06-23-17 Buckhead Reporter

Page 1

JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017 • VOL. 11— NO. 13




Perimeter Business

Buckhead Reporter

► Joining the circus

in Buckhead


► Movie biz booms

behind the screens


Juneteenth tales

Property tax assessments rolled back amid outrage BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net Amid outrage over a huge boost in property assessments, Fulton County is rescinding appraisals for residential properties and asking the state legislature for new laws to prevent a repeat of the pain in 2018. Hundreds of residents attended recent public meetings about the assessments to express frustration over the increases and what some see as a lack of transparency. David Crest, a Buckhead resident, argued at a June 19 town hall meeting that all the information assessors use to appraise properSee COUNTY on page 13 PHIL MOSIER

Storyteller Donna Kokumo Buie, performing as “Mama Koku,” gets help from audience members Simon Luscan (left), 4, and Masyn Roberts, 6, at the Atlanta History Center’s Juneteenth celebration on June 18. The center hosted exhibits, talks and performances over two days for Juneteenth, which marks the 1865 emancipation of slaves in Texas and the end of slavery in the United States.


City approves $3M to build two new parks

OUT & ABOUT Fire up your Fourth! Page 19

Tuxedo Park supports new construction controls BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Page 11

Like many others, I received a shock in late May in the form of my Annual Notice of Assessment from the Fulton County Board of Assessors. My assessment went up 65 percent. LEE MORRIS

Fulton County Commissioner

Tuxedo Park residents hope temporary construction controls that went into effect June 14 will protect the character of their neighborhood, which they believe is threatened by new, large houses. “I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Mercy Sandber-Wright, a board member and former president of the Tuxedo Park Civic Association. The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously on June 5 to impose new control-

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2 | Community

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An appeal to revisit the decision to allow a developer to route a drainpipe through Peachtree Hills Park was approved by the Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission May 17. The developer, Ashton Woods, has appealed that decision to Superior Court. Atlanta City Council voted May 1 to pass an ordinance that will allow a developer, Ashton Woods, to run the pipe through the park and into Peachtree Creek, cutting down trees in the process. The proposal to cut down trees in a public park brought opposition from residents, including Laura Dobson, who made an appeal to the Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission. That commission upheld an appeal May 17 that the decision to allow a storm water drainpipe to be run through Peachtree Hills Park must be revisited, but didn’t uphold two other parts of Dobson’s appeal. Dobson’s appeal addressed three problems she had with the council’s decision: allowing the removal of street trees, the removal of boundary trees (on the border between the park and the construction site), and allowing the drainpipe to be installed in the park. The only part of her appeal upheld con-

cerned the drainpipe, and the commission requested that the park arborist review the plan and make a recommendation on whether the pipe needs to run through Peachtree Hills Avenue or the park. The developer has filed an appeal to Superior Court over the commission upholding one part of Dobson’s appeal. The developer’s attorney Carl Westmoreland said they filed the appeal on June 16, shortly before the end of the 30-day deadline. Westmoreland hopes they can work out a solution with the city and not have to continue with the appeal to higher court, but filed just in case they can’t come to a resolution. Dobson wanted to appeal the decision to not uphold the other two parts of her appeal, but was unable to navigate the process on her own and couldn’t find counsel to represent her. She will attend Ashton Woods’ hearings, however. “Unfortunately, after living at the Fulton County Law Library and annoying absolutely everyone there and in the Clerk of Superior Court office, I had to come to the conclusion that a court case was beyond my ability and knowledge,” Dobson said. “With much regret, I could not pursue it,” she said in an email.

U .S. R EP. LO U D ER MI L K WAS AT G O P BASEBA L L SHO O TING ; IS ‘ O K’ U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) was among the Republican officials attending a baseball practice session attacked by a gunman on June 14. Five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, were wounded, but Loudermilk said on social media that he was uninjured. “I was on the field, but I’m okay. This was a senseless act of evil,” said Loudermilk, whose 11th Congressional District includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs, on his Twitter account. “Please pray for those who were shot and their families. There were a lot of heroes here today.” Several Republican members of Congress and their staffs and family members were at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., to practice for a charity baseball game against a similar team of Democrats. A gunman opened fire before he was killed by police officers, according to the Washington Post and other media reports. The gunman has been identified in media reports as James T. Hodgkinson III, 66, of Illinois, who was a Democratic activist with an arrest record including charges of battery and domestic violence.

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk

President Donald Trump made a public statement expressing support for the shooting victims, praising the police response, and calling for political unity. Karen Handel, who at the time of the shooting was campaigning for the 6th Congressional seat condemned the shooting in Twitter statements. “Steve & I send our thoughts & prayers to Rep. Scalise, Capitol police, staff, and everyone affected by this horrific attack this morning in Virginia,” Handel said on behalf of herself and her husband.


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JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Community | 3


Residents voice concerns about proposed Wieuca/Phipps roundabout BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net


Residents and members of the neighborhood group that originally asked for a solution to traffic congestion at Wieuca Road and Phipps Boulevard are pushing back against the proposed roundabout at that intersection. Residents had the chance to voice opinions on the roundabout at a June 7 public meeting. Comments from residents during the question-and-answer portion of the meeting were overwhelmingly negative. The concerns vary, but many people at the meeting said they do not trust the consultants and do not believe they have accurate data and studies to back up their claims for the project. About 50 people came to the meeting held at Wieuca Road Baptist Church. Representatives of the North Buckhead Civic Association went to the Buckhead Community Improvement District in 2005 with concerns about increased traffic in the area, especially as new developments were being proposed near the intersection. “This was not something dreamed up by the city of Atlanta or the BCID,” Darion Dunn, director of capital improvements and planning for the BCID, said. “This came to us from the community.” But Gordon Certain, the president of the North Buckhead Civic Association, expressed at the organization’s May 22 board meeting that he hasn’t been satisfied by BCID’s approach. Most of the information provided to the NBCA has been renderings of the roundabout, but as a group with several engineers on the board, Certain would like to see traffic data. “Basically, all we’ve been seeing is pictures,” Certain said at the meeting. At the meeting, the possibility of the NBCA hiring their own engineer to take a look at the roundabout proposal was discussed. The BCID is working in conjunction with city officials and the Renew Atlanta bond program, a $250 million initiative to improve city infrastructure. Consultants from Pond and Co. say the roundabout would move traffic through the intersection more quickly than the current traffic light, but is also designed to move traffic at a pace slow enough to ensure pedestrian and driver safety. The roundabout also would improve safety, the consultants say, because it adds bike lanes and crosswalks with flashing beacons around the roundabout. The consultants gave some examples of traffic studies they have done on the area, including findings that many crashes at the intersection involve left turns that would be eliminated if a roundabout were installed. The roundabout is in the early stages of development and is still only a concept, consultants reminded residents at the June 7 meeting. All comments about the

