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JULY 2020 • VOL. 14 — NO. 7

Sandy Springs Reporter ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

K-pop fans cheer musicians’ Black Lives Matter activism

► Worth Knowing: A salute to 4th of July horses p18

City starts racism dialogue; North End talks show the challenge

P5

AROUND TOWN

A neighborhood advocate steps aside, but not out P6 COMMUNITY

An Air & Space Museum at PDK? P20

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JOHN RUCH

Black Lives Matter movement protesters on Mount Vernon Highway hold up signs to Sandy Springs City Hall and passing motorists June 8

Hammond Drive widening project moves to $1.7M design phase BY BOB PEPALIS The Hammond Drive widening project is moving to the design phase after the City Council heard a report on June 16 on comments made about the conceptual plan and staff responses to those concerns. The idea to widen the road originated

long before Sandy Springs became a city. The controversy about the project has lasted just as long, with the Glennridge Hammond Neighborhood Association saying in 2016 that the project is a threat to one of the city’s largest and oldest neighborhoods. Opposition continued in February pubSee HAMMOND on page 22

BY BOB PEPALIS In the wake of the nationwide George Floyd protests, which came to Sandy Springs City Hall several times last month, Mayor Rusty Paul For more about made an unrace and local precedented policing, call for a citywide dialogue see p. 15-16. on race and racism. But getting true diversity in those conversations will be challenging. And it has already been an issue in city plans to redevelop the majority-minority North End, a concept that experts say in part reflects the pattern of systemic racism in Atlanta with its risks of displacement and gentrification. See AS on page 14

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2 | Community

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Sandy Springs begins process to change possible Confederate/KKK-inspired street names BY BOB PEPALIS AND JOHN RUCH Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and the City Council have begun the process to rename two city streets that may honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader. The council on June 16 approved a resolution to rename Lake Forrest Drive and Forrest Lake Drive by dropping one “R” from each. In his original proposal announced June 2, Paul had only named Lake Forrest Drive. Councilmember Andy Bauman, whose district includes much of Lake Forrest, agreed with the street name changes. “You don’t want to erase history. But then again, one person’s history is another person’s nightmare,” he said. “I think this is a good starting point and we’ll listen.” “We can never make amends for some of the things that have happened in our history. But we can start doing some things to make amends in small but meaningful ways,” said Paul. “…I think it’s very important that we send a message to our community that these things matter to us as a body.” In discussing the proposal, however, Paul also cited the position that Confederate symbols once reflected “heritage” but

must be rejected now because they have been “expropriated by groups who were focused on hate.” Historians say that the Confederacy was fundamentally racist and fought the war specifically to preserve slavery of black people. Sandy Springs must hold a public hearing to rename a road and advertise it at least 25 days in advance. All property owners affected by the change must get written notice of it. The public hearing will be at the July 21 council meeting. Lake Forrest Drive and Forrest Lake Drive are both partially located within the city limits of Atlanta. Paul has contacted Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and other city leaders about the proposal. The council also approved a resolution urging the Georgia General Assembly to pass a hate crimes bill. The city adopted its own hate crimes bill in 2019. City Attorney Dan Lee said that other governmental bodies in Georgia have asked the Georgia Municipal Association about the Sandy Springs hate crime ordinance and to get copies of it as they consider their own ordinances. The city’s moves come in response to nationwide and local protests of the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and of many other controversial killings of black

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people around the country, including Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. Confederate monuments and tributes are also being spotlighted for change or removal around the South. The day after the council discussion, Piedmont Healthcare announced it will permanently remove from its Piedmont Atlanta Hospital campus in Buckhead a Civil War monument that honors the “valor” of soldiers on both sides.

Lake Forrest discussion

In neighborhood discussions, the Lake Forrest renaming has received some praise as well as criticism as either political correctness or an empty gesture. The mayor discussed his own background of growing up in the South. Paul said his great-great-grandfather was captured in the wheat field of the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and died in a federal prison-of-war camp south of Philadelphia. “My grandmother ran the United Daughters of Confederacy chapter in her part of Birmingham, Alabama, all of her adult life,” he said. She told him about the heritage of the Civil War veterans. “And I have dozens, dozens of ancestors who fought on the Confederate side of the Civil War,” he said. He listened to her share the heroic stories about his ancestor. At the time, he said, he gained an appreciation for what was taught to him as a child. “As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand that there are different viewpoints, different understandings that the symbols that I grew up revering… I came to understand that those symbols had also been expropriated by groups who were focused on hate,” Paul said. “And my response for people who say this is about heritage, not hate, the fact that those symbols have been appropriated for purposes of generating hate means we had lost them as symbols of our heritage.” “And so I don’t accept that argument any longer,” he said. Gordon Jones, the senior military historian at the Atlanta History Center and a Civil War expert, said that the Confederacy was always about racism and preserving enslavement of black people and said so in its constitution. He said that looking at what politicians and soldiers said during the war and in the 40 years leading up to it — as opposed to post-war narratives — there is no doubt about its motivation. “And the central issue without which there would have been no secession — I mean, this was the issue that really split the country — was slavery,” said Jones. “So when you look at that broad context, it is very clear that slavery is the central cause of the war.” Likewise, said Jones, Confederate monuments and similar tributes are not just controversial now, but always have been, even though they “enjoyed a lot of popular support” in the South. “This is not a new story,” he said. “Monuments like this have been contested since

the day they were put up, not just by African Americans, but also, particularly in the post-war period, by U.S. veterans who have felt this was a way of sort of letting the Confederacy win after their comrades had sacrificed all this.” “I’m not for erasing history. I’m not for tearing down every monument, renaming everything that’s been named through years,” Paul said. He said it is important that the city send a message to the community that if they want a community with harmony and understanding of justice, they need to understand what these symbols mean to their neighbors, community members and people who they encounter during their daily lives. The mayor said the city can make the same simple change the Fulton School System made a few years ago when it dropped one an “R” to make Lake Forest Elementary School “forest as in trees, rather than Forrest as in names.” Councilmember John Paulson said efforts must continue. He doesn’t want the council after doing this to say, “we are good to go here.” “This is the start of an introspective look of what meaningful change can be in the city,” Paulson said. He was interested in seeing what other steps the city can make to keep social injustice and racism out of Sandy Springs. “Make this a start,” Paulson said. What complicates the road names issue is that the city can’t prove for sure that Lake Forrest was named for the Confederate general. “But knowing how Southern history has been manifesting itself across this region through the decades, 150 years, there is virtually no doubt in my mind about the origin of the name Forrest when it comes to Lake Forrest Drive,” said Paul. “It was just second nature at the time this road came into being, they would be named after people that were the leaders of the Confederacy in the South.” Bill Hardin, a professional real estate researcher in Midtown, says an investigation he did about the area 15 years ago suggests Lake Forrest might have been named for a developer or a development — possibly Forrest Adair, who partnered in the creation of such Atlanta neighborhoods as Adair Park and Druid Hills, served as a Fulton County commissioner, and co-founded what is now the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite hospital in Sandy Springs. But Hardin acknowledges he has no solid evidence for his naming theory, either, beyond cryptic notes he made during his investigation. The street’s name was changed from West Peachtree Drive to Lake Forrest in 1938, he said. If it indeed has a Nathan Bedford Forrest connection, he said, that could reflect badly on Troy Chastain, the namesake of Buckhead’s Chastain Park, who developed the area and led the name-change effort. SS


