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JULY 2019 • VOL. 13 — NO. 7

Sandy Springs Reporter ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

PBS to air local singer’s documentary P5

DUNWOODY SALUTES AMERICA WITH ANNUAL FOURTH OF JULY PARADE See pull-out section pages 15-18

North end plans include new business district, shopping center studies and trail BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

itself in books and magazines as an ideal, revolutionary “model for the 21st century municipal government.” Has the notion of Sandy Springs exceptionalism and its privatization philosophy been proven false? Does the shift put the city at risk? Did the particular system ever really matter as much as the people running it? Some of the most expert opinions differ. “In no way do I see this decision as a re-

The city is weighing creating a Community Improvement District to help fund projects on the north end as it moves forward with recommendations from task force plan, including mapping the possible route for a “Greenline” trail and requesting proposals for shopping center redevelopment. The city’s studies came out of recommendations from the North End Revitalization Task Force, which last year drafted a report with ideas ranging a new multiuse trail similar to the BeltLine to a massive city-supported “catalyst” project that could inspire other developers to build the north end. A Community Improvement District is a self-taxing group of commercial business owners that funds infrastructure projects. By law, CIDs cannot tax any residential owners or properties, including single-family homes, condos or apartments. Worthy said in a presentation at the June 18 City Council meeting that the city is doing the CID review internally to see if businesses are interested and to determine which properties “could be impacted.” The presentation also revealed a map of the Greenline trail’s possible route. The trail is proposed to run to the upscale Huntcliff neighborhood, Chattahoochee River, Roswell Road and Sandy Springs Charter Middle School.

See IS on page 19

See NEW on page 31

COMMENTARY

GDOT chief: ‘Benefits of express lanes are proven’ P10 COMMENTARY

SPECIAL

Reporter wins Honored as a newspaper 15 Georgia of General Excellence Press awards 2018 P10

A map illustrates possible routes for a “Greenline” trail.

Is city’s privatization shift a big risk or no big deal? BY JOHN RUCH

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The city’s shift away from its “publicprivate partnership” system of outsourced, privatized government services in May was done in low-key fashion, presented as a mathematical cost-savings move. But it was a dramatic change for city that touted many other benefits to privatization and pitched

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City Manager to leave for similar role in South Carolina Medical Excellence. Compassionate Care.

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BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

John McDonough, the city manager of Sandy Springs, is leaving to take similar role in Greenville, South Carolina. McDonough is the city’s first and only city manager, taking the job shortly after the city incorporated and helping start it under the public-private partnership privatization model that drew international attention. “We are very disappointed to lose John, the only city manager the city has had,” Mayor Rusty Paul said in a written statement through a spokesperson. “We wish him well going forward.” McDonough’s appointment was confirmed by the Greenville City Council June 17. His last day with Sandy Springs will be Aug. 2, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said. McDonough’s will start his position in Greenville SPECIAL Aug. 12 with a salary of Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough. $260,000, according to a Greenville City Council agenda. McDonough has been the city manager since Sandy Springs’ founding in 2005, overseeing major projects and initiatives like the construction of City Springs, negotiations with Atlanta on water service, creating the city’s 911 service, “We are thankful for the tremendous role he played in everything from setting up the city after incorporation, to the oversight he provided during City Springs’s planning, construction and opening, to his focus on making our community better every day he came to work,” Paul said. McDonough was hired by late founding Mayor Eva Galambos, who brought him on an unconventional interview, he said in a 2015 story about the city’s 10th anniversary. “The phone call comes. The headhunter says…‘I’ve got this really interesting opportunity. This opportunity is not traditional. This is something different,” McDonough said in the story. McDonough applied and was interviewed by “citizens screening committees” and then he met with Galambos at Island Ford Park on the Chattahoochee River. “She got her hiking boots on. She said, ‘Let’s go for a hike.’” McDonough previously said the Greenville job would allow him to be closer to family and that he was contacted by the city about the position. Paul said that McDonough “was very up-front about his interest in the Greenville position due to family connections in the area.” Greenville was noted as an example by Sandy Springs as it developed the City Springs arts and civic complex, McDonough said. “Greenville’s growth and standing as a desired destination for business and tourism is something we noted in Sandy Springs as we developed our City Springs project,” McDonough said in a Greenville press release. “I am excited by the tremendous potential and the city’s past success and look forward to working with the staff to continue to move forward the priorities of the council and community.” McDonough also served as an advisor, under a Japanese government grant, to cities in Japan that were considering transitioning to the public-private model, according to a Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce biography. The Greenville News noted the prominence of Sandy Springs’ previous form of


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government in its story about McDonough’s appointment. Public-private partnerships have been a key part of the Greenville’s revitalization in recent years, according to the outlet. “John is an inclusive and collaborative leader and a highly effective communicator who is well respected by elected officials, city staff and the community he serves,” said Greenville Mayor Knox White in a city press release. “We are confident that John’s experience and success in Sandy Springs and the Atlanta metro area will enable him to be immediately impactful as he helps lead Greenville into its next chapter.” McDonough led the formation of the Chattahoochee River 9-1-1 Authority, or ChatComm, started in 2009, in partnership with the city of Johns Creek. It’s anoth-

McDonough reflects on city, thanks residents City Manager John McDonough provided the following statement reflecting on his time in Sandy Springs: It is rare to have the opportunity to start up a new city, and as I look back at my time as the city’s first city manager, we have accomplished a great deal in our short 13 years. One highlight, of course, is starting up a new city. I am happy to leave the community with additional parks and green space, including the creation of Overlook and Abernathy Greenway parks, Lost Corner Preserve and the Marsh Creek bio-retention garden. Public safety is a top priority of the council and community, and Sandy Springs has made great strides in becoming one of the safest cities in the state. We have built strong police and fire departments who have positive relationships with the community. To help them in their efforts, we built a state-of-the-art 911 center and

er example of outsourcing city services with the goal of bringing better service to residents. As city manager, McDonough also oversees the budgets, staff and contractors. Prior to Sandy Springs, McDonough served as the city manager for the city of Beaufort, South Carolina, from 1999 to 2006. McDonough earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from The Citadel and a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University at South Bend. He served on both active duty and in the reserves in the United States Marine Corps from 1986 to 2012, achieving the rank of colonel.

radio network, and we improved our ISO [Insurance Service Office fire risk] rating to 2. The City Springs project is another rare gem in a career, and it has been gratifying to be a part of building a city hall and community-gathering place for the city. Most importantly, I am proud of the quality of staff who are committed to providing outstanding customer service. I’m confident my senior leadership team will ensure continued progress in implementing the council’s priorities. I have been fortunate to work with a mayor and council committed to working in partnership with its city manager, and am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of that journey from early cityhood to the strong presence Sandy Springs now commands within the metro area. I would like to thank the residents of Sandy Springs for their support. The city is such a strong, thriving community because of the involvement of its residents. They have been active and supportive, and have contributed a great deal to our strong growth. From the business community, to the nonprofits, to the HOA leadership, their participation is a critical factor in the city’s success.

NEW SANDY SPRINGS ALARM ORDINANCE IS NOW IN EFFECT! Alarm monitoring companies are required to provide True Verification through audio, video or in-person evidence prior to calling 911. DOES YOUR ALARM SYSTEM MEET THE NEW REQUIREMENTS? DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEW ORDINANCE? Call Ackerman today! We can explain the ordinance and check to see if you’re up-to-date.

Call 770.691.5162 today!


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Community Briefs

C IT Y PA SSES $ 116M F Y2020 B U D G ET

The City Council passed a $116.3 million budget for fiscal year 2020 at its June 18 meeting. The budget will take effect July 1. The budget projects revenues of about $98.4 million, with money from a reserve fund balancing the expenditures. About $20.7 million would be left in the reserve fund. The revenue projection is about 2.5 percent higher than fiscal year 2019, mostly from

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expected increases to property tax revenue. The budget for fiscal year 2019 was $110.4 million. The budget will provide police and fire pay increases, funding for a new Fire Station 2, $2.5 million toward the proposed Cultural Center, $1.5 million for the “North End Revitalization” and $2.7 million in a subsidy for the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, among many other items.

CO U NCIL M EM B ER P R O P O S ES HAT E C R I M ES L AW

City Councilmember Andy Bauman is proposing a hate crimes law that would create stronger penalties for local crimes based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, among others. The proposal was explained by Bauman at a non-voting work session June 18, where it received little discussion from the council. The ordinance would also require the Sandy Springs Police Department track and report hate crimes through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation reporting systems. The ordinance is needed in part of because the state hate crimes law was not passed by the General Assembly in the last session, making Georgia one of the few states without one, Bauman said. This ordinance would demonstrate the city’s support for such state law, which he believes is widely supported in the community. Steve Pepper, a Sandy Springs resident and past Anti-Defamation League Southeast Regional board chair, spoke in support of the ordinance during public comment at the meeting. He said the ordinance would protect everybody, even the “whitest, straightest, Christian male.” Although Bauman is not aware of any reported hate crimes in Sandy Springs, there have been others nearby, including anti-Semitic vandalism at metro area high schools and colleges. “And it is not just anti-Semitic crimes, but potential crimes against mosques, or churches and LGBTQ individuals are unfortunately possible within our community,” Bauman wrote in a memo about the ordinance. The ordinance would increase penalties for crimes proven to be against victims targeted specifically because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or physical or mental disability. The maximum penalties have not been determined. The proposal follows Dunwoody’s and other nearby cities’ passage of a nondiscrimination ordinance that prohibits local, privately-owned businesses from discriminating against minority groups, including LGBTQ people. Bauman said he has been asked about doing a similar version, but he is focused on the hate crimes ordinance for now. He wants to see how the non-discrimination ordinances play out in other cities, he said.

CITY SO LICITO R B EG INS DI V ER S IO N P R O G R A M FO R M ENTALLY I L L , A DDI C TED DEFENDA NTS

New City Solicitor Leslie Donaho is starting a planned diversion program for defendants with mental illness or substance abuse problems. The program will start with a pilot program with 25 participants and $50,000 in city funding to support the high indigent population, she said. The program will also apply for county, state and federal grants, she said in an update at the City Council’s June 18 non-voting work session. The pre-trial diversion was a planned part of Donaho’s changes when she was confirmed as the new solicitor in May.