roundabout will be considered, they said. But some residents said they still have the feeling that the roundabout will move forward, no matter their complaints. If the roundabout moves forward as proposed, work is projected to begin in the fall of 2018 and will cost an estimated $3 million. Consultants still have to create a final design and it has to be approved by the city of Atlanta. Public comment from this meeting and a previous public meeting will be factored into the final design, if the proposal moves forward. The June 7 meeting was planned to include a short presentation and question-and-answer session before transitioning into breakout sessions with residents asking consultants questions individually. However, the questionand-answer session lasted longer than planned after a resident posted that the organizers were trying to break the group up so they couldn’t hear each other’s comments. “You guys seem to be intent on your plan. I don’t think you’re listening to what we have to say,” the resident said. Frustration mounted after a resident asked about why one entrance requires cars to cross one lane in the roundabout if the driver wants to continue toward Ga. 400. The consultant, Graham Malone, a transportation engineer, seemed to not understand the question and the question went unanswered. Residents are also concerned about the future of North Buckhead Park, which is near the intersection and could lose some square footage if the roundabout is built. “You want to chop the park in half to the make the intersection prettier? I’m not really down with that either,” Charles Mendez, who lives close to the intersection on Phipps Road, said. Pedro Torres, the landscape architect for the project, said he was glad community members brought up concerns about the park and said he wants them to know his team will do as much as they can to save as much land as they can. Certain, whose group landscapes and tends to the park, is concerned they will not be involved in the decisions regarding the park. Other community members brought up the future of a large, old magnolia tree outside the church. Torres said that tree will likely not survive the construction. The tree will be damaged by construction, and it’s often too costly to try to relocate trees that large, Torres said. One option to save as much park land as possible is to eliminate the bike lanes on that side of Wieuca Road, he said. One resident described the plan to build bike lanes on both sides of the road as “overkill” because he doesn’t see that much bike traffic on the road. The consultants said they have been


Steve Bitney, a consultant with Pond and Company, answers questions from Charles Mendez, who lives near the proposed roundabout on Phipps Boulevard, at a June 7 public meeting.

encouraged by the city to build bike lanes, and touted the fact that installing those bike lanes will provide a connection to PATH400. Most residents are concerned that the roundabout simply will not solve traffic congestion and that the real issues that need to be addressed are fixing traffic on Peachtree Road, which is near the site of the proposed roundabout. They are also concerned that trying to build a round-

about with so many traffic lights nearby sets the project up for failure because traffic will back up at those lights. Malone said he has been able to find other examples in the U.S. of roundabouts in similar situations that have worked. He also said he has traffic data to back up the consultants’ claim that the roundabout will ease traffic. More information about the project can found on renewatlantabond.com.



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Joining the circus in Buckhead with the Imperial OPA troupe BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

Imperial OPA circus founder Timothy Mack juggles pins.


Timothy Mack is one of those guys who really did run away and join the circus. Now he gathers performers to join his own, the Atlanta-based Imperial OPA circus. Surrounded by tumbling acrobats and twirling aerialists on a recent night at the Imperial OPA’s small training gym in Buckhead, Mack explained how the circus is a noble art and a tough business. “I think a lot of people think of circus as an oddity or a curiosity,” said the 38-year-old ringmaster and circusfounder, who sports a classic handlebar moustache, explaining the art has mood-changing and life-altering po-

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tential. “Entertainment can really heal people … You can be happy, be amazed.” Mack will help the country celebrate the art as one of two ringmasters at this year’s circus-focused Smithsonian Folklife Festival, running June 29-July 6 in Washington, D.C. Just weeks ago, he also personally experienced the business’s challenges, traveling as a stagehand on the final run of the legendary Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which shut down in May after a 146-year history. The circus business is “a lot of hustling to keep the lights on,” he said. But its unconventional charms can be their own reward, as easily seen on that training night. The Imperial OPA is based at a downtown office, but holds open practices and its “Circus School of Atlanta” classes at Buck’s Sports Barn, a small, red building hidden behind a row of storefronts at 2303 Peachtree Road. The one-room gym, overseen by a giant painting of Muhammad Ali, was topped with a multicolored cloth suggesting a circus tent. Mats and a springboard were on the floor for the acrobats, including Rocco Lapaire and Nova Hawkins, a duo who perform regularly on cruise ships. A trapeze and ropes and sheets, or “silks,” dangled from the ceiling for aerialists like Amelia Chambless. “A lot of adrenaline,” said Chambless, a 20-year-old Dunwoody resident, explaining the appeal of climbing and twirling on the silks. “It just gives me a lot of self-confidence.” She’s proud that she has performed on 40-foot-tall silks at Midtown’s Opera nightclub, where she once saw another aerialist during her prom. And she’s so enthusiastic, she bought her own training rig for about $3,000 and drives around with it in her Jeep so she can practice in local parks. That’s the kind of daring and emotion that Mack said drew him into the circus life. In 2005, the Connecticut native found himself at a personal low point after a broken relationship. So he joined the circus, signing on with the famous Canadian troupe Cirque du Soleil as a photographer. Traveling the East Coast with Cirque, he enjoyed the freewheeling, colorful Continued on page 8

JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017


Perimeter Business | 5

Movie biz booms behind the screens BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Metro Atlanta has become a major hub of film and TV productions, including the home of Marvel Studios’ multibillion-dollar superhero movies. In the Perimeter area, businesses are finding opportunities in newly trained workers, the trading of the state’s lucrative filmmaking tax credits – and, yes, making movies.


Even without post-production work, the tax credits have created a workforce of more than 100,000 people that have an average annual salary of $84,000, with some making more than $150,000 a year, Stefrpakoff said. One concern about bringing the film industry to Georgia is making sure the state has the workforce to support it, he said. If there aren’t enough Georgia residents here to fill the jobs, the productions will bring in people from out of state, giving the money saved from tax credits to people who don’t live here, he said. “We want to make sure there is

Georgia needs to become a place where a movie can be produced from start to finish, not just filmed, and the Georgia Film Academy is working to fill that gap, Jeff Stepakoff, the executive director of the program, said at the Buckhead Business Association’s June 15 luncheon. Stepakoff credits Georgia’s varying environments, access to an international airport and, of course, state tax credits for making the state desirable to the film industry, he said at the luncheon, held in JW Marriott in Buckhead. Tax credits established in Georgia in 2008 have a brought a flurry of TV and movie productions to the state. “The effects of all of this producTWENTIETH CENTURY FOX “The Watch” is one movie Monarch Private Capital tion and all this worked with to sell leftover tax credits. economic activity here in our state have been nothing short of transformative,” Stepakoff enough crew to do the work and we said. won’t be sending tax dollars out of the But to be sustainable and not a fad, state,” Stepakoff said. Georgia has to become an environment The Georgia Film Academy was crewhere every step of film production ated to fill that void. The program becan happen, he said. Right now, crews gan in January 2015 with Gov. Nathan are filming many TV shows and movies Deal’s announcement of a film indusin the state, but post-production work try training program to ensure the such as editing and animation are hapstate had workers to support the induspening elsewhere. try. Since that announcement, more “Basically, we’re producing other than 75 students have successfully gotpeople’s movies,” Stepakoff said. ten jobs in the Georgia film industry, To solve the problem, Georgia needs Stepakoff said. to bring in TV and movie writers and “We need to take advantage of producers with post-production skills what’s happening now to build a legacy and the academy is “aggressively planfor our state,” Stepakoff said. ning” to implement training for writers and producers, Stepakoff said. Continued on page 6

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Movie biz booms behind the screens

A promotional banner shows the two main characters of the film “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.” FUN ACADEMY MOTION PICTURES

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Georgia provides tax credits for up to 30 percent of what a company spends in the state, and often a production company doesn’t owe enough in taxes to use them all so they are sold to businesses or individuals who can. To sell film credits, Buckhead-based Monarch Private Capital works with production companies to find buyers for a tax credit they can’t use, Robin Delmer, the managing director of acquisitions, said. The buyers are able to buy the tax credits for less than they are worth. To qualify for tax credits, the productions have to spend at least $500,000 in the state. Georgia offers a 20 percent tax credit to all productions that qualify, and an additional 10 percent is available if productions include the Georgia logo and a link to Georgia’s tourism site on the production’s website, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s website. “Usually, production companies don’t have enough Georgia tax liability, so the tax credits would basically go to waste,” Delmer said. The state encourages this, Delmer said, because the production companies have already spent money in the state. The buyers are often corporations and the tax credits from one company often are split among several buyers, Delmer said. The credits can’t be resold to another buyer, however. Delmer couldn’t release the names of specific movies or shows they have worked with, but Monarch mostly works with large productions, he said. According to the company’s website, Monarch did work with “The Watch,” a Ben Stiller comedy movie filmed in Georgia in 2012, to sell film tax credits.

