Dunwoody Reporter - June 2021

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JUNE 2021 • VOL. 12 — NO. 6

Dunwoody Reporter



Art in the Park


The saviors of senior pets P18


A seafood market comes to Brookhaven





A local school advocates for affordable housing P16


A reporter recalls KKK’s downfall P7

Development Authority offers $160K loan to restaurant complex

Local art collector Jody Yanovich, left, talks with folk artist Jessica Holt while buying two of her works at the Dunwoody Art Festival at Brook Run Park May 8.”I am so excited to have found Jessica here today at the art festival. I love her style and already own seven pieces of her art,” said Yanovich. The first edition of the festival since last year’s pandemic shutdowns drew many attendees, including Mayor Lynn Deutsch.

‘Facility condition’ assessments available for six Dunwoody schools BY SAMMIE PURCELL As part of its master plan to improve school facilities and alleviate overcrowding, the DeKalb County School District has released preliminary reports showing the “facility conditions” of schools throughout the district, including six that serve the Dunwoody community.

The facility condition reports indicated that most of the schools serving Dunwoody are in “average” or “below average” condition. Many of the schools need ADA updates, need new fire alarms and need to fix cracked sidewalks. The school district began working toward the creation of its “Comprehensive Master See FACILITY on page 15

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The Development Authority agreed to issue a $160,000 forgivable loan to a new entertainment complex in the Dunwoody Village at its May 20 meeting. The entertainment complex – which would include five new restaurants and a concert stage area – would be located at an empty courtyard in Dunwoody Village, a shopping and retail center at 1317 Dunwoody Village Parkway. The courtyard in question is next to a Fresh Market at 5515 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. The Development Authority is a government body that usually issues tax abatements for real estate projects, so this agreement is a little unique. According to Economic Development Director Michael Starling, the $160,000 goes towards furniture and equipment for the space. The authority’s attorney, Dan McRae, said that DASH Hospitality Group – the company receiving the loan – would only be responsible for paying back the loan at the end of 2023 if the complex does not produce a provable “public benefit.” That public benefit could include job creation or revenues from the new restaurants and commerce in the complex, according to the agreement. “It’s set up so if the company perSee DEVELOPMENT on page 29

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2 | Education

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Trailer classrooms a concern as DeKalb Schools drafts facilities plan BY SAMMIE PURCELL Amid town halls and meetings regarding the DeKalb County School District’s plan to improve school facilities, overcrowding and getting rid of classroom trailers has continued to dominate the Dunwoody conversation. The DCSD’s Comprehensive Master Plan process began last August in an effort to update school buildings and prevent overcrowding. The master plan is expected to provide the school district with a district-wide facilities plan through 2031. During a May 2 Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting, Anna Hill – a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education representing District 1 – said that DCSD Chief Operations Officer D. Benjamin Estill II says he wants to remove trailers used for additional classrooms from district schools entirely. “He’s told me that personally. He’s said that out loud in front of the board,” she said. “I think we should have zero trailers. This is not OK, and they need to go.” The issue of trailers in the school district has been contentious for years. In 2019, the city hired an attorney to back up their claim that they could not force the school district to stop adding more trailers. The attorney found that the only government entity with

“It’s nice to know that help is coming, but in the meantime we still have to educate our students, and they deserve a certain quality of education.”

all code enforcement can do is inspect the trailers. A spokesperson


finalized until late summer or early fall.

District One Member DeKalb County Board of Education

for Dunwoody said they would only be inspected if someone complained. “They’re exempt from our zoning code, the sign ordinance and everything else,” McLeod said. “So there’s not much we can do.” Hill said as of a status report on April 19, “option generation” for the master plan is underway. “They’re analyzing forecasts from their demographers [and] data from the assessments and stakeholder input,” she said. “We’re developing options that address overutilization, underutilization, and all those other things. Representatives of the various internal departments, including curriculum and instruction, are providing input.” The Comprehensive Master Plan’s website currently has preliminary educational suitability scores and facility condition scores for each school in the district. A spokesperson for the school district said these reports will be updated as needed and won’t be Hill said the district is expected to have a draft of the Comprehensive Master Plan by this fall. Because improvements are further away than some schools might need, some had concerns

authority over the DeKalb County School District is the Georgia De-

about what can be done in the short term.

partment of Education. Still, during the meeting DHA members expressed concern over the number of trail-

“That’s one thing that I’m going to be asking,” Hill said. “It’s nice to know that help is

ers at schools, and whether the city’s code enforcement officers had any hand in the safe-

coming, but in the meantime we still have to educate our students, and they deserve a

ty of those trailers. Richard McLeod, the city’s director of Community Development, said

certain quality of education.”

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City Council approves PD district zoning change that would allow some smaller projects BY SAMMIE PURCELL An



cepted the change. City staff originalto


Planned Development (PD) district will allow for some developers to apply to the zoning district with smaller projects. At its May 10 meeting, the City Council approved a change to the PD district, a special zoning district that allows for developments that might otherwise not fit the city’s zoning code. To apply for the PD district, developers are required to have an Overall Development Plan (ODP) already in place. The ODP would override any conflicts with the city’s zoning code. Before the council May 10 council meeting, the minimum land requirement for the PD district was five acres. The approved amendment lowers the minimum land requirement and allows for different minimum requirements for different character areas outlined in Dunwoody’s 20202040 Comprehensive Plan. For developments in the city’s suburban neighborhood and institutional/campus character areas, the minimum land requirement for the PD district will be 4.5 acres. For all other character areas, the minimum land requirement will be 1.5 acres. City staff says the change will streamline the zoning process. In the regular zoning process, if an applicant wanted to bypass the zoning code, they would have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) after receiving approval from the City Council. But, because the PD district’s ODP overrides the zoning code, the ZBA would not be included in the process. Planning and Zoning Manager Paul Leonhardt said not having to include the ZBA could shave about three months off the process, because that’s how long ZBA meetings must be advertised to the public. The council approved the amendment to the PD district unanimously, but the amendment went through a few iterations before the council acDUN

ly proposed changing the minimum to one acre, but at a March 9 Planning Commission meeting, the commission recommended raising that slightly to 1.5 acres. City staff still recommended moving forward with one acre when they brought the amendment before council, but at an April 12 meeting, the council expressed concern that too small of a land requirement would infringe on residential areas. In response to this concern, city staff suggested having different minimum land requirements for different character areas. The





change which would allow the Planning Commission to defer zoning proposals to the PD district up to three times.

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Annual Lemonade Days Festival to be held in August




BY SAMMIE PURCELL The Dunwoody Preservation Trust’s Lemonade Days Festival is returning after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19. The Preservation Trust – an organization dedicated to preserving Dunwoody’s history – announced the festival will be held Aug. 18-22 at Brook Run Park at 4770 N. Peachtree Road, according to a press release. The five-day festival is usually held in April, but was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the trust held a socially-distanced spring celebration in place of the festival due to virus restrictions. Hours of operation on Aug. 18-20 will be 4-10 p.m. On Aug. 21, the festival will be open 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and on Aug. 22 the festival will be open noon-10 p.m. According to the press release, the festival will feature more than 30 carnival rides, a petting zoo, food vendors, and more. There will also be a 5K run. Admission to the festival is free, but individual rides will cost $1 each, according to the Preservation Trust’s website. Wristbands for unlimited rides cost $20 for Aug. 18 and $25 for Aug.19-22. Proceeds will benefit the Preservation Trust, and go towards the maintenance of the historic Donaldson-Bannister Farm at 4831 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road.

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Dunwoody resident introduces President Biden at Gwinnett rally BY SAMMIE PURCELL Dunwoody resident Long Tran got the chance to introduce President Joe Biden during a drive-in rally at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth on April 29. Tran owns Peachy Corners Cafe in Dunwoody and helped organize a local vigil for victims of the mass murders at metro Atlanta spas in March. He spoke just before the newly elected president. The rally marked the end of Biden’s first 100 days in office. Tran spoke about Georgia’s recent election of two Democratic senators, how COVID-19 has affected the Asian American community, and his own experience as the son of immigrants. “As the son of two South Vietnamese immigrants … today standing here, [on] the eve of the 46th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon [in the Vietnam War], this is an extraordinary moment for me,” Tran said during the rally. Tran said the Democratic Party of Georgia asked him to speak at the rally, but he did not know he would be introducing the president until moments SPECIAL before. A screenshot of Long Tran’s speech at the April 29 rally for President Joe Biden. “I was asked the day before if I could speak at the rally and of course I said yes,” he said. “At the time I community proudly and bring up things that may not get to be addressed on a stage was thinking that the speech would probably be one of the speeches that was a couple like that,” he said. hours before the president arrived. But then yesterday afternoon, they asked if I could Despite his foray into public speaking and experience with organizing,Tran said he go ahead and give the introduction after my speech.” likely won’t run for local office any time soon. Tran said he was nervous, and while he didn’t think he was asked to speak because “I don’t think there’s necessarily a need for me to enter that realm,” he said. “I much of the anniversary of the Fall of Saigon or the upcoming Asian Heritage Month in May, more enjoy reaching out to people, knocking on doors, talking to people, and letting he did feel a bit of extra pressure. them know my perspective and why I feel like these candidates deserve their votes.” “I felt an extra weight of making the most of this opportunity to represent my Asian

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Development at former Gold Kist headquarters expected to bring in $4.2M BY SAMMIE PURCELL

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Mary Jo Stewart of Miami, Florida was a retired Career Education Counselor from the Dade County School Board. As a Career Counselor she had association with business and industry in Miami providing the students with an insight into the work world. She established Career Day for the students (also known as shadowing). It was during this time that she took a group of students to Tallahassee, Florida while the legislators were in session.