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PBS to broadcast Sandy Springs resident’s symphony documentary BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

A Sandy Spring resident’s project to preserve the history of an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conductor has turned into an award-winning documentary that will get a national TV audience. The documentary, titled “Robert Shaw – Man of Many Voices,” will be broadcast on PBS’ “American Masters” program June 21 on 9 p.m. The film follows the rise and influ-

ence of Shaw, who conducted the orchestra and its chorus for over 20 years. The film was conceived of and executive produced by Kiki Wilson, who is in her 38th season of singing in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Wilson is one of the about 30 members left who sang in Shaw’s chorus, and she his contributions to Atlanta music and the orchestra world to be remembered. “I wanted to make sure there was a mechanism available for people not to forget who Shaw was,” she said. “That was my goal.” The documentary won awards from film festivals and became an official selection at one. It also won three Southeast Emmys last year. Because of its broadcast on PBS, the film is eligible for the national Emmy awards next year, Wilson said. “Little did I know that it would become a much bigger thing than I would ever, ever have thought,” she said. Wilson, who has never been involved in a film before, found it similar to organizing any other kind of project, and credits her team for making it a successful documentary. The film was produced in partnership with the orchestra and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Wilson secured funds for the $1 million

project through fundraising efforts like a 2013 gala, which included current Conductor Robert Spano as a performer. She also held first-hand knowledge about Shaw and was key in building the script. Getting on PBS has been one the longest hurdles, taking three years to navigate the complex process. The documentary also had to be cut to fit its time slot, she said. The documentary premiered in April 2016 to a sold-out crowd in the Atlanta Symphony Hall, in time for what would have been Shaw’s 100th birthday, Wilson said. Shaw died in 1999 in Connecticut. Wilson and the team did more than 30 interviews including with prominent figures like renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, famed NPR classical music host Martin Goldsmith and former Atlanta Mayor, U.S. ReprePHOTO BY sentative and U.N. EVELYN ANDREWS Ambassador AnAbove, Kiki Wilson did most drew Young. Presof the work on ident Jimmy Cartthe film from her er, who was also home office in interviewed in the Sandy Springs. film, chose Shaw Left, Robert Shaw to perform music conducts a chorus in New York City in at his inaugurathe 1940s. (Special) tion in 1977. The film was shot in locations around the metro area, including the basement of Wilson’s home in Sandy Springs. Much of the script was written in her basement, where sticky notes listing details of Shaw’s life still hang on the walls. Shaw was brought on in 1967 during the creation of the Woodruff Arts Center, which combines the orchestra, Alliance Theatre and High Museum. He founded the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus in 1970 and grew the all-volunteer group into an award-winning program. He also conducted the orchestra at Carnegie Hall several times. He climbed to prominence with little formal music training, Wilson said. He was known for pushing boundaries with the type of music that could played and for growing the orchestra and chorus profiles, Wilson said. “He pushed the limits,” Wilson said. He remained the conductor until 1988 and championed the use of modern music and allowing black players for the first time in the South. Asked what viewers should take away from the film, she said, “I want people to know the arts under Robert Shaw are a place where everybody is equal.”

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A surprise sculpture, a book with a dark past and other treasures unveiled BY JUDITH SCHONBAK Torrential rain did not keep them away. Well before the opening hour of 9 a.m. on June 8, more than 30 people were lined up at the Turner Lynch Campus Center at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven. Juggling umbrellas, they carried boxes, shouldered backpacks and pulled suitcases holding family heirlooms and antiques in the hopes of discovering hidden treasures. They had braved the weather for “Hidden Treasures: Unveiled,” an appraisal event organized and hosted by Oglethorpe University Museum of Fine Art (OUMA). And some surprise treasures were discovered, ranging from a centuries-old Buddha bust to a book with a dark past. Specialists from Hindman, an internationally known auction house were on hand to appraise items. Five experts were at stations for Fine Art, Decorative Art, Asian Art, Jewelry and Books and Manuscripts. Appraisal fees went to help fund OUMA, and a portion of proceeds from any items discovered at the event and auctioned by Hindman will go to the museum as well.

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Attendees came from all parts of metvon Goethe’s writings was apparently givro Atlanta and as far away as Dahloneen to Dr. Wilhelm Frick by the city in Gerga and Cartersville. Two hundred people many where he lived, Hause told Dickbrought their treasures and 300 items son. Frick was Adolph Hitler’s minister of were appraised, reported museum diinterior for 10 years and was hanged for rector Elizabeth Peterson, director of war crimes. Another mystery for his famOUMA. ily: Dickson said he doesn’t know how Jonathan Dickson navigated his way the book came into his grandfather’s posfrom East Cobb County with several heirsession. “Its is not entirely a happy story, looms in tow, including a painting, porbut certainly a fascinating one.” celain pieces, German beer steins and a Gloria and Gary Kubik from Johns large book of Goethe’s writing. They are Creek set their large carton on the Decremnants of his father’s estate, he said. orative Art table with hopeful expectaMost of them had been handed down by tions. They lifted out a large Tiffany-style Dickson’s grandfather, who had lived in lamp shade that had long been in the ofNew York, Florida and Germany. His first fice of Gary Kubik’s grandfather. His stop was the Fine Art table, staffed by grandfather had shipped the lamp from Kate Stamm, Hindman’s Fine Art specialConnecticut so the couple could bring it ist for the Southeast region. to the event. Dickson unveiled a large full-length “We’ve always been told it is probably portrait of two young girls dressed alike a Tiffany lamp,” Gary Kubik said. in red, arms entwined. He had virtually Specialist Jon King examined the no information on the painting, not even shade carefully. Regretfully, he gave the a title, only the artist’s last name, HoffKubiks the news. It is a 1920s lamp, he man. told them. “But it is not an original TiffaThe title may never be known, but ny. Many Tiffany-style lamps and shades Stamm dated the work in 1865. The piece had only minor flaws. She researched the painting after the event and sent Dickson a report four days later, identifying the artist as George C. Hoffman. “The estimated value is in the low thousands.” said Dickson. “We will keep it as a famiFrom left, Gary and Gloria Kubick present a glass lampshade ly heirloom.” The to appraiser Jon King. The Kubicks were disappointed to learn the item was not a product of Tiffany. mystery remains whether those children are on his family tree. were made then and still are,” he said. AlDickson also visited the Decorative though there were other clues, the most Art station with his porcelain pieces and obvious was the lack of a Tiffany signaGerman beer steins. The popular stop ture or any indication that it was made was manned by expert Jon King, Hindin the Tiffany studio. man’s senior consultant for the SouthThe Kubiks took the news well and east region, who has been in the field said they would not be taking an extendsince the early 1980s, King has overseen ed vacation or retiring any time soon, but collections from the estates of noted cethat the appraisal experience was “really lebrities and has worked with the PBS sefun.” ries “Antiques Roadshow” and HGTV’s Ken Moorman of Brookhaven, accom“Appraise It!” panied by family friend, Trish Percival, The heirlooms Dickson laid out at the stepped to the Asian Art station. UnwrapDecorative Art table are not of much valping two panels of Asian paintings, he exue, he found out, but he said he learned plained to specialist Annie Wu that they some interesting information about had been owned by his wife’s aunt in Calthem. His final stop was the Books and ifornia. Manuscripts table, staffed by Gretchen “All I ever heard about them is that Hause, who is a specialist in Hindman’s they are Japanese,” he told Wu. Fine Books and Manuscripts department. “No, they are Chinese, done between The hefty book of Johann Wolfgang 1850 [and] 1870 and had been painted at a


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center in Jing De Zhen in central China,” said Wu. She explained that in the 19th and 20th centuries, scholars were invited to the center to paint works of art, mainly for export. The delicate, detailed porcelain paintings on individual tiles are of classic Chinese scenes and people. Few of the scholars became well-known, although each painting is signed with the artist’s signature “chop,” or seal, in red. The writing on the paintings are descriptions or poems about the scenes, and Wu offered to have them translated for Moorman. “The paintings and condition of the panels are important, and it is rare to find them in as good a condition as yours. Typically, they came in a set of four panels, which would likely be valued in the high thousands at auction,” said Wu, adding, “The market for Chinese art buyers is very active right now.” Ellen Kierr Stein remembered her

Buddha bust being a fixture in her parents’ homes as far back as the 1960s. It was part of an eclectic collection of artifacts from their worldwide travels, she recalled. Wu, at the Asian Art station, filled in some details. The Buddha bust is a bronze Thai piece from the 16th or 17th century and is “very good condition,” she said. “Buddha is an iconic image in Asian culture and the expression on his face is very important. This Buddha has a calm, benevolent expression, as is fitting.” A highlight of the day was Kierr Stein’s surprise, on-the-spot donation of the Buddha bust to OUMA, made with her sister, Susan Kierr in memory of their parents, J.N. and Raymond Kierr. “We were thrilled,” said John Tilford, OUMA’s curator of collections. “It’s a major contribution to our permanent collection and a wonderful addition to our Asian collection.”

From left, Trish Percival and Ken Moorman listen to appraiser Annie Wu’s explanation of Chinese artworks that Moorman owns.


8 | Art & Entertainment

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Dunwoody Nature Center, 5343 Roberts Drive, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodynature.org.

Red, White and Bernstein BROOKHAVEN

BUCKHEAD

Theater Hairspray

Friday, July 12- Sunday July 21 The City Springs Theatre Company stages the story of big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart who sets out to follow her dreams and win the boy she loves. Tickets: $30$62. Byers Theatre, City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: citysprings.com/events.

Driving Miss Daisy

Friday, June 28 - Sunday, July 21 Presented by Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Set against the historical backdrop of Atlanta’s development through the mid20th cen-

DUNWOODY

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tury, the story of aging Southern matron Daisy Werthan, her long-suffering son Boolie, and her chauffeur Hoke Colburn unfolds over 25 years of friendship, loss, racial tension, and ultimately love. Tickets: $35. Conant Performing Arts Center, Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven. Info: get.org or 770-6411260.

Music

Dunwoody Nature Center Summer Concert Series

Saturdays, June 29; July 13 and 27 7-9 p.m. The city of Dunwoody series includes Americana group Russell Cook and the Sweet Teeth on June 29; blues group The Breeze Kings on July 13; and a classic Battle of the Bands July 27. New this year, a different food truck will be on site each week. Free for members, $5 adults, $3 children.

Sunday, June 30, 4 p.m. A concert of American music in celebration of composer Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. Free. Dunwoody United Methodist Church sanctuary, 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodyumc.org.

