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JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018 • VOL. 9 — NO. 13

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Dunwoody Reporter

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► City millage rate holds steady PAGE 3 ► Bestselling author Emily Giffin talks about Atlanta, writing and more PAGE 16

Brook Run design, cost details get clearer

Groovin’ on the green

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Consultants working on the renovation of Brook Run Park’s Great Lawn area and the addition of two multi-use fields got the goahead this month by City Council to come up with specific designs and cost estimates. At the June 11 council meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker said he needed guidance from the council on what to tell consultants Lose & Associates about See BROOK on page 22

Elin and Ryan Shaughnessy, ages 4 and 5, didn’t let a little rain stop their dancing at a concert by Darlington Road June 16 at Pernoshal Park. The concert was part of the city’s annual “Groovin’ on the Green” event.

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We want to be loved, we want to be understood, we want to be happy, we want our needs to be met, but in the dearth of any of those things, tender mercies can see us through. Page 20

See ROBIN’S NEST, page 15

PHIL MOSIER

Jon Ossoff helps to spotlight soccer corruption

Access points for managed lanes concern top end cities BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The Georgia Department of Transportation is hoping to alleviate traffic in the top end of I-285 that touches Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs with new elevated express lanes slated to begin construction in 2023, but where new access points from those express lanes will be constructed remains a concern for these cities. Dunwoody City Manager Eric Linton last month sent a letter to Tim Matthews, senior

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2 | Community

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Community Briefs POL I C E C H A RGE BROTH ER WITH M URDER I N SI STER’ S DEATH

Dunwoody Police have charged a 27-year-old man with felony murder and other charges in the slaying of his teen sister at the Lacota apartments on June 18. Dunwoody Police responded to a disturbance call in the 6600 block of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard where the Lacota apartments are located at 3:21 p.m. on Monday, June 18. The person who called 911 reported seeing a man hitting a female in front of an apartment. When officers arrived at the scene, they found 15-year-old Keaira Henderson dead and lying in the hallway of 6682 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., according to Sgt. Robert Parsons. Henderson appeared to have been stabbed multiple times, Parsons said. At 3:29 p.m., Gavin Henderson called 911 from a small shopping center at 6806 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. to turn himself in, Parsons said. “Mr. Henderson was located by officers moments later and taken into custody without incident. A knife was recovered at the time of Mr. Henderson’s arrest that is believed to be the murder weapon,” Parsons said in a press release. Gavin Henderson faces charges of aggravated assault with the intent to murder, cruelty to children in the first degree and felony murder. He is being held at the DeKalb County Jail. Anybody with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Jesus Maldonado at jesus.maldonado@dunwoodyga.gov or at 678-382-6914.

A R M ED ROBBERY REP ORTED AT WI TH M ER E WAY / WI TH MERE LA N E INTER SECTIO N

A shirtless man with a mohawk allegedly threatened to cut a 12-year-old girl with a knife unless she handed over her money, according to Dunwoody Police. The armed robbery incident occurred June 15 about 6 p.m. at the intersection of Withmere Way and Withmere Lane. The victim told police that a black male suspect with a mohawk, age 16 to 18, and wearing gray pants with no shirt, got out of a gold, older model van and grabbed her near the intersection. The suspect allegedly threatened to cut her with a knife unless she gave him her money, police said. The girl was not injured.

The suspect is also described as being 5-feet 8-inches to 5-feet 9-inches tall, weighing between 170 to 180 pounds, wearing black Nike sandals and with a one-inch scar on his jawline. The suspect was last seen leaving the area in an unknown model gold van with “unusually loud exhaust,” according to police. Anybody with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Det. Jesus Maldonado at jesus.maldonado@dunwoodyga.gov or at (678) 382-6914. Anonymous tips may be submitted via the “Submit a Crime Tip” tab at dunwoodypolice. com or by texting 274-637 with the keyword “DPDTIPS” at the start of the message. Each of these methods is confidential, encrypted and anonymous.

FO U R TH O F J U LY PAR AD E CELEB R AT ES ‘ AM ER ICA AND THE A R TS ’

The annual Fourth of July Parade’s theme for 2018 is “Dunwoody Salutes America and the Arts” with Spruill Center for the Arts CEO Bob Kinsey honored as this year’s parade grand marshal. The parade steps off at 9 a.m. at the interFILE section of Mount Vernon Road and Jett Ferry Thousands of people flock each year to Dunwoody for its annual Road, proceeds west on Mount Vernon Road 4th of July Parade. This year the to Dunwoody Village and turns right onto parade’s theme celebrates the arts. Dunwoody Village Parkway. Parade spectators are encouraged to set up chairs along Mount Vernon Road and Dunwoody Village Parkway up to the shops on the right and the parade entrance into Dunwoody Village, according to city officials. Spectators will be blocked from viewing the parade on the east side of Jett Ferry Road on Mount Vernon Road due to the staging and setup for parade participants. Viewing will start on the west side of Jett Ferry Road on Mount Vernon Road. Mount Vernon Road, between Jett Ferry Road and Dunwoody Village, will be closed approximately from 8:40 to 11:40 a.m. Volunteers are still needed. Contact Pam Tallmadge at 770-354-7653 or july4parade@ dunwoodyga.org for more information.

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JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

Community | 3

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City’s millage rate holds at same level since incorporation

Now ce our 2 lebrating 6th y ear

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BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The City Council on June 18 approved a 2.74 millage rate for 2018, the same rate approved since the city was founded more than a decade ago. But there was some discussion this year whether to consider rolling back property taxes for residents as the city’s tax digest continues to grow. The 2.74 millage rate – which is $2.74 for every $1,000 of assessed value of property – applies to homeowners and businesses. In the past year, the city’s property tax digest increased 13.45 percent, bringing in about $1 million more in revenue than last year. Councilmember John Heneghan, however, asked if it was time for a discussion by the council on whether to give residents a city tax break. “Once the valuations get above 10 percent, I think it’s a conversation worth having,” Heneghan said June 18. “It’s a philosophical discussion we need to have,” he added, saying he supported a 10 percent rollback to a 2.67 millage rate. Keeping the current millage rate could add close to $50 in city taxes to the bill for some homeowners, Heneghan said. “At what point do we as a council consider rolling back the millage rate?” he asked. He said the new revenue could be possibly dedicated to public safety needs, such as improved police radios and better EMS service. Accounting Manager Amy King explained to the council June 11 that only 5 percent of the property tax digest increase comes from residential properties; the other 95 percent comes from commercial properties. Those in Dunwoody who have owned their homes since 2009 have had an assessment freeze on their property and have paid the same city tax rate for the past nine years. Their property taxes only go up if the home or property is improved or if they buy a new home. Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said the city’s portion of residents’ property tax bill is about 5 percent of the total About 70 percent of the bill goes to schools and another nearly 30 goes to DeKalb County. The 13.45 percent property tax digest increase is created mostly by commercial properties, such as State Farm’s regional headquarters under construction in Perimeter Center. Another office building and hotel are also on the books to begin construction this year. “The increase is not coming from the average homeowner,” Deutsch said. “If we roll back, we have to decide what services we do not want to provide.” A 10 percent rollback, for example, may save a homeowner $20 to $60 a year, she said. If the city were to do a rollback, it should be in a much more significant way, she added. There are also services the city must provide to the more than 100,000 people who work in Dunwoody every day, she said. At the June 11 public hearing on the millage rate, Mayor Denis Shortal said a family living in a home assessed at $400,000 pays about $260 a year in city taxes. “That’s about $22 a month,” he said. “That’s extremely, extremely reasonable, when you think of the services we provide.” Shortal also noted that inflation goes up each year, which means costs of projects that have been on the books, like paving and park improvements, also continue to rise. “Money in the bank is a good thing,” Shortal said. “We promised to keep taxes low when we became a city. We didn’t say we would roll them lower. I think our tax rate is reasonable.” Two residents did speak out against keeping the current millage rate the same at the June 11 meeting. “I’m opposed to maintaining the same millage rate,” said resident Bob Hickey. “The tax digest has gone up significantly ... and maintaining it is a violation of what we were promised when we incorporated.” Cheryl Summers also questioned why there was no rollback of her property taxes, saying her current property taxes do not offset the 1 percent special local option sales tax approved by voters last year. “[The city] has promised for several years the millage rate would go down ... but there is always some excuse not to reduce,” she said.

