JUNE - Brookhaven Reporter

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JUNE 2019 • VOL. 11 — NO. 6

Brookhaven Reporter


2019 •

Sandy Spring s

Section Two



Summertime, and the reading is easy



a living: local The actor fights Batman, Stunt ninjas in the movies Man ►Head for the Hills


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VOL. 12







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The dirt path on Buford Highway in front of the Orchard at Brookhaven that is the subject of a dispute about a new sidewalk and landscape strip.


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Traffic concerns raised about Emory’s Executive Park redevelopment BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The Brookhaven Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30319 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net

Emory University’s proposal to build a $1 billion “health innovation district” over the next 15 years on approximately 60 acres of Executive Park in Brookhav-

en has some residents living in nearby neighborhoods worried about cutthrough traffic and more congestion on such roads as Sheridan, Briarcliff and North Druid Hills. Emory officials say they are working to alleviate those concerns by con-

The Orchard at Brookhaven, an assisted living facility that specializes in caring for those with dementia, recently opened on Buford Highway, a large, yellow “pre-leasing” banner still hanging over its front entrance. Just yards from that front entrance is a dirt path that runs along Buford Highway, created over many years by people walking along the busy thoroughfare despite a lack of sidewalks. That dirt path is supposed to become a 10-foot sidewalk and a 5-foot landscape strip, a condition the city put on the developer when the property was rezoned two years ago to

See TRAFFIC on page 22

See SIDEWALK on page 23


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2 | Community

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Brookhaven Park land sale, gateway are delayed


City officials would like to begin construction of Brookhaven Park’s granite gateway entrance from Peachtree Road as soon as possible.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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After many years of negotiations, the city and DeKalb County finally agreed to a price for the city to buy the front portion of Brookhaven Park. But now that the city is ready to move forward with planned improvements to the park, including a gateway entrance on Peachtree Road, city officials are expressing frustration that DeKalb may not seal the deal until the end of summer. Last year, the city agreed to purchase the front 7.2 acres of Brookhaven Park from the county for $2.2 million. The $2.2 million was included in the $40 million parks bond approved by voters in November. The agreement capped back-and-forth negotiations between the county and city that had been underway since the city was founded in 2013. After the parks bond vote was approved, City Council officially approved a resolution to buy the property from the county for the agreed-to price of $2.2 million with plans to begin park improvements as soon as possible. But the purchase is slower than the city would like on the county’s end, according to City Manager Christian Sigman. “We are trying to get through the county’s legislative process and quite honestly I don’t know how that works,” he said in a May 14 interview. “Now that we have approved drawings, we can’t put them out to bid because we can’t work on property we don’t own.” The city is ready to put out bids for a gateway entrance into the park from Peachtree Road. Design plans are ready and permits are being gathered. But the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners must still approve the sale purchase agreement and contracts to transfer the property to the city. “The sale still has to go through the legislative and legal process ... but it has been a very, very glacial process with the county,” Sigman said. “We’ve been trying to get this done for six months. When asked about the delay in approving the sale, DeKalb County responded with a May 28 written statement saying final details are still being worked out. “DeKalb County officials have an agreement in principle with Brookhaven officials regarding the sale of property adjacent to Brookhaven Park. Both parties are now finalizing the details of that proposed agreement in order to present it to the governing authorities of DeKalb County and the city of Brookhaven for approval,” according to the statement. Brookhaven spokesperson Burke Brennan issued May 29 a written statement saying the city expects the sale to be finalized by the end of this summer. “A tentative agreement has been reached, and lawyers for the city and the county are working to get the agreement finalized and approved by both governing bodies,” Brennan said. “We expect the transfer to be complete by the end of summer.” The city wants to begin soon the construction of the gateway entrance into Brookhaven Park for pedestrians walking along Peachtree Road. The parks bond oversight committee, made up of community volunteers, approved the overall design plans for the entrance in May. The planned gateway entrance differs from an iron fence conceptual plan proposed by the Brookhaven Park Conservancy years ago that included a wrought iron fence and arch. The new design is planned to be granite columns entrance with built in granite seating to the sides of the entrance and an iron arch with the words “Brookhaven Park.” Other amenities planned for the “front area” of the park to be paid for with parks fund money include: a new 10,000-square-foot playground area with equipment for different ages; a pavilion with restroom; shaded seating area next to the playground; an expanded community garden area with garden shed and restroom and outdoor work station; and renovation of the existing pavilion. Finalizing the purchase of the front portion of Brookhaven Park would bring to close a six-year process of negotiations between the city and county. The city purchased the back 12 acres of the park from the county in 2017 for $100 an acre. The purchase of the front portion of the park does not include about 3 acres where the DeKalb Services Center and its parking lot are located. The DeKalb Services Center has been located on Osborne Road since 1978 and provides programming for adults with special needs.

