the three venues in a federal lawsuit against the city alleging the new alcohol ordinance discriminates against African-American owned businesses. The city denies the allegations and is represented by Scott Bergthold, a Tennessee attorney who specializes in municipal laws cracking down on sexually oriented businesses. Chapman said Bergthold was hired through the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency, a property and liability insurance fund paid through the Georgia Municipal Association.

Wiggins said XS, Medusa and Joseit needed to charge the exorbitant fees to phine’s were not offered the same option pay for those resources. as the other businesses to simply come When asked how removing a DJ booth, into compliance by entering into a writfor instance, reduces crime, Chapman said, ten agreement to remove their DJ booths, “That’s a question for the police.” dance floors or stage. “That’s subjective,” he added. City Attorney Chris Balch said he told City spokesperson Burke Brennan addWiggins he was willing to work with him ed that removing DJ booths, dance floors and his clients to bring them into compliand stages is part of several measures the ance. city has instituted to reduce crime, such as “They never expressed any interest in also cutting back bar hours. it,” Balch said at the May 14 hearing. “I told Cary from the beginning I am willing to talk to him about bringing his folks into compliance. They have no interest in it. They would rather fight us to the death,” Balch added. “Of course that’s my interpretation of their conduct, not theirs.” The city created the “entertainment venues” category because they say these kinds of businesses are causing the most crime in the city. Most of the businesses are located in and near the Northeast Plaza shopping center on Buford Highway. Many police incidents DYANA BAGBY are reported in their parking lots. City Attorney Chris Balch talks with owners of Nina’s Bar & Grill at the May 14 Alcohol Board hearing. To cover the costs of providing extra police coverage, the city said

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Variances approved for planned redevelopment of City Hall land BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The developer with plans to redevelop a portion of Peachtree Road — including demolishing Brookhaven City Hall — got the go-ahead from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mike Irby with Taylor & Mathis, a commercial real estate company hired by Delta Life Insurance to come up with design plans for several parcels totaling just over 6 acres at 4362-4400 Peachtree Road, attended the ZBA’s May 16 hearing. He explained the variances requested, including adding and extending curb cuts on Peachtree Road and one on Hermance Drive, are necessary as part of the proposed redevelopment. An existing 5-story building next to City Hall would remain and a new four-story office/ retail or hotel building would be constructed at the corner of Hermance Drive and Peachtree Road, where an urgent care office is now located. The property currently has five office buildings with 200,000 square feet, ranging in height from one to five stories as well as a parkDYANA BAGBY Brookhaven City Hall recently had a yellow zoning sign ing garage and surface in its front lawn, indicating the property owner was parking lots. Those exseeking variances for future redevelopment of the site. isting buildings were built in the 1970s and are occupied by a variety of office tenants, including the city of Brookhaven and Delta Life. Irby said preliminary plans for the property include a new office and retail building where City Hall is now located. An office building or boutique hotel could go in at the corner of Hermance Drive and Peachtree Road, he said. “We are wanting to create a unique, iconic development on this corner,” Irby told ZBA members. Plans include adding two new parking decks and refurbishing the outside of the existing 5-story building to create a more contemporary look and to create a continuous aesthetic at the corner, he said. The project would replace the current City Hall building with a new 6-story office and retail building. Preliminary plans for the project could encompass mid-rise office and hotel uses, street-level retail and restaurant space, and a small open plaza space along Peachtree Road with landscaping, sidewalks and outdoor dining areas. Irby said after the meeting no timeline has been established to begin the project. Last year, the city renewed its lease with Delta Life Insurance for five years. The lease agreement includes a provision that either party can get out of the lease with a ninemonth notice. City spokesperson Burke Brennan said the city is always on the lookout for a new City Hall space. An issue facing the city is that it currently has no funding source to build or buy a new location. The city moved into its current City Hall, a former Georgia State University building, in 2014. After the city was incorporated in December 2012, the city used an office building in Dunwoody for its very first City Hall. Talk of where to find a permanent location for City Hall has been tossed about since the city was founded. In recent years, MARTA made a new City Hall part of a plan for a massive transit-oriented development at Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station to include retail, office and multi-family residential buildings. But that project was ultimately dropped by MARTA after considerable blowback from residents concerned about about, among other issues, traffic and MARTA’s request for significant tax abatements from the city.


MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Community | 15


Key local legislative races shape up for November showdowns BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Several key local legislative races shaped up following the May 22 primary and leading into the November General Election. Sally Harrell, a former state representative, defeated Tamara Johnson-Shealy with 67 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results in the Democratic primary for the state Senate District 40 seat. Harrell will now face incumbent state Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) in November. The district includes Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Sandy Springs. State Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) easily defeated challenger Hamid Noori in the Democratic primary for House District 81 with 72 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Holcomb

now faces Republican Ellen Diehl in November. The district includes a portion of Brookhaven. There was no primary opposition in the House District 79 and House District 80 races, but primary results could portend interesting November elections in the traditionally Republican strongholds of the north Atlanta suburbs. House District 79 is an open seat with Republican Tom Taylor of Dunwoody retiring this year. Republican Ken Wright, Dunwoody’s first mayor, garnered 1,454 votes as the sole Republican candidate, according to unofficial results. Mike Wilensky, a Dunwoody attorney and also without primary opposition, received 1,636 votes according to unofficial results as the sole candidate in the Democratic primary. The difference is

Ken Wright

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Ellen Diehl

State Rep. Scott Holcomb

Sally Harrell

State Sen. Fran Millar

State Rep. Meagan Hanson

Matthew Wilson

182 votes. In House District 80, which includes Brookhaven and a sliver of Sandy Springs, incumbent Meagan Hanson ran unopposed in the Republican prima-

ry and received 1,245 votes, according to unofficial results. Her Democratic challenger, Matthew Wilson, received 1,449 votes in the primary, for a difference of 204 votes.


North Atlanta High School Class of 2018!

Thanks to the ongoing dedication of our students and families committed to public education, along with our top notch administration, faculty, volunteers & program offerings, we have great news to share about our seniors this year. • • • •

$25,008,919 in Scholarships Awarded and counting 2 Posse Foundation Scholars & 1 DREAM US Scholar 57 Zell Miller Eligible & 158 HOPE Eligible Seniors (53% of seniors) Admitted to 27 of the Top 50 National Colleges & Universities and Admitted to 25 of the Top 50 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (per U.S. News & World Report) • Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, our 10th in the past 5 years

• 24 Admitted to Georgia Tech & 60 Admitted to University of Georgia • 13 NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA Athletic Commits for Basketball, Baseball, Fencing, Football, Lacrosse, and Soccer, including 8 NCAA athletic scholarships • 86% of the 403 graduating seniors applied to college • 61% of NAHS took AP or IB course load and 45 were Dual Enrollment Students

Stats as of 5/14/2018 (final stats will be available from NAHS in August)

North Atlanta High School, the oldest International Baccalaureate school in the Southeast, offers well-rounded academics, a variety of extra-curricular activities, fine & performing arts, competitive athletics, study abroad, and more. Students must earn significant community service hours, to further engage in the wider world that awaits them at graduation.


Thank you to the residents of our community whose tax dollars support the students at NAHS and our APS North Atlanta Cluster!

16 | Art & Entertainment

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter. org.





ion or take a blanket or chairs for lawn seating. Cash bar; no outside alcoholic beverages. $12$18; children 2 and under free. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.



Saturday, June 9, 7 to 9 p.m. Peachtree Peppers, a modern rock and Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band, is next up in this lineup of summer 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. Craft beers, sodas and water available. $5 adults; $3 students; free for members and for children 3 and under. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.