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COMING SOON TO

Ossoff helps to spotlight Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center Jon soccer corruption

TAJ MAHAL TRIO

SATURDAY • SEPT. 8

Jon Ossoff in Ghana earlier this month, as he arranged security for journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas following a soccer corruption exposé.

BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

OCT. 30

T I C K E T S O N SA L E N O W

City Springs Box Office • CitySprings.com • 770.206.2022

A year ago, Jon Ossoff was in a national media spotlight as the Democrat making an unlikely – and ultimately unsuccessful – competitive run for the local 6th Congressional District seat. Today, the Brookhaven resident is the one putting a media spotlight on major issues as CEO of an award-winning producer of film and TV documentaries about international crime and corruption. Ossoff and his company, Insight TWI, are enjoying a remarkable month. Insight TWI just won a One World Media Award – a coveted prize for documentaries – for a BBC feature on sex crimes and genocide committed by ISIS in Iraq. And a BBC broadcast of a new Insight TWI-produced documentary on corrupt soccer officials in Ghana shook the sports world just days before FIFA announced the 2026 World Cup will be partly staged in the U.S., possibly with some games played in Atlanta. Speaking by phone as he traveled to pick up the award in London – and right after arranging security for the undercover investigator who revealed the soccer corruption – Ossoff said it’s fulfilling to work with journalists who, when necessary, are “willing to take risks and push the limits.” “I think that corruption and self-dealing are at the heart of a lot of the dysfunction and suffering in the world today, and it’s impunity, it’s a lack of accountability, that feeds it,” he said. “And I think that

SPECIAL

where law enforcement lacks the will or the capacity to deter or punish it, journalists need to take on some of that responsibility.” That’s the broad mission of Insight TWI, which has won Emmys, a Peabody and a BAFTA award since its 1991 founding. Ossoff, who became its CEO in 2013, says it focuses on investigations of “official corruption, organized crime and war crimes” and “features and highlights work of local reporters rather than parachuting in.” Among the topics of its documentaries in recent years, Ossoff says: corrupt officials stealing U.S.-funded food and medical aid; death squads and extrajudicial killings by criminal gangs and security forces in South Africa, Kenya, Mexico and El Salvador; and quack doctors who kill and mutilate women in Nigeria and Colombia. The One World Media Award in the Popular Features category that Ossoff and other Insight TWI representatives accepted June 18 was for the BBC-broadcast “Stacey Dooley: Face to Face with ISIS.” The documentary followed a woman, long held as a sex slave by ISIS members, as she confronted one of its commanders in prison. As a producer, Insight TWI provides resources to journalists and arranges broadcast deals, working especially frequently with the BBC. Sometimes the broadcaster commissions a documentary; sometimes Insight TWI offers one. The company is based in London, with small offices in the African nation of Ghana and in Ossoff’s Brookhaven home.


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Working in various countries gives Ossoff a broad view of journalism quality and freedom. While the U.S. has its First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press, Ossoff notes that the reality can be different. He says the BBC, despite its faults, has “got pretty much the most stringent editorial standards of any news organization in the Western world.” And the journalism rights group Reporters Without Borders ranks Ghana as 23rd in the world for press freedom, well above the U.S. at number 45, on such standards as transparency, independence, selfcensorship and threats or violence against journalists. “I think that American journalism broadly is failing to hold leaders accountable [and is] focused on the wrong things, and generally not living up to its obligation to the public… I think it’s a pretty dismal scene, to be honest with you,” Ossoff said. Comparing the “starving” of U.S. public broadcasting with the BBC, he said, “I regret that the UK and not the US has the most prestigious and capable news-gathering and reporting organization in the world.” For more about Insight TWI and to view “Betraying the Game,” see insighttwi.com.

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“He is a master of deep investigations, deep undercover investigations,” said Ossoff, who counts Anas as a colleague and friend of many years. “He is an extraordinary character… He’s an asset to his country and the world.” In “Betraying the Game,” Anas and colleagues, posing as supporters of beloved teams, found soccer referees willing to accept unsolicited cash bribes. Working their way up the ladder, they show footage convinced a member of the FIFA Council – the group that organizes international soccer tournaments, including the World Cup – to accept a bag of $65,000 in cash as part of a scheme to set up a shell company to divert soccer sponsorship money to himself. The official, Kwesi Nyantakyi, later denied accepting the money as a bribe and claimed Anas tried to blackmail him. Three hours before the documentary aired on the BBC, Ossoff says, the government of Ghana announced it was dissolving the national soccer association. FIFA has provisionally suspended the council member shown accepting the cash. “I was in Ghana as all of this unfolded,” said Ossoff. “It’s rewarding to see the direct impact of that journalism.” It can also be threatening; Ossoff was in

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“Betraying the Game” focuses on an investigation by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an acclaimed – and controversial -- Ghanaian journalist known for culture-rocking undercover exposés, including one where he caught many judges accepting bribes. Because he relies on remaining anonymous for undercover stings, Anas appears in public only while wearing a mask made of strings of beads.

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Revealing soccer bribery

Ghana to work with U.S. officials and journalist rights organizations to assure Anas’s safety. As the documentary itself shows, Anas’s undercover methods are sometimes criticized as unethical and the results have sometimes inspired death threats. “Anas’s techniques are controversial. He operates at the aggressive end of the spectrum of journalistic techniques. It’s worth noting he has his critics,” Ossoff said of the decision to include some of them in the documentary. “Now, personally, I think his work speaks for itself.” Anas’s documentary is far from the only report on corruption in FIFA and such related international sports events as the Olympics. FIFA was rocked with a major scandal in 2015 when U.S. authorities brought charges against several top officials and accused them of bribery schemes related to staging and broadcasting games in the Americas. Ossoff says that the body of journalism and law enforcement reports make it clear that “corruption is endemic in international soccer” and that it is important that viewers of Anas’s documentary realize it is not just an “African problem.” “You saw in the footage just how commonplace, how pervasive, this culture was — that it was just normal for referees to be taking money in violation of rules for how the game is supposed to be conducted,” Ossoff said. As the World Cup heads to the U.S. – and maybe Atlanta – in 2026, Ossoff says he hopes “that journalists and law enforcement officials will be vigilant that this [event] … be conducted ethically and transparently.”

N

As CEO, Ossoff does not do any of the reporting or investigating. He’s a manager who oversees the documentaries, works with the journalists who make them, and negotiates the broadcast and distribution deals. But that work can be quite hands-on, especially when dealing with threats to the journalists who make anti-corruption documentaries. “I do tend to get involved where there are serious health or safety issues,” said Ossoff. In fact, he had just done exactly that in Ghana in response to threats that followed the broadcast of the new documentary “Betraying the Game,” about corrupt soccer officials.

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6 | Art & Entertainment

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ADRON: SUNDAYS ON THE RIVER CONCERT

KIDS AND FAMILIES DINNER AND A MOVIE

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PERFORMANCES BASSIST AND CELLIST DUO

Wednesday, June 27, 3-4 p.m. Have a musical afternoon with bassist and cellist duo Blake & Ilana Hilley. All ages. Free. Sandy Springs Branch Library, 395 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info: 404-303-6130.