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Art & Entertainment | 5

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Local K-pop fans cheer artists’ support for Black Lives Matter movement BY ERIN SCHILLING erinschilling@reporternewspapers.net

Na’Kia Hammock loves K-pop. The 26-year-old Sandy Springs photographer has been a fan of Korean pop music for years and said she doesn’t find many other Black K-pop fans. So when K-pop artists and fans came together to support the Black Lives Matter movement, Hammock was pleasantly shocked. “It was so unexpected, and that’s what makes it so much more amazing,” Hammock said. “We’re over here with the Black Lives Movement — angry, sad and scared — and then all of the sudden, it’s just the amount of people who showed up out of nowhere from the K-pop community to support it was just amazing.” K-pop fans and idols have made international headlines as fans have banded together to fill with K-pop photos and memes the social media hashtags that counter the BLM movement such as “#WhiteLivesMatter.” Fans of global K-pop sensation BTS, who refer to themselves as ARMY, matched the boy band’s $1 million donation to the Black Lives Matter organization in early June. Hammock said her surprise at the artist and fan’s support for BLM also comes from a yearslong controversy about Korean artists appropriating black culture. “They sample or are inspired by Black culture,” Hammock SPECIAL said. “Some things Na’Kia Hammock sports her gear from the K-pop band BTS. are pretty offensive, and yet because their fan bases are so large, they get away with doing such weird and wild things, like hair in braids or dreads or things like that.” However, Hammock said more K-pop artists are acknowledging their influence from Black culture, such as Korean-American rapper Jay Park, who posted a lengthy Instagram post in support of BLM. “Me being inspired by Black culture aside, me having Black homies aside, just as a man and a human being ... to think how helpless he felt and how inhumane he was treated ... to think what if that was my dad, or uncle or homie makes me sick to my stomach,” Park wrote in the post about the killing of George Floyd. Park’s post made ATLocal media director Robbie Atkinson an even bigger fan of the artist because of his willingness to speak up. At ATLocal, a promotion company that brings K-pop events to Atlanta, Atkinson creates videos for K-pop artists to send to local media companies. In that role, she said, she has talked to artists who have acknowledged their inspiration from Black culture. “It’s one thing to be able to align with our culture, our music, our aesthetic,” Atkinson said. “But when you can stand behind us in the face of these problems as well — and racism doesn’t just affect the Black community, but it’s also a human rights issue — that feels amazing.” Atkinson said the silence of some artists feels even more noticeable now that others are voicing their support for Black Lives Matter, but when she pointed that out online, some K-pop fans became defensive.

“I think education is a form of activism, maybe not the same as what other groups of K-pop fans are doing,” Atkinson said. “Showing them the perspective of a Black fan of K-pop. You don’t have a right to invalidate our perspective or experience just because you don’t have that same experience.” Atkinson made a video a few years ago pointing out the problems with K-pop artists appropriating Black culture, which she also said caused backlash from some fans. She said other K-pop fans sometimes dismiss concerns from Black fans, which she hopes is starting to change as artists stand with the BLM movement. ATLocal director Ashlee Rackthai said the company has turned to social media to educate its followers and employees about the BLM movement. Social media is the main way K-pop fans connect because they’re so scattered around the world, local K-pop fans said. Since K-pop fans also tend to be young people, social media platforms such as TikTok become a major connector. K-pop fans and TikTokers said they registered tickets to President Donald Trump’s recent campaign rally in Oklahoma and did not show as a prank to empty the arena, The New York Times reported. Kaylee Bolson, a 21-year-old Woodstock resident, said K-pop artists tend to do a lot of activism, such as for the LGBTQ community or during the international women’s march in January 2017. She said she’s proud of her favorite artists who have become so vocal about BLM. Bolson said the Atlanta K-pop scene is bigger than in other U.S. cities. There are speciality stores like K-Pop in USA on Buford Highway in Doraville. But fans still connect mostly through social media, such as Facebook groups and Twitter. When there are conventions or concerts in the city, Bolson said, she’ll use the platforms to meet up with fans and go together. Though Bolson said she misses concerts and seeing fellow fans in person at events, she hopes fans continue to use their voices on social media to support the BLM movement.

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6 | Commentary

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Around Town

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

Neighborhood advocate steps aside

of life.” Mary Norwood, a Buckhead activist, former Atlanta City Councilmember and former mayoral candidate, described Certain as “one of the most accomplished neighborhood advocates I have ever known.” Debra Wathen has worked with Certain for a decade on the Buckhead Council of NeighSigns of change show up all around Gordon Certain’s north Buckhead home. Newer, borhoods, an organization that brings together representatives of neighborhood associations bigger houses have replaced older, smaller ones. New tall buildings loom nearby. There are from across Buckhead. Certain has served as BCN’s secretary and plans to continue in that more people, more cars, more of just about everything else, except maybe trees. “Everything role. has just mushroomed,” Certain said. “I think the world of Gordon because he works from the heart,” Wathen wrote in an email. When Certain moved into his ranch home on North Ivy Road in 1975, there was a dance “He is passionate about what he does and does an amazing job. He educates himself on ishall across the street. It was surrounded by acres of forest containing more than 500 mature sues that concern his neighborhood, as well as those that concern the Buckhead Council. If he trees. A developer bought the place and now suburban homes cover that land. These days, doesn’t know something, he asks questions until he gets a full understanding before he forms the view from Certain’s steep driveway is no longer of woods, but of side-by-side houses and opinions. For that reason, I truly respect him and what he has to say. He is also a machine! I do front yards. not know how he accomplishes all that he does.” Not all change is bad, of course. Certain expanded his house, adding Certain, who’s now 77, grew up in Florida and came to Atlanta to study space as his family grew. As north Buckhead has developed, residents have engineering at Georgia Tech. That led to a job at Lockheed-Martin, where he seen parks and playgrounds sprout throughout their neighborhood. Not worked for 31 years. Upon retirement, he decided to get involved in what was long ago, it had no public green spaces. going on around him so he became active with his neighborhood associaThere are other, perhaps less obvious, signs of change, too. The state Sution, the NBCA. “I thought I could use what I learned in business to help the preme Court sided with the neighborhood and the city to keep commercial neighborhood,” the soft-spoken Certain said. “And I did.” development from encroaching into certain residential areas. And Atlanta The BCN, an “association of associations,” got its start in 2008 as a way adopted a master plan for the area that was developed by the area’s homefor Buckhead’s neighborhoods to play a larger role in debates over developowners’ association, the North Buckhead Civic Association. ment as the community grew. When it formed, the organizations representCertain, who headed the North Buckhead association for two decades, ing Buckhead were dominated by businesses. “We just needed a voice,” Cerplayed a big part in making those good things happen. He attended city tain said. meetings, called public meetings, conducted surveys of residents and lobIn public meetings and as the editor of his neighborhood’s newsletter, bied city officials to push the homeowners’ point of view on everything Certain often provided that voice or a way for that voice to be heard. At times, from street widenings to the need for playgrounds to community planning. JOE EARLE his engineering background would show through. He regularly drew maps He regularly put in a full work week on neighborhood business, said his and built charts for the NBCA newsletter. He comes off as a numbers guy. Gordon Certain chats on the wife, Sue Certain, who says he once suggested the couple celebrate their A decade ago, for instance, after complaints about crime in Buckhead porch at his Buckhead home. wedding anniversary by going to a Buckhead community meeting. “He does flared up, Certain mapped every reported major crime in Atlanta on poster this all day long, every day, including weekends, for 20 years. It’s just who he board to show people attending the NBCA’s annual meeting that there were is. He’s just made that way,” she said one recent morning as she and Gordon sat in a sunroom more crimes elsewhere in the city. “I just thought it was inappropriate for folks to focus up at their home and listened to bird calls from the surrounding trees. here [in Buckhead] on crime,” he said. Certain joined the NBCA board in 1998, after retiring from a career as an engineer. He He still has the map, which is covered with red dots showing concentrations of crime. “I served as the group’s treasurer in 1999 and took over as its president in 2000. He held the said we’re here,” he said, pointing out the less-spotted north end of the city, then gesturing neighborhood association’s top job until May. He plans to remain on the organization’s to areas with a greater density of reported crimes. “This is hell down here. We’re in heaven.” board. He plans on staying. If he and Sue ever need to move from the house on Ivy Road, he said, Atlanta City Councilmember Howard Shook calls Certain “an unflagging supporter of they’ve reserved a spot in a condo tower on Peachtree Street. “We might end up in high-rise the neighborhood” who worked “ceaselessly to improve its safety, infrastructure and quality heaven,” he said. He paused and grinned at the thought. “Or hell.”