Concerts by The Springs

Sunday, July 14, 5-8:30 p.m. Departure, a Journey tribute band takes stage starting at 7 p.m. Beforehand, the Taproom Concert Series will offer a craft brewery pop-up tasting Taproom Tastings $18. Heritage Sandy Springs. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

City Green Live Music Series

Fridays, June 21 and 28, July 26, 6:30 p.m. The City Green in Sandy Springs continues its summer music series with beach music group Band of Oz June 21; country group Savannah Jack June 28; and Big Sam’s Funky Nation July 26. City Green, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Free, no tickets required. Tables may be reserved start-

ing at $40. Info: citysprings.com/ events.

Summer of Love

Friday, July 26, 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 27, 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Capitol City Opera’s 27th Annual “On the Light Side” will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock with singers accompanied by a rock trio in an “indoor picnic” fundraiser with a silent auction, trivia, food and Woodstock-themed costume contest. $40. Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road, Sandy Springs. Info: ccityopera.org.

Atlanta Festival Academy Shining Stars

Saturday, July 27, 7 p.m. This fundraising concert for the 2019 Atlanta Festival Academy features young musicians. Tickets: $35$60. Byers Theatre, City Springs. 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs. Info: citysprings.com/events.

Visual Arts Student & Faculty Juried Exhibition

Through Saturday, Aug. 24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Spruill Arts displays artwork from its students and instructors during its

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annual juried exhibition. Spruill Gallery, 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.

Books & Authors For the Good of the Game

Wednesday, July 10, 7:30 p.m. Bud Selig, the former Commissioner of Baseball who held the job for more than 20 years, will discuss and sign copies of his new book, “For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball” as part of the Page from the Book Festival of the MJCCA. $35, includes hardcover book copy. MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atlantajcc.org/bookfestival or 678-812-4002.

For Families and Kids

Free Soccer Tournament

Friday, June 28, 5-8:30 p.m. The Cross Keys Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative (CKSNI) hosts its 4th Annual CKSNI Soccer Tournament. This free event will feature soccer games for organized teams and individuals aged 5-7 and 8-10 as well as free food, giveaways and community fair with organizations working in the Cross Keys cluster and Buford Highway Corridor. Register by June 26. Dresden Park, 2301 Dresden Drive, Chamblee. Info: 770-936-0969.

Mumferd Learns

Friday, June 28; July 12, 3-4 p.m. Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theater teaches water safety June 26 and exercise July 12. Free. Sandy Springs Branch Library, 395 Mt Vernon Highway, Atlanta. Info: afpls.org/events/events-calendar or LibraryComments@fultoncountyga. gov.

Touch a Truck

Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Police cars, fire trucks and more will be on for children to see up-close. Free. Blackburn Park, 3493 AshfordDunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Info: brookhavenga.gov.

Make a Straw Rocket

Tuesday, July 9, 3-4 p.m. Create your own rocket ship out of paper and straws, then see how far you can make it soar! Free. For ages 5-12 years old. Registration re-

quired. Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info events.dekalblibrary. org/event/1955682 or 770-512-4640

Family Bird Walk

Friday, July 19, 9-10:30a.m. Learn to use binoculars and birdwatch, and make a seed-on-a-pinecone bird-feeder to take home. Meet in the pavilion. Free, registration requested. Morgan Falls Overlook Park, 200 Morgan Falls Road, Sandy Springs. Info: registration.sandyspringsga.gov

Pocahontas!

Friday, July 26, 3 p.m. Serenbe Playhouse presents a special performance of Pocahontas, as she awaits to share the tale of her beautiful, beloved homeland. Ages 3 and older. Free. Sandy Springs Branch Library, 395 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info: afpls.org/ events/events-calendar or LibraryComments@fultoncountyga.gov.

Outdoor Fun Stand Up for the Hooch

Sunday, June 23, 7a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The 8th annual Stand Up for the Hooch race features 2-mile and 6-mile races and a free kids’ race. All ages and ability levels are welcome. This year’s event benefits the Sandy Springs Recreation and Parks Scholarships. $45. Morgan Falls Overlook Park, 200 Morgan Falls Road, Sandy Springs. Info: highcountryoutfitters. com.

High Country SUP Yoga

Sunday, July 7, 21, 8:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. A lesson in a combination of yoga and stand up paddle boarding. $35, registration required. Overlook Paddle Shack, 200 Morgan Falls Road, Sandy Springs. Info: highcountryoutfitters.com/

Community Bike Ride

Sunday, July 7, 2:45-4 p.m. Dunwoody’s monthly community bike ride takes place on the first Sunday of each month through November, sponsored by Bike Walk Dunwoody. The route is a 4.5-mile loop around Dunwoody with mostly right turns. Helmets are required and a bicycle with gears is recommended. Village Burger, 1426 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Dunwoody. Info: bikewalkdunwoody.org.

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10 | Commentary

Reporter Newspapers Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

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

Free Home Delivery 60,000 copies of Reporter Newspapers are mailed monthly to homes in ZIP codes 30305, 30319, 30326, 30327, 30328, 30338, 30342 and 30350 and delivered to more than 200 business/retail locations. For delivery requests, please email delivery@reporternewspapers.net

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Commentary Sharing and responding to your questions about the Ga. 400 Express Lanes Earlier this year, the Georgia Department of Transportation hosted five Public Information Open Houses to provide project information and solicit public comments on the State Route 400 Express Lanes project. We welcomed more than 1,200 attendees and received more than 500 comments. We are grateful to those who attended to provide this valuable feedback. Additionally, a number of questions were posed during and after these meetings. Georgia DOT is committed to responding to those questions and keeping the public informed. An official response is nearing completion and will be posted to the project webpage: dot.ga.gov/DS/GEL/ SR400. Many of you told us that you preferred transit alternatives over the proposed express lanes. Georgia DOT agrees that transit solutions are critical to the region and Georgia’s future. There is shared vision by MARTA, The ATL, Fulton County, State Road and Tollway Authority and Georgia DOT that the SR 400 Express Lanes will provide for transit opportunities in a new manner. This opportunity may be referred to as Express Lanes Transit (ELT). Georgia DOT is supporting this opportunity by constructing the Express lanes to accommodate future ELT stations along SR 400 that tie directly to MARTA’s North Springs Station. This work is being funded by $100 million of transit bonds, which were approved by the General Assembly and Gov. Nathan Deal in 2018. Think of the ELT future as an extension of MARTA’s Red Line minus the rails.

The express lanes provide reliable trip times for ELT riders, as well as for motorists who choose to use the lanes. The lanes are managed by dynamic, demand-based pricing to mitigate congestion in the lanes – as demand during peak hours increases, so does the price; as demand falls, the price falls. A network of express lanes on I-75, I-85, along I-285 and SR 400 will ultimately serve millions of motorists and transit users throughout the metro Atlanta region, providing reliable trip times to you, your neighbors and those in neighboring communities. Transit users will only pay their transit fare regardless of the price in the express lanes. Benefits of express lanes are proven. Four existing express lane corridors are currently in operation in Georgia. Since opening last September, travel times in the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes along I-75 and I-575 are 30 percent faster than the general-purpose lanes during peak travel times, and the general-purpose lanes are seeing travel as much as 20 mph faster during peak times. As a result, rush hours in Cobb and Cherokee counties have been reduced by over an hour during the morning and evening commutes, benefitting motorists and bus transit riders alike. More efficient and faster highways can mean fewer motorists bypassing those congested roads on surface streets in your community. The Georgia DOT has attended or held approximately 150 presentations and meetings to share information and seek input. These meetings have been attended by thousands of residents like you, and I’m

proud of the extensive efforts to work with the community. We’ve received comments reRussell McMurry, P.E., is garding commissioner of the the properGeorgia Department ty acquisiof Transportation. tion process, noise barriers and potential impacts to schools, access points, elevated structures and environmental questions. These comments are reviewed and we strive to address the concerns such to minimize all impacts. This is often an iterative process where one solution may cause another impact. Our goal is to achieve the best project with the fewest impacts. Express lanes, which provide improved mobility for users and non-users, can also serve as a backbone for future transit options -- and do so at the best value. For example, a similar 16mile investment for heavy rail in the corridor could cost as much as $500 million a mile, almost seven times the cost of the 400 Express Lane project, which also provides for a transit corridor. We pledge to continue providing the best information available throughout this process, which includes more public meetings. As the project’s design concepts develop, we will continue to release new information and continue to meet with stakeholders to ensure the best possible project is delivered for the region and Georgia.

Reporter Newspapers wins 15 Georgia Press awards Reporter Newspapers won 15 awards — including eight first-place honors in its division — in the Georgia Press Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest, whose winners were announced May 31. The awards honored work that appeared in the Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs newspapers. The awards recognized all types of the Reporter’s journalism work, from opinion columns to newspaper design to in-depth reporting. The Reporter’s first-place honorees included: ■ Managing Editor John Ruch for Investigative Reporting for stories that revealed secret city discussions about affordable housing policies and north end redevelopment in Sandy Springs; and Business Writing for stories in the Perimeter Business section and an exposé of “safest cities” website rankings. Ruch

also won third place in Breaking News Writing. ■ “Robin’s Nest” columnist Robin Conte for best Lifestyle/Feature Column. She also won awards in the Humorous Column and Serious Column categories. ■ Photographer Phil Mosier for News Photo and Spot News Photo for work that appeared in the Dunwoody Reporter. ■ Creative Director Rico Figliolini for Page One design. He also won second place for Layout and Design. ■ The staff for Local News Coverage. ■ The staff for best Newspaper Website. Editor-at-Large Joe Earle, who writes the “Around Town” column, won second place in the Lifestyle/Features Column category. Staff writer Evelyn Andrews won third place in the Feature Writing cate-

gory for stories about efforts to preserve a historic African American church in Buckhead; the rehabilitation of the Atlanta History Center’s “Battle of Atlanta” Cyclorama painting; and a Sandy Springs Police Department program that rescues stranded motorists. Andrews was named a “Rising Star” earlier this year by the Atlanta Press Club in a separate contest. The Reporter staff also took second place in the General Excellence category. The GPA, founded in 1887, is an organization of Georgia newspapers. Its Better Newspaper Contest is statewide and was judged by members of out-of-state press associations. Entries were judged in seven divisions based on the newspapers’ circulation. Reporter Newspapers was judged in the division that includes weekly newspapers with a circulation above 15,000 and the GPA’s “associate media members.”