WINE & READING SERIES

Sunday, July 1, 2 p.m. Atlanta writer Annie Harrison Elliott is featured in the second of this six-month series of readings of new plays by nationally known local writers at the Dunwoody Nature Center. Her play, “General Gabler’s Daughter,” is a reimagining of Ibsen’s classic “Hedda Gabler.” Professional actors bring characters to life in this series, which is presented in partnership with Found Stages on first Sundays monthly at 2 p.m. through November. Includes a meet-and-greet with the month’s featured playwright, actors and directors. Complimentary wine and appetizers before and after each reading. $20. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

SUNSET SIPS

Thursday, July 5, 6:30-9:30 p.m. The Mark Miller Band — folk music, roots acoustic, Piedmont blues — is next up in this concert series at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Cash bar; picnics welcome. Sunset Sips concerts are held second and fourth Thursdays monthly from June to September (except in July when there is only this July 5 concert). Concert is included with general admission and free to CNC Members. Admission: $10 adults,

$7 seniors (ages 65+) and students (ages 1318); $6 children (ages 3-12); ages 2 and under free. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

DUNWOODY NATURE CENTER SUMMER CONCERT SERIES

Saturday, July 7, 7-9 p.m. Wren and the Wravens bring their blend of retro soul, pop, and R&B to this lineup of summer concerts, held every other Saturday evening, rain or shine, through July 21. Seating available on a first-come, first-served basis in the meadow or on the back porch. Outside food and drink welcome. Craft beers, sodas and water available. $5 adults; $3 students; free for members and for children 3 and under. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature. org/2018-summer-concert-series.

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Sunday, July 8, 6-9:30 p.m. Head out to the Chattahoochee Nature Center for a concert featuring Adron, who blends samba and international sounds with ‘70s pop and R&B. Bring a blanket or chairs and have a picnic. Cash bar on site. $12-$16. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.

CONCERTS BY THE SPRINGS

Sunday, July 8, 7- 8:30 p.m. The 22nd season of Heritage Sandy Springs’ outdoor summer concert series continues with jazz and R&B from Gwen Hughes & The Retro Kats. Gates open at 5 p.m. Picnics welcome. Food, beer and wine available. Free. Sandy Springs Society Entertainment Lawn at Heritage Green, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org or 404-851-9111.

Tuesday, June 26, 5:30-8 p.m. Enjoy pizza and a movie courtesy at the Brookhaven Library on Tuesday evenings, courtesy of Friends of the Brookhaven Library on Tuesday evenings. Register by 4:30 p.m. on the day of the movie to be included for dinner. Adults must be accompanied by a child. Open to first 15 participants. Groups of five or more should call the branch fo an appointment. Free. 1242 North Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: dekalblibrary.org/events.

GET ACTIVE BUTTERFLY ENCOUNTER

Daily through July 31. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays. Noon to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Get up close and personal with hundreds of native butterflies surrounded by colorful nectar plants at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Special visiting opportunities include CNC Members Only hours and Breakfast with Butterflies. The Butterfly Encounter is included with general admission and is free to CNC Members. Admission: $10 adults, $7 seniors (ages 65+) and students (ages 13-18); $6 children (ages 3-12); ages 2 and under free. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.


JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 7

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LEARN SOMETHING BOOKS FOR BREAKFAST SUMMER SERIES

Tuesdays June 26, July 24, Aug. 28, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Meet other bookworms for lively discussion at a monthly book club meeting at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. The June 26 book selection is “The Vengeance of Mothers” by Jim Fergus. Adults of all ages. Members free; $5 nonmembers. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org or Earl Finley, 678-812-4000, earl.finley@ atlantajcc.org.

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Wednesdays, June 27, July 25, Aug. 29 , 6:30–7:30 p.m. Join Heritage Sandy Springs for a summer lecture series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of “the great war.” Topics include why the war happened, the U.S. entry into the war, science and technology, and the local Emory Medical Unit’s involvement. This series, which began in May, continues on the last Wednesday of June, July and August in the Community Room at the Heritage Sandy Springs administrative building. Free. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

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Thursday, June 28, 7:30 p.m. New York Times best-selling author Emily Giffin introduces “All We Ever Wanted,” her new novel in which three very different people must choose between their families and their values. Atlanta media personality Mara Davis will interview Giffin at the book launch party at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. $30-$35. Tickets include a pre-signed copy of the book, and a reception featuring wine, desserts and light bites. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival or 678-812-4002.

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visit

► Fourth of July Celebration

Chamblee offers free summer fun

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 5-10 P.M. KESWICK PARK, 3496 KESWICK DRIVE

Chamblee, a century-old city known for its antique-shopping scene, is also home to big summer events, including an Independence Day fireworks show and a concert series featuring some well-known pop and rock bands. A neighbor of Brookhaven and Dunwoody, Chamblee’s free summer events are easily accessible from Buckhead and Sandy Springs as well. Here are the details on Chamblee’s Fourth of July Celebration and the final concert in this summer’s series, featuring the Gin Blossoms and the Rembrandts. For more information, see chambleega.com.

Chamblee’s Fourth of July Celebration includes a variety of daytime activities, including live music and food, and culminates in a 20- to 25-minute fireworks show after dark. Live music will be performed starting at 6:30 p.m. by Bogey and the Viceroy. Led by New Orleans native Bogey Thornton, the band plays classic soul, retro rock and pop, and current chart-toppers. Food will be available from the Mad Italian, the Frosty Caboose, Cop-NStuff and the Island Chef Food Truck. Attendees may also bring personal food and beverages, but no alcohol. Parking will be limited at Keswick Park. Recommended alternative parking will be available 5-11 p.m. behind the IHOP restaurant in the Chamblee

Plaza shopping center, 5516 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Attendees can also ride the MARTA Gold Line to Chamblee Station and walk the Rail Trail to the park.

OTHER ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:

Bike Parade: 5 p.m., starting from Chamblee Middle School, 3601 Sexton Woods Drive A parade of children who have decorated their bicycles, tricycles, wagons and similar vehicles in a patriotic manner. The parade starts at the school and ends in Keswick Park. Cornhole Tournament: 5:30 p.m. Eight teams will compete for prizes in the cornhole lawn games.

► Summer Concert Series: Gin Blossoms and Rembrandts FRIDAY, AUG. 10, 6:30 P.M., DOWNTOWN AROUND CITY HALL, 5468 PEACHTREE ROAD

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The Summer Concert Series wraps up with two classic pop-rock bands from the 1980s and ’90s. Gin Blossoms have sold more than 10 million albums with such hits as “Hey Jealousy,” “Until I Fall Away,” “Follow You Down” and the Grammy-nominated “As Long As It Matters.” The Rembrandts are a Grammy-nominated band known for the hit songs “Just the Way It Is Baby” and “I’ll Be There for You” (the theme song from the TV comedy series “Friends”). Other hits include “Johnny Have You Seen Her,” “Someone,” “Burning Timber” and “This House Is Not a Home.” Food, beverages and beer will be available for purchase, and guests can bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks. Peachtree Road will be closed during the concert. Parking and shuttle service will be available at Chamblee Charter High School, 3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, 6:30-11 p.m.

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JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

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City negotiates with DeKalb over final HOST funding BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A dispute between Dunwoody and DeKalb County over approximately $90,000 in homestead option sales tax money has been resolved with the promise the county will look at the final numbers later this year and pay the city more if necessary. The city will also pay back any funds if necessary. The City Council on June 18 entered into an intergovernmental agreement with DeKalb County to accept $1.47 million in HOST funding for January, February and March with a provision that if the allocation is actually closer to Dunwoody’s estimate of $1.55 million, the county will pay that extra amount later this year. The county Board of Commissioners also agreed to the provision. DeKalb County has been distributing HOST money for many years to its cities but now has been replaced by the special local option sales tax and equalized homestead option sales tax approved by voters last year. HOST was a 1 percent sales and use tax assessed on all goods sold throughout DeKalb County, with at least 80 percent going to subsidize property taxes in the county and the remaining 20 percent distributed to cities to use on capital projects. EHOST along with SPLOST replaced HOST with 100 percent of EHOST money being used to subsidize homeowners’ property taxes. The SPLOST money would then replace capital project funding. But with SPLOST going into effect in April this year, there were only three months of HOST money available in 2018. Rather than waiting until August, when final numbers are tallied for the HOST allocations, DeKalb was requested by some cities to distribute the money, and county officials estimated what they thought each city would receive now rather than later. To get the money, all cities had to sign an agreement with DeKalb on the amount DeKalb would to allocate to each of them. DeKalb estimated Dunwoody would receive $1.47 million. However, Dunwoody’s finance department estimated the total was actually $1.55 million. Dunwoody City Council, at its June 11 meeting, debated the difference in amounts and whether they would accept DeKalb’s amount and sign the agreement. Other cities accepted the estimates as they are, but Dunwoody did not have to do the same, City Attorney Bill Riley told the council. However, if Dunwoody did not sign the IGA, then the other cities in the county could not receive their HOST money. Mayor Denis Shortal said when the mayors and DeKalb officials were discussing SPLOST, it was agreed that the final three months of HOST funding would be divided up in August. “Right now every other city is happy and ready to take the money and run,” Shortal said. “We want our share, but our relations with other cities should be considered, too,” Shortal added. There was a definite sense of distrust from council members that DeKalb would pay what actually is owed. Talk of trying to negotiate a $1.5 million allocation was raised. “The problem with a prepayment is if we get that $1.47 million now … trying to get that extra money later is more problematic,” Councilmember Terry Nall said. Eventually, though, the council asked DeKalb County to “true up” HOST funding in August, if the actual funding numbers come out higher than the $1.47 million. The DeKalb Board of Commissioners approved June 12 the IGAs with the cities and with Dunwoody included a “true up” provision that goes into effect in August or September. Dunwoody will receive $1.47 million now and if the amount is deemed greater in August or September, the county promises to pay the amount owed. The same goes for Dunwoody. If the HOST totals come in lower than $1.47 million, the city will repay the county what is owed.