JUNE 2019

Community | 3



The city plans to issue $3.35 million in bonds to pay for two major intersection improvements this year. The bonds and interest will be paid off using special local option sales tax dollars. The City Council approved the bond issuance at its April 23 meeting to pay for intersection improvements at Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Peachtree Road and to construct a roundabout at Windsor Parkway and Osborne Road. The roundabout is estimated to cost $1.85 million and the Ashford-Dunwoody/Peachtree project is estimated at $1.5 million. Assistant City Manager and CFO Steve Chapman said in an interview the city is essentially going to take out a three-year loan to pay for the projects. The council had agreed at its retreat in February that short-term financing was appropriate to pay for some infrastructure projects, Chapman said. “To get these big projects done we anticipate we have to do some short-term financing,” he said. “Anything a city does is a bond, but this is more like a short-term note,” Chapman said. “It’s a loan, for 36 months.” Because these are transportation projects, the debt can be paid off using SPLOST dollars that come in over the next four or five years, he said. DeKalb County voters approved a six-year SPLOST in 2017; Brookhaven is expected to receive approximately $47 million over the six years. “It’s less expensive to do it this way,” Chapman said of issuing bonds. Bonds are a way for cities to raise money to pay for city projects by selling debt to investors. The city then pays investors back after the projects are finished through taxation or, in this case, from SPLOST proceeds. What the interest will be on the bond issuance is not known yet, Chapman said. Design and engineering for the intersection projects are still being finalized and there is no date yet for issuing requests for proposals. But both projects are expected to begin this year. The city last year approved issuing $12 million in obligation bonds to be paid off over five years to go toward construction of the new $15 million public safety headquarters to be built overlooking the Peachtree Creek Greenway. The city bid out that bond and received a 2.75 percent interest rate. That was the city’s first time issuing a general obligation bond. The council recently approved more

than $1.2 million for the purchase of right of way for the roundabout now underway. Right of way purchases for the Ashford-Dunwoody and Peachtree road intersection project are also taking place. The Ashford-Dunwoody/Peachtree project includes extending a right-turn lane on southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road to Sanctuary at Oglethorpe apartments and converting a right-turn lane from Ashford-Dunwoody Road to southbound Peachtree Road into a barrier-separated free-flow lane. The free-flow lane will be controlled by a right-turn arrow signal with pedestrian activated push button to facilitate safe crossing across Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The intersection project also includes installing a dedicated right-turn lane on southbound Peachtree Road at AshfordDunwoody Road and the installation of a 10-foot-wide multiuse path on the east side of Ashford-Dunwoody Road with a 5-foot-wide planted buffer and a 5-footwide sidewalk on the west side of Ashford-Dunwoody Rod with a 2-foot-wide wide grass strip.


An illustration of what the Blackburn Park fence along AshfordDunwoody Road will look like when completed in July.

B LACKB U R N PAR K’S NEW FENCE SET TO B E FINISHED IN J U LY Anyone who has recently driven or walked by Brookhaven’s Blackburn Park can’t help but notice the yellow tape and stumps stretched all along the front of Ashford-Dunwoody Road. That’s the work for a new fence being constructed

expected to be completed next month. A $255,000 contract was awarded in March to Cline Services Corp. to construct what is called “marquee fencing” around the front portion of the park along Ashford-Dunwoody Road. The funding for the new fence is coming from the $40 million parks bond approved by voters in November.

4 | Community

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I-285 transit study to determine funding sources, stop locations BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Now that a study has determined using new buses is the most feasible option for transit along the top end of I-285, another study is underway to determine where to build stations, determine ridership estimates and also the best way to fund a new “rubber wheel” system. The second phase of the “I-285 Top End Transit Project” got $15,000 in financial backing from the city of Brookhaven in May. The total cost of the study is $135,000. Other cities that funded the first phase and are expected to back the second phase are Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Chamblee, Doraville, Smyrna and Tucker. Additional funding is slated to come from the Perimeter Com-

munity Improvement Districts and the Cumberland Community Improvement Districts. Cities are paying a prorated amount based on population. “The second phase of the study will provide more granular-level detail than the initial study to include things like specific station locations, ridership estimates, fare structures and other details,” said Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman in a written statement. In 2017, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst brought together mayors from the top end cities to determine a way to incorporate transit into the Georgia Department of Transportation’s planned toll lanes project while also providing an east-west transit option. Those discussions led to the first phase of the I-285 Top End Transit Proj-

ect study where consultants last year determined a “high-end” bus system running within the toll lanes was the best option for transit. Known commonly as bus rapid transit, or BRT, the system is being redefined by some local mayors due to what they say is a stigma attached to buses. Ernst has called the idea “tram transit” and Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal prefers calling it a “rubber wheel” system. Tim Matthews, GDOT project manager, said the state would be building toll lane access points but those access points could not be used by any BRT transit system. GDOT would also not construct the BRT stop stations and access points to those stations. That means the municipalities are responsible for finding money to build those new stations, estimated to cost

between $300 million to $480 million, depending on how far the project goes along I-285, according to the first phase of the I-285 top end study. GDOT plans to build toll lanes from west of Paces Ferry Road in Cobb County to Henderson Road in DeKalb County. A section along Ga. 400 from south of the Glenridge Connector to the North Springs MARTA Station is also part of this project. Other costs BRT include buying the new buses, estimated to cost $10 million, and another $5 million to $8 million a year in maintenance costs. The second phase of the I-285 top end study would drill down to look closer at ways to raise the funds needed to build out the “tram transit.” Options being discussed include city-based sales tax and various special district taxing possibilities.