We aren’t perfect, but

WE ARE ONE. One world, one country, one community, one family. When one man hurts, we all hurt. When one woman loves, we all love. When one child laughs, we all laugh. We all carry a heavier burden when we divide and separate, but we thrive when we lift each other up and celebrate. Celebrate our differences. Celebrate life. Celebrate love. Celebrate best friends, old friends, new friends. Celebrate little victories right along side the big. Celebrate the opportunity to stretch

One World One Country One Community One Family

our minds and open our hearts until they hurt. We celebrate this collective we call humanity, where you don’t have to fit in to belong, where being your own true self is the most precious gift of all. WE CELEBRATE YOU.

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Art & Entertainment | 11

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New sculptures to appear at City Springs dy Springs City Council had promised to buy one sculpture from the competition. In February, it approved the purchase of four sculptures recommended by Art Sandy Springs. Those sculptures included: “Optimistical” by Nathan Pierce for $38,000; “Doppelganger” by Carl Billingsley for $9,000; “Delilah” by Joni Younkins-Herzog for $7,000; and “Hand Plant” by Jack Howard-Potter for $18,000. “Doppelganger” was installed at Windsor Meadows Park. “Hand Plant” heads to Hammond Park. “Delilah” and “Optimistical” were installed in the Abernathy Greenway Park at the northeast corner of Abernathy and Wright Roads.

BY BOB PEPALIS The installation of sculptures in the City Green at City Springs are underway for the second Art Sandy Springs competition. Meanwhile, some selections from last year’s debut sculpture competition are now permanently placed in city parks. “Willow,” the first sculpture in this year’s “ArtSS in the Open” contest and one of the finalists in the national competition, is already installed at City Green at 1 Galambos Way. The artist hails from Kansas. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed installation of the other sculptures because artists had difficulties in traveling while their communities were under stay-at-home orders. Because of the delays in installation caused by the coronavirus and rain, an announcement of the finalists wasn’t expected to be made until later this month, said city spokesperson Sharon Kraun. The artists travel with their sculptures to make sure they are installed correctly. “We work very closely with our partner Art Sandy Springs with this,” she said. The sculpture competition was a collaboration between the city and Art Sandy Springs, a nonprofit that was created in 2008 to enrich public art in the city. The city installed pads in City Green for the sculptures, and the nonprofit group helps determine the best location for each sculpture. The group also helps curate the artworks. Nine sculptures from the previous year’s competition had been installed around the City Green in April 2019. Those are being removed to make room for the new sculptures. Four of the sculptures will remain in the city and are installed at several parks. San-

“Willow” is the first sculpture installed at City Green in the 2019-2020 ArtSS in the Open sculpture competition. JOHN RUCH

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Commentary: A note to Atlanta on race and inclusion Editor’s note: This commentary on recent calls for dialogue about race and racism is signed by founders of several organizations that have performed prominent work in such local communities as Buford Highway, as well as groups that serve various parts of metro Atlanta. As we consider and enter into conversations about race in every facet of our lives, let us center the Black women and nonBlack women of color who have been having these conversations for years, for whom this work is not something we picked up in the last three weeks, but lifelong. These conversations with one another have been survival mechanism, sustenance and sanctuary. We urge leaders everywhere to center, amplify and value us, our work and our stories, because much of what we have experienced and the treatment we have endured can serve as cautionary lessons for what not to do. Much of what we have learned and achieved can serve as a beginning point for reimagining how we think about and approach our communities and cities. While not elected or appointed to serve our communities, we have been at the forefront of addressing the entrenched inequities and disparities of metro Atlanta resulting from its repeated failures to care for its Black residents and residents of color. We have organized and built movements, and designed and implemented solutions that are based in care and rooted in community rather than relying time and again on policing as the predominant, daily and often only mechanism of community engagement with minoritized and racialized communities. Each of us has dedicated our lives to this effort, and we do this work daily, because we must. There are no days off. Especially in Atlanta, it is our responsibility and our salvation to contend with our history, to wrestle with the legacy of the Spirit of Atlanta and the Atlanta Way, to take leave of the systems, beliefs and habits that no longer serve us well or at all, and to make a new way by making it as we go. Because we do this work daily, we are a true barometer of the state of the city and the region. We are a compass informing Atlanta where we are and guiding where we must go. We are the best prescription and pathways for healing. Individually, and occasionally together, we have seen a lot. We have been in countless rooms and at countless tables where we have been the only women, the only people of color, the only women of color. We are constantly asked to have our brains “picked,” only to have our ideas dismissed and criticized, or “borrowed” and co-opted by, and credited and well-compensated for, others. We’ve been tone-policed, gaslit and silenced. We’ve been asked to “share” our expertise for free, sign on to letters of support for grants that will go to White-led organizations or White consultants, and to serve on task forces and committees that do not listen to what we have to say, while seeing men and White women consistently lauded and compensated handsomely. We’ve been asked by “allies,” in return for the token gesture of coffee or lunch, to facilitate introductions so that they can diversify their boards, recruit donors from our communities, or create programming to make their own organizations relevant to communities of color. We’ve been asked by Atlanta’s private institutions to teach their students and provide tours of our communities for free. We’ve had to parade and perform our trauma for the mere chance of support and funding. We’ve had White women’s tears weaponized against us. And we are tired. This is what it’s like to be “welcomed” and “included” in Atlanta. Yet we persevere. Each of us, as a founder, as a creative, as an organizer, is rediscovering and reclaiming our selves through our work in ways that are personal, transformative and liberatory. We’ve all leaned hard into our own trauma, grief, anger, fear, imposter syndrome and burnout, interrogating every intention, holding ourselves accountable for every mistake and misstep. This is what doing the work means. And we persevere in doing it because we love this place, we love who we are and are becoming in this city and region, and we love the women coming along with us and after us and every day coming more into their own.