JULY 2019

Commentary | 11

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At a coffeehouse, you are what you drink A few years ago, Starbucks introduced a new caffeinated beverage, which they call the “Flat White.” When I saw that, I thought, “Great. Now they’ve come up with a drink that describes me in two words.” But I was intrigued by my newly discovered doppelganger in espresso form and decided to learn more. It turns out that (according to the Starbucks website) this drink is composed of “expertly steamed milk poured over ristretto shots of espresso and finished with a Starbucks signature dot.” Ristretto, by the way, is a shot of espresso made with the normal amount of coffee but extracted using less water, resulting in what is known -- by those who know these things -- as a “short shot” of espresso. Furthermore, I am pleased to report, also according to Starbucks a Flat White is the “coffee connoisseur’s choice” and it is “expertly handcrafted for a genuine Flat White experience.” So really, that does sound a lot like me. For one thing, at 5-feet-and-a-half-inch, I am quite the short shot. I am easily, if not expertly, steamed (by drivers blocking the intersection, kids spilling backpacks and dirty socks all over the kitchen... it doesn’t take much ), and although I don’t have that signature dot, I do have a signature nervous tic. Moreover, anyone who meets me is guaranteed to have a genuine Flat White experience. Yes, I do consider myself a coffee connoisseur, and in my opinion, the Flat White is cappuccino done right. This whole exercise got me thinking some more until I eventually came up with a postulation: Just as dogs are said to resemble their owners (and vice versa), I think that caffeinated beverages often resemble those who drink them. We merely need to come up with some more descriptive titles. In fact, there is a vast potential for coffeehouse beverage names that would aptly describe the drinker, or perhaps reveal something Robin Conte lives with of the drinker’s personality. her husband in an empHere are a few examples: ty nest in Dunwoody. The Snarky Ristretto: A short shot of jolting java, pulled by highly trained baristas and delivered like a bracing slap of aftershave to those who want to start their day with biting humor. The Cheap Shot: Like the Snarky Ristretto, but more intense. The Double Chocolatey Chip Crème Frappuccino Blended Meme: Interlaced layers of cream and sugar, topped with sugar-infused cream and drizzles of chocolate-flavored sugar, caressed with a hint of mocha and a dollop of cultural milieu, for Instagramming teens. Magic Chocolate Screamelatta: A soothing blend of crushed ice, sweet cream and potently dark cocoa powder, empathetically shaken and poured over a double shot of rum, for mothers with screaming toddlers. The Skinny Screamelatta: The same as above, without the ice, cream or cocoa powder. Espresso con Panna Allegro con Tutti: A double shot of exclusively procured and painstakingly roasted espresso with perfect peaks of micro-foamed and nimbly aerated cream, crafted in under 60 seconds, for coffee snobs in a hurry. So, my fellow coffee aficionados, you can play, too. As you sip your brew of choice, consider a few things. For instance, who’s drinking the Emo Blend? Brooding connoisseurs under the age of 23, who want to enjoy the deepest, darkest coffee offered and charge it to their father’s credit card? Then go back to your own coffee and consider this: What’s in your cup?

20 W i To GA & 19, nn p Pr 20 20 er C e 1 18 ol ss 7 um A ni ssn st !

Robin’s Nest

Read Robin Conte’s debut book ‘The Best of the Nest’ “The Best of the Nest” offers 49 of Reporter Newspapers columnist Robin Conte’s witty essays on suburban family life, organized by seasons. They include some of the pieces that won Robin the first-place Lifestyle/Features Column award in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and first-place for Humorous column in 2018 from the Georgia Press Association.

Order the book at bestofthenest.net Follow Robin’s book-related appearances at robinconte.com.

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12 | Commentary

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A family that plays together in the Ultimate game After Fred Perivier graduated from college in 1979, he bought a motorcycle and headed to Atlanta to visit some friends and look for a job. He was sleeping on a couch in a house in Sandy Springs, he said, when he decided to put a personal ad in the daily paper seeking others who played a Frisbee-based game he’d learned at school. It didn’t take long for someone to tell him about a group that regularly got together to play the sport then known as Ultimate Frisbee and now simply as Ultimate. They gathered at Piedmont Park or at Emory. There weren’t many of them. The game, having sprung up at a New Jersey high school only about a decade earlier, was just too new. “When I first moved to Atlanta, there were about 40 players in town,” the 61-year-old Perivier said recently. “Back then, the community was very tight because there were so few people. For me, at least, some of my oldest friends are guys are I played with, guys from the ’80s. We still have that bond.”

H IGH

Perivier became a fixture in metro Atlanta’s Ulimate world, which proponents of the sport say has grown to about 3,000 players on a dozen club teams, 30 high school teams and a dozen college teams. In the early ’80s, he played on Chain Lightning, an Ultimate club team that represented Atlanta in tournaments across the Southeast and the country. They traveled to matches in communities spread from Florida to Wisconsin and Boston to San Francisco. One year, they played in 15 tournaments, he said. “I remember one year, Delta [Air Lines] had a big sale and you could go anywhere in the country for 150 bucks,” he said. “We all bought tickets to go to tournaments.” Perivier played an important role in Ultimate’s growth off the field, too. He helped create the Atlanta Flying Disc Club and coached teams at Georgia Tech and in local public schools. He no longer plays the game, but still coaches Lakeside High’s team.

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

From left, Jacques and Fred Perivier.

His entire family has grown roots deep into the Ultimate world, as well. He met his wife playing the game. His three children – Jacques, 22, Laurence, 20, and Marie, 18 – all play on Georgia college teams, and Marie recently was named a runner-up for the national Rookie of the Year title. Jacques, who plays for Georgia College and on the semi-pro team the Atlanta Hustle, said he’s been playing the sport since he was in sixth grade. His dad was his coach then. “I’ve been around it my entire life,” he said over a lunch with his dad recently. He grew up in north DeKalb County. His family regularly tossed a Frisbee around the cul-de-sac. He kept playing through high school, college and plans to keep going on post-college teams. “I love the camaraderie, just having a team,” Jacques said. “I enjoy the community aspect.” When Jacques was younger, he had to choose between soccer and Ultimate. He chose to stay with Ultimate because he thought he’d could play the game longer before he aged out, he said. After all, his dad played on senior teams into his fifties. “I can keep going in Ultimate,” Jacques said. “With soccer, as an adult, unless you’re really good, it’s all in casual pick-up play. I like the competitive aspects. I like to compete. You can still compete in Ultimate at a high level.” The Periviers also argue that unlike many other American team sports, Ulti-

JOE EARLE

mate has built into its very fabric a sense of what can only be called honor. There are no refs. Players call any fouls themselves. They call it “Spirit of the Game,” and it’s written into the rules. Perhaps it’s a holdover from the sports early, tiedyed days, but players are charged with being honest and telling the truth. “It really works well,” Fred said, although Jacques said he’d just as soon have refs to help keep things under control. They seem to agree that even though their young sport is growing, the idea of tossing a Frisbee up and down a field for points still seems strange to a lot of fans of other, more familiar games. Those folks, they say, don’t show Ultimate any respect. “You don’t get teased for playing soccer,” Jacques said. Ultimate, it appears, may still something of a PR problem. In June, Jacques and Marie were to play in an exhibition at St. Pius X High School intended to promote the game and to attract more minority players. “You ask nine out of 10 people what Ultimate Frisbee is, they’ll say, ‘That’s what the dogs do, isn’t it?’ Fred said. “Some people … say, ‘That’s not a sport,” Jacques chimed in, “It’s just a bunch of hippies out there.” “That changes when once they see it,” Fred said. “I’m going to say, once they get out there and try it,” Jacques said, the desire for competition showing in his smile.


JULY 2019

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City plans Chattahoochee River trail study as regional project takes shape BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs wants to build trails to the Chattahoochee River and is planning to create a master plan to guide their development. The study is beginning as regional connectivity project on a larger section of the river begins to take shape. Sandy Springs’ effort was spurred by a recommendation from a task force that studied redevelopment of the city’s north end last year. Making better connections to the river was seen by the task force as a way to make the area of the city more attractive for residents and developers. The other study is being done through a partnership between the city of Atlanta, Cobb County, the Trust for Public Land and the Atlanta Regional Commission. It will also incorporate Sandy Springs’ plans. The regional project, dubbed the Chattahoochee RiverLands Greenway Study, is planned to include new parks, hiking trails, boat ramps, bicycle paths and other amenities along a 100-mile stretch from the Chattahoochee Bend State Park in Coweta County up to Lake Lanier, traversing the riverfront through northwest Buckhead and around Sandy Springs along the way. Sandy Springs is looking for a firm to

develop a master plan that would guide the development of trails and connections. A big challenge to building trails, or any development, around the river, are the federal restrictions on how the land can be used. Much of Sandy Springs’ border is the river and large sections of it are difficult to access, other than the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Areas operated by the National Park Service. The North End Revitalization Task Force recommended in its report last year that more connections be created to spur redevelopment in the area. The city is also seeking a study on redeveloping four large shopping centers on the north end, another part of the task force’s recommendations. The city is seeking a firm to create the master plan and released a request for proposals June 5. Three open house meetings would be held for the public to provide input on the plan, the document said. Meetings with such groups as the Atlanta Regional Commission, city staff, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and others would also be held. The contractor would be required to a review of the existing land uses, zoning and utilities. It would also need to produce a list of all the agencies with legal

jurisdiction that would be involved. Byron Rushing, the ARC’s bicycling and walking program manager, said the seeing local governments take up their projects is one of the “really exciting parts” of working on the RiverLands study. Any Sandy Springs work will also be used with the RiverLands study, he said. “It’s cool to see the local momentum,” he said. “We’ll pull that in and use as much as we can.” The goal of RiverLands study is to create new access to the river and allow the public to use much more of it, Rushing said. “The Chattahoochee River is one of our region’s natural treasures, but in many areas access remains limited. This study presents an enormous opportunity to change that,” he said. Walt Ray, the Trust for Public Land’s Chattahoochee River Program director, said that Sandy Springs was an early participant in the greenway study. The study has been in development for over year, and during that time the team has met with hundreds of stakeholders, Ray said. “Now, we feel like it’s time to go public,” he said. “This is a sort of once-in-ageneration opportunity.” The 18-month long study began in October 2018 and is being led by SCAPE, a

New York-based landscape architecture and urban design studio. “The Chattahoochee RiverLands Greenway Study presents the largest, most comprehensive effort to reimagine the role the Chattahoochee River plays in our region,” Ray said. The first two public meetings for the study were set for outside of Sandy Springs, but residents are encouraged to participate, Ray said. As the study moves forward, more meetings and events will be held, including interactive “River Rambles,” or festivals, along the river, Ray said. Over the summer, the RiverLands team will being crafting the “visionary plan” to bring back to the public later, Ray said. The federal regulations remain a challenge for the Greenway study as well. Rushing said the part of the study is understanding all the restrictions that protect the river and guide development around it. “To some degree, environmental regulations do dictate what we can do,” Rushing said. Anything the RiverLands study calls for adding would also have to go around development that exists, he said.


