JUNE 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 6
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Holy Spirit offers to sell 150-year-old house for $1 to save it from expansion plan
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Presenting our local high school valedictorians and salutatorians
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The 150-year-old “Sims House” at 844 Mount Paran Road as it appears on a Google Maps image.
BY JOHN RUCH
Power poles and holes in sidewalks raise safety concerns BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
The Buckhead Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIPs 30305, 30327 and 30342 For information: email@example.com
On a Buckhead corner across the street from a rehabilitation hospital, James Curtis cautiously piloted his wheelchair on a strip of sidewalk only a couple of inches wider than its wheels. To his right, cracked and pitted asphalt patching was a hazard; to his left,
a fresh, rectangular pit yawned open where the Georgia Department of Transportation controversially planted a new power pole within the sidewalk. “It’s like rolling the plank,” Curtis said. “One false move and, bang, I could fall right over.” Curtis made it through safely as pedestrians crossed through a private yard to get See POWER on page 23
Proposing the demolition of a 150-yearold farmhouse once deemed historic by Sandy Springs preservationists would be the hot spot in many a redevelopment dispute. In the expansion plan by Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Preparatory School, however, it’s just another example of trust issues that are fueling neighborhood controversy. Some residents say it’s another case of Holy Spirit breaking old agreements, going back on a pledge to former nature-loving owner Ben Sims – the founder of a prominent Atlanta History Center garden -- to save the house and its surrounding woodSee HOLY on page 16
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2 | Community
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cording to GDOT. Chris Draper of Preserve Properties declined to comment. The crane breakdown blocked northbound lanes for roughly days, causing massive traffic tie-ups. GDOT, which controls Peachtree as a state route, said that contractor Gilbane Building Company lacked permits to erect the crane in the street to begin with. GDOT calculated the massive fine with a formula for estimating the economic impact of road closures, with a standard value of $17.91 per hour for each passenger vehicle that is delayed.
D EV ELOPER PAY S $ 5 5 K F I N E F OR R O AD - B LO C K IN G C RA N E, S TAT E S AYS
An apartment tower developer has paid a $55,000 fine for illegally blocking Peachtree Road with a broken-down crane in a notorious incident in December 2018, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. The five-digit fine is still considerably less than the original $351,464 fine GDOT slapped on Peachtree LLC, the projectspecific company through which developer Preserve Properties is building the Sutton tower at 2695 Peachtree. The amount was lowered through negotiations, ac-
A design illustration of the Sutton apartment tower.
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WATER M AIN WO R K O N WIEU CA R O AD TO R U N INTO D ECEMB ER
Work to replace and upgrade a water main pipe on Buckhead’s Wieuca Road was scheduled to begin May 31 and continue into December, according to a notice from City Councilmember Howard Shook’s office. The work will affect the section of Wieuca between Ga. 400 and Phipps Boulevard. Work is scheduled for Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Department of Public Works officials said at the May meeting of NPU-B that the work will upgrade a 6-inch pipe to a 12-inch pipe and will involve temporary lane closures as the line is moved from the side of the road to the middle.
B UC KHEA D C O A L IT I O N NA M ES NINE NEW M EM B ER S
The Buckhead Coalition, an invitation-only group of 100 business and civic leaders, has announced nine new members for 2019. They include: Lauren Ball, vice president at SITE Centers Corp. Mark Buffington, CEO of BIP Capital David Dial, managing partner at Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial Mike Fierman, managing partner and co-CEO at Angel Oak Companies Jeff George, vice president at Gilbane Building Company Heidi LaMarca, president and CEO of Windham Brannon Forrest McClain, managing director at Reicon Capital Jim Simpson, regional president of Kaiser Permanente Georgia Jeffrey Sloan, CEO of Global Payments Julie Bailey is serving as an ex officio member for 2019 in her role as president of the Buckhead Business Association. The Buckhead Coalition is a community service organization celebrating its 30th year. Members pay $9,000 as annual dues.
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Atlanta City Councilmember Howard Shook is interviewed about the 2018 cyber attack on “60 Minutes.”
Atlanta City Councilmember Howard Shook appeared on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” May 5, where he discussed the city’s response to last year’s cyber attack. Shook, who represents Buckhead’s District 7, was among several guests on a segment about hackers who remotely disabled computer systems and encrypt data in plots to extort
money from businesses and governments. Asked by “60 Minutes” reporter Scott Pelley about the city’s decision not to pay the ransom for its data, Shook said, “At first, it was just instinctive. I mean, if you’re being violated, I don’t know why you should reward somebody for having done that.” The March 22, 2018 attack on city computer systems had wide-ranging, and often permanent, effects, including massive data losses in the City Attorney’s Office and in the police department’s dashcam video archives. Municipal court records and water billing were among the services temporarily affected. All three computers in Shook’s office were rendered useless and he lost most of his files and a contact list he had built over 17 years in office. Later last year, two Iranian men — Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri and Faramarz Shahi Savandi – were indicted on federal charges for allegedly committing the Atlanta attack and similar extortion schemes around the U.S. and Canada. Prosecutors called it “21st century digital blackmail” that allegedly resulted in more than $6 million in ransoms to be paid.
Community | 3
Group helps cultural institutions plan for disaster recovery BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the millions watching in horror as Paris’s Notre-Dame burned on April 15 were caretakers of Atlanta’s historic cathedrals and a group of volunteers who help cultural institutions recover from disaster. Buckhead’s Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King doesn’t have the 800-year history and global stature of Notre-Dame. But it’s the mother church of the Atlanta Archdiocese and home to eight decades of records of births, baptisms and marriages. The Archdiocese preserves and protects its historic documents and artifacts in a Smyrna facility. Angelique Richardson, the director of archives and records at the Archdiocese, says that seeing the Notre-Dame fire got her office thinking. “It did occur to us to send out a memo to our parishes,” she said. The message: “We are here to archive your historical records.” Of course, archives, libraries and museums can succumb to disaster, too. That point was hammered home by another recent fire, the 2018 blaze that destroyed much of the National Museum of Brazil. Richardson is among the cultural institution experts involved in the Heritage Emergency Response Alliance (HERA) Atlanta, a local chapter of a national movement that aims to prevent such disasters and to provide expert advice on salvaging treasures when they do happen. “It’s all about making connections and providing resources,” says Christine Wiseman, head of the Digital Services Department at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, and a founding steering committee member of HERA Atlanta. The group has helped Georgia institutions recover from such disasters as last year’s Hurricane Michael. In metro Atlanta, religious buildings typically meet modern fire codes, though a church can present unique maintenance challenges. Rev. Samuel Candler, the dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead, “At the Cathedral of St. Philip, we definitely have sprinklers and modern fire safety equipment installed, throughout our older and newer facilities,” Candler said in a written statement. “But the Notre-Dame fire reminds all of us that
the stewardship and maintenance of large cathedrals, and of all sacred destinations, requires constant support and energy. We do not apologize for spending money, and time, and energy, and resources daily in the stewardship of these sacred destinations, and it is our honor and mission to do so. … We know that the Church is people, but we also know that we people are inspired and moved by physical spaces, sacred destinations, that gather our prayers and inspire our prayers.” For many churches, internal records are the main documents to preserve and they’re often stored in a fireproof safe. Truly historic records and artifacts may find a safer home, such as the Catholic Archdiocese’s Office of Archives and Records. That facility has temperature and humidity controls and a fire suppression system, according to the Archdiocese. It houses such objects as chalices, vestments and ceremonial swords, and historical documents going back to early Catholic settlers of the 1820s, according to Richardson.
But even a well-prepared museum or library can succumb to a major storm, fire or other disaster. Efforts toward larger-scale, inter-institutional planning date back to the 1990s, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a nonprofit called Heritage Preservation formed the Heritage Emergency National Task Force in the wake of a major hurricane and earthquake, with the goal of providing expertise and assistance to cultural organizations. A similar, more localized program called the Alliance for Response started up in 2003. The destruction in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 showed the need for such programs, says Wiseman of HERA Atlanta. “It’s really grown out of Katrina,” she said. HERA Atlanta formed in 2007. It’s still an informal group of institutional volunteers with about 125 members from the metro area and, increasingly, statewide. Buckhead’s Atlanta History Center and Brookhaven’s Oglethorpe University are among the institutions that have been
represented in the group over the years. In times of major disaster, the group can use the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s communication resources to coordinate advice or volunteer help for damaged cultural institutions. In 2008, HERA Atlanta got an early test. A tornado hit downtown Atlanta. Among the damaged structures was the historic building housing the Atlanta Daily World, the city’s oldest African American newspaper. “We saw them as a cultural site,” said Wiseman. “So we actually gathered a whole bunch of volunteers and spent a couple days packing out records for them.” Today, HERA Atlanta holds educational programs once or twice year, such as a recent case study of a potentially disastrous flood at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum. And it continues to provide advice to institutions in need, such as the Albany Museum of Art, which suffered major wind and flooding damage in a 2017 storm.
4 | Food & Drink
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Ice cream, tacos and other restaurants coming soon BY EVELYN ANDREWS email@example.com
Ice cream, taco and rotisserie restaurants are planning openings in Buckhead. Two of the restaurants will bring major changes to the Buckhead Marketplace on West Paces Ferry. “That whole area is going to look drastically different sometime late summer,” Matt Schell, a construction manager at developer Edens said at the May 1 SPI-9 meeting where the applications were reviewed. Edens owns the shopping center at 77 West Paces Ferry that is anchored by Whole Foods Market. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Velvet
Taco, both chains, will take the vacant spaces next to each other in the shopping center, he said. The restaurants will replace the “dark and drab exterior” and rework the sidewalks to add entrances, Schell said. Both are expected to open by late summer. A rotisserie restaurant called Fire Hen is planning to open in a space in the onestory strip shopping center in the Buckhead Village area that is also owned by EDENS. Located at 45 Irby Avenue, the restaurant would replace a vacant storefront and redo the façade. An angel wing mural was also proposed to be painted, which the SPI committee supported. The opening date has not been determined.
A fourth restaurant was proposed for 321 Pharr Road, near The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, but did not detail what kind it would be. But it would bring renovations to the building, including the re-
placing the existing stairs and “rotting” windows, removing of a steel fence and painting the building. It would also add a 600-square-foot outdoor dining patio.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Velvet Taco are planning to open in the Buckhead Marketplace, located at 77 West Paces Ferry.
North Atlanta High School Class of 2019!
Thanks to the ongoing dedication of our students and families committed to public education, along with our top notch administration, faculty, volunteers and program offerings, we have great news to share about our seniors this year. Stats as of 5/10/2019 (final stats will be available from NAHS in August)
• $29,967,567 in Scholarships awarded to date • Scholarships include: 1 Posse Foundation Scholar, 1 Questbridge Scholar, 1 DREAM US Scholar, 1 Gates Millennium Scholar, 8 National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists, and 1 Finalist • 88 Zell Miller Eligible and 161 HOPE Eligible Seniors (56% of seniors) • 83% of the 442 graduating seniors applied to college • Admitted to 29 of the Top 49 National Colleges and Universities, including Harvard University and Columbia University – No. 2 and No. 3 in Best National Universities (per U.S. News Report)
• Admitted to 27 of the Top 50 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including Spelman – No. 1 in Best Historically Black Colleges (per U.S. News Report) • Appointment at United States Air Force Academy, our 11th Service Academy appointment in 6 years • 28 Admitted to Georgia Tech and 46 Admitted to University of Georgia • 17 NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA Athletic Commits for Basketball, Baseball, Diving, Football, Volleyball, Swimming and Soccer, including 14 NCAA athletic scholarships • 79% of Seniors took advantage of International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment classes
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!