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. evelyn@reporternewspapers.net





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.




Medad Lytton Valedictorian

Mary Elizabeth Marquardt Valedictorian

Ruiyang Zhao Valedictorian

Zoe Sokol Salutatorian



Eshaan Agrawal Valedictorian

Sherwin Shirazi Valedictorian

Debajyoti Das Salutatorian

Madeline Tapp Valedictorian

Lee-San Sun Salutatorian

Deanna Lin Valedictorian

Caroline ShewmakeSalutatorian

Emma Forrestal Valedictorian THE LOVETT SCHOOL

Dylan Shapiro Valedictorian

James Harrison Salutatorian

Amanda Perdomo Salutatorian




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


Mark Grove Valedictorian

Hannah Hagenau Salutatorian


George Gfroerer Valedictorian

Abigail Lund Salutatorian

Michelle Stanek Valedictorian


Ruth Stolovitz Valedictorian


Lindsey Nicholas Valedictorian



Jacob Sloman Valedictorian

Thomas Contis Salutatorian

Katie Thompson Salutatorian

Julie Mittelstedt Salutatorian


Ellie Glenn Valedictorian

Ansley Boykin Salutatorian


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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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.


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.

JUNE 2019

Community | 9


Nursery shut down for allegedly operating illegally BY DYANA BAGBY The Precious Moments Nursery daycare center at 3776 Clairmont Road in Brookhaven was shut down May 8 by the city’s fire marshal for allegedly operating an illegal business and for having several fire safety code violations. The facility was issued a stop work order and a citation for occupancy without a certificate of occupancy. A total of 15 children, most under 18 months old, were at the location, according to the city. City officials said the owners of the nursery filed a certificate of occupancy from the city with state officials in 2018, but the city had not issued the business a certificate of occupancy, also known as a CO. A CO is necessary before a building in the city can be occupied for business. “They were never issued a certificate of occupancy, yet they filed a forged document with the state of Georgia,” said Brookhaven Fire Marshal Joe Burge in a city press release. “The Georgia Department of Early Care [and Learning] called us to inquire about their paperwork, which is how we were alerted to the problem.” City Manager Christian Sigman said in a written statement the CO was not issued because the building did not meet minimum safety requirements. Besides sprinkler violations, the building did not have fire protection barriers between the two floors and did not have safe entry and exit points, according to the city. A message left with Precious Moments Nursery was not immediately returned.

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10 | Commentary

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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

Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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.

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer Julie Murcia Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Robin Conte, Katia Martinez, Phil Mosier, Carol Niemi, Judith Schonbak, Jaclyn Turner

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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.

JUNE 2019

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

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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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The CoolSculpting® procedure is FDA-cleared for the treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental area, thigh, abdomen and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as DER MATOLO GY ASSOCIATES banana roll), and upper arm. It is also FDA-cleared to affect the appearance of lax tissue with submental area treatments.

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 joeearle@reporternewspapers.net

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.

JUNE 2019

Community | 13


PDK Airport eyes eight new corporate hangars near Brookhaven border BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Officials with DeKalb Peachtree Airport are asking the city of Chamblee to allow them to skirt required streetscape designs should it decide to build eight new corporate hangars, a new fire department building and other infrastructure on 19 acres of its southernmost property. News of such a potential expansion near the Brookhaven border is putting residents living near the airport once again on edge as they worry about more trees being cut down, eliminating a long-standing sound between the state’s second busiest airport and Clairmont Road. Environmental concerns and increased air traffic are other concerns being raised. Brookhaven City Councilmember John Park, who lives in Ashford Park near the airport, said he has been hearing from many constituents concerned about how any potential expansions at the airport could affect their quality of life. But, he said, there is little the city of Brookhaven can do. PDK Airport’s 765 acres are located in Chamblee, so all zoning requests must be approved by the city. The airport is countyowned and governed by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. “I have as much influence as any other citizen in the neighborhood,” Park said. Park said he and others are still upset by Chamblee’s decision about seven years ago to rezone the approximate 19 acres of the southern portion of PDK Airport from residential to airport industrial. The residential zoning approved by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners two decades ago was intended to keep the area a green space and a buffer, he said. “We [Brookhaven] could pass resolution condemning [the rezoning], but I don’t want Chamblee interfering in our zoning,” Park said. “That’s Chamblee’s zoning. The FAA, DeKalb County and Chamblee are the authorities on this.” A DeKalb County spokesperson said the property could not remain residential because FAA funds were used to purchase the acreage. The FAA requires property purchased using its money be used for aeronautical use. Michael Baker International, an aviation consultant, filed the variance request on behalf of PDK Airport with Chamblee in May as part of what it calls the Southwest Quadrant Development project. The project would include the hangars, new taxi lanes and aprons for aircraft to drive on and park, and a fire department building. There are currently no definitive plans to build the hangars or other services. The Southwest Quadrant Development property includes land east of Clairmont Road and between Bragg Street and West Hardee Avenue near the Brookhaven border. Nearby neighborhoods include Ashford Park and Drew Valley. Michael Baker International is also currently working with PDK Airport on its new master plan now underway and slated to be finished in July 2020. The master plan includes determining land use plans at the