MAKING THE MOVIES Former state Rep. Joe Wilkinson, who represented parts of Sandy Springs and Buckhead, is the president of a company creating an animated movie about a real-life World War I military dog named Sgt. Stubby. The film company, Fun Academy Motion Pictures, released the first trailer for the movie, “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” on June 15 and plans to release the full film in April 2018. Its voice actors include Helena Bonham Carter and Gérard Depardieu. When production for the movie began, there were no animation studios in Georgia that could produce a quality animated movie, so animation is being done in Canada and France, Fun Academy spokesperson Jordan Beck said. Wilkinson is working out of his office in Sandy Springs and his home on St. Simons Island, but he hopes to bring the entire production team to Georgia eventually, mentioning the tax credits as one reason. “It’s just done wonders for the film business,” said Wilkinson, who helped pass the tax credits during his tenure as a state lawmaker. There were plans to open a Buckhead office for the Sgt. Stubby film, but the company is still determining if it’s needed, Wilkinson said. Beck said the company is opening the state’s first film distribution center in Columbus, Ga., which does everything involving getting movies to the public, including making promotional materials and getting the film shown in theaters. The center is currently working on the “Sgt. Stubby” movie release to 2,500 theaters, but will also work with other production companies to market their movies and get them into theaters. To read more about Sgt. Stubby and the movie, visit stubbymovie.com.

JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Perimeter Business | 7


Business Briefs


The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual gala on June 10 at Flourish in Buckhead. Among those celebrating were, from left, new GHCC president Santiago Marquez; Wendy Corona of WSBTV; Guiomar Obregon, president of Precision 2000; and Alejandro Coss, president of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia. The GHCC has about 1,100 members and is based in Buckhead.


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circus life. He started picking up such skills as juggling and fire-spinning. “You hang out with Russian guys eating tons of food. They ask you to marry their Cuban girlfriend so she can stay in the country,” he recalled. But what really struck him was the effect on the audience. “You would see guests as they came in” – he pulled a frown – “and saw them leave” – he smiled broadly. Mack came to Atlanta and got an animation job at a videogame company – one of those digital challengers that can make business hard for reallife performers. But he didn’t forget the circus’s impact and set out to start his own. After an early, unsuccessful effort, he formed the Imperial OPA in 2008. “Opa!” is a Greek exclamation of celebration, so Mack says the circus’s name

loosely translates to “the Big Cheer” -“because as an entertainer, that’s what we’re going for.” The Imperial OPA joins a small, closely knit circus community in Atlanta, which also includes the downtownbased UniverSoul hip-hop circus. The Buck’s Sports Barn classes are one way performers meet, develop acts and join the circus. Particular performances are based on the setting and client and can include varying numbers and types of performers. “We’ve done all the ranges,” from street performances to stage shows, said Mack. The Imperial OPA has performed at street festivals and provided performers for the popular TV series “The Vampire Diaries.” It staged cabaret shows and productions with such titles as “Night of the Living Circus.” Its clients have included the Atlanta Bo-

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Perimeter Business | 9


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Perimeter North Family Medicine Welcoming new patients! Top: Amelia Chambless, right, strikes a pose on the aerial silks, while acrobats Nova Hawkins and Rocco Lapaire practice. Above: Amanda Richards practices on the aerial silks.

tanical Gardens and 11Alive. All that work has big up-front costs. Renting a performance space can run $3,000 to $4,000 a night. Performers have to be paid – anywhere from $100 to $1,000 each, depending on skills – and a big show can take 20 of them. Costumes have to be made. Insurance has to be bought. Last year, the Imperial OPA had revenues over $175,000, with the majority going to performers’ pay, Mack said. The troupe is far from Mack’s million-dollar dream of setting up its own permanent circus space. He says it needs a more sustainable and stable business model, and may seek official nonprofit status. Right now, it accepts donations through Fractured Atlas, an organization that acts as a fiscal agent for small arts groups. Even planning a circus show can

have a big effect, Mack said, recalling how a former hardware store clerk told him how an unusual Imperial OPA request inspired him to follow his own dreams to become an architect. “‘You came into Home Depot one day and you asked me how to build a bed of nails … You changed my life,’” Mack recalled the man saying. That kind of perspective shift is what Mack hopes audiences take away from Imperial OPA, whose performers range from teens to an 86-year-old acrobat. “I hope people get inspired that they can do anything,” said Mack. “It’s never too late to have a passion, to throw your heart and soul into the ring.” For more information, see theimperialopa.com.

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Commentary / Answers to the property tax sticker shock Like many others, I received a shock in late May in the form of my Annual Notice of Assessment from the Fulton County Board of Assessors (BOA). My assessment went up 65 percent. On June 21, we on the Board of Commissioners voted to direct the BOA to use the 2016 residential property assessments with some modifications. We all know that home values in metro Atlanta are recovering from the recession. Unfortunately, the BOA has not been keeping up with re-appraisals as it should have. As a result, we saw in 2017 sharp increases in appraisals that should have occurred more gradually. State law requires counties to appraise properties at “fair market value.” The state notified Fulton’s BOA that, based on preliminary comparison of sales and tax appraisals on homes sold, Fulton homes were appraised at about 79 percent of fair market value in 2016. Failure of a county to appraise at fair market value can result, and has resulted, in fines from the state. Indeed, Fulton and the state Department of Revenue are in litigation over prior years’ issues. I and my colleagues on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners worked hard with the Department of Revenue to find relief for the large increases in valuations and fairly obvious valuation errors, given constraints on our power under state law. We then found an old law that gave us the power to correct errors, and used that on June 21. Following our June 21 vote, we are now looking to the state leg-

islature to avoid a recurrence of the problem in future years. Citizens should support any General Assembly member’s efforts in the next session to avoid this kind of sticker shock in the future. Should they implement a cap on the percentage increase any homeowner incurs in a given year? Should they simplify the myriad of Fulton homestead exemptions for seniors based on age and Lee Morris income, which are so numerous, compliFulton County cated and based on different definitions of Commissioner income, that many entitled to them do not make use of them? Should Atlanta ask for the provision that limits increases for residences to the Consumer Price Index? (This cap currently applies only to the Fulton County operating millage and the city of Sandy Springs millage.) Finally, should Fulton County have a senior school tax exemption like Cobb County? We all know seniors who move from Fulton to Cobb solely because of the burden of the school tax. Citizens who have a position on any of those topics should let their General Assembly representatives know. Lee Morris is the Fulton County commissioner for District 3, which includes parts of Buckhead and Sandy Springs.