We persevere because the Band-Aids are no longer enough, Atlanta. Ask us what an Atlanta that no longer desperately needs the organizations we founded might look like. Ask us what an Atlanta without homelessness might look like, an Atlanta where Black spaces are preserved and alive with joy might look like, an Atlanta whose public spaces welcome and reflect with love, compassion and healing every person who has felt left out, unseen or wounded. Ask yourselves what an Atlanta looks like that makes the most marginalized among us, the least of these, whole. Ask us, and, because these requests require our labor and the expertise acquired through experience and refined through our work, pay us when seeking our time, our advice, our intellectual property, our insight and instruction, and our endorsement. We must hold fast to our calling and fight for one another, step by step. Not merely to listen, not to become better individuals, not to make friends with people of a different race or ethnicity, not to increase diversity hiring. Atlanta is called in this moment to apprehend and excavate White supremacy, antiBlackness, our own internalized oppression, from the roots, to dismantle systemic, institutionalized racism, to heal ourselves, to make ourselves and the places in which we live, just, at peace and whole. Neda Abghari Founder and Executive Director, The Creatives Project Liliana Bakhtiari Community Organizer and Consultant Monica Campana Co-Founder and Executive Director, Living Walls Rutu Chaudhari Founder and Executive Director, The Dharma Project Stephanie Cho Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta Nedra Deadwyler Founder and CEO, Civil Bikes Yvonne Druyeh Dodd Founder, Evi D. Consulting Nikishka Iyengar Founder and CEO, The Guild T. Lang Artistic Director, T. Lang Dance Owner and Founder, The Movement Lab ATL Makeda Lewis Social Media Manager, MINT Gallery Marian Liou Founder, We Love BuHi Tracy Murrell Founder and Chief Creative, Tracy Murrell Studios Tiffany Ray Chief Strategic Officer, Generation Infocus Martice Sutton Founder and Executive Director, Girls Going Global Malika Whitley Founder and Executive Director, ChopArt Leatrice Ellzy Wright Executive Director, Hammonds House Museum To join our discussion, please email nowwatl2020@gmail.com. SS


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A call to serenity

Robin’s Nest

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see robinconte.com.

This is a difficult time to write a column that I hope people turn to as a source of diversion and perhaps mild amusement. Even the spreading virus and ensuing lockdowns could be fodder for jokes about weight gain and quarantine beards and wine tours that took you from your kitchen to your bathroom to your living room. Creative types repurposed popular tunes and masterworks of art with coronavirus themes. (My favorite was “The Girl with the Purell Earring.”) I thought it was a tribute to the human spirit that in the face of a global pandemic, people found a way to laugh. Humor gets us through a lot. But there’s nothing entertaining about the current events of our nation, and I’ve been hard-pressed to find a topic of diversion. Then I came across this quote by the writer Annie Dillard: “A writer looking for subjects inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all.” So I thought I’d start there, first focusing on what I love, which is a lot of things, then trying to identify that thing that I, uniquely, love. Chocolate and coffee are easy to cancel out, as they are items of universal adulation. Mountains and beaches, sunsets and waterfalls — they also garner wide-

Sandy Springs must confront America’s original sin of racism BY MAYOR RUSTY PAUL With the arrival of COVID-19 and the reactions to the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, the past few months have been the most challenging of my public life. While we still struggle with the ongoing pandemic, we are simultaneously confronting another insidious disease — racism. Racism is America’s original sin. It arrived on the first slave ship and has plagued us for almost 400 years. In the South where I grew up, racism was not subtle. It was overt. It was on public signs and in the daily vernacular. I have spent a lifetime pulling the weeds of racism sown in my mind as a child and it is a process that continues still today. My family recently watched the movie “Just Mercy,” which chronicles the efforts by Bryan Stevenson, a public interest lawyer in Montgomery, to free an individual wrongly sentenced to death for murder. While it was a compelling story, the shock came at the end when it highlighted the dozens wrongly convicted and sentenced to death that he helped free — virtually all of whom were African American. The outrage on the streets comes from people who believe “enough is enough,” and those of us in public office have an obligation not just to listen, but to act. Sadly, a small group is using this sincere fear and fury as a cover for criminality and that is dastardly. Not only does it overshadow the genuine message coming from the streets, it gives an excuse to those unwilling to confront the problem an opportunity to change the subject. While our law enforcement personnel will respond appropriately to any misconduct, we cannot allow these people to subvert a long-needed conversation about 21st century racism. Jim Crow may be dead, but subtle, effective forms of racism plague us still. To solve the problem, we must talk to each other. We must understand the comfortable, safe, secure environment that SS

many of us experience is not necessarily shared by neighbors, colleagues, friends or the people we encounter frequently in daily life. They have different experiences and realities that we must acknowledge. I had hoped to convene a citywide convocation to discuss the problem, but the ongoing COVID-19 large group lockdown makes that impossible. It probably would have been less effective in the long run, because only a few could be heard. So, I’m asking our community organizations — houses of worship, service organizations, non-profits, businesses, HOAs and others — to convene as many small group gatherings as possible specifically to have a deep conversation about racism and how we can eradicate it from everyday life. It will take some work. Many of our organizations are homogeneous, so this can’t be us talking solely among ourselves. We must include a variety of voices so we can truly hear what so often goes unsaid. Further, we must listen and understand that our perceptions are not the everyday experience of others who share our community. Finally, we must be tolerant. We talk frequently about the importance of diversity, but we celebrate diversity in everything except the diversity of opinions. We must endure the pain of confronting opinions that we don’t share or strongly disagree with, but we can’t truly talk about the problem without realizing the emotional legitimacy of those who experience life differently. Finally, I’m asking these small groups to take notes, listing suggestions, ideas, recommendations, comments and concerns expressed. Then, send them to me at City Hall at communications@sandyspringsga. gov so we can synthesize them into a City Council presentation to use as a roadmap for policy-setting and reform. The adage, “Before you judge someone, walk a mile in his shoes” applies as much today as ever. So, Sandy Springs, let’s put our shoes on and walk together toward a better understanding of each other and the creation of a better community for us all.

spread admiration, being the subject of everything from screensavers to dream vacations. I am developing increasing appreciation for Mason jars, versatile little things that can be used as drinking vessels, rustic vases and storage containers and are handily equipped with imprinted lines that render them useful as a measuring utensils to boot, but they’re making a comeback, so I’m not alone there, either. In truth, I could focus purely on glass jars, since, like the crazy lady who collects feral cats, I’ve begun inexplicably surrounding myself with washed-out glass jars and finding things to fill them with. I get little bursts of satisfaction when I can transfer slivered almonds from their plastic bag to an empty jar of spaghetti sauce. And then, suddenly, I thought of the whippoorwill. I know I’m not the only one to be enchanted by the song of a whippoorwill, yet for me it is singular in that it is the song of my own memories. The very sound carries me back to my childhood and nestles me softly down onto the old couch on the front porch of my grandparents’ house in rural New Hampshire. It was there that I learned of this bird as a herald of the night and heard its call, a piercing sound that begins at the first dusky moment of twilight when the sky melts into mystical shades of bluish gray (shades which I’m sure Benjamin Moore has a found a way to can and number). It was there that my Nono told my siblings and me a legend of a pair of star-crossed lovers who became separated, as lovers of legends are wont to become, and whose nightly calls to each other were immortalized in the whippoorwill’s repetitive trill. It was there that I would sit as the evening deepened and cooled, by then just with my siblings and our Nana, because Nono always retired early. We would sit in the comfort of her presence, watching and listening, and use the time to rest and reflect on the day that just faded and how it was spent and the promise of not much more to come but sleep and rejuvenation and the prospect of rising again. I think of the song as mine alone because it is the call of my wise and loving grandmother, as well as my own naive youth. And with it I remember the words I spoke at her funeral almost 20 years ago, when I struggled to describe her to the congregation. I admitted that my words were flat, like snapshots, and that to truly reveal the person that she was, I would have to take you with me, to her house on the hill, where you would feel serene just to be in her presence … the presence of a woman whose soul was as pure and clear as the call of a whippoorwill. Perhaps that’s why I love that bird’s call, because in reminding me of her, it calls for me to be the same.