14 | Community

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July Specials!

Sandy Springs adds three ambulances to meet demand, suggests other cities do the same

Day of 4th of July All Bowls & Smoothies $5

BY EVELYN ANDREWS

Thursday · 2pm - close

evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Month of July Special

The city has added three ambulances to its new contract with provider American Medical Response to keep up with demand and continue meeting response time targets. Fire Chief Keith Sanders encouraged other cities that have problems with response times to take up its strategy of paying more for additional ambulances. AMR is the same provider that has been criticized by the city of Dunwoody for being slow to respond. Officials in that city have said they would not pay for additional ambulances to ensure response times are met. The contract was approved unanimously by Sandy Springs City Council at its June 18 meeting. The new contract adds one advanced life support ambulance that operates 24 hours and two basic life support ambulances. “This will be a good enhancement from what we currently have,” Sanders said during the meeting. Under the current contract, which expires June 30, AMR provides three 24-hour and two 12-hour ALS ambulances. An additional ambulance was added in 2016 that “significantly improved coverage” and helped maintain the target response time, Sanders said. The new contract brings the total to four 24-hour ALS ambulances, two 12-hour ALS ambulances and two 12-hour BLS ambulances. The additional ambulances would be paid for by a subsidy of $260,000 per year for five years. The base rates would also rise under the new agreement from $1,280 to $1,725 per ALS emergency response, and from $1,280 to $1,451 per BLS emergency response, according to the contract. Sanders said that the current amount of ambulances do not adequately meet the weekly call demand and are not always available. “Adding three additional ambulances will significantly improve coverage and I anticipate improvement in response times as well,” Sanders said in an email. The response time agreed to in the contract is 7 minutes and 59 seconds. According to a city presentation, AMR met that in 2018 94 percent of the time. Under the new contract, ambulances would now be dispatched by ChatComm, the city’s provider of 911 services, instead of AMR. The ambulances would also be equipped with new data receivers used by all Sandy Springs fire trucks that allow call information to be received quicker, Sanders said. When speaking in 2018 about wanting more ambulances in the 2019 contract, Sanders said they were needed due to an increase in car crashes, traffic and population. At that time, the typical response was closer to 11 minutes, but has since lowered. Sanders said paying more to get more ambulances and keep responses down has proven successful. When asked about Dunwoody’s problems, Sanders said Sandy Springs’ strategy should be considered by other nearby cities that have issues. “Since Sandy Springs inception, city leaders have financially invested in reducing ambulance response times through subsidies and constant oversight of the daily operations to ensure the citizens receive the best in emergency response,” Sanders said. “Surrounding cities should seriously consider subsidizing for an enhanced service as well.”

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JULY 2019

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Dunwoody Salutes America Parade JULY 4TH 2019 PRESENTING SPONSORS HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DUNWOODY!

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Thursday, July 4 - steps off at 9AM Mt. Vernon Rd. from Jett Ferry Rd. to Dunwoody Village Pkwy. Closing Ceremonies - Dunwoody Village


16 |

2019 GRAND MARSHAL The Dunwoody Police Department

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Billy Grogan, Chief of Police

The Dunwoody Police Department recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary as a department. We held an Open House as a way to say thank you to our citizens for their unwavering and continued support throughout the years. The department started out with 40 sworn officers and eight civilians. Today, we have 62 sworn officers and 14 civilian employees. From Day One, we have tried to only hire staff members that are interested in a career of service. Employees who understand the importance of working together with the community. Employees that treat people fairly and with empathy and compassion. We have a department full of people who understand that our core values are more than words written on a sheet of paper. Our core values represent who we are as people. We are dedicated to continuing to provide a high level of service to our community, and with the help of our citizens, we will continue to be successful.

SPECIAL GUESTS Chris Carr

Michael Thurmond

Georgia Attorney General

DeKalb County CEO

Channel 2 Action News anchor

Founded in 1976 as a nonprofit youth performing arts education organization based in Atlanta. The primary objective of Spirit of Atlanta is to provide challenging, highquality programs for youth through a positive environment that emphasizes character and social development, leadership, selfdiscipline, and the pursuit of excellence.

Katerina Rozmajzl

9 AM 9 AM - 1 PM 10:30 AM 10:30 AM - 11 AM 11 AM - 11:30 AM APPROXIMATELY 11:30 AM

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Doug Turnbull WSB Traffic Team

Doug Turnbull is the lead p.m. drive anchor for “Triple Team Traffic” in the WSB Skycopter and is the WSB Traffic Team manager of operations. Turnbull also writes the weekly “Gridlock Guy” column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on wsbradio.com.

Laura Nida Allison

Katerina Rozmajzl, 21, is studying to obtain a master’s of accountancy and CPA to operate and expand her company, Katerina Cosmetics™. Katerina is an ambassador for Kiva, where she helps fund, support and mentor individuals who do not have access to financial loans to start their own businesses.

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DeKalb Fire Chief

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Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps

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Parade start Kids Zone National Anthe m, sung by Jessica Iovanella 116th Army National Guard Marching Band Georgia Sensation Chorus Parade winners announced


JULY 2019

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SPECIAL FLOATS AND MUSIC Special floats and vehicles this year include: Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile Nocturnal Pirates of Atlanta

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Marching bands and musicians in the parade include:

DONATIONS

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Atholl Highlanders Bagpipes Atlanta Drum Academy Dunwoody High School Marching Band Georgia Sensation Chorus Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps

Eyeglasses collection

Bring your used eyeglasses to the parade for recycling! Fifteen international youth ambassadors attending the Georgia Lions Youth Exchange Camp will march in with the Atlanta Lions Club. Look for the colorful flags of the world as the students will be parading with their national flags, along with eyeglass collection boxes. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like us to pick up your eyeglasses, contact Becky Jarrell at beckyjarrell@gmail.com or 770-355-7726. You can also find Lions Eyeglass Collection Boxes at Dunwoody businesses and pools in July.

Food pantry collection

Dunwoody Boy Scout Troop 764 will be pushing shopping carts along the parade route, collecting food donations for the Community Assistance Center Food Pantry. Most-need items include canned meats and fish; canned pasta; canned vegetables; canned or packaged fruits; and cereal.

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Adoptable dogs

LifeLine Animal Project is the beneficiary of an event organized by local Girl Scout Sophia Sparks, who will have adoptable dogs in the parade, and an informational tent and a portrait photo booth for attendees and their dogs at the festival. Photos will be $15. Monetary donations for the DeKalb County Animal Shelter also will be accepted.

ENTERTAINMENT AND FOOD Before and during the parade

Renasant Bank, 1449 Dunwoody Village Parkway, will have a tent with free face-painting, free water and doughnuts, and a cornhole game.

Festival after the parade

Music from the 116th National Army Guard Marching Band and Georgia Sensation Chorus Kids zone with inflatables Food: Barbecue for sale from Boy Scout Troop 266; hotdogs and sausages for sale from the Rotary Club of Dunwoody; frozen pops for sale from Steel Pops; beer for purchase from Moondog Growlers.

Stacey CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1


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PARADE HISTORY The Dunwoody Fourth of July Parade was founded in 1976 as part of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bicentennial celebrations. It continued for five years under the leadership of the Dunwoody Womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club before ceasing. In 1991, following the Gulf War, the parade was revived, by suggestion of Bill Robinson and Joyce Amacher, as a way to honor returning service members. With the sponsorship of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, the parade has been an annual traditional since that time.

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JULY 2019

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Is city’s privatization shift a big risk or no big deal? Continued from page 1 pudiation of our model. I think the model can be considered, after 14 years, a success,” says Oliver Porter, a Sandy Springs engineer and artist who founded the privatization idea as he helped to organize the new city in 2005, noting it remains in good fiscal health and has never hiked taxes. But he also believes the city has already deviated too much from that model and that the current shift is risky. “I am concerned now the city may fall into what I call the bureaucratic morass,” said Porter. “We can become like everyone else over time, is what concerns me. And everyone else is wrong.” The Reason Foundation, a prominent libertarian think tank, gave Sandy Springs a lot of attention as a privatization model in its early days. Austill Stuart, a Reason policy analyst, said he was surprised by the change, but also believes the city’s inherent management philosophy is keeping its eye on the real prize. “Libertarians, a lot of them, are probably going to look at it and see failure,” Stuart said, “but from our perspective, delivering services efficiently is the priority.” Meanwhile, some other recently formed local cities that imitated Sandy Springs’ model to varying extents – including Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Johns Creek – say they’re not concerned by the shift and not doing any special review of their forms of government. Another big question is how long Sandy Springs’ change will last. The public-private partnership was supposed to make it easy to change government operations quickly, but didn’t account for switching between contracted and in-house forms. Mayor Rusty Paul says the decision will be reviewed in a year and was made “we believe temporarily,” while Porter says he thinks it will take longer than a year to measure any effects and that by then the political tendency would be to avoid changing back. Meanwhile, the city continues to outsource certain departments, such as 911 and its Call Center, in what it now calls a “hybrid” model of competitive contracting and traditional government.

An experimental model

In now-deleted language, the city’s website long touted Sandy Springs as a “trailblazer” in the public-private partnership model, which it claimed had been “shown to provide the city with lower costs, higher performance and greater degree of accountability.” There’s no doubt that the city drew praise for service delivery, low taxes and a lack of debt, but the private-contracting model itself was more of an experimental work in progress with many nuances, challenges and changes over the years. Academic study of the Sandy Springs model was rare and one of the few published found the government to be less efficient on certain metrics than that of some other local cities. Analysts at Reason debated whether it was truly competitive contracting or more of a decentralization of traditional government. While Porter has long consulted with international cities about the model, none have adopted it to date. City officials ran into several significant issues with private contracting: the cost and effort of rebidding entire city departments; lack of financial transparency in contracts; staffing turnover; vague or nonexistent performance metrics; and contractors that lacked expertise in specialized city services. The biggest previous change came in 2011, when the city found that its single-source contractor, CH2M Hill, was costing $7 million more than deemed reasonable and the model was shifted to several department-specific contracts instead, awarded to different companies. Underlying the experiment was an often-forgotten fact from the city’s incorporation: the public-private partnership was a start-up necessity that the city attempted to make a long-term virtue. When residents won legislative approval to incorporate, they had to do so in a matter of months. Hiring a massive corporation to provide staffing and resources was the only way to do. And because the city didn’t exist yet, the corporation had to be convinced to do the start-up without a contract or up-front payment. In part, the idea of Sandy Springs as a small-government conservative utopia of outsourcing was a sales pitch designed to attract a contractor with dreams of breaking open a new market of privatized cities, as Porter recalls in his 2006 book “Creating the New City of Sandy Springs: The 21st Century Paradigm: Private Industry.” The city founders “did a bit of a selling job,” he wrote. “It was pointed out that Sandy Springs was going to be the premiere showcase for the role of private industry in municipal government in the entire country. Therefore, the firm that got our business would have the spotlight, and a ‘leg up’ on penetrating an enormous market.”