Education | 5
JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Kingsley Elementary becomes first STEAM school in Dunwoody BY EVELYN ANDREWS
“It takes a village. The parents have to buy in, the teachers have to buy in,” Pearch said. “You can’t shove it down teachers’ Kingsley Elementary has become the throats.” first STEAM certified school in Dunwoody. The PTO also provided support, paying The certification shows the school is dedifor new signage and helped do classroom cated to teaching about science, technoloart and music room upgrades to meet stangy, engineering, arts and math and allowing dards, Stephenie Gordon, the organization students to do hands-on president, said. projects. “Our entire school Most other schools has been working tirein state are certified for lessly to make this posSTEM, which does not sible and we are very include art. proud!” Gordon said. “We wanted to do The district paid the something unique,” certification costs reteacher Romilia Human quired by AdvancED, said about deciding to Pearch said. DeKalb go the extra step to add Schools said an open art certification. records request would Getting the STEAM have to be submitted to At St. Martin’s, we celebrate the certification is simiobtain how much the journey of growing up – from lar process to achievdistrict paid. the formative preschool years ing STEM, but “definiteMeghan Frick, a to graduating young adults. ly more work” because Georgia Department of the school has to show Congratulations Class of 2019 Education spokespercommitment to arts proon your outstanding high school son, said its certification grams as well, Human is free for schools. The acceptances! said. The school does process requires similar frequent plays, musical 3110-A Ashford Dunwoody Rd. SPECIAL steps of evaluations and Brookhaven, GA 30319 Kingsley Elementary Vice Principal requiring evidence from performances and art 404.237.4260 Tyra Harris-Thompson holds the shows that helped them schools it meets the cristmartinschool.org school’s new STEAM signage. achieve the certification, teria. she said. “It’s a total shift in the way kids learn,” Human said. “It creates a sense of community and of being proud for obtaining this certification.” Students have done projects on ocean pollution, creating a clean-up machine, and earthquakes, which involved creating a seismograph and a structure to withstand shakes. The projects are meant to connect to the “real world” and delve into problems, Human said. “The kids enjoy it because it’s hands on,” Human said. Kingsley received the certification through AdvancED, an accreditation agency, which charges a fee. But the Georgia Department of Education also provides a different certification for free. The STEAM certification does not provide new curriculum or any tangible benefits, but shows that the programs are important to the school, Kinglsey Principal Leah Moradi Isaac Kaufman Avery Friedman Jack Anderson Melanie Pearch said. Jackson Nozick Justin Kornblum Gavin Friedman Reese Baker Kingsley achieved the certification Caleb Ouanounou Eran Krug Zachary Friedman Miriam Barkan May 8, according to a district press release. Caitlyn Pinsker Jonathan Kuttner Matan Gal Kelli Berenthal DeKalb Schools Superintendent R. SteJenna Prass Jamie Leaf Ori Gal Ella Berman phen Green said the certification shows the Josh Retter Benjamin Lefkovits Emily George Mollie Binderman “world that our students are tomorrow’s Noah Rosenberg Asher Leish Jack Godwin Hannah Brown tech gurus, CIOs, and cybersecurity exJacob Rubin Maya Lewis Reid Goldstein Jamie Cohen perts.” Elli Russotto Caleb Mahle Aiden Golub Leah Cohen “The dedication, passion, and determinaEva Serotta Emily Mand Rian Gordon Jackson Crim tion shown by teachers and staff in completDawson Sherman Jaclyn Marx Jack Janko Maggie Deutsch ing such an effort deserves commendation Mick Shrubstok Maya Mekyten Katie Janko Megan Dollinger from both the district and the community Megan Sparks Ava Moradi Seth Kaminsky Samuel Effron at large,” Green said in a press release about the certification. “We’re providing the 21stcentury skills needed to make a difference.” Certification is long process with creating websites, showing evidence of meeting standards and school visits from accredi8105 Roberts Drive, Atlanta, GA 30350 | 770-671-0085 | davisacademy.org tors. firstname.lastname@example.org
CLASS OF 2019
Congratulations Davis Academy Class of 2019! Jake Sucan Madeline Swartz Connor Swislow Kiera Swislow Carly Tauber Sarah Terapane Lia Toporek Gavin Ulin Carson Wolff Justin Wolfson
6 | Education
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2019 Valedictorians & Salutatorians High school graduations returned in May and families gathered to clap and cheer as local high schools conferred hard-earned diplomas and special honors on hundreds of new graduates. Here are the valedictorians and salutatorians for the Class of 2019 at high schools in Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. The schools provided the students’ names and photographs. Note: The Atlanta International School did not select its valedictorian and salutatorian in time to be included this report.
ATLANTA GIRLS’ SCHOOL
ATLANTA JEWISH ACADEMY
Medad Lytton Valedictorian
Mary Elizabeth Marquardt Valedictorian
Ruiyang Zhao Valedictorian
Zoe Sokol Salutatorian
CROSS KEYS HIGH SCHOOL
CHAMBLEE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
Eshaan Agrawal Valedictorian
Sherwin Shirazi Valedictorian
Debajyoti Das Salutatorian
Madeline Tapp Valedictorian
Lee-San Sun Salutatorian
Deanna Lin Valedictorian
Emma Forrestal Valedictorian THE LOVETT SCHOOL
Dylan Shapiro Valedictorian
James Harrison Salutatorian
Amanda Perdomo Salutatorian
HOLY SPIRIT PREPARATORY SCHOOL
HOLY INNOCENTS’ EPISCOPAL SCHOOL
DUNWOODY HIGH SCHOOL
Tianya Zhan Salutatorian
Colin Cassell Salutatorian
Mikayla Brown Co-valedictorian MARIST SCHOOL
Isabella Hay Valedictorian
Natalie Selover Salutatorian
Watson Casal Co-valedictorian
Education | 7
JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net
MOUNT VERNON PRESBYTERIAN SCHOOL
Mark Grove Valedictorian
Hannah Hagenau Salutatorian
NORTH ATLANTA HIGH SCHOOL
George Gfroerer Valedictorian
Abigail Lund Salutatorian
Michelle Stanek Valedictorian
Ruth Stolovitz Valedictorian
NORTH SPRINGS CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
Lindsey Nicholas Valedictorian
RIVERWOOD INTERNATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL
Jacob Sloman Valedictorian
Thomas Contis Salutatorian
Katie Thompson Salutatorian
Julie Mittelstedt Salutatorian
Elaine Wen Salutatorian ST. PIUS X CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
Ellie Glenn Valedictorian
Ansley Boykin Salutatorian
THE WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS
Sydney Rein Salutatorian
Jessica Lao Valedictorian
Dylan Vroon Valedictorian
Naima Turbes Salutatorian
Alex Greene Salutatorian
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8 | Education
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Education Briefs DEKA L B S C H O OL S SUP ERIN TEN DEN T TO LEAVE IN 2020
DeKalb County School District Superintendent R. Stephen Green will resign from his position when his contract expires in 2020, the district announced May 24. The search for a new superintendent will begin in June. Green told the Board of Education last week that he would not seek a contract extension, “attributing his departure to personal reasons after thoughtful consideration with his family,” a press release said. He has served in the role since 2015, and during
Inspiring people and imaginations through the kitchen
that time oversaw redistricting and the construction of new schools in Dunwoody and Brookhaven. His last day will be June 30, 2020, according to the release. Green has faced tough questions from Dunwoody and Brookhaven parents about overcrowding, the use of trailers and poor conditions at some schools. The district also decided on a controversial location for the new Cross Keys High that the city of Brookhaven tried to reverse.
FO U R SANDY S P R I NG S S TUDENT S R EC EIV E D O NNA M A HA FFEY S C HO L A R S HI P S
Four students at North Springs and Riverwood International charter high schools have received $2,500 scholarships from the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce’s Donna Mahaffey Scholarship Fund. The scholarships were awarded April 30 to two seniors at Riverwood, Celia SorianoCadenas and Katherine Hernandez, and two at North Springs, Stephanie Bullock and Destiny Adams. The Donna Mahaffey Scholarship Fund was established in 2015 by the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber board to provide financial support to local female high school graduates attending college. The scholarships were presented by Mercedes-Benz USA at its headquarters in Sandy Springs.
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The DeKalb County School District broke ground on the new Cross Keys North Elementary in Doraville on May 21. The school is intended to relieve overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster of schools, which serves Brookhaven. The 900-seat school at 3630 Shallowford Road is expected to open in 2020. The site was formerly the Shallowford Gardens apartment complex. The district paid $8.2 million in 2017 to buy the complex and demolish it, drawing criticism from the founder of Los Vecinos de Buford Highway, an organization supporting residents living along the corridor. DeKalb Schools has said Cross Keys North Elementary is needed to alleviate overcrowding at the elementary schools in the cluster. The new elementary school is expected to primarily address overcrowding at Dresden Elementary in Chamblee and Cary Reynolds Elementary in Doraville, which both have needed to use “portable classrooms,” or trailers, to have room for all the students.
Community | 9
New road, pedestrian plaza among ideas for ‘triangle’ intersection BY JOHN RUCH firstname.lastname@example.org
A new road and pedestrian plaza are among the conceptual designs under consideration in a study of traffic solutions for Buckhead’s notorious “triangle” intersection at Roswell, Piedmont, Habersham and Blackland roads. All of the concepts could require demolition of some local businesses. Planners with Kimley-Horn and Associates unveiled the concepts at a May 21 meeting at Peachtree Presbyterian Church as part of a design process funded by the Buckhead Community Improvement District. A final report and recommendation is expected in September, with no guarantee any design will get funded and built. The “triangle” intersection of Roswell, Piedmont and Habersham roads as seen in a Google Earth map. Blackland Road feeds into the intersection as well. Previous public input meetings last year included calls for a broader approach to solutions, since much of the traffic choking the complicated intersection is commuter-based. All of the designs involve some direct alternative transportation improvements: wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes and room for improved stops for MARTA’s Route 5 bus. Larger solutions will be mentioned in the study, but are beyond its design scope: mass transit improvements, traffic calming devices in local neighborhoods, and redevelopment geared toward more local workers living there. “Those people are coming here no matter what we do…,” said Sean Johnston, a KimleyHorn planner, about commuters during a presentation to a group of about 45 residents and officials. “To reduce the overall traffic, we’ve got to find other ways to get people to Buckhead.” A group of more than 25 “stakeholders” privately reviewed the concepts in March, Johnston said. That stakeholders group, which will continue its review, includes residents, local government and nonprofit officials, some property owners, and representatives of the city and the Georgia Department of Transportation. Piedmont and Roswell are state routes. The group and the planners already discarded three alternative concepts as impractical, Johnston said. They included turning the intersection into dual roundabouts; realigning Roswell and Piedmont into a large X-shaped intersection; and running Blackland in a tunnel beneath Roswell. That leaves a series of variations on two alternatives generally known as “1” and “2.” The Alternative 1 series largely keeps the intersections the same and focuses on making Blackland a right-turn only in and out. The Alternative 2 series involves a bigger change. The current Piedmont-Rowell intersection would disappear, replaced with a pedestrian plaza. What is now a leg of Habersham between Roswell and Piedmont would become the new, realigned Piedmont. Concept maps show the Alternative 2 series would require demolishing a small shopping center within the triangle called Buckhead Pointe, containing a Piedmont Urgent Care and other businesses. The pedestrian plaza could take more, including a Tin Lizzy’s restaurant and a watch store. Both series of conceptual designs have a version where Habersham is extended north of Piedmont, cutting through the existing Tuxedo Festival shopping center, and intersecting with Roswell across from Powers Ferry Road. Much of the shopping center apparently would be demolished and presumably redeveloped. Tony Peters of the BCID said shopping center owner EDENS is on board with that idea – Herbert Ames, one of its vice presidents, is on the BCID board – while other property owners have not been involved in discussions yet. Kimley-Horn is now studying four alternatives – three vetted by the stakeholder group, and a fourth proposed by GDOT. They include: Alternative 1A Largely the same configuration as today, but with the Habersham extension to Powers Ferry, and the turning restrictions on Blackland. Alternative 2 This is the concept of realigning the Piedmont/Roswell intersection and creating a pedestrian plaza. In addition, today’s spur of Old Ivy Road would be fully connected to Roswell. Alternative 2A Similar to Alternative 2, but including the Habersham extension to Powers Ferry. Alternative 2B Suggested by GDOT, this alternative is similar to 2A. But it would make southbound Roswell and northbound Habersham one-way only, in a kind of giant loop dubbed the “oneway pair” concept. This concept is still in rougher form than the other alternatives and “not ready for prime time,” Johnston said. “We’re not sure it works” and its width raises some urban design concerns, he said. The stakeholders group’s preference of alternatives, in order, was 2A, 1A and 2, Johnston said. They had not yet reviewed 2B. Residents at the meeting expressed some concerns about the larger commuter traffic issues and whether more local develop would help or hurt. The taking of commercial properties was raised as a concern by some residents as well. Attendees could fill out comment sheets. Those who did not attend and want to comment will have to wait for the materials to appear on the BCID website, buckheadcid.com, which will happen by May 31, Peters said.
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Mazel tov to the Class of 2015! We wish you the best of luck in college and beyond.
MEMBERS OF EPSTEIN’S CLASS OF 2015 WERE ACCEPTED TO: American University Auburn University Brandeis University Clemson University College of Charleston Drexel University Emory University Florida State University George Washington University Georgia State University Georgia Southern University Georgia Institute of Technology Indiana University Iowa State University Kennesaw State University
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10 | Commentary
Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net
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Local librarians recommend summer reading books Summer’s here and the time is right for reading on the beach. But, what to read? To find out, we checked in with our local book experts, the librarians in our communities.
Elizabeth Meszaros-Bardoczi Dunwoody Branch Library Educated by Tara Westover
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death, Hernando continued his father’s vision and he wants to build a library that would collect everything that was ever printed, a library of universal knowledge held all in one place. The book contains a lot of interesting information about Hernando’s quest and his life; booklovers will enjoy the insights and perspectives of the 16th century information revolution.
ing for beauty are really worth it.
Kate Whitman Atlanta History Center Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
Madigan Mirza Sandy Springs Branch Library The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi Lush, beautiful prose makes this Indian retelling of the Persephone tale a treat.
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This biography shows how one woman, Tara Westover, who comes from a humble background, decides to educate herself in order to leave her home in Idaho and to become the person she is today. She becomes a student of prestigious universities, dedicates herself to education and transforms her life. This inspiring story teaches us that no matter how bad or insignificant one’s circumstances can be, we can overcome them by educating ourselves, not giving up, and keep going forward. Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews We are all ready for a summer vacation to the beach and sunshine. The book’s setting takes place in Belle Isle, North Carolina, and the story focuses on Riley Griggs, who gets more than she expects on her vacation, and not always happy memories. This novel has surprises and secrets, and the mystery deepens as you read on. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library by Edward Wilson-Lee This non-fiction book tells the story of Hernando Colon, the son of Christopher Columbus, who has traveled with his father on his final voyage to the New World. The journey ended in disaster and shipwreck. After his father’s
After Maya’s father, the Raja of Bharata, makes a politically convenient arranged marriage for her, she runs away with her new husband Amar to the land of Akaran. She soon realizes that being Akaran’s queen is no easy task, as it is a magical realm where fates of the living are decided and uneasy dead souls are put to rest. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham I just read this with one of our book clubs. Everyone loved it! It’s a fastpaced, noir thriller with a hypermasculine hero. Sebastian Rudd is a hard-drinking, rebellious lawyer who attempts to stay on the right side of the law... sort of. Mostly. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton Camellia Beauregard is a beautiful young woman in a decadent French-inspired court who has the magical ability to transform courtiers from gray and boring into dazzling beauties. There’s a slow build that all is not what it seems (of course!) leaving our protagonist to wonder if all the sacrifices she’s mak-
Cep masterfully interweaves the true crime story of the Reverend Willie Maxwell, who was accused but never convicted of murdering five family members for insurance money; the trial of the man who murdered Maxell, bringing his crime spree to an end; and of Harper Lee’s fascination with the case. A riveting nonfiction that offers an intimate portrait of the great author and will leave readers feeling the loss that a true crime book from Lee never saw the light of day. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead Whitehead, author of “The Underground Railroad,” has done it again with a devastating novel inspired by the real-life horrific events at Florida’s Dozier School for Boys. The book introduces us to Elwood Curtis, ready to enroll in a black college when a simple mistake lands him in a juvenile reformatory, the Nickel Academy. What follows is a hard look at the harsh realities of the Jim Crow South and the heartbreaking impact it has on the main characters in the story. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo This dazzling debut tells the story of the four adult daughters of Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson in 2016, a year of tumult and unrest for each of them that plays out over the course of the novel. While a 550-page book does not immediately scream “summer read,” this compulsive read will leave you wanting more and anxiously awaiting Lombardo’s sophomore effort.