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City starts racism dialogue; North End talks show the challenge continued from page 1 “We have to begin the process of trying to eradicate racism from our community. We can’t do anything about the world, the country or the state of Georgia, but we can do something about our community,” Paul said. “Even though it’s not nearly as overt as it was when I was a kid growing up, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t any less of a factor… in our society.” Tamarra Carrera, CEO and executive director of the Community Assistance Center, said getting residents in the North End apartment complexes to participate will be difficult because many may feel they don’t have power to affect government decisions. “I think that also people feel that, ‘My

opinion is not going to make a difference, so why do I have to [spend] even more of my time?’” she said. “They have not always been happy with the decisions that have been made in the area of development.” Paul proposed opening a dialog on racism on June 2 by asking every club, civic and business group, religious organization and community in the city to get together in small groups to hold roundtable discussions on racism and social injustice. Every participant would answer every question and share experiences, with group leaders keeping track of what was said and suggested. From this information the mayor, City Council and staff would learn what the city

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needs to do to reduce rasicm’s hold on Sandy Springs. City staff already set up a web page at about.civicdinners.com/sandysprings to organize the small groups. Residents can start signing up to be group leaders or to join a group that will be formed. The virtual meetings will begin this month, said Sharon Kraun, city spokesperson. Staff members are working to coordinate the formation of groups and to create a standard set of questions that all groups will use. The global pandemic is keeping the discussions virtual, but Paul said he hoped in-person town hall meetings and panels could be held in the future. Paul said his family helped him understand the importance of these discussions. Leadership Sandy Springs Executive Director Jan Paul -- who is also married to the mayor -- is working on the dialogue as well. The nonprofit leadership development organization sent out a newsletter entitled, “What Can I Do?” to share its plans and a request for volunteers. “We are always trying to have conversations that inspire leaders to be catalysts for societal change,” she said. The newsletter asked for volunteers on a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, and she said 50 former participants and alumni of LSS responded. The group also offered support to the city’s Civic Dinners program and plans a speaker series on diversity, equity and inclusion, looking at challenges and successes in meeting those goals. “I don’t think we can back away from an important conversation. To me that’s what leadership is all about,” she said.

North End input Sandy Springs has spent several years discussing and planning redevelopment in the North End, with concepts looking at aging apartment complexes and shopping centers. Originally promoted by residents of the neighboring, affluent Huntcliff community, the redevelopment ideas now focus on creating mixed-income communities. But the tensions on input, representation and potential gentrification remain unresolved. The city is in the middle of a project that intends to create redesigns for the four shopping centers to encourage redevelopment by property owners. The former Loehmann’s Plaza has access to Roswell Road, but no frontage. It sits in front of a single-family neighborhood. The Northridge Shopping Center used to be anchored by a Kroger store before it closed. North River Village Shopping Center is the farthest north. North Springs Shopping Center once was anchored by a Big Lots store, but it sits 90% vacant. Residents have been asked to participate in an online survey that’s intended to gather opinions on how the shopping center property should be redeveloped. The instructional video on how to participate takes more than 11 minutes even before the first question is asked. City leaders have proposed mixeduse development at these sites. The city’s Next Ten Comprehensive Plan proposes more extensive areas of redevelopment, with property now occupied by apartment buildings designated for mixeduse or commercial mixed-use. The Next Media Sponsor

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Ten plan suggests making the revitalization happen by “incentivizing mixedused redevelopment of commercial centers and aging apartment complexes” in the North River, City Springs and Northwood/Prado areas.” Ronald Bayor, former Georgia Tech professor of history and sociology and author of “Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta,” said that displacement of minority communities to suit affluent White communities is part of the metro area’s pattern of systemic racism, and that Sandy Springs has seen it before. “A lot of those developments are filled with Black tenants,” Bayor said of the North End. “Removing that to build what? Big houses for wealthier Whites? Sandy Springs has a problem regarding that, plus integrating the Hispanic population into the city, which has not been

done very well.” Carrera, whose Community Assistance Center serves many of the lowincome residents who live in the North End, said she had been told a housing needs study that is part of the planning would encompass all income levels. “What I’m hoping that will happen is that they compare that with actual demographics of the city, map out needs for people currently there, they live and they work there,” she said. She wants the city to come up with a reasonable plan for redevelopment that works for many people and suggested a model other cities have used for mixeduse housing that creates housing for multiple income levels, instead of setting aside a percentage of units as affordable housing. Melanie and David Couchman

worked on one of the city’s task forces on North End redevelopment, but they disagreed with some of its conclusions. They formed Sandy Springs Together to advocate for more affordable housing and community input. “What we want to avoid is families being displaced. And if they have to be displaced, that they are treated with respect. And that there is some kind of consideration given to them for the displacement,” Melanie Couchman said. A campaign to get that predominantly Latino part of the community involved can’t be done by the city, as it is seen as an opposing partner. “But it has to be done by grassroots, by the community itself,” Carrera said. “Black Lives Matters has a lot of potential, particularly in the black community,” Carrera said. “I think with the

Latino community it will take longer because a lot of the immigrants don’t necessarily feel comfortable doing it. Also, they feel if they put themselves in a public position, that their immigrant status may be compromised, even though they are here legally.” Many will not get involved because they don’t feel safe doing so, Carrera said. She called it a real conundrum because the community must address civic and political issues to make a difference. “But anytime that you have a community that is not politically involved, it is hard,” Carrera said. “The Black community in Atlanta, they are very well-organized. Even though that is the case, it has taken years to move the needle,” she said. “With the other minority communities, it is going to take a while.”

How race and racism shaped growth and cityhood in north metro Atlanta BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

In Buckhead and Brookhaven, in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, mayors and other prominent elected officials have responded to the George Floyd protests by decrying systemic racism and calling for civic dialogues on race. According to some Atlanta historians, they won’t have far to look for subject matter. Racism, the historians say, was a driving force in making the communities majority-White and affluent, in the annexation and cityhood movements that raised them to prominence, and in the lingering segregation that they help to embody in the metro area’s housing patterns, schools and economic development. “I don’t think anything’s changed for the suburban areas. They resisted integration back then… The whole area’s still segregated,” said Ronald Bayor, a retired professor of history and sociology at Georgia Tech and author of “Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta.” Race is one of many factors in Atlanta’s political and social history, he and other experts note, but early overt racism remains an enduring, underlying, systemic force that shapes where people live and work, whether intentionally or not. Bayor and others say old racist patterns continue to play out in redevelopments of places like Buford Highway and Sandy Springs’ North End, where mostly or all-White groups seek higherend remakes of minority areas for their own aspirations, or in separatist urges like rumblings about Buckhead leaving Atlanta. Two of the leaders involved in the political debates that led to the landmark SS

