JUNE - Dunwoody Reporter

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JUNE 2019 • VOL. 10 — NO. 6 JUNE

Dunwoody Reporter

2019 •

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Dunwoody resident Joe Hirsch says he takes dozens of pictures daily of illegal signs posted around the city’s streets and files complaints with the city. The City Council recently voted to rewrite its sign ordinance to address confusion for businesses and residents.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The Dunwoody Reporter is mail delivered to homes on selected carrier routes in ZIP 30338 For information: delivery@reporternewspapers.net



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Dunwoody’s sign law gadfly City set to quietly triggers a legal change approve LGBTQ anti-bias ordinance BY JO




Buckh ead


Inspiring stories from new columnist Carol Niemi

— NO .6

Dunw oody Brookh aven

Local a ctor


VOL. 12

Every day while driving around Dunwoody’s streets, Joe Hirsch takes dozens of pictures of signs he says are posted illegally and sends them to city officials. He demands the signs be removed and he wants the offenders to be held accountable.

Hirsch, who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 2017, is well-known by residents and those at City Hall for his aggressive pursuit of locating and reporting illegal signs, racking up dozens and dozens of official complaints a year. He said his years-long fight with city officials over illegal signs is more than a passion, howevSee DUNWOODY’S on page 21

Dunwoody is expected this month to become the latest city in metro Atlanta to approve an ordinance that bans privately owned businesses from discriminating against minority groups including LGBTQ people. The ordinance also puts in place a process for people to report alleged discrimination to the city with city-appointed mediators and hearing officers investigating such claims. Additionally, the ordinance formalizes that the police department will receive training on hate crimes and report hate crimes to the FBI. A second and final reading of the nondiscrimination ordinance was assigned to be on the consent agenda for the June 10 City Council meeting. Consent agenda items are traditionally approved unanimously and with no discussion. The first read of the ordinance was held May 20 with no discussion. Mayor Denis Shortal said he supported the ordinance but didn’t necessarily feel it was necessary. He agreed to put it on the agenda because a majority of the council supported it. “First of all, I think we already treat everybody equally here in the city,” he said in an interview. “I’ve never had any cases [of See CITY on page 22


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2 | Community


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Special guests to this year’s 4th of July Parade include government leaders like DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and longtime Dunwoody resident and state Attorney General Chris Carr. On the more fun side of things, look for a return appearance by the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and the Nocturnal Pirates of Atlanta. Also riding in the parade will be Miss Georgia Katerina Rozmajzl, a 21-year-old accounting student with plans to expand her company she started at age 19, Katerina Cosmetics. She also produces her own beauty and fashion blog, and is a mentor for Kiva, an agency dedicated to providing financial loans for people to start their own businesses. Other special guests include Sophia Choi of Channel 2 Action News and Doug Turnbull, evening drive anchor for Triple Team Traffic in the WSB Skycopter. This year, the Dunwoody Reporter is the new presenting sponsor of the annual event and joins the Dunwoody Homeowners Association as a top supporter of one of Georgia’s largest Independence Day celebrations. Dunwoody’s Fourth of July Parade is thought to be the state’s largest Independence Day parade, with 2018’s attendance estimated at 32,000 spectators and 2,500 participants. The parade dates to American Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, and after a dormant period, has run annually since 1991 as one of Dunwoody’s top local traditions and regional attractions. This year’s parade, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 4, has a theme of “Happy birthday, Dunwoody!” to note the 10th anniversary of the city’s incorporation. The Dunwoody Police Department will serve as grand marshals. A festival concludes the parade and will include a concert of patriotic music by the 116th National Army Guard Marching Band and Georgia Sensation Chorus, a kids’ zone, barbecue for sale by Boy Scout Troop 266 and hot dogs and sausages for sale by the Dunwoody Rotary Club.