PDK Airport submitted this site plan to the city of Chamblee as part of a variance request for potential future construction of 8 corporate hangars in the southern section of the airport’s property between Bragg Street and West Hardee Avenue.

airport and the surrounding property. The 19 acres of the Southwest Quadrant Development project are where approximately 9 acres of trees were cut down in 2017-2018 as part of the construction of the FAA-mandated $10 million Engineered Material Arresting System, or EMAS, at the south end of the runway. To build the new hangars and other proposed infrastructure would require cutting down the remaining 10 acres. Landscaping would be completed with 40-foot-wide tree buffers. “PDK is still in the planning stage and no decision has been made on the additional hangars, but PDK has seen a need for more hangars based on requests from cor-

porate entities,” a DeKalb County spokesperson said in a written statement. There are currently 27 corporate hangars at PDK Airport and tenants include Waffle House, Signature Flight Support and Epps Air Service, according to the county. Of the airport’s $14.8 million budget in 2018, $3.6 million was collected from corporate tenants as well as T-hangar tenants (smaller hangars) and fixed-base operators, or private jet services, as well as other aircraft rental spaces. The FAA predicts air traffic to increase at PDK Airport over the next 20 years according to data compiled for the master plan. For example, 39,729 jet operations

(landings and departures) were recorded at PDK Airport in 2018. That number is expected to jump to 64,125 in 2040. There were 95,688 piston aircraft operations recorded in 2018; by 2040 that number is expected to be 119,485. Helicopter operations are expected to rise from 9,512 operations in 2018 to 14,084 in 2040. Turboprop aircraft operations are expected to increase from 14,564 in 2018 to 21,103 in 2040. Overall, aircraft operations are predicted to soar from 159,493 in 2018 to 218,797 in 2040.


pdkmasterplan.com Who: PDK Airport Advisory Board What: Discussion of PDK Airport variance requests, proposal for new corporate hangars When: June 10, 7 p.m. Where: Conference Room 227, DeKalb Peachtree Airport Administration Building, 2000 Airport Road, Atlanta, GA 30341. What: Master plan open house When: July 17, 6-8 p.m. Where: Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad St, Chamblee, GA 30341.

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14 | Community

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We Love BuHi founder steps down, will take ARC job BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Marian Liou, the Brookhaven resident who turned her socially conscious Instagram account about Buford Highway into the influential nonprofit We Love BuHi, is resigning as the organization’s executive director to take a new job. She will start June 10 as a program analyst at the Atlanta Regional Commission, leaving behind four years of work on a nonprofit that came to spotlight Buford Highway’s famously diverse culture on the brink of gentrification. “I never would have left if there wasn’t a perfect opportunity for me,” said Liou in a phone interview. The growth of We Love BuHi from a personal project into an organization bigger than herself, she said, “helped to define my own growth [from] someone who was sort of cynical and sarcastic… I think it’s been a huge and incredible honor to be able to do what I do.” Liou said there is no immediate successor for her as executive director, and she will have no advisory role with the group at this point, but she is not concerned about the organization’s future. “I fully expect We Love BuHi to grow, simply because I don’t think my board would allow anything else to happen,” she said. Alina Lee, the board chair of We Love BuHi, did not respond to a phone call, but commented in a press release that said the organization will search for a new executive director. “Marian has been a passionate and tireless visionary on behalf of the Buford Highway community,” said Lee, who works as an attorney for Southern Company Gas, in the press release. “While we will miss her deeply, we are looking forward to the next phase of the organization’s growth and impact.” Liou added that We Love BuHi already carried out her basic goal, serving as a “catalyst” for conversation about a sustainable and equitable future for the corridor. “Of course I want it to continue. But I think it accomplished that original mission statement,” she said. In 2015, Liou, an attorney by profession, started an Instagram account called “We Love BuHi,” using it as a way to explore businesses in the Brookhaven/Chamblee/Doraville corridor and tell the stories of their owners. Partly a personal journey for her as a secondgeneration Chinese American, partly an expression of concern about the immigrant communities’ lack of a voice in urban planning, the exercise grew into a nonprofit that has recorded oral histories, painted murals, held tours by mass transit and bike, and more. It also led Liou into the world of ur-