Sunday, June 10, 6 to 9:30 p.m. Concert begins at 7 p.m. The Chattahoochee Nature Center hosts River Whyless, an Asheville, N.C.-based quartet whose musical sounds have been described as folk-rock and baroque-folk. Purchase a table seat in the picnic pavil-

Sunday, June 10, 7 to 8:30 p.m. The 22nd season of Heritage Sandy Springs’ outdoor summer concert series continues with beach music favorites by the Swingin’ Medallions. Gates open at 5 p.m. Picnics welcome. Food, beer and wine available. Free. Sandy Springs Society Entertainment Lawn at Heritage Green, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org or 404-851-9111.


Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, June 3, noon to 5 p.m. Live butterfly releases and butterfly-inspired events including arts and crafts and a plant sale are in store at this 19th annual fundraising event for the Chattahoochee Nature Center. $12 public; $8 CNC members. This event also kicks off the CNC’s Butterfly Encounter, open from June 4 to Aug. 31. Walk inside an enclosure filled with butterflies and the plants they love. Free with admission.


Saturday, June 16, 8 to 11 p.m. The Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association hosts the Nashville-based Roux du Bayoux Cajun Band at the Dorothy Benson Center. Cajun/Creole food for sale. All ages. No partner necessary. $18; $14 active military; $5 students. Cash or check only. Free Two-Step dance lesson at 7 p.m. Intermediate/Advanced Cajun dance class from 4:30-6 p.m. is $15. 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.



Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A fun-filled day of music, dog trick demonstrations, pet-related vendors, adoptions. Free. Dogs must be leashed. Brookhaven Park, 4158 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov.




Sunday, June 10, noon to 3 p.m. Enjoy outdoor pools and the splash park at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta at a free pool party and community celebration. Music, door prizes, games, activities and free ice pops for children. Food available for purchase. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info/ RSVP: atlantajcc.org.

Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m. to noon. Learn about container gardening in this month’s Dunwoody Community Garden & Orchard Master Gardener Session. Refreshments served. Free. DCGO greenhouse complex in Brook Run Park, opposite the skate park. 4770 Georgia Way South, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.


Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m. to noon. Learn about the life of a honeybee in a program at the Dunwoody Nature Center, home to an observation honeybee hive and a traditional stacked honeybee hive. Free. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.








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Saturday, June 9, 6:30 to 11 p.m. This third annual “Celebration of Sandy Springs” is a time to eat, drink and party with a purpose at City Green in City Springs’ inaugural event. Features food from more than 20 popular local restaurants, local musicians and wine, beer and cocktails. The outdoor event benefits Sandy Springs-based charities — The Drake House, Community Assistance Center and Second Helpings Atlanta. Ages 21+. Rain or shine. $55-$75. City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: foodthatrocks.org.

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 17



Tuesdays through Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Get free help with your resume at the Sandy Springs Branch Library. Call to schedule an appointment with the library’s “in-house resume doctor.” Open to all Atlanta-Fulton Public Library cardholders. 395 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-303-6130.


Saturday, June 9, 10 a.m. to noon. Learn about fragrant flowers, plant a fragrant herb, and learn how herbs are used in aromatherapy at this month’s edition of Little Diggers, a free family gardening series presented monthly through October by Heritage Sandy Springs. Best suited for ages 6-10 with accompanying adult. Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

THE BRAVES EXPERIENCE FOR FANS OF ALL SIZES 5K, One Mile & 50m Dash | June 2 | SunTrust Park Registration includes: • 5K participants receive a ticket to select Braves game • Additional discounted tickets available for purchase • All participants receive a Mizuno shirt


Register at atlantatrackclub.org

Opening reception Thursday, June 7, 6 to 9 p.m. Exhibition runs Tuesdays through Saturdays through Aug. 18, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This collection of the best work currently being produced at the Spruill Arts Center was curated by leaders in the Atlanta art community. Free. 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts. org/gallery or 770-394-4019.


Wednesdays through Oct. 3, 6 to 9 p.m. Food trucks, beer and wine, entertainment, kids’ activities. Free admission, free parking. Dogs welcome. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov/ parksrec.