2005 incorporation of Sandy Springs -the inspiration for other local city formations -- agree that race was a factor, though not on whether it came predominantly from White Republican proponents or Black Democrat opponents. “It was much more complex and complicated than just race, but race was a factor.” said Rusty Paul, who fought for cityhood as a state senator and is now the city’s mayor. “...By the time cityhood really got critical mass, racism was much more subtle but still just as effective. I would not be fair [or] accurate if I didn’t acknowledge that there were issues on both sides that had racial overtones. It wasn’t everyone.” Paul added that “for reasons that I truly never understood,” race became an opposition issue, along with class and partisanship, as the cityhood was led by “very affluent, White [and] Republican” community advocates. “I think it’s going to be difficult for them to have a quote-unquote dialogue on race until they come to admit that the city was birthed in racism,” said former state Sen. Vincent Fort, who opposed Sandy Springs cityhood. He said he sympathized with arguments for more local control, but that achieving it through separatism was unnecessary and a form of coded racism based in “resentment that you had a majority-African American board [on the Fulton County Commission] making decisions.” Paul’s recent moves to establish a series of virtual dinners to discuss race and racism is a major development in local politics. Yet racial dialogue is also not new to metro Atlanta and itself can be part of the pattern of racial hierarchy. The classic form is the “Atlanta Way,” a term recently used by J.P. Matzigkeit and Howard Shook, members of the Atlanta

City Council representing Buckhead, in praising or calling for peaceful protests. As described by former Georgia Tech urban planning professor Larry Keating in his book “Atlanta: Race, Class and Urban Development,” the Atlanta Way was a political tactic established by Mayor William Hartsfield for dealing with the burgeoning Civil Rights movement of the 1950s. It involved White business and political leaders teaming with Black community leaders to negotiate gradual desegregation in exchange for avoiding direct confrontations or more radical demands. The Atlanta Way is credited for making the city relatively progressive in its time and for avoiding more severe versions of racist backlash violence that gripped other Southern cities. “But beneath this surface civility harsh facts prevail,” wrote Keating. The effect, he said, was to ensure White business elites controlled the city, with some concessions for the Black middle class, and little interest in the needs of the White middle class and the poor of either race. Continued segregation and widening income inequality are among its results, he writes. It’s a political dynamic that has continued even after decades of Black mayors leading Atlanta, according to Keating and Bayor. “It’s always been a facade. First of all, Atlanta was never ‘the city too busy to hate,’” said Bayor, using another Hartsfield-era term. “...There’s always been problems over race and I think that continues. Obviously in the [Atlanta] police department it continues.” “Taking down statues -- and I have no objections to taking down Confederate statues -- but that’s facade also. That’s how they’re covering,” Bayor said.

“Things have to go on that will change the systemic racism that goes on in our society. And that’s so inbred into the system it’s going to take a while.”

Race and northern expansion

“White fear of a black-run city” dominated Atlanta politics for a hundred years after the end of the Civil War, when Black citizens got the right to vote, Bayor wrote in his book. Along with “Jim Crow” laws enforcing racial segregation, those politics shaped the development of the northside suburbs. Segregation of Black residents in less desirable areas helped to send more White residents into then largely rural northern communities. Brookhaven’s Lynwood Park neighborhood was created in 1930 by Black residents forced out of Buckhead, where many continued to work as personal servants, according to the book “Race and Ethnicity: Across Time, Space, and Discipline.” At least 15 African American communities were wiped out for White redevelopment by governments in the area in 1940-1960, according to Keating. They include Macedonia Park, razed in the 1940s and ’50s so the White Garden Hills community could have amenities at what is now Frankie Allen Park. Expansion of the northern suburbs came in the Civil Rights era and “was overtly racial at first,” writes Keating. “Affluent Whites moved to the northern suburbs to live at a distance from the city’s Blacks, whom segregation had concentrated in the near south side.” After Jim Crow, a degree of that segregation in real estate is maintained, Keating and Bayor say, through such mechanisms as continued on page 16


16 | Community continued from page 15 restrictive zoning that inflates home prices and agents steering Black clients away from White communities. Jobs shifted north as well, with Buckhead becoming Atlanta’s financial core and Perimeter Center a Fortune 500 hub. When integration exists, it is often just a temporary side effect of gentrification, according to Keating. That process is a recent dynamic in Atlanta, as White populations both return to the inner city and move to even farther suburbs, while Perimeter cities grow increasingly diverse. In the 1940s, Hartsfield attempted to annex Buckhead and some other White suburbs into Atlanta. Revenue was the public rationale, but privately he acknowledged it was also about maintaining a White majority. “Our Negro population is growing by leaps and bounds… [Black citizens] “will become a potent political force in Atlanta if our white citizens are just going to move out and give it to them,” he wrote privately to community leaders in Buckhead and Druid

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Hills, according to Bayor’s book. Buckhead’s annexation was accomplished in 1952, and in the 1960s, Hartsfield set his sights on Sandy Springs for the same reasons. Local residents rejected annexation out of fears of higher taxes and that the White-majority tactic would fail. In one response, Sandy Springs activists wrote that they would “build up a city separate from Atlanta and your Negroes and forbid any Negroes to buy, or own, or live within our limits,” according to Princeton University history professor Kevin Kruse’s book “White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism.” When future founding mayor Eva Galambos got involved in the cityhood movement a decade later, such overt racism was gone. Like city founders who followed her in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and other metro areas, she and her allies talked about tax money going elsewhere rather than improving local streets and policing, and about corrupt or incompetent county governments that foisted unwanted developments on the community. In her 2011 autobiography “A

Dream Come True,” Galambos presents Black leaders’ opposition as inexplicably mean or irrational and hinted it was itself a form of racism, culminating in the moment cityhood supporters convinced Civil Rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis to endorse their right to vote on the plan. Fort says there was no mystery to the opposition: It was about maintaining revenue for less affluent Black communities in need. “I could sympathize with the zoning issue because I come out of that type of neighborhood protection background,” said Fort. But he believes the arguments about keeping money local and incompetent leaders were in part thinly veiled racist tropes, and that cityhood was a prelude to the “apartheid” proposal to break off north Fulton as a separate, majority-White county called Milton -- which was politically viable as recently as 2011. “It is just so ironic they would charge that they were quote-unquote the victims and that their fight for the incorporation of Sandy Springs and other incorporations was a Civil Rights issue. … It’s really kind of mind-boggling,” said Fort.

“Sandy Springs is a lot more diverse than the concept of it,” said Paul, suggesting there was some stereotyping of the cityhood movement. He focused on the outcome, claiming the city today provides as much or more tax revenue to Fulton and that the recent incorporation of South Fulton shows the cityhood model is effective. “What we proved, I think, was that you can have your cake and eat it, too,” he said. Paul said that back then, he never sat down with cityhood opponents to ask about the racial issues; now he is among the leaders making that call for racial dialogue that is new to the young cities. Fort said he wonders whether it will result in significant changes like redrawing City Council districts to allow for the election of minority candidates. Bayor says that, while there is plenty to discuss, there are few models for successful integration anywhere in the U.S. “They’re all talking the talk, but let’s see if they’re walking the walk,” he said. “... It’s certainly better to have that discussion. But it’s not like we haven’t had it before.”