A redevelopment for the former Gold Kist headquarters in Perimeter Center is projected to bring in $4.2 million in taxes and fees to the city, according to a May 20 Development Authority meeting. Buckhead-based RocaPoint Partners and the New York company The Georgetown Company purchased the 13-acre property at 244 Perimeter Center Parkway last year. Before the purchase, the property had sat vacant for quite some time, but the developers have plans to turn it into a complex with a hotel, office space, and multiple restaurants. The Development Authority, which is a government body that issues tax abatements for real estate projects, is prepared to offer a 68% tax abatement for the project over 15 years. At the May 20 meeting, the developer presented a fiscal analysis performed by Georgia Tech. According to that analysis, the project is expected to bring in about $4.2 million to the city post-abatement, and about $2.8 million to the DeKalb County Board of Education. That money is expected to come from such revenue sources as sales taxes, property taxes, franchise fees, liquor license fees, alcoholic beverage taxes, fines, permit fees, and other miscellaneous fees. The project is expected to create 1,800 jobs with an average salary of $85,000. The fiscal analysis estimates that the new employees will create about 333 new households within the county, bringing about 216 new students to the school district. According to the fiscal impact study, real property improvements would total $256 million, with $195 million in Phase One of construction and $70 million in

Phase Two. Patrick Leonard of RocaPoint Partners said the developers plan to use the former Gold Kist headquarters building already on the lot, expanding and building around it to create a 12-acre walkable campus. The development would include a 145-room hotel, a parking deck, outdoor amenity space and four food and beverage offerings. The complex would also feature a rooftop “entertainment and conference space,” onsite bike storage, a fitness center, and would sit adjacent to a MARTA Station. Leonard said the developer is targeting the office space at Fortune 500 and tech companies and has already started gaining some traction. “We’ve had tours with large Fortune 500 companies. As we all know, they are looking for different things and unique things,” he said. “We also think it appeals to tech. We’re trying to compete with stuff that’s going into Midtown and other parts of Atlanta.” Authority member Greg Killeen asked how much money would be spent on renovating the existing building versus new square footage. Jon Schmerin of The Georgetown Company said most of the cost would go towards creating “density” for the site. “This is not apples to apples with that comparison [of] ‘I have an existing building that I’m trying to just enhance and I need a tax abatement,’” Schmerin said. “We’re trying to create a place, and a front door – that postcard we’ve talked about with you previously. That, unfortunately, is really expensive, but we think adds a tremendous amount to the community.”

While living In Miami she was active in many organizations: Iham (Shriners wives), Daughters of the Nile, Eastern Star, Golden Key Club (past president). She was also a member of the Coral Gables Country Club, Miami Shores Country Club and LaGorce Country Club. She assisted Pat Boon when he emceed the Miss Universe Pageant. Her candidate won the title that year. During her career as an educator, she actively participated in many professional groups such as the Business & Professional Women’s Club (received an award during her term as Legislative Chairperson), belonged to the Pilot Club, member of North Dade Chamber of Commerce, member of North Miami Chamber of Commerce, belonged to Miami Shores Cancer Chapter, and was State President of the Florida Auxiliary of Dental Association. She moved to Atlanta to be near her daughter, Joanne Stewart. Her associations in Atlanta include the Dunwoody Women’s Club, Executive Singles Social & Bridge Club, Act II Bridge & Social Club, Fine Arts Bridge Club, Atlanta Callers Bridge Club, and past president of The Atlanta Club. In Atlanta Mrs. Stewart was a member of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and the George Wright Sunday Morning Bible Study. Her membership in Miami was with North Miami Baptist Church where she was Youth Director, Sunday School teacher, and Director of Young Marrieds. Mary Jo loved to play bridge, but her passion was travel and when the opportunity arose she was ready to go. She was an accomplished ballroom dancer and enjoyed square dancing also. Along with her college education, she was a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Course and an assistant with the Dorothy Carnegie Course. Mary Jo passed away on Sunday, May 9, 2021. Her request was followed – she died at home. She is survived by her daughter, Joanne Stewart.

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Arts & Entertainment | 7

Author Q&A: How an FBI informant brought down a murderous KKK group BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN The murder by the Ku Klux Klan of an advocate for voting rights in Mississippi during the mid-’60s and the work of an undercover FBI informant who exposed it is the subject of a new book titled “When Evil Lived in Laurel: The ‘White Knights’ and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer.” It’s written by local reporter Curtis Wilkie, who covered Civil Rights in the area for a quarter of a century. Wilkie will appear at the Atlanta History Center on Thursday, June 17 at 7 p.m. in a free, virtual conversation with veteran journalist and former colleague Hank Klibanoff. For details, see atlantahistorycenter.com.

always successful in obtaining convictions. I was surprised at the sheer stupidity of people involved in the Klan. I was a young reporter in those days, and I certainly remember they were a fearsome group. They terrorized the state and did a pretty good job of that, but I got to see what knuckleheads they were and how, thankfully, they were not always able to pull off many of their missions because they screwed things up. A place called John’s Restaurant in the town of Laurel hosted Klan members, many of whom would get inebriated and spill secrets, right? Yes. It concerned some of the more sober members of the Klan who felt this was not helpful at all. John’s Restaurant was run by one of the major figures in the White Knights. Beer was sold and sometimes they added to it with moonshine liquor or regular whisky or gin. They would get drunk and loud and brag about missions where they felt they had accomplished something -- burning down a house or intimidating Black families.

The “White Knights” you describe were notoriously disorganized, with dissent in the ranks and a lack of mutual trust. You call them “clumsy practitioners of stealth.” Can you talk about that? The accounts of their meetings clearly spelled out a group of peoKlan leaders liked to portray their activities as Christain miliple not particularly well-educated tancy, while engaged in campaigns of terror and murder. Why whose burning desire was to keep was that? down the Blacks in the state of MisIn order to justify that method of ethnic cleansing 60 years ago, sissippi, and they just weren’t very they cloaked it in pseudo-Christianity. Several prominent memeffective. Even the tactics in which bers of the White Knights were ministers themselves. This philosthey succeeded -- burning down ophy of Christian militancy stated it was proper to kill someone houses or killing people -- were counif it was necessary, in a good Christian manner, whatever the hell terproductive because the conservathat’s supposed to mean. It was clearly a very perverted sense of tive white people in Mississippi who religion that flies in the face of Christianity. supported segregation were horrified SPECIAL by this kind of conduct. You met the FBI informant, Tom Landrum, towards the end of Curtis Wilkie. At the height of their incompetence his life. Did he have any regrets? (a raid in which the activist Vernon I never heard him express any regrets. He did talk about his Dahmer was fatally wounded), they left fears of being discovered when he was reporting regularly to the behind precious evidence -- a pistol and one of the getaway cars -FBI, but at the end he was actually quite proud that he did what he could do, as one perso the whole crew was quickly rounded up. Between the FBI and some of the cooperatson in the community, to put an end to the White Knights. ing local authorities it took roughly two months to arrest everybody, but they weren’t


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8 | Food & Drink

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Food for Thought: Catching up with seafood dealer Kathleen Hulsey BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN Fishmonger Kathleen Hulsey recently opened a third location of her seafood market Kathleen’s Catch, this time in Brookhaven at 3436 Clairmont Road, in partnership with her daughter Sara Waterman. “We’ve had a huge welcome here,” Hulsey says. She first opened in Johns Creek in 2011 and added a second location in Milton in 2015. Oysters, shrimp, scallops, lobster rolls, chowders, crab cakes and octopus are just some of the items on offer for pickup or delivery. Hulsey is an advocate for sustainability and the proper cultivation of seafood. For more, see kathleenscatch.com. Your original impetus to launch the business was the lack of fresh fish available to you in local grocery stores, right? Yes. My husband works at [wholesale distributor] Inland Seafood. I could find fresh fish there, but I couldn’t find it in a retail setting. How difficult is it for you to get fresh seafood all the time in a landlocked place like Atlanta? It’s actually perfect for me for two reasons: our airport has non-stop flights from everywhere in the world to here, so fish flies in all day long. As far as domestic fish goes, we are situated on the highway from Miami with all kinds of fish from the Gulf -- stone crabs and everything else -- then all the way up to Maine for the lobster, so it’s very easy to get fish everyday. You obviously try to sell all the fish you have on a daily basis, but what happens with what’s left over at the end of the day? We carry it over a second day but if it doesn’t sell it becomes a member of our “No Fish Left Behind” program: we vacuum-seal it, freeze it and sell it at a discount. But it’s still fresher than anything you could get in a grocery store. You also help customers with advice on how to prepare fish, taking a lot of the guesswork out of it. Yes, absolutely. We have some things to make it a little easier: seasonings, cocktail sauce, mustards and such, and we have ideas on ways to cook that help people. Another good thing we do is we offer fish by the pound but we also sell it by the portion,

and those pieces are generally 6 ounces. There’s no skin and no bone so If you want to make a dinner for four people you can buy four perfect pieces of fish rather than having to guess how many pounds you need to buy. You do ready-made meals as well? We do one a week. It changes every Monday and it’s called Catch to Go. It is an oven-ready meal with a side, and you just add a sauce or seasoning and put it in the oven which is a good way to teach people how to cook fish. It’s a way to get started.


Kathleen Hulsey, left, and daughter Sara Waterman are partners in the new Kathleen’s Catch location in Brookhaven.

You also have wine, Champagne and produce, correct? Even caviar? Yes, and cheese and charcuterie. We don’t keep caviar in stock here but we can get it overnight from our supplier. Over the holidays we get a lot of caviar [orders] but this time of year it’s not so big.

Talk a bit about sustainability and farmed fish versus wild fish. Those two subjects are intricately involved because I believe in supporting aquaculture if it’s done correctly. Aquaculture has been around since ancient times but it’s had a pretty bad reputation in recent years. Now there are companies out there who are doing it right and that means no growth hormones and no antibiotics in their feed. They’re not in crowded pens, they are in open ocean pens with fast-moving cold water. Those are the companies where I look for farmed fish. And the reason I promote aquaculture to such an extreme is there aren’t enough fish in the ocean to satisfy appetites for our future generations, so if people can do it in a clean, healthy manner I’m happy to support that.