Thursdays through October, 5 p.m. till dark. Join the crowd at a picnic-style gathering at Brook Run Park for a rotating array of food trucks, music and entertainment. Participating food trucks, desserts, adult beverages and weather-related updates will be listed on Facebook. 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyga.org/Dunwoody-Food-TruckThursdays or facebook.com/dunwoodyfoodtruckthursdays.


Davis Academy Class of 2018! Nate Artzi Anna Baylin Olivia Bercoon Shelby Bercoon Rachel Binderman Brandon Bohrer Asher Bressler Logan Bucovetsky Stuart Cohen Ashley Costley Samuel Durbin Evan Feintuch Hannah Ferrar Sammy Finkelstein Joshua Forman Harrison Frank Alexa Freedman

Jack Goldstein Sarah Greenberg Annalise Hardy Amalia Haviv Kady Herold Rachel Hertz Noah Hirschfield Kaden Husney Joshua Isaacs Samuel Isaacs Shoshana Katz Margo Kaye Daniel Kobrinsky Veronica Kogan Maya Laufer Sydney Leahy Andrew Levingston

Jordan Levy Ezra Mahle Max Martin Matthew McCullough Seth Meiselman Daniel Menis Mai Miller Jacob Mirsky Sophia Mokotoff Gabrielle Murray Alex Newberg Jordan Palgon Emma Perlstein Sy Polekoff Amit Rau Matthew Richmond Ellie Rifkin

Alon Rogow Daniel Rosen Alec Rosenberg Jessica Schulhof Zoe Shapiro Eric Sherman Jason Sherman Brooke Stanley Ava Stark Lily Stark Virginia Sullivan Matthew Szabo Datya Voloschin Alexa Warner Eli Weiser Hailey Weiss Sasha Wildstein

8105 Roberts Drive Atlanta, GA 30350 770-671-0085 davisacademy.org

18 | Education

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers â– twitter.com/Reporter_News

2018 Valedictorians & Salutatorians H

igh school graduation season returned this month. Proud parents, brothers and sisters and other family members packed auditoriums and stadiums across Reporter Newspapers communities to clap and cheer as local schools conferred hardearned diplomas and special honors on hundreds of new graduates. During many graduation ceremonies, a few students are singled out to be honored for achieving the highest academic standing among their classmates. They are the valedictorians and salutatorians for their schools. Here is a gallery of photographs of the valedictorians and salutatorians for the Class of 2018 at high schools in Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. The schools provided their names and photographs. The Atlanta International School could not immediately provide photos of its honorees: Katherina Ruenger, valedictorian; and Katherine Paton-Smith and Clary Bond, salutatorians (jointly).



Milyazim Anvarov Valedictorian

Julia Platt Valedictorian

Yourong Geng Salutatorian


Sakshi Sehgal Valedictorian

Aminur Ali Valedictorian


Mario Becerra Aleman Valedictorian

Yuyan Ke Salutatorian

Brian Kang Salutatorian

Khawla Nirjhar Salutatorian


Shreya Nainwal Valedictorian

Alexandra Buhl Salutatorian

Caitlin Howie Salutatorian

Education | 19

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


Saffiya Bashey Valedictorian

Christine Catherman Salutatorian MARIST SCHOOL

Anais Marenco Valedictorian

David Sullivan Valedictorian

Madeleine Hardt Salutatorian

Michael Propp Valedictorian


Carol Beatty Salutatorian

Megan Lienau Valedictorian


Jared Coffsky Valedictorian



Eric Miller Salutatorian

Arial Strode Salutatorian

Matthew Halbig Salutatorian

Richard Hill Valedictorian

Saya Abney Valedictorian

Ben Thompson Salutatorian WEBER SCHOOL

Samuel Weiss-Cowie Valedictorian

Rosa Brown Salutatorian


Abbey Pan Valedictorian

Alex Palacios Valedictorian

Ben Israel Salutatorian



Nicholas Poulos Valedictorian



Jennifer Spalten Valedictorian

Emma Ellis Salutatorian

Phoebe Liu Salutatorian

Justin Schaufele Salutatorian

Dori Balser Salutatorian

20 | Education

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BIA parent says state scores don’t tell the whole story BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