Debating pros and cons

But the founders also were sincere in their belief that private corporations would be more efficient and effective than traditional government. Bottom-line cost savings was one assumed advantage, but not the only one. Several were noted in Porter’s book or cited by city officials over the years: avoidance of pensions and benefits costs; better technological innovation; higher employee performance; the flexibility to reduce or add staff at will; “freedom from political influence” on city operations. Paul, in a written statement, acknowledged several of those advantages and said they had proven benefits.

“However, the greatest benefit historically is cost control and cost certainty over a multiyear period,” Paul said, explaining the recent shift away from the privatized model. “But in periods of tight labor markets, tariffs on key commodities and work backlogs, such as today, private companies demand premium pricing to take on additional work. That premium was more than we felt was fiscally prudent.” Porter emphasized that he was not involved in the city’s thought process and that he defers to the officials making decisions today. But he also expressed strong concerns about the loss of competitive advantages and said he believes the city is having trouble with contracting bids today because of its 2011 move away from the single-contractor model. “I’ve made a strong effort to not second-guess those who are involved,” Porter said. “But the principles I enunciated earlier still stand… I’m concerned some of those principles might be violated. I trust they are making a good decision and only time will tell.” Porter notes that the $13 million the city says it will save by bringing most government functions in-house is only an estimate, and he questioned the saving from breaking up the original single-source contract as well. “I think over the long, broader picture, that wasn’t true,” Porter said of the 2011 savings estimate. He said it illustrates that “you lose when you break it up into small contracts. That incentive goes away. The incentive to bring new technology in goes away when you have small contracts… I think they lost incentive for businesses to go after any of those contracts.” Porter acknowledged some of the challenges the city faced in private contracting, but saw some of them as positives. For example, a lack of transparency in contractor operations is “absolutely true” – but good, he said. “It’s going to be a black box… OK, that’s a [model] most people probably wouldn’t agree with,” he said, but only because of natural curiosity and an urge for control, not good government operations. He warned against “the desire to have a little more control, and a little more control, and not have faith in the partnership…What we started successfully was against human nature. What we started was a public-private partnership, with emphasis on the final word, ‘partnership.’” Porter echoed advice in his book to “not try to squeeze the last dollar out of the contract” and instead focus on long-term results of a company driven by making a fair profit. “I know if we start seeing tax increases, we’ll know we have made a mistake,” Porter added. Stuart, the analyst at Reason, said he expects Sandy Springs will continue to have good delivery of services despite the shift due to its other unique attribute: a clean-slate start as the state’s first new city in the previous 50 years. The young city likely is still focused on its founding principles and has learned from contractors how to deliver them, he said, adding, “Sandy Springs is in a much better place to achieve that [service delivery] than most other places.” Meanwhile, the city’s webpage about the public-private partnership has been rewritten to emphasize the cost-savings of the two major shifts in the model over the years, and Paul talks in terms of practicality, not purity. “Also, we still use P3 [the public-private partnership] for a number of services, so we have adopted more of a hybrid P3/traditional model than a pure version of either delivery model, which has always been the case in Sandy Springs,” Paul said. “We just shifted (we believe temporarily) more services to the traditional model due to the premium pricing that exists in the private sector today.”

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20 | Community

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Local City Council members sign petition against toll lanes BY DYANA BAGBY AND EVELYN ANDREWS Elected officials in Dunwoody and Doraville are speaking out against the planned I-285 “top end” toll lanes and have signed a petition opposing the estimated $5 billion project expected to begin con-

struction in 2023. Kevin Abel of Sandy Springs, a member of the State Transportation Board which oversees the Georgia Department of Transportation, however, took those officials to task and said he supports the toll lanes projects planned on I-285 and Ga. 400 because they promise to bring bus rapid tran-

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sit to the area. Dunwoody Councilmembers Lynn Deutsch, John Heneghan, Pam Tallmadge and Tom Lambert and Doraville City Councilmember Joseph Geierman have all signed the change.org petition started by Dunwoody resident Travis Reid. All said adding more lanes would not solve the traffic woes on I-285 and they are urging the Georgia Department of Transportation to reevaluate the project. “The plan being presented is additional lanes and then there is a small chance of mass transit if the cities want to fund it,” Heneghan said in a written statement. “I believe this process is backward whereby mass transit should be the first discussion followed by other options like additional lanes after that.” Heneghan requested Mayor Denis Shortal and the city attorney at the city’s June 10 council meeting to approve funding next year to hire an independent environmental impact attorney. The attorney would guide the city through the environmental study process now underway by GDOT as part of the toll lanes project, he said. Four members of the Dunwoody City Council signing onto the petition represents a voting majority. There are seven members of the council, including the mayor. Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said that majority, she hopes, “will allow the council to be strong negotiators with GDOT to protect our community.” Lambert said the four signatures also shows the petition and the movement to stop the I-285 top end toll lanes are not just part of a grassroots movement. “Our city leadership has grave concerns about this project and the impact it will have on our city,” he said. “We want to tap the brakes a little and make sure that every component of this project been thoroughly vetted and we’re having some input as well,” Lambert said. “The city needs to be engaged in this every step of the way to ensure have a say in the impact that it’s going to have for us.” The “I-285 Top End Express Lanes” project focuses on adding two new elevated, barrier-separated toll lanes, or “express lanes,” in both directions on I-285, alongside regular travel lanes. They could stand 30 feet or higher. The boundaries of the I-285 project have shifted over time, now extending west to the Vinings area and east to the Henderson Road area, and, in a confusing twist, including a section of Ga. 400 as well. Construction is expected to begin in 2023. In a separate toll lanes project, GDOT plans to start work on Ga. 400 to add two new barrier-separated express lanes in both directions alongside regular travel lanes in a project estimated to cost $1.2 billion and begin construction in 2021. Bus rapid transit is part of the Ga. 400 toll lanes project, which would run north of the North Springs MARTA Station and already has funding. Local cities have funded studies on building and funding a similar line on the I-285 lanes. GDOT says the toll lanes would alleviate traffic some of the most heavily traveled and congested highways in the country by

allowing motorists to pay a fee to drive in less congested lanes. Having most members of Dunwoody’s City Council publicly opposing the I-285 top end toll lanes is a much different approach than Brookhaven and Sandy Springs, neighboring cities that would also be impacted by the planned toll lanes. While council members in those cities have raised concerns about how their residents will be affected, they have focused on trying to work with GDOT rather than vocally oppose the project. On June 18, the Sandy Springs City Council voted to recommend GDOT make changes to the toll lanes on the Ga. 400 section of the project, which runs north of the North Springs MARTA Station. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst has said GDOT’s toll lanes provide the best way to have east-west transit across the north end of the Perimeter, providing important connectivity for workers who now are forced to sit in hours of traffic during their commutes. ARC and GDOT adopted the toll lane strategy as the way to alleviate traffic congestion in 2013. GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale said state law prohibits GDOT from funding heavy rail for transit. But GDOT always considers how transit options and use can be incorporated into their projects, she said. Geierman of Doraville criticized what he says is the secretive process GDOT using to inform the public on what is happening. He said he found out GDOT took 5 acres of Doraville’s massive mixed-use redevelopment Assembly project for the toll lanes by reading the story in the Reporter. “They have a plan they are not sharing with people, purposefully,” Geierman said. “They don’t want any of us to actually mobilize our neighbors and say, ‘This is what is going to happen.’ “Information is coming out so slowly it will be hard to organize a real response,” he said. “And there is so much money behind it. Legitimately, it will be hard to put out a defense.” GDOT officials say they are still in early concept design phases of the new toll lanes and will present detailed plans to the public in January. Dale said in a written statement that GDOT has met off-and-on privately with “stakeholders,” such as DeKalb and Fulton County school systems, for over a year to get feedback on some details, and occasionally at local City Council meetings. GDOT also says it will meet with any local organization, such as a homeowners’ associations. Dale said that GDOT does proactively reach out to affected homeowners impacted by the right-of-way acquisition process but does not publicly announce when parcels are purchased to protect the privacy of property owners. Signing a petition may not stop the GDOT project, but Deutsch said it plays an important role in raising awareness on toll lanes, their cost and impact to the top end communities. She also said the current plans are likely to be outdated in only a few years due to rapidly evolving technology including autonomous vehicles.


JUNE 10 - JUNE 23, 2016

Special Section | 21

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Home & Real Estate A QUARTERLY SPECIAL SECTION

A guide to home security camera options BY KATIA MARTINEZ The security camera market is changing, with more options now allowing residents to control and install their own equipment. But the new options also bring more confusion about what is right choice for securing a home. Here’s a guide on how to pick a home security system. Two main companies provide self-installed cameras that can be monitored on a smartphone or other device. Nest’s cameras retail from $200 to $300 each. Ring’s cameras come at a similar price, except for its doorbell camera, which retails for $99. The cameras can be self-installed, but professional installation is recommended for some situations, such as use in older homes. Ring and Nest can also provide professional monitoring service to call dispatchers. Nest charges $30 per month for that, and Ring charges $10 per month. Pricing varies much more for traditional security companies, and it often depends heavily on how much work has to be done to get the property prepared for installation. Alarm companies typically come out to a property and design a personalized system. Companies will often provide free quotes, however. Most alarms fall into two categories: motion sensors and sound sensors. Most operate in similar ways by simply detecting motion or sound, which is why false alarms can be easy to trigger. However, older systems often don’t have the equipment to record and store audio or video content to transmit it to emergency call centers, for instance when verification is required, such as by the city of Sandy Springs.

Should homeowners stick with a traditional system or try a new doorbell camera system?