A food hall where several restaurants are housed in small spaces within one large building could soon come to the Georgetown community in a new proposal for what’s known as the Dunwoody Green commercial site. This idea switches gears from a developer’s original plans to build several individual restaurants on the property. Representatives from Crim & Associates and their partner Ed Hall of Capital Properties Group met May 23 with the city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency to pitch their idea of building the food hall on the site at the intersection of Dunwoody Park and North Shallowford Road and adjacent to a residential neighborhood. No site plan has been developed and no tenants have been selected. But Hall said the concept would be like the Marietta Square Market food hall, which opened in March with 20 restaurant and retail merchants. Capital Properties Group was a developer of the Marietta food hall. Other well-known food halls include Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market. Early talks for the proposed Dunwoody food hall include incorporating a farm theme as a nod to the city’s agricultural history. The building would have one main entrance and include a park space with outdoor seating. No rooftop bars, though, because of the site’s close proximity to residential housing. URA owns the Dunwoody Green property as part of the city’s larger public-private Project Renaissance, an urban redevelopment plan to revitalize the Georgetown area that dates back to 2012. Crim & Associates entered into a contract in February 2018 with the URA to buy the Dunwoody Green property for $900,000 with plans to build up to six individual buildings for restaurants and retail. City officials boasted the area would be the location of “chef-driven” restaurants many Dunwoody residents have been clamoring for. Trying to find tenants for the space proved difficult and Crim & Associates asked for and received two extensions on its contract with the city to close on the deal. The latest extension was slated to close this month. With the new food hall plan, the URA agreed to again extend Crim & Associate’s contract until Dec. 31. If everything works out as planned, Crim & Associates said it could break down to build a new 20,000-square-foot building by the second quarter of next year. If the project does go through, it would be the final piece in the Project Renaissance puzzle, which includes single-family homes, multiuse trails, Georgetown Park and Pernoshal Park. The Dunwoody Green site is specifically planned to be a catalyst for additional development activity in the Georgetown area and North Shallowford Road corridor, while also creating a sense of place for the community. “It’s super exciting for the city,” said Ken Wright, who has chaired the URA since 2012. “I’m ready to tie a bow on it [Project Renaissance]. And this is that bow tie.”

Community | 3

JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

with High Street representatives in April. No land disturbance drawings have been submitted yet for approval. The city has to sign off on these before any construction can begin. A request for comment from High Point’s public relations firm was not immediately returned. The High Street website also lays outs the specifics of the “mini city” that are unchanged from its approval more than a decade ago by DeKalb County before Dunwoody was incorporated. The more than $2 billion project on 42 acres that includes 8 million square feet of mixed-use development and an “entertainment destination located in Atlanta’s Central Perimeter.”

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A new High Street website features new illustrations for the planned 8 million square foot mixed-use development in Perimeter Center, including this aerial image. The project has been talked about for more than a decade, but developers say they plan to break ground this year.


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The massive $2 billion High Street mixed-use development that developers say is slated to break ground by the end of the year has unveiled a new website and new illustrations that touts the planned project as an “entertainment destination” site. The new website includes an “about” sections that describes the planned project on 42 acres at Perimeter Park Center and Hammond Drive near the Dunwoody MARTA station as a place to “charge your spirit.” “A destination that proves that life at the heart of Atlanta’s Perimeter can hold within it the culture and character of a city and the soul and spirit of a sanctuary,” the website states. Dunwoody Community Development Director Richard McLeod said the city met



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4 | Education

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Old Austin Elementary off the table to alleviate overcrowding; bond referendum possible BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

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Keeping open the old Austin Elementary School after the new one opens next year is off the table as DeKalb Schools officials say they are searching for different ways to alleviate the overcrowding in Dunwoody’s elementary schools. One of those different ways include the possibility of asking voters to approve general obligation bonds next year that could fund construction of a new elementary school in the city. “Right now, the school district is in a serious bind with money,” Board of Education member Stan Jester said at the Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s May 5 meeting. Jester is a Dunwoody resident. “We have twice as much money as we’ve ever had and the same amount of students, but we are in the hole,” he added. Portable classrooms, or trailers, currently crowd many Dunwoody school campuses where students are forced to learn because of no space on the main building. The trailers are a flash point between the school district and local parents and residents angered by years of overcrowding in the Dunwoody cluster. School administrators faced with aging