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Food & Drink | 9

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Quick Bites | Restaurant openings and news BY KEVIN C. MADIGAN Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q has announced that a third location of its popular smoked meats joint will open at Brookhaven Station in the summer of 2021. “When my brother and I started cooking barbecue, we did so in our backyard in Brookhaven, and we’re excited about the opportunity to return to the neighborhood,” said co-owner and pitmaster Jonathan Fox in a press release. “We want to highlight elements of classic Texas barbecue culture and the flavors that we grew up with.” Plans for the space include “an open-air feel that stretches from the kitchen to an outdoor space and an easy to-go pickup window.” foxbrosbbq.com

◄The Blue Plate is planning a June opening in Dunwoody at 5000 Winters Chapel Road “where the old Empire Pizza was,” according to owner Sade Williams, who told the Reporter, “I would describe our menu as soul-Southern comfort food with a modern twist.” instagram.com/theblueplateatl Knuckies Hoagies’ owner Todd Broaderick says another branch of his sub shop will open in July at 6135 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. This will be his sixth location in the Atlanta area, with a seventh planned for Marietta in the fall. Most of them serve pizza as well, but these two new ones will not. “We’ve done well, despite the pandemic,” he said. knuckieshoagies.com

Kefi, a “modern family club” affiliated with Chick-fil-A that includes Superica is setting up another metro Atlanta location, this time SPECIAL Xander Coffee, was scheduled to close its doors in May after two A shrimp dish at Blue Plate. in the Ashford Lane complex at 4500 Olde Perimeter Way in Dunyears in business at 3637 Peachtree Road in Buckhead. A Facebook woody’s Perimeter Place shopping center. The opening for Chef post earlier in the month thanked customers for “the outpouring of Ford Fry’s Tex-Mex emporium is scheduled to happen about a year from now. superlove and support” and added, “We are committed to making it the most joyful place for ica.com our members to be for the next few weeks.” xander-coffee.square.site


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Electric-vehicle charging company to power up new HQ in Buckhead BY JOHN RUCH Netherlands-based Heliox, a company that makes fast-charging devices for electric vehicles, expects to open its new campus this month at 165 Ottley Drive in Buckhead’s Armour neighborhood. The headquarters will include offices and a research and development division, expected to create 70 jobs total in the next year, according to a Georgia Department of Economic Development press release. In Europe, Heliox builds, operates and maintains charging systems for public transit, trucks, construction vehicles and port equipment. Among its U.S. customers is MARTA. The company is partnering with Georgia Tech on internships and possible research and development partnerships, according to an announcement press release. Katie Kirkpatrick, the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s president and CEO, said in the press release that the company’s arrival is another example of how “metro Atlanta is rapidly becoming a global hub for the EV [electric vehicle] industry with a wealth of innovative engineering talent.” David Aspinwall, president of Heliox North America, answered some of the Reporter’s questions about the new HQ. What does the name “Heliox” mean? The name Heliox was inspired by the ancient Greek word “Helios,” the god of the Sun, the most powerful energy source on the planet.

announce in the coming months. Overall, we see tremendous opportunity in this market to provide the charging infrastructure for e-mobility, which is experiencing high growth and will no doubt accelerate as the federal government commits to e-mobility. What is the future of the charging industry looking like? Is one sector more dominant than others, such as public transit vs. private vehicles? There is tremendous opportunity in both sectors, but definitely private electric vehicles have helped to pique both private and public sector interest in e-mobility and larger electric transportation infrastructure projects. The federal government’s proposed spending to electrify at least 20% of school buses and $25 billion to electrify transit vehicles is moving the industry ahead much more quickly.


David Aspinwall, president of Heliox North America.

What is bringing Heliox to North America at the scale of a headquarters? Are there particular clients here? We work with a number of partners and customers here in North America, which we’ll

What drew you to Atlanta in general and Buckhead in particular? Atlanta is a growing e-mobility hub, and we’ll also have access to some of the brightest technology talent coming out of Georgia Tech. We’re also committed to meeting all UL and Buy America standards, meaning all of our research, development and assembly will be done here in North America.

What sort of research might you partner on with Georgia Tech? DC Rapid Charging R&D, Vehicle-to-Grid research and development, [and] energy management innovation.

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Gillian Zerah Adams John Hendricks Anthony Avery Grace Bargeron Elaine Raley Barnwell Chloe Hannah May Beaver Clifford Emmitt Bell III Linda Catherine Benton Efe Bilgin Thomas Lane Bradbury III Reginald Reeves Bradford III Anne Alston Brady Anna McKenna Bray Karen Mariea Sibley Brown Katherine Dianne Burch Holt Woodson Burge Hunter Glenn Burge Sadie Staton Burge Olivia Ann Byers Charles Thomas Caldwell Davis Hamilton Caldwell Alexander Sidoti Camillo Reece Nichelle Capers Jonathan Graham Carroll Gerry Holden Carson Jr. Ryan Cole Cauwenberghs James Harrison Clifton Jr. Amelia Catherine Coker Reese Williams Coker Cameron Ava Colavito Margaret Anne Coleman Sophie Foerester Courts Alford Barge Coy Mina Ayhan Derebail Edward Augustine Desloge II John Ford Drewry Anna Grace Durham Leah Hutchinson Eiland Sophia Grace Elve Margaret Elizabeth Evans Luke Alexander Ferrara Mary Corinne Flint Jacob Paul Frank Zachary Martin Freier Jack Fletcher Gallagher Zachary Alan Gapusan Elke Lina Gill Collin Elijah Goldberg Kathryn Wyn Green Hadley Elizabeth Griggs Nikita Sharmila Gupta

Veer J. Gupta William Henry Haden John Luke Ham William Burke Hammer Parker Matthews Hammond Kendall Nicole Hart Maxwell Spence Hobbs Charles Roland Hoke Jr. Patrick Haralson Holder III Michael Edward Hollingsworth III Sally Anne Houk Jane Lett Huggins Elizabeth Ayers Hunter Lucas David Hyman Chase Lottier Barrington Jeter Kahlil Denzil Johny James Chadwick Jones Jayant Raj Joshi William Louis Kahn Megan Elise Kahrs Robert Wellington Kamerschen Jr. Conner Cole Kanaly Lucy Kent Karem Chandler Ray Kenny Gillian Marie King Huntley Fenn King Nathan Alexander Klavohn Christopher Armitage Kollme Jr. Chiara Azzurra Reale Kremer Sydney Elizabeth Lamberson Lucien Michael LaScala Jordan Elizabeth Legg Nava Serene Little Bishop Mark Lusink Ashley Ann Marshall Chelsea Elizabeth Mason Ruth Hanes McCrady William Seth McDaniel Jr. Aaron Nicholas McFadden Emily XiaYu McHale Owen Robert McMurtrie John Barry Mears Jr. Zachary Lawrence Minetola Arya Mishra Anika Krishna Murthy Ryan Katamba Mutombo

Georgia Elizabeth Norton de Matos William Peter Novak John Michael Parsons Jr. Madison Ann Peavy Sarah Elizabeth Piña Serrano Edward Andrew Pinkston Mia Costa Pioli Jennings Patrick Pitts Jr. Alan Cooper Pope Jr. William Crawford Powell Jr. Cana Katherine Nikles Roach Wasswa Edrine Robbins Joshua Ellis Robinson Elaina Habiba Samady Ella Smith Schneidau Alden Melissa Schroeder Sebastian Schroeter Mallory Whitaker Scott Ciara Francesca Seminara William Joseph Sharp Wilson Wade Shepherd Marshall Connor Smith Alexandra Paige Spitale John Holman Srouji Ashley Anne Stratton Douglas Robert Strickland Katherine Elizabeth Stubbs Camille Marjorie-Anne Summers Benjamin Thurkow-Schlund Charles Lee Troutman III Frances Elizabeth Tucker Grant Christopher Turner Lillian Martha Turner Joseph Paul Urbanowicz Sloane Amaya Vassar Sydney Lynn Wade Lilla McIntosh Walker Alexander David Walters Lauren Rachelle Warren Leyton Jack Spencer Welanetz George Carter Westfall Eleanor Camden Weyman Brooke Renée Williams Frances Greer Windom Harold Wendell Wyatt IV


12 | Education

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Local schools’ student news publications win state awards BY JOHN RUCH Student news publications at three local schools won many honors in the

Monday, July 5, 2021

Georgia Scholastic Press Association’s spring awards, whose winners were an-

Theme: Celebrating Our Heroes Grand Marshal: Frontline Workers Presented By:

Gold Sponsors:

nounced April 21. Among the winners, Pace Academy’s Knightly News took the first-place “AllGeorgia” award for best newspaper. The Oracle at North Springs High School took several honors in columns and critical reviews. And The C&G at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School won the allstate honor for informational graphics.

Silver Sponsors:

The GSPA, based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia, holds the contest annually. All of the local schools competed in the category for newspapers, newsmagazines and news websites. “Superior” is an award category for finalists.

More information visit dunwoodyga.org/dunwoody-4th-of-july-parade/

The full list of local winners included:

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, The C&G Commentary, superior: “What about fairness?” by Zak Kerr Feature Profile, superior: “Thomas Barbershop’s tremendous tale” by Alex Newberg General Excellence, superior, newsmagazine Information Graphic, All-Georgia: “Immunize Wise” by Maddie Poch

North Springs High School, The Oracle Column Writing, All-Georgia: “Musicology Corner” by Veronica Kogan Column Writing, superior: “Cummiskey’s Corner” by Nelson Cummiskey Column Writing, superior: “It’s OK to not be OK” by Saaniah Hardy

Mazel Tov to the Class of 2017!