Commentary | 11
Music is one of the many connections fathers can make My father once remarked that he had an uncanny, yet completely unmarketable talent for being able to hear a song and correctly identify the singer. Yes, he could do that, and he was good at it. From him I learned all the great crooners: Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Frank, Dean and Sammy. While some kids sat by their fathers in basements surrounded by magnifying glasses and scrapbooks, identifying coins or stamps, my siblings and I rode in the back of Dad’s Ford as he fiddled with the radio dial, and we identified vocalists. As a bonus, I learned nicknames: Mel Torme was the Velvet Fog, and Charlie Rich was the Silver Fox.; Frank, of course, was the Chairman of the Board. There were always records playing in our home, and from the turntable tunes of my father, I developed a love for music. I grew up on the kicky strains of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass and the mellow tunes of Simon and Garfunkel, the bold harmonies of the Mamas and the Papas, and the ballads of Bobbie Gentry. Now, that discerning ear and love for music is be-
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ing passed along to my kids as well, because I continue the game of Name that Singer as a sort of homage to my dad. My father’s legacy knows the difference between Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and they have returned the favor by schooling me on the distinction between Ingrid Michaelson and Maggie Rogers. And sometimes, when I happen to hear Bobby Darin, perhaps, crooning (from somewhere, beyond the sea) and
identify him correctly, I think my dad might be smiling in
approval, that in some small way I am connecting with him Robin Conte lives with her husband in an emp- via that completely unmarketable skill he taught me. I like ty nest in Dunwoody. to imagine that Dad might be able to reach through time and space from the dimension of the departed and touch
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me, reconnecting us by means of our little guessing game. Truly, whenever I name that singer I think of my dad, and I am grateful. Fathers, thank you for all the ways you connect with your children, the little ways and the large. Thank you for the stamp collections and the coin collections, and the backyard games of catch. Thank you for coaching the soccer team, year after year…after year. Thank you for going camping in the sweltering August heat and in the freezing January rain. Thank you for the walks on the beach, the hikes in the mud, the marathons through it all. Thank you for pointing the way. Thank you for the wrestling matches and the tickle fights and the seed-spitting contests and the head stand competitions. Thank you for teaching your kids how to balance a spoon on their noses and how to balance a load of activities. Thank you for hoisting them onto your shoulders so that they can get a better look at the world. Thank you for carrying them when they’ve tuckered out, even when you’re worn out, too. Thank you for being in the stands. Thank you for being on the field. Thank you for the Friday night lights and the Sunday morning doughnuts and the weeknight bedtime stories. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your silliness.
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Thank you even for the dad jokes. Thank you for helping your children to walk and talk and drive a car and solve an algebraic equation. Thank you for teaching them integrity. Thank you for teaching them to pray.
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Thank you for being a fine example to your kids. During the procedure you may experience sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, stinging, aching, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as the area And thank you for being proud of them. Happy Father’s Day.
The CoolSculpting® procedure is FDA-cleared the treatment of visible fat bulges in the itching, submental area,sensitivity, thigh, abdomen and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also becomes numb. Following the procedure, typical side effects include temporary redness, swelling, blanching, bruising, firmness, tingling,for stinging, tenderness, cramping, aching, or skin OLANSKY DERMATOLOGY banana andThe upper arm. It is also FDA-cleared to not affect appearance lax tissue area treatments. and sensation of fullness in the back of the throat after a submental area treatment. Rare sideknown effectsasmay alsoroll), occur. CoolSculpting® procedure is forthe everyone. Youofshould not with havesubmental the CoolSculpting® procedure if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. The CoolSculpting® procedure is not a treatment for obesity. Ask your doctor if 404-355-5484 During the procedure you may experience sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, stinging, aching, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as CoolSculpting® is right for you. To learn more about what to expect, visit www.coolsculpting.com. the area becomes numb. Following the procedure, typical side effects include temporary redness, swelling, blanching, bruising, firmness, OFFICE: tingling, stinging, cramping, aching, itching, BUCKHEAD 3379tenderness, Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 500 Atlanta, or skin sensitivity, and sensation of fullness in the back of the throat after a submental area treatment. Rare side effects may also occur. The CoolSculpting® procedure is not for everyone. You GA 30326 should have the CoolSculpting® procedure ifand you its suffer fromare cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria. The CoolSculpting® procedure is not a treatment *CoolSculpting® is the treatment doctors use most for nonsurgical fat reduction. ©2018 Allergan. All not rights reserved. COOLSCULPTING® design registered trademarks of ZELTIQ Aesthetics, olanskydermatology.com for obesity. Ask your doctor if CoolSculpting® is right for you. To learn more about what to expect, visit www.coolsculpting.com. Inc., an Allergan affiliate. IC03668-B *CoolSculpting® is the treatment doctors use most for nonsurgical fat reduction. ©2018 Allergan. All rights reserved. COOLSCULPTING® and its design are registered trademarks of ZELTIQ Aesthetics, Inc., an Allergan affiliate. IC03668-B
12 | Commentary
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Around Town Joe Earle is editor-at-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at email@example.com
A local author re-imagines the story of Georgia’s amazing ‘Magnetic Girl’
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Jessica Handler’s mother was the first to tell her about Lulu Hurst. Handler and her mother shared an interest in stories of remarkable women, so years ago, when Handler’s mother came across an article about Hurst, she emailed a copy to her daughter. The article was titled “The Feats of the Magnetic Girl Explained.” “I just fell in love with her, although I’d never heard of this girl,” Handler said. After reading some of Greil Marcus’s musings on American folk music, Handler felt an attraction to what Marcus called “the old, weird America.” The Magnetic Girl felt like a part of that. Lulu Hurst was born and grew up dirt poor in the Georgia mountains, but, for a few years in the 1880s, when she was a teenager and electricity and magnetism were something exotic that happened in faraway big cities, she toured the country performing “magnetic tests” in towns large and small. She appeared in vaudeville houses across the South, in cities such as Atlanta and Baltimore, in New York, and even out west, Handler said. While onstage, Lulu supposedly used magnetism in her body to lift people seated in parlor chairs or to knock grown men across the stage. Later, years after she had retired from the stage and settled in Madison, Ga., Lulu wrote her autobiography and explained how her tests actually were done. They were tricks, stagecraft, and JOE EARLE she was a charlatan. The members of her audiJessica Handler. ence were fooled. They saw what they were told they should see and what they wanted to see. Now Handler, who teaches writing at Oglethorpe University, has put together her own book about Lulu the performer. “The Magnetic Girl,” Handler’s first novel, is winning attention from publications as varied as The Wall Street Journal and The Bitter Southerner. As a writer, Handler isn’t a novice. When she was younger, she worked as a TV producer, on game shows, but since 2009, she’s published a couple of nonfiction books, including a memoir called “Invisible Sisters,” about the deaths of her two siblings when they were young, and a book on writing about grief. She bears a physical reminder of her sisters in the form of a tattoo of a crow on her upper arm. She chose the crow, she said, because she was once told the birds travel in threes. Her other arm is tattooed with an image of a hummingbird, chosen, she said, “because hummingbirds are beautiful, fast and fierce and wouldn’t that be a fun thing to be?” She decided to write a novel about “The Magnetic Girl” rather than another nonfiction work so she could try to get inside young Lulu Hurst’s head. A nonfiction account, she said, could end up as little more than a list of Lulu’s performances. “She was amazing,” Handler said over lunch at a coffee shop recently. “I wanted to look at Lulu as a girl. She’s responding to the coming fear of the 20th century. … Old ways were starting to change.” Handler says she spent about a decade working on her novel. She read an original copy of Lulu’s book and newspaper accounts of her shows. She traveled to Cedartown to stand at a field where the Hurst family once had a home. And Handler tried to learn to perform Lulu’s “tests” herself, but never fully mastered them. “The chair thing, I can’t figure,” she said. Still, Handler doesn’t see Lulu simply as another stage magician. “I don’t think she presented it as ‘magic,’” Handler said. “She was willing to go along with the cultural assumption, the collective belief, that she had magnetism in her fingers.” For her version of Lulu’s story, Handler invented a sick younger brother the teen wanted to use her powers to save and portrays the teen’s relationship with her father and mother, who enjoy the benefits of her small, but growing, celebrity. “What attracted me to her was this question her autobiography didn’t answer: Why did she do it? When you’re a teenager in a small town, maybe you just want to get out.” Handler recognized something of herself in her subject. “I was an awkward teen,” Handler said. “I don’t know whether Lulu was comfortable with the way people saw her. In real life, she left the stage, and I don’t know why … In her, I see a teenaged girl who is seen by the world in a way and she realizes in the end she is going to have to be the one to change the way people see her.” After all, the Magnetic Girl lived in a time of change.
Art & Entertainment | 13
Chastain Park Arts Festival draws crowds
A little rain couldn’t stop the Chastain Park Spring Arts and Craft Festival from drawing Buckhead crowds on May 11 and 12. The festival will return with its fall edition on Nov. 2 and 3. Photos by Phil Mosier A - Logan Schwartz, 13, examines a glass animal along with dad Mike before they make a purchase at the Glass Dog Gifts booth of artist Valentina Culieva. B - From left, sisters Lena and Elise Pierre, ages 4 and 7, call for visitors to buy baked goods as a fundraiser for the4 new pediatric facility at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. C - Local painter and actress Angela Marie Williams awaits visitors at her booth. D - Visitors explore the arts festival.
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Making a Difference
Backpack Buddies put care in packages
Methodist Dunwoody United Gil Yates, about to begin at for his classmate Coast Indians was making a beeline A class on Pacific page 10 strode into the room, Church when a man OK.” approached. “Shuffling’sbuddy, who would not front row, center. said, as the man his “No running!” Yates is a year older than all in good fun. Yates The teasing was age: 91. with Perimeter Adults but did share his classes this spring reveal his name, 175 students taking The men are among most of whom (PALS). for senior adults, Learning & Services continuing education the start. year of providing been members from PALS is in its 25th need for of Dunwoody, have takes care of the and his wife, Dot, and this kind of are 60-plus. Yates to help other people, “People our age want made lifelong friends.” 4 Yates said. “We have Continued on page fellowship,” Dot
on the run Story on page 4
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14 | Community
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Toll roads, Cobb transit and affordable housing on Buckhead council’s commuter traffic agenda BY JOHN RUCH
From those talks, Norwood said, a bus rapid transit route running between Cobb and Buckhead on I-75’s HOV lanes is Charging tolls on commuters who “very much a possibility.” And while Cobb drive down Buckhead’s residential streets. has been infamously resistant to joining A new bus route or rail line between Cobb MARTA, Patterson said, “When Mary and County and Lindbergh Center Station. I met with Cobb [officials] two days ago, Affordable housing incentive programs they said, ‘Don’t give to let lower-income up on rail coming workers live closer from Cobb County.’” to their jobs. MARTA and the Those were Atlanta-region Tranamong the bigsit Link Authority ger priorities that had representatives emerged at the in the audience at Buckhead Council the BCN meeting, by of Neighborhood’s Norwood’s request. May 2 meeting at They did not comPeachtree Presbyment about the tranterian Church, as it sit talk. kicked off a study The BCN coordiof ways to “let Bucknating a privately head breathe” rathfunded transportaer than “suffocating” tion study for all of on commuter traffic. Mary Norwood. Buckhead or key corFormal recommenridors was another dations will come no idea floated by Norsooner than September, but one message wood. was clear: the residential neighborhoods The “Let Buckhead Breathe” initiative see themselves as under literal invasion came out of the BCN’s recently formed inby outsiders from the land of Cobb. terest area groups, or subcommittees, on As one resident concerned about eversuch issues as transportation. Norwood growing traffic and pedestrian safety on now aims to gather three “task forces” Moores Mill Road put it, “Anybody watch of members to set priorities on its three ‘Game of Thrones’? We have the White general goals: “enhance transit options,” Walkers and they’re not walking, they’re “protect neighborhoods” and “provide afdriving.” fordable workforce housing.” Some of the initial policy ideas are already getting outside reactions, pro Tolling and tech and con. Tolling certain neighborhoods, BCN board member Robert Sarkisknown as congestion pricing, is among sian led a presentation on how technolomany ideas that may be studied by the gy could aid the neighborhood-protection city in a traffic management review regoal. He said that at minimum, the BCN quested by local City Councilmember J.P. should recommend local congestion pricMatzigkeit, and the notion has drawn ing and “adaptive” traffic signals, which controversy. change based on traffic conditions rather Sam Massell, president of the Buckthan a simple clock. Such neighboring cithead Coalition, a group of business and ies as Sandy Springs already have widecivic leaders, said in an interview prior spread use of adaptive signals and Atlanta to the BCN meeting that he strongly ophas started installing some in Buckhead. posed the general concept of congestion “One question is, can we implement pricing for Buckhead. some sort of congestion tax” on people “As a center of tourism, as Buckhead driving through neighborhoods from outdefines itself with 1,500 retail units, I side addresses, Sarkissian said. “The techthink not only would it be a tremendous nology for that is pretty easy now… I don’t economic detriment to businesses that know popular that’s going to be.” are here, [but] you could have riots in the He also envisioned a high-tech future streets from people who want to come where autonomous vehicles could be here from across borders,” Massell said. synched with traffic signals and personal “…I just think it’s very distasteful.” data so that outsiders could be walled out The idea of some type of improved by red lights, a notion that drew applause Cobb-Buckhead mass transit line, howfrom the crowd. ever, got a good initial response from Congestion pricing is used in several some Cobb officials, according to BNC large cities around the world, including Chair Mary Norwood and Robert Pattercentral London, and is a national discusson of the North Buckhead Civic Associasion point due to New York City’s recent tion. Norwood said she recently met with study of the concept for lower ManhatCobb County Commission Chairman tan. However, those cities also have extenMike Boyce about transit issues and that sive public transit systems as alternatives, he arranged for her and Patterson to meet well beyond metro Atlanta’s current syswith county planning and transportation tems. officials in late April. Massell of the Buckhead Coalition firstname.lastname@example.org
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Community | 15
said the city’s study of congestion pricing came up during his recent “summit” with leaders of the Midtown Alliance and Central Atlanta Progress, and their reaction was negative, with one suggestion that it might be unconstitutional. “I don’t think it’s doable. I don’t think it’s practical. I don’t think [that] when they think it through they’ll recommend it,” Massell said of the city study. “I respect the effort to reduce traffic” and that many commuters come from Cobb, he added, but at the same time, “It’s a labor force. They work here.”