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school facilities and increasing construction costs say they cannot keep up with maintenance costs and the pace of building new, needed schools to lessen overcrowding with current ESPLOST dollars. Going to voters with a general obligation to pay for the needed repairs and building new schools, including a new elementary school in Dunwoody, is an option the Board of Education is likely to consider in June. The city and school officials entered informal talks earlier this year of temporarily keeping open the old Austin Elementary School at 5435 Roberts Drive after the new 900-seat Austin Elementary School opens next year. The new school is being built about a half-mile down the road from the current school on Roberts Drive and adjacent to the Dunwoody Nature Center. The new school was expected to alleviate overcrowding in the city’s six elementary schools, but school officials say even after it opens, the city’s elementary schools will be collectively 500 seats short. But costly repairs to use the old school building open for a short time to try to keep students out of trailers led DeKalb Schools officials to pass on the idea, the school district said in a prepared statement. Mayor Denis Shortal announced the decision at the City Council’s May 20 meeting. “It is now a dead issue,” he said. The city currently owns the old school as part of a 2016 land swap deal with DeKalb Schools. The land swap included trading the former Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields for the old Austin Elementary site and a $3.6 million payment from the school district. DeKalb Schools Superintendent Stephen Green suggested in March at a community meeting at Dunwoody High School that general obligation bonds could help pay for the $2 billion needed to repair all the district’s schools. Other school officials point to Gwinnett County voters approval last year of a $350 million general obligation bonds for new schools and improvements. Jester told the DHA the administration plans to ask for approval of a $250 million general obligation bond in June. A DeKalb Schools spokesperson said a proposal of general obligation bonds is slated to be made to the Board of Education in June but declined to say the amount. The presentation would include how the general obligation bond would supplement the ESPLOST V program that voters approved in 2016 and for other facility needs. The June presentation would also include a public input process to gauge support for a bond referendum. If the school board decides to move forward with the proposal, the board would take an official vote to approve the referendum in November so it could be put on a March 2020 ballot, according to the spokesperson. The potential bond referendum would fund building new schools, including the possibility of a new elementary school in the Dunwoody and Chamblee clusters. − Katia Martinez contributed.

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

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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 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

I-285 transit study to determine funding sources, stop locations BY DYANA BAGBY

calling it a “rubber wheel” system. Tim Matthews, GDOT project manager, said the state would be building toll Now that a study has determined uslane access points but those access points ing new buses is the most feasible option could not be used by any BRT transit sysfor transit along the top end of I-285, antem. GDOT would also not construct the other study is underway to determine BRT stop stations and access points to where to build stations, determine ridthose stations. ership estimates and also the best way to That means the municipalities are fund a new “rubber wheel” system. responsible for finding money to build The second phase of the “I-285 Top those new stations, estimated to cost beEnd Transit Project” got $15,000 in finantween $300 million to $480 million, decial backing from the city of Brookhavpending on how far the project goes en in May. The total cost of the study is along I-285, according to the first phase $135,000. of the I-285 top end study. Other cities that GDOT plans to funded the first build toll lanes from phase and are exwest of Paces Ferpected to back the ry Road in Cobb second phase are County to HenderDunwoody, Sandy son Road in DeKalb Springs, Chamblee, County. A section Doraville, Smyralong Ga. 400 from na and Tucker. Adsouth of the Glenditional funding ridge Connector to is slated to come the North Springs from the PerimeMARTA Station ter Community Imis also part of this provement Districts project. and the CumberOther costs BRT land Community JOHN ERNST include buying the Improvement Disnew buses, estimatBROOKHAVEN MAYOR tricts. ed to cost $10 milCities are paying lion, and another a prorated amount $5 million to $8 milbased on population. lion a year in maintenance costs. “The second phase of the study will The second phase of the I-285 top end provide more granular-level detail than study would drill down to look closer at the initial study to include things like ways to raise the funds needed to build specific station locations, ridership estiout the “tram transit.” Options being dismates, fare structures and other details,” cussed include city-based sales tax and said Brookhaven City Manager Christian various special district taxing possibiliSigman in a written statement. ties. In 2017, Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst praised GDOT’s planned toll Ernst brought together mayors from the lanes along I-285 and the transit project top end cities to determine a way to inas a way “to build a better Georgia by encorporate transit into the Georgia Dehancing mobility and safety, fueling ecopartment of Transportation’s planned nomic growth and improving local resitoll lanes project while also providing an dents’ quality of life.” east-west transit option. “More than 240,000 vehicles travThose discussions led to the first el across the I-285 top end every weekphase of the I-285 Top End Transit Project day, one of the most heavily traveled and study where consultants last year detercongested interstate highways in Amerimined a “high-end” bus system running ca,” he said in a written statement. “This within the toll lanes was the best option is why we need to continue to lead the for transit. way in finding transit solutions for the Known commonly as bus rapid tranfuture.” sit, or BRT, the system is being redefined A bus rapid transit system is already by some local mayors due to what they in the works on the Ga. 400 piece of the say is a stigma attached to buses. Ernst toll lanes project after receiving $100 milhas called the idea “tram transit” and lion in funding from former Gov. Nathan Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal prefers Deal in 2018. dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

More than 240,000 vehicles travel across the I-285 top end every weekday, one of the most heavily traveled and congested interstate highways in America...