A parent of two students attending Brookhaven Innovation Academy said that, despite receiving failing scores from a state oversight commission, the school has vastly improved her children’s education experience. 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. The school 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. Although created by Brookhav-

en officials to be a better and varied option to DeKalb County public schools, it ranked lower than all but one county public school in Brookhaven. But Veronica Johnson, whose 4th and 6th grade children attend BIA, said that the school’s performance is measured by more than the state’s evaluation. Her children are receiving a better education and getting better grades than they did at their previous public school and private school, she said. The school has worked well enough for them to not mind commuting over an hour from East Point to the school, she said. She said BIA has the right balance of pushing advanced students forward while supporting students who need extra help in areas. BIA avoids the “over-

Mazel tov to the Class of 2014!

We wish you the best of luck in college and beyond.

testing” and strong emphasis on testing traditional public schools often have, Johnson said. Students are encouraged to collaborate and work on projects that apply to life more than other schools, she said.

“Just looking at something in black and white without digging into the details could lead someone to have the wrong impression of the school. It is a fabulous school and I’m happy to send them back there next year,” she said.


Three local state legislators have been named to a state Senate committee charged with making recommendations to improve school safety. State Sen. John Albers, who represents Sandy Springs and authored the legislation to create the committee, will serve as chair. Senators Kay Kirkpatrick, who represents Sandy Springs, and Fran Millar, who represents Dunwoody and parts of Brookhaven and Sandy Springs, will serve on the committee. “This legislation is helping us assess what is best for each community and create system-wide solutions that allow students to learn in an environment where they are protected,” said Albers in a press release. The three Republicans are among a bipartisan group of eight senators that were named on May 10 to the committee. “The safety of our children has always been a priority in the legislature,” said Sen. Kirkpatrick in a written statement. “As state legislators and parents ourselves, there is constant accountability in ensuring that our children will feel protected in a place that is intended to be a ‘safe space.’ ” The committee will travel across the state meeting with teachers, students, parents, first responders, community leaders and experts to get input and learn how to best improve safety in different communities, according to the release.


MEMBERS OF EPSTEIN’S CL ASS OF 2014 WERE ACCEPTED TO: Auburn University Boston University Bowling Green State University Brandeis University Clemson University College of Charleston Colorado School Of Mines DePaul University Drexel University Elon University Emory University Florida State University Georgia State University Georgia Tech Indiana University Ithaca College Kennesaw State University Michigan State Northeastern University

North Carolina State University Oxford College of Emory University Rutgers University SUNY Binghamton Syracuse University Temple University Tulane University University of Alabama University of Arizona University of Colorado Boulder University of Florida University of Georgia University of Kansas University of Maryland University of Massachusetts University of Miami University of Michigan University of Missouri

University of North Carolina University of Oregon University of Pittsburgh University of South Carolina University of Southern California University of Tennessee University of Texas (Austin) University of Toledo University of Vermont University of Wisconsin Washington University in St. Louis Wake Forest Wayne State University We are also proud that 2 Class of 2014 graduates will be joining the Israeli Defense Forces.


Sequoyah Middle School has won a grant for $20,000 worth of sports equipment, which will allow students otherwise financially unable to participate in sports teams, the school district said. The donation was awarded March 5 by Good Sports, an organization that has donated over $26 million worth of sports equipment to students in economically disadvantaged areas nationwide. The DeKalb County Board of Education accepted the donation at its May 14 meeting. Sequoyah Middle is located in Doraville and serves Brookhaven students in the Cross Keys cluster. The items donated include jerseys, shoes, cleats, gloves, knee pads and socks, according to the district.