Lindbergh Center Station. Norwood revived talk of a Buckhead subway line last year. At the meeting, Norwood cited the idea of using airport funds to help pay for it, citing the precedent of New York City’s AirTrain to John F. Kennedy International Airport. She heard that idea from Ferdinand Levy, a retired Georgia Tech economics professor and Buckhead resident who says he helped to propose that funding mechanism while working as an airport consultant.
Housing relates directly to Buckhead’s traffic congestion because people who work in the neighborhood but can’t afford to live there have to come from elsewhere, often by private vehicle. More affordable housing could mean more people commuting within the neighborhood rather than through it, or even walking to work. The BCN is tallying the numbers of apartments, condos and townhomes in the neighborhood, and suggesting some could be made affordable to local workers via developer tax incentives and preferred-renter deals where landlords give breaks to employees of certain local employers. The BCN effort largely echoes an affordable housing study underway by the Buckhead Community Improvement District and Livable Buckhead, though with more of an anti-development spin in its presentation. That BCID and Livable Buckhead effort came out of a mas-
In a presentation on commuter-oriented transit, Patterson noted that Buckhead already had some great assets, including two MARTA rail stations, and more on the way, such as bus routes, the Clifton Corridor light rail to the Emory University area and possibly a rail extension to Gwinnett County. “Most parts of Atlanta would love to have our transit infrastructure,” he said. The missing bit is a connection to Cobb. Commuter buses currently run from Cobb to Downtown and Midtown MARTA stations, but none go directly to Buckhead, which Patterson called “completely crazy.” Among the items he and Norwood discussed with Cobb officials was routing a proposed new bus rapid transit line – meaning large-capacity buses use some type of dedicated lane – proposed on Cobb Parkway so that it would come to
ter plan’s findings that, as of 2016, 98% of Buckhead employees commuted there from outside. Housing capacity was found to be a major issue, with 10 times more jobs than households in the neighborhood, and while many units are being built, most are luxury projects unaffordable to the roughly 40% of area employees who make less than $50,000 a year. The executive directors of the BCID and Livable Buckhead attended the BCN meeting, but did not speak. Sam Leneaus, a real estate agent working on the BCN housing issues, said he counted 58,274 existing “attached” units (meaning two or more in one building) in Buckhead, with 2,702 units under construction and another 3,069 proposed. He suggested the data is an argument against approving more multifamily housing out of concern it would cause traffic. Instead, the idea is to make some of those existing units affordable to local workers through the incentive programs. “We’re not suggesting Section 8 housing,” Leneaus added, referring to federally subsidized public housing. One resident was concerned that apartment buildings lower local property values, while Kim Shorter, a board member of NPU-B, asked, “Are we sure we have an affordable housing problem in Buckhead?” and suggested that some people simply choose a “Cobb County lifestyle” instead of a “Buckhead lifestyle.” Norwood said that affordable housing is a major city government issue and that Buckhead has to do its part. The current
method of offering developers density bonuses for a “tiny piece that is affordable” isn’t working, she said. “The beauty of this is, it’s not a mandate at all. It’s an opportunity,” she said.
Private traffic plans
A review of privately funded traffic improvement plans was another meeting topic. It ranged from the massive North Buckhead Neighborhood Master Plan, completed in 2015 at a cost of $25,000, to a new effort in Tuxedo Park that could cost up to $40,000. One audience member said she’s new to Atlanta and did not understand why citizens had to privately commission traffic studies. “It seems like we just need to ask the city to do its job better,” she said, drawing knowing laughter from the crowd. Norwood said one reason for the discussion was the BCN might help coordinate and fund such studies, including on a large scale. “But as far as getting the city to do its job, that is really aspirational,” Norwood said. Mentioning that she is a former elected official, but not that she lost the 2017 mayoral election to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Norwood added that she hasn’t seen a change in the city’s willingness to do such studies itself in the past 18 months. “The reality is, there are other parts of the city that get huge studies done,” but Buckhead doesn’t get them, she said.
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Holy Spirit offers to sell 150-year-old house for $1 to save it from expansion plan Continued from page 1 land. To Holy Spirit, which says there never was such a permanent deal, it’s another chance to make a new agreement. In response to Reporter questions about the house, Holy Spirit offered a new bargain. “Since there seems to be interest in preserving this cottage, the church would be more than happy to sell the cottage to someone for $1, on condition that they move it from the parish property within a specified period,” a Holy Spirit spokesperson said. Holy Spirit was scheduled to host a June 6 community meeting at Sandy Springs City Hall about its proposal to expand its Buckhead campus at Mount Paran Road and Northside Drive onto an adjacent San-
dy Springs site. The proposal includes relocating the Lower School from elsewhere in Sandy Springs, as well as a parking deck and church-related buildings. The old Sims property – about 13 acres of woods – is the expansion site and ground zero for the debate. The local Northside/ Chastain/Mt. Paran Neighborhood Preservation Association wants the trees to stay and says a 2003 legal agreement with Holy Spirit blocks the expansion. Holy Spirit says that agreement is no longer valid for technical reasons due to the NPA’s failure to file state paperwork. The dispute about the letter and spirit of agreements goes back to Sims himself, who sold the property to Holy Spirit. There’s no question that Holy Spirit once
Wildlife and people could benefit from better tree protections, advocates say BY KATIA MARTINEZ Native birds will have a safe place to rest their wings at night if the Atlanta Audubon Society has its way. The society has been partnering with several local environmental organizations to protect the city’s canopy and wildlife, and on April 30 held a “Tree Talks” meeting at Atlanta International School to focus on development and protection of that canopy. Meeting leaders cited planting more trees, buying forested land to protect, and saving existing canopy as the best solutions. The City of Atlanta will be reviewing the existing tree protection ordinance later this year, and Nikki Belmonte, the Executive Director of the Atlanta Audubon Society, said this is the time for citizens and experts to voice their opinions. Citizens were also encouraged to sign a pre-filled out letter to the City of Atlanta asking for stricter tree protection laws. “There are gaps in the [existing] ordinances that just don’t work anymore for our city,” Belmonte said. “The ordinances are 20 years old, so it’s time for an update.” There are more than 250 species of wild birds in Atlanta, and the diverse canopy allows those communities to flourish. And that tree diversity is what Dekalb County Natural Resource Manager Robby Astrove wants to protect. “As great as it looks to have a whole street blooming at the same time [with the same tree species], we’re actually creating a susceptibility for the trees if we do that,” Astrove said. “A disease can come in and wipe out the whole street.” But disease is not the only concerning issue for these groups. More than 72% of the canopy is on private property, and while there are fines for cutting trees down without a proper permit, Tree Next Door founder deLille Anthony believes those are not strict enough. “When you hear someone with a chainsaw on a Sunday morning, they’re usually doing it then because they know there isn’t anyone in the office who can answer those calls,” Anthony said. She also said the rising real estate values in the metro area are devaluing the trees on those properties. “When you’re spending $400,000 on a piece of a property, a $500 fine to illegally cut down a tree is a drop in the bucket,” she said. The group also discussed wanting to charge more for cutting down trees in the more expensive parts of the city to better correlate the price with the value. “We need to help people understand the value of trees,” Belmonte said. “And if a property is worth more, than so are the trees on it.” For more information, see atlantaaudubon.org.
spoke strongly about preserving the house and woods, but there is no sign of a written agreement to that effect, and community and family memories differ regarding Sims’s expectations. Randy Cherry, Sims’s stepson, only recalled a stipulation that the site remain undeveloped during Sims’s lifetime. Sims died in 2006 at the age of 99, according to newspaper obituaries. “He just didn’t want anything to happen to the house while he was alive,” Cherry said. The history of the house at 844 Mount Paran is detailed in old newspaper articles and in a Georgia Historic Resources survey conducted by the state in the mid-1990s and now on file at Heritage Sandy Springs. Sims, who bought the property in 1945, estimated the house to date to 1868, partly based on old newspapers stuffed into its walls. Local lore said it was built by a family named Cates as a home for a tenant farmer, and that its location was chosen by fate when wagons loaded with construction lumber got stuck in the mud there. The house was remodeled in the 1920s by an attorney who named the nearby Highcourt Road. Despite the alterations, the state survey in the 1990s said the house appeared to meet the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It appear the house never got any form of official historic designation. But it did get a modest, informal one – a sign dubbing it the Sims House, erected in the mid-1990s by the Historic Preservation Committee of the Sandy Springs Foundation, apparently the same nonprofit that went dormant and was recently revived to support the new City Springs civic center. Cherry calls it a “cute house” and recalled it as old-fashioned. “It was not modernized whatsoever,” Cherry said. “[It had] mostly original fixtures. Squeaky wood floors and hardwood doors.” Sims lived in the house until his marriage in 1987 to Cherry’s mother, Rebecca. The couple’s main home was Rebecca’s house on Buckhead’s West Paces Ferry Road. “She had a whole house surrounded by gardens… She wasn’t going to move into a little hut with Ben,” Cherry said. Rebecca Cherry Sims was killed by a gardener in a notorious 1989 crime in which Ben Sims was severely injured. In 1996, Sims sold the Mount Paran property to Holy Spirit under terms that essentially let him remain living there for the rest of his life. In 2003, he gave over all rights to the property and moved to Florida. The exact sales amount is unclear from available records, but Holy Spirit says it
believes it paid Sims $1.9 million. It’s clear that both sides talked about the deal in terms of preservations, but there is no sign of a legal agreement requiring it. In 1998, when Holy Spirit was still proposing its current Upper School campus in a controversy that led to the disputed 2003 legal agreement, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote about the Sims property and the house. “I never wanted to sell,” the paper quoted Sims as saying. “I just didn’t want it to wind up with developers. They build outrageously ugly houses with 14 feet between them.” The same story also quoted Monsignor Edward Dillon, who remains Holy Spirit’s pastor today. “Our intent is to preserve the house,” Dillon was quoted as saying. “We want to maintain that area perpetually in its natural state, and maybe lay out some type of botanical meditation garden where people can go sit or think or pray.” Those plans have changed. Holy Spirit says its expansion would requiring cutting down a majority of the woodland, and the house will go, too. At a previously community meeting in April, Dillon referred to Sims as a “tree-hugger” and suggested that Holy Spirit lived up to its promise by not selling the land for a housing subdivision. A Holy Spirit spokesperson said the house was maintained for many years, but about three years ago became unsafe for occupancy, especially due to floor problems. Holy Spirit estimates it would cost $600,000 to bring the house up to code. John Beach, president of the Buckhead Heritage Society, said his father was a friend of Sims. Beach recalled Sims as more interested in the fate of the woodland than that of the house. “He was a serious gardener, and loved his overgrown woods on Mount Paran. The old cottage was not much more than a shack,” Beach said. “Ben was very disillusioned by the church’s treatment of the woods he sold them, felt like they went back on their word about development to him, or at least that was my perception,” Beach said. But regarding the house, he added, “I wasn’t aware of any preservation talk, [and] don’t know that Ben thought it would be preserved.” Besides the $1 house sale offer, Holy Spirit said it is “rescuing” some plants in the woodland as well. The Georgia Native Plant Society as well as church volunteers and staff members are already moving various plants from the potential expansion site to other parts of the property or off-site locations, a spokesperson said.
Community | 17
GDOT toll lanes: Answers to some frequently asked questions
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A screenshot from an illustrated video released by the Georgia Department of Transportation shows a section of the future toll lanes along Ga. 400 over Northridge Road in Sandy Springs.
BY EVELYN ANDREWS AND JOHN RUCH As the state plans for toll lanes on Ga. 400 and I-285, controversy and discussion have centered on some major unknowns, such as property takings and new interchange locations. But there also has been some confusion about topics that are at least partly known. The following are the basic answers to some common questions about the toll lanes.
Where did the toll lanes idea come from?
More than a decade ago, GDOT began a planning process for Perimeter traffic relief, known as “Revive 285,” that looked at a wide variety of options, including forms of mass transit, before settling on a metro-wide system of toll lanes.
What is the purpose of the toll lanes?
GDOT says the toll lanes will improve traffic congestion by taking vehicles out of the regular lanes, as well as by serving as mass transit bus routes on at least part of the highways. The Ga. 400 and I-285 toll lanes are part of a wider system planned for the metro area, parts of which are already open on I-75, I-85, I-575 and some other highways.
Is this one project or two – or three?