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Community | 9

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Mazel tov to the Class of 2015! We wish you the best of luck in college and beyond.

MEMBERS OF EPSTEIN’S CLASS OF 2015 WERE ACCEPTED TO: American University Auburn University Brandeis University Clemson University College of Charleston Drexel University Emory University Florida State University George Washington University Georgia State University Georgia Southern University Georgia Institute of Technology Indiana University Iowa State University Kennesaw State University

Lehigh University Mercer University North Carolina State Northeastern University Oglethorpe University Ohio State University Penn State University Princeton University SCAD-Savannah College of Art and Design Syracuse University Towson University Tulane University University of Alabama University of Arizona University of Central Florida University of Colorado Boulder

University of Florida University of Georgia University of Kentucky University of Maryland University of Miami University of Michigan University of Missouri University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) University of South Carolina University of South Florida University of Tennessee University of Texas (Austin) University of Virginia University of Wisconsin (Madison) Vanderbilt University


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.

Commentary | 11

JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Music is one of the many connections fathers can make My father once remarked that he had an uncanny, yet completely unmarketable tal-

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ent 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 being 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.

A difference you can see.

Thank you for coaching the soccer team, year after year…after year.

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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

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Thank you for being a fine example to your kids. And thank you for being proud of them. Happy Father’s Day.

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12 | Commentary

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Serving Sandy Springs for over 25 years

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’ completecareatlanta.com


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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.

Community | 13

JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire others. Contact her at ThisLifeByCarol@gmail.com.

At 92, a jeweler is a gem of the community

Helen Sher, the 92-year-old owner of Camelot Jewelers, tucked in a corner of a nondescript little shopping center on the east end of Dunwoody, is one of these people who inspire the rest of us. Her shop, which she operates with the help of her son, daughter and granddaughter, has been in the same location since 1977. Camelot, at 2484 Mount Vernon Road in the Shops of Williamsburg, in Dunwoody carries a variety of fine diamond and gemstone jewelry in gold and sterling, along with sterling and crystal gift items, but it isn’t Tiffany’s and doesn’t pretend to be. According to its website at camelotjewelers.com, it’s “your neighborhood jewelry store.” But, actually, for Helen’s longtime customers, it’s that and a whole lot more. For years, Arthur, Helen’s little white bichon frise, often with his coat died to match the season, greeted customers, some of whom used to bring their own little frou-frou dogs to visit him. A gigantic, ornate gold clock on the front counter has greeted customers for years. “I bought that clock at market years ago because the seller didn’t want to ship it all the way back to California,” she said. “It’s been knocked off the counter twice and has lots of chips.” Likewise, in the back of the store is a 40-year-old cat-shaped pottery candy jar that has always been filled with jelly beans. Alongside it, is a small glass dish of black licorice jelly beans, which serve to pull licorice lovers through to the back of the store. Camelot is open every day but Sunday, and Helen, who is petite, elegant and much younger looking than her 92 years, is always there, eager to chat with her customers. “I love helping people and am lucky to work with my family every day,” she said. Her son is her appraiser, her daughter is her engraver and her granddaughter does her stringing. Helen Sher at the counter of Camelot Jewelers.

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Helen wasn’t always a jeweler. She and her first husband ran a drugstore in Waycross, Georgia, for 22 years. Like many small-town pharmacies, it also carried gift items. That was her only jewelry experience when she started Camelot at the age of 50. Today the bulk of her business is repair and custom jewelry design. Generations of the same families have come to her for wedding rings and remakes of inherited jewelry. Even after moving away, some come back from as far away as Florida. “I think it’s the $5 coupon on our website,” she said, smiling. But customers say they come to Camelot because if Helen doesn’t have what they want, she’ll either find it or make it. She’ll also repair anything, including matching a missing stone in a ring bought elsewhere, and will clean and inspect precious jewelry on the spot. Some customers come to Camelot just for advice.