Commentary / Trailways are making connections Activating and connecting the Dunwoody community is of critical importance to the Dunwoody Parks and Recreation department. Our goal is to develop and maintain superior parks, trail networks, greenspace and playgrounds which help elevate the overall quality of life for residents. From the city’s array of multi-use trails and sidewalks to its parks and open greenspace, Dunwoody offers a number of Brent Walker options for an active and healthy lifestyle. Director of the Since its incorporation, the city has Dunwoody Parks and added three miles of multi-use trails, 11 Recreation department. miles of sidewalks and 13 miles of bike lanes. The city is using newly created trails to connect neighborhoods and parks, impacting quality of life, as well as home and business values, for many years to come. Trails help link areas of the city to improve connectivity and convenience and potentially relieve congestion and traffic. Many new families and young professionals are drawn to Dunwoody because of the city’s convenient accessibility and amenities, including its expanding network of trails. The current public passion for trails has not always been as strong as it is today. Approximately six years ago, the idea of a proposed “greenway” along Georgia Power Co.’s high-voltage transmission line right of way was rather expediently removed from transportation plans due to public opposition. And when the current Brook Run Park multi-use trail was approved and being constructed, groups of residents opposed its creation and even took the city to court to try and stop the trail’s construction. But something unique and energizing occurred through these incidents. A gradual community acceptance of the trail’s existence was followed by a measured use of the multi-use trail. Today there exists an enthusiastic demand for additional trails and future trail

connections. Residents now express a desire to take a short walk from their tree-lined neighborhood to local stores or restaurants. There’s a growing movement towards active exercise and non-motorized transportation to nearby conveniences, a craving which either did not exist prior or was just undeveloped. Trails are important amenities for travelers and visitors as well. According to the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), a number of local hotel general managers say guests often request directions to or information on nearby trails for exercise and enjoyment. A 2015 research study conducted by the CVB documented feedback from visitors to Dunwoody who stated the need for parks and trails accessible by their hotel for walking, jogging, or enjoying nature. This desire for trails echoes the input Dunwoody citizens shared through the Parks Master Plan Update survey conducted in 2016. Trail connectivity has sprouted from Dunwoody parks, out of and through neighborhoods, and now is awakening within the heart of the city’s Perimeter Center business district. The Perimeter Center Improvement Districts are currently working with Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven to provide transportation and recreation options for the workers and residents in the area. Currently, the city is exploring an extension of the Dunwoody Trailway coming out of Georgetown Park at Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. The hope is to continue the trail along I-285, through the Georgetown subdivision, and eventually to connect with Perimeter Center East and the greater Perimeter area. With the continued extension of PATH400 in Buckhead and into Sandy Springs, there is also an opportunity for the city to connect its multi-use trail system into the regional trail network. Great trails and connectivity support active families and thriving communities. By exploring new trails and paths, Dunwoody is establishing itself as an active and healthy example of a true “live, work, play” location.


JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Community | 11





A 2016 concept drawing of Old Ivy Park, showing play equipment, landscaping and art painted on the roadway.


Grand Opening Special

City approves $3M to build two new parks BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Atlanta City Council on June 19 unanimously approved spending $3 million to turn two Buckhead lots into fully equipped public parks. Pine Hills Park on Lenox Road and Old Ivy Park in North Buckhead will be outfitted with park equipment, which may include accessible walking paths, playgrounds, pavilions, plazas, bike racks and park benches. The money will come from a trust fund paid into by developers for impact fees. The lots were previously purchased by the city in an effort to increase green space in Buckhead. District 7 Councilmember Howard Shook, who represents part of Buckhead, has been part of the effort and said in a press release, “We’ve doubled our green space inventory in a very short period of time and there are no plans to slow down now.” Pine Hills Park is located at 3148 and 3162 Lenox Road in the Pine Hills neighborhood near MARTA’s Lenox Station and the Lenox Square Mall. The combined 4-acre lots were purchased by the city in 2013 and 2016. Last winter, residents formed a Friends of Pine Hills Park group to support and help design the park. The council approved the park under the name “Lenox Park,” which is also the name of a different park in Brookhaven and of a Buckhead neighborhood. Sally Silver, Shook’s policy director, said “Lenox Park” is just a placeholder name for what

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will be called Pine Hills Park. Pine Hills Park will start from a blank slate, Shook said. No plans have been developed yet for the park, so the improvements will take longer, Shook said. Construction will likely begin later this year, he said. Old Ivy Park is located at 519 Old Ivy Road and is just under one acre. It was established during the building of PATH400, a trail network that will eventually connect to the Atlanta Beltline. Lenox Park potentially will connect to PATH400 in the future, Shook said. A concept design for Old Ivy Park has already been drawn by Livable Buckhead and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The conceptual design includes a lawn area, an “iconic” pavilion, terraced seating and some unusual art features, including colorful ovals painted on the roadway to slow traffic, and artwork that children and adults can climb on or interact with. The park concept extends down the street beneath a Ga. 400 overpass, where street lights and exercise equipment for children and adults could be installed, along with on-street parking. The design may change, depending on the budget. “We’ll see how far the money goes,” Shook said. The plans to make the lots public parks are part of the “Buckhead Collection” plan, a framework created in 2010 to add 106 acres of green spaces and trails to council District 7. From left, Atlanta Classical Academy student volunteers Charlotte Taylor, Margaret Taylor, Aurora Santifer, Matthew Celecia and Alex Hoefer join Joe Santifer and Gillian Taylor pose earlier this year at the future Pine Hills Park on Lenox Road. JOHN RUCH



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Tuxedo Park supports new construction controls Continued from page 1