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EMS council to take up city’s call for own ambulance service Aug. 9 BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The state agency responsible for determining what companies and agencies will provide ambulance services to various areas of Georgia is set to take up Dunwoody’s call for creating its own emergency medical service in August. Dunwoody is included in the state’s Region 3 EMS council, included under the umbrella of the state Department of Public Health. The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Aug. 9. Region 3 includes DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnett, Clayton, Rockdale and Newton counties. The EMS council will consider Dunwoody’s recent declaration of an EMS emergency following the city’s repeated complaints to DeKalb officials of slow response times from American Medical Response, the ambulance agency contracted through DeKalb County for the past five years. AMR’s contract with DeKalb expires Dec. 31. AMR just went through a similar situation in south Fulton County. Leaders there asked the state Department of Public Health to open up its EMS region to competitive bidding due to slow response times from AMR – similar to what Dunwoody is experiencing currently. The state agency eventually awarded the south Fulton EMS bid to Grady EMS over AMR. While Dunwoody has consistently raised concerns since 2016 about slow response times by AMR in its city, neighboring Brookhaven is not seeing an emergency nor publicly voicing concerns. “We are reviewing performance data and monitoring the Dunwoody issue,” Brookhaven spokesperson Burke Brennan said. AMR’s troubles in Georgia are not unique. The company has been consistently late in responding to emergency calls, representing an “imminent threat” to the public’s safety, according to com-

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plaints in Colorado Springs, according to EMS1.com, an online resource for EMS agencies. In 2017, AMR was forced to pay more than $300,000 in penalties to Colorado Springs and El Paso County for more than 4,200 instances in which ambulance crews failed to meet their required response times under separate contracts with the two governments, according to EMS1.com. DeKalb County has fined AMR more than $1.5 million for slow response times, but AMR is disputing the amount. National standards set by state and local municipalities require 90 percent of ambulance calls respond in under 9 minutes. That’s the time AMR is contracted with DeKalb County to meet as well. In Brookhaven in all of 2017, AMR’s response times include a low of 8 minute 36 seconds out of 241 calls in January to a high of 11 minutes and 1 second over 211 calls in September. The remaining months consistently fall in the 9 and 10-minute range. According to data provided to the Dunwoody City Council, AMR responded to 1,026 calls in Dunwoody between January and November 2016. Average response time was 10 minutes, 45 seconds. For all of DeKalb County, AMR responded to 82,851 calls between January and November with a 9 minute, 26 second average response time. But mixed in those numbers are numerous 20- and 30-minute wait times as well. The city of Dunwoody filed May 23 a “Declaration of EMS Emergency” with the Georgia Department of Public Health/ Office of EMS and Trauma asking for the “expeditious actions of remedy and relief for failing emergency service response times and patient care for residents/ businesses and visitors of Dunwoody.” Included in the declaration is the statement that AMR fails “to meet contractual obligations of adherence to Na-

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tional Fire Protection Association (NFPA) response time standards/ commonly referred to as ‘NFPA 1710’ emergency response time standard for “career” Fire/ EMS services/ of an 8 minute and 59 second response time on 90 percent of its emergency calls.” AMR and DeKalb have tried to address the issue by locating a permanent ambulance in Dunwoody, but city leaders are not impressed and say the only way to ensure the security of its residents and those who work and pass through the

city is to provide its own service, according to Councilmember Terry Nall. Nall said the city’s dedicated zone should be self sufficient from users of the service via insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. “Dunwoody has a very high payer mix. Our city cost is likely to be for EMS radio dispatch, which we would incorporate within the ChattComm 911 dispatch center, along with Dunwoody Police,” he said.

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Access points for managed lanes concern top end cities Continued from page 1 design build project manager for GDOT, stating it is “critical for the managed lane network to have multiple, geographically distributed access points into the Perimeter market.” One of those proposed access points is

already a point of contention. The city of Sandy Springs has asked GDOT to move a proposed access point at Mount Vernon Road to Hammond Drive. But moving the access point to Hammond Drive will likely result in more traffic on Dunwoody’s surface streets, according to Dunwoody Pub-

P ROJ EC T S PL AN N ED N EA R P ROP OSED EXPR ESS LANE I N TERC H A N GES

Dunwoody City Manager Eric Linton is asking GDOT officials to consider these future planned developments when planning interchanges for the future express lanes on the top end of I-285. Project name: Northpark Location: Mount Vernon Peachtree Dunwoody Road

ing set) at

Location: Hammond Drive at Perimeter Center Parkway

Number of new vehicle trips according to Development of Regional Impact: 7,900

Number of new vehicle trips per DRI: 28,000

Project name: 1117 Perimeter Center West Location: Mount Vernon Road at Perimeter Center West Number of new vehicle trips per DRI: 12,000 Project name: High Street (in Dunwoody bordering Sandy Springs, massive mixed-use project that’s been on the books for years but no clear date for a groundbreak-

Project name: State Farm’s Park Center (in Dunwoody) Location: Hammond Drive at Perimeter Center Parkway Number of new vehicle trips per DRI: 7,200 Project name: Peachtree Dunwoody Pavilion (business park) Location: Peachtree-Dunwoody Road at Lake Hearn Drive Number of new vehicle trips per DRI: 4,800

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lic Works Director Michael Smith. “We think there needs to be something further north than Hammond,” he said. Instead, Dunwoody is supporting a managed lane interchange between Ga. 400 and Riverside Drive to help further disperse traffic in the region, according to Linton. “Without such an interchange, traffic may flow unnecessarily into the Perimeter Center surface streets,” Linton stated in his letter to GDOT. Sharon Kraun, spokesperson for Sandy Springs, said the city is working closely with all stakeholders to determine the best site for access points. “The city is working closely with its partners including GDOT, the city of Dunwoody and Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCID) to explore options on where to locate access points for GDOT’s managed lane program,” she said in an email. “As options are evaluated, city staff will share this information with the city council and community and seek feedback.” The behind-the-scenes tensions about

the managed lane plans came to light at the Sandy Springs City Council’s Jan. 23 retreat, where GDOT officials presented the latest concepts and city transportation planners pushed back with counterproposals including moving the proposed managed lanes interchange from Mount Vernon to Hammond Drive. GDOT spokesperson Jill Goldberg said at the time the agency will do “aggressive outreach” once it has what it considers to be a more solid plan. The Mount Vernon interchange, for example, was proposed relatively recently and is still being studied by engineers. At a recent Brookhaven City Council meeting, GDOT’s Tim Matthews also addressed some of the city’s concerns about access points raised by Mayor John Ernst in a letter to GDOT. “This project has major implications and impacts on the adjacent cities given the addition of access points that are not part of the existing highway interchanges,” Ernst said in his letter. “We want to be assured that any Brookhaven access point does not result in