Community | 15

JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net “What should they wear with their wedding dress? How far down the neck should a necklace come? Should they match the earrings to the necklace? Even what socks they should wear. Some people even bring in their clothes,” she said. “It’s a matter of trust.” “I have relied on her welcoming me in her shop for years. They are my only goto for jewelry repair – honest [and] familial, with the same people working there for years. Even the dogs last there a long time,” said Sandy Springs resident Dianne Allen. So, what keeps her going when she could just turn everything over to her family and retire? “I’m afraid I’ll miss something,” she said. “You can dust things only so many times. I would miss the closeness of being with people, hearing their stories, seeing pictures of their babies and grandbabies. It all makes you feel like part of their family.” But there’s more to Helen just a businesswoman who never quits. For the past 20 years, she has lived with cancer. Not just one kind of cancer, but several, including breast, bone and colon cancer as well as multiple skin cancers. She says it’s all manageable thanks to monthly chemotherapy. “My body makes too much estrogen,” she said simply. “Can you believe it at my age?” Neither cancer nor chemo can hold her back. She says her business is changing with the times. More and more people want custom jewelry, often made from inherited pieces, sometimes based on nothing more than a sketch on a napkin. And millennials prefer sapphires to diamonds. “The whole world is changing. It’s certainly not the world I grew up in,” she said. “It’s moving very fast, and we’d better move with it.” She reads fashion magazines, attends jewelry shows and watches TV awards programs to see what’s in style and stocks accordingly. And she’s wise enough to know that people who come in to research diamonds and size rings sometimes go online to buy. “I don’t mind because the more they know, the better. I’ve educated a lot of men,” she said. To keep up with the times, she recently bought a laser that does almost everything a torch can do but faster and less invasively. “The laser lets us resize a ring without taking the stone out,” she said. “That’s a great benefit because every time you take a stone out, there’s a chance of breakage.” Despite the high-tech laser, spending time with Helen Sher in her cheerful little shop, where everyone knows your name and wants to help you, can remind you of a kinder, gentler time when everyone really did know your name. “If I were 35, I’d be dying to start over,” she 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.

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City Green Live is a free concert series on the Green at City Springs on select Friday nights. Pack a blanket and picnic under the stars while listening to nationally-known performing artists as well as popular local acts.

JUN Cosmic Charlie


JUN Band of Oz



Savannah Jack

28 JUL

Big Sam’s Funky Nation


16 | Public Safety

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Police charge alleged drug dealer with murder in overdose death Medical Excellence. Compassionate Care.

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BY DYANA BAGBY Dunwoody Police are charging an alleged drug dealer with felony murder in the death of a 22-year-old man who police say overdosed on heroin laced with fentanyl earlier this year at an apartment complex across from City Hall. It is the first known prosecution of an alleged drug dealer for murder in Dunwoody and DeKalb County, officials say, as law enforcement searches for ways to crack down on the opioid epidemic gripping the country and metro Atlanta. Antoin Thornton, 28, was arrested May 9 and charged with felony murder and trafficking heroin after Dunwoody officers and the North Metro and DeKalb County SWAT teams executed search warrants at two DeKalb County locations. Also arrested was Daja Monee Shaw, 30, who is charged with drug trafficking, tampering with evidence and possession of marijuana. At a May 13 press conference at Dunwoody City Hall, DeKalb County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Lance Cross said this was the first prosecution of a suspected drug dealer with felony murder in the county. This is the first time Dunwoody Police have charged an alleged drug dealer with felony murder in connection with an overdose death, added Chief Billy Grogan. State Attorney General Chris Carr, a Dunwoody resident, attended the press conference and said he was only aware of this case and one in Fulton County as examples of an alleged drug dealer being charged with murder in the state. “We hope this sends a clear message to drug dealers that if you sell drugs in our community, and those drugs lead to someone’s death, you will be held accountable,” Grogan said. The Georgia Supreme Court is currently considering a Fulton County case in which a man was charged with felony murder after injecting heroin into a victim who died of an overdose. Defense attorneys say the felony murder charge threatens the 911-amnesty law that grants immunity to drug users who try to help an overdose victim. Georgia law states felony murder occurs when a person, during the commission of a felony, such as selling drugs, causes the death of another person, regardless of malice. Police say Thornton sold the 22-year-old heroin laced with the deadly fentanyl that caused his death. Grogan declined to comment on how police were able to prove the drugs Thornton allegedly sold to the victim caused his death.