It’s easy to get confused about GDOT’s local plans because they involves three different projects. While the Ga. 400 toll lanes and I-285 toll lanes would be part of a single network, they are two separate projects with different construction timelines. And the major construction work currently underway on the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange has nothing to do with the toll lanes. The interchange reconstruction, known as “Transform 285/400,” is essentially just reconfiguring existing lanes, not adding toll lanes. GDOT aims to finish that project in late 2020. The first toll lanes project is Ga. 400, expected to start construction in 2021. The I-285 toll lanes would follow in 2023. For added confusion, the “I-285” project actually includes part of the Ga. 400 toll lanes between I-285 and the North Springs MARTA Station.
How would the toll lanes be funded?
GDOT is using a public-private partnership, which means that private companies fund the construction and make their money back over time through the tolls. After that money is regained, the toll revenue would be spent on “other transportation needs,” according to GDOT.
Will mass transit use the toll lanes?
Bus rapid transit, operated by MARTA, is planned for part of the Ga. 400 lanes and is being studied for I-285. BRT is being considered as a less expensive alternative to heavy rail.
Why toll lanes instead of a MARTA rail extension?
Extending MARTA’s Red Line northward through Sandy Springs was locally supported in recent transit plans, but ultimately abandoned after leaders in some other north Fulton cities said they would not support it and the sales tax that might fund it. Bus transit was the consensus option, and GDOT agreed to work with MARTA on including it on the Ga. 400 toll lanes. Rail on I-285 was among the options considered in “Revive 285” beContinued on page 18
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Continued from page 17 fore toll lanes were settled on.
Why is GDOT not placing tolls on existing lanes instead of building new toll lanes?
GDOT cites a combination of practical and regulatory reasons. In practice, converting four lanes of Ga. 400 to tolls would reduce capacity by about 40 percent and make congestion worse, GDOT says. In addition, GDOT is operating under a policy requiring that any new lanes it builds must be tolled, and a federal restriction on converting generalpurpose lanes to toll lanes. The policy could be changed and there are exemptions to the federal rules that could apply locally. But for now, the political climate is against changes following removal of toll booths elsewhere on Ga. 400 in 2013 and a 2011 controversy over converting an I-85 HOV lane to a tolled lane.
How do the toll lanes work?
The tolls would only be collected on the newly built toll lanes. Drivers have the choice of whether to use the lanes. Using the toll lanes requires a Peach Pass, an electronic tag registered to a vehicle. The price would vary and would be set by the State Road and Tollway Authority in real time depending on the level of congestion on the lanes. The idea behind the variable pricing is to keep traffic flowing in the lanes faster than in the regular lanes. Giving drivers the option to have a faster trip time on the toll lanes is expected to lower congestion in the regular lanes as well, according to GDOT.
Toll Lanes Briefs D O R AVILLE CITY CO U NCILM EM B ER SPEAKS O U T AG AINST I - 2 8 5 TO LL LANES
WE CAN HELP YOU FIND IT call us at one of our convenient locations ATLANTA NORTH 770-622-3081 ATLANTA PERIMETER 770-394-2131 BIG CANOE® 770-893-2400 BLAIRSVILLE 706-745-3000 BLUE RIDGE 706-632-7211 BUCKHEAD 404-233-4142 BUCKHEAD NORTH 404-814-9000 BUCKHEAD NORTHWEST 404-261-2700 THE COLLECTION AT FORSYTH 770-497-2000 COBB MARIETTA 770-422-6005
Doraville City Councilmember Joseph Geierman is publicly speaking out against the planned I-285 “top end” toll lanes, which are expected to begin construction in 2023 and which state officials say will cost nearly $5 billion. Building more lanes, Geierman said, even if they are toll lanes, will only bring more traffic. He also criticized what he said was a secretive process of informing the public about what is happening. “It’s infuriating to me that the state is spending billions on this project ... that I guess is an Atlanta Regional Commission plan published years ago,” he said. “It was mostly developed by engineers at the Georgia Department of Transportation
and ARC and then socialized into certain groups but never made public.” The “I-285 Top End Express Lanes” project focuses on adding two new elevated, barrier-separated express lanes in both directions on I-285, alongside regular travel lanes. They could stand 30 feet or higher. GDOT says the added toll lanes would alleviate traffic on one of the most heavily traveled and congested highways in the country by allowing motorists to pay a fee to drive in less congested lanes. ARC and GDOT adopted its “express lanes” strategy in 2013. Adding more lanes, even if they are toll lanes, will not alleviate congestion along I-285, Geierman said. Adding other ways for people to get around, such as multiuse trails or even dedicated bus lanes, are options that could be explored. He said he knows “sweeteners” such as adding bus rapid transit on the Ga. 400
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Community | 19
toll lanes and discussions to do the same on the I-285 toll lanes are being included in the projects as a way to â&#x20AC;&#x153;keep everyone happy.â&#x20AC;? But he said he could not stay silent on this project. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of people who are in elected position are making different calculations and working with GDOT to get the best deal they can, and certainly that is smart,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But, at same time, it just seems so wrong and I need to speak out. I think most of the people I represent are probably in the same boat I am.â&#x20AC;? Geierman said he also intends to work with GDOT to ensure mitigations for neighborhoods are part of the project, such as sound barriers. But, he said, there is only so much mitigation that can be done for elevated toll lanes that will be towering over neighborhoods. Geierman also knocked GDOTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent meetings with the public in which little detailed information was provid-
ed. He said he believes GDOT has plans of what it expects to build, but is not sharing them with the public. GDOT officials say they are still in early concept design phases of the new toll lanes and will present detailed plans to the public in January. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They have a plan they are not sharing with people, purposefully,â&#x20AC;? Geierman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want any of us to actually mobilize our neighbors and say this is what is going to happen. Information is coming out in drips and drabs.â&#x20AC;? Dozens of Sandy Springs residents just recently learned their homes are to be taken as part of the Ga. 400 toll lanes project, a separate project from I-285 toll lanes, he said. Then he said he learned from reading the news that Doravilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Assembly property owners sold 5 acres to GDOT for the I-285 toll lanes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Information is coming out so slowly it will be hard to organize a real re-
sponse,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And there is so much money behind it. Legitimately, it will be hard to put out a defense.â&#x20AC;?
D U NWO O DY R ESID ENT STAR TS PETITIO N TO S T O P PLANNED I-285 TO LL L A NES
Dunwoody resident Travis Reid is hoping to stop the I-285 toll lanes project through a change.org petition he started. An early signer to the petition was Doraville Councilmember Joseph Geierman. As of May 28, there were 356 signatures.
G EO R G IA PO W ER POL ES IN TO LL LANES R IG HT O F WAY
Several Georgia Power utility poles are lined up in the right-of-way along I-285 that borders Dunwoodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Georgetown community. Very narrow right-of-way
exists between the towering poles and several properties, including townhomes and the historic Georgetown Recreation Club. GDOT project manager Tim Matthews said GDOT is in early discussions with all utility companies located in the right-ofway of where the toll lanes may go. But he said there are no detailed plans on what right-of-way is needed â&#x20AC;&#x153;because we are not there yet.â&#x20AC;? But moving large utility poles like the ones near Georgetown is something GDOT prefers not to do, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ideally, we try to avoid [relocating them], especially the large transmission towers, because they cost several million dollars a piece to relocate,â&#x20AC;? he said. Nothing is final, however, he stressed. And none of the plans including any relocation of utilities would be finalized until GDOT hires a private contractor to come up with the complete design, he said.
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Public Safety | 21
Police Blotter / Buckhead The following information, involving events that took place in Buckhead May 1 through May 23, was provided to the Buckhead Reporter by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department.
HOMICIDE 1900 block of Howell Mill Road — May 3
1700 block of Howell Mill Road — May 21
400 block of Kingswood Lane — May 17
4700 block of Peachtree Park Drive —
900 block of Mount Paran Road — May 1 2400 block of Coronet Way — May 3 700 block of Morosgo Drive — May 5
500 block of Trabert Avenue — May 1
2300 block of Parkland Drive — May 5
3300 block of Stratford Road — May 4
400 block of Lindbergh Place — May 7
3200 block of Roswell Road — May 5 1700 block of Commerce Drive — May 8 3300 block of Peachtree Road — May 10
700 block of Park Avenue — May 8 700 block of Park Avenue — May 8 700 block of Morosgo Drive — May 8
200 block of Pharr Road — May 10
600 block of Phipps Boulevard — May 9
2500 block of Piedmont Road — May 11
2400 block of Coronet Way — May 9
3200 block of Roswell Road — May 12
3500 block of Tuxedo Road — May 10
2900 block of Peachtree Road — May 17
300 block of Lenox Way — May 10
700 block of Morosgo Drive — May 15
200 block of Blanton Road — May 11
2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —
200 block of South Colonial Homes Cir-
cle — May 13
2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —
500 block of Bishop Street — May 15
2400 block of Cheshire Bridge Road —
R O B B E RY
700 block of Sidney Marcus Boulevard
— May 21 2300 block of Parkland Drive — May 22
B U R G L A RYN O N-R E S I D E N C E 2100 block of Monroe Drive — May 1 2500 block of Chantilly Drive — May 5 2300 block of Coronet Way — May 6 1700 block of Peachtree Street — May 8 600 block of Garson Drive — May 10 2400 block of Camellia Lane — May 12 2200 block of Peachtree Road — May 14
1500 block of Northside Drive — May 1 300 block of Pharr Road — May 5 1300 block of Hanover West — May 11 600 block of Morning Glory Place —
May 11 700 block of Morosgo Drive — May 13 1700 block of Northside Drive — May 15 3100 block of Argonne Drive — May 20
LARCENY Between May 1 and May 23, there were
130 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 89 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.
2100 block of Monroe Drive — May 17
AU TO T H E F T
3100 block of Roswell Road — May 18
Between May 1 and May 23, there were
3100 block of East Shadowlawn Avenue
43 reported incidents of auto theft.
— May 18
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NOTICE OF INTENT TO SET PROPERTY MILLAGE The City of Brookhaven has tentatively adopted a millage rate for the General Fund which will be a decrease in property taxes by 0.44 percent under the Rollback Millage rate. This decrease is due solely to the revaluation of real property tax assessments. All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearings for the setting of the millage to be held at Brookhaven City Hall at 4362 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, GA 30319. The first public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on June 11, 2019. The second public hearing and formal adoption of the millage rate will be held at the June 25, 2019 meeting at 7:00 p.m. The tentative millage rate of 2.740 mills, is a decrease of .012 mills from the rollback rate of 2.752 mills. The proposed tax decrease for a home with a fair market value of $499,703 is approximately $2.40 and the proposed tax decrease for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $389,665 is approximately $1.87.
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Community | 23
Power poles and holes in sidewalks raise safety concerns Continued from page 1 around him and the pole. But the danger of the physical gap is just the latest example of a communications gap in Buckhead street and sidewalk conditions – GDOT and the city of Atlanta working on different timelines or pointing fingers at each other. Neither agency responded to questions about the new poles, which started going up on Peachtree Road in February, or about the holes Curtis pointed out at Peachtree and Brookwood Valley Circle. Katie Howard, chief of staff to City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit, said the Department of Public Works told her GDOT and the city are “working on an agreement to address the sidewalk needs in this area.” Curtis says city officials told him it could take another six months to fill the new hole. Then again, Curtis says he’s seen repairs take a lot longer than that. He’s a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging the city is violating a 10-year-old federal consent decree about complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act for broken pavement, signs placed within sidewalks, and similar issues that the placement of power poles in the path also raise. Those repairs also frequently fall into jurisdictional disputes between the city and GDOT, which operates Peachtree as a state route, officials have previously said. Other Buckhead infrastructure has been affected as well. The streetlights at Buford Highway and Sidney Marcus Boulevard have been out for half a decade due to a city-GDOT responsibility dispute that officials say is in a resolution phase. PATH400’s Gordon C. Bynum Jr. Pedestrian Bridge had its streetlights turned off by Georgia Power in April after GDOT forgot to pay the bill, according to the Buckhead Community Improvement District and City Councilmember Howard Shook’s office. (GDOT did not respond to a question about that situation, either.) Holes or no holes, the new Peachtree power poles already sparked their own controversy in a tension between vehicle driver safety and pedestrian safety. In what GDOT calls its “Clear Roadside Project,” the agency and Georgia Power are relocating power poles from the curbside to behind – or within – the sidewalk. The work affects about 100 poles along Peachtree and Roswell roads between Midtown and Sandy Springs. The idea is reduce crashes caused when drivers run vehicles into streetside poles. Critics, like the pedestrian advocacy group PEDS Atlanta, say that means out-of-control drivers are more likely to hit human beings instead, and that the lack of roadside obstacles will encourage higher-speed driving as well. Poles erected within the sidewalk also raise concerns about reducing pedestrian right of way. “GDOT’s philosophy behind moving the poles is sickening,” said Sally Flocks, president and CEO of PEDS, in an email. “The purpose is to provide ‘correction’ space if someone falls asleep or is distracted while driving.” In a February email provided by Flocks, Kathy Zahul, an engineer for GDOT’s metro-area District 7, said that crash data shows a need to move the poles.
Top, James Curtis attempts to pilot his wheelchair between broken asphalt and a hole in the sidewalk created for a new power pole near the corner of Peachtree Road and Brookwood Valley Circle. Bottom, the relocated power pole comes with a hole several inches deep that reportedly could take months to fill.