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

Critical Review, superior: “Justice League: An injustice to comics” by Isaac Linnen News Website, excellent

Pace Academy, The Knightly News Critical Review, All-Georgia: “Winter showcase captivates audience” by Darren Rosing

M E M B E R S O F E P S T E I N ’ S C L A SS O F 2 0 1 7 W E R E A C C E PT E D T O : American University Auburn University Boston University Carnegie Mellon University Case Western Reserve University Clemson University College of Charleston Cornell University Drexel University Duke University Elon University Emerson University Emory University Fashion Institute of Technology Florida State University

George Washington University Georgia Southern University Georgia Institute of Technology Indiana University Kennesaw State University Lynn University McGill University Mercer University North Carolina State University Northeastern University Northwestern University Ohio State University Pennsylvania State University Rhodes College Savannah College of Art & Design Southern Methodist University

Syracuse University Temple University The New School (Parsons School of Design) The University of Miami Tulane University Union College University of Alabama University of Arizona University of California, Berkeley University of California, Los Angeles University of Colorado, Boulder University of Florida University of Georgia University of Maryland

University of Massachusetts, Amherst University of Memphis University of Michigan University of North Carolina University of Pennsylvania University of Rhode Island University of South Carolina University of South Florida University of Tennessee University of Texas Austin University of Virginia University of Wisconsin Wake Forest University Washington University, St. Louis Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Double-Truck Layout/Design, All-Georgia: “The 2020 Election” by Kathryn Hood Feature Profile, superior: “Spotlight on faculty passion project: Let America be America again” by Darren Rosing General Excellence, Newspaper, superior General Excellence, News Website, Small School winner Illustration, superior: “Gifted Kid” by Kathryn Hood Newspaper, All-Georgia News Story, superior: “Pace hosts first ever TEDx conference” by Megan Hardesty DUN

Education | 13

JUNE 2021 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

The valedictorians and salutatorians of 2021 The Class of 2021 graduated in May amid another pandemic-altered year. The following are the valedictorians and salutatorians as announced by several local schools. Atlanta Girls’ School Lindsey Geer (V) *This group photo was digitally created.

Atlanta Classical Academy Caleb Albert Dye (V), Ashlynn Bree Gannon (S) Chamblee High School Matthew Lombardo (V, Magnet), Richard Von Biberstein (V, Resident), Victor Lim (S, Magnet), Anika Karim (S, Magnet), Molly Silverman (S, Magnet) Cross Keys High School Uriel Castaneda (V), Jonathan Marquez (S) Dunwoody High School Megan Vander Wiele (V), Seung Joo Lee (S)

Congratulations Davis Academy Class of 2021! Ryan Altmann Jake Barras Jack Baylin Aaron Berman Avery Berman Cooper Bernath Charlie Berss Sydney Bressler Isaac Brody Sylvie Bella Brown Sophie Carmel Drew Chase Benjamin Collins Noah Diamond Nathan Dollinger Ashley Dryburgh Scarlett Fedors Noah Flome

Summer Folbaum Julia Freedman Nate Friedman Stella Galanti Emerson Goldberg Kaitlyn Goldberg Levi Gordon Adam Greenstein Gabriella Haviv Hannah Herman Sadie Hoff Leeya Ilan Samantha Iroff Maya Israel Noa Kadoori Micah Kopelman Rachel Kurgan Noa Lazarian

Amelia Levine Alex Levingston Jolie Levy Ariella Lewis Jadyn Lichstrahl Molly Marcus Micah Margolis Leah Medeiros Sarah Meiselman Lindsey Mirsky William Morrison Julia Moss Avinash Nebel Zachary Notte Zoe Nowak Eleonora Perez-Rubio Benjamin Perry Caileigh Pinsker

Adam Ress Molly Richin Abigail Richman Zachary Rindsberg Wendell Rogers Alexa Rubin Benjamin Rudolph Kyra Russotto Abigail Schermer Rachel Slutzky Ian Stukalsky Alexis Tauber Ari Weber Joshua Weiss Isaac Wolf Joshua Wolkin Maddie Yudin

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

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School Madeline Poch (V), Ella Vail (S) Holy Spirit Preparatory School Ainsley Hillman (V), Sofia Oliver (S) The Lovett School Nikita Sharmila Gupta (V), William Peter Novak (S) Marist School Clare Seymour (V), Courtney Maley (S) North Atlanta High School Emilie Jacobus (V), Brendan Weinbaum (S) North Springs High School Ariel Frenchman (V), Tyler McMahon (S) Riverwood International Charter School Elle Mezzio (V), Lauren Cohn (S)


69 GRADUATES of the

CLASS OF 2021! 300 acceptances to 150 different colleges worldwide!

St. Pius X Catholic High School Sarah Halbig (V), Sophia Ripoll (S) The Weber School Sam Feldstein (V), Micah Reich (S) The Westminster Schools Sarah Lao (V), Anand Srinivasan (V), Kiran Gadde (S), Soumia Vellanki (S) DUN


14 | Public Safety

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Two Dunwoody officers among many calling for accountability and police reform Law enforcement officials across the country, including two Dunwoody officers, are calling for congressional leaders to hold police departments accountable. DPD civilian Prisoner Transport Officer Brian Bolden and former DPD Officer Austin Handle signed a letter that was sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and others on May 18. The letter calls for Congress to enact legal protections for police whistleblowers who might come forward with evidence of wrongdoing. The letter comes from the Government Accountability Project, a Washington, D.C. whistleblower protection and advocacy nonprofit. Other signatories include Fred Whitehurst, a former supervisory special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Richard Larrabee, a special agent for the U.S. Department of Interior; and Frank Serpico, the famous former New York City police officer who was a whistleblower on police corruption and served as the inspiration for the 1973 film “Serpico.” “While videos have sparked a national awakening, defending freedom needs more than a smartphone,” reads the letter. “In many cases, it requires testimony from those willing to bear witness. The only witness may be a fellow officer. That means these reforms will not work as intended unless they directly attack the Blue Wall of Silence that permeates law enforcement.” Last year, Bolden and Handle were two of many officers who filed complaints against former Lt. Fidel Espinoza. Bolden said Espinoza bullied and sexually harassed him, and falsely accused him of theft. Handle claims retaliation from Espinoza because he spoke out against alleged harassment, releasing a series on TikTok in August of last year detailing his experience. Espinoza and the city of Dunwoody are currently being sued by another officer, Roger Halstead, who said Espinoza sexually harassed him and demanded sexual materials in exchange for work benefits. City spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said

there have been no significant updates to Halstead’s lawsuit, and PACER documents confirm that litigation is ongoing. Bolden said he was concerned with what he perceived as a lack of concern from DPD’s command staff, and claimed that the department attempted to cover up “corruption” and the situation with Espinoza. “I signed the letter because I feel that my department has not had my back at all,” he said in an email. “I’ve asked the deputy chief for years to put a stop to the bullying, retaliation, sexual harassment … but I am still standing in solidarity to this day.” In an emailed statement, Handle – who now serves as the vice chair of the Lamplighter Project, a nonprofit organization that encourages whistleblowing activity in law enforcement – said the legislation that signatories of the letter are asking for is long overdue. “As with any government cover-up of abuse, the simple act of denial remains the first step,” he said in an email. “For government agencies, especially those in charge, this process is all too easy. Although the city of Dunwoody has continually denied my allegations, outside organizations and agencies have easily identified the truth to our side of the story.” Handle said he hopes in the future, other law enforcement officers feel motivated to speak out against corruption. The letter also calls for numerous other reforms to be put in place, including banning chokeholds, oversight of mandatory body cameras, transparency in forensic lab operations, and restrictions on “no-knock” warrants, which allow officers to enter a property without notifying the residents. “New police reforms will have to reverse a longstanding way of life that has sustained accountability-free abuses of power,” reads the letter. “That will not happen unless our trickle of truth turns into a river.”

WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS LIFE AFTER MARRIAGE DEVELOPING A PLAN B… WE’RE DISCUSSING THE FINANCIAL CHALLENGE FOR NEW WIDOWS AND DIVORCEES… There is a gender gap in family financial planning. According to the regularly updated study on Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women, a minority of married women are “taking the lead” or “taking control” of financial planning decisions. A tilt to ceding this leadership to a male partner could leave them feeling unprepared if they find themselves suddenly single by death or divorce. WHAT SHOULD THEY BE DOING DIFFERENTLY? In having worked through this several times over our 50-year history, we think there are three keys. First, get involved. This applies to men or women who are in a habit of leaving financial management to their partner. It is OK to delegate but don’t be completely disengaged. Be aware of the financial accounts and investment assets that represent the “engine” that is pulling the financial train. Attend meetings with financial advisors to be aware of what strategies are being considered. OKAY, THAT IS NUMBER ONE. WHAT ELSE? Second, have a back-up plan for succession of financial management before the non-involved spouse suddenly finds themselves alone and in charge. A relationship with a fiduciary wealth advisor can be the wealth management succession plan for the family should the fully engaged spouse die or become incapacitated. Call it a “Plan B.” In one recent survey, 78% of widows and widowers

Bill Kring, MaryJane LeCroy, and Phillip Hamman consider potential financial challenges faced by new widows and divorcees. (Left to right: Phillip Hamman, CFA, CFP®; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®; and Bill Kring, CFP®)

described the loss of their spouse as the single most difficult and overwhelming life experience they could remember. Not the optimum time to be crafting a new financial plan or picking an advisor… AND NUMBER THREE? It is a good idea to “take a vacation” from any crucial decisions during transition. Get connected with a reliable source of advice and counsel, an advisor who in addition to being a legal fiduciary, is backed up with a team possessing four key specialties: Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Financial Analyst® charterholders, financial planners, and attorneys familiar with estate planning. We have that team in place and are ready to meet with families that need to develop a “Plan B.”

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Linscomb & Williams is not an accounting firm. Subsidiary of Cadence Bank. Investment Products: Not insured by FDIC. Not bank guaranteed. May lose value. Not insured by any Federal Government Agency. Not a bank deposit.