The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce awarded four $1,000 scholarships to seniors at Riverwood International and North Springs charter high schools. The Donna Adams Mahaffey scholarships were awarded to Riverwood students Alina Cortes and Valeria Atempa and North Springs students Vanessa Lovinsky and Nirelys Rohena-Santos on April 24 and 30, according to a press release. The organization created the Donna Adams Mahaffey Scholarship Fund in 2015 with the goal of inspiring female graduates to attend college, the release said. SPECIAL “These scholarships instill children Alina Cortes, left, and Valeria Atempa from Riverwood International Charter School with the concept that regardless of their accept their $1,000 scholarships from financial situation, they too can receive a the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber. higher education,” the organization said in a press release. “Improving education on a regional scale has always been a priority to at the chamber.”

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Classifieds | 21



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22 | Community

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City buys shuttered gas station as Buford Highway foothold Continued from page 1 section of North Cliff Valley Way. The purchase also marks the city’s first time purchasing land with no specific purpose in mind. Buying property with no specific purpose is often considered “land-banking,” but city officials say this is not part of an affordable housing scheme. “It appears that ‘land-banking’ is a term, but it refers to the government process of buying, redeveloping and selling residential (blighted) properties,” city spokesperson Burke Brennan said in an email. “That QT purchase is not land-banking. It is a catalytic investment to influence the pace and nature of redevelopment in the Buford Highway corridor.” Director of Economic Development Shirlynn Brownell said the land buy is a strategic purchase to help the city guide economic development along the corridor. “Buford Highway honestly is an underutilized road,” Brownell said. “Redevelopment is going to happen one way or another. We want to ensure quality development.” Brownell said that by purchasing the old gas station, the city is taking steps to help control the kind of development envisioned in its 2014 Buford Highway Improvement Plan. Those plans include more mixed-use developments, implementation of a pedestrian and bike plan, connection to the Peachtree Creek Greenway as well as creating jobs, she said. Sustainable growth and keeping in place “some sense of affordable housing” are part of the city’s vision for Buford High-


The city recently purchased the old QuikTrip gas station at the corner of Buford Highway and North Cliff Valley Way for $1.7 million to help spark redevelopment along the corridor.

way, Brownell said. The purchase also gives the city direct influence over how the property is developed. “With ownership of the land, we have influence over the type and quality of development which would include that parcel. We could also use this parcel for municipal purposes, or potentially package it as an economic development incentive,” Brennan said in an email. Home to many immigrants, Buford Highway has been long-known for its im-

migrant-owned businesses and as a regional attraction for its international restaurants. The city also wants to ensure it preserves that uniqueness, Brownell said. A recent attempt by TD Self Storage to build a 5-story selfstorage facility at 2991 Buford Highway was described as “scary” by Councilmember Joe Gebbia and initiated a sense of urgency for the city to act in buying land to hold onto. “That is a prime piece of real estate and they were suggesting single-use,” Gebbia said of TD Self

Storage’s plans. “If TD Self Storage had been approved, that would have been a 50-year problem,” Gebbia said. “It would have thrown a monkey wrench in a phenomenal project.” The city continues to look at other sites along Buford Highway for purchase as well, Gebbia said. “[City staff] are always looking,” he said. “Conversations are always active. It’s always a matter of money.” Land-banking is not unusual for city governments. Sandy Springs in 2016 purchased a gas station that had been vacant

for 11 years with no clear plans for the property. Sandy Springs also continues to buy houses on Hammond Road for an anticipated road-widening project. BThe city recently purchased 19 acres of undeveloped land on Briarwood Road for approximately $20 million. The property, just off Buford Highway and adjacent to Northeast Plaza, will be used as a trailhead for the Peachtree Creek Greenway. On May 8, the council also announced it would be building its new public safety headquarters on the property. Gebbia, whose district includes Buford Highway and which he sees as the city’s “diamond in the rough,” has been advocating the city purchase land along Buford Highway for several years. He said he envisions possibly a Brookhaven welcome center on the old QT site, where the city’s Economic Development Department and a restaurant association could be housed to greet developers and others visiting Buford Highway. By having a place to go, people can find out easily what Brookhaven imagines for the future of Buford Highway. “This would be a good tool for the city,” he said. “We want to make sure we dictate what we want.” “It makes sense we use our assets to leverage for maximum impact,” Gebbia added. “If we want to see the maximum use of land, we’ve got to treat [Buford Highway] like our diamond in the rough.”