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son demolition and construction of single-family homes in the neighborhood. The new rules require any planned house to be smaller than the largest existing house on the block. The controls will be in effect for six months. The Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, a trade association, declined to comment about the ordinance. Another major developer advocacy organization, the Council for Quality Growth, could not be reached for comment. The ordinance comes after residents fought against construction of a mansion on Woodhaven Road. Residents argued the planned home was too large for their neighborhood and objected to the number of trees cut down to make way for the house, and on May 16, construction was halted by the city. A smaller home was demolished to make way for the mansion. The owner of the mansion, Christian Fletcher, declined to comment on the new controls. A historic mansion designed by famous Atlanta architect Philip Shutze also was demolished in Tuxedo Park last year. The Buckhead Heritage Society, which advocates for the protection of historic buildings, supports the ordinance for a neighborhood that has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. “While many of our historic neighborhoods are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the designation does not protect properties within those districts from demolition,” Carmie McDonald, the society’s executive director, said in an email. “We support the development of local ordinances that provide protection for our irreplaceable historic resources.” Jay Steele, president of the Tuxedo Park Civic Association, emphasized that his neighborhood is not against development, but that residents want some input in the new construction and demolition. Recent developments made residents realize there are almost no restrictions on new construction, Steele said. “We wanted a method to be mindful of keeping the character of the neighborhood,” Steele said. The ordinance prevents the Department of City Planning from issuing any permits to demolish or construct homes in the neighborhood without the plans being vetted by city officials first. The ordinance instructs city planning officials to direct anyone seeking a permit to build and tear down homes in Tuxedo Park to the director of the Office of Zoning and Development. The property owner must send plans to that office, and the director will determine if the planned house is an appropriate size for the neighborhood, which is near Chastain Park. To be considered compatible to the neighborhood, the proposed house will have to be no larger than the largest house on the block. Councilmember Mary Norwood said she drafted the ordinance in response to messages she got from the civic association board and residents concerned about development. Norwood also lives in Tuxedo Park and saw how the development was changing her neighborhood. Large houses and clear-cutting are particular problems for Tuxedo Park because most homes sit on large lots surrounded by wooded land. When homeowners have that extra acreage, it allows them to build much larger houses than in most other areas in the city, Norwood said. “The city code is not designed to handle areas with wooded land,” she said. Norwood hasn’t heard that the problem is prevalent in other neighborhoods, but said any other neighborhoods that need similar controls can contact her. The ordinance is also intended to protect trees in the neighborhood from clearcutting that happens when large developments are built, a measure resident Jean Astrop said is desperately needed. Developers cut down as many trees as they need to and pay the recompense fees required by the city, she said. But she argues those fees are small compared to the costs of building the mansions. “They just laugh about it. They say it’s the cost of doing business,” said Astrop, who is on the civic association board. That presents a problem for the block of Woodhaven Road, where the large mansion is being built, Sandber-Wright said. Even if a new house on that road is extremely large, it can still be approved, because the mansion being built sets the standard. Tuxedo Park’s boundaries are Northside Drive, West Paces Ferry Road, Habersham Road and Powers Ferry Road. The controls will last for six months, but Norwood said the problem will be addressed permanently in the city’s zoning rewrite. Astrop believes the neighborhood needs permanent protection and other neighborhoods could benefit from similar controls. “I think zoning rules need to be rethought not just for Tuxedo Park, but the whole city,” she said. BH

JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Community | 13


Property tax assessments rolled back amid outrage


Residents can appeal by submitting a paper or online form at fultoncounty.modria.com and must be filed by July 10. Property owners who appeal will be billed for taxes at 85 percent of their current assessed value. Most will appeal based on value (the appraised value is incorrect), uniformity (similar homes in the neighborhood are appraised for less) or denial of an exemption. Any documents can be submitted along with the appeal, but can also be submitted later. Read more at qpublic.net/ga/fulton/appeals.html.


and by visiting our website


“I’m not complaining about progress, but I feel like my wife and I are being run out of our own neighborhood,” John Foster, a Chastain Park resident, said at the June 19 meeting. Melissa Samford, a resident of the Wildwood neighborhood in Buckhead, complained at the June 14 meeting about what she sees as a lack of transparency from the county. She argued that it’s difficult to make an appeal when she doesn’t have access to documents detailing how the assessors determined the value of her home. Robinson said that information is obtainable by contacting the board, but Samford, who said her home value increased 101 percent in the neighborhood near Memorial Park, said she has tried that with no success. At the June 19 meeting, Robinson responded to similar questions by saying he heard the complaints about transparency and all the information will be made available in the future. Bryant Cumming, who lives on West Paces Ferry Road, said he appreciates Eaves and Robinson answering questions, but the question of why the assessments did not keep up with market value over the years went unanswered.“Someone has to be held accountable,” said Cumming, whose property’s value went up over 60 percent. --John Ruch contributed


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Chief Appraiser Dwight Robinson who attended both. Eaves advocated voiding the 2017 property assessments and reviewing them, and said expecting residents to pay much more in taxes in this short amount of time is “unjust.” Robinson maintains that almost all appraisals are accurate and the increases are necessary to comply with state law. State law requires counties value properties between 90 and 110 percent of their fair market value, and the state Department of Revenue found that Fulton was valuing properties at 79.6 percent of their market value. The 2017 assessment digest values properties at 98 percent of their fair market value. “This is my fourth town hall meeting. I hear you. I understand you are fearful,” Robinson said. “But my job is mandated by state law.” Neither Eaves nor Robinson could answer some questions, especially concerning why the assessments have not kept up with market value each year and instead increased dramatically. Eaves said he does not have control over the assessor’s office, and Robinson said he has only been in his position since September 2016 and can’t speak about other administrations. The millage rate is what to blame for high taxes, Robinson said. Assessors have no control over the rate and it is set by other departments, including the county’s Board of Commissioners and school systems, he said. Of the 318,000 residential parcels assessed, 22 percent have seen increases greater than 50 percent, Robinson said. Through review, the assessors have learned some mistakes were made on some assessments and those will be fixed. “You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said. Owners of older homes complained at the town hall meetings that they should be protected from rising assessments. Their houses are not worth as much as others in the neighborhood, they argued, but as new builds raise property values, owners of older homes are becoming unable to pay their taxes.

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valuations could also be spread out over a few years instead of applied all at once, ties needs to available. “It’s hard to make apMorris said. peals when we don’t have the information State Rep. Deborah Silcox, whose diswe need, and they owe it to us,” said Crest, trict includes parts of Sandy Springs and whose property value went up 32 percent. Buckhead, attended a June 19 town hall But residents are also grateful that Fulmeeting on ton Counthe appraisty is holding als and said the town hall legislators meetings and are aware of giving resithe tax indents an outlet creases and to express fruswill try to adtration. dress them “I think in the next they really are legislative listening to us session. and all they New ascan really do sessments right now is listhat will use ten,” said Di2016 numEVELYN ANDREWS ane Buckler, a bers for resiFulton County Chairman John Eaves listens as Chief Sandy Springs dential propAppraiser Dwight Robinson answers a question resident whose from a homeowner at the Buckhead Library during erties will a June 14 meeting on property tax assessments. property value be mailed increased by out in August. A new 45-day appeal period 43 percent this year. will begin when property owners receive The Fulton County Board of Commisthem. State Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy sioners voted unanimously June 21 to reSprings), who is also the Sandy Springs city scind 2017 property tax appraisals and inattorney, said property owners concerned stead use 2016 appraisals. about the original 2017 assessments should The resolution passed by the board distill appeal them in case the 1880s-era law rects the Board of Assessors to use the 2016 the Board of Commissioners used to justivaluations with some modifications to infy using 2016 numbers is challenged. That clude new construction. Commercial propcurrent appeal period runs through July 10. erties will be assessed at 2017 levels. The vote to rescind the 2017 appraisThis move means residents will face als comes after residents voiced frustrasharply increased appraisals next year untion over higher property valuations for less the General Assembly acts, said Comtax purposes and what they see as a lack of missioner Lee Morris, who represents parts transparency in the Board of Assessor’s ofof Sandy Springs and all of Buckhead. fice. Over 200 residents came to two town When asked what will happen with hall meetings held by Fulton County offithe appraisals in 2018, Morris laughed and cials in Buckhead and Sandy Springs to ask said, “That’s a great question.” questions and express concerns. The decision essentially passes the buck One was held in the Buckhead Library to the state legislature to solve the problem. on June 14, and one at St. Dunstan’s EpisCommissioners are hoping the legislators copal Church near the Sandy Springs and are able to create a cap on the percentage Buckhead border on June 19. increase of appraisals and exemptions the County Commission Chairman John county doesn’t have the power to create, Eaves hosted the earlier town hall meeting such as breaks for seniors. The increased and Morris held the later one, along with