Education | 15

JUNE 2021 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

‘Facility condition’ assessments available for six Dunwoody schools Continued from page 1 Plan” last August. The master plan is expected to provide the school district with a district-wide facilities plan through 2031. At a March 29 virtual public town hall, representatives from the architectural and consulting firms helping to formulate the master plan — Perkins&Will, Jacobs Engineering Group and Cropper GIS — presented the structure for the two main assessments used to grade schools. The Educational Suitability Assessment (ESA) and the Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) will be used to evaluate each school, and will be continuously revised based on feedback from the schools and principals, according to a spokesperson for the master plan. The school district has posted preliminary FCA reports, which evaluate the physical state of all facilities within the district, both to find deficiencies that need immediate attention and issues that may arise down the road. Each school has received an FCA score, where a higher score on a scale of up to 100 indicates better facility health. Deficiencies are ranked from 1 to 5, where a Priority 1 level would denote a “critical concern” and a Priority 5 level would denote an enhancement that is largely aesthetic in nature. The school district has also posted ESA reports for each school. The ESA evaluates program spaces, which can refer to classrooms, office spaces, athletic spaces, media centers, cafeterias, and more. The current ESA reports and FCA reports are subject to revisions for the foreseeable future. The district aims to have the Comprehensive Master Plan finalized before November 2021, which is when the next special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) referendum will be on the ballot for a public vote. SPLOST, which finances capital projects in Georgia, is a main source of funding for the school district, and voted on by the public every five years.

cy Creek Drive, received an early FCA score of 49.9. According to the report, this puts the school at a level in between “poor” and “very poor” condition. The money needed to fix all of the school’s current deficiencies is estimated to be $2,937,570. The school has four Priority 1 issues, including replacing fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and security alarms. There are three Priority 2 concerns, which are holes in the single-ply membrane roofing, ductwork replacement and replacing an HVAC box. Priority 3 issues include replacing an asphalt driveway, installing an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramp, and replacing interior power wiring. Priority 4 includes replacing partitions between toilets in restrooms and roof cleaning, and Priority 5 includes general exterior cleaning all over the campus.

Dunwoody High School

Located at 5035 Vermack Road, Dunwoody High School received an early FCA score of 84.4. According to the report, this means the school facilities are in “average” condition. The money needed to fix all of the school’s current deficiencies is estimated to be $2,333,877. There are four Priority 1 concerns, which include replacing emergency exit signs, fire alarms, and a missing security camera. The report also states that there is “evidence of structural deficiency” in the school’s fa-

cilities. Priority 2 includes fixing cracks in the sidewalks, replacing an electrical transformer, and replacing an AC system. Priority 3 includes replacing lighting fixtures and adding restroom grab bars that are ADA compliant. Priority 4 includes removing abandoned equipment and replacing carpeting throughout the building. Priority 5 includes repainting interior walls.

Vanderlyn Elementary School

Located at 1877 Vanderlyn Drive, Vanderlyn Elementary School received an early FCA score of 73.0. According to the report, that means the school’s facilities are in “below average” condition. The money needed to fix all of the school’s current deficiencies is estimated to be $818,532. There are two Priority 1 issues, which are replacing emergency exit signs and wall pack lighting. Priority 2 concerns include fixing cracked sidewalks, replacing a generator and replacing an electrical transformer. Priority 3 includes replacing rusted playground equipment and fixing a toilet stall to meet ADA requirements. Priority 4 includes replacing ceiling tile and carpeting, and Priority 5 includes repainting some doors where current paint is peeling.

Austin Elementary School

Austin Elementary School, which is lo-

cated at 5321 Roberts Drive, received an early FCA score of 99.9. According to the report, this means the school’s facilities are in “good” condition. The money needed to fix the school’s current deficiencies is estimated to be $45,588. The school has no Priority 1 deficiencies. There are only two Priority 2 issues, which are fixing an existing cracked sidewalk and repairing elevator controls. There is only one Priority 3 issue, which is drain repairs above an office. The two Priority 4 issues are installing permanent roof access and roof cleaning. The only Priority 5 concern is replacing wheel stops in parking spaces.

Peachtree Charter Middle School

Peachtree Charter Middle School, located at 4664 North Peachtree Road, received an early FCA score of 73.5. According to the report, that means the school’s facilities are “below average.” The money needed to fix all of the school’s current deficiencies is estimated to be $416,732. The school only has one Priority 1 issue, which is replacing emergency exit signs. There are no Priority 2 deficiencies. Priority 3 includes roof drain cleaning, replacing flooring for athletic spaces and replacing some exterior lighting. Priority 4 includes replacing elevator finishes and carpet flooring. Priority 5 includes interior wall painting.

Dunwoody Elementary School

Dunwoody Elementary School, located at 1923 Womack Road, received an early FCA score of 82.2. According to the report, this means the school is in “average” condition. The money needed to fix all of the school’s current deficiencies is estimated to be $552,573. The school only has two Priority 1 concerns, which are repairing fire alarm actuators and replacing wall pack lighting. The only Priority 2 concern is curtain wall repair, or repairing the outer covering of the building. Priority 3 issues include removing gutter debris and updating certain fixtures to be ADA compliant. Priority 4 includes replacing some doors and fixing lock hardware for others. The only Priority 5 issue is a small, damaged bench in the northwest corner of the parking lot that needs to be replaced.

Dunwoody Elementary School Upper Campus

Dunwoody Elementary School Upper Campus, which is located at 1663 East NanDUN

In partnership with:


7455 Trowbridge Road. | Sandy Springs, GA 30328 | 404.255.0640 www.sewellappliance.com

16 | Commentary

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Commentary / Why housing affordability matters to a local school Editor’s Note: Atlanta International School, a private school on Buckhead’s North Fulton Drive, has become a prominent advocate for housing affordability in recent months, including by intervening directly in the luxury redevelopment of a neighboring townhome complex on Delmont Drive by purchasing one of the units. The Reporter asked Head of School Kevin Glass to explain why affordability is a concern for AIS.

tends to preserve, as affordable housing, two units in the neighborhood -- one in the Delmont Homes development and a house near to the campus. This is part of a long-term strategy which benefits both the school, the neighborhood and the wider community. It is an example of the sort of intentionally inclusive approach to housing we would like to see become more widespread across our rapidly growing city. I’ve lived in Atlanta for almost 12 years now. Despite my BritAs an active member of many community groups whose foish accent and love of Newcastle United Football Club, this city cus is to improve the quality of life for those who live, work and is truly home to me and my family. It’s where our two older chilplay in Buckhead, I would love to dren have grown up, where our see a future where more of our emyoungest was born and where my ployees and other essential workwife and I live and work. ers can live closer to their place of One of the many things that I work. To reduce the pressure on love about Atlanta International their busy lives, the stress of comSchool (AIS) is its location. I look muting long distances, the enviout of the upper windows of our ronmental impact and to make the historic buildings and I can see the opportunities that this city has to city spreading out in all its vibranoffer more accessible. cy, rising out of the trees. As a school, we bring families This school is deliberately not together from across Atlanta, the tucked away from urban life or loU.S. and around the globe. The valcated in a more spacious suburb ues of acceptance and helping peoof Atlanta. AIS, by virtue of our ple be the best version of themunique geography, is actively part selves sits at the core of what we do. of a living, breathing local comSPECIAL This focus on local affordabilimunity. And with that comes huge Kevin Glass is head of school at Atlanta ty might feel counterintuitive for privilege, but also challenges for International School in Buckhead. an independent school that chargthose who work at and attend the es a significant annual tuition fee. school. But we work as much as is within our reach to offer need-based Since I became head of this school in August 2009, my famifinancial aid to all who require it. And we have ambitious plans ly and I have been lucky enough to live in the beautiful Garden to grow our support and community participation rates to inHills neighborhood that surrounds our campus. From here we crease this further. can walk to school and enjoy the benefits of proximity to local I believe that through giving more students the opportunifriends and the neighborhood’s amenities. ty to experience the academic excellence of our International But I am very aware that this is no longer an option for many Baccalaureate (IB) program, everyone benefits. The IB requires of our AIS community. The change in our neighborhood has voice, choice and agency from its students. We see this translatbeen dramatic. ed into real-world action as we look at keeping our part of town The facts speak for themselves: As of 2016, 98% of Buckhead accessible. area employees commuted to and from the district from outside As part of a coalition of the willing working to keep our neighof Buckhead. The jobs-to-housing imbalance is a primary conborhood open and viable, I believe that this is possible -- through tributor to Buckhead’s traffic congestion. partnership with those in our city who share this aspiration. So as a school we clearly support strategies to preserve and So with the Atlanta International School mission statement develop affordable housing for the service professionals such at the forefront of my mind, let’s be “courageous leaders” in this as teachers and first responders. To that end, AIS owns and inarea of civic responsibility -- starting here at home, in Buckhead.

Amy Wenk named editor of Reporter Newspapers Amy Wenk, a longCBRE, the world’s largtime journalist and corest commercial real esporate communicatate tions manager, has been services firm, as cornamed editor of the Reporate communicaporter Newspapers. tions manager, overWenk, who previousseeing the Southeast ly served as a staff writdivision for the Fortune er at the Reporter, suc500 company. Prior to ceeds John Ruch, who that, she spent nearly has led the newspaeight years as a lead repers as managing editor porter for Atlanta Busisince 2016. ness Chronicle. She also SPECIAL “It’s an honor to rehad a regular televiAmy Wenk. turn to Reporter Newssion segment on 11Alive papers, where I can folabout Atlanta’s devellow my passion for good journalism and opment trends. She previously worked show how it makes our neighborhoods as an editor for AOL, where she launched stronger,” said Wenk. the news site Patch in Midtown Atlanta. Wenk mostly recently worked at Ruch is stepping down to cover met-

ro Atlanta politics, government and other issues for SaportaReport. Ruch will continue to contribute coverage of local government to the Reporter. “It has been a privilege to serve our smart, passionate, vibrant communities, and an honor to lead a staff that has repeatedly earned some of the highest awards from the Atlanta Press Club and the Georgia Press Association,” Ruch said. Keith Pepper, publisher and owner of Springs Publishing, the Reporter’s parent company, said, “It’s an exciting time for hyperlocal journalism and having somebody with Amy’s experience and energy makes me even more bullish about what’s next for our publications and the communities we serve.”

represent the views of Reporter Newspapers or Springs Publishing.