Stars and Stripes


July 4, 2019 • 7:30 pm • The Concourse Lawn Music from the band Bogey and the Viceroy will begin at 7:30 pm. Fireworks will dazzle the skies beginning at 9:45 pm. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and enjoy an evening under the stars. Pets, tents, outdoor cooking, drones, alcohol and personal use sparklers will not be permitted. The Sandy Springs Stars and Stripes Celebration is sponsored by Concourse Coporate Center (Regent Partners and CBRE Global Investors) and the City of Sandy Springs. Additional event information can be found online: spr.gs/fw

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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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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Dunwoody’s sign law gadfly triggers a legal change Continued from page 1 er. It’s a symbol. “The signs exemplify how poorly our city government is run,” he said. “Signs are not the biggest problem in our city and don’t hurt people, and I realize my passion is perhaps more symbolic than tangible,” he added. “I just view it as right-in-your-face example of how the city government is not working properly.” But the City Council is now ready to do battle with Hirsch and a handful of other residents who continually complain about illegal signs. At the council’s May 6 meeting, members unanimously voted to hire a consultant to rewrite the entire sign code, starting from scratch. The current sign ordinance includes everything from definitions of different kinds of signs to such details as prohibiting window signs from covering more than 30 percent of the window frame and restricting address numerals to no taller than 4 inches in residential districts and 10 inches in business districts. Councilmember Lynn Deutsch, who served on the city’s first Planning Commission after incorporation and worked on writing the original sign ordinance, said the test of a city government is not

One of the many signs photographed by Joe Hirsch and sent to the city.

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found in the clarity of its sign ordinance as Hirsch claims. But realizing when things are not working and taking time to start over shows a city’s maturity, she said. When Hirsch complained this year about high school graduate signs that have been posted for many years in various city neighborhoods to honor seniors soon receiving their diplomas as now being illegal, Deutsch said something drastic needed to be done. “That’s when I knew we had totally lost our way,” she said. Hirsch complained to the city and said the traditional signs needed to be permitted due to a change in the sign ordinance made last year about permitting signs of certain sizes. Deutsch acknowledged he was correct, calling the mishap an “unintended consequence.” “I knew we needed to step back, figure out our goals and objectives, and make it as simple as possible so residents and businesses alike can understand the code,” Deutsch said. Through the years, the council has made “nips and tucks” that have made the entire process of putting up a sign for legitimate businesses confusing and complicated, Deutsch said. That resulting confusion of how,

when, why and where someone can put up a sign is likely doing more harm to the city than good because it turns residents into the “sign police,” she added. “It’s crazy-making, this stuff is so complicated,” Deutsch said. “I think we can fix this.” A complete rewrite should clear up confusion for residents and businesses alike, she said. How much the consultant will cost is unknown at this time and will be part of approving next year’s budget, according to Community Development Director Richard McLeod. Deutsch said there are many factors to consider when writing a sign ordinance, including the U.S. Constitution and free speech rights. How a community wants to regulate its aesthetic also plays a powerful role. Each year, the city’s code enforcement officers regularly pull more than 1,000 illegal signs from the right-of-way. Oftentimes, the signs are returned the next day or even hours later. The signs posted on utility poles are made at night by anonymous people representing anonymous companies and catching an offender to fine them and stop them from posting illegal signs is nearly impossible. “We have a well-rounded code enforcement program. There is a lot of sign pollution that goes up overnight and is done anonymously, so there is no way to trace it. It’s an ongoing battle,” Deutsch said. Hirsch’s own battle with the city over signs is not just based on his stated claim to clean up government. It’s also based on a nearly decade-old grudge he has against the city. In 2010, Hirsch noticed reserved parking signs for teachers and construction workers doing renovations posted around Dunwoody High School, within sight of his Womack Drive home. He complained to city officials, saying they were illegal because the sign ordinance did not address reserved signs. He called the signs “pollution” and “clutter.” City officials disagreed and said the reserved signs were allowed. Hirsch then made his own sign that stated, “Reserved for Joe Hirsch Only.” His sign was immediately removed. “The police chief stood up in public and said he was not going to enforce the sign code, the public works director said in public he was not going to enforce the sign code ... to spite me,” Hirsch said. “So, I said I could play that game, too. “People point to me as being the obnoxious one about this, but let’s not forget the city started it,” he said.