State commits $100M to new Ga. 400 bus system Gov. Nathan Deal has announced $100 million in bond funding for new bus rapid transit connections on Ga. 400 to kick-start a regional transit expansion. The funding makes the stations part of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s controversial plans for new “managed” or “express” toll lanes on Ga. 400 and may help sort out local concerns that the project doesn’t leave enough room for useful transit options. Bus rapid transit refers to high-capacity buses running in dedicated lanes. Deal said in a June 19 announcement that GDOT is studying locations for four bus-only interchanges, likely near future bus stations, as shown on a sample illustration. The Fulton County Transit Master Plan, a document developed with public input last year, proposed Sandy Springs’ Northridge Road as one station location, along with some point farther north: Holcomb Bridge Road, the North Point Mall area and Old Milton Parkway. “This investment in BRT infrastructure marks the first time that the state, Fulton County and MARTA have partnered together to improve our mass transit system,” Deal said in a press release. “With this announcement, we are introducing collaborative solutions for both transportation and transit, which is exactly what the ATL and Georgia’s commitment to improving mobility are all about.” His general obligation bond funding follows the General Assembly’s passage earlier this year of legislation authorizing a new regional transit authority known as the ATL, which includes MARTA but also other agencies. The state money will go to planning and land acquisition for the bus interchanges. Further funding would need to come from MARTA and Fulton County if voters approved tax increases via a referendum. In meetings last year for long-term transit planning, local residents favored extending MARTA’s Red Line rail along Ga. 400. But Fulton County and city leaders eventually agreed on bus expansion as an easier and less expensive first step. Ga. 400 transit expansion plays a big role in another Sandy Springs city issue – the government’s desire to spur redevelopment of the north end’s older apartment complexes and shopping centers. Future transit plans for the Northridge Road area were among the topics mentioned at last month’s debut meeting of the city’s new North End Revitalization Task Force. Similar toll lanes are planned for I-285 as well and have raised similar concerns with cities across the top end Perimeter. – John Ruch DUN


JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

Community | 13

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exasperating localized traffic congestion as commuters from neighboring cities come into Brookhaven to access I-285 managed lanes,” he said. Brookhaven also shares Dunwoody’s concerns about the distribution of access point west of Ga. 400, Ernst said. “[I]t appears the planned locations will result in commuters driving into the congested Perimeter area just to access the I-285 managed lanes to go toward I-75 or I-85,” Ernst added. The I-285 top end express lanes are still in the preliminary stages and nothing has been set in stone, but GDOT is already acquiring right-of-way where needed and is expected to begin the design process in 2020, Matthews told Brookhaven council members. There will be more time for public input as well, he said. The managed lanes are a separate project from Transform 285/400 project that would add even more lanes — four on each highway — in construction that could take

a decade. The concept of the project is to allow toll-paying drivers to speed through the interchange in dedicated, entirely separate lanes, and is being touted by GDOT as a reliable way to get to where motorists want to go on time. The elevated lanes near the proposed interchanges are GDOT’s way to reduce taking city right-of-way, Matthews told Brookhaven council members. The current proposed managed lane interchanges, or access points, provide three access points: Johnson Ferry Road-Ga. 400, Perimeter Center Parkway-Ga. 400, and Mount Vernon Highway-Ga. 400. These points are fairly evenly distributed geographically in the Perimeter Center area, Linton said in his letter to GDOT. But if Mount Vernon were removed or moved to Hammond, “not only is there less access but the interchanges also would be concentrated in one quadrant of the market,” Linton said in his letter to GDOT.

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14 | Commentary

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Opinion /Why Dunwoody declared an EMS emergency As elected leaders, we have a responsibility to the residents, visitors and businesses in the city of Dunwoody. First and foremost, ensuring public safety is our job Number One. Our city is home to 50,000 residents and is the heart of Perimeter Center, with more than 120,000 workers and hundreds of thousands more on I-285 as they pass through Dunwoody. It is critical we provide the highest levels of public safety and emergency response to all individuals within our city’s borders. To that end, and after two years of increasingly inadequate Emergency Medical Service (EMS) to our community, the Dunwoody City Council issued a “Declaration of EMS Emergency” with DeKalb County on May 21. This was a necessary and urgent plea. Prior to 2013, DeKalb County Fire held the EMS certificate from the Georgia Department of Public Health and its regional EMS Council, and invested in placing its own EMS units at all three county fire stations in Dunwoody. Then in 2013, DeKalb County decided to “sublet” its EMS certificate to American Medical Response (AMR), a private EMS provider, via a five-year contract. This is when DeKalb County stopped investing in and operating its own EMS service and also decided not to provide supplemental compensation to assure compliance and quality of service. Worse is DeKalb County charges the EMS provider an annual fee for operating the EMS service. DeKalb County’s solution, to outsource its EMS, has resulted in noncompliant response times and measurable delays in getting EMS units to people in our community. While DeKalb County Fire sends fire engines to medical calls, and many fire-

men are basic emergency ty leaders, staff and elected medical technicians (EMTs) officials. When the fire chief and paramedics, those fire is a member of Dun- and EMS/AMR leadership trucks are not EMS transport woody City Council. appeared at a Dunwoody vehicles. While fire engine reCity Council meeting in 2016, sponders can begin basic care, they openly admitted the the severity of the medical closest EMS unit at that moemergency often requires imment was at I-285 at Memorimediate EMS transport to the al Drive, some 20 miles away. hospital. Field care only goes This was unacceptable then so far. and is unacceptable today. National standards, and In early 2017, DeKalb the DeKalb County EMS conCounty EMS/AMR unveiled tract itself, require an EMS a mitigation plan to post a unit to arrive within nine single EMS unit at a Dunminutes for 90 percent of all calls. But woody fire station. That unit did not stay in Dunwoody, EMS/AMR units rarely arin place because medical calls in central rive within nine minutes. DeKalb CounDeKalb County are so voluminous that ty EMS/AMR arrival is late by 15 minutes, AMR opted to post its units in the central 30 minutes, 45 minutes and sometimes part of the county. as late as 60 minutes. Even worse, at least On May 29, 2018, when asked to adone time in Dunwoody, EMS/AMR was a dress the deficient service in Dunwoody, no-show. DeKalb EMS/AMR announced a repeat Despite admitting the delayed EMS/ of the same single-unit mitigation plan. AMR response problem was “widely acAs before, it has again proven to be insufknowledged,” DeKalb County has not ficient. Delayed EMS/AMR incidents in pursued a “for cause” termination of the Dunwoody continue to occur. EMS/AMR contract throughout the five Dunwoody City Council formalyears. By contrast, it is common for othly asked the state EMS Council to open er counties with private EMS providers Dunwoody as a dedicated EMS zone. to provide the radio dispatch service and Dunwoody is prepared to make the insupplemental compensation to its EMS vestment in public safety that DeKalb provider. County should have made in the years Not only does DeKalb County not prosince 2013. vide any such investment, it charges the This is an EMS Emergency for DunEMS provider an annual fee, reported by woody residents, visitors, and businessAMR as $750,000 per year. This is backes. Dunwoody has become the forgotten wards from best practices and is a maarea of DeKalb County. We need the very jor reason DeKalb County EMS/AMR rebest level of dedicated EMS zone coversponse times are so awful. AMR is forced age. to invest in revenue to DeKalb County A dedicated Dunwoody EMS zone will rather than invest in compliant EMS deimprove the EMS services for the benelivery. fit of the public welfare. Dunwoody owes Dunwoody leaders registered comit to our residents and visitors because plaints early and often with DeKalb Counpublic safety is our job Number One.