“That really depends entirely on what the client needs,” said April Chastain, the director of operations for Owen Security Solutions, a locally-owned North Georgia home security company. “We try to work with each client to find exactly what works for them.” Chastain said the Owen Security doesn’t want customers paying for something they won’t use, and sometimes a smart home system isn’t particularly viable. “Not everyone can afford these kinds of systems and it’s not always the right choice,” she said. “If you’re not going to use all the pieces of a smart home system, then you probably don’t need a smart home system.” Owen Security installs Nest and countless other kinds of systems, and said it is hard

to nail down how expensive an installation would be. Each package is tailormade for that client, but they are offering Sandy Springs residents discounts on packages that include the video verification, Chastain said. The discount varies from project to project, so Chastain was unable to give an amount. There has also been concern among residents about the ability to hack into a smart home system. However, Chastain said she doesn’t think that should be a concern and that any kinks in smart home systems have been worked out long before this ordinance was initiated. “These systems are so encrypted that I don’t really see how someone can hack into them anymore,” she said. “These are people’s homes, and security companies are here to protect them. It’s our jobs.”

If I have a system, is it good enough?

Dunwoody Police Sgt. Robert Parsons suggests homeowners select video verification instead of primarily audio verification systems. “While we do not endorse any specific alarm system or product, certainly ones that offer cameras can make our jobs easier should something happen,” said Parsons, who uses one himself. Chastain recommends that larger properties have a more thorough camera system, and isn’t sure one doorbell camera would be enough. “We recommend at least three cameras per property,” Chastain said. “That ensures that you’re covering your basic needs.”

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22 | Real Estate

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With tiny homes, the trend toward smaller living continues to grow BY COLLIN KELLEY Hundreds of the tiny home curious flocked to Atlantic Station last month for the annual Tiny Home Festival. While the movement toward smaller living has been making headlines for years, the interest has not waned and seems to be gaining new ground. The City of Atlanta recently passed a zoning ordinances allowing homeowners to build multiple units on one parcel land, paving the way for tiny homes Intown. One nearby community that is embracing the tiny home movement is set to be a template for future developments. On May 7, the City of Clarkston unanimously voted to approve a first of its kind tiny home development. The project, “The Cottages on Vaughan” is situated on a half-acre lot centrally located one block from downtown Clarkston, and will include eight tiny homes on permanent foundations, ranging from 250-492 square feet. Continued on page 24

Above and right, hundreds of small living enthusiasts flocked to Atlantic Station recently for the Tiny House Festival. Photos by Asep Mawardi

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Real Estate | 23

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24 | Real Estate Continued from page 22 “We are proud to partner with the MicroLife Institute on this innovative new approach to housing,” said City of Clarkston Mayor, Ted Terry. “We recognize that the past 50 years of urban sprawl has segregated communities, contributed to global warming, and exacerbated housing inequality. By experimenting and innovating with new development ordinances, we are able to allow a greater range of housing options.” Clarkston City Councilmember Jamie Carroll has high hopes for the development as well. “I hope that other cities will look at our tiny home ordinance and this development and see that it is possible to create a housing landscape that allows for home owner-

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News ship to come in all shapes and sizes.” The developer, MicroLife Institute, is an Atlanta-based nonprofit working to create micro-communities. “This project will be a proof of concept for us,” MicroLife Institute cofounder Kim Bucciero said. “There is a lot of interest and movement towards tiny homes and cottage homes, but many developers are hesitant to enter the market. Our hope is that this project will encourage other municipalities and private developers to experiment with new, innovate development paradigms and learn from this great case study.” For more about the Clarkston development, visit microlifeinstitute.org/ Clarkston.

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Education | 25

JULY 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

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Education Briefs ATL A N TA I N T ER N ATI ON A L SC H O OL N A M ES TOP GR A D UATES

Atlanta International School has named its valedictorian and salutatorian for 2019. Yannie Tan was named valedictorian, and Justin Chau was named salutatorian.

TH E WEBER S CH OOL PA R T N ER S WI TH LO S N I N O S PR I MERO

In a collaboration of Sandy Springs institutions, the Weber School has partnered with Los Niños Primero, which assists underserved Latino preschool children, helping raise funds for the program and collaborating with students. “The Weber School has become a tremendous partner to us in supporting our efforts year round and helping us deepen our ties to the Sandy Springs community,” Los Niños Primero Executive Director Maritza Morelli said in the release. Los Niños Primero was formed in 2001 by members of Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church to prepare preschoolers from the growing Latino population in Sandy Springs. Many Latino students who, according to national data, enter kindergarten already lagging a year behind their peers, the organization said. Los Niños Primero, which was honored at the 2019 Sandy Springs MLK celebration, has been partnering with The Weber School for the last two years, the release said. Weber, a private Jewish school in Sandy Springs, has helped fundraise for LNP’s classroom furnishings and soccer programs. Weber and LNP students also came together to design and paint a mural on an LNP classroom’s walls that honors the cultural roots and bilingual identity of the Sandy Springs Latino community. The Weber School hosted a breakfast between students in advanced Spanish courses and mothers of LNP students. Students practiced their Spanish in a real-world setting while LNP mothers shared their perspective on life and motherhood, the release said. “Working with the children, families,

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and educators at Los Niños Primero has been inspirational for our students,” said Rabbi Ed Harwitz, Head of The Weber School, in the release. “As a twenty-first century Jewish high school, our partnership provides Weber with a powerful opportunity to express our mission through action.”

SC HO O L D ISTR ICTS A P P RO VE, PR EPAR E 2020 B U D G ETS

The Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton school districts approved or proposed budgets for next year that will bring teacher pay raises. Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education approved its budget June 3. The $854 million budget would provide $2,000 raises for teachers, less than the $3,000 called for by Gov. Brian Kemp. APS said the amount of money provided by the state would not cover all of the $3,000 raises. The district would provide the raises if it is able to secure additional revenue, it said in a release. The full $3,000 raises are expected to be funded by the DeKalb and Fulton districts.

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C O R R EC TION The article “2019 Valedictorians & Salutatorians” in the June issue incorrectly identified a Holy Spirit Preparatory School student as a salutatorian; in fact, Holy Spirit had covaledictorians and no salutatorian. Holy Spirit’s co-valedictorians were Mikayla Brown and Watson Casal.

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26 | Education

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Luke Winstel, St. Pius X Catholic High School Luke Winstel, known as the “Voice of the Golden Lions” at St. Pius X Catholic High School, has led the school’s broadcasting team win awards, and has won some of his own for his work volunteering. Luke, who graduated in May, is most known for his work directing the ESPX student webcast program at the school, which is located in DeKalb County near Brookhaven. He led the team to win St. Pius X an “Elite Schools” award from the National Federation of High School Sports Network for the fourth year in a row. In March, he received the Georgia Youth Leadership Award presented by 21st Century Leaders. The competitive award is given by local businessmen to the top “20 Under 20” from across the state based on leadership, entrepreneurship and community service. He also led the team to win a national marketing award for the first time. “I fell in love with the art of broadcasting because of the extreme challenges it presented to me at each event,” Luke said. “But the webcast would not happen without the voluntary time put in by the crew to video and produce the games.” Luke has broadcasted many of St. Pius X’s sporting events since his freshman year when he joined the team. Preparing for hours of live broadcasting, especially for unfamiliar sports, takes some work, he said. “I spent a lot of time compiling information about different athletes and watching professional sports casters report games. I also kept typed-up documents of notes and particular words, so I could build up the proper vocabulary for reporting games,” he said. Luke also received the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2016 for his work at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. It’s awarded by the federal government for achieving over 250 hours of community service — almost 10-and-a-half days — in one year. Luke has volunteered at the museum for six years. He has given lectures to kids and adults on a range of scientific topics like fossils or marine biology. Helping visitors learn about the exhibits in the museum allowed him to better understand how to “cater to an audience” and become passionate about giving back to the community, he said. “Since I was a little kid, my family instilled the importance of helping others in me. I developed a passion for service when I discovered that even doing the smallest things can help make someone’s day better,” Luke said. He has also received the St. Theresa of Calcutta Service Award from St. Pius X for going beyond his school-assigned service requirements. “My parents have always emphasized the importance of serving your community, so I make it a priority,” he said. Luke also plays in the advanced guitar ensemble at St. Pius X, where he has also won

Standout Student

SPECIAL

Above, Luke Winstel plays guitar in the school’s advanced guitar ensemble, and provides commentary for the ESPX student webcast program.

awards. He’s also played guitar at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. He also hosts his own podcast covering Georgia sports, and has represented 21st Century Leaders in 2018 in a summer immersion program with the Atlanta Hawks video production group. What’s next? Luke plans to attend Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville to study mass communications. He plans to go into broadcasting after college, building on the experience and connections he made during his time at ESPX. This article was written and reported by Alexa Robbins, a student at Atlanta International School. 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.

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28 | Classifieds

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SERVICES AVAILABLE Landscaping: Tranquil Waters Lawn Care – Hauling of debris, yard cleanup, aeration, leaf blowing, power washing, etc. Free estimates – No contract necessary – Commercial or Residential. Senior/Veteran discounts available. Call Mike 678-662-0767. Masonry: Driveways & Walkways – Replaced or Repaired. Masonry, Grading, Foundations repair, waterproofing and retaining walls. Call Joe Sullivan 770616-0576. Pest Control: Southern Pro Pest Management – We will solve all your pest problems. Guaranteed prompt service! Tyler (owner) 706-530-8298. Rugs: Cleaning & Repair of all rugs – 40% discount when you mention ad. Sales, cleaning, restorations, appraisals, pick-up & delivery. Call 404-995-8400 Oriental Rug Shop.

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City to make policy changes following massive mansion party in High Point cerned the party would have blocked emergency vehicle access for an elderly neighbor if they needed it. Cars were parked so tightly on some streets that residents had to back out of the street because they couldn’t go down it, he said. Weathers was out of town during the

party, but was in contact in with police to get cars parked in his yard moved off his property, he said. “It’s just unfortunate that I can’t go out of town without wondering what’s happening to my property when I’m gone,” he said.