Above, Marian Liou on Buford Highway in 2015, the year she founded We Love BuHi.

ban planning. She is working on a master’s degree at Georgia State University’s Urban Studies Institute. And now she’s taking the job at the ARC, an intergovernmental, regional planning agency. She will work on its internal arts and culture master plan, and on the ARC’s annual LINK trip, which sends about 100 metro area leaders to another city to share best practices; the 2019 edition, which Liou joined, was held earlier this month in Pittsburgh, Pa. After she officially leaves We Love BuHi’s executive director position on June 7, she said, she expects the board will review what to continue and what to change in the organization’s programs. “One of the challenges is still getting to a clearer message,” Liou said of the group’s diverse efforts. However, arts, culture and “storytelling” have been the theme, she said, as We Love BuHi aimed to highlight and empower the local immigrant communities, who at the time often had minimal or no roles in planning processes. “The heart of our organization, I think, is still going to be the oral history project,” she said. Buford Highway, Liou said, “doesn’t necessarily need an importation of ideas… It’s already rich enough. That

richness and vitality just need venues for expression. What are the ideas here that people already have that we haven’t allowed [them] to give voice to?” We Love BuHi also helped to stir new activism in the corridor. “It’s been interesting to see other groups rise along the corridor,” said Liou, citing the community organization group Los Vecinos de Buford Highway as one example. “There’s never going to be one voice for Buford Highway. There shouldn’t be,” she said. While We Love BuHi was formed partly in response to potential gentrification, it also drew criticism for possibly encouraging it – especially for use of the “SoHo”-like term “BuHi.” From her first media interview with the Reporter in 2015 onward, Liou always expressed mixed feelings as well. Someone on Facebook recently remarked, she said, that when you draw attention to an area, “you attract vultures.” “Yes, I think that is still a valid concern,” she said. “That question has come up consistently from the beginning of the effort and it’s something that I don’t take lightly at all.” Liou didn’t invent the term “BuHi” and speaks more strongly about it today, saying she was “cynical” about it and adopted it in part “to disrupt, al-


most, the meaning of what the term conveyed.” “Maybe it’s time for We Love BuHi to have a new name. I don’t know,” she said. The future of Buford Highway remains personal to Liou, who lives in the corridor’s Brookhaven end and is seeing her own rent rise. What is the corridor’s future? “I think it’s diverging,” she says. On north end, “It seems like Doraville is really exploding in terms of business activity.” On southern end in Brookhaven, “people are in more of a holding pattern.” And a major question is Brookhaven’s new Peachtree Creek Greenway trail, which will run along Buford Highway, raising hopes of redevelopment and fears of gentrification. “How do we make sure Buford Highway is part of that?… How can we bring them together?” Liou asks. “Is that something that’s possible, or are those things that are happening in parallel universes?” And that old Instagram account? It’s still up and running, but Liou is handing it off to the organization to continue telling those stories about Buford Highway.

JUNE 2019


| 15



16 | Community

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Lynwood Park Community Day honors community’s history Lynwood Park Community Day was held May 4 in Brookhaven, an annual tradition that brings together current and former residents of the historic African American community. The event includes a parade, food and vendor booths. Lynwood Park is located on Osborne Road and was once the site of the Lynwood Park Elementary and High School. The school was desegregated in 1968. The former school building is now the Lynwood Park Recreation Center. PHOTOS BY PHIL MOSIER. A - Miller Grove High School Marching Band Drill Team members, from left, Jayda Caldwell, a sophomore; Attiellia Smith, a freshman; and J. Lah Harris, a junior. B -Janice Duncan, chair of the Lynwood Community Day Committee, welcomes everyone to the event.


C -Mayor John Ernst gives welcoming remarks at Lynwood Park Community Day. D -Master of Ceremonies Mark Winne of WSB-TV gives the “Senior Citizen of the Year” award to Laura Ann Watson, 93. E -Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Gebbia, left, with Kevin Young, center, and Mayor John Ernst. Kevin Young holds the 400 meter hurdle record achieved at the 1992 Summer Olympics with a time of 46.78 seconds.









JUNE 2019

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.


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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 “keep everyone happy.� But he said he could not stay silent on this project. “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,� he said. “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.� 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 GDOT’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. “They have a plan they are not sharing with people, purposefully,� Geierman said. “They don’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.� 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 Doraville’s Assembly property owners sold 5 acres to GDOT for the I-285 toll lanes. “Information is coming out so slowly it will be hard to organize a real re-

sponse,� he said. “And there is so much money behind it. Legitimately, it will be hard to put out a defense.�


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.