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14 | Community

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Historic streetlamp moving from Underground to Buckhead BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The historic “Solomon Luckie” streetlamp that is currently displayed in Underground Atlanta is moving to Buckhead. The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously June 5 to sell the gas-fueled lamp for a token amount to the Atlanta History Center, where it will accompany many new exhibits, including the “Battle of Atlanta” cyclorama painting. “To me, this is an iconic artifact to Atlanta,” said Gordon Jones, the center’s senior military historian. “It has many stories to tell.” The streetlamp is named for an African American barber who was killed when an artillery shell fired during the Union Army’s shelling of Atlanta in 1864 ricocheted off the streetlamp and struck him. He was carried by bystanders to a hospital, where his leg was amputated, but he did not survive more than a few hours, according to Franklin Garrett’s book “Atlanta and Environs.” Luckie, one of the few black entrepreneurs in Atlanta at the time, ran a barbershop in the Atlanta Hotel, which was near the current site of Underground Atlanta. The hole left by artillery shell remains on the streetlamp. Downtown’s Luckie Street is named after the barber. Jones said the city contacted the center in October 2015 about selling the lamp in preparation for the redevelopment of Underground Atlanta. The property was officially transferred to a South Carolina developer March 31 and the city has 120 days to remove any property, such as the streetlamp, that is not part of the sale. The sale specifically excluded any items of historical or cultural significance to the city, according to the ordinance. The streetlamp was valued by the city at less than $500, which allowed the city PHOTOS COURTESY ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER

The “Solomon Luckie” streetlamp shown here in Underground Atlanta on June 16 will move to the Atlanta History Center this summer. (Right) The hole left by an artillery shell that hit and killed Solomon Luckie remains on the streetlamp. (Left) A plaque on the streetlamp says it was named the “Eternal Flame of the Confederacy during “Gone with the Wind” premiere celebrations in Atlanta in 1939.

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under state law to sell or donate it without advertisement for accepting other bids. The Atlanta History Center purchased the streetlamp from the city for $10, according to the legislation. The lamp was first lit along with 49 others on Christmas Day in 1855. It was originally located at the corner of Alabama and Whitehall (now Peachtree) streets, and was moved several times before its installation in Underground. The streetlamp will provide a lens into African American life in Atlanta during the Civil War, Jones said. It will stand near the painting depicting the Civil War battle. “The exhibitions will speak to both what white and black Atlanta experienced at the time,” Jones said. It will also be surrounded by several artifacts that have never been displayed to the public, including an original photograph of Solomon Luckie and his wife, Jones said. “Getting the streetlamp gives us the ability to connect artifacts that haven’t been connected before,” he said. The Atlanta History Center will also be able to provide context and history to the lamp, as the only plaques on the streetlamp now are about the Confederacy. It was proclaimed the “Eternal Flame of the Confederacy” during the 1939 “Gone with the Wind” movie premiere celebrations in Atlanta. Similarly, the cyclorama was painted in the North to celebrate the Union victory, Jones said, but was later altered to make Confederate troops appear more heroic. “The two historical pieces provide a great story on how an artifact changes identity depending on who is controlling it,” Jones said. The “Battle of Atlanta” painting and historic locomotive “Texas” are other famous artifacts of Atlanta’s Civil War era that came to a new home in the Atlanta History Center this year. Unlike the streetlamp, they are both leased by the city to the history center. The “Texas” exhibit is expected to open in the fall of 2017. The streetlamp will be installed in the hall that will house the “Battle of Atlanta” painting, which is expected to open in the fall of 2018. The streetlamp remains lit in Underground for now, but will make the move to Buckhead sometime this summer.

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JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Community | 15


Massell gains burial plot in Oakland Cemetery BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Sam Massell is perhaps Buckhead’s biggest booster. But the 89-year-old former mayor and current Buckhead Coalition president has decided his final resting place will not be in the neighborhood. The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously June 5 to approve Massell’s request to be buried in historic Oakland Cemetery, the final resting place for many famous Atlantans.

Massell said he wants to be buried in the cemetery because family members and many other Atlanta mayors and political figures are buried there. The cemetery, located on Memorial Drive, is the final resting place of 27 Atlanta mayors, including Ivan Allen Jr., Massell’s predecessor, and Maynard Jackson, the

Sam Massell.


city’s first African American mayor and Massell’s successor. For the 10 spaces requested by Massell for himself and family, the cost is only $10, but Massell will also make a donation to the Historic Oakland Foundation, a nonprofit corporation and public charity that oversees the cemetery. The spaces were sold by

the city to the foundation, which will facilitate the Massells’ burial in the lots. The cemetery was established in 1850, and since then has become the resting place of over 70,000 people, including Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone with the Wind”; Franklin Garrett, a prominent Atlanta historian; and golfer Robert T. “Bobby” Jones, founder of the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, and namesake of Buckhead’s Bobby Jones Golf Course.

Subdivision installs Georgia Power security cameras BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

The Brookhaven Forest subdivision, a four-lot development on a cul-de-sac street off Mabry Road, was the first neighborhood to install Georgia Power Co.’s closed caption TV security camera program, according to resident Mike Elliott. A security camera was installed on one of Georgia Power’s utility poles in the neighborhood in December and is part of Georgia Power’s new “Site View” camera system that plans to launch statewide later this year.



Georgia Power is not able to confirm what neighborhoods it is working with to install security cameras as part of client confidentiality, according to a spokesperson. The Site View program offers customers, including private property owners and residents, the chance to lease the security cameras that are installed and maintained by Georgia Power. “Our system is live – operating 24/7 with video images being transmitted via a CATV line to a dedicated cloud storage file, and images can be viewed live or as archived records stored for a seven-day peri-

od,” Elliott said in an email. “The objective of the CCTV security system is to provide a first line of security defense for Brookhaven Forest residents and visitors. The camera’s wide view of the entrance captures a constantly streaming video image of all vehicular and pedestrian traffic entering and leaving Brookhaven Forest. If needed, Elliott said, the camera can provide information to assist law enforcement to identify vehicles or individuals to help solve crimes. “In addition, the presence of the camera is thought to have some

crime prevention value,” Elliott said. The Brookhaven Police Department learned about the Brookhaven Forest partnership with Georgia Power and is now in the pilot phase of also partnering with the power company to install security cameras on utility poles throughout the city. Brookhaven’s police department is the first to partner with Georgia Power on this project. A test run of the cameras for the police department began in May and wraps up in July.


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16 | Out & About

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CONCERTS BY THE SPRINGS Sunday, July 9, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.






Heritage Sandy Springs’ summer outdoor concert series continues with the country classics of the Kinchafoonee Cowboys. 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, ext. 1.


AN EVENING WITH ALAN ALDA Tuesday, June 27, 7:30 p.m.

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta welcomes back actor and bestselling author Alan Alda as part of its A Page from the Book Festival. Alda will present his book “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating.” Ticket prices include a copy of the book: $37 per person, $33 for MJCCA members. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival or 678-812-4002.


The “jamgrass” band Honeywood is up next in this concert series presented by the city of Dunwoody. Picnicking begins at 6 p.m. Craft beers available for purchase. Free to Dunwoody Nature Center members. Non-members: $5 adults, $3 students, free to children 3 and under. 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.


Saturdays July 1 and July 8; Sunday, July 9, 6 p.m. Take a leisurely paddle down the Chattahoochee River with experienced guides. Perfect for a first time paddle or a fun way to reconnect with the river. All equipment is provided. Registration required. Ages 6+. $30 public; $25 CNC members (per person). Info: chattnaturecenter.org or 770-992-2055 x237.