“There were 12 ‘run off road, strike utility pole’ crashes in this segment of roadway between 2010 and 2014 alone,” Zahul wrote. “Four of those crashes resulted in serious injuries, and one in death. This segment ranked fourth statewide and third in District 7 for this type of crash.” The placement of poles within the sidewalk on Peachtree near the Shepherd Center, a rehab hospital for people with spine and brain injuries, is controversial as well. Zahul wrote that the pole placement would meet ADA requirements. Flocks said that a 36-inch-wide passage will meet the ADA, but 48 inches is a modern, if still unofficial, standard for wheelchair accessibility. She said she has not measured any of the poleaffected sidewalks. There also was confusion about the plan for that part of Peachtree. Zahul originally told Flocks and other advocates that poles would not be placed within sidewalks there, her February emails show, then apologized for a misunderstanding and said they would be after all. Shepherd Center spokesperson Jane Sanders said the hospital had been notified about the pole relocation and possible short-term traffic impacts, “but not the specific placements on the sidewalks. We will look into it further to see if there is an issue we want to address.” The hospital has made some previous complaints about sidewalk conditions. Curtis is a volunteer at the hospital, but emphasized he was speaking only for himself on the power pole issue. Curtis said he’s had some top city officials visit Peachtree Road with him to see the poles and other conditions, including City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane and Josh Rowan, manager of the Renew Atlanta bond and TSPLOST program. He said the officials’ comments were good, but that conditions still aren’t. “I just want to be able to get around my city safely,” Curtis said.
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JUNE 2019 • VOL. 12 — NO. 6
TWO MODERN ARTISTS WITH GEORGIA TIES ARE FEATURED AT MOCA GA PAGE 26
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The Stunt Man
Local actor fights Batman, ninjas and more for a living Matt Philliben on the set of “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.”
BY JOHN RUCH
One day last year, Matt Philliben went to work and was murdered by ninjas. He’s also been beaten up by Batman, thrown through fire by a Transformer, and jumped through a window while dressed as rapper Eminem. And he’s just fine, because it’s all in a day’s work for the up-and-coming stuntman and actor. The Buckhead resident is gaining increasing notice for his work in such productions as the new Keanu Reeves hit “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”
– where he had that bloody ninja brawl – and the Atlanta-based superhero series “Black Lightning,” where he got screen time playing a mob boss. “I’ve wanted to be an actor, as well as a stuntman, since I was 4 years old,” he says. “There’s legitimately nothing else I wanted to do with my life. Also, I had no back-up plan, which means if things didn’t work out, there was no safety net. I was going to work in film and television as an actor, as well as a stuntman, no matter what.”
CONTINUED ON PAGE 32
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26 | Art & Entertainment
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Two modern artists with Georgia ties are featured at MOCA GA BY JUDITH SCHONBAK Two very different artists with Georgia ties will be featured in exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) in exhibits beginning in June. Andy Nasisse first put his hands in clay when he was about 20 years old and in college studying psychology. That touch changed his life. He has written and lectured about clay pieces and sculptures and has won numerous grants and awards. As a professor of ceramics at the University of Georgia for 28 years, he had a major influence on building the reputation of the department. He now lives and works in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nasisse has three large sculptures in the permanent collection of MOCA GA. Krista Clark is completing the final element in her year-long participation in the museum’s 2018/2019 Working Artist Project (WAP). Her studio is in Atlanta’s West End, and her works of assembled materials address the demolition, reconstruction and displacement of homes there. The Reporter spoke to both artists about their works.
ANDY NASISSE Q: You incorporate many images in your work, from the smallest cup and saucer to the large figures and the towering pillars more than six feet tall. What are you expressing through these images? A: I use the figure, the vessel and the landscape to create what I call a mythic image as a way I can express some thoughts about the human condition. As the title of my show “Heart Land Dark Land” suggests, I am fascinated by the tension between opposites. The Dark Land or shadow land can also refer to the interior visceral side of the imagination; contractive energy as opposed to expansive energy; the feminine and masculine; night and day: ration and intuition; our conscious lives and subconscious self; matter and spirit; life and death and so many more. All these opposites drive the universe.
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Q: Where do your images come from?
A: Everywhere. Animism is part of the human imagination. I was a rock climber and I saw and still see faces and figures in rocks, in the bark and burls of trees, and I am among the many who make cloud pictures. The possibilities are unlimited. Q: What do you hope people will take away when they see your show?
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A: I hope they see the connection between things, that they react with their gut and are able to experience and react with their heart as well as their mind. KRISTA CLARK Q: Your artworks have shifted from realistic pen-and-ink drawings to abstract installations. How did that happen? A: In part, as I began to create abstract works, in addition to drawing, I started cutting out shapes and putting them in a collage or a looser three-dimensional work. It was an entire redirection. When [husband Michael Jones] and I moved to the Westview neighborhood in the historic West End, it was in transition as one of the last in the area undergoing gentrification. There was construction everywhere: wonderful 1920 and 1930 homes being reclaimed and restored; some torn down and new homes going up; some things saved, some lost. That combination informed the shift in my art to large 3-D installations to express what was and is happening all around us. And, through all my new work, I searched for ways to create good design. Continued on page 28
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Continued from page 26 Q: Your show is the final element in your yearlong participation in MOCA GA’s Working Artist Project (WAP) and you are of three artists the museum sponsors each year for the WAP program. What are the benefits to you as a selected artist? A: It’s a great program that provides exposure for the artists. The Working Artists Project is open to established visual artists in the metro Atlanta area who apply for a spot. The guest curator for this year was Allison Glenn, the associate curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Those of us chosen present a solo exhibition of all new work created during the year of the grant. WAP provides promotion; opportunities to meet and network with collectors, artists and the public; a studio apprentice – I had two from Georgia State; a $15,000 stipend to create work over the course of the year; a catalog of my show; and a piece from the exhibition to be included in the MOCA GA permanent collection. “New Roof” by Krista Clark.
‘Heart Land Dark Land’ by Andy Nasisse
June 8-July 6, opening reception June 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
‘Open House’ by Krista Clark
June 29 – August 24, opening reception June 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m. MOCA GA 75 Bennett St., Buckhead | mocaga.org
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Art & Entertainment | 29
JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net ter, Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. Info: 404-364-8555
JUNE BOOK CLUB: FLIGHT PATH
MUSIC DUNWOODY NATURE CENTER SUMMER CONCERT SERIES
Saturdays, 15 and 29; 7-9 p.m. The City of Dunwoody brings back its annual summer concerts, including cover band Acoustical Left on June 15 and Americana group Russell Cook and the Sweet Teeth on June 29. New this year, a different food truck will be on site each week. Free for members; non-members $5 adults, $3 children. Dunwoody Nature Center, 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org
CONCERTS BY THE SPRINGS
Sunday, June 9, 5-8:30 p.m. Saved by the Band plays ’80s and ’90s hits starting at 7 p.m. in a free concert. Beforehand, the Taproom Concert Series offers a craft beer tasting for $18. Heritage Sandy Springs. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org
CITY GREEN LIVE MUSIC SERIES
Fridays, June 14; 21; 28, 6:30 p.m. The City Green in Sandy Springs debuts its summer music series with Grateful Dead cover band Cosmic Charlie on June 14; the eight-member beach group Band of Oz June 21 and May 24 and country group Savannah Jack June 28. More acts scheduled throughout the summer. City Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Free, no tickets required. Tables may be reserved starting at $40. Info: https://citysprings. com/events/steep-canyon-rangers
LEARN SOMETHING: HIDDEN TREASURES UNVEILED
Saturday, June 8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ever wonder the value of your family heirlooms or antiques? Specialists in fine art, decorative art, Asian art, books and manuscripts, and jewelry will provide fair-market appraisals. Hosted by the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, with appraisals by Hindman, an Atlanta auction house. $20 for first appraisal, $15 for each additional appraisal. Turner Lynch Campus Cen-
Thursday, June 13, 7 p.m. Author Hannah Palmer visits the Buckhead Heritage Society book club to discuss her book about Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s impact on south Atlanta and the region. Free, but registration required. 3180 Mathieson Drive, Buckhead. Info: buckheadheritage.com/events
JUNETEENTH FAMILY PROGRAM
Saturday, June 15, 11 a.m-4 p.m. and Sunday, June 15, noon-4 p.m. The Atlanta History Center’s Juneteenth family programs commemorate the end of slavery, where guests explore the themes of freedom and family history through talks, museum theater workshops and storytelling. Observance highlights include author Christina Proenza-Coles on Saturday discussing her new book “American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World”; and Kenyatta D. Berry, co-host of the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow, on Sunday discussing genealogy and her new book “The Family Tree Toolkit.”. Free Admission. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: 404.814.4000 or atlantahistorycenter.com/family
TEL AVIV ON FIRE
Wednesday, June 19, 7:40 p.m. The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival continues its AJFF Selects screening series with Tel Aviv on Fire, a satire where a soap opera writer finds himself caught in the crossfire of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. $15. Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: ajff.org
FOR FAMILIES AND KIDS
KIDS SCIENCE CLUB WITH FULTON COUNTY PUBLIC WORKS DEPT.
Wednesdays, June 5, 19 and 26; 3 p.m. Future scientists: Join a fun series of programs presented by Fulton County Public Works educators. June 5: The Spiral Snake; June 19: Incredible Journey where participants will take make a bracelet with colored beads to represent the different ways water changes form. June 26: Monarch Mishaps. Ages 7 & up. Free. Registration required. North Fulton Service Center Small Meeting Room 7741 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Continued on page 30
30 | Art & Entertainment
Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 29
Thursday, June 6, 3 and 7 p.m. Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and all of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters spring to life onstage in this 30-minute fantastical musical extravaganza. Donations encouraged to benefit the Performing Arts program. Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mt. Vernon Road. Info: dunwoodyumc.org
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Friday, June 7, 3 p.m. This magical and hilarious rendition of Midsummer Night’s Dream is sure to ignite the imagination of children as they experience the beauty of Shakespeare’s language. Ages 3 & up. Free. North Fulton Service Center Reading Room 7741 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta. Info: afpls.org/events/events-calendar
BEES AND BUTTERFLIES AND CRAFT
Friday, June 21, 9-10 a.m. Explore the gardens, and honey bee apiary with a Sandy Springs Naturalist. Binoculars will be provided to watch the nesting Lost Corner Bluebirds. See how many butterflies we can find, and make a butterfly craft to take home. Family friendly, children under 16 need to be accompanied by an adult. Free. Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road. Info:registration.sandyspringsga.gov
Friday, June 21, 4 and 7 p.m. City Springs Theatre’s Youth Conservatory presents its inaugural production of Disney’s Frozen JR. featuring students from 21 Atlanta area schools. $15 adults/ $10 students. Byers Theater at City Springs. 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: citysprings.com/events/disneys-frozen-jr
Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Police cars, fire trucks, and more will be on hand to provide a day of fun and learning for the whole family. Kids will be able to hop up in a fire truck, get behind the wheel of some heavy maintenance equipment, check out various police vehicles, and get safety tips. Free. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov
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Saturday, June 8, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The American Hydrangea Society celebrates 25 years of its garden tour in the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody Area. Ticket includes access to 5 gardens, large and small and a one-year membership to the society. Individual tickets $30, two-person household tickets $40. 315 Drummen Court, Sandy Springs, 30328. Info: americanhydrangeasociety.org
FOOD THAT ROCKS
Saturday, June, 8, 6:30-11 p.m. All-you-can-eat tastings from 20 Sandy Springs restaurants, bottomless beverages and live music. Benefiting Community Assistance Center, Ian’s Friends Foundation and Second Helpings. Atlanta Tickets: $65$75. City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: foodthatrocks.org
HIGH COUNTRY SUP YOGA
Saturday, June 15, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, June 30, 8:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. SUP YOGA is a combination of yoga and stand up paddle boarding. After a brief instruction on paddle technique, participants paddle out to a nearby protected area on the river where the SUP will be anchored and students will be guided through techniques and postures. $35, registration required. Overlook Paddle Shack, 200 Morgan Falls Road. Info: highcountryoutfitters.com
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Wednesdays through Oct. 2, 6-9 p.m. The popular Brookhaven Food Truck Roundup, now entering its sixth season, returns in a new location at the north end of the park near the Blackburn Pavilion. The new site borders a recently installed playground and will feature eight to 10 food truck dining options, a beer and wine tent, live entertainment and a bounce house and other activities for children. Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov
SANDY SPRINGS LANTERN PARADE
Saturday, June 15, 7:30 p.m. The 4th annual Lantern Parade, “Take it to the River” starts at Steel Canyon Golf Club and ends at Morgan Falls Overlook Park. New this year, Sanderson the Flying Pig joins the crew of characters interacting with the crowd. Lantern workshops to make your own are available in days leading up to the parade at Sips n Strokes. Free to participate in parade, workshops $30. Steel Canyon Golf Club, 460 Morgan Falls Rd, Sandy Springs. Info: visitsandysprings.org/lanternparade
SUMMER BACKYARD CAMPOUT
Saturday, June 22, 4 p.m. through Sunday, June 23, 9 a.m. Spend a night under the stars — s’mores, campfire songs and an evening hike included — at Dunwoody Nature Center. This family focused program, will teach the camping basics like how to set up and break down tents and how to build and put out a campfire. $20 per a campsite for members, $25 non-members. Dunwoody Nature Center, 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org/backyard-campout
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32 | Art & Entertainment
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The Stunt Man: Local actor fights Batman, ninjas and more for a living Continued from front page
From left, Philliben, working as a stunt double, joins Eminem on the set of the music video “Good Guy.”