City lacks stats on its own diversity; police low on complaints BY BOB PEPALIS Sandy Springs’ population is fairly diverse, with almost 46,000 residents people of color, but the city can’t say how diverse its own staff and police department may be. SSPD said it bans controversial chokeholds and has a single excessive use of force complaint in the past 2½ years, which it determined was unfounded. The estimated 109,452 residents of the North Fulton city are represented by an all White Mayor and City Council. City government does not have demographics figures available for city staff as a whole or for SSPD. The city does not ask a person’s race during the hiring process, so they do not have that information, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said. Minorities in Sandy Springs make up more than 40% of the city’s population, with Black people the largest group at 19.3%, or a bit more than 21,100 people. The Latino or Hispanic population adds another 15,100 people, or 13.8%. Asians are 7.5%, or approximately 8,200 people. More than 1,600 residents are American Indian or Alaska Natives.

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Statewide the Black population accounts for 32.5% of residents and the Hispanic or Latino population is 9.9% of the population. The Asian population is 4.4% of Georgia’s population. The White population was recorded as 67.7% of the city’s population. Persons in poverty represented 9.5% of the city’s population. In 2018, 3.074 of the businesses in Sandy Springs were minority owned, compared to 8,446 non-minority owned firms. Sandy Springs’ population grew by 16.7% between the 2010 Census and last year, with the population estimated to be 109,452 people. Into this mix of people the Sandy Springs Police Department works on its mission of public safety. In the past 2½ years a single excessive use of force complaint has been made against an officer, which was determined to be unfounded, according to the department. Internal Affairs Capt. Benji Cain said a single complaint for excessive use of force has been made against an officer since 2018. In June 2019, a person at Northside Hospital had been asked to leave. When she failed to leave, an off-duty officer arrested her and took her out of the hospital. The woman filed a complaint of excessive use of force. Internal Affairs for the department investigated the claim, which was sent to the entire chain of command for review, he said. “The evidence that was there led it to be unfounded,” Cain said. Use of force has a broader definition, which includes whenever a suspect actively resists arrest and has to be taken to the ground to put handcuffs on, Cain said. It also includes the case of a felony traffic stop when an officer takes a handgun out of its holster even when no shots are fired by the officer. “Our policies and training prohibit any type of neck restraints or any activity that involves choking. Further, our training and use of force policy strictly prohibits ‘choke holds’ or any other control technique that causes someone’s airway or throat area to be constricted,” said Sgt. Salvador Ortega, public information officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. The department’s public statement on use of force listed on its website said by policy its officers “are forbidden to use any type of neck restraint except where lethal force is authorized and is deemed reasonable and necessary.” “Our officers are trained in zone handcuffing where multiple officers dealing with an uncooperative person on the ground can safely apply handcuffs; none of which include knees or choking,” Ortega said. The Sandy Springs Police Department’s use of force model and all other policies are reviewed and comply with state certification standards, Ortega said. The department follows the International Association of Chiefs of Police use of force model. Officers wear body cams and patrol vehicles have a dash cam and a prisoner rearfacing camera. “Officers are required to activate their body worn cameras during each encounter with a member of the public to accurately document the encounter,” the statement said. SS


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

Thanks to COVID-19, the 2020 Dunwoody 4th of July parade was canceled. Based on past attendance, more than 2,500 participants and 32,000 spectators were left with a gaping hole in their Independence Day. Especially disappointed were the members of the Central Georgia Mounted Color Guard, the patriotic riders and horses Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoodythat carry the flags andSandy leadSprings the parade. line and writes about people whose lives inspire ContactPam her at worthknowingnow@gmail.com. According to parade others. Co-Chair Talmadge, when the pandemic caused participants to start pulling out even before the cancellation, the one group that was all in was the CGMCG. Though most parade-goers have a favorite float or band, the horses seem to rank high on everyone’s list. No surprise. Even people who don’t ride them like them. In fact, for more than 5,000 years we humans have not just liked them. We’ve farmed with them, worked with them, traveled with them, gone to war with them and built a country with them. Today, we mostly just love them, which is why the members of the CGMCG are passionate about sharing their equine partners with the public. The Central Georgia Mounted Color Guard was founded in 2012 as a nonprofit by two lifelong horsewomen, Ruth Wilson and Ann Harris, with the motto “Honoring Those Who Serve.” They led their first Dunwoody parade in 2014. “We love the Dunwoody parade,” said Wilson. “It was the first parade to seek us out, and we were honored and thrilled.”

4th of July Parade’s riders hold their horses for pandemic’s end

PAUL WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

The Central Georgia Mounted Color Guard leading the 2019 Dunwoody 4th of July parade. Front to back: Lisa Stacholy on Joe, Jan Stacholy on Twister, Ruth Wilson on Major, Nick Stacholy on his patriotically decorated bike. Hidden behind Major is Serina Stacholy as safety walker.

WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS BETTING ON THE WRONG TEAM… DOES YOUR WEALTH MANAGER HAVE THE RIGHT PLAYERS? WHAT DO YOU MEAN -- “THE RIGHT PLAYERS?” A recent industry survey of the top 50 independent broker-dealers highlighted the number of CFP® practitioners relative to the total licensed brokers (those selling products or giving advice) at these firms. The percentage was under 25% for most, far below our number at L&W (70%+). The majority of our advisors have multiple credentials, including CPA, JD, and other advanced designations. WHAT ELSE SHOULD FAMILIES LOOK FOR BEYOND CREDENTIALS? Deep experience. Firms with less real-life experience tend to offer the “standard prescription” or template solutions when addressing client needs. Tried and true is great, but only the experience of living with the ultimate outcome of advice develops the perspective needed to create client-centered solutions families have a right to expect. It is (borrowing the famous book title) “What They DON’T Teach You at Harvard Business School.” IS IT HARD TO FIND EXPERIENCE OUT THERE? Unfortunately, many advisors with deep experience are within the big Wall Street banks, and conflicted by business models that involve the sale of investment products. They do not adhere 100% to the fiduciary legal standard of placing the client’s interest first. (Families should never compromise regarding 100% fiduciary compliance.) Even in fiduciary firms, experienced

Bill Kring, MaryJane LeCroy, and Phillip Hamman, discuss the importance of having a team of professionals to determine the right choice for you. (Left to right: Phillip Hamman, CFA, CFP®; MaryJane LeCroy, CFP®; and Bill Kring, CFP®)

investment managers may try to broaden advice by hiring young CFP® practitioners, but the experience is nonetheless confined to investments. PRESUMABLY, LINSCOMB & WILLIAMS IS DIFFERENT… We have all the important credentials, and 49 years certainly provides some experience! However, the key is a team, combining industry veterans with young and energetic talent. Imagine how the combination of professionals with different backgrounds and levels of experience can work together and re-define the client experience. For a family looking to re-define their wealth management experience, we are ready to have a no-cost, no-obligation exploratory conversation at our office in Atlanta.