Cross Keys High School courted by city Continued from page 1 ly $85 million in ESPLOST funding for the new 2,500-seat school. It is needed to alleviate overcrowding at the current Cross Keys High. The Briarcliff site, a 26-acre property the district still owns, is located less than 2 miles south of Cross Keys High at 2415 North Druid Hills Road in unincorporated DeKalb County. “We consider the high school a critical component of our identity as a city,” Gebbia said of the city’s desire to keep the high school in the city. While the meeting was positive, Gebbia said he is doubtful minds were changed. “It’s probably a done deal,” he said. Green has presented the proposals to Board of Education Chair Michael Irwin, according to a district spokesperson. A presentation to the full school board has not been made. School board member Marshall Orson, who represents Cross Keys, said he knew about the meeting but had not been briefed on it. “We heard from a number of constit-

uents who expressed concerns about the site selection,” he said. He doesn’t know yet if the board will discuss the options proposed by Brookhaven officials at a future meeting or vote on reversing the decision, but a reversal is still possible, he added. “While the board has made a decision, we haven’t stuck a shovel in the ground,” Orson said. “If there are any attractive opportunities, I would hope we would be open to them.” The school district said in an emailed statement it appreciated the city officials for presenting “innovative funding concepts and ideas” to build a new high school on Buford Highway. “Dr. Green was appreciative of their presentation and reminded the officials that the ask would be to the board members since they had already voted on the new site,” according to the statement. Gebbia said Brookhaven’s proposals include an offer to purchase from the school district undeveloped land past Gail Drive and adjacent to Woodward Elementary School. The city would then keep the

land a green space. He added that no specific price tag was attached to the financial incentives because that would need consensus from the full City Council. The city is also offering financial assistance to displaced families should the school district buy an apartment complex on Buford Highway. The complex would have to be razed to make way for the new high school. The school district determined buying an apartment complex on Buford Highway would displace between 265 and 523 students. Several apartment complex sites on Buford Highway were considered for the new Cross Keys High School and the district drew up several site plans, but determined purchasing a new site would have also been more expensive, costing $19 million to $38 million more than using the Briarcliff site. District officials said purchase costs for the candidate sites ranged from $36 million to $54 million. The former Briarcliff High site, which would be sold by the district if it had decided to buy a different property, was ap-

praised at $21 million, according to school officials. The Adams Stadium and parking are not included in that appraisal. Gebbia said the city’s offer to purchase the undeveloped school property adjacent to Woodward Elementary would help cover the cost overrun to buy new property. The city is also offering to work with apartment complexes and the Latin American Association to help relocate families over a six-month period, including providing financial assistance to those families, many of whom are Hispanic and immigrants. Gebbia said the city is also willing to donate Bramblewood Drive, a public road, to the school district should it purchase that property. There are currently some 30 single-family homes along Bramblewood Drive off Buford Highway and adjacent to the current Cross Keys High School. The city’s offer includes building a connection from Curtis Drive to North Cliff Valley Way. Ardent Companies currently has the 30 houses under contract and is currently asking the city to rezone the 17-acres on BK