22 | Community

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discrimination] come up to me by people, and I talk to a lot of people. “Some people felt we needed to do this. … If it makes other people feel more comfortable, that’s fine by me,” he added. “If this gives some people reassurance, if that’s what folks need, that’s fine by me.” The city’s ordinance would ban local, privately owned businesses from discriminating against people based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance also prohibits discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, familial status, or veteran/military status. The ordinance exempts religious corporations or associations and nonprofit private clubs that are not open to the public. Councilmembers John Heneghan and Pam Tallmadge proposed the ordinance. They both said a gay resident asked them to do so after reading about a similar ordinance being considered in Brookhaven. “When a member of our community comes to me and asks … why haven’t you done this to protect me and my family, it needed to be thoroughly looked at,” Heneghan said. “As a council member, I’m there to make sure there is protection for everybody. It’s the right thing to do.” Heneghan said most of the protected classes included in the ordinance are protected by state and federal law. But, he said, the ordinance is necessary because there is currently no state law prohibiting discriminating against someone be-

cause of their sexual orientation or gender identity. “This is a good opportunity to protect those who have no protections,” he said. With Dunwoody’s expected approval of the ordinance, the city joins a growing rank of metro Atlanta cities putting such laws in their books that include protections for LGBTQ people. The municipal ordinances strike back at attempts by the General Assembly over the past several years to pass so-called “religious freedom” bills. Such a bill would essentially prohibit governments from restricting a person’s exercise of their religion. Opponents of the bill say the bill would lead to businesses discriminating against LGBTQ people. Tallmadge said it would be best if the state would pass a proposed statewide nondiscrimination law that includes LGBTQ protections, but until then cities are taking up the slack. “It is sad that we are in a world where we have to write these things down,” she said, “and that cities are put in the position to have these ordinances. If the state would pass such a law, all cities would have this already.” In November, Doraville passed a nondiscrimination ordinance including protections for LGBTQ people, becoming only the second in the state to do so. The city of Atlanta was the first to do so in 2000. Doraville City Councilmember Stephe Koontz, a transgender woman, spearheaded the ordinance and said she hoped her city’s legislation would inspire other metro cities to do the same. In April, the cities of Chamblee and Clarkston passed similar ordinances, citing Doraville’s ordinance. Brookhaven

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JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net City Councilmember Linley Jones said she has asked the city attorney to review if the such an ordinance would be appropriate for Brookhaven after a gay resident asked the council to do so. “I am thrilled our city is taking the initiative to protect all our residents from discrimination,” Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said. “I think it reflects the community we aspire to be and makes sure are that community.” With Perimeter Center in Dunwoody and its importance as a major economic engine in the Southeast, Deutsch said LGBTQ protections ensure corporations and businesses know how Dunwoody stands on this issue. “We are showing current and future businesses what kind of community we are,” she said. Councilmember Terry Nall said Dunwoody has always been a community of diversity and tolerance. He said the state’s “religious freedom” bills are not part of his consideration to support the ordinance. He noted the city’s human resources policy prohibits discrimination against all people. In 2016, the city added sexual orientation and gender identity to the HR policy. “We have a long history of diversity,” Nall said. No discussion of the ordinance on first read and putting the ordinance on the consent agenda for the second read reflects that the City Council fully supports the ordinance, said Councilmember Tom Lambert. “I think it is positive there was no discussion ... because it means we all recognize the importance of this, and that this is a show of support,” Lambert added. “We are unified in support of it.” Councilmember Jim Riticher did not return a call seeking comment.