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JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Out & About | 17



WEEKEND 2-day weekend pass now for just $10.50.


Saturday, July 8, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Dance with the Nashville-based Roux du Bayou Cajun Band in an event sponsored by the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association. $18; $5 students; $14 active military. No partner necessary. All ages welcome. Cajun/Creole food for sale. Dorothy Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: aczadance.org or 877-338-2420.

You and your family can enjoy Atlanta’s many attractions & events with unlimited rides on all buses & trains for only $10.50 per person. The 25% discounted passes are available for purchase until June 30, 2017, but you can use your Weekend Passes for any weekend you have planned!


Through Sunday, Sept. 17, Tuesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art presents paintings by four Rwandan artists whose lives were impacted by the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Adults $5; free for children under 12 and OUMA members, students with Petrel Pass, and members of military and their families. 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Brookhaven. Info: museum.oglethorpe.edu.

LEARN SOMETHING PERIMETER ADULT LEARNING & SERVICES Ongoing Mondays through July 31. No classes on July 3.

The summer quarter of PALS classes is underway at Dunwoody Baptist Church. Class topics range from financial planning and current events to geographical marvels and “dirty dancing.” $45 for up to three classes each Monday or $8 per day. Bring a lunch or purchase a meal for $8 with advance reservations. 1445 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: palsonline.org or 770-698-0801.

AUTHOR TALK: “THE TERROR YEARS” Wednesday, July 26, 8 p.m.

Lawrence Wright, a staff writer for “The New Yorker” and author of “The Terror Years: From Al-Qaeda to the Islamist State,” appears at the Atlanta History Center. $10 public; $5 members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com or 404-814-4150. 404-848-5000 | www.itsmarta.com/Weekend Continued on page 18

18 | Out & About

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Comprehensive Women’s Health


Saturday, July 8, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Learn to weave a garlic basket with Elaine Bradley of the Handweavers Guild of America. The twined rattan basket allows air to circulate and keeps garlic fresh while it hangs in your kitchen. Supplies and light refreshments will be provided. Open to first 15 participants. No registration required. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-512-4640.


Saturday, July 8, 10 a.m. to noon.

Lynley S. Durrett, M.D. Obiamaka Mora, M.D. State of the art Pelvic & Bladder Surgeries Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy daVinci Robotic Surgery Bio Identical Hormone Therapy Services offered:

Heritage Sandy Springs continues its family gardening series (on second Saturdays through October) with Kokedama/Japanese Moss Balls. Kids will receive a small plant to place in a moss ball they create to hang in a window at home. Free. Best suited for ages 6-10, with an accompanying adult. Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market, 6100 Lake Forrest Drive, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.


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The National Black Arts Festival holds its 20th annual gala featuring performances and a silent auction at the special events venue Flourish. 3143 Maple Drive N.E., Buckhead. Registration: nbaf.org or 404-372-4572.


Jessica Guilfoil Killeen, WHNP-BC


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JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Out & About | 19


INDEPENDENCE DAY Nothing says it’s summer like the Fourth of July, a holiday that sizzles with stars and stripes, sparklers and special events. On July 2, Sandy Springs will host fireworks at the King and Queen buildings, and on July 4, Dunwoody will hold what’s said to be the largest July Fourth parade in Georgia.

Buckhead’s Lenox Square announced in May it will not host its annual fireworks show, which it has held for more than 50 years. This year, the mall is partnering with Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta for a July Fourth fireworks show. Lenox Square will host a full day of events at the mall, but the details for the events were not released in time for publication. Here’s a look at some of the Independence Day celebrations scheduled in our local communities:

SANDY SPRINGS STARS AND STRIPES CELEBRATION Sunday, July 2, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Celebrate Independence Day on the lawn at the Concourse Corporate Center (home of the King and Queen buildings) in the city’s fifth annual fireworks event. The band Shiloh performs at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:45 p.m. Pets, tents, outdoor cooking, drones, alcohol and personal-use sparklers not permitted. Free admission and free parking begin at 6:30 p.m. in Concourse Parking Decks Five and Six. 5 Concourse Parkway N.E., Sandy Springs. Info: visitsandysprings.org.

DUNWOODY 4TH OF JULY PARADE Tuesday, July 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Dunwoody’s annual 4th of July Parade features marching bands, floats, clowns, animal units and local celebrities and is said to be the largest Independence Day parade in the state. The parade starts at All Saints Catholic Church and proceeds down Mount Vernon Road to Dunwoody Village Parkway. 2443 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: 770-354-7653 or dunwoodyga.org.


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20 | Education

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Staying confident, ‘no matter what’ Elijah Jenkins, senior Riverwood International Charter School Elijah Jenkins began playing basketball in an organized league at age 4, and has not stopped since. Elijah credits others’ doubts of him as his primary motivation in the sport. “I’ve never been the most athletic on the court or the flashiest on the court, so people often times don’t notice the fact that I outplay most of the guys they give attention to,” he said. This has pushed him to work harder, furthering his basketball career. He especially remembers one victory in the regional championship during his junior year. “We were doubted by everyone and had to overcome so much to come back and win that game,” he said. However, Elijah says that his favorite part of the sport is how it “parallels so closely with life in general. If you’ve missed five shots in a row, you don’t stop shooting, you keep shooting, the same way in life if you have a bad day in the classroom or at home you just keep pushing and stay confident, no matter what.” Elijah also channels his passion into helping others. He volunteers with the

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Elijah Jenkins.

Junior Raiders Camp, a Riverwood High School summer camp that gives younger kids an opportunity to play basketball while being coached by high school players. Elijah enjoys working with the children who attend the camp. “These are kids who will hopefully in the future help keep the Riverwood basketball program trending upward. Potentially having an effect on the program’s future by working with kids is pretty awesome to me,” he said. His interests span past athletics, too. Elijah is involved in both student government and rigorous academics at Riverwood High School. He is the senior class treasurer, and says that the experience has helped him grow as a person.


“Being senior class treasurer this year taught me a great deal about the importance of the leadership quality in a person and how just one person’s ideas can impact large groups of people and change aspects of their lives for the better,” he said.

What’s next?

Elijah’s academic interests center on engineering, which he says he hopes to pursue in college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Sarah Kallis, a student at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, reported and wrote this article.

JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Classifieds | 21


Reporter Classifieds

To Advertise, call 404-917-2200 ext 110


HELP WANTED Business Development / Membership Sales – The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber is expanding its Business Development Group and seeks an individual who will call on companies to explain the benefits of partnering with the chamber. Interested candidates should have some knowledge of the local business market and enjoy meeting new people. Good presentation and communication skills essential. Base salary/commission. Send resumes to: tom@sandysprings.org.

Matthew’s Handy Services – Small jobs and chores are my specialties. Shelves, organizers, carpentry, drywall, painting, and plumbing. Member of BBB – 404-547-2079 Email: mwarren8328@gmail.com. Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or repaired. Masonry, grading, foundations repaired, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770-616-0576. Home Tending – Regular inspections of your unoccupied property. Call Charles, 404-229-0490.


Cleaning Services - do you want your house cleaned at a reasonable rate? Would you like someone that is Dependable, Professional and can give you Quality Service? Charlotte’s the one for you - call 404-604-7866!