The Detroit native studied film and theater at Western Michigan University, then began hanging around low-budget movie sets, offering to work for free to break into the business. He also boasts black belts in several martial arts – he picked up the love of the disciplines from seeing “The Karate Kid” – and turned that into bodyguard stints for such celebrities as Hugh Jackman, giving him another angle into filmmaking. He came to Atlanta for its status as a new moviemaking mecca. When he’s on a
set, he’s working 11- to 17-hour days, getting paid a rate set by a union that also provides health insurance. While computer graphics often fancy up an action scene these days, there’s still a human stunt performer working underneath it, taking real bumps and falls. And there are real dangers. Georgia’s filmmaking scene has had some recent controversies about crew deaths, including a pending lawsuit over a stunt performer’s death on the hit series “The Walking Dead.” Philliben declined to comment on those larger issues, but emphasized that in the stunt world, safety is paramount and stunts are done in a “controlled and contained atmosphere.” He has done stunt work in such big-budget movies as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Oz the Great and Powerful,” “Transformers: The Last Knight” and the upcoming “Bad Boys for Life.” And he’s worked as a stunt double for stars, including Eminem in the music videos for “My Life” and “Good Guy.” “Say you see a guy diving out of the way of a car, or a guy get punched by Superman, or a random guy get thrown through the air by Godzilla, or a zombie that gets shot by the hero,” says Philliben. He often is that guy, in the largely faceless world of “utility stunts.” But now he’s getting more screen time and acting opportunities, including on a recent episode of “Chicago P.D.,” and says he’s getting recognized out in public. “The grind never stops, though, and I’m still to this day working to accomplish my dream of having the world know my name,” he says. The following is an edited Q&A with Philliben about his career.
Q: What inspired you to become a stuntman? A: What inspired me to do stunts was my lifelong knack for adventure. I had been jumping ramps in the street on my bicycle when I was a little kid and climbing up random buildings and trees since as far back as I can remember. Also, I’ve always been obsessed with martial arts. I remember seeing “The Karate Kid” when I was very young. This opened my eyes to martial arts. I then started watching Bruce Lee movies… But with all that being said, what got me into wanted to do stunts was a movie called “Point Break,” starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. The thing about “Point Break” is, it’s got so much action in an adrenaline-laced film. You’ve got every avenue of stunts, from car chases to surfing, to nervous fights, to shoot-outs, to skydiving, to fire burns, to dog attacks, to foot chases and parkour, to football hits, to high falls, you name it. I was blown away by this film. I worked alongside Keanu on “John Wick 3” last year and I let him know how much I loved his work and how I was acting and doing stunts because of “Point Break.”
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A: When I’m not on set, I’m constantly training for my potential next job. I still train in many styles of martial arts every day. I ride motorcycles, train in parkour, practice stunt driving, go rock-climbing, do yoga [and] gymnastics, practice weapon work, and on and on and on. I’m also constantly looking for what productions are going on and who’s on them, submitting my [movie highlight] reel and resume and just grinding towards my next job.
Q: Where have we seen you on-screen? A: In “Batman v Superman,” I worked with the fight team. I get beat up and blown up by Batman in the final fight scene of the movie, the warehouse scene. In “Transformers,” I did everything from ratchets -- getting yanked by a line and flung in the air to simulate an explosion – [to] high falls out of fake airplanes. In “Divergent,” I had a little stunt acting role, where I was the bodyguard of Kate Winslet’s character Jeanine. I followed her around and protected her and eventually got killed by the character Four, aka her nemesis. In “John Wick,” I was one of the bodyguards in the Roma Ruska ballet scene. I open the door for John Wick and greet him when he initially enters the lair. I also end up getting brutally killed by two ninjas later on.
Q: Do you specialize in a type of stunt? Do you have a favorite stunt? A: I would classify myself as an all-around stuntman, doing anything from fire burns to stunt driving, to fights, to water work, to wire work, to high falls, to ratchets -- you name it, I’ll do it. There’s nothing that I won’t do. I signed up for this job, so I know what the risks are. I love doing action and fight choreography though, coming up with intricate fight sequences. I can’t say that I most proud of any particular stunt, because anytime I get on set and get a chance to do what I love and my true passion in life, I’m proud of that ex-
Art & Entertainment | 33
JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Eat Your Heart Out.
Philliben on the set of “Transformers: The Last Knight.”
perience. A stunt that stands out, though, is probably in “Transformers: The Last Knight,” where I did about a 40- or 50-foot ratchet off a stage through a fire.
Q: What’s the secret of making a fake punch look real? A: The secret of selling a good punch or hit is practicing your reactions over and over again and watching yourself perform them afterwards… practice always makes perfect and camera angles are very important. People often think that stunt guys are actually getting punched in the face when really it’s just the camera angle and the acting/performance of the stunt professional. This is where acting and stunts collide, since you still have to know how to act and perform even when doing stunts.
Q: What brought you to Georgia and Buckhead? A: I moved to Georgia because the film industry collapsed back in my hometown and the governor took our film incentives away. … I always loved the South. The weather is way better. There’s no snow and the people are really friendly. I moved to Buckhead because I love the ambience of this city. The restaurants are amazing. It’s super clean. The people are really friendly. The amenities are top-notch. And I love the view of the city where I live. … Buckhead just has an overall amazing vibe. I wouldn’t consider living anywhere else.
c. 404.862.9302 | o. 404.874.0300 | email@example.com YOUR NEIGHBOR, YOUR REALTOR® MEMBER, ATLANTA REALTORS® TOP PRODUCERS
J U N E 8 -1 5 , 2 01 9
JUNE 8-15 8 T H A N N UA L
Save the date for the most savory week of the year: Dunwoody Restaurant Week! From June 8-15, join us for brunch, lunch, dinner and specialty items, all at set prices. The restaurants will serve their best, all you need to do is secure your spot (and prepare your palate).
#DUNWOODYRESTAURANTWEEK #DINEINDUNWOODY ©MMXIX Sotheby’s International Realty and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered (or unregistered) service marks used with permission. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.
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MOUNTAIN RETREAT Five ways to give any home a cozy, modern vibe
BY DANIELLE CLOCKEL
When you think of a cozy cabin getaway, what comes to mind? Probably wood tones, comforting textures, and maybe some wildlife elements, but sometimes the style feels a little one-note. Forget what you think you know about cabin decor, and let’s get in the mindset of something edgier and more modern.
We know, you’re probably a little surprised at this suggestion. Shag rugs are often found in either sophisticated glam spaces or funky global abodes (a la Moroccan wedding blankets), but why not a modern cabin as well? What’s cozier and comfier than a plush shaggy rug underfoot to warm your cold toes?
Wood Burning Stove
Log cabins can sometimes have an overabundance of wood – wood floors, wooden walls, wood beams. We love this material too, don’t get us wrong. But using it as an accent or feature instead of overwhelming the senses highlights its natural beauty and character.
No matter what style of cabin we’re talking about, a fire is an absolute necessity. However, we’re leaning away from grand mantles and giant stone walls in favor of small-space-friendly wood burning stoves. These can go super authentically rustic or more paired down, but the result is the same – a soul-warming fire. Bonus points if you put your firewood on display.
Speaking of accessories, let’s address the taxidermy trope. We say skip the dead animal heads and go the more environmentally friendly (and animal friendly) route with whimsical upholstered faux taxidermy. Go from creepy to cute!
Plaid and buffalo check are time honored patterns of any cabin, and we are happy to pay homage to these roots. But a fun way to liven up this look is by adding an additional, unexpected style. Maybe some rug remnant pillows? Hey, why should the boho homes have a monopoly on these kilim treasures.
Danielle Clockel is the Studio Director for Balance Design Atlanta based in Candler Park. For more information, visit balancedesignatlanta.com.
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In today's nonstop , fast-paced world, time is our most precious gift. Big Canoe's convenient-yet-secluded location means less time spent driving to your mountain retreat and more time spent breathing the clean mountain air, teeing off, casting a line, lounging lakeside, reading a favorite book and sharing moments worth remembering with the ones who matter most. It's the private residential getaway you're looking for and it's only about an hour outside the city.
BigCanoe.com 770-893-2733 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mountain vineyards offer tastes & tours
2019 Events Gene Watson and Lorrie Morgan
Happy Together Tour June 8 The Temptations& The Tams June 21 Fireworks July 4th The Grass Roots, Box Tops,& The Association July 13 Georgia Mountain Fair July 19 - 27 Blood, Sweat& Tears August 2 Vince Gill August 9 Sawyer Brown and Exile August 31 2019 Dailey & Vincent Landfest Sept. 12 - 14 Georgia Mountain Fall Festival October 11 - 19 Appalachian Brew, Stew& Que October 26 Mountain Country Christmas in Lights
•!t . ,_\ _"
Opens Thanksgiving Night
Highway 76 West I Hiawassee, GA I 706-896-4191 www.GEORGIAMOUNTAINFAIRGROUNDS.COM
The Cottage Vineyard and Winery 5050 Hwy 129 North Cleveland, GA 30528 cottagevineyardwinery.com Open since 2012, the vineyard hosts tastings seven days a week and also offers live music on Saturdays. Choose from a flight of five or eight wines. Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery 3610 Cavender Creek Road Dahlonega, GA 30533 cavendercreekvineyards.com Wine tastings invite visitors to sample any four wines from the menu; souvenir glasses are available. Groups of six or more require a reservation. Boutier Winery 4506 Hudson River Church Road Danielsville, GA 30633 boutierwinery.com Hosts weekend wine tastings with a sampling of six wines; no appointment needed. Weekday wine tastings are by reservation only. Frogtown Winery 700 Ridge Point Drive Dahlonega, GA 30533 frogtown.us Offers wine tastings at various tasting rooms including locations in Hahira, Valdosta and Helen, Georgia. The Dahlonega Tasting Room, located on the main estate, features a weekend Panini Bar. Yonah Mountain Vineyards 1717 Highway 255 South Cleveland, GA 30528 yonahmountainvineyards.com Individual wine tastings are available seven days a week; no reservations are required. For weekend tastings, cave tours, group tastings or a reserve wine tasting, call (706) 878-5522 or email email@example.com. Wolf Mountain Winery 180 Wolf Mountain Trail Dahlonega, GA 30533 wolfmountainvineyards.com
Wine tastings and tours include an estate tasting flight or a group tasting flight. Reservations are required; spring and summer hours are from Thursday to Sunday weekly. Three Sisters Vineyards 439 Vineyard Way Dahlonega, GA 30533 threesistersvineyards.com Hosts walk-in tastings Thursday through Sunday; large groups require a reservation. Features “Chicks and Chocolate” tasting which pairs six wines with various artisan chocolates. Montaluce Winery and Estates 501 Hightower Church Road Dahlonega, GA 30533 montaluce.com Offers winery tours weekdays at 2 p.m., weekends at noon. Wine hikes and general tastings do not require a reservation; private tastings with a sommelier must be booked 48 hours in advance. Habersham Vineyards & Winery 7025 South Main Street Helen, GA 30545 habershamwinery.com Located in the Nacoochee Village just outside of Helen, wine tastings include five wines and a souvenir wine glass. Tiger Mountain Vineyards 2592 Old 441 South Tiger, GA 30576 tigerwine.com Enjoying sips in the tasting room or stay for lunch or brunch in the Red Barn restaurant. The Vineyard at 37 High Holly 37 High Holly Road Scaly Mountain, NC 28755 thevineyardat37highholly.com Nestled on 20 acres of land in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, the vineyard is an ideal space for weddings, rehearsal dinners, bridal and baby showers, family reunions and company retreats.
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Stay fit with kayaking, trail biking and rock sliding If you’re planning to make the move to North Georgia and wondering how you’ll stay fit without your local gym, the state parks have some interesting and unusual ways to get your regular exercise. With only a $5 parking fee, you can visit multiple parks on the same day and stay fit year-round.
Hike with your dog
Georgia State Parks just launched the new Tails on Trails Club, geared toward dog owners and their pups. While all of Georgia State Parks’ trails are dog-friend-
ly, the Tails on Trails Club encourages dog owners to complete seven designated hiking trails for a reward. Upon completion of all seven trails, dog owners will receive a T-shirt and dogs get a bandana. Participating parks include Fort Mountain, F.D. Roosevelt, Don Carter, Sweetwater Creek, High Falls, Fort McAllister and Red Top Mountain. Find out more at GaStateParks.org/TailsonTrails.
Paddle lakes and rivers
Don Carter State Park is the only state park on the northern edge of 38,000-acre Lake Lanier, making it the perfect paddling spot for stand-up paddleboards or paddling. For a challenging workout, take a three-mile trip to Flat Creek Island, the northernmost island of Lake Lanier. Don’t own a boat? Canoes
and/or kayaks may be rented seasonally at more than 20 state parks. Join the Park Paddlers Club and paddle 22 miles of scenic waterways to earn a T-shirt reward. More information: GaStateParks. org/Paddling.
Cycle the trails
If biking is your thing, get on the trails at Fort Mountain State Park near Chatsworth, Smithgall Woods State Park and Unicoi State Park near Helen, Don Carter State Park in Gainesville and Tallulah Gorge State Park. Find out more at
Splash in state parks
Those looking for a more daring dip into nature can make a splash at Tallulah Gorge State Park and Watson Mill Bridge State Park, both of which provide summer swimmers with a unique opportunity to experience a natural waterslide made of “sliding rocks.” Get more information at GaStateParks.org/Swimming. Find out more about where to get fit at GaStateParks.org.
Escape to Extraordinary. Escape to Blue Ridge. With a cabin vacation from Escape to Blue Ridge, premium amenities are as important as creating priceless memories. Year-round adventures are as abundant as picturesque mountain views. And making an escape isn’t just accepted, it’s encouraged.