Several Georgia Power utility poles are lined up in the right-of-way along I-285 that borders Dunwoody’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 “because we are not there yet.� But moving large utility poles like the ones near Georgetown is something GDOT prefers not to do, he said. “Ideally, we try to avoid [relocating them], especially the large transmission towers, because they cost several million dollars a piece to relocate,� 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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Controversial daycare center approved for Clairmont Road BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Construction of a controversial daycare center at the corner of Clairmont Road and Bragg Street is moving forward after the Brookhaven City Council approved rezoning for the new development at its May 28 meeting. The council’s approval to rezone slightly more than 1 acre at 3702, 3708, 3712 and 3718 Clairmont Road from office institution and residential to just office industrial comes after developer Tim Burpee was forced to withdraw original plans in January. At that time, residents and Planning Commission said the proposed Foundation Academy project of a two-story, 14,000-square-foot building serving some 260 children was too large for the small site. One resident compared the plan to “trying to stick an 800-pound gorilla in a chicken coop.” Planning Commission Chair Stan Segal said in January when the commissioners voted to recommend denial of the zoning request that the “scale is a self-inflicted wound.” Rather than take a risk the City Council would vote to deny the rezoning request as the Planning Commission recommended, the developer withdrew its plans from consideration. Had the council denied the rezoning, the developer would have to wait two years to submit

new plans. By withdrawing the plans, the developer could submit new plans as soon as possible. New plans were submitted to the city in February to build a 3-story building including a basement, reducing the size to 10,344 square feet and serving no more than 175 children. “The initial filing was probably too large for the site, especially since it borders residential,” Matt Simons, representing the applicant, told the council at the May 28 meeting. “That became apparent. So, we withdrew.” But residents living in the adjacent single-family home neighborhoods are still not happy with the revised plans and spoke out at the May 28 meeting. They reiterated many of the same complaints they had with the original plans. Those include that they believe the project does not fit in with the comprehensive plan for the area and that their residential streets will become less safe due to increased traffic from the daycare center. They also said the current project is still a massive development on a small piece of property. Matthew Kent, an attorney who lives on Georgian Drive, which loops around the planned daycare center, gave a PowerPoint presentation on behalf of many residents urging the council to deny the request. He said many of the developer’s submitted site plans to the city were

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An illustration of the Foundation Academy daycare center to be built at the corner of Clairmont Road and Bragg Street.

“late-breaking” and gave residents nearly no time for review. He also noted that elevation of Georgia Drive changes significantly between the road and the new daycare center and would lead to noise being magnified into residents’ homes. “No one wants a daycare in their backyard with 175 screaming children playing from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” he said. Burpee said there is a strong need for daycare centers in the Brookhaven area. Tentative plans are for the facility to open next summer or fall. He owns other Foundation Academy centers in Warner Robins, Perry, Bonaire and Cornelia. Other site plan changes made include building the facility to front Bragg Street and the side of the building facing Clairmont Road. A surface parking lot with 44 spaces is to be built on the west side of the building. The playground area is being moved to the front of the property along Clairmont Road. Original plans were to build

the playground area along the border of the adjacent residential properties. The entrance and exit to the daycare center will be on Bragg Street, which upset many nearby residents who said it would encourage families to cut-through their neighborhoods rather than use Clairmont Road. Engineers for the development said the traffic light at Clairmont Road and Bragg Street would encourage motorists to utilize Clairmont, but also agreed to station a police officer at the spot to help direct traffic during busy times. The council approved a reduced transitional buffer from 50 feet to 10 feet for the north and west property lines. The developer will also build a 10-footwide sidewalk with a 5-foot-wide landscape strip along Clairmont Road as part of the city’s bike and pedestrian plan. A 5-foot-wide sidewalk with a 2-foot-wide landscape strip is to be built on Bragg Street.

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22 | Community

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Traffic concerns raised about Emory’s Executive Park redevelopment

Continued from page 1

structing new roundabouts and roads within Executive Park they say will deter neighborhood cut-through traffic. Plans are also to build multiuse trails within the proposed redevelopment to connect to outside trails to encourage alternative modes of transportation. The “Emory at Executive Park” site is across the street from a massive new Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta medical complex under construction at the I-85 and North Druid Hills Road interchange. Emory already operates several medical offices in Executive Park, including a joint medical and training facility with the Atlanta Hawks basketball team that opened in 2017. About 100 people gathered May 20 at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Sheridan Road to learn more about Emory’s proposed plan to redevelop Executive Park as a “live-work-play health innovation district” that includes a hospital, a hotel, multifamily housing and retail, medical and office space. The meeting was part of a requirement by the city of Brookhaven for its rezoning cases. Emory University plans to appear before Brookhaven’s Planning Commission on July 10 and then go to the City Council on July 23 to seek rezoning for the proposed project. The meeting began with an approximate 20-minute PowerPoint presentation giving an overview of what Emory is planning over several stages that could take as long as 15 or more years, depending on the market and philanthropic donations, officials said. Attendees were then invited to visit representatives standing before easels with display boards covering such topics as traffic, zoning and multiuse trails. That led to sizable crowds standing in front of various stations, making it difficult for people standing in the back to hear questions and answers. Several people left, angered by the way the meeting was structured. “This is the worst format,” one woman said. “They should take questions from the crowd.” If all goes as planned, construction of the new Musculoskeletal Center (MSK) building as part of Emory’s existing Orthopaedics & Spine Center could begin this fall, according to Emory officials. Construction would also include a parking deck. Besides the MSK building, the first phase would also include road improvements within Executive Park, including adding a roundabout near the current main entrance off North Druid Hills Road. A new road would be built south of the roundabout to where the

An illustration of the proposed Musculoskeletal Center (MSK) building that could begin construction in Executive Park this fall if Emory University gets the necessary rezoning from the city of Brookhaven.