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22 | Public Safety

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for local news and information! We’re honored that Reporter Newspapers won 12 awards, including three first-place selections in its division, in the Georgia Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Contest. EVELYN ANDREWS


Business Writing First Place - Managing Editor John Ruch Lifestyle/Feature Column First Place - Robin Conte, “Robin’s Nest” Page One First Place - Designed by Creative Director Rico Figliolini


Hard News Writing Second Place - John Ruch News Photograph Second Place - Phil Mosier Special Issues: Second Place - Fall 2016 Education Guide Humorous Column: Second Place - Robin Conte


General Excellence: Third Place Local News Coverage: Third Place - Staff Writers Religion Writing: Third Place - Staff Writers Serious Column: Third Place - Robin Conte Newspaper Website: Third Place

These awards are especially meaningful to us since they are judged by professional journalists and include respected, large-circulation community newspapers across the state. However, what’s most important is that they validate what you have already told us in our readership survey: Reporter Newspapers are your preferred source for local news and information. That’s the “prize” we value most.

Jeff Stepakoff, executive director of the Georgia Film Academy, spoke at the Buckhead Business Association’s luncheon on June 15 at the JW Marriott hotel.

Buckhead Business Association honors public safety officers BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Buckhead Business Association at its luncheon on June 15 honored community members and public safety organizations for their community service. The keynote speaker, Jeff Stepakoff, the executive director of the Georgia Film Academy, spoke about Georgia’s growing role in the film and television industry at the annual summer luncheon held at the JW Marriott hotel on Lenox Road in Buckhead. Buckhead Public Safety Awards were given to members of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, the Atlanta Police Department and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. The BBA honored Lt. Owen Jones of the Fire Rescue Department for his quick response and leadership during the March 30 I-85 fire and collapse. Jones’ team was the first to respond to the bridge fire and he quickly closed the bridge. The fire caused no injuries or fatalities.

Officer Leon Kipard of the Atlanta Police Department’s Zone 2, which covers Buckhead, was honored for his arrests of suspects accused of using fraudulent or stolen credit cards. Kipard chased a suspect, arrested him and later used documents found in his car to gather information and make further arrests. Capt. Daniel Cochran, the commander of community outreach at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, was honored for leading programs geared toward youths to keep them from committing crimes. Cochran also began programs to teach safe bicycling and to teach safety skills to residents at senior living facilities. Necia Kelleher, a real estate agent at Harry Norman Realtors, was given the Karl A. Bevins Service Award, an award named for a longtime BBA member and Atlanta traffic engineer. Kelleher was given the award for her community service work, including work with the Atlanta Track Club and jogging around her neighborhood to raise money for various causes.

Thank you for helping to make us the most preferred and most-awarded local newspapers in our communities.

www.ReporterNewspapers.net Published by Springs Publishing LLC BH

JUNE 23 - JULY 6, 2017

Public Safety | 23


Police Blotter / Buckhead 1800 block of Piedmont Avenue —


June 8

3200 block of Lenox Road — May 29 100 block of East Andrews Drive —

100 block of 26th Street — June 10


June 6

500 block of East Wesley

Road — June 8

2300 block of Bolton Road — May 28 1900

block of Peachtree Road — May 30

B U R G L A RY 2300

block of Peachtree Road — May 30

3100 block of Maple Drive — June 1

1900 block of Grand-

3500 block of Piedmont Road — June 2

view Avenue — June 1 600 block of East Paces Ferry Road

— June 3

400 block of Northside Circle — June 2

100 block of La Rue Place — June 3

3200 block of Peachtree Road — June

1800 block of Marietta Boulevard —

June 5 1700 block of Northside Drive — June


6 1700 block of Howell Mill Road —

June 6 700 block of Lindbergh Drive — June 7

LARCENY Between May 28 and June 3, there

S Senior Life enior Life At lan Get fresh at ta


farmers markets

page 8


Yoga to Fit Your Lifestyle page 16



5| AtlantaSeniorLIFE.co MAY 2017 • Vol. 2 No. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT



sports & fitness

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Take a Relaxing Visit to the Renaissance

JUNE 2017 • Vol. 2 No. 6 | AtlantaSeniorLI FE.com

Theatre-To-Go delive rs Live Performance s

making a differenc


Assistance League helps rebuild lives

page 6

page 10

page 14

Leng A Lifetime of Learni ss is more page 12

By Donna Williams


Methodist Dunwoody United Gil Yates, about to begin at for his classmate Coast Indians was making a beeline A class on Pacific strode into the room, Church when a man OK.” approached. “Shuffling’sbuddy, who would not front row, center. said, as the man his “No running!” Yates is a year older than all in good fun. Yates The teasing was age: 91. with Perimeter Adults but did share his classes this spring reveal his name, taking students 175 The men are among most of whom (PALS). By Kathy for senior adults, Learning & Services continuing education the start.Dean from providing of year members been PALS is in its 25th need for of Dunwoody, have Wethe hear takes care of it all and his wife, Dot, and this kind of are 60-plus. Yates rings especially the time: less is more. The to help other people, phrase true for older “People our age want made lifelong friends.” adults who are empty nests and Yates said. “We have facing are4 ready to Continued on page fellowship,” Dot of their enjoy the lives. Intown and north metro second half many comforta Atlanta offer ble options for them. “Baby boomers have spent much working and of their lives building said Dawn Anderson their wealth for retiremen t,” , Realtor, Dorsey “As retiremen Alston t becomes more Realtors. of a reality, they plan their transition begin to to downsize. Ease and affordability of life, proximity are certainly the goals of most downsizing common boomers.” The trend of continues to grow, 55+ active adult commun ities Anderson said. well qualified “Baby boomers buyers and know are looking for.” exactly what they are Kim Isaacs, aged Avalon in Alpharet 58, said that her townhom e in ta gives her everything they and her husband want. “We had home in Johns lived in our previous Creek for 19 years. left for college, When our last we child and really didn’t decided that we wanted a change need a large house of us,” she said. for just the two



Continued on


page 4

Read our new monthly publication for active seniors! Pick up a copy around town or read online at atlantaseniorlife.com

auto theft between May 28 and June 3 and six between June 4 and June 10.

APD renovates Lenox Square precinct BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Atlanta Police Department recently completed security improvements and renovations at the Lenox Square Mall precinct station. At a June 14 ceremony to celebrate the renovations, Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell and APD Zone 2 Commander Maj. Barry Shaw spoke about how the precinct works to keep crime stats down, according to an APD press release. Deputy Chief Darryl Tolleson also gave brief remarks. The public was invited to take a tour of the facilities, see some of the equipment police use and meet local officers. The renovations to the precinct that opened in 2003 include a new biometric lock system, a workstation for officers and improved lighting, according to a press release.



e t k r a m ers



For more information, contact Tracy Meazell at tmeazell@wellbridge.com or 770.698.2090 today.

There were 16 reported incidents of

Between June 4 and June 10 there

fa r m

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were 44 larcenies from vehicles reported across Zone 2 and 41 reported cases of larceny and shoplifting.


2200 block of Lenox Road — June 6

1900 block of Peachtree Road — June 7


400 block of Northside Circle — June 6


The following information, involving events that took place in Buckhead from May 28 through June 10, was provided by the Zone 2 precinct of the Atlanta Police Department.







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24 |

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