Commentary | 17

JUNE 2021 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Around Town

Joe Earle is editorat-large at Reporter Newspapers and has lived in metro Atlanta for over 30 years. He can be reached at joeearle@ reporternewspapers.net

Atlanta History Center ‘collects the now’ by building an archive of pandemic images Some of the photographs show signs warning people to stay properly distanced from one another in public places. Others depict experiments in everyday life ranging from a Zoom Bible study class to takeout cocktails. And there are, of course, pictures of masks. Lots of masks. Taken together, the photos capture a sort of composite image of the COVID-19 pandemic in Atlanta. What did the pandemic look like? The Atlanta History Center compiled hundreds of images Elaine Bullard/Atlanta History Center showing everything from medical personnel in The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. full personal protective gear to car-less streets and Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadrons above Atlanta’s Grady parking lots outside usually busy gathering placMemorial Hospital on May 2, 2020 es scattered across metro Atlanta. In those photos in a fly-over in Atlanta, Baltimore from the days of shutdown, it looks all quiet from and Washington, D.C. intended as a pandemic tribute and moralea shopping mall in Kennesaw to downtown Lawbooster. The photo was taken by renceville to Little Five Points to The Varsity. Elaine Bullard at Oakland Cemetery. The History Center compiled its COVID collection by gathering images submitted by members of the public and mixing in photos shot by professional photographers. Now, more than a year after the pandemic began, there are more than 1,000 items in the history center’s COVID pandemic collection, said Paul Crater, the history center’s vice president for collections and research services. The collection includes photos, written personal reactions to the pandemic, and some objects, Crater said. “People have shared with us some of their most important moments,” Crater said. “What stands out to me is the type of moments people were willing to share.” One couple sent in photos of their masked wedding. Families contributed pictures of personally distanced gatherings: a Sweet 16 party; a birthday celebration held in the family garage with partygoers dropping off presents outside; masked families gathered for Easter and Thanksgiving. One family, Crater said, even submitted a model of a castle they’d built from pizza boxes that had been used to deliver dinner when the family couldn’t leave the house. The archive marks something new for the history center. The center usually collects items that illustrate particular periods of Atlanta’s past. But this time, when the pandemic started, the center’s curators put out a public call for contributions that illustrated how people were dealing with the pandemic as it happened. One reason they did that, Crater said, was because after COVID-19 first appeared, people started asking the center for information on the 1918 flu pandemic to shed light on how COVID could disrupt lives. “We had nothing,” he said. “The Atlanta History Center has been around almost 100 years, and in 100 years, we didn’t have anything, or at least not anything we knew of [related to the 1918 pandemic]. That was a motivation for us to begin to collect from the public.” Crater and other historians at the center had heard about institutions scattered around the country that recently had put out calls for public help in gathering materials about historic events as they happened. They figured they’d give it a try. “This was a way to let the public say how the pandemic affected them,” Crater said. “This is another way to collect, to document events as they happen.” The historians were so pleased with the results that they employed the same technique to collect information and images on another major theme of the past year – the Black Lives Matter protests and subsequent events in Atlanta, including the election and runoff. “This is something I think is going to occur more and more in the industry, the archival industry,” Crater said. “It’s called ‘collecting the now.’ I think there’s a greater appreciation among my colleagues and myself about documenting contemporary events.” When they first asked for public contributions on the COVID pandemic, Crater didn’t know whether the call would be answered or not. “I didn’t know what to expect in terms of interest,” he said. “It turns out there was a great deal of interest in people sharing their stories.” So, a century from now or whenever the next pandemic roars through and upends everyday lives, people will be able look back at the way we handled things in 2021 as they socially distance and sip a take-out cocktail. And, of course, put on a mask. DUN

18 | Commentary

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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 worthknowingnow@gmail.com.

Sandy Springs couple loves to adopt seniors

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Rather than just take her word, I visited Weeble, renamed Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 million companion anOscar, three weeks after he joined their household. imals enter U.S. shelters every year. Approximately 1.5 million Oscar bore no resemblance to the pitiful creature that had are euthanized. Younger animals are more adoptable than seentered the animal shelter just a few weeks earlier. His black niors, who have higher medical expenses and fewer years to coat glistened. He was immediately affectionate to me, and live. Therefore, an old dog or cat in a shelter is an emergency his manners were impeccable. for people involved with animal rescue. In fact, he came to the Smiths totally housebroken and That’s why recently a post on Nextdoor Dunwoody was a responsive to all the basic commands. I spent an hour with Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoodyplea for help for an abandoned older black lab at the Douglas them on their outdoor patio. Though unleashed, Oscar made Sandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire County Animal Shelter. When picked up, he was covered with no attempt to do anything but socialize. Based on his good beothers. Contact her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com. fleas that caused hair loss and scabs all over his body, with an havior and trusting nature, the Smiths wonder if he might open wound on one elbow. He was collarless and slightly arhave been not an abandoned hunting dog but rather a famithritic, leading the shelter people to surmise he was an abanly pet who’d wandered away from a loving home. We’ll nevdoned hunting dog. Because of his wobbly gait, they called him er know. Weeble. What a happy ending! But the plight of unwanted senior Almost immediately, Sandy Springs residents Kathy and Anpets remains. How many of us can imagine abandoning our drew Smith posted that they were interested. elderly family pet at a shelter? “He spoke to me through his picture,” said Andrew. “I said, Yet, according to Sandy Springs resident Lisa Zambacca, ‘I’ve got to go get that dog.’” board member of Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, “Someone He phoned the shelter while Kathy filled out the online apemails us every day wanting to surrender their old dog.” plication. Unfortunately, Angels rejects many of these requests for “We wanted to make sure he was still available,” said Anlack of space because it houses rescued pets in private homes drew, who added that the Douglas County Animal Shelter is rather than a shelter. “probably the finest shelter I’ve ever been in.” “We would take more if we had more volunteers,” said AnSPECIAL Kathy and Andrew Smith with Oscar, the dog Three days later, Andrew, who is retired, drove to Douggels Development and Events Director Jackie Spett. they adopted from a Douglas County shelter. lasville to meet Weeble. He brought along their two other resShelter life is hard, especially for trusting old family pets cue dogs -- a Jack Russell terrier mix, age 12, and a three-legged abandoned by the families they love, and rare are the people pit bull mix, age 6 -- to make sure everyone would get along. willing to adopt them. Upon arrival, he was sent alone to a room to wait for Weeble. Luckily, there are people like the Smiths, who prefer to adopt older pets and have ad“They said he might not warm up to me,” said Andrew. “But he came right up and opted nine of them. They also trained seven puppies for Canine Companions for Indeleaned on my feet. It was an almost instantaneous bond.” pendence (CCI) and adopted one of them, Marsh, when he aged out of service. So far, the The shelter would accept no payment. So Andrew made a donation and drove home oldest dog they have adopted was a 14-year-old yellow lab from the Gwinnett County Anwith his three dogs. imal Shelter. “It’s been great ever since,” he said. “We ‘saw’ her a few weeks after Marsh passed,” said Kathy. “We just couldn’t let her die A trip to the vet the next day led to a regimen of skin treatments, which began to heal there. She kept us laughing for two more years until her old legs just gave out.” Weeble’s skin problems and wounded elbow. “We know nobody else wants them,” said Andrew. “but they turn out to be the best “They called him Weeble because he couldn’t walk right,” said Kathy. “They thought dogs you could ever want. They’re so grateful they return your love five times over.” maybe he had hip dysplasia, but if you see him jumping now, he doesn’t have any of that Interested in fostering a senior pet? Contact Angels Among Us at angelsrescue.org. anymore!”



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Those Glands in the Rear: Everything You Don’t Want to Know (But Should) It happens out of nowhere… you look over and see your dog doing the dreaded scoot. Why are they doing this? And, how do you stop it? Read on for details about the part of routine dog care that no one wants to talk about. WHAT ARE GLANDS AND WHAT DO THEY DO? Your dog's hind end includes two anal glands, or anal sacs, located on the inside of their rectum, one on each side. These sacs gradually fill with secretions from sebaceous glands (the same glands found at the end of hair follicles that cause greasy hair) located inside each sac. The only real function of these anal glands is for dog communication: that’s what dogs sniff when they say “hello” to each other. When working properly, they are naturally expressed each time your dog empties their bowels. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DOG NEEDS HELP WITH THEIR GLANDS? Unfortunately, things don't always function properly. Soft or small stools don't provide enough pressure to empty the sacs. If the glands fill until they become uncomfortable, your pup may scoot across the floor to get relief.

They can also usually be seen licking their rear end. There are many underlying causes of anal gland problems, and in many cases, it is a combination of reasons. The most common cause of anal gland problems is poor gastrointestinal health. Gland issues may also be caused by allergies that create red, inflamed skin around the anal glands. Another major cause is due to your pup’s anatomy – if your dog’s anal glands are positioned abnormally, it can become difficult for the glands to empty on their own. Not only are impacted anal sacs uncomfortable, if ignored they may become infected and abscessed, which could eventually rupture and may even require surgery. Impacted anal glands need to be manually expressed. Understandably, many dog parents don’t want to deal with glands themselves. Fortunately, Scenthound has you covered! Scenthound provides an easy, affordable way to make gland expression part of your dog’s routine care. This is one thing I KNOW you’ll want to leave to the pros! Visit scenthound.com to find the location nearest you and let our team do the (very) dirty work for you.

Dr. Jim MacLean

Chief Veterinarian, Scenthound Dr. MacLean’s first job was working as a grooming assistant when he was 15 years old. Since then, he has worked in every aspect of small animal veterinary hospitals, has practiced in small animal medicine and surgery for 26 years, and has owned and started multi-doctor veterinary hospitals. With a mind for both medicine and business, Jim received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from VMRCVM at Virginia Tech in 1994 and his MBA from Georgetown University in 2011. Coming full circle, he joined the Scenthound pack to bring his expertise and experience to the grooming world. As chief veterinarian, Dr. MacLean guides Scenthound from a health and medicine perspective and helps achieve our mission to improve overall pet health on a broader scale.


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Dining With A View

10 restaurants on the water in North Georgia BY COLLIN KELLEY Having lunch or dinner by the water always adds extra ambience, so we rounded up 10 restaurants in the North Georgia mountains located on lakes and rivers to make your meal more memorable.