How the ordinance works

City Attorney Bill Riley explained to the council at the May 20 meeting the nondiscrimination ordinance includes having city-appointed mediators and hearing officers investigate or dismiss allegations of discrimination. For example, if a hearing officer determines a complaint is unfounded, the complainant can be fined up to $1,000. If the hearing officer determines the alleged discrimination did occur, the violator could be fined $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for more offenses. “This is a fairly standardized ordinance that has passed the constitutional scrutiny in other jurisdictions,” Riley said. A person alleging discrimination would have to file a complaint within 90 days of the incident to the city clerk and pay a $50 fee. The fee would be refunded if the complaint is ruled valid. The alleged violator would receive notice within seven days after the complaint is filed, according to the ordinance. Heneghan said the city would only investigate plausible complaints where there are no legal remedies offered by fed-

eral or state authorities. The fees for the mediator or hearing officer would be paid by the losing party, Heneghan said, so there would be no cost to the city. If a party is unhappy with the final decision, the case could be appealed to DeKalb County Superior Court. Nall praised including the reporting of hate crimes and hate crimes training for the police department in the ordinance. He also said how to enforce the ordinance was discussed by council members before it was publicly presented. “We raised the enforcement issues when deciding if this should be a resolution or ordinance,” he said. “We needed a mechanism in place ... and I am comfortable with what the city attorney came up with.” Tallmadge said approving an ordinance makes the city’s message clear. “A resolution is a weaker way of saying something. Ordinances have consequences,” she said.

but no crime occurred, he said. The city’s nondiscrimination ordinance requires officers undergo training on local, state and federal laws on hate crimes. Because there is no state hate crime law, no specific training on hate crimes is currently available, Parsons explained. Training on investigating assaults or damage to property is ongoing, but there

are no laws in place to address the motivations for the crime currently at the state level, he said. Parsons said he has attended trainings put on by the Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT liaison unit on hate crimes and there are discussions to bring Atlanta’s training, and other training programs, to the department to increase awareness of hate crimes.

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The Dunwoody Police Department approved a policy on how to investigate and report hate crimes that went into effect Jan. 1. The city’s nondiscrimination ordinance formalizes that process to also include hate crimes training for officers. The policy states hate crimes are those crimes committed against a person or group of people based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability or sexual orientation. Georgia is one of five states in the U.S. without a hate crimes law. Chief Billy Grogan has actively worked for passage of a state hate crime law as a member of the Georgia Association of Police Chiefs, according to police spokesperson Sgt. Robert Parsons. Grogan is also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Human and Civil Rights Committee. In 2017, he was appointed to the Enhancing Response to Hate Crime Advisory Committee of the IACP and the Lawyers Committee. Last year, Grogan participated in a law enforcement roundtable discussion hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice on “Improving the Reporting and Identification of Hate Crimes,” Parsons said. “Our hate crimes policy was proactively put into place in an effort to not only increase awareness of hate crimes and bias incidents, but to also ensure we do everything in our power to fully investigate any reports of hate crimes or bias incidents,” Parsons said in a written statement. The policy also states hate crimes are to be reported monthly to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No hate crimes have been reported so far this year, Parsons said. There was an investigation into a neighbor dispute in which one person yelled a derogatory term about the other person’s nationality,

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JUNE 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


| 24

4th of July Parade This year’s theme:


Grand Marshall: Dunwoody Police Department

JULY 4, 2019 at 9:00 am

Parade begins at the Mount Vernon Shopping Center, proceeds down Mount Vernon Road for approximately 2.5 miles and ends with a lively Family Festival in Dunwoody Village The Dunwoody Homeowners Association and the Dunwoody Reporter newspaper will host the annual Fourth of July Parade featuring marching bands, floats, clowns, animal units and local celebrities!




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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?

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A: I hope they see the connection between things, that they react with their gut and are able to experience and react with their heart as well as their mind. KRISTA CLARK Q: Your artworks have shifted from realistic pen-and-ink drawings to abstract installations. How did that happen? A: In part, as I began to create abstract works, in addition to drawing, I started cutting out shapes and putting them in a collage or a looser three-dimensional work. It was an entire redirection. When [husband Michael Jones] and I moved to the Westview neighborhood in the historic West End, it was in transition as one of the last in the area undergoing gentrification. There was construction everywhere: wonderful 1920 and 1930 homes being reclaimed and restored; some torn down and new homes going up; some things saved, some lost. That combination informed the shift in my art to large 3-D installations to express what was and is happening all around us. And, through all my new work, I searched for ways to create good design. Continued on page 28

| 27

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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

Let us cater your next event or we can host your party at one of our convenient locations!

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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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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

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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.

Discover why our vacation cabins are North Georgia’s finest at EscapeToBlueRidge.com 855-885-4894

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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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JUNE 2019

Special Section | 43


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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