MAY 25 - JUNE 7, 2018

Bramblewood Drive for a proposed townhome development. Moving the high school “across the highway” and away from Buford Highway is going to be an issue for many students, Gebbia said. But the Cross Keys cluster has long needed a new high school, Gebbia said, and the city welcomes the current Cross Keys High School being redeveloped into a needed new middle school. “This is all good for the kids,” he said. “Is it the best? No.” Gebbia did praise the school district for making “difficult decisions” to try to alleviate the overcrowding issue that has plagued Cross Keys for many years. “They are making the difficult decisions other administrations failed to address,” he said. Rebekah Morris, executive director of Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, which works with those living in apartments complexes along the corridor, supports building the new high school at the Briarcliff site. But she said she is heartened to hear the city is working hard with DeKalb Schools. “I think it’s great that Brookhaven is trying to get creative as it proposes different ideas to DeKalb County. I think this shows that the county should’ve been more transparent during the site selection process and these discussions could’ve taken place in a more collaborative and possibly more effective manner,” she said. Los Vecinos de Buford Highway’s President Marco Palma also praised the city’s efforts and said he thinks the community would get behind an option that would allow the school to remain in Brookhaven without having to tear down apartments. “Perhaps if the city worked on building both affordable and low-income homes, the thought of apartment homes being torn down would be more palatable,” he said. Yehimi Cabron, who graduated from Cross Keys High School and now teaches art there, is president of the Cross Keys Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding scholarships and advocating for students in the Cross Keys area. The foundation conducted an unscientific study before the Board of Education vote asking people to say where they wanted to see the school built. That survey included members visiting Plaza Fiesta, asking people if their children attended Cross Keys High School and, if so, explaining to them the options of where to build the new high school. “A lot of the parents briefed said they prefer to keep the school near the community,” she said. Cabron agreed with Morris that there was not enough community engagement by DeKalb Schools with parents and students who attend Cross Keys High School. A 4-3 vote on such an important decision also begs for more community feedback, she said. BK

Community | 23


Police Blotter / Brookhaven From Brookhaven Police reports dated May 13 through May 20. The following information was pulled from Brookhaven’s Police-2-Citizen website.

rested and charged with driving without insurance.

ing, a woman was arrested and charged with resisting arrest.

1500 block of Dresden Drive — On

1500 block of Dresden Drive — On


May 14, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

May 15, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with public intoxication.

3900 block of Buford Highway — On

1900 block of North Druid Hills Road

May 14, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

— On May 15, in the evening, a woman was arrested and charged with begging and soliciting alms.

3300 block of Buford Highway — On

May 13, in the morning, a theft by conversion incident was reported. 1000 block of Mendell Circle — On

May 13, in the evening, a man was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property. 1000 block of Fairway Estates — On

May 14, in the early morning, items were reported stolen from a car. 1400 block of Oconee Pass — On May

14, in the evening, an entering auto incident was reported.


block of Peachtree Road — On May 14, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with loitering.

1900 block of North Druid Hills Road — On May 15, in the evening, a woman was arrested and charged with obstructing an intersection.


May 15, in the morning, items were reported missing from a car.

block of Sterling Oaks Circle — On May 14, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle without a tag.

1400 block of West Nancy Creek Drive

2800 block of Buford Highway — On

2000 block of Johnson Ferry Road —

May 14, a man was arrested and charged with driving without insurance in the evening.

On May 16, in the morning, a woman was arrested and charged with driving without a license.

100 block of Windmont Drive — On

3000 block of Buford Highway — On

May 15, in the early morning, a woman was arrested and charged with criminal trespass.

May 16, in the afternoon, two people were arrested and charged with marijuana possession.

1900 block of Bramblewood Drive —

On May 14, at night, items were reported stolen from a car. 3600 block of Buford Highway — On

— On May 15, a forced entry burglary to a residence was reported. 700 block of Town Boulevard — On

May 15, in the evening, a theft was reported. 3900 block of Peachtree Road — On

May 17, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property. 1400 block of North Cliff Valley Road

— On May 18, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property.


3500 block of

Buford Highway — On May 15, in the morn-

1000 block of Perimeter Summit Parkway — On May 16, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.



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1400 block of Keys Crossing — On

May 13, in the early morning, a simple battery was reported.


3500 block of Buford Highway —- On

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May 14, at night, a simple assault was reported. 3500 block of Buford Highway — On

May 18, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

ARRESTS 2000 block of Druid Hills Road — On

May 13, in the early morning, a man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. 4600 block of Peachtree Road — On

May 13, in the afternoon, a man was ar-

% 0 2

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