Milton Park 25 Shoreline Trail, Clarkesville miltonparkrestaurant.com Also located at the marina on Lake Burton, Milton Park serves up pizza and salads and has its own popular wine club.

Riverside Tavern 10 Turner’s Corner Road, Cleveland riversidetavernturnerscorner.com Barbecue, steaks, burgers, chicken, fish, and tacos are on the eclectic menu at this restaurant located on the Chestatee River in a historic building dating back to 1928.

The Troll Tavern

▲Burra Burra on the River 100 Blue Ridge Dr., McCaysville burraburraontheriver.com The Toccoa River and a lovely old trestle bridge provide a great backdrop with burgers, wings, pasta, street tacos, and more on the menu.

8590 N. Main St., Helen trolltavern.com You don’t have to pay a toll to the troll to enjoy this riverfront pub in downtown Helen. Tucked under a bridge next to the Chattahoochee, the menu includes German fare, pub grub, and craft and imported beers.

Ping’s Grill 201 Black Mountain Road, Toccoa pingsgrill.com Located at Links at Lake Toccoa, a 9-hole municipal golf course, enjoy burgers, wings, salads and sandwiches after a day hitting that hole in one or sailing.

▲Marina Station at Lake Chatuge 3399 E. Highway 76, Hiawassee theridgesrestort.com Also located at The Ridges Resort, Marina Station has barbecue, Brunswick stew, burgers, sandwiches and a view of Lake Chatuge to wash it down.

▲Café International

8546 S. Main St., Helen cafeinternationalhelen.com With its Alpine stylings and huge deck perched over the Chattahoochee River, the restaurant lives up to its name offering a menu of American, French, Italian, and German cuisine.

The Chophouse of La Prade’s 25 Shoreline Trail, Clarkesville murphyschophouse.com/laprades A fixture at the Lake Burton marina since 1925, the original restaurant burned in 2005, but the replacement is just as elegant and offers fresh seafood, steaks, wine, and cocktails.

▲The Oaks Lakeside Kitchen

3499 E. Highway 76, Hiawassee theridgesresort.com Located on the grounds of the The Ridges Resort on Lake Chatuge, the restaurant is currently serving breakfast only, but supper is coming soon.

▲Toccoa Riverside Restaurant 8055 Aska Road, Blue Ridge toccoariverrestaurant.com Located inside a rustic cabin overlooking the river, the menu features seafood, steaks, and other American fare.


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Your Trusted Advisor In Blue Ridge

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3794 Zion Hill Road offered for $2,800,000

750 Chief Whitetails offered for $1,750,000

436 Geronimo Road offered for $1,575,000

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475 Toccoa River Lane offered for $1,000,000

Kim Knutzen REALTOR®

c: 770.402.1908 o: 706.613.HOME KIM@ANSLEYRE.COM GUIDETOBLUERIDGE.COM 706.613.HOME | ANSLEYMOUNTAINS.COM | 116 WEST MAIN ST. UNIT 1C, BLUE RIDGE, GA 30513 All data believed to be accurate but not warranted. If you have any existing brokerage relationship, this is not intended as a solicitation. Equal housing opportunity. *Represented buyer


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Mountain Fun Arts, music, cars, and moonshine all on tap in N. Georgia, Tennessee & NC BY COLLIN KELLEY If you’re planning a trip to the mountains this summer, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained as events sidelined last year by the pandemic return to North Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The events calendar is packed with outdoor fun, and while you’ll still need to follow social distancing rules, things are definitely looking more “normal” with something to do for all ages and interests. We rounded up these recommendations to add to your itinerary this summer.

R-Ranch Mountain Top Rodeo June 11, Dahlonega R-Ranch’s 32nd Annual Mountain Top Rodeo on June 11 in Dahlonega, GA will have food trucks, live entertainment, kids’ activities, and full rodeo including the popular bull riding event. Tickets and details at facebook.com/MountainTopRodeo.

Asheville Art in the Park There’s always something to do in Asheville, NC, but if you’re heading up for a weekend getaway in June, be sure to check out Art in the Park at Pack Square Park in downtown on June 12, 19 and 26. Artists from across the region will have their work for display and sale. Find out more at exploreasheville.com.

▼Highlands Motoring Festival June 10-13 Highlands, NC More than 75 classic cars will be on and display at the 14th annual event in Highlands, NC June 10-13. Most of the action will take place at Kelsey-Hutchinson Park. Find out more at highlandsmotoringfestival.com.

▲Wanderlingerfest – Music, Art & Beer Festival Chattanooga, TN’s Wanderlinger Brewing Company will be rocking June 1820 with three days of local music, beer, art, and food. The event is for ages 21 and up. Some of the bands playing include Strung Like a Horse, Cold Planet, Opposite Box, Milele Roots, Behold The Brave and Lenox Hills. For tickets and information, visit wanderlingerfest.com.

Freedom in the Forest Retreat Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Blue Ridge, GA June 18-22 with this special event featuring daily hiking, yoga, meditation, swimming, organic meals and more. Reservations and and information at wildwoodmagic.com.

▲Georgia Mountain Arts & Crafts Festival Head to the Georgia Mountain Fairground in Hiawassee, GA June 4-6 for a weekend of arts and crafts by skilled local artisans. You’ll find pottery, painting, jewelry, signs, crochet, knitting, candles, soap, and more. Details at georgiamountainfairgrounds.com.

Blue Ridge Mountains Wine and Jazz Festival The June 26 event in Blue Ridge, GA will feature a selection of diverse wines from around the world and those made locally in North Georgia and North Carolina. There will also be food prepared by local chefs and top jazz performers from the region. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs. Find out more at blueridgecountry.com.

Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In Enjoy three fun-filled days of “hillbilly fun” at Meeks Park in Blairsville, GA July 29-31 with a swap meet, live music, real moonshine, mountain crafts, and plenty of classic cars, trucks, bikes, rat rods and more. Find out more at gammoonshinecruizin. com.

▲North Georgia Highlands Seafood Festival Mayors Park in Young Harris, GA will play host to this festival June 4-6 featuring more than 75 fine arts and crafts exhibits, live music, and the opportunity to chow down on some serious seafood. Find more information at northgeorgiahighlandsseafoodfestival.com.

▲Live at Paradise Hills Winery Paradise Hills Winery in Blairsville, GA will host an evening of vino and music on June 19 from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring music by Trailer Hippies. Expect mountain, folk, homespun music and a groovy down to earth vibe. Find out more at paradisehillsga.com.

Georgia Mountain Fair The 70th annual Georgia Mountain Fair will be held in Hiwassee, GA Aug. 13-21. There will be musical performances, arts & crafts, carnival rides, unique attractions and more. Visit georgiamountainfairgrounds.com for tickets and details. Continued on page 24 DUN

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Continued from page 22

Christmas in July If you can’t wait until December, then you’ll be delighted that Christmas comes early in the Bavarian-style village of Helen, GA. The annual holiday extravaganza is set for July 16-17 at the Helen Arts & Heritage Center and includes artists and fine craftsmen from across Northeast Georgia along with music, face painting, baked goods and more. Find out more at helenarts.org.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark One of Sevierville, TN’s newest attractions is this massive state-ofthe-art 50-acre waterpark, which includes rides like the Avalaunch watercoaster, Black Bear Rapids, tall slides, surfing simulator, 35,000 square foot wave pool, and more. Visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase their daily admission tickets in advance at soakymountainwaterpark.com.




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Hole #6 | Par 4

Nowhere else can you enjoy a true mountain lifestyle a stone’s throw from the charm and vibe of Georgia’s favorite mountain town, Blue Ridge. Only at Old Toccoa Farm, behind the beautifully appointed Gate House, can you enjoy custom homes and residences of unparalleled quality and design alongside a magnificent mountain “links-style” golf experience. Here, People, Lifestyle & Design live together and nature stands center-stage. Home of the 2021 Georgia State Golf Association Public Links Championship.

oldtoccoafarm.com 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 as a solicitation of offers to buy property in Old Toccoa Farm by residents of any state where prior registration is required.

Photographic credit: Square Frame Media

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On the Fly

Rolling on the River

BY COLLIN KELLEY If you are looking to go fly fishing this year, how does the thought of 700,000 trout hitting the water entice you? Thanks to the long-standing partnership between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resource Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, anglers can look forward to an exceptional year of trout fishing, according to state officials “The Georgia trout stocking program is typically supported by four trout hatcheries. With the Lake Burton Hatchery renovation wrapping up, we will be stocking primarily from the other three hatcheries,” explained WRD Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson. “Good rainfall and a mild winter have allowed for great growth at these locations. Our regular distribution effort began the last full week of March, and all waterbodies scheduled to be stocked have received trout.” Popular creeks and rivers that receive regular trout stockings include Cooper Creek in Union County, Little Amicalola Creek at Amicalola State Park, Holly Creek in Murray County, and Johns Creek in Floyd County and the Tallulah River in Rabun County. There’s also good trout fishing to be found in Catoosa, Chattooga, Fannin, and Stephens Counties. A complete list can be found at georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout, where you can also sign up for weekly trout stocking reports. The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands, and to obtain permission before fishing on private property. Georgia anglers can support fisheries conservation and trout management by buying a fishing license at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com and buying the special trout license plate at georgiawildlife.com/licenseplates.