Discover why our vacation cabins are North Georgia’s finest at EscapeToBlueRidge.com 855-885-4894
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Atlanta youths leave their ZIP code and troubles behind as they venture into Wilderness Works BY GRACE HUSETH The hardest part of camp is not battling mosquitos or tackling a treacherous trail; it’s saying goodbye to friends at the end of the summer. At Wilderness Works, bonds made over campfires continue year round with weekend excursions and festivities at the camp’s headquarters in Atlanta’s Grant Park. Immanuel Baptist Church on Memorial Drive is base camp for the nonprofit organization where children enjoy a library filled with empowering titles, a dining room for pizza nights, game room for pool and checkers and a sanctuary converted to a stage for talent shows and celebrations. For homeless, at-risk and vulnerable children, Wilderness Works is a haven that provides year-round enrichment, experiential education and character development. Throughout the school year, Wilderness Works hosts City Camp, a weekend experience that exposes inner city kids to a camp like atmosphere and helps leaders spot potential campers for summer opportunities. Wilderness Works is in full gear with June and July calendars packed with programming opportunities for summer camp or even more popular and adventurous outdoor living travel experiences in national parks and forests. “We are looking for the disadvantaged child who is enthusiastic and respectful,” said Bill Mickler, founder and executive director of Wilderness Works. “Many have never imagined venturing out of their zip code much less going camping in a real wild area.” Mickler grew up discovering wilderness adventure at Camp Pinnacle in Hender-
Quan Contreras (l) and Bill Mickler on the Wonderland Trail on Mount Rainier
sonville, N.C. and enjoyed national park treks throughout the United States. He helped start a Boy Scout Troop for disadvantaged youth in Macon and went on to establish day camps for youth in Atlanta from various homeless shelters. With the space at Immanuel Baptist Church available and the advice of his mentor, Dr. Robert Lupton at FCS Urban Ministries, Bill founded Wilderness Works in 1997. Wilderness Works started as a grassroots organization for disadvantaged youth, many of whom were from homeless shelters with City of Refuge, Atlanta Mission, Salvation Army Red Shield and Nicholas House. Over the years the team grew, the adventures grew longer and the nonprofit gained publicity. When Mickler was contacted by Al Roker from the Today Show in 2007, Wilderness Works was put on the map. The Today Show went on to donate a new van to the organization. In 2017, Mickler lead a group of experienced campers around Mount Rainier on the Wonderland Trail. For camper Quan Contreras, the Wonderland Trail did not live up to its name. He struggled the first few days to master hiking the slope of the trail and got altitude sickness. “You have to have perseverance and the strength to keep going on,” Contreras said. “That same year I almost dropped out of high school and used that experience of perseverance to get my high school diploma.” Now, Contreras goes to different elementary schools and shelters as recruitment coordinator for Wilderness Works. When he goes back to Atlanta Mission’s My Sister’s House homeless shelter, he’s reminded of the homelessness his family experienced for six years. “I’m indebted to that place and Bill and now recruit more kids to come to [Wilderness Works],” he said. Contreras works closely with Ebonie Martin, director of proSleeping bags keep campers cozy during both City Camp during the year and on camping excursions during the summer.
Continued on page 40
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Below, Bill Mickler (l) and Quan Contreras (middle) experienced all weather conditions on Mount Rainier RIght, Quan Contreras (l), Bill Mickler and friend Brandon at Mount Rainier
Continued from page 38 grams. Martin’s first-hand experience with economic struggle and background as a case manager for Salvation Army helps her bridge dialogue between campers and their parents. “There are a lot of communication barriers between parents and children in im-
poverished neighborhoods,” Martin said, noting that campers who recount their wilderness experiences to their parents end up inspiring the entire family more than they realize. “When they leave here excited about what they learned it gives them something to work on together as a family unit.” This summer, Wilderness Works is
taking the girls’ group to the Great Smoky Mountains and along the Appalachian Trail. Middle school boys will explore Linville Gorge in North Carolina, while older campers will travel to Boundary Waters in Minnesota and Wyoming. Lessons learned along the trail will be retold to friends and family back home until the campers return for more adventures with
City Camp and Core Camp in the fall. “At the end of camp, kids are crying, they can’t believe they have to go home. In September we are reunited and together again. That continuity is a huge thing,” Mickler said. For more information, visit wildernessworks.org.
Things to do in North Georgia and North Carolina this summer Whether you’re looking for music, arts & crafts, a good fireworks display for July 4th or some old-fashioned carnival rides, the mountains of North Georgia and North Carolina have plenty to keep you busy this summer.
showcases music from around western North Carolina. The events start between 5:30 and 6:30PM. To see this year’s line-up visit villagegreencashiersnc.com.
Pots on the Green
An entire day of fun, food, music and fireworks is on tap for Independence Day, including field games for adults and children, a cookout, duck derby, music and fireworks. Visit highlandschamber.org for more information.
This two-day ceramic art show takes place at The Village Green Gazebo in Cashiers, NC each year featuring unique pottery from local artisans. This year’s event is June 21-22. Visit villagegreencashiersnc.com for more details.
Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival
The annual event is June 22 with a lineup that includes Rhythm Jets, Kharisma Jazzmatic Funk, and Cadillac Jones along with the opportunity to taste wine from more than a dozen North Georgia wineries. Tickets and information are available at blueridgewineandjazz.com.
Highlands Village Square Art & Craft Show
It wouldn’t be summer in Highlands without the annual Village Square Arts and Craft Show, which takes place on June 29-30 and again on Aug. 24-25. Now in their 14th year, they are well known for regionally-made fine art, crafts and rustic furniture. It is sponsored by Rotary of Highlands Mountaintop, and proceeds go to their many important charitable causes, such as the Emergency Council in Highlands and efforts to eradicate polio around the world. The show is held in Kelsey-Hutchinson “Founders” Park at Pine and N. 5th streets in downtown Highlands. Visit facebook.com/villagesquareshow for more information.
Groovin’ On The Green
Groovin’ On The Green concerts are scheduled for most Friday nights on the Village Commons in Cashiers, N.C. during the summer months. This series of free concerts
July 4 Celebration in Highlands, N.C.
Christmas in July
Christmas is coming early to the Bavarian village of Helen, GA Visitors are invited to be the early bird and get started on their Christmas shopping. This family friendly event includes artists and fine craftsmen from across Northeast Georgia along with mountain music, face painting, baked goods and more. Visit helenga. org for more details.
Georgia Mountain Fair
Head to Towns County for the 69th annual Georgia Mountain Fair July 19-27. Thousands of visitors from across the region flock to the fair, which this year will feature musical performances by Pam Tillis, Neal McCoy, Ricky Skaggs, The Spinners, BJ Thomas and many more. There’s also arts & crafts, fun carnival rides, unique attractions and a glimpse into North Georgia’s rich history and culture. Visit georgiamountainfairgrounds.com for more information.
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Blue Ridge’s Only Golf and River Community
New Home Construction, 18-Holes of Extraordinary Golf Ready to Play this Summer, and a Growing Membership, the timing couldn’t be better to visit Old Toccoa Farm. For more information: oldtoccoafarm.com
OLD TOCCOA FARM REALTY, LLC 596 Curtis Switch Road, Mineral Bluff, GA 30559
Real Estate 706.946.4663 | Membership 404.277.4980 | Golf Tee Times 706.946.4653 Obtain the Property Report required by Federal law and read it before signing anything. No Federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This is not intended to be an offer to sell nor a solicitation of offers to buy real estate in Old Toccoa Farm by residents of Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania or South Carolina, or any other jurisdiction where prohibited by law. No offering can be made to residents of New York OLD TOCCOA FARM, LLC AND ITS PRINCIPALS TAKING PART IN THE PUBLIC OFFERING OR SALE ARE NOT INCORPORATED IN, LOCATED IN, OR RESIDENT IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. THE OFFERING IS NEITHER MADE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK NOR MADE TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK. THE OFFERING IS NOT DIRECTED TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK BY, OR ON BEHALF OF, OLD TOCCOA FARM, LLC OR ANYONE ACTING WITH OLD TOCCOA FARM, LLC’S KNOWLEDGE. NO OFFERING OR PURCHASE OR SALE OF ANY PROPERTY SHALL TAKE PLACE AS A RESULT OF THIS OFFERING, UNTIL ALL REGISTRATION AND FILING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE NEW YORK MARTIN ACT AND THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL’S REGULATIONS ARE COMPLIED WITH; A WRITTEN EXEMPTION IS OBTAINED PURSUANT TO AN APPLICATION IS GRANTED PURSUANT TO AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH COOPERATIVE POLICY STATEMENTS #1 OR #7; OR A “NO-ACTION” REQUEST IS GRANTED.
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Room With A View
Amicalola Falls Lodge completes major renovation Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, one of North Georgia’s most scenic mountain retreats, recently completed extensive outdoor renovations, expanding the lookout veranda at the main lodge. The terrace, nestled beautifully on the mountainside, offers even more space to take in the unspoiled views of the North Georgia mountains, providing the perfect spot for relaxation, weddings and private events. This addition to the property boasts 4,600 square feet and blends perfectly into the rustic yet modern design of Amicalola Falls Lodge, which opened nearly 30 years ago. New features include a cozy fire pit, ample seating areas and a covered reception area, all complimented by natural stone exteriors. The space can play host to events for up to 130 people. “We’re excited to offer such a beautiful, versatile space for our guests,” said Libby Cook, general manager of Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge. “From quiet weekend getaways to festive weddings, our newly expanded veranda is the perfect setting for any occasion.” Most recently, Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge renovated the Maple Restaurant, adding an induction buffet and additional space for seating with panoramic mountain and valley views. Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge is home to 829 acres of Georgia wilderness in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The mountaintop retreat features a 57-room main lodge with breathtaking views, 14 cabins and 25 campsites. Popular attractions include the 729-foot Amicalola Falls, the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, and beginner to expert-level hiking trails, including the eight-mile approach trail leading to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the 2,150-mile Appalachian Trail. As part of the Adventure Lodges of Georgia program, Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge offers a host of outdoor adventures including zipline tours, 3-D archery, GPS scavenger hunts and more. To book a room and find out more information, visit AmicalolaFalls.com.
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Special Section | 43
Northwest Georgia offers visions of other places, other times 2
BY JOE EARLE A drive up I-75 may call to mind places to pick your own apples or watch the leaves change color in the fall, but there’s much more to see. Northwest Georgia can show you surprising things: dinosaur skeletons and space capsules; folk artist Howard Finster’s exotic visions of distant worlds and celebrations of this one; imagined scenes celebrating cowboy life; and the actual place where an Indian nation prospered before its people were forced to march west on the Trail of Tears. Here are five places you might find worth a trip.
aradise Garden 1 P Summerville
Rev. Howard Finster claimed he “took the pieces you threw away and put them together...” into art. The folk artist, who died in 2001, gained fame by making tens of thousands of works (he numbered them) in order to spread the gospel and his views of this world and others. He also somehow found the time and energy to assemble the extraordinary place known as Paradise Garden. Using concrete, wood, mirrors, discarded tools and bicycles, shards of pottery, baubles and even the liner to a box of chocolates, Finster cobbled together buildings, flowers and colorful sidewalks into a place where visitors casually can stroll through what feels like a piece of another world. The garden now is operated by a nonprofit
foundation. Where: 200 North Lewis Street, about 3 miles north of downtown Summerville, just off U.S. 27.Take Exit 306 from I-75, turn west on Ga. 140. Turn right on U.S. 27. Take U.S. 27 through Summerville. Look for mile marker 13 and turn right onto Rena Street. Follow the signs and go about three blocks to turn into the entrance to the garden. Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Cost: adults aged 18 to 61, $7; seniors 62 or older, $6.50; youth aged 6 to 17, $5.50. For more: gastateparks.org/NewEchota.
Western 3 Booth Art Museum Cartersville
Cost: $15 adults; $10 seniors (55 and older); $5 students; younger than 12, free.
Gemstones, dinosaurs, cars, airplanes and space travel are among the scientific subjects touched on in the displays within this sprawling structure in Cartersville. The museum’s exhibits explore places from the center of the Earth to outer space, and examine a century of changes in transportation.
For more: paradisegardenfoundation.org, (706) 808-0800.
ew Echota Historic Site 2 N Calhoun New Echota once housed the capital of another nation. In 1825, Cherokee lawmakers established their capital at this site. During the next decade, it was home to the Cherokee nation’s legislature and courts, and the first Indianlanguage newspaper. The community also gave its name to the treaty that relinquished Cherokee claims to lands east of the Mississippi River and led to their forced removal to the west on the infamous Trail of Tears. Today, visitors can learn about the history of the Cherokee in Georgia, walk among a dozen original and reconstructed buildings, watch a hand-operated press print a mock newspaper page and even hear a recording of “Amazing Grace” sung in Cherokee. Where: 1211 Chatsworth Highway NE, Calhoun, Ga., 30701. Located in Calhoun one mile east of I-75, Exit 317 on Highway 225.
Science Museum 4 Tellus Cartersville
Where: 100 Tellus Drive, Cartersville, Ga., 30120. Take I-75 to exit 293. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but closed on major holidays. Cost: Adults, $15.95 + tax; children (3 – 17), $11.95 + tax; students, $11.95 + tax; seniors (65+), $13.95 + tax. Cowboys in Cartersville? Why not? The Booth promises one of the largest collections of western art in the South. It features realistic and abstract painting, sculpture and a collection of portraits and signatures of American presidents. A larger-than-life cowboy riding a bucking horse in a sculpture out front sets the tone; inside, works by more than 200 artists examine the mythic west, the modern west and the lives of westerners. Where: 501 Museum Drive, Cartersville, Ga., 30120.Take I-75 to Exit 288. Turn west and follow Main Street (Ga. 113 /61) about 2.2 miles into Cartersville’s business district. Turn right on Gilmer Street, go 2 blocks under the bridge. The museum is on the left. Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m to 5 p.m. Cost: Adults $12; 65 and over, $10; students $9; children 12 and under free. For more: boothmuseum.org.
For more: tellusmuseum.org, (770) 606-5700.
History Museum 5 Bartow Cartersville This local history museum focuses on the settlement and development of Bartow County. Visitors can check out Cherokee and pioneer cabins, sit in a one-room schoolhouse or learn about the Civil War and the early textile industry, the museum’s webpage promises. Where: 4 E. Church St., Cartersville, Ga., 30120. Take I-75 north to Exit 288 and drive into downtown Cartersville. Hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: Adults, $6.50; seniors/students, $5.50; children younger than 5, free. For more: bartowhistorymuseum.org, (770) 387-2774.
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