I don’t think they’ve given fair consideration to the neighborhood, to the residents and homeowners in LaVista Park. LAVISTA PARK RESIDENT

new MSK building is to be constructed for patients to use. Other plans include narrowing the current roads to force motorists to slow down. One LaVista Park resident, who asked that his name not be used, remained doubtful that what Emory plans would keep motorists from using Sheridan Road adjacent to Executive Park and cutting through his neighborhood. “I feel we are being given a dog-andpony show,” he said. “If you’ve lived in Atlanta, you’ve seen these kinds of [presentations] before and they may not be

reality. And I don’t see the commitment to the communities. I think it’s just an investment in their own services.” Added another LaVista Park resident, who also asked her name not be used, “I don’t think they’ve given fair consideration to the neighborhood, to the residents and homeowners in LaVista Park.” She said she doesn’t think her neighbors are necessarily opposed to the new development, and said Emory is a great brand. But many people invested in expensive homes in the neighborhood years ago, she said, and their retirement packages are tied to their homeownership. This new redevelopment could severely impact their quality of life by adding even more traffic to an area already known for congestion and cut-through traffic. “It would have been nice to have been involved in the process to get to this point,” she said. “We understand where we are. But I think we need more balance.” The LaVista Park Civic Association is leading an effort to be annexed into the city of Brookhaven and is currently gathering signatures from residents. Members of the association have met with Emory officials about the planned project. They have said one reason to be annexed is because they wanted to have a say in what is developed at Executive Park. Sara Lu, Emory University’s assis-


tant vice president for real estate, said she understood the residents’ concerns and said Emory was working on ways to alleviate cut-through traffic. “We are very cognizant of that,” Lu said. “We are here to work together to make these things happen.” The position of the development with buildings closer to North Druid Hills Road encourages people to take use I-85 to access the complex, she said. Planned roundabouts within Executive Park keep traffic flowing but are not conducive to cut-through traffic, she added. A future traffic signal at Executive Park Drive and Sheridan Road could also help deter cut-through traffic, she said. Traffic studies on Executive Park’s surrounding roads and intersections have been completed as part of a development of regional impact and recommendations from participating agencies are expected by mid-June, before Emory goes before the Brookhaven Planning Commission. Brookhaven Director of Economic Development Shirlynn Brownell attended the meeting and said the city was looking forward to working with Emory. “We’re really excited about what they’re bringing … and Emory is a great organization to have in the city of Brookhaven,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a long partnership.”

JUNE 2019

Community | 23


Sidewalk dispute could set Buford Highway precedent Continued from page 1 make way for the 79-unit facility. Another stretch of frontage along Buford Highway in front of the new building is also supposed to have the same requirements. But the developer says it cannot build the full 15 feet of sidewalks and landscape strips along both stretches because a faulty survey of the site came up 4 feet short, leaving only 11 feet to construct the required sidewalks and strips. The developer is now asking the council to alter its zoning condition for the building that sports the address 1634 Afton Lane despite having an entrance and exit right off Buford Highway. The building is at the corner of Buford Highway and Afton Lane. The mayor and City Council members argued changing the zoning requirements on sidewalks and landscaping size would set a bad precedent for how it plans to guide redevelopment along Buford Highway, including construction of multiuse paths bordered by 5-foot landscape strip to provide a safety barrier between pedestrians and cars racing by on the busy Buford Highway. The city’s comprehensive plan for Buford Highway also includes creating a more walkable community including encouraging the development of mixed-use projects with sidewalks, trails and bike paths. City officials are also aware of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s upcoming “pedestrian safety project” to build wider sidewalks and create larger barriers between pedestrians and the fast cars zooming along the 6-lane thoroughfare. New or upgraded sidewalks are planned to be built on nearly 3 miles between Afton Lane to Shallowford Terrace. Property appraisals and negotiations are underway for right-of-way for this project, according to GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale. There are 90 parcels required for the project. The project is expected to go out to bid in Spring of 2021 and construction to start in the summer of 2021. Following two deferrals on the request to change the zoning conditions in April and May, accompanied by heated exchanges between council members and representatives for the developer, the council is set to again consider the developer’s request to reduce the sidewalk zoning requirement at its June 25 meeting.