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BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs officials said the city will make some policy changes after a massive mansion party hosted by rappers at a house on Northland Drive brought noise and disruption to the neighborhood. The June 9 party brought cars that lined neighborhood streets, security guards carrying rifles and loud music that lasted all day into the night, residents told the City Council at its June 18 meeting. Publicity photos show the party was hosted by an event company called Tycoon and headlined by major hip-hop artists like Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Nelly and 50 Cent. “Sandy Springs is a city that calls its neighborhoods protected neighborhoods,” said Amelia Ditzel, who lives on the nearby Old House Trail. “Last weekend, I don’t think we felt protected at all.” Residents said the cars blocking emergency vehicle access and presence of large guns made them worry for their safety, and others kept their children inside to prevent them from seeing the party’s activities. “I apologize. You shouldn’t have to go through that,” Mayor Rusty Paul told the residents. “We’re going to make some changes.” Those plan to include making sure police officers hired off-duty as security for events know if it has a permit or not and making changes the event policy, Paul said. City Attorney Dan Lee also said the owner of the house where the party took place, 4889 Northland Drive, would be cited by code enforcement June 19. A call to the owner of the property was not answered. “We try to learn from things that happen in our community and make adjustments,” Paul said.

SPECIAL

Councilmember Tibby DeJulio, who represents the area, said the city should look into a legal way to “keep this from happening.” “People don’t need to be unable to get in and out of their homes,” DeJulio said. “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen in Sandy Springs.” The party followed a similar one for the Super Bowl in February, residents said. The house has also been used for soap opera filming, DeJulio said. “My concern is that this will continue,” resident Lee Haverstock said. The party also advertised a $10,000 award for the “best swim suit,” and many women were wearing “basically nothing,” Ditzel said. “We literally had to take the kids inside so they would not see what was going on around them,” she said. Mansion parties have previously been held in at mansions in Buckhead, causing residents there to voice similar concerns. The parties left Atlanta officials concerned about coping with the arrival of the national trend of renting mansions for parties staged by professional promoters. The owner of a house on Buckhead’s Garmon Road near the Sandy Springs border was fined $1,000 by Atlanta fter hosting a string a massive parties. The house was reported to be active again by a resident who called Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit’s office, according to Jim Elgar, Matzigkeit’s policy aide. Paul encouraged residents to call 911, which many said they did. Police came and the music stopped for 30 minutes before returning until the party was fully shut down, residents said. The party lasted longer than it should have given that it was unpermitted, residents said. Matt Weathers, who lives on the nearby Landmark Drive, said he was con-

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30 | Community

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U.S. Rep. McBath talks impeachment, gun control at town hall BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath stressed the importance of bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., at her June 8 town hall at Dunwoody High School, on everything from gun control to climate change. But she was forced to tackle a very partisan issue when a woman who described herself as a “staunch” McBath supporter asked her why she was not calling for impeachment proceedings against President Trump. “It troubles me to have to stand up and say that I’m concerned about that with you ... ,” the woman said in the second question of the town hall. “How long can you go before you stand up say the House has a job to do and you need to have hearings?” McBath, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said hearings are coming, but stressed there is a “tedious process” that must be followed. The impeachment process begins in the House, where a vote on an article DYANA BAGBY of impeachment is taken. If a majority U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) addressed a crowd of some 200 people at her June 8 town hall at Dunwoody High School. of the House approves an article of impeachment, the process then moves to gressional seat, a seat held for decades by Republicans and includes portions of the Senate where a trial is held. Many political experts agree a Republican-conDunwoody, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven. Handel is hoping to win back the seat trolled Senate — where a two-thirds vote is needed to remove the president — next year and has shored up major Republican support. There are three other Rewould not vote to impeach Trump. publicans are vying for the Republican nomination for a chance to go against Mc“I am absolutely furious about what is happening in this country. I am furious at Bath, including state Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta. the lack of accountability of this administration. I am furious about their inability McBath started off the town hall discussing gun control, the issue that catapultto be forthcoming with the truth,” McBath answered. ed her into the national spotlight after her teen son, Jordan, was killed in 2012 at The recent report from former special counsel Robert Mueller about his investia Florida gas station by a white gunman who complained he and his friends were gation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, McBath said, proplaying their music too loud. vides proof that there has been “obstructive behavior by this administration in conMcBath noted she and many others in the crowd were wearing orange shirts to cealing the truth.” memorialize those killed by gun violence. The House has passed a law for stricter “I know everybody wants it to happen overnight, but there is a process we have background checks, but it remains stalled in the Senate, she said. to follow. That process is tedious,” she said. McBath said she is a “strong supporter of the Second Amendment” but believes in “I am angry, and I am upset. ... If it comes to a point of an impeachment inquiry, balancing those rights with “sensible gun laws.” She also blamed the NRA gun lobby you can trust your representatives will do their jobs.” for creating an “extremist gun culture” over the past 25-30 years. McBath narrowly defeated Republican Karen Handel last year for the 6th Con-

City Council calls for changes to toll lanes plan BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Sandy Springs City Council is calling for changes to some parts of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s toll lanes plan, including the planned flyover lanes at Northridge Road. The City Council approved recommendations for Ga. 400 toll lanes at its June 18 meeting. The city’s desired changes are laid out in a letter to GDOT Commission Russell McMurry signed by Mayor Rusty Paul. “We feel the recommendations in this letter are feasible and possible,” the letter said. “We are supportive of your efforts to progress positive change and appreciate

your willingness to work with us to minimize unnecessary negative impacts.” The recommendations, which were presented by Councilmember John Paulson, call for changes to the planned toll lanes on the Ga. 400 section of the project, which runs north of the North Springs MARTA Station. The city is calling for building the toll lanes underneath the Northridge Road bridge instead of building flyover lanes. Residents there are concerned the flyover lanes would change the character of the area and bring more noise and pollution. The lanes go over the bridge to move from the outside of the regular lanes to the center of them. This change would mean the lanes would have to move to

the center south of Northridge. GDOT has said going underneath would be costly because the recentlybuilt bridge would have to be made wider to accommodate all the lanes. Paulson said GDOT originally considered building the lanes in the center south of Northridge, but changed the plan after concerns from the Fulton County School System. Patrick Burke, the school district’s chief operating officer, said in a written statement that Fulton Schools is “assessing the potential impact.” Burke said staff is reviewing Sandy Springs’ recommendations, but has not taken a position. The letter also calls for closing Pitts Road to rebuild it. GDOT plans to build a

new Pitts Road bridge as part of the project and keep the existing one open during construction. But to do that, the new bridge would be shifted, requiring four houses to be demolished. The road would need to be closed for around six months, but it would save the houses, Paulson said. Closing Pitts Road was an option GDOT presented at its open house meetings. The recommendations also ask GDOT to keep sound barriers up as long as possible and construct new barriers as quickly as possible to protect residents from increased noise.


JULY 2019

Community | 31

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North end plans include business district, shopping center studies, trail

Continued from page 1

The Greenline would be a multiuse path for pedestrians and cyclists similar to Buckhead’s PATH400 and Atlanta’s BeltLine. The city has also had “recent conversations” with developers about proposals they’ve made for some north end properties, Worthy said. Although the developer’s proposals weren’t detailed, a map in the presentation showed they include a group of commercial buildings on Dunwoody Place that hold Pontoon Brewing Company and the Sandy Springs Theatre Company, among several others. Two others are a retirement community and car dealership on Hightower Trail. The city also plans to explore creating a “boulevard” on Roswell Road, which is called for in the city’s land use plan and task force recommendations. The initial section would run from Dunwoody Place to the river. The boulevard project would include adding a landscaped median, pedestrian and bicycle paths and trees while keeping both directions two lanes, according to an illustration. The city’s shopping center study is expected to be finished by the end of the year and would include “detailed concepts for how each property could be de-

veloped to attract developer interest.” Sandy Springs Together, led by the two former co-chairs of the city’s north end task force who now oppose many of the recommendations, released a statement saying the shopping center redevelopment study could have affordable housing consequences that should be understood before the city moves forward. “Rebuilding outdated shopping centers will be a welcome addition to our city’s infrastructure but as we have seen in town after town — including Atlanta’s well-intended Beltline — the danger of gentrification and displacement is very real,” Sandy Springs Together said in a written statement. “If we are to avoid negative consequences of gentrification that will surely follow this redevelopment, we must first address affordable housing. The city shouldn’t go from one alternative to another without conducting a full impact study of the city’s affordable housing needs and its ramifications.” In response to a question from Councilmember John Paulson, Mayor Rusty Paul said that he thinks the city has “made it very clear from the very beginning we would try to provide retail opportunities first.” Buying apartment complexes to tear them down does not “make

At the

HEART

of Advanced Cardiac Care

sense,” he said. Sandy Springs Together has argued that the city may not be planning to directly remove affordable housing, but that the city’s plan to inspire redevelopment may spur gentrification. The study targets the Loehmann’s Plaza Shopping Center, 8610 Roswell Road; Northridge Shopping Center, 8331-8371 Roswell Road; North River Village Shopping Center, 8765-8897 Roswell Road; and North Springs Center, 7300 Roswell Road, the request for proposals said. At least two of the north end shopping centers that are the subject of the redevelopment study already have their own short-term plans in the works, and it’s unclear how they would be affected. An activist group is criticizing the study as a thrust for gentrification. Changes may come to the Northridge Shopping Center amid the study. Rafat Shaikh, the president and CEO of Safeway Group, Inc., the new owner, said the company expects to fill the space left by Kroger “soon” and is negotiating with “several” potential tenants. He did not provide more details. Shaikh said he had not heard of the study from city and wanted more information about it. Worthy said she had spoken to the owners of the other three shopping centers and the broker of Northridge. The feedback from the owners has been “very positive,” she said. “They see it as a potential opportunity to market it for potential redevel-

opment,” Worthy said. It will show the property owners, “This is really what you could do with your property should you chose to do so.” Public meetings will be held during the study process. Two meetings will also be held at each of the properties, the document said. The study will include recommended redevelopment uses, three illustrated concepts and estimated costs. A redevelopment of the North Springs Center is already planned, but has been stalled since 2015 due to a dry-cleaner pollution cleanup. The owner got a cleanup extension from Environmental Protection Division to March 2019, and no further extension has been requested. The cleanup at the 9-acre site is being conducted by a prospective buyer, Buckhead-based Blanchard Real Estate, which has taken new groundwater samples to determine if additional cleanup is necessary, EPD spokesperson Kevin Chambers said. The data has not been supplied to EPD yet, he said. Blanchard and an attorney for the longtime owner, North Springs Associates, did not respond to a request for comment. The owner of the North River Shopping Center, Stream Realty, did not respond to a request for comment. Stream’s Southeast regional director, Jack Arnold, served on the city’s task force. The owner of the Loehmann’s Plaza Shopping Center also did not respond to a request for comment.

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