Terry Nall

Reporter Newspapers wins 12 Georgia Press Association awards Reporter Newspapers won 12 awards — including seven first-place honors in its division — in the Georgia Press Association’s 2018 Better Newspaper Contest, whose winners were announced June 8. The Reporter’s first-place honorees included: Photographer Phil Mosier, in news, sports and spot news categories; Managing Editor John Ruch for Business Writing in the Perimeter Business section; Robin Conte, whose “Robin’s Nest” column won in two categories; and Creative Director Rico Figliolini for Page One design. Staff writer Dyana Bagby won second place in the “Enterprise Story” cate-

gory for her coverage of rapid changes to the communities along Buford Highway in Brookhaven. The Reporter also won awards for local news coverage; website; layout and design; and “general excellence.” The awards honored work that appeared in the Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs newspapers. The Reporter’s sister publication, Atlanta INtown, also won a first-place honor in Magazine Commentary/Opinion Writing for Sally Bethea’s “Above the Waterline” column. The awards were given in the name of

the Reporter’s parent company, Springs Publishing. Publisher Steve Levene accepted the awards at a June 8 ceremony on Jekyll Island, Ga. The GPA is a 132-year-old organization of Georgia newspapers. Its Better Newspaper Contest is statewide and this year was judged by members of the Kansas and Oklahoma press associations. Entries were judged in seven divisions based on the newspapers’ circulation. Reporter Newspapers was judged in the division that includes all weekly newspapers with a circulation over 15,000 and all of the GPA’s “associate media members.” DUN


JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

Commentary | 15

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Love reveals itself in tender mercies I saw a movie many years ago called “Tender Mercies.” I don’t remember much about it except that Robert Duvall was in it and it took place somewhere in the Southwest. I recently googled it out of curiosity and learned that Duvall played a has-been country music star in the film and won an Academy Award for his performance. But what stuck with me for all these decades was the title. It haunted me because I think it speaks to what we yearn for so often in our human condition…tender mercies. We want to be loved, we want to be understood, we want to be happy, we want our needs to be met, but in the dearth of any of those things, tender mercies can see us through. Being the curious being that I am and searching for fodder for this column, I poked around a bit and learned that the title phrase of the movie comes from the Psalms -specifically, Psalms 145:9. I investigated a little more and discovered a variety of translations for that particular psalm. The King James Bible translates it this way: “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” Many other translations, however, use the word “comRobin Conte is a writer passion” instead of the word “mercies” or “tender mercies.” and mother of four who There’s nothing wrong with compassion. Merriam-Webster lives in Dunwoody. She defines compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ can be contacted at distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” And a quick therobinjm@earthlink.net. saurus check of the term will call up words like empathy, concern, kindness, care, and consideration. But compassion, benevolent as it is, seems to me somewhat sterile, somehow distant. Mercy seems to be a call to action. And tender mercy gives us the intent, invokes that gentleness of spirit that transforms an action into a transcendent moment. With tender mercies, we experience a softening of the heart, a catch in the throat, a transformation in both the giver and receiver. With tender mercies, we experience the divine. June is the traditional month for weddings, and my typical wish for couples who are joining together in matrimony is a life filled with love and joy. Now, having been seasoned by age and joy and yet a few sorrows and many disappointments, I have come to realize that joy has its counterpart in tender mercies. When we are too discouraged to rejoice, we can still find solace in something as simple as a sunrise, a hummingbird, a wildflower…tender mercies in the natural world that surrounds us. If our hearts are open, we can find comfort in a smile, a gentle word, a thoughtful act...tender mercies offered by the people around us. And we can bring tender mercies to others, with a comforting word, a sympathetic ear, a forgiving heart. The Beatles famously sang that “All you need is love.” I’ll agree with that. And I submit that love in its strongest, yet gentlest form reveals itself in tender mercies.

Robin’s Nest

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16 | Art & Entertainment

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Author Emily Giffin

discusses Atlanta, her favorite bookshops, and more

Q: Author Emily Giffin.

SPECIAL

A:

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Emily Giffin ‘All We Ever Wanted’ book launch party Thursday, June 28, 7:30-9 p.m. MJCCA 5324 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody 30338 Tickets $30-$35. Info: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival

Emily Giffin is a novelist with a string of bestsellers she aims to continue in her ninth book, “All We Ever Wanted.” She’s also a Buckhead resident whose love of her city has helped to inform her books. “Atlanta is such a diverse, beautiful city, but there is no more beautiful part than Buckhead,” Giffin said in an email interview. Giffin will appear June 28 at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody in support of her new book. Her first novel, “Something Borrowed” was adapted for a 2011 movie starring Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Godwin and John Krasinski. She lives in Buckhead near Pace Academy, the school her children attend. In the following Q&A, Giffin answered the Reporter’s questions about Atlanta, writing and more.

Q: Do any of your books have referenc-

es to Atlanta or inspired by places you go here?

A: I’ve set two books in Atlanta, includ-

ing my novel before this release, “First Comes Love.” I’m so proud of this diverse, vibrant city and think it makes a fabulous backdrop for my characterdriven and relationship-rich stories.

A review of “All We Ever Wanted” said the book is timely given the #MeToo movement. Were you inspired by that movement for this book?

Q:

How is this book different from your previous novels?

A:

This is the first book I’ve written that includes a male perspective, and the first time I’ve written from three different points of view. It’s also the first time I’ve really tackled issues of social class, white privilege and entitlement.

Interestingly, the #MeToo movement didn’t begin until I was mostly finished writing the novel. So in a sense, it was one of those “life imitating art” situations. And while the movement itself didn’t directly influence the book, I definitely wanted to tell a story that focused on women learning to seize control of their lives and, more pointedly, fighting back against having our voices and our concerns minimized. In other words, I am certainly aware of the sexism, and sometimes outright misogyny, in our society, and I think some of these concerns shaped the story, particularly the story arcs for the two main female narrators, Nina and Lyla.

Q:

What was it like to have a novel made into a movie?

A:

It was surreal and so much fun. I’m also really thrilled to announce that I’m developing a TV series with Black Label Media, the same producer who worked on the film “Something Borrowed.”


JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

Art & Entertainment | 17

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Q: Q: What are your favorite bookstores? A: In Buckhead, I usually go to my local Barnes & Noble, though there are so many great stores in the Atlanta area: A Capella Books (I love Frank Reiss, the owner) and Posman Books in Ponce City Market are two favorites. In the metro Atlanta area, I also love Eagle Eye Books in Decatur, FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, and Avid Bookshop in Athens.

Q: Are you friends with any other Atlanta authors?

A: I absolutely adore fellow Wake For-

est alum Kate T. Parker (“Strong is the New Pretty”). I’m also friends with novelists Susan Rebecca White, Colleen Oakley, Mary Kay Andrews and Patti Callahan Henry (though sadly for Atlanta, Patti relocated to Birmingham).

What was the first book you remember reading that had a profound effect on you?

A:

Goodness, there are just so many. Too many to name. But I read Carson McCuller’s “A Member of the Wedding” in high school and it really changed and inspired me. I can still conjure all of the intense feelings that story awoke in me.

Q:

How has your writing evolved since you first began your career?

A:

I like to think that my writing continues to improve with every novel. I think the issues in my book have also evolved, which isn’t surprising given that I was 29, single and childless when I wrote my first novel. I’m now 46, married withs three children (two of them teens). The stakes in life have become much greater for both me and my characters.


18 | Art & Entertainment

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Senior musicians are still playin’ after all these years

PHOTOS BY JOE EARLE

Above, Clark Brown practices mandolin in his Brookhaven living room. Right, Violinist Ronda Respess.

BY JOE EARLE Ronda Respess grew up in a musical family in New Jersey. Her mother was a pianist, her father a cellist. An aunt was a professional musician in Boston. Ronda was handed a violin when she was very young. “There was a violin in the house that had belonged to my grandfather,” the 71-year-old Sandy Springs resident recalled recently. “My mother decided she would give it to me when I was young. When I was 4 or 5, she took me into New York to get lessons.” In fourth grade, she took lessons in her public school in New Jersey. She kept playing and earned a music degree from Indiana University. Then, in 1969, she took a job with the Atlanta Sympho-

ny Orchestra. She’s been there since, playing with the ASO for 49 years. Along the way, the 71-year-old Sandy Springs resident has played dozens of concerts a year with the orchestra and performed all sorts of music. She’s played Carnegie Hall. More than a few times. Respess isn’t the only older musician in metro Atlanta who’s still taking the stage after decades of performances. Performing music once may have seemed a young person’s game, but no more. From Atlanta Symphony Hall to farmers’ markets to arenas, local stages regularly host shows by musicians who display more than a touch of gray but are still playing after all these years.