Anglers looking for trout can expect a good catch

Grab your paddles and bikes for these upcoming river adventures At the height of the pandemic, visiting Georgia’s parks and rivers became more popular than ever. Paddlesports – like canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding – received a surge of interest while team sports were on hiatus, gyms and fitness centers closed, and vacation options were limited by social distancing. Georgia River Network (GRN), a statewide river advocacy organization that runs multiple group paddle trips each year, was forced to cancel its annual week-long river journey known as Paddle Georgia. This year’s event along the Flint River from June 2026 is sold out (you can get on the wait list at garivers.org/paddle-georgia), but GRN has more trips planned later in the year. But sign up now because they sell out fast. On July 24, the Chattahoochee Peddle-Paddle will be a 12-mile paddle and 11-mile bike ride along a stretch of the river in west Georgia. Coming up Aug. 21 is the Oostanaula River Peddle-Paddle, 11.5-mile bike ride and 13.3-mile paddle explores this river that’s known for its robust population of freshwater mussels. In the fall, the Oconee River Peddle-Paddle on Sept. 11 will explore historic ruins and old mills on a 15-mile bike ride and 11-mile paddle, while the Fall Float on the Flint Oct. 9-10 will cover 36 miles and include two nights of camping. “Our Georgia Water Trails Network opens up greater access for paddlers and anglers and people who just want to recreate by our rivers,” said Rena Ann Peck, executive director of Georgia River Network. “Especially during times of crisis, like these, connection to nature from simply being on a river, lake, coast, or swamp makes us feel better emotionally and contributes to our physical well-being.” For more about the paddle trips and GRN, visit garivers.org.

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Char Stacy c: 706.633.9240 | o: 706.613.HOME CHAR@ANSLEYRE.COM | CHARSTACY.COM All data believed to be accurate but not warranted. If you have any existing brokerage relationship, this is not intended as a solicitation. Equal housing opportunity.


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Community | 29

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Development Authority offers $160K loan to restaurant complex Continued from page 1 forms, then they don’t pay back $160,000,” McRae said. “We don’t want $160,000. We want public benefit.” The project is expected to occur over three stages. The first phase is set to finish in September of this year, according to the agreement, and includes adding a stage and the restaurant Bar(n), which will be a craft beer, wine and whiskey bar. The second phase is expected to finish by June of 2022, and includes adding a barbecue place called Morty’s Meat Supply and a Mexican restaurant called Cuco’s Cantina. The third stage is expected to finish by May of 2023 and includes adding a seafood restaurant called Message in a Bottle and a Mediterranean spot called Yoffi. Authority member Jeff Ackemann said he was “bullish” on the success of the project, but expressed concern over what happens if the complex doesn’t succeed. David Abes of DASH Hospitality Group said he was confident the complex would take off. “I’m not concerned about the people coming,” he said. “I’m not just going to open restaurants to open restaurants. I want to make sure I’m doing it timely. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I want to do it right.” According to the agreement, the authority will contribute $100,000 to the first stage, nothing to the second, and $60,000 to the third. The courtyard is owned by the real estate investment company Regency Centers. McRae said it is up to DASH Hospitality to make arrangements with them as the landlord. Starling said Regency Centers is already preparing for the first round of renovations.

we the power of

New sign rules may be on the way

TOGETHER WE THRIVE. Connection is key to a longer and more vibrant life,

BY SAMMIE PURCELL Changes to the city’s sign code may be on the way, including allowing larger signs on buildings, limiting the number of neon window signs, and adding construction fence wrap regulations to the code. Throughout 2020 and early 2021, the city collected public input from residents and business owners to draft a rewrite of the city’s sign ordinance, according to the city’s website. The Dunwoody Planning Commission on May 11 gave its approval several changes recommended by city staff. The new sign code is expected to go before the City Council at a June 14 meeting, said a city spokesperson. At the May 11 meeting, city staff suggested four major amendments to the draft. The first concerned wall signs, which are storefront signs that hang on the facades of buildings. The previous draft of the sign code only allowed one sign per building or suite, and that sign could be as large as 120% of the width of the door. The new proposed change would allow businesses one sign for every street-facing facade, plus one additional sign. Originally, the amendment stated that the signs could be 10% of the size of the wall, but could not be bigger than 120 square feet. However, Commissioner Erika Harris said she thought the 120 square foot cap might be too small for some larger stores or buildings, and suggested providing more flexibility to those businesses. The commission ended up recommending that buildings occupied by one store that are over 30,000 square feet could have signs that were up to 180 square feet. For buildings under that size, the sign could still only take up 10% of the facade. The second change concerned monument signs, which are free-standing signs that usually sit at ground level. The current draft has different regulations for monument signs with one panel over monument signs with multiple panels. The proposed change would consolidate that into one sign type and apply the same standards to each type of monument sign. The third change concerns the usage of neon window signs. The current draft allows for multiple neon window signs, the total area of which cannot be more than 3 square feet. The proposed regulation would limit stores to one neon window sign up to 3 square feet in size. A city spokesperson said this proposed change is similar to standards for the Dunwoody Overlay District, which only allows one sign per store. The fourth change is the result of an oversight, according to Leonhardt. Regulations for construction fence wrap – or the wrapping that goes around a fence blocking off a construction site – were not included in the original draft because they had not yet been updated in the city’s code. This change would add the construction fence wrap regulations that were approved at a Dunwoody City Council meeting on Feb. 24, 2020. According to documents from the council meeting, wraps are allowed on fences surrounding a construction site for the duration of the work. Messages or logos on the wrap cannot exceed 40% of the total area of the wrap.

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Dunwoody resident proposes ‘Public Safety Committee’ to advise on policing BY SAMMIE PURCELL Dunwoody resident called for the creation of a committee to advise on matters of public safety and policing during a May 10 City Council meeting. Robert Wolford requested the council consider creating a “Public Safety Committee” during the public comment section of the meeting, asking the city to establish a board made up of citizens to advise the council. “It is time for the city of Dunwoody to take actions on the comlex issues of policing, race relations, community safety, mental health, code enforcement, social justice and other issues directly related to public safety,” Wolford said during the meeting. “Now is the time to establish this forum, open to the public and meeting regularly to discuss, consider and recommend actions that our city can take to improve policing and public safety in Dunwoody.” After the police murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests last year, many of Dunwoody’s surrounding communities started social justice or policing commissions in response. Brookhaven started the Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission last September as a way to evaluate city policies and procedures in terms of equity and diversity. Part of its charge involves evaluating policing and use of force within the department. Similarly, Sandy Springs launched a Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce as a way to make recommendations about equity in city government. Dunwoody has not gone as far as its neighbors, and has not created a board or commission dedicated to social justice. Over the past year, Mayor Lynn Deutsch has expressed concern about systemic racism in healthcare and pledged to make the city’s boards and commissions more diverse. Dunwoody city spokesperson Jenni-

fer Boettcher previously stated that since 2019, minority participation on city boards has increased by 200%, but she could not cite exact numbers or provide names. In an interview with The Reporter, Wolford said a few things led him to believe a Public Safety Committee might be necessary for the city. He brought up the city’s ongoing litigation with former Dunwoody police officer Roger Halstead. Halstead sued the city in July of 2020 over sexual harassment claims against former Lt. Fidel Espinoza. Espinoza had resigned before Halstead brought the suit. Wolford expressed his disappointment in the fact that DPD let Espinoza resign, and said the events of last year, including national protests over Floyd’s murder, and specifically the protests and unrest in Kenosha, WI after the police shooting of James Blake, prompted him to move forward. He said at one point, he asked Chief Billy Grogan directly if he condemned the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who shot and killed two people in Kenosha during the protests following Blake’s death. “I texted the mayor and told her that my wife and I had lost confidence in the chief of police,” he said. “She didn’t respond.” Boettcher said there have been no significant updates to the lawsuit, and PACER documents confirm that litigation is ongoing. She did not confirm whether the city would actually consider creating a Public Safety Committee, but that the city takes all public comment under advisement. A spokesperson for the Dunwoody Police Department provided a comment from Chief Billy Grogan by email. “Our department has a long history of working with our community while seeking input and suggestions about how we can better serve the citizens of Dunwoody,” Grogan said. “I am confident the Mayor and City Council will give this suggestion due

consideration.” The DPD declined to comment on whether Grogan condemned the actions of Rittenhouse or not. Wolford spoke at at least four City Council meetings in 2020 calling for Grogan’s resignation. He said since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., he’s been thinking more concretely about the creation of a public safety committee. He said in his mind, the committee would run similarly to the Planning Commission, which reviews zoning ordinances and makes recommendations to the City Council. He said any issues with policing could be discussed there. “It could all be presented there,” he said. “It could be looked at. It could be put on an agenda and discussed.” Wolford said the committee could focus on public safety of all kinds, not just when the police are involved. In an email to City Council members that Wolfrod shared with The Reporter, he brought up the recent controversy over deer hunting in Dunwoody. He also said he thought code enforcement could be one of the subjects the committee oversaw. “This commission could be working on things from the deer issue, to bow hunting in Georgia, [to] decriminalizing marijuana,” he said. “And saving resources and keeping our police from having to waste their time.” Wolford said City Council members seemed reluctant to the idea at first, but after speaking with District 2 Councilmember Jim Riticher, he was hesitantly optimistic that the commission could be a possibility. “It’s going to get them talking about it,” he said. “I’m hopeful.” In an emailed statement, Riticher said while he would look into the possibility of creating such a committee, he didn’t see it happening any time soon.

“I told [Wolford] I would carefully consider the proposal, and would talk about it with my counterparts and with other citizens. Additionally I am looking to see what our neighboring cities are doing in this area,” he said. “Beyond that, it is very early in the process, and I don’t perceive a high level of urgency on this. We have time to make an informed, well-considered evaluation, which is always a good thing.” During his public comment at the May 10 meeting, Wolford suggested that local activist Lydia Singleton-Wells should be part of the committee. Wells organized Black Lives Matter protests in Dunwoody last year, and previously said she has since become close with the mayor and continues to advise her on matters of social justice. Wells said she thinks the committee would be a good step in promoting transparent policing in Dunwoody, but for the committee to work, it would have to be a “racially and politically diverse group of people.” “Though I know many officers at DPD who are incredible men of integrity I think it’s important to hold anyone in such a vital community role accountable,” she said in an email. “It is imperative that we put something in place before something happens and not because something happened.” Wolford said he hoped the creation of the committee would create more transparency for the Dunwoody community in all matters of public safety. “I’ll bet you in the end … the police and the council are going to thank us for saving their time and resources by vetting these things out in a commission of community members,” he said. “They’re going to be thanking us for the work we do for free, to help our community have a better public safety environment.”



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