‘It’s just 4 feet of landscaping’

Doug Dillard is the high-profile zoning attorney representing the developer, Green Implementation Group. He told the council at its April 23 meeting a faulty survey led to a faulty site plan and 4 feet less than the developer originally believed he had along Buford Highway. Building out the full 10-foot sidewalk and 5-foot landscape strip would mean taking out some of the already constructed surface parking lot fronting Buford Highway. He asked the council to change its zoning requirement and require the developer build only a 1-foot landscape strip, keeping the full 10-foot sidewalk. The mandated 5-foot landscape strip between the road and the sidewalk is necessary to separate pedestrians, such as mothers walking with young children in strollers, from the busy traffic racing by on Buford Highway, Councilmember Linley Jones argued. “It’s just 4 feet of landscaping,” an exasperated Dillard told the council. “If it’s just 4 feet of landscaping, then deed the right-of -way to the city so we can give it to GDOT ... so there won’t be condemnation,” Mayor John Ernst shot back at Dillard. “After all, it’s just 4 feet of landscape.” Dillard declined to do so on behalf of his client. City Manager Christian Sigman also questioned why the developer was just now seeking a zoning modification. The building was under construction for a year and a half, he said, and there should have a been a point much sooner in the process to notice there was not enough space to build the required 10-foot sidewalk and 5-foot landscape strip. Ernst said the city is “between a rock and a hard place” on the zoning modification request. If the zoning modification is approved, then all future developers along Buford Highway will be asking for the same leeway, he said. “This would be setting a precedent ... for future zoning on Buford Highway,” he said. Jones also said it should not be the city’s responsibility to compromise its conditions due to a mistake made by a surveyor hired by the developer. “This is a critically important road that goes through our city,” she said. “And we have deep concern for safety.” That landscape strip is a “visible divider” that protects pedestrians, she added. Ernst also pointed out that the argument is not about 1 foot or 5 feet of landscaping. The city made zoning re-

quirements for 15 feet of property along the new development. “We’re arguing about 15 feet ... and it’s always been 15 feet based on the original site survey,” he said. “We’re not talking about 4 feet. The 4 feet has always been there ... but now it’s not.”

Modified request includes GDOT easement

Dillard and his colleague Baxter Russell came back to the City Council on May 14 with an amended zoning modification – they asked if the council would approve the developer building 6-foot sidewalks and 5-foot landscape strips. Councilmembers again were unimpressed. “Your client is in an unfortunate position due to a faulty survey ... but this is the future of Buford Highway,” Jones told Russell. She said it was more appropriate for the developer to seek a remedy from the Zoning Board of Appeals, but Russell said the developer would have a difficult time proving the hardship necessary to gain a zoning variance from the ZBA.

A faulty survey may qualify as a hardship to be considered by the ZBA, Jones said. Ernst came back to the fact that the entire zoning requirement is based on 15 feet of property along stretches of Buford Highway in front of the new senior assisted living facility. The faulty survey conducted by a firm hired by the developer is what caused this “rigamarole,” he added. Russell, seeing he was getting nowhere with the council, said a third option could include donating a 4-foot easement to GDOT for its planned sidewalk improvements along Buford Highway. In exchange, Russell said the developer could build 8-foot sidewalks and 3-foot landscape strips. The developer only has 11 feet to build the sidewalks and the landscape strips, Russell said. The council said it needed more time and will take up the issue June 25. “It’s unfortunate there has been another delay, but we are upholding the standards that are important to the future of the city,” Jones said.

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.

JUNE 2019


| 24


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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.

Suite Vıew.

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?

I n de pe n de n t & A s s i s t e d L i v i ng 650 Phipps Boulevard NE • Atlanta, GA ThePiedmontatBuckhead.com • 404.381.1743

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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28 | Art & Entertainment

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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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www.townbrookhaven.net Conveniently located on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University.

Midtown 1551 Piedmont Ave NE at Monroe Drive www.hobnobatlanta.com

Art & Entertainment | 29

JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net ter, Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. Info: 404-364-8555





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


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




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


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


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



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



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: leah.germon@fultoncountyga.gov

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


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


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


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





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


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


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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Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and ever-changing exhibitions. Second Sundays are sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

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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-

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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 | judegolden@atlantafinehomes.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).

Dig In:


#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


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.

Shag Rugs

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?

Faux Taxidermy

Wood Burning Stove

Wood Accents

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!

Eclectic Pillows

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.

JUNE 2019


Special Section | 35

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.

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36 | Special Section

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Wine Country

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



a• ',

•!t . ,_\ _"

Opens Thanksgiving Night

Highway 76 West I Hiawassee, GA I 706-896-4191 www.GEORGIAMOUNTAINFAIRGROUNDS.COM




1 I

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 info@yonahmountainvineyards.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.

JUNE 2019

Special Section | 37


Mountain Fitness

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.

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Wilderness Works

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.

Mountain Fun

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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Northwest Georgia offers visions of other places, other times 2



3 5

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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