Tom Gray, who once headed an Atlanta-based New Wave band named The Brains and now leads a blues band called Delta Moon, admits there was a time he thought it seemed laughable to say he’d still be playing music in bars past age 40. “I thought that was old,” he said during a chat at a coffee shop in Decatur, where he now lives. How does he feel now about taking the stage at age 66? “Actually, I feel good. I enjoy it still. I have to be more careful and I have to work harder than when I was young, but it’s still possible. It’s still fun.” With the ASO, Respess regularly plays classics by composers such as Brahms and Beethoven, but she’s also developed a taste for newer works by modern orhestral composers. She simply likes being a part of the orchestra, no matter what they’re playing. She also has given back to the metro Atlanta musical community in other ways. She teaches and founded and serves as artistic director of Sandy Springs-based Franklin Pond Chamber Music, which promotes chamber music by young performers. “I just love the music,” she said. “I just love being part of the collaboration that puts a piece like Brahms Two together. I’m more a collaborative person than a soloist. I love working all the little parts together into one whole. The best part is I get to listen to it from right there in the middle of the orchestra.” She says it’s the music that’s kept her engaged for nearly half a century. “It wasn’t the violin as much as the music,” she said. The violin was the vehicle. I can’t say I fell in love with the violin. I fell in love with the music.” But now she finds the work demands more of her physically, so after nearly a half-century of playing professionally, she’s contemplating retirement from the orchestra. She hasn’t decided when she wants to leave, she said. “I want to retire before I feel like I’m not doing the job the way I

When we play someplace, people know we’re playing for fun. It’s a way to be with people who are likeminded and just want to enjoy an activity together. LYNDA ANDERSON

should,” she said. Still, she plans to continue teaching and playing music after she retires. “I’ll play myself or play in quartets. Who knows?” she said. “I’m going to do what I want to do. I enjoy playing violin.” In Brookhaven, Mandolin and guitar player and teacher Clark Brown, who’s 65, says his retirement from a career in the printing business means he can find more time to play music. Brown first picked up a guitar as a teenager. He wanted to play rock and roll at first. “It was the ‘60s and everybody played guitar. I’d seen the Beatles on TV,” he said. He switched to the mandolin in the 1970s. About seven years ago, he started playing music fulltime. He performed at church and found jobs at farmers’ markets, weddings and Christmas parties. He arranged Beatles songs and other familiar pop tunes for the mando-


JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

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Art & Entertainment | 19

John and Lynda Anderson play their ukuleles on the screen porch of their Decatur home.

lin and developed a following. Now his house is filled with mandolins – he has five – and guitars. He teaches mandolin and guitar at a music school in Decatur. The average age of his students, he said, is about 60. “I love music,” Brown said. “One of my students the other day said, ‘I haven’t played my mandolin this week,’ and I said, ‘I’ve played three different mandolins and a guitar today.’” John and Lynda Anderson like playing for an audience, too. “When we play someplace, people know we’re playing for fun. It’s a way to be with people who are like-minded and just want to enjoy an activity together,” Lynda Anderson said one recent afternoon as the couple picked ukulele tunes while sitting on the screen porch of their instrumentfilled home. The Andersons play all sorts of instruments and all sorts of music. John, who’s 70 and retired from a four-decade career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plays clarinet, banjo, ukulele, guitar, harmonica,

squeezebox and hammered dulcimer. Lynda, who’s 69 and a retired schoolteacher, plays mountain dulcimer, recorder, ukulele, guitar and bass guitar. They perform together publicly a couple of dozen times a year with another pair of musicians as the Ukulele Society of Decatur. John also plays banjo in an old-time country dance band called the Peavine Creek String Band (named for the creek that runs through the yard of their Decatur home) and bass clarinet with the Callanwolde Concert Band. “It’s fun to play,” John Anderson said. “It’s also fun to have an effect, to perform for people. If people respond to you positively, it’s great.” Gray says he, too, still feels a thrill when he’s in front of a receptive audience. “A good show is always fun,” he said. “It was when I was a kid and it is now. When you’re onstage connecting with an audience and when energy is flowing both ways … that has not changed a bit since I was young.”

Let’s talk about something retirement communities hardly ever mention. Accreditation. Because having the confidence and peace of mind of accreditation is important. So, let’s talk. The Piedmont at Buckhead is accredited by CARF International. It’s an independent organization that sets exceedingly high standards for care and service. It’s a lot like an accreditation for a hospital or college. Or a five-star rating for a hotel. But like most things in life, you have to see it to believe it. So, let’s talk some more at a complimentary lunch and tour. Please call 404.381.1743 to schedule.

CORRECTION I n de p e n de n t & A s s i s t e d L i v i ng

650 Phipps Boulevard NE • Atlanta, GA www.ThePiedmontatBuckhead.com • 404.381.1743

Leaders of the Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon were incorrectly identified in the June 8 “Around Town” column. They are, from left, Joanie Shubin, Kate Kratovil and Valerie Habif. To read the column online, see ReporterNewspapers.net.


20 | Education

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Madeline Janowski North Springs Charter High School

changer. It set everything in place,” she said. Madeline’s mother, Stephanie, described how fencing is like a large family, where many fencers will see each other at multiple tournaments and constantly give each other encouragement and advice. “You can lose a bout and the other fencer will come over and say, ‘You know what, if you had done this move or that move, you could have gotten a touch on me’.” Madeline says her parents have been extremely supportive of her fencing, saying that they “have always driven me to reach the next level, to be competitive and achieve great things.” In addition to the moral and motivational support, Madeline recognized the physical and financial effort her family has put into helping her succeed by taking her to practice and traveling with Madeline to her national competitions, often turning them into family vacations. Her coaches also, she says, have been vital to her success, always giving her support and helping her practice, as well as just being there for her when she needs them. She found the fencing club she practices at because it was right near her house, but she has stayed with the club despite multiple new locations as she has developed relationships with her coaches and continues to learn from them. Her coach, Kathy Vail, said that Madeline’s focus, determination and ability to set goals for herself are extremely impressive and are key reasons for her success. Coach Vail believes that Madeline is well on her way to a Division I NCAA Fencing scholarship. “As a coach, it’s really a pleasure to work with a student like Madeline, who really enjoys her sport and understands the importance of hard work and really brings a lot to the table as an athlete,” Vail said.

At 7 years old, Madeline Janowski learned of what we become her passion: fencing. Now, eight years later, the rising ninth-grader, who will attend North Springs Charter High School in August, has excelled within a very competitive sport, winning the state championship and competing on a national level. Madeline became interested in fencing from watching it during the Olympics. Like many kids, she had played team sports at a young age, but her parents encouraged her to adopt an individual sport to help her build character and self-confidence. “My parents wanted something more individual, and they came across fencing. They knew I was already kind of interested in it,” she said, so they signed her up for lessons. Madeline fences with the epee, the most commonly used weapon in Georgia competitions. She competes in tournaments consisting of two rounds: pools and direct elimination. The tournaments she has attended have ranged from just three fencers to over two hundred. A fencing match, or bout, consists of two fencers trying to score points -- called touches -- by touching the other person with their weapon. When one is using the epee, the whole body is in play. Fencing didn’t always come easy for Madeline. “At first I was kind of nervous about it and it took me some time to be able to fence other people,” Madeline said. “It wasn’t just: Hey, you wanna go fence?” After a year and a half of fencing, she competed in her first national tournament. Left, Madeline Janowski poses with her trophy after winning the 2018 state championship. “I did absolutely awRight, Madeline Janowski fences against opponent at the ful, but it was cool to see 2017 North American Cup competition. all of that. It was a game

Standout Student

Education Briefs DEK A L B A S S I G N S N EW P EA C H TREE MID D LE PR INCIPAL

The DeKalb County School District has assigned a new principal to Peachtree Charter Middle School in Dunwoody. Donnie Davis, a former assistant principal at Henderson Middle School in DeKalb County, will serve as the next principal, according to a letter to parents. Davis replaces Scott Hepinstall, who had been the principal since 2009. Hepinstall was reassigned to another position in the school district following criticism over the schools administration’s handling of a widely-reported bullying incident in late 2017. The school foundation plans to host an event to meet Davis on July 11 at the school, 4664 North Peachtree Road, from 5 to 6 p.m.