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Unlike smaller parades, Dunwoody offers a small stipend. “We really depend on that stipend,” said Wilson, who adds that the group has some small sponsors, but the riders pay all their own expenses except for their official jacket and shirts, which they give back when they leave the group. Members pay for all of their own travel costs, which are significant when hauling a horse trailer, plus all their color-coordinated, parade-specific attire and tack (such as color-coordinated saddle pads, fly caps and hoof dressings). In the case of the Dunwoody parade, it’s red, white and blue down to the glitter on the horses’ hooves. The core group consists of four members, supported by children, grandchildren and spouses, who participate as riders, safety walkers and cleanup detail. Young riders don’t carry the colors. The safety walkers keep overly excited spectators from approaching and spooking the horses. According to Wilson, as proud as they are to carry the colors, their favorite part of the Dunwoody parade is the meet-and-greet after. “Parents can’t pull their kids away. A lot of them are as excited as the kids and buy watermelon for the horses,” she said. Two years ago, at the end of the 2018 parade, Dunwoody resident Lisa Stacholy visited the meet-and-greet and asked if she and Joe, her Appaloosa, could join the team. Normally, prospects must attend desensitizing clinics at Wilson’s farm, where horses are exposed to sights and sounds they might encounter at a parade. “We look for a confident rider with a confident horse,” said Wilson. “Our clinics expose them to people, noise, smoke, flags and a shooting range that sounds like motorcycle backfire.” Since Stacholy knew Joe was unflinchable and the team needed a rider for the upcoming Alpharetta Old Soldiers Parade in August, she skipped the trial. She and Joe rode in that parade but didn’t SPECIAL carry the colors. After the 2019 parade, Lisa Stacholy and Joe get ready for the meet-and-greet with the help of Jordan Fields. On July 4, 2019, they rode in Dunwoody, her hometown, and carried the colors of the U.S.A. “Dunwoody was an indescribable feeling,” she said. “We’ve lived here since 2002. To do something so huge was a proud moment.” Even more special, her whole family participated. Her husband Jan, who grew up with horses, rode Twister, one of Wilson’s horses. Her daughter Serina was a safety walker and her son Nick followed the horses on his bike along with a Dunwoody High School classmate doing clean-up. “Our vets give so much they deserve more than a wink and a nod,” said Stacholy. “I always get choked up when someone struggles to stand and salute the flag.” Like Wilson, Stacholy loves the meet-and-greet. “Joe understands the different levels of people,” she said. “When a family approached with their special needs son in a wheelchair, Joe patiently stood there, head lowered, as they lifted their son’s hand to pet his nose. It was a magical moment when the child made the connection.” Stacholy and her teammates all hope to ride in next year’s parade. Meanwhile, they are looking for riders, helpers and sponsors. For information, go to cgmcg.org or facebook.com/CentralGeorgiaMountedColorGuard.

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A nonprofit organization is raising money to preserve photos, records and memorabilia from the former Naval Air Station in Atlanta in hopes the materials eventually will go on public display at an aviation museum at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.

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The Inspire Aviation Foundation hopes to eventually create an Atlanta Air & Space Museum at PDK, which once was the NAS Atlanta. For now, it seeks to raise $3,500 to help preserve the history of NAS Atlanta by digitizing materials assembled over the years by members of the Naval Air Station Reunion Group, according to the foundation’s website. The archives feature photos, base programs and directories, promotional literature, engineering and architectural drawings for construction of the original World War IIera Naval Air Station, the foundation says on its website. “It’s very rare material, very precious material,” said Moreno Aguiari, a member of the Atlanta Air & Space Museum’s board of directors, who worked on WWII-era airplane news publications from his PDK office. Before it became a public airport, the Chamblee airfield, located on Clairmont Road on the Brookhaven border, had a history of military uses. Camp Gordon, a World War I

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training camp, operated there until 1922. Naval Air Station Atlanta operated at the site from 1941 until the late 1950s, when it relocated to Marietta. NAS Atlanta was shuttered in 2009.

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The reunion group started annual meetings in 1960, once the air station completed its move to Marietta, Aguiari said. The group’s archives were donated to the foundation. In addition to the archive, the foundation intends to develop a ground tour of PDK airport highlighting the facility’s history, according to Aguiari and the webpage. Eventually, the foundation wants to develop the Atlanta Air & Space Museum and Educational Campus at the county-owned airport and to use the archival material in a display about Naval Air Station Atlanta. Anyone interested in donating to the archives preservation project can find further details on the website at AtlantaAirAndSpaceMuseum.org.


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Hammond Drive widening project moves to $1.7M design phase continued from page 1

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HAMMOND.JPG

A roundabout on Hammond Drive at Kayron and Hilderbrand drives in a conceptual design under consideration by the city of Sandy Springs. (Special)

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lic information hearings and public comment made through March 13, with residents opposed to medians and anticipated relocations caused by right-of-way needs for the project. The proposed widening project runs for approximately 1.1 miles from Barfield Road and Roswell Road. The plan includes sidewalks and multi-use paths along the length of the project and a pedestrian-only underpass at Kayron Road to increase connectivi-

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Its overall cost will be between $60 million and $63 million. Design and rightof-way purchase is projected to take twoand-a-half to three-and-a-half years, before construction could begin. The city still needs to identify a funding source to complete right-of-way purchases and construction, estimated to require another $45 million. “As you know, we’ve had meetings on Hammond since the 1990s,” Allen Johnston, the city’s TSPLOST manager, said. “It’s already not meeting the needs of the corridor.” The Georgia Department of Transportation’s I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction project scheduled to finisht his year, and its plan to add toll lanes on Ga. 400 in 2022-2027, will help traffic in the area, he said. Adding lanes to Hammond Drive will reduce cut-through traffic in neighborhoods along the corridor, he said, as a big reason for the cut-through traffic is the back up on Hammond. “Overall, this is going to reduce the congestion and the queueing for the corridor,” he said. Councilmember Chris Burnett was worried about the effect the project will have on Heards Ferry Road by just getting more traffic to that road quicker. Johnston said traffic studies for the projSS


JULY 2020

ect show it shouldn’t have an adverse affect on Heards Ferry. Johnston said the design phase for the project will take 12 to 18 months and cost approximately $1.7 million. Acquiring additional property for right of way will take another 18 to 24 months. The $10.5 million the city has spent so far for the widening project has happened because the property owners have approached the city to buy their land, he said. “At this time, we’ve only purchased property in advance of the project and we don’t know the exact right of way that we need, Johnston said. Additional funding will be required to purchase all the property required to complete the road widening project, possibly with a second TSPLOST, Johnston said. He said the additional property will cost an estimated $13.4 million to $16.4 million. An-

SS

Community | 23

www.ReporterNewspapers.net other $34 million will be needed for construction. The city has $3.7 million left in its TSPLOT funds for the project. After paying for the design, approximately $2 million will be available with another $45 million needed to buy the rest of the property and to construct the project. Some residents opposed the medians during public information open hearings held on the conceptual plan. Johnston said the medians are necessary because making a left turn across the additional lanes of traffic is dangerous and would affect traffic flow. But in the plan motorists can make Uturns at intersections or use roundabouts to get turned around in the direction they want to go. Hammond Drive has a higher accident rate for roads of its type than the average in the state, he said.

Fulton district attorney, sheriff races appear headed to runoff BY BOB PEPALIS Incumbents in races for Fulton County sheriff and district attorney are headed to runoff elections with challengers on Aug. 11. No Republican ran for those offices in the June 9 primary, which means the winners in the anticipated Democratic runoff should be the next Fulton County sheriff and district attorney.

District attorney

Incumbent Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard faces a challenge from his former employee Fani Willis in his bid for reelection. Another former assistant district attorney in the race, Christian Wise Smith, has since endorsed Howard.

Sheriff

Fulton Sheriff Ted Jackson held a commanding lead over his four opponents as he also sought to stay in office. But he was short of the 50% plus one vote necessary to avoid a runoff with challenger Patrick “Pat” Labat.


JULY 2020

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