N OR T H SP RI N GS STUDEN TS C RE ATE AR T F O R S A N DY SP RIN GS C H A MBER EVENT

Two North Springs Charter High School art students designed table centerpieces for the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber’s event benefitting a nonprofit. The June 12 event raised money for The Drake House, a Roswell-based nonprofit that provides housing and education for homeless single mothers. The art students, Zoel Keith and Devante George, and their teacher John Gresens, used laser cutters to design and create wooden centerpieces for the Drake House Fashion Show, Rockin’ the Runway, which was held at the UPS headquarters in Sandy Springs. “This is our 6th annual Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber Women’s Business Network fashion show benefitting The Drake House,” said, “and this year we are excited to unveil our new theme and branded name, Rockin’ the Runway, and collaborate with North Springs’ amazing art department on wooden centerpiece silhouettes that reflect this theme.”

What’s next?

Madeline is excited to compete in the Georgia high school fencing league, which will provide her with more competitions and more experience. She will continue to practice with Coach Vail at her current fencing club as she aims to improve and achieve even greater success. As for her fencing, she’d like to continue to go as far as she can, perhaps to international competitions or play in the college league. This article was written and reported by Max Goldstein, a student at Atlanta Jewish Academy. Editor’s Note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases some of the outstanding students at our local schools. To recommend a “Standout Student” for our series, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with information about the student and why you think he or she should be featured.

“We will use them for years to come and are proud to share this example of bringing the business, non-profit and educational worlds together to support such a great cause,” said Karen Trylovich, the chair of the Women’s Business Network, the committee of the chamber that hosted the event. Gresens praised the partnership as a way for the students to be a part of the community and work with other parts of the school, including the graphic design department, which helped them design the pieces. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids to reach outside to the community and we’ve all learned something new,” he said.

R IVERWO O D S TUDENT S V I S IT G ER M A NY

Three Riverwood International Charter School Students are visiting Germany as part of a program led by former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves. Malcolm Stewart, LaBrauns Stinson and Zechiah Weekley were chosen to participate in the 2018 Global Youth Ambassador Program, according to a press release. The students are attending high school classes in Nuremberg, visiting Munich and Berlin and cultural sites. The students stay with local families, according to the release.

SPECIAL

Malcolm Stewart, left, LaBrauns Stinson, second from left, and Zechiah Weekley, right, will visit Germany as part of program led by former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves, third from left.


JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

Classifieds | 21

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Reporter Classifieds

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Brook Run design, cost details get clearer Continued from page 1 preliminary concept designs for the park. Concept plans were first presented to council last month and were revised a bit to take into account some of the council’s concerns, including size and saving trees. In the Great Lawn area, amenities include a band shell with terraced seating in the 6-acre Great Lawn area as well as a pavilion and an open field. The two multi-use fields to be located in the back of the park, for such sports as lacrosse and soccer, will also include a concession stand and more parking. “We want to make sure the council is on board with this site plan … and the size and location of the amenities,” Walker said at the meeting. With these concepts in place, Walker said Lose & Associates could move forward from a “10,000-foot” overview and design of the project and come down to “100 feet” to include clear cost estimates. The Great Lawn area design right now includes about 2 acres for terraced seating for people to watch a live performance, two acres for families with small children to sit and listen to a performance and then another 2-acre open lawn area. The Great Lawn design is based on the amenities, needs and desires identified through the Parks Master Plan public in-

A concept design for the Great Lawn area in Brook Run Park includes a band shell, terraced seating and open field areas. The dark green shading shows where trees are standing and the light green shading shows where trees would have to be cut down to construct the proposed Great Lawn viewing area.

put process, public meetings and community surveys conducted over the past year and a half. The updated design from last month reflects plan adjustments to help relocate the pavilion as well as relocate the band shell/ seating area to assist in reducing the overall

disturbed area and amount of grading, saving 35 percent more trees over the original plan, according to city officials. Some council members questioned whether the entire 6 acres must be used and their considerations will be taken into account.

CITY OF DUNWOODY

The council also raised questions about turf for the new multi-use fields. Project manager Eric Johnson said there is about $750,000 budgeted for turf. Building an underground retention facility could cost about $7 million, he said. More trees can be saved by building an underground retention facility, he added. There is still not an exact number of how many trees will be cut down for the Great Lawn and multi-use fields, Walker said. The next set of designs should make that number clearer. The updated design for the two multiuse fields includes two multi-use sports fields with a concession stand, overlook plaza, improved parking, rest rooms and an added entrance from Barclay Drive. The updated design includes larger retaining walls, which help to minimize potential tree loss and also implement improved underground detention, Walker explained. Resident Rob Weir, who lives near Brook Run Park, questioned the pace the council and Lose & Associates were moving forward with the designs. Public input into what residents wanted to see in the park was sought for about a year, but the concept designs were unveiled just a few weeks ago, he said. Locking in the size and location of the Great Lawn and multi-use fields without such consideration as trying to save more trees stifles any future use of how to use the park, he said. City Manager Eric Linton told the council that the Great Lawn is the largest variable in the park project. The city can continue to discuss the shape but agreeing to move forward with the concept plans created with resident and council input allows the consultants to come up with even firmer plans and cost estimates. The public is invited to comment on the Brook Run Park project through July 3 at dunwoodyga.gov. DUN


JUNE 22 - JULY 5, 2018

Public Safety | 23

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Police Blotter / Dunwoody From Dunwoody Police reports dated June 9 through June 16. The following information was pulled from Dunwoody’s Police-2-Citizen website.

LARCENY/ SHOPLIFTING/THEFT „„6100 block of Abercorn Avenue — On

June 9, at midnight, items were reported missing from a car. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 9, in the morning, a shoplifting incident was reported. „„1200 block of Hammond Drive — On

June 9, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported. „„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

June 9, in the afternoon, a shoplifting incident was reported. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 9, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 9, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 12, in the early morning, a forced-entry burglary to a nonresidence was reported. „„4800 block of Lakeside Drive — On

June 12, in the afternoon, items were reported stolen from a car.

shoplifting incident was reported.

„„100 block of Perimeter Center West —

„„4400

On June 14, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a building.

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 14, at noon, a shoplifting incident was reported. „„100 block of Perimeter Center West —

On June 14, at noon, items were reported missing from a car.

„„2300

block of Dunwoody Crossing — On June 12, in the evening, a car was reported stolen.

4400 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On 14, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„

„„4600

block of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road — On June 12, in the evening, a forced-entry burglary was reported at a home.

4500 block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On 14, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of „„

„„1200 block of Ashford Crossing — On

shoplifting.

June 12, at night, items were reported missing from a vehicle.

„„4500

„„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 14, in the morning, a

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On 14, in the afternoon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 15, in the afternoon, two people were arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 15, in the evening, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 15, at night, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 16, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 16, in the afternoon, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4700

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 16, at night, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting.

„„1100 block of Hammond Drive — On

June 9, at night, a woman was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„4300 block of North Peachtree Road

— On June 10, in the early morning, two incidents of forced-entry burglary to a non-residence were reported. „„100 block of Perimeter Center — On

June 10, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a car. „„4500

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 10, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a car. „„4500

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 10, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a car. „„1200 block of Ashford Crossing — On

June 10, in the evening, items were reported stolen from a car. „„5500 block of Chamblee-Dunwoody

Road — On June 10, at night, items were stolen from a building. „„4400

block of Ashford-Dunwoody Road — On June 11, around noon, a man was arrested and accused of shoplifting. „„1200 block of Hammond Drive — On

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On June 11, at night, items were reported stolen from